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GU63: Draggin' and Puffin'

Niami breezed into the research library that she had set up for her apprentice, to find Agnor working over a crumbling text written in draconic. "Ah, so ye heard, then, lad? Perfect, I -"

The coldain looked up, his blue face wearing the frown that he always got when deep in thought. "Heard what?"

"Och, th' New Combine is establishing a foothold out in th' wilds o' Velious, in an area called th' Withered Lands, an' needs some help. I thought that might be why ye were studying draconic." Mum replied, peering down at the ancient scroll.

"No, I haven't been outside the house in a few days. I've been chasing down a rumor of some ancient draconic recipes." His blunt fingers tapped the table beside a paragraph on the scroll, clearly still deep in thought.

Mum beamed at him. "Perfect! Then dust off yuir armor, an' get ready tae go!"

"Go? But where? Why? And what does it have to do with my research?" As usual, half of Mum's thought process had been unvoiced, leaving Agnor utterly confused and bemused, as if he'd missed a good chunk of the conversation.

"Word is Yelniak has his snout involved in this, an' there's mention o' Skyshrine as well. If there be anywhere ye'd find word o' ancient draconic recipes, that'd be the place tae find it, eh?" Forestalling any objection her apprentice might have, Mum idly dropped the bombshell on him. "I'd go meself, but my sister Boola is coming frae a visit."

Any objection Agnor might have had about interrupting his research, how his combat skills and his armor were both rusty from disuse and so forth were immediately stilled. Being in the same household as two redheaded halflings, both of them totally wired on too much sugar and sweet, sweet sisterhood was a terrifying thought. The last time it had happened, they'd even made him act as their mannequin while they were working on a new dress design, and one of the neighbors had actually walked in and seen him modeling the dress for them! "Of course, I'll go! I'll grab my gear and supplies, then grab my horse from the stable." Anything, just let him be out of the house before the sisters had a reunion!

"Nae, the horse would nae fare well oot there. Take Puffin. He needs th' exercise anyway." Niami replied over her shoulder, already scampering off towards the kitchen to prepare more treats for her sister's arrival.

Puffin? Oh dear Brell, he had a bad feeling about this. He and Niami's gryphon had a history of not getting along, beginning with the time that it tried to take a bite out of him, and he responded by hitting it with a cast iron skillet. Mum had said it was because she'd neglected to introduce the two of them properly before he tried to ride the cantankerous critter, but the reason didn't matter. They tolerated each other for Niami's sake, but she wouldn't be around to supervise them on this trip.

An hour later, Puffin eyed the laden Agnor. Agnor eyed the grumpy gryphon. "If you can carry a laden halfing, you can carry a laden dwarf. You don't bite me, I don't hit you, everyone's happy."

Agnor didn't need to understand gryphonic to translate the derisive squawk, so he tried another tactic. "Look, do you really want to stick around here while her sister is around? They're both fabulous ladies - intelligent, kind-hearted and all that, but get them together, and add sugar and ..." He was interrupted by the sound of happy halfling shrieks in the distance as Boola arrived. "... you might just end up wearing neon-colored ribbons on your tail, if not worse."

Puffin winced, sighed, and behaved as Agnor prepped him for travel. The sooner they were out of there, the better!

The trip to Great Divide was uneventful, and Agnor stopped at the Thurgadin docks to check in with the New Combine representative while Puffin exchanged shrieks and trills with the gryphons running relay out to the Withered Lands. Once both were certain they knew exactly where they were going, they were off again.

The cataclysm had not been kind to the area. Gone was the lush greenery of olden days. Gone was the glorious wildlife. The trees were twisted and gnarled, and several appeared to be an unfriendly form of large treant. As he watched, one of the odd-looking plants also pulled up it's roots and went slowly shambling after a stray adventurer. The sky was grey. The rocks were greys and browns.

Agnor nervously adjusted his armor, reminding himself that he was still a templar of Brell, even if he had been spending his time lately in studious research. He just hoped that somewhere amidst all this nature gone wild, he could find some useable information about draconic recipes.

