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KA Adventures in Beta Testing - Squishy!

As I prepare to do writeups on over 50 new tradeskill quests for this expansion, I decided to take a short break and give you a look at one of the many things that goes on behind the scenes when I beta test an expansion.

And what may that thing be, you ask?

Testing a true "Squishy" through the entire crafting line.

Yes, I do acknowledge that some small core of crafters try to keep your characters "pure" crafters and don't level the adventuring side at all. Some go to great lengths to keep them low level, others just haven't bothered to adventure much on a crafting alt. Turning off xp and being a level 100 crafter takes a certain amount of stubbornness and dedication, and for that, I salute you, even if it makes my testing job harder. {grin}

I freely admit that while I am masochistic enough to have run through the entire crafting line eleven times by now, that I wasn't quitemasochistic enough to turn off xp and stay level 1 or 2 for this. ;) Instead, I allowed my squishy version of Niami to level only on exploration xp and quests required to complete the entire questline (learning goblish, handing in the TS collection needed for the epic, etc.) End result? By the end of the questline she was level nine, still in the starter gear, still with apprentice spells, and the proud owner of a spiffy new cloak and mount.

Normally, all this would be single extra line in the quest section of my expansion writeup, saying that the questline could be done by level 100 crafters who were low-level adventurers. This time, however, I decided to give you a slightly deeper look.

Starting Out

I created a level 1 warden on beta. Rather than travel on foot to the nearest bell, I used the house ratings system to visit Cloudrat's Travel Dojo and used her travel bell port item to get to the Isle of Mara. A bit of chatting with the tradeskill buffing NPC and I was a level 100 provisioner, was flagged as having completed Proof in the Pudding, had my solstice earring, and was flagged as having completed "What Lies Beneath". A quick relog triggered the KA quest starter mail, and activated the portal to Thalumbra for me. I also was given a spiffy pack pegasus, so I had the flight thing covered as well.

Then I was off and running with the questing, interspersed with random loud dings as I leveled up traveling from spot to spot on the quest. As mentioned above, I also got xp from learning goblish, through a handy-dandy batch of goblin territory markers in Twark that are visible only if you get to the spot where you need to speak goblish and haven't learned it yet. I think that was something like 600 or so xp for that. ;D

By the time I got to the steps where I needed to be in the Crusaders' Cave with the iskar, my notes say I was level 6. Yep, a newbie-geared level 6, in a zone meant for geared level 100 adventurers. It was rather amusing in a twisted sort of way.

Death 1 - Irony!

Shortly thereafter I ended up in Fens, outside Nur'oga, and this was one of the spots I really wanted to test. You're in a goblin camp, working with three different goblins, working on faction with the goblins around them. The catch is that those goblins around them are level 70-something, and they really want to kill you at this point. It truly is doable without death, if you're patient and careful about the order in which you complete their quests.

So where does the irony come in?

Well, um, I ad just typed in a note saying that "Home Fires" should wait until you had quested enough to be non-aggro when I saw a wooden cart that I needed "just" out of range of the aggro goblins. So, even though I'd just typed a note so I could warn folks about this step, I decided to be impatient and try for the cart. ***SPLAT*** It wasn't as out of range as I thought it had been. Thankfully I know Fens well enough that it wasn't hard for me to fly back to get back to work on the quests.

That was it for deaths on the segment of quests that I'd been most worried about being "squishy" for. One death due to impatience. For the rest, yes, I had to do a lot of "hover high, wait on pathing, swoop down to grab one quest update, swoop back up, wait on pathing ..." But it was doable. And if you're a level 100 crafter that has already done the original crafting epic and the ToT crafting line, you're used to danger, and you're used to either being alert for aggro and/or dying a lot.

Nur'oga was fairly simple, as the quests outside also gave me enough faction in there that I was non-aggro. I will give one little warning on something another person found out the hard way. {cough} There can be at least one shiny in there that is actually a mob, not a collectible. So, if you're squishy, either don't grab the shinies, or be prepared for a death in there. ;D

On a leveling note, I dinged level 7 in Nu'roga from exploration xp.

Death 2 - Oops!

In my defense, death 2 would not have happened if I was using a real crafter, not a beta buffed one, as I would have already done the factioning needed in Jarsath Wastes (JW).

