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Monday, March 21, 2005

Revisiting the Scooby-Doo Zone

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Well, in a fit of zeal (hubris?), SOE released not only the Adventure Pack yesterday, but also Live Update #5, which includes the in-game mail system.

In an attempt to quiet the clamors for more post level 50 content, the latest update includes a challenging new level 50 zone. The name of this zone? Nektropos Castle. That's right...it's a return to Nek Castle.

A contradiction of sorts, Nek Castle has been a favorite zone of some and also considered one of the buggiest zones in the game (Stormhold & CT are also in the running). In any given thread you will find those who both love and loath Nek. Personally, it always reminds me of one of those "spooooky castles" Scooby and the gang were always investigating.

And then there's Billy Moppet.

What's probably most frustrating, according to the people on test server, is that you must kill Lord Everling yet again within 24 hours of starting the new Nek Castle quest.

Now, most people have already killed Everling at least twice and I know I had over 4 failed attempts due to bugs (not inferior wizardry mind you). So, it's going to be as fun as going to the dentist to do it again.

Since it didn't seem to be even tested on the Test Server I would rate the chances of this quest being bug-free at roughly that of finding a master chest drop from a solo mob. But, if you have the courage to try, this thread has the comments of the brave souls who are already working on it.

Ah, the things we do for the promise of "lots of new high-end treasure."

Live from the front: Well, I wrote this update last night before logging on to EQII and wouldn't you know it - the guild wanted to return to Nek Castle. You do have to kill Everling first (annoying as I imagined but completed in about 40 minutes). It takes about another half hour after that to track down four graves in four zones (many thanks to those who posted locations in the forums). Side note: Lavastorm is still so laggy its basically unplayable - what a waste of content.

After turning in the quest you can then zone in to the new and improved Nek Castle with higher level mobs. The difficulty was manageable for a five person group of 50 Guardian, 50 Troubador, 50 Warden and two mid-40's Wizards. The only times we were nearly killed was when a named mob got stuck in a wall or when we received so many tells asking us how the new Nek Castle was we could barely fight. It was our bedtimes rather than the mobs that eventually sent us packing. The loot was fair: named mobs dropped a few items that were mild upgrades but nothing spectacular. No quests or additional content so far but on the whole a lot of fun.

Edit the Second: Well, after a second Nek run the following night I can report that my intial prediction of bugs was accurate. Three chests actually disappeared on my group. A more humorous bug was an item called a breastplate being a pair of pants. Must be a new style. This thread covers some similar problems with the new zone. To SOE's credit, there is a dev response to this thread. And the scripted events regarding the sisters are very well done. Scooby and the gang would be proud. Now if I could just hire them to solve the mystery of my missing loot...

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