The Anvil of Crom: Filling the leveling gaps

Never let it be said that The Anvil of Crom doesn't exist to serve the readers, as this week, we're taking a step back from our usual industry rantings and ravings to indulge in the creation of a proper leveling guide. There aren't really a lot of such Age of Conan resources on yonder intarwebs (and if you've written any I missed, my apologies but Google doesn't like you).

Anyhow, my guildmates began to flounder about after exhausting their 30-ish level quests, and (after I pointed and laughed for a few minutes) I figured a formal guide was in order. So, join me after the cut as I perform my Hyborian civic duty and clue some of our newer players in to the best places to get their level on. Also, keep in mind this is how I've progressed on several characters across three of the four racial choices and their associated zones, so if you have a more efficient way, feel free to share it in the comments.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Oh God, he's going to walk us through Tortage. I know you're thinking it because I thought it too, although it was more like oh God, I should walk them through Tortage (again), nooooooo. Happily though, that's not really necessary for two reasons. One, Tortage is probably the most analyzed zone in Funcom's Hyboria. One Google session and you're likely to turn up all you ever wanted to know about it. Two, it's quite linear, so while it may seem a daunting task the first time you stagger off the beach, Casilda in tow, fear not. Just follow the quest markers, your map, and kill anything you see and you'll be off the newb isle in no time.

[Update]: I've now written a Tortage speed guide as well.

Where to go after Tortage, ah, there's the question. It's somewhat rhetorical though, as Funcom has decided for you (at least initially) in the form of your race and its associated destiny quest. Aquilonians will sail for fair Tarantia, gleaming jewel of the civilized world (and festooned with horse droppings, amusingly enough). Stygians will step off the boat in the serpent-infested city of Khemi, and Cimmerians will journey to the frozen north of Conarch Village, a frontier outpost with little in the way of the bright lights/big city motif. Finally, players of the Khitai persuasion will journey via caravan to the outskirts of the Great Wall in, you guessed it, Khitai.

All four racial hubs will take your characters near enough to level 30 via a series of quests that branch out from the starting locations (basically where your level 30 destiny quest NPC is located). After that, you may feel a little lost if you're anywhere other than Cimmeria, as the quest content seems to peter out for Stygians and even Aquilonians (though both have a few dungeons made for grinding). Khitai is kind of its own entity, as the Gateway zone is designed to take you from 20 to 40 if you do all the quests, and perhaps even a bit higher if you mob-grind a bit while you're flitting about. After that though, you'll be leaving the far east behind until you ding 80. Thanks to the Unchained update in the summer of 2011, Khitai now features a couple of level-scaling solo dungeons.

Also new for 2011 is the Ardashir Coast region that debuted with the Savage Coast of Turan adventure pack. Content includes a quest-packed level 50 - 55 playfield, a solo instance that scales from 50 - 80, and a couple of additional dungeons designed for post-80 play.

The Iron TowerAll that said, I think it's easier to simply list these out for you rather than regale you with further prose, so here we go. Mob levels will generally fall within the level range listed in parentheses, though there will be elites that require either a much higher-level solo character or a group. In order to get to the top end of these level ranges, you need to do all the quests in the area, and possibly grind a smidge as well if you come up short.

This first list is written with the solo player in mind; group dungeons are listed separately. Finally, some classes may find that they can solo certain dungeons (like the Spider Caves and Cannibal Caves). Again, this is just a general guide, and you'll need to experiment to see what works for your class and skill level.

Solo quests and mob grinding:

Level 20 (post-Tortage)
  • Cimmeria: Conarch Village (20 - 25)
  • Stygia: Khemi (20 - 25)
  • Aquilonia: Tarantia (20 - 25)
  • Khitai: Gateway to Khitai (20 - 40)
Level 30
Level 40
  • Cimmeria: Field of the Dead (38ish - 50)
  • Stygia: none
  • Aquilonia: Tarantia Noble District (scales to your level beginning at 40**), Armsman Tavern (40+)
  • Khitai: The Breach (scales to your level between 40 and 80, daily lockout timer), The Forgotten City (scales to your level between 40 and 80, daily lockout timer)
Level 50
  • Cimmeria: Eiglophian Mountains (50 - 60), Ymir's Pass (55 - 60)
  • Stygia: none
  • Aquilonia: Tarantia Noble District (scales to level)
  • Khitai: The Breach, The Forgotten City (both scale to your level, daily lockout timer)
  • Ardashir: Ardashir Coast (50 - 55), Dead Man's Hand (scales to your level beginning at 50)
Level 60
  • Cimmeria: Atzel's Approach (60 - 70)
  • Stygia: none
  • Aquilonia: Thunder River (60 - 70), Tarantia Noble District (scales to level)
  • Khitai: The Breach, The Forgotten City (both scale to your level, daily lockout timer)
Level 70
  • Cimmeria: Atzel's Approach (70 - 75)
  • Stygia: Kheshatta (70 - 80)
  • Aquilonia: Tarantia Commons (70+), Tarantia Noble District (scales to level)
  • Khitai: The Breach, The Forgotten City (both scale to your level, daily lockout timer)
Level 80

