Choose My Adventure: Off to the mainland

It's time for Vanguard maniacs, and we're zany to the max... (ahem). OK, so it's week four of the Vanguard edition of Choose My Adventure, but this week I did get a chance to see more of the game's veteran community than I'd previously experienced in the noob Isle. Indeed, it seemed like no matter what time of day I logged in, someone was in chat looking for people to group up and take on a dungeon. From what I've learned through talking to Orin, a great majority of the dungeons in Vanguard are open-world, offering challenges for both groups and solo adventurers. Indeed, teamed up in a pair, we seemed to be able to level anything in the 10-14 level range in pretty short order, which was good fun.

However, before I get too far ahead of myself, I'm going to take you back to the beginning of this week's adventures in Telon. Join me after the break for all the juicy details -- as well as for this week's vote!

Immediately upon logging in, I was greeted by my familiar traveling companion, Orin. We joined up near the portal stone pillar and made the jump through to Veskal's Exchange. Once there, we turned and noticed a similar rift keeper in this location -- essentially a spirit in robes with a glowing orb for a head. Not one to take a person... err... semi-corporeal entity based purely on looks, I said hello, and he offered me a variety of other locales to visit, should I ever be in the need of additional adventures. "Good to know," I thought, and I filed this nugget of opportunity away in my brain.

We set out from there to find any type of group quests we could in the area, and eventually we stumbled on one for the Jade Depths, which is a dungeon for levels 10-14. I admit I was a bit unsure about bouncing straight off for a dungeon without first getting an idea of what was going on, but we headed off to see what kind of trouble lay in store. I can actually sum the entire place up in one word: spiders. Sure, there were weird mutated spider-human things, as well as some extremely strange-acting folks who looked like extra rejects from the Lord of the Rings movies, but I digress. After a couple of deaths to get back into the groove, we managed to cautiously make our way through a good chunk of the area, completing the first quest.

Upon arriving back in town and completing the quest, we took a little while to look around. Most of this stuff is very much old-hat to Orin, who explained things like job message boards, the auction house, and whatnot. After we gathered a series of quests, it was back out again for more killing, this time taking on wolves that had been harassing one of the caravans I'd initially read about when I came to this area. The interesting thing about this is that the caravan had been harassed by wolves at night and bandits during the day. They really aren't kidding when they say that, either. If it's night and you're looking for bandits, you have to wait for the in-game sun to rise before the bandit mobs will spawn there. Same thing for the wolves -- they only come out at night.

Having completed a good day's slaughter, we headed offline. The next time I logged in, it was a heavy dose of solopalooza, as I'd wondered how possible it was to solo on the mainland versus the Isle of Dawn. Figuring that it was probably a good time to go find this Veskal fellow who had enough money to get his very own outpost based around his trading caravans, I made my way to his store and made my introduction. Indeed, it would appear that his shop was being troubled by a group known as the Verdant Lurkers, who were, even then, massing numbers in nearby camps to raid the trading post. Since the entire place seems to be protected by a dozen or so undergeared sentries, Veskal stressed that it was crucial to infiltrate their groups and find out their plans as much as to thin their numbers out.

Needless to say, the rest of the day was spent beating just about anything and everything you can imagine into the ground. Wolves, bandits, bandit mounts, spiders, beetles -- the list of things you can lay waste to using Veskal's as a starting point is quite surprising. Leveling was also relatively quick, as there were just so many things to do in terms of straight adventuring. After several hours of questing, Orin popped online. After I'd had a short break, we grouped up and headed out to finish off the Jade Depths, where it turns out I was fooled into doing something very, very naughty: Rather than killing the spider queen, the "poison" I was given actually turned her into about a half dozen queen spiders, each capable of spawning a nightmare brood. Oops.

Sure, I killed the guy who tricked me, but that didn't stop the bunch of spiders on their way toward the village. For my efforts I also received a stern but well-mannered bitching-out from a nearby sentinel who had heard what I'd done. But as is the problem with most MMOs, the traitor was standing in town when I went back -- despite my having killed him a few minutes earlier -- as if nothing had happened. So I wished him an eternity of rabid bovines ceaselessly gnawing upon his entrails, spat in his face, and then we went on with our adventure. (Sometimes, you really wish you could kill an NPC, you know?)

Next, Orin suggested the Cave of the Urugog, which was populated by giant skinnable trolls and bears. Considering I'd neglected my crafting in favor of pure adventure, I took a bit of time to skin here and there, and we tore through the place in fairly short order. Mind you, we'd neglected to pick up the quests before heading there, so we got them from a nearby encampment and went back in to tear it up again. Mmm, sweet, sweet experience. Om nom nom.

The one thing I can say in regard to this area as a choice is that the map seems to be absolutely littered with open-world dungeon-type areas. There are plenty more to adventure through: Vault of Heroes, the Fallen Lyceum, and more. While the area of Thestra (the chunk of land that Veskal's is on) is large and recalls the open-area expanses of EverQuest to me, it's not so overwhelmingly enormous that it will take you hours to get to quest locations.

And with that said, it's time for our next poll on where I should head this week! Once again it's reader's choice. Do I stick around on Thestra and see what other dungeons open up to me in the late teens? Or should I head for another location being offered to me by the rift keeper? This poll will close on Friday at 11:59 p.m. so I can carry your wishes out first thing Saturday morning on the 8:00 a.m. EDT livestream. (Sorry, no livestream this Sunday.)


Until then, perhaps my Raki disciple, Apseth, will see some of you in Telon. I've got rather a lot of Verdant Lurkers still to deal with, and I'm sure more spiders, trolls, and heavens knows what else!

Join Krystalle as she makes her way through strange lands on a Choose My Adventure directed entirely by you, the Massively readers! If you'd like to play along, you can add Krystalle in-game or on Raptr, Xfire, or Twitter. Once the two months are up, we'll put the adventure to a vote -- and you'll choose what Krystalle plays next.