Archive for January, 2012

Nightmare bubbles and the Silk Road Emissary quest line

January 29, 2012 8 comments

Motivation: there’s a somewhat masochistic quest chain hidden amidst the Silk Road encounters, leading to a few curious and bizarre social items and pets, as well as some accessories with an impressive amount of constitution. (Scroll down for screenshots.)

Useful forum threads: link 1, link 2, link 3.

The Silk Road Encounters

Most people nowadays travel to the Khitai playfields with the Path of Asura or one of the paths that you can buy with veteran tokens (to Shaulun and Heaven’s Lake), or even by buying the one-time-use teleportation scrolls from the item shop. But there is also the old-fashioned way of getting to Khitai: by talking to the Khitan pathfinder NPC in the southeastern corner of the Khemi playfield. You’ll have to swim from the main island of Khemi to get there, or pay one of the NPCs (Madu) 75 copper to take you across by boat.

The Khitai travel NPC in Khemi can take you to the Gateway to Khitai, and offers you two ways of doing so: either you pay him 22.5 silver, or you pay nothing but have to complete a random encounter along the way. These encounters are basically short quests in a miniature playfield (“The Silk Road X”, for various values of X) to which you will be transported for that purpose. There are around 8 or so possible random encounters — killing a kraken, gathering fruit or various artefacts, scouting a canyon, protecting the caravan from attackers, etc. See this forum thread for more info.

But the random encounter that we’re interested in at this point is the one where you meet an Emissary from the King of Zamora. He gives you a quest to kill 500 Craterspawns and collect quest items from them. So your first challenge is to pick up this quest in the first place, since it’s just one of several possible random encounters (and I suspect it’s less likely than the others).

One way to do this is to talk to the Khitai travel NPC in Khemi, tell him you want to do the random encounter, and then once you see which random encounter you actually got, if it isn’t the Emissary one, you can relog and you’ll end up back in Khemi at the Khitai travel NPC. So you can keep trying and relogging until you finally get the Emissary encounter.

The other way is to actually complete the random encounters that you get. After you complete an encounter, its corresponding quest goes on a cooldown of 1 hour. So you can hurry back to Khemi and talk to the Khitai travel NPC again, and you can be sure that the next time you won’t get the encounter that’s currently on cooldown. Hurry up and complete more encounters; the more of them are on cooldown at the same time, the more likely it is that you’ll get the Emissary encounter (because most of the others are on cooldown).


As mentioned above, the first quest you get from the Emissary requires you to kill 500 Craterspawns and pick up quest items from them. IIRC the Emissary talked about killing them in Kara Korum, but in fact the Craterspawns in the Northern Grasslands are just as good and will also drop the quest items. I suspect the ones in Chosain and Paikang would also be fine, but I never tried those. In any case, it makes sense to kill the ones in Northern Grasslands as they are the fastest and easiest to kill; you’ll find them north of Pin Pin, near the Shadows of Jade camp and the exit towards Kara Korum.

If you find other people that want to do the same quest, you can team up with them to speed things up even more. Each Craterspawn you kill will provide a quest item for every member of the group.

Once you have your 500 quest items, you can complete the quest by handing them in to a NPC in Pin Pin. At this point you get some more-or-less social gear as a reward: Helm of the Zamoran Honor Guard (social helmet, not very impressive IMO), Soles of Liquid Nightfall (neat social shoes that leave a black trail wherever you go), and Zamoran Treasury Ring (50 con, 34 hit rating, 45 critical rating, 48 fatality rating).

Nightmare Bubbles

Now you can go back to Khemi and start pestering the Khitai travel NPC as before until you encounter the Emissary on the Silk Road again. He will give you a new quest this time: destroy 100 nightmare bubbles in Paikang.

There is a large set of possible locations where nightmare bubbles might spawn in Paikang. A lot of them are along the roads and river banks in the central part of the playfield, so in my experience the best thing to do is to ride in a circle along the roads there (between the ape island, the Children of Yag-Kosha camp, and the Yellow Priests camp) and look around all the time to see if any bubbles are up. See the following map (the dots show all the bubble locations that I know of; I’m pretty sure there are others that I haven’t encountered yet):

(Click to enlarge.)

