Wings Over Atreia: Taloc's Hollow speed runs

The tropical breeze rustling through the branches. The exotic wildlife. The blessed solitude. While reminiscing about your previous excursion to famed Taloc's Hollow, you find yourself wanting to relive those great moments. OK, maybe you just want to tank up on some XP and loot. And who can blame you? Taloc's Hollow is one of "the" destination hotspots in Aion for those over level 51 to gather both kinah and experience. If you are in it for the XP, chances are you want to just clear everything in your path; after all, it isn't often you get to be in deity-mode, killing elite mobs on your own. However, there comes a time when you simply you don't want to or can't spend a couple hours clearing the instance out. Then what?

Well, then you aim for a speed run. These runs are often considered money-maker runs and are factored into a Daeva's wealth portfolio. While decent loot can and does drop off the trash mobs, many people reach the point that they only want to focus on a boss run and ignore everything else possible. Can you do it? Yup.

Dash past the cut for hints to help you get through Aion's highest-level solo instance quickly and efficiently.

Speed racer

So you aren't in the position or mood to amble through Taloc's at a leisurely pace; either you don't have any need for XP (not really important once you reach level 55), or you just don't have the time or desire to clear everything. After all, you might have a hot date in less than an hour, and asking your date to wait through a few more kills may not be an auspicious beginning. If you are aiming for speed, it is not a good idea to do the repeatable quest The Balance from Crossia at the campsite; this requires killing a set number of creatures within Taloc's upper boughs, and your goal is to avoid as many as possible. Another time saver: Be sure to hotkey the loot action as well as all orbs that you plan to use.

If you have already completed the contaminated soil quest (which takes you into every corner on the lower levels), you can simply head straight to the bosses, killing only what you must instead of clearing everything. This way, you bypass two or three of the four lower rooms and all accompanying time-wasting mobs -- all depending if you guess Gellmar's spawn point correctly. However, you must kill Ancient Octanus in the first room to remove the vine barrier to continue. Do not open a cocoon near Shishir -- the NPC pet will seriously slow you down.

You can also opt to ignore Gellmar (a definite time-saver if he happens to be in the second place you check); however, doing so means missing out on Gellmar's wardstone -- the blue orb which provides a shield -- and possible green belts and blue shoulder pieces. While the loot may not be worthwhile to wear for most, it does disenchant into enchantment stones worth a decent price on the broker. Personally, I use the shield for the queen run later, so I don't mind the slight detour into Muculent Grotto or The Swarmspring.

Taking the northern route is the quickest path -- whether or not you kill Gellmar -- and leads you to Kinquid's den. Sadly, there is no way to avoid Kingquid, and he offers no loot other than possible trash drops. After defeating him, you can choose to speak with Hyas and obtain the mithril coin quest for killing the queen (see below), or simply charge on ahead. You can also choose to ingore the spider, Neith, just outside of the Mosqua's nest. Skipping Neith means losing out on the AoE sleep orb (something I rarely use), and it also means not visiting the reclusive Dorkin behind the waterfall. I can't help it -- I always have to break that egg, not to mention vendor my trash loot to make enough room in my cube!

After killing the queen, you can either go visit Dorkin now or continue up to the top layer where Celestius awaits. Of all the bosses, only Mosqua and Celestius have items that people truly clamor for: Mosqua drop the siel's supreme weapons that can be upgraded to blue then gold, and Celestius drops blue weapons as well as fabled (gold) earrings. On the top lair, thread your way across to Celestius, engaging the least number of mobs possible. Hint: Attacking the center concentrated sap near Celestius will make the mobs that much easier -- and quicker -- to kill. Now, you need only kill the main boss. Thus concludes your speed run.
Killing the queen

Although only repeatable 20 times, the coin quest Death to the Queen available inside Taloc's is a quick way to stock up on mithril coins for personal use or sale. After killing Kinquid, you have a very short time to run out on the branch and talk to Hyas. Don't think you can keep him indefinitely by opening the quest dialogue -- he will disappear while you are speaking to him... even if you are about to click accept! Trust me; I had the unfortunate opportunity to test this.

Now, the quest directs you to hurry and kill Queen Mosqua within eight minutes. If you fail in that first block of time, you are granted a four-minute extension (which will result in a smaller coin reward), and -- failing that -- a third extension (resulting in only one coin as a reward). If you have already run through Taloc's before, you know that there is no possible way to kill your way through during the time allotted. However, that does not mean the quest is impossible.

The solution is simple -- pop a run scroll, activate the shield, and run! Do not stop to fight any mobs, do not veer to the sides, use healing pots when you are slowed, and try to hop and glide as much as you can over the areas that slow you down (those sticky spots of purplish liquid). In fact, at this point Celestius' tendrils will work to your advantage, stopping a number of the mobs following you. Go ahead and run all the way to the the queen's lair -- most of the mobs will leash by the time you reach the opening and start the cutscene. At most, you will have around eight mobs to kill before entering the nest.

During a quick run (or any run for that matter, since they don't ever drop any loot), ignore all of the flying insects in with the queen. Wait until Mosqua is in front of the entrance and pull her over. However, note that you cannot pull her into the hall; once the queen comes near the entrance, it becomes blocked by vines until one or the other of you dies. At times, a few of the smaller insects will add, but they are easily ignored and killed with the AoE from Taloc's tear (the red orb). Remember, as discussed last week, use the AoE whenever Mosqua spawns eggs to kill them with one swipe.

And they're off!

So just exactly how quickly can this instance be run? Personally, the total time for my first boss only/queen coin quest run (including Dorkin) was clocked at 30 minutes. However, I have known people who have completed it in about 20 minutes. After completing the run, if you feel you have time, you can return to the entrance and finish clearing for drops. Personally, I have a hard time avoiding mobs, not because I need the XP, but because godstones as well as yummy white drops (which sell for so much on the vendor!) have been looted off the trash mobs. If you choose not to return, you still farmed the bosses and hopefully left with some good drops. While everything is BoP, loot items can be sold to the vendor, broken into enchantment stones, or sold as skins. To continue building your cash reserves, simply return in 46 hours when the lockout timer expires.

See yourself in print!

I am still collecting your responses to the following statement: "You know you have played Aion too much when... ". Send your funny, interesting, bizarre, or downright strange real-life experiences in which Aion has seeped into your life to mj@massively.com to be included in a future feature.

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.