Once the soldiers of the New Combine realized he was not there to help with the fighting and exploring, they disdainfully pointed him to a cave in their staging area and then promptly ignored him.

Puffin kept shooting glances up as the sky darkened and it began to rain, but Agnor couldn't tell if that was normal for the critter or not. It did seem odd, though, that the gryphon decided to crowd into the cave with him. Ah well, as long as the beast didn't fly off and desert him, or try to take a bite out of someone, he wouldn't complain ... much.

At the back of the cave, they finally found a grumpy male halfling, laboring frantically at the stove. Since Agnor was used to the whole I'm-swamped-and-you're-bothering-me grumpiness from Mum, he didn't let it ruffle him, and allowed himself to be put to work. After all, he could pump the man, one Porto by name, for information as he helped preserve the barrels of mammoth meat, and the ready aid might butter him up a bit.

Sure enough, Porto was forthcoming with a few recipes in gratitude for the help, and Agnor was more than willing to help a bit more with barricades, tents and crates, all of which were desperately needed by the encampment. He had bribed an adventurer with food in trade for a handful of the local harvests with which to make the items, and the work was quickly finished.

Porto rewarded him with another recipe scroll, and Agnor decided that it was going to be a wonderful day indeed.

Still excited about his new recipes, Agnor didn't blink an eye when he was asked to travel to the west to find a specific satyr. After all, the tale of aggressive raptors didn't bother a mighty templar of Brell, now, did they?

When Agnor and Puffin exited the cave, the rain had stopped, but the gryphon still appeared a bit twitchy.

Rather than dealing with it, Agnor decided to visit the New Combine mount post just outside the barricade, and see if he could use one of their horses to traverse the region. However, he was brusquely told that the mounts were only for those who had proven that they knew their way around the area. They weren't about to let a valuable mount get lost just because some local tourist wanted to tromp around. Nosirree!

So, Agnor found himself atop the grumpy gryphon once again. Following a recommendation of "aim for the green areas", he planned on stopping at the various sanctuaries, both to check for the satyr "Phaerus", and to see if he could get more of a feel for the local resources that could be used for crafting.

They were almost to the first sanctuary when it started to rain ... again. No matter, he wasn't going to let it ruin his da-

With absolutely no warning, Puffin dove for the ground below, landing heavily at the base of an angry treant. Agnor had no time to deal with the gryphon, or the various bruises he'd obtained from the painful landing, as he called forth his rusty combat skills and defended himself from the tree's attack. Thankfully, he was a templar of Brell, and it only took him a few long minutes to deal with the tree.

Once done, he whirled to confront the gryphon. "What sort of lame-brained stunt was that?! You're a gryphon, for crying out loud, not made of spun sugar! You were hatched in cold and snow-covered mountains, so a little rain is not going to hurt you!"

Puffin squawked and shrilled irritably, casting odd glances at the sky.

Agnor peered up at the grey gloom, noting that the sudden rainshower was already petering out, and the sky was lightening a bit.

They walked the last little ways to the sanctuary, while the gryphon slowly settled down again.

Once the skies were fully clear, and Agnor had his fill of scrounging some of the local pelts, wood and rocks, they took to the sky again, aiming for the next sanctuary to the west.

When the first sprinkles hit, Agnor took a firmer grip on the reins, preparing for a battle of wills with the gryphon. "Oh no you don... gah!"

They bounced off the rock wall a few times on the way down, before the gryphon huddled in a quivering heap, acting truly frightened.

"Stupid gryphon, afraid of his own shado-" The coldain paused, catching something large and dark moving away from them in the sky.

By the time he had shielded his eyes from the rain, whatever it was, was well and truly gone.

"All right, so you're afraid of ... something. What do you say we just fly low along these rocks here, so we avoid the critters, and we don't have so far to fall?" Even as he was saying this, he was swapping out his cloak for the cloak of the harvester, and replacing his necklace with the blessed prayer shawl. Hopefully, they would make falling a bit less painful. "Now, Mum's not going to be happy with us if we return without checking this out some more, and her sister is likely to still be there if we head back too soon, so let's just keep moving forward carefully, ok?"