We'll save level 80 content for another column, as this one is long enough already and the object was to get you to endgame where Age of Conan has a fair bit of dungeon, raid, and PvP content. Since the above was geared to soloing, we'll take a quick look at the group dungeons that will speed you on your leveling journey. Keep in mind that some of these can be soloed as well, and all can be found on your in-game map. Listed below you'll find the dungeon name, the zone in which it is located, and an approximate level range for each group member.

**The Tarantia Noble District Villa zones can be considered both quest and dungeon content, as they're instanced solo affairs that provide substantial XP rewards. As such, I've listed them both above in the solo quest portion and below in the dungeon portion of the guide. However you choose to categorize them, don't pass up their XP.

The cannibal caveSolo and small group dungeons:

  • Spider Caverns (Conall's Valley, 28 - 30)
  • Ice Cave (Eiglophian Mountains, 50 - 53)
  • Cannibal Caves (Eiglophian Mountains, 55 - 58)
  • Bubshur House (Khopshef Province, 23 - 25)
  • Black Castle (Khopshef Province, 31 - 32)
  • Pyramid of the Ancients (Khopshef Province, 35 - 38)
  • Treasury of the Ancients (Khopshef Province, 38 - 40)
  • Abandoned Smuggler Tunnels (Zelata, 23 - 29)
  • The Maze (Wild Lands of Zelata, 27 - 29)
  • Border Ranges (Wild Lands of Zelata, 32 - 34)
  • Outflow Tunnels (Old Tarantia, 35 - 37)
  • Tarantia Noble District Villas (40 - 80)
  • Slaughterhouse Cellar (Thunder River, 79 - 80)
  • The Breach (Gateway to Khitai, 40 - 80)
  • The Forgotten City (Gateway to Khitai, 40 - 80)
  • Dead Man's Hand (Ardashir Coast, 50 - 80)
Full group dungeons:

  • Cradle of Decay (Field of the Dead, 42+)
  • Toirdealbach's Tomb (Field of the Dead, 55 - 58)
  • Amphitheatre of Karutonia (Ymir's Pass, 62+)
  • Halls of Eternal Frost (Atzel's Approach, 70+)
  • Atzel's Fortress (Atzel's Approach, 79+)
The Onyx ChambersStygia
  • Black Castle (Khopshef Province, 30 - 34)
  • Scorpion Cave (Kheshatta, 75+)
  • Caravan Raider Camp (Kheshatta, 78+)
  • Onyx Chambers (Kheshatta, 79+)
  • Sanctum of the Burning Souls (Zelata, 35 - 40)
  • The Cistern (Tarantia Noble District, 50 - 55)
  • Main System (Tarantia Noble District, 53 - 60)
  • Catacombs (Tarantia Noble District, 55 - 60)
  • The Prison Colony (Thunder River, 60 -70)
  • Iron Tower (Tarantia Commons, 78+)
  • Xibaluku (Thunder River, 79+)
  • none below 80
  • none below 80
Scalable group dungeons

These instances are located off the beaten path in the resource harvesting zones and also do not have set level ranges. The mobs will populate in relation to the level of the first group member to zone into the instance.
  • Frost Swamp (Cimmeria: Lacheish Plains, variable levels)
  • Oasis of Zaara (Stygia: Purple Lotus Swamp, variable levels)
  • Imirian Ravine (Aquilonia: Poitain, variable levels)
That's all the time we've got for now. Next time we'll finally take a look at guild cities (really, I swear). Let me know if I overlooked any questing areas or dungeons in the comments and until next week, I leave you with a scene from Joe Bob's Redneck Fireworks Warehouse, circa 11:30pm on July 3rd.

Jef Reahard is an Age of Conan beta and launch day veteran, as well as the creator of Massively's weekly Anvil of Crom. Feel free to suggest a column topic, propose a guide, or perform a verbal fatality via
This article was originally published on Massively.