The bubble is basically a small black sphere floating approx. 1 meter above the ground; if you have particles enabled, it will also be surrounded by a much larger purplish sphere, which makes them much easier to notice.

A bubble disappears 30 seconds after spawning, so you don’t have much time once you notice one. To enter it, you have to click it; you can be mounted while you do this, but you must not be in combat. Some bubble spawn locations are a bit tricky because there are mobs nearby, and if you aggro them you probably won’t have enough time to kill them and get out of combat before the bubble will despawn; so be careful from which direction you approach the bubble.

The inside of a bubble isn’t really a separate instance; you actually just get teleported into the extreme northwestern end of your current instance of the Paikang playfield. This means that only one player can be inside a bubble at any time, and while someone is there, no other bubbles will spawn. (If you stay inside a bubble for too long, you get ported out.) In my experience it’s best if you hunt for bubbles outside of prime time hours, so that you won’t have other players competing with you too much.

Sometimes you’ll find three bubbles in 10 minutes, sometimes no bubbles in 2 hours, so you have to be very patient. IME you can get 25 or more bubbles in one day if you spend the whole day looking for them. Another possibility is to just do quests in Paikang and hope that you’ll eventually happen to find some bubbles along the way, but IME that is a lot too slow and it would take ages to reach 100 bubbles that way.

Incidentally, there’s another quest involving bubbles, namely a repeatable quest for the Insurrection faction, which requires you to enter 3 bubbles. The difference is that the Insurrection quest updates as soon as you enter the bubble, whereas the Emissary quest updates only if/when you successfully complete the encounter inside the bubble.

The rewards for completing this second Emissary quest are a purple necklace (Pendant of Royal Zamoran Favor: 78 con, 55 hit rating, 66 crit dmg rating) and the Embodied Serenity, which is a social pet that looks like a partly transparent quilin.

(Click to enlarge.)

The Game Director Pet

If you spawn the Embodied Serenity, it will occasionally say various wise sayings; but three of those sayings are a riddle:

Embodied Serenity whispers: Move in rhythm while in the blessed space. This is the first truth.

Embodied Serenity whispers: The desert witch hides a great secret in her waters. This is the second truth.

Embodied Serenity whispers: The skull in the water is holiest. To stand on top is to be blessed. This is the third and final truth.

What this means is the following. Once you have the Embodied Serenity, you can go to the Oasis of Zaara and go to the shallow lake in the last part of that dungeon. There’s a large skull lying in the water; stand on top of it and start dancing.

This will give you another social pet, the Soilirrion, which looks like a large slug (e.g. like the bloated parasites in Paikang, or the umbra mobs in T’ian’an district). The name is of course a pun on the game director’s nickname, as is the description of the pet (“an experienced director of soil production and management”).

(Click to enlarge.)

Similar items elsewhere

I noticed a pair of social shoes in the item shop, similar to the Soles of Liquid Nightfall that you get from the first Emissary quest. From the description I suspect that they leave a red trail instead of a black one (they “cause the wearer to walk always upon blood-sanctified ground”), but I didn’t try buying them so I’m not completely sure. They are called Soles of Eternal Suffering.

Likewise, I noticed a social pet for sale in the item shop that looks very similar to the Embodied Serenity, except that it’s a different color. It’s called Embodied Winter. I never tried buying it so I don’t know whether it also produces wise sayings and if it allows you to obtain the Soilirrion pet.

Categories: Age of Conan, Quests

Gem Transformations and the Tarantia Commons riot event

January 20, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a somewhat obscure and largely irrelevant aspect of current AoC crafting, but since I like obscure topics, I figured I’d make a post about it anyway 😛

Why gem transformations?

Before the big itemization revamp in 1.05, gemcutting worked a bit differently than it does now. For each gem color (and there were 8 colors back then, not 6 like now) there were around 5 or so possible stat modifiers which you could obtain by cutting gems of that color. When you actually cut a gem, the modifier was chosen at random from those 5 or so possibilities. The level of the gem did not have any effect on which stats you could get on the cut gem, only on the amount of the stat you’d get (e.g. a hypothetical example: if red gems can give you fire invulnerability, then you can get fire invulnerability from a level 40 red gem just as well as from a level 80 red gem, but you’d get more invulnerability from a level 80 red gem).

