The Tattered Notebook: Forging your own leveling path in EverQuest II

The Tattered Notebook  A guide to forging your own path in EverQuest II
Who needs the straight and narrow? Not I -- when referring to EverQuest II progression, that is. Those who catch my antics on Massively TV can certainly attest to the fact that I am more of a twist-and-turn-loving meanderer than a straight-line kinda gal. And that's even without the inevitable distraction of shinies! Luckily for me, EQII is made for just such a soul as mine with serious emphasis on the wander part of wanderlust.

Folks who watch EverQuest Two-sday have seen me lope along the Golden Path, EQII's version of an in-game guide to where to level. But in EQII, the path is not a rigid set-up directing player steps as in many other themeparks. No, the Golden Path here is more of an occasional checkpoint along your journey that offers you just a nudge in the next general direction. Even then, you don't have to follow those implied suggestions. Maybe you'd prefer to forge your own path. That's where today's guide comes in! But unlike the recent guide for the new level 85s, this guide is for any and every level range, so no matter where you are now, you can see all the possibilities for where to go next.
The Bonemire
The road less traveled

While the original idea of the Golden Path is to direct players to specific content at specific levels (quite helpful if your head swims when considering all the possible zones), players can "follow" the path in spirit while still beating their own. That's because the Golden Path is really just the name given to the Hallmark Quest series that begins in ButcherBlock Mountains. Officially called The Legend of Roger Goldie, this series is composed of six separate quests taken from Ole' Man Silvers, starting at the Highland Outpost up the ramp when you enter ButcherBlock. Incidentally, Ole' Man Silvers just tells the player to hit a certain level and then meet him in another place. And would you believe that place conveniently happens to be a perfect zone for the level you just acquired?

But you do not have to remain in that prescribed zone to get your levels! In fact, you don't have to be there at all except to update your quest chain. To finish off the chain and get your reward, you need only to get your update, and then you can high-tail it out of there. But where do you go?

With this guide, you can mix up your leveling path and experience something different, even on successive alts. You can pick from anything on the list and do one per level range, or you can even move between zones for extra variety. And remember, each zone has its own dungeons and quest chains! When deciding your area, also keep in mind that using mercenaries might allow you to move into a higher zones earlier, but it's doubtful you'll complete all available quests!

Levels 1 - 10
  • Neriak/Darklight Wood
  • New Halas/Frostfang Sea
  • Gorowyn/Timorous Deep
  • Kelethin/Greater Faydark
  • Freeport, The Ruins, The Sprawl, Thieves Way (sewers)
  • Qeynos, Peat Bog, The Caves, The Down Below (sewers)
While players naturally start in the newer areas of Neriak, New Halas, Gorowyn, and Kelethin, there's nothing that says players have to stay in Darklight Wood, Frostfang Sea, Timorous Deep, and Greater Faydark, respectively. While these zones are able to support up to level 20, players can go to Freeport or Qeynos and level there up through 14. If you choose this route, you get the original tour of each city's sewers that vets crawled through!

The Commonlands
Levels 11 - 20
  • Darklight Wood
  • Frostfang Sea
  • Timorous Deep
  • Greater Faydark
  • Freeport: The Serpent Sewer (second level of sewers)
  • Qeynos: Vermin's Snye (second level of sewers)
  • Antonica
  • The Commonlands
Players who prefer to stay in the newer starting areas will have everything covered through level 20, but those venturing into other areas will need to move between zones more often. Fortunately, the zones for the second levels of sewers are located right in the first level for an easy transition.

Levels 21 - 30
  • Freeport: Edgewater Drains (third level of sewers)
  • Qeynos: Crypt of Betrayal (third level of sewers)
  • Butcherblock Mountains
  • Nektulos Forest
  • Thundering Steppes
Players will level out of the cities' sewers about halfway through this range. After that, Nek Forest and TS are the original places to get your level on for the under 30 crowd. With the introduction of Butcherblock, folks got another option, one that actually lasts a little longer level-wise.

Steamfont
Levels 31 - 40
  • Butcherblock Mountains
  • Enchanted Lands
  • Zek, the Orcish Wastes
  • Feerrott
  • Rivervale
  • Steamfont
Feerrott, Rivervale, and Steamfont are best tackled about halfway through this level range at level 35, right when content ends in Butcherblock. Rivervale is a natural extension of Enchanted Lands as it is located within that zone.

Levels 41- 50
  • Feerrott
  • Rivervale
  • Steamfont Mountains
  • Everfrost
  • Lavastorm
  • The Sinking Sands
While the first two zones on this list lose content at around level 45, players can stay in Steamfont until level 48. Lavastorm and The Sinking Sands, on the other hand, shouldn't really be ventured into until level 45.

Tenebrous Triangle
Levels 51 - 60
  • Lavastorm
  • The Sinking Sands
  • Lesser Faydark
  • The Village of Shin
  • Pillars of Flame
  • Tenebrous Tangle
  • The Mystic Lake
As it started midway through the last level range, Lavastorm works well into the early 50s but peters out around level 55. All of the other areas, however, will carry a player through the end of this level range. While Pillars of Flame can be wandered into safely at 52, players might want to hold back traveling to TT and Mystic Lake (an extension of The Village of Shin) until at least level 55.

Levels 61 - 70
  • The Village of Shin
  • Tenebrous Tangle
  • The Mystic Lake
  • The Barren Sky
  • Loping Plains
  • The Bonemire
  • Kylong Plains
In this group, Loping Plains is good for the entire 10 levels. Tenebrous Tangle is the first of the three kingdoms in the sky and is set for the first part of this level range, with Barren Sky following and ending with The Bonemire. Players will need to visit a wizard spire in order to access these lands and can get through this range by working through these three areas. Once a player is around 67, she can head to Kylong Plains for a very different experience.

Kunzar Jungle
Levels 71 - 80
  • Kylong Plains
  • Fens of Nathsar
  • Kunzar Jungle
  • Jarsath Wastes
  • Moors of Ykesha
  • Sundered Frontier
Of these areas, only the final three can carry a player through level 80 (and beyond), but players won't be effective until level 76+. Kylong content stops at 72, Fens at 75, and Kunzar at 77. Regardless of that, if you like jungles, don't skip Kunzar!

Levels 81 - 90
  • Jarsath Wastes
  • Moors of Ykesha
  • Sundered Frontier
  • Stonebrunt Highlands
  • Great Divide
Those who selected Jarsath and Moors in the previous range will find the content dry up around level 82. Sundered Frontier, however, keeps offering level-appropriate content all the way to 90. Those heading to Stonebrunt and Great Divide might want to wait until the middle of this range before traveling.

Eidolon Jungle
Levels 91+
  • Eastern Wastes
  • The Withered Lands
  • Cobalt Scar
  • Eidolon Jungle
  • Obol Plains
  • Eternal Broodlands*
In the upper echelons of levels, there are only five (soon to be six) zones filled out with matching content. Cobalt Scar is the continuation of The Withered Lands and Obol Plains following Eidolon Jungle. The latter two zones can be accessed only by owners of the Chains of Eternity expansion. Eternal Broodlands will be available only to those who purchase next month's Tears of Veeshan, expansion. Don't have either of these? Purchasing ToV will give CoE for free. Even better, CoE opens immediately for players when ToV is pre-purchased right now.

EverQuest II is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores Norrathian nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running every Saturday, The Tattered Notebook is your resource for all things EQII and EQNext -- and catch MJ every 'EverQuest Two-sday' on Massively TV!
This article was originally published on Massively.