As the gryphon let loose with several shrieks and trills, he had a momentary thought that the gryphon's racket was almost as bad as the racket from the two sisters catching up on several months of separation. ... Almost.

The third sanctuary was deserted, and since the skies still looked clear, they moved quickly onwards. If they were lucky, they could find Phaerus, and still have enough daylight to check out the rumors of Skyshrine before dark.

An hour later, they sped past the ramp leading up to the Sanctuary of Tears, and showed no sign of stopping. Behind them, about a half-dozen flying monkeys were in hot pursuit, flinging spells and missles at the fleeing pair.

Eventually, the pursuit dropped off, and the pair landed in the swamp to catch their breath. Agnor paused a moment to use the swamp water to rinse blood and gore off himself and the gryphon. "Darn flying monkeys! Why, if I had the time, I'd put the fear of Brell into them!"

Puffin squawked derisively.

"Oh, hush, you. I didn't say it would be fast! After all, I'm a templar, not a shredding beastlord or the like. But I'd still teach them a lesson!" Agnor scowled fiercely, before taking a closer look at his surroundings.

"Well, this doesn't look very inviting, and there's even more of those flying monkeys gathered below those bones. Let's just head back to the ramp we saw back there and find this Phaerus fellow, shall we?"

At that very moment, a fine misting splattered his face.

Puffin immediately dove under an overhang of rocks while Agnor scanned the skies. Moments later, he got his first proper look at the cause of the gryphon's erratic behavior, and dove under the overhang to cower with the gryphon.

Big ... dragon ...

She didn't look happy, either.

Several long minutes passed before the skies were once more clear. Then several more minutes passed before the pair emerged from under the overhang, gave each other sheepish looks, and headed back to the sanctuary at top speed.

Phaerus was a jumpy little faun, but he did have some new recipes, and was more than willing to trade copies of them in return for a bit of gathering and crafting work. Agnor kept his thoughts to himself as he made ritual daggers and totems for the faun -- to him, a proper ritual included ale raised in a toast to Brell, not all this extra froufrou. Keeping the locals happy, however, was important if he wanted to get information from them, so he bit his tongue and crafted.

Just before he was about to leave and find Skyshrine, a grateful Phaerus handed him an additional gift, stating that it would keep the lady-dragon from bothering them. Agnor was willing to try anything if it kept him from having to slow through the swamp on foot to the nearby Alivan, so he took the cloak and had a coldain-to-gryphon chat with Puffin.

The gryphon and the coldain finally seemed to reach an agreement. The cloak's off-yellow color was definitely not their favorite, but it was worth a try!

Halfway across the swamp, the rain began to fall again, and a large shadow passed overhead. Agnor kept one hand on the reins, while he clutched a totem of escape in his other hand -- just in case. Both held their breath for several long moments, as the dragon passed them by.

Phew!

When they landed in Alivan, Agnor left Puffin at a hitching post with sufficient food and water at hand, and rode one of the special drakota up to Skyshrine, following rumors of a trapped apprentice.

The adventurers that were performing various tasks in Skyshrine looked a bit battered, and Agnor experienced a moment of doubt before he talked himself out of his battle nerves. He was a templar of Brell, after all!

He wasn't sure what emotion was uppermost, however, when he was greeted just before he was about to step into the portal to Dracur Prime.

On the one hand, the lady greeting him was a skilled shadowknight, and a friend of Niami's. On the other hand, she was a giant ogress who liked revealing clothing and flirted with any male she saw. Ngranna scared him on several levels, but he was a templar of Brell, dagnabbit, so he would face his fears!

Which is how he ended up entering Dracur Prime by her side, intent on rescuing a trapped dracurion apprentice.