This system had various drawbacks: the randomness when cutting gems was annoying (you might have to cut lots before you got the modifier you wanted), weapon/armor parts routinely had 3 gem slots and there were no constraints about which color gem you could put into which slot, so people could get extremely powerful in some particular stat by filling all their gem slots with gems for that particular stat. This caused havoc in PvP and was occasionally used to make some of the raid encounters trivial, so Funcom first nerfed the gems to the point where most of them became completely useless, and later revamped the gemcutting system considerably along with the rest of the system and itemization changes in 1.05.

In the new system, each combination of gem color and level gives you exactly one possible stat modifier (e.g. a level 40 red gem always gives you constitution; a level 60 red gem always gives you combat rating (fire); etc.); however, the amount of this stat that the gem will actually contribute now depends on the level of the item that you put it in (so a level 40 red gem gives you 8 constitution if it’s in a level 40 item, or 16 constitution if it’s in a level 80 item, etc.). See the gems page on for more information about which gems are available.

One of the consequences of this change was the following. In the pre-1.05 gem system, there was little reason for a high-level player to be interested in low-level gems. A level 80 player, wearing level 80 armor, could get the same stat modifiers from level 80 gems as he would from level 40 gems of the same color, except that the level 80 gems would give him more of those stats than he would get from the level 40 gems. The only reason why he might wear lower-level gems is if the higher-level gems of the same color weren’t available or were too expensive for him.

But in the 1.05 system, a lot of useful modifiers are obtained from low-level gems. If a level 80 player wants protection, he has to use a level 60 white gem for it; if he wants constitution, he has to use a level 40 red gem for it; etc. Thus, in the new system there is plenty of reason for high-level players to be interested in low-level gems.

Because of this change, the developers were worried that a shortage of low-level gems might occur. Low-level gems drop from low-level humanoid mobs; if most of the players are level 80, they aren’t killing that many low-level mobs, so there the demand for low-level gems might be excessive compared to the supply. Therefore they introduced gem transformations, which are a mechanism for transmuting gems across levels and colors.

How do gem transformations work?

It is well known that each gem has a color and a level; what is less well known is that each gem also belongs to one gem family. Just like there are 6 gem colors (red, green, blue, yellow, black, white) and 6 gem levels (40, 50, 60, 70, 75, 80), there are also 6 gem families: caystones, hexstones, oxides, lifestones, crystals, chalcedonies. Each family consists of 6 gems; no two gems of the same family have the same color or the same level.

For each gem family, there exists an alchemy recipe to transform them. Let’s use lifestones as an example; the recipe is then called [Alchemy: Transform Lifestones]. It allows you to convert any gem from the lifestone family into a special tradeskill item called Lifestone Solution, and to transform Lifestone Solution into any gem from the lifestone family. Thus, you could transform e.g. a level 80 lifestone (this happens to be a Diamond, the level 80 white gem) into Lifestone Solution and then transform this solution into several level 50 lifestones (this happens to be Azurites, the level 50 blue gems).

The idea was that if there was an excess of high-level gems on the market and a shortage of low-level gems, people could use these recipes to obtain low-level gems from high-level ones. I never had the impression that any particular shortage of low-level gems existed at any point, which means either that the gem-transforming arbitrageurs are doing a good job or (more likely IMO) that the whole concept of gem transformations was more or less unnecessary.

Going back to the lifestone example, here are the concrete crafting operations that you learn from the Transform Lifestones recipe. The ingredients are shown on the left, the outcome on the right; the number of Artistry renown points generated by the operation is in parentheses at the end.

