Are you weary of group dynamic bickering, spittle-laced rants, or plowing through repeatable quests until your head is spinning and your hands have a death-grip on your weapon? Are the crowds around Atreia just getting to you? Why not spend some quality time alone... when you needn't answer to anyone else? That's right folks! Leave your friends, your legion-mates, and all reminders of real life behind and come visit beautiful Taloc's Hollow!

Thinking of just kicking your heels up in Pandaemonium or Sanctum? Lounging around in an inner tube on dry land hardly a getaway makes, so hurry on down to the lush lands of Taloc's Forest (Inggison) or Krug Basin (Gelkmoros) for a little R&R -- rewards and, well, rewards. What does Taloc's have to offer? For the discerning level 51-55 adventurer, Taloc's offers the unique opportunity to gather treasure and soak up experience, all without having to share any of it with your compatriots. Need a random five-minute break to grab that leftover pizza? No problem! Find an awesome piece of fabled jewelry? Nope, you don't have to roll -- it's all yours.

Choose Taloc's Hollow as your next Aion destination spot today! Ready for adventure? Cruise on past the cut for a guided tour, along with some helpful hints, special tips, and time-saving deals for your trip.
An enormous tree whose growth (and sentience) was instigated by a shattered piece of the Tower of Eternity during the Cataclysm, Taloc now houses a variety of mutated creatures -- creatures that can bring a Daeva wealth and prosperity. For a mere hour or two of your time (or even less), you can rack-up a good amount of experience and reward. But where to start? While NCsoft has provided a detailed listing of the quests connected with the instance and a listing of the named mobs with their possible loot drops, as well as a detailed description of how to find the place to begin with, we will provide a run-through that will help make your trips to Taloc's more rewarding, including special tips and maps.

Prepare thyself

In order to fully take advantage of all that Taloc's Hollow has to offer, you must first get prepared. Not only does the instance offer loot, materials to gather, and XP galore, but it also has repeatable quests.

You already know you need to level to 51 in order to enjoy this solo instance; however, in order to enter this instance, you must also complete the prerequisite campaign quests (Proving Yourself to Outremus for Elyos and Crash of the Dredgion for Asmodians) to open up the quest that will allow you entry (Friends for Life and The Aether Must Flow).

What you may not know is that before stepping foot into the instance, you will want to clear out at least one full row in your cube; two or more are better. If you are like me, your bag tends to get full of consumables, resurrection stones, keys, kisks, and various other loot. On at least the first trip, you are going to want to clear the instance -- not only will you get a better feel for the place, but you will also get quite a large helping of XP. Clearing all those mobs results in a variety of drops, including common gear, vendor trash, manastones, boss loot, and quest items. During your first series of runs, you will need six slots for quest items alone!

The next step is to ensure that you have all available repeatable quests for Taloc's. Most of these open up after your first visit (and subsequent completion of the campaign quest), but some are actually inside the instance. Make sure to check your quest guide and don't miss out on free quest XP for things you are already doing.

The first date

So, you completed the entry requirements and you've prepared -- now, it's time to head in. For your first run, give yourself two hours (or even more) to amble through the instance and get to know the layout. After your first trip, you will find that the time spent can be shortened as needed.

First things first: Talk to Taloc's Soul and get his quests, paying attention to all the cutscenes -- they give valuable advice. Next, you will notice a Taloc fruit and a red orb called Taloc's tears in your inventory; use the fruit to become a super-tree-thing with un-Seraphim-Lordly-like health and mana pools. Understandably, even with 90,000+ health, things can happen; if you die and leave the instance or crash, don't worry! After the 20-minute timer refreshes, the Taloc fruit can be used again to re-deify yourself. However, if you left the instance, hurry back within five minutes and you can reenter. While in the instance, there is no set timer for completion.

Moving on, you are ready to eradicate the mutated resident's of Taloc's. You could single-pull each mob, but that is a waste since you have been gifted Taloc's tears. This orb turns you into an AoE-monger regardless of your class. Just head in, pull a few mobs, and spam that orb! You can use all of your other skills as well, of course, but putting the orb on a hotkey and using it every chance you get makes a big difference.

Before you get too far, you are faced with two wriggling cocoons. After killing the little boss Shishir, you loot an acid that will allow you to free one of the two cocoons (you also loot a green orb for single-target attacks). If you choose to free one, you can have either a templar or cleric companion during your journey. Many choose to ignore these "pet" NPCs, as herding them along is often more trouble than it's worth. However, they will aid you if you choose them, and some superstitions claim that bringing the templar along and letting him die to spiders will ensure good loot drops!