Yep, a quest required that I go to JW and talk to someone on the docks. From the bell to the quest NPC was probably about 10 steps, if that. Unfortunately, there were Danak guards between me and the quest NPC, and I hadn't done Higher Risks, Higher Profits for the Danak faction. I'd totally forgotten about this little detail, and if I had looked before moving, I could have flown out of reach before I went ***SPLAT***

The revival point wasn't far away, and I was easily able to avoid the guards when I returned to talk to the quest NPC.

Death 3 - Blame Beta!

So, this one was a combination of brain fog and a faction issue that I'd only have on beta. By the time you are on the quest step that sends you to Bathezid's Watch, you have to have completed the Proof in the Pudding quest. This means you WILL have the faction to be non-KOS with the sarnak in Bathezid's Watch. As a non-adventurer, you won't have gone on a sarnak-killing spree to re-trash your faction or anything silly like that.

So, I really did see that the sarnak were aggro, truly. But I also needed to check and see if I could swoop in through the entrance to the building on my trusty pegasus and somehow avoid guard aggro. Yep, you guess it: ***SPLAT***

Since some of the collectibles I needed in Bathezid's could be in range of those grumpy guards I didn't want to toy with vet call, call of the hero, etc. I took several extra minutes to get over to Teren's Grasp, and then did New Lands, New Profits for the Bathezid's faction. I gained an extra level during New Lands, due to all the extra exploration, bringing me to level 8.

Death 4 - Blame Chat!

Eventually, I ended up in the tradeskill version of Dalnir's Crypt. I had a bit of an advantage here, since I'd run it so many times already, and had a good feel for pathing, and how to use the incense to best effect. In theory, I should have done a death-free run, despite all the big aggro ghosts and such. But, I'm a "helper", and when I see folks having questions/issues on the tradeskill line, I try to help them. So, I, um, was a bit distracted by chat, and yep, I turned a corner too sharply and quickly, forgetting about the ghosts, and: ***SPLAT***

Four deaths, in such deadly areas, with some of those areas being deadly to all players, not just low-level ones, wasn't bad.

The four "die-if-you-miss-a-counter" timed combines were even no problem for me. I had no tradeskill gear other than the solstice earring, no progress or innovation potions or anything like that. I made sure my tradeskill AA/prestige stuff was as much +progress, +durability, +out of class combines as possible. I also was being proactive with the counters, and using them to buff progress and durability as I went. But the fact that I did this pretty much gearless and potionless means that even those who struggle to do fast, safe combines should be able to gear up enough to make this part very doable.

Deaths for Adventuring Crafters

Mind you, there were more memorable, in an embarrassing sort of way, deaths on my adventurers while doing this tradeskill line, all in Dalnir's. "Ok, what happens if I drop the incense while moving at the same time?" ***SPLAT*** "How about if I just stand here on top of the incense while that ghost comes towards me? Oh, they can hit you while they're flailing about dy-" ***SPLAT*** "I think I'll keep my beastlord's warder out while I am killing this wall and vase. Oh, did he or I just accidentally AE?" ***SPLAT*** "I know I just had some sort of AE death on the warder, but I'm just going to waltz in with my SK and just gently tap the vase." ***SPLAT*** (Yep, if you have a lot of AE auto, "Singular Focus" is your friend for this step!) "Someone mentioned falling into the goo while on the fishing step so let's see what happens when I fall in while trying to edge into line of sight for fishing without falling off this narrow little retaining wall. Hm, I didn't auto die on the fall." ***SPLAT*** And so on.

The Verdict

My final verdict? Domino did a great job at keeping squishies in mind during spots that would be squishy-only danger and as long as you're alert, you should be fine. Any xp debt or mender fees you incur along the way as a low-level adventurer will easily be covered by the exploring and questing you will do. The spots where even the non-squishies can die are challenging, but doable. You'll still get a lot of exploration xp and coin to cover your mender bills and any xp debt.

Postscript

I got done this wall of text and decided that I wanted to put at least one picture in with it. So I took that poor little squishy out, looking for a good spot to die and take a picture. One of the rare nodes, being guarded by an aggro named slug seemed to be a fitting spot for a crafter death. :D

Created: 2016-11-07 01:57:02          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2016-11-07 02:19:10          

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