There were several tense moments, and they quickly learned to jump out of the giant targeting rings that were sometimes cast by the enemy dracurians that they faced. The comets that invariably landed in those rings were deadly, as Ngranna found out first-hand, and they both had reasons to be grateful that he was, indeed, a templar of Brell, with all the skills that entailed.

While Ngranna was recovering from the effects of the ressurection, Agnor sheepishly replaced his cloak of the harvester and his blessed coldain prayer shawl with gear that was a bit more combat-friendly, wisely keeping his mouth shut at the ogress did the same.

Eventually, they found Deshniak fighting off several enemies, and leapt to his aid. After battling several waves of drakota, wyverns and more, the Deshniak handed them both a summoning crystal in thanks, saying that they could use it to summon him for aid in researching several complex old recipes from the dragonkind.

They all beat a hasty retreat after that, not wishing to do further battle in the area.

Agnor's armor was dented, dinged and in need of repair. His body hurt in many places from all the chaos of the day. He was tired. He was hungry. If he had any hair, it would have all turned grey and fallen out after the day he had.

And Ngranna wanted more.

More adventuring, that was, as they overheard several folks planning a large-scale raid on a place called the Underdepths.

Much as he was eager to poke around for yet more bits of research and lore leading to recipes, however, Agnor had had enough. He turned down an invitation to the raid, and an invitation of a more personal nature from Ngranna and headed back to Alivan.

Feeling that he was tired enough to sleep through even two sugar-high halflings, he collected Puffin and gated back to Mum's.

He proved that he could, indeed, sleep through most anything at that point, and groggily awakened the next morning to find Mum's ferocious carnivorous plant, suddenly now colored fuschia, cowering in his bedroom.

It was going to be a long week, but at least he had some new recipes to work with!

 


 

Welcome to the crafting preview for Game Update 63, which is scheduled to occur on April 17, 2012! As with all previews, this information is gathered from the testing phase, and information can often change between testing and launch.

Before we dive headfirst into the crafter goodies, I'd like to remind players that a) the level cap increase will require owning the DoV expansion, and the apprentices will, like the original apprentices, require owning the AoD expansion.

Important Travel Advisories

To reach the Withered Lands, head to the Thurgadin docks in Great Divide and head for the northeasternmost branching of the docks. (There is also a quest NPC beside the griffon, that high-level adventurers will wish to talk to before traveling.) Hail the New Combine Flightmaster, and head for the Withered Lands.

Once you have reached the Withered Lands, you will be in the Combine Foothold, which is also where the cave containing the first crafting quest NPC is located, as well as banker, broker, wholesaler and crafting equipment are found.

If this is your first visit, you will not be able to use the in-zone mount system. They aren't about to let you take a valuable animal out into the wilds if you don't know your way. Once you have discovered one of the locations for yourself, you can travel to it via the zone mounts in the future.

combine_mount.jpg--

When flying in the area, if you see it start to rain, you will want to find a safe spot to land. The dragon is about to fly overhead, and you will get hit with a short-term flight debuff as she passes over. This can be painful if you get dumped from great heights into a pile of angry holgresh, so pay attention to the weather. ;P The end of the crafting quest series awards a cloak that you can wear to prevent this sudden crashing to the ground, and the adventure questline will also have a point where it unlocks the ability to fly through the clear skies (aka the dragon and the rain are no longer visible)

So, if it is such a pain to fly, why do so? Ignoring the obvious aggro issues from trees ... and wolves ... and plants ... and satyrs ... and raptors ... and so on, I'll give you two words.

Sky shinies.

Yep, these little glowie orbs in the sky are actually another glowie collection, that is gathered by flying through the glowie.

 

Crafter Highlights

  • Tradeskill level cap increase to level 92
  • New tier of harvestables
  • Four recipe books for every crafting class - with a naming change!
  • Several crafting quests to earn those new recipe books, plus a special cloak to make flying in the Withered Lands a bit easier
  • Two special elite tradeskill apprentices for level 90+ crafters

 

Level Cap

The level cap for both adventuring and crafting will raise to level 92. Unlike the adventurers (who need 280 AA to progress past 90), there is no AA requirement in order to raise your crafting level.