During the first 10 runs, you will be asked by Taloc's Soul to gather leaves from contaminated soil mounds. Four of these mounds are located in the lower section, and two are located in the second section. In order to collect the leaves, you will be clearing most, if not all, of the mobs. These piles of soil are just small brown mounds and easy to miss. Their locations are marked on the following map. (Also included is the hard-to-find wood core for the Elysean quest Wood-n't You Know It? and presumably the corresponding Asmodian quest Heart of Wood):

As you continue through the instance, you will receive two more orbs -- blue (shield) from Gellar and purple (AoE sleep) from Neith. One of your quests is completed only by using these, so hotkey the orbs and fire away. When using these orbs, you will note that the offensive orbs (red and green) share a reuse timer, as do the defensive ones (blue and purple). Be sure to use each enough times to complete the quest. Besides, you will find them quite helpful.

As you continue through the instance, follow the cutscenes for hints, such as how to fight Kingquid (purple smoke lowers magical defenses; yellow smoke lowers physical). Immediately after defeating Kinquid, you get an announcement that you hear something up ahead. There is a timed coin quest available for only a short time; don't worry about this for your first trip, but we will cover it in detail next week.

Right before you reach the lair of Queen Mosqua, you find a Reain tribe member being attacked by the giant spider, Neith. Kill that, and you receive the last of your orbs as well as Dorkin's pocket knife. This knife will "cut" through the vines behind the waterfall (just click near the bottom of the vine wall) to reveal a cave where the Shugo, Dorkin, is hiding. This Shugo gives a quest to find a book -- located in the water just to the right of the final boss Celestius as you face it -- as well as offers you the chance to sell vendor trash (a very welcome respite for those who forgot to empty their bags). Like all hard-to-reach Shugos, he sells unique items; you can buy a special hatchet for 195K kinah to break the egg right behind him for loot. He also offers kuvano oil, beriti pepper, and the very expensive special fertilizer (over one million kinah) needed for another quest. However, not many find the reward to be worth the cost of the fertilizer.

Medic!

If you get low on health, you have a couple of options: You can use the potions suspended in the health plants scattered throughout (which often spawn only after a room is cleared), or you can remove your altered deity-state and take a regular potion or serum. Just be sure to use the fruit again (keeping in mind the 20-minute reuse timer) as you will be extremely squishy without the deity tree-form. Also, be sure to watch that two-hour time limit on the fruit, so that you do not lose the form right in the middle of pulling half the room (guilty as charged).

The queen and beyond

Although you may want to kill all of the flying insects in the lair of the queen for more maneuverability, you can skip them if you are concerned about loot -- they never drop any. Just kill the queen, even ignoring the clone mob she spawns. Hint: Save your AoE orb for when she spawns her eggs; one swoosh and all the eggs are destroyed, but if you leave them for any length of time, they hatch and get very annoying.

After defeating the queen -- and hopefully getting some decent loot -- you are ready to break open the large egg in the center of the room. Stand right in the stream, jump, deploy your wings, and float up to Celestius' lair. On this level, you are faced with small clusters of alien-looking mobs. Most of them are gathered around a concentrated sap. If you destroy the sap, the mobs are significantly easier to kill. However, they also are worth significantly less XP and will not drop any loot. Killing the mobs is not difficult if you prefer the XP; just use your orbs liberally, especially the shield and AoE.

Finally, you face Celestius. Suddenly, all those tendrils moving about and blocking your path throughout the instance make sense. Now, if you have reached this point and more than two hours have elapsed since you picked up an orb, you will notice that it has expired and disappeared. Do not panic! Celestius can be easily killed with only the original Taloc's tears orb, which never expires; it may take a while, but it can be done. I tested this theory personally, albeit accidentally. This is also handy knowledge for those who choose speed runs and ignore some of the orbs altogether. Once Celestius is dead, grab the book to right, and talk to Taloc's newly spawned soul. Now you can turn in the internal quests and leave. Wait 46 hours, rinse, and repeat.

There you have it, folks -- a guided tour through your visit to exotic Taloc's Hollow. We hope you enjoyed your visit and look forward to seeing you again. Check back next week for some hints on running through the instance quickly and efficiently.
Soaring through the Aionosphere, MJ Guthrie touches down weekly to bring you Wings Over Atreia. Featuring tips, guides, and general snippets of life in Aion, the column is better than Tutty-on-a-stick, ackackackackackack! Have a suggestion to share? No need to bribe a Shugo -- just send mail to mj@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.