Note that you currently will NOT need to race through level 90 crafting in order to scribe your new recipe books once you get them, as the new books are requiring level 90 to scribe.

As an FYI, when they originally announced the GU, they were not even planning on raising the level cap for crafting, wanting to take a bit more time and flesh things out some more. However, they were willing to change these plans when they saw the responses.

I have not seen/heard anything about raising the guild level cap at this time.

Recipe Books

There are four new recipe books, obtained via quests. In a late-breaking change the naming convention for these books has changed. They will now be Grandmaster ______'s Basic/Advanced Compendium, Volume 1/2. So, for tailors, for example: Grandmaster Tailor's Basic Compendium Volume 1, Grandmaster Tailor's Advanced Compendium Volume 1, Grandmaster Tailor's Basic Compendium Volume 2, Grandmaster Tailor's Advanced Compendium Volume 2.

Due to it being only a partial tier, recipe progression may seem a bit odd to folks. Don't expect full sets of gear, don't expect every weapon type to be available, don't expect strongboxes, sales crates... etc. There is still most of the tier to go with future level cap increases.

While we unlock the ability to buy the recipe books by doing the quests, the books that are sold are no-trade. (Since we get the books from doing the quest, this means that currently, buyable books does nothing useful. We're not sure when/if this will change.

There are no new tinkering or transmuting recipes at this time, although skill caps will, of course, go up with the levels.

Since I know several folks have been asking a lot about adorning and a new tier of transmuting material, remember that adornments are in the x6, x8 and x0 levels, so we won't have anything that can use T10 crafted adornments until folks can wear level 96/98/100 gear. Since making adornments that nobody can use is a recipe for mayhem and confusion, I say "Patience, grasshoppers!" :)

Of course, several folks have been waiting with baited breath for news of the new carpenter furniture, so let me say there will be lots.

I expect to have a full gallery up late in the day on the 14th (Pacific time), on this furniture preview page.

Harvesting

Yes, the Withered Lands are the start of a new tier, wich means a mostly-complete loadout of common and rare harvests. Whyfor "mostly"?

No fish! /halfling happydance

You will need a 425 harvesting skill in order to harvest in the Withered Lands. You will also find that your trusty pack pony from Qho, as well as your guild harvesting NPCs, are ready and willing to harvest the new tier for you as soon as GU63 hits the servers.

  • Ore: rhenium ore (rare: tungsten ore)
  • Gem: amethyst (rare: black star sapphire)
  • Soft metal: iridium cluster (rare: osmium cluster)
  • Hide: thick bear pelt (rare: metallic reptile hide)
  • Root: matoppie roots (rare: banyan root)
  • Wood: swamp ash lumber (Rare: bubinga lumber)
  • Imbue: effulgent material
  • Shrubs: aduki bean, plump lychee, ripe mangosteen, white peony leaf
  • Meats (from dens): panther meat, raptor meat

 

Tradeskill Apprentices

There are two new special apprentices available with this game update, each with their own unique recipes that can be researched. The recipes that they research do not use reactants, and are mainly aimed at raiders, so they're more difficult to obtain than standard apprentices.

Your current apprentices still function as usual, and will not have any new recipes. (Remember, the colossal reactant recipes are for level 90 gear, and the next tier of reactant recipes would be for level 100 gear.) The new apprentices are in addition to your current apprentice, so in theory, you could own up to three apprentices per level 90+ crafter

The first apprentice, Deshniak, is from the hardest of the three solo/duo daily Skyshrine instances (Dracur Prime), or from the group version of the instance. It will require level 90+ adventurer to enter, and it can be duoed. You do not need to complete the instance to obtain the tradeable prism that will allow you to claim the apprentice, only reach a certain area and complete a ring event. Everyone who completes the ring event can get a prism. The quest can be repeated daily.

A level 90+ crafter must then activate the prism in order to claim the apprentice. Recipes researched will be based on your subclass, not your class (scholar, outfitter, craftsman), and will require T10 rares and drops from the bosses in the heroic Skyshrine instances. Components for Deshniak recipes drop from any heroic bosses. Golems drop golem parts, dragons drop dragon parts, etc.

The second (elder Yelnar) apprentice is from the Skyshrine Underdepths raid (you will need to complete a short quest line to free him from Dozekar's trap). It will also need level a 90+ crafter to claim the apprentice from the tradeable prism. Again, recipes researched will be based on your subclass, not your class, and recipes will require rares as well as raid boss drops from the Skyshrine raid instances. (As with the other apprentice drops, you'll find that golems drop golem parts, dragons drop dragon parts, etc. )

Due to the complex nature of these draconic recipes (end results aimed at raiders), the apprentices cannot be coached/assisted in any way to speed up research.

As you can see from the image a few paragraphs above, Deshniak is a bit large when compared to a high elf, much less an othmir apprentice, and you can get quite a serious crick in your neck from trying to talk with him. Being courteous sorts, however, he and Yelnar are willing to kneel, so as to be at a friendlier height when speaking to us youngsters.

A more detailed look at these two apprentices, their recipes, and information on how to obtain them, can now be found here.

 

Frequently Asked ...

You may want to make macros for the following answers, or put a book in your guildhall for guildmates and the like, to save you from having to type out the answers a zillion times. I've included some for the adventurers, too. :P

  • How do I get to Withered Lands? You can access the new zone by heading to the docks outside of Thurgadin. Hail the New Combine Flightmaster on the NE dock
  • How do I get to Skyshrine? Head to the west side of the map and you'll find the path to Alivan south of the Sanctuary of Tears. The flightmaster for Skyshrine is in the back part of Alivan.
  • What skill do I need to harvest in WL? 425
  • I got knocked from the sky while flying. What is up with that? The dragon is flying overhead. Next time, when you see rain, land ASAP if you haven't got the crafter reward cloak or done the adventure line to prevent that.
  • Where can I get the new recipe books?The four new recipe books are from questing in WL
  • But I don't wanna do any more crafting quests! Is there another way? No. While we unlock the ability to buy the recipe books by doing the quests, the books that are sold are no-trade. (Since we get the books from doing the quest, this means that currently, buyable books does nothing useful. We're not sure when/if this will change.
  • How do I get the new crafting apprentices? One is from a solo/duo/heroic Skyshrine instance, the other is from a raid instance (More information can be found here)
  • Why can't I level past 90 adventurer? If you own the DoV expansion and have 280+ AA, then you probably forgot to fix your AA slider
  • Why can't I spend my first prestige point? Sometimes you need to zone/reload in order to be able to spend it.
  • How do I get prestige points? Adventuring past level 90. You get 1 prestige point for every 20% of a level that you gain after level 90 (Adventurer. No prestige points for crafters.)


Quick Links

What Else?

I am sure I've forgotten to mention something (I almost always do), and there are still a few days of testing that may make some changes (there almost always is), so, as usual, so keep an eye on this section for any update and/or correction notes.

 

  • April 14, 9:30 pm - The Elite (GU63) Apprentice Guide is now in place
  • April 15, 3:15 pm - a solid chunk of the GU63 Carpenter Furniture gallery is in place, with the rest incoming shortly. Enjoy!
  • April 16, 10:30 am - I received word that the essentials/advanced naming is going by the wayside (probably because folks were fixating on the fact that there were no essentials/advanced 90 books). See the bolded part of the recipe books section above for the new naming. In other news, the furniture gallery is now complete, including the new book names.
  • April 17, 8:45 am - the servers are currently down for GU63 patching, the patch notes are up, and I want to sleep for a week solid. See you in Norrath soon!
  • April 18, 3:15 pm - the buyable recipe books are now no trade, so you will need to quest for the recipes yourself, then freely ignore the recipe vendor who tries to sell you redundant copies.

Created: 2012-04-14 02:43:53          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2012-04-18 04:14:14          

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