  • 1 Uncut Diamond + 1 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (504 renown)
  • 2 Uncut Canary Diamond + 2 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (810 renown)
  • 3 Uncut Jet + 3 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (945 renown)
  • 6 Uncut Blood Amber + 4 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (864 renown)
  • 12 Uncut Azurite + 5 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (675 renown)
  • 24 Uncut Malachite + 6 Unstable Flux = 24 Lifestone Solution (432 renown)
  • 24 Lifestone Solution + 6 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Diamond (288 renown)
  • 12 Lifestone Solution + 5 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Canary Diamond (216 renown)
  • 8 Lifestone Solution + 4 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Jet (192 renown)
  • 4 Lifestone Solution + 3 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Blood Amber (120 renown)
  • 2 Lifestone Solution + 2 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Azurite (72 renown)
  • 1 Lifestone Solution + 1 Unstable Flux = 1 Uncut Malachite (42 renown)

Unstable Flux is a green tradeskill resource that you can purchase from the usual NPC vendors that sell tradeskill resources; there’s one in each village in the resource-gathering zones (e.g. in Caenna Village in Poitain), one in your guild city’s Alchemy Workshop, and one in your Tradepost (if you have a sufficient renown level). One Unstable Flux costs 25 copper.

The recipes for the other gem families work exactly the same, involve the same amounts of everything etc., only the gems and solutions are different. Deconstructing a level 80 gem always yields 24 units of solution, etc.

Renown farming

You can see from the above recipes that the amount of gems is conserved across transformations. You can start with 24 Uncut Malachites, convert them into 24 Lifestone Solution, and then convert these 24 units of Solution (one by one) into 24 Uncut Malachites again. Each of these steps also generates a small amount of Artistry guild renown points. The only thing that is consumed in the process is Unstable Flux, and you can buy as much of it as you like from the NPC vendors, as long as you have the money for it. Thus we see that given enough money and time, an alchemist with the gem transformation recipe can generate an unlimited amount of Artistry points.

This can be used with great profit by guilds that wish to speed up their progress through the guild renown levels. You could do as we described in the previous paragraph, start with 24 level 40 gems, convert them into 24 units of solution (this is one crafting operation), then convert the solution back into 24 level 40 gems (this would be 24 crafting operations). Each of these crafting operations takes 5 seconds, so this process would take you at least 125 seconds (if we ignore the time to select the recipes in your tradeskill book, etc.), generate 1440 renown points, and consume 30 Unstable Flux.

But it’s much better to use higher-level gems, because they will give you much more renown for your money, and also take much less time. You could transform two level 75 gems into 24 units of solution (one crafting operation) and then back (two more crafting operations), thereby generating 1242 renown points in 15 seconds and consuming 12 Unstable Flux. Or you could transform one level 80 gem into 24 units of solution and back; that’s 792 renown points in 10 seconds, while consuming 7 Unstable Flux. So you can see that using level 75 gems gives you 82.8 renown per second and 103.5 renown per Flux (or 41400 renown per 1 gold), while using level 80 gems gives you 79.2 renown per second and 113.1 renown per Flux (or 45257 renown per 1 gold). Thus, although working with level 75 gems is slightly more time-effective, most people work with level 80 gems, which are the most cost-effective. Lower-level gems (level 70 and below) are less effective both in terms of time and in terms of cost.

In the idealized scenario for level 80 gems — where it takes you 10 seconds and 7 Unstable Flux (costing 1.75 silver) to generate 792 artistry points — it would take you 7 hours and 44.12 gold to generate 2 million artistry points. This is the weekly cap for an individual character; anything you’d generate past that point wouldn’t contribute to your guild’s progress through the renown levels (though it would still affect its weekly renown ranking), so it would be a waste of money. But the guild-wide weekly cap is 25 million artistry points, so you could have 13 characters in the guild doing this sort of renown farming; the guild would have to spend 552 gold per week to reach the artistry cap that way. In the current state of the economy it might be difficult to come up with that sort of money, but in the heyday of renown farming, in the first half of 2010, it wasn’t too difficult to come quite close to it by crafting Ibis swords for sale.

Note that, depending on the prices of various resources on your server, there may well be other recipes that give you a better renown-to-gold ratio (e.g. Fine Steelsilk Hood), not to mention a vastly better renown-to-time ratio; but you can’t scale them up without disrupting the economy. If you wanted to reach 25 million artistry points each week by crafting Fine Steelsilk Hoods, you’d need 32500 Ironsilk, and there simply isn’t that much Ironsilk coming into the economy (since it drops from high-level humanoid mobs and people simply don’t kill that many of them); in fact buying Ironsilk at that scale would drive up prices quite quickly and make the Fine Steelsilk Hood recipe unattractive for renown farming. Gem transformations on the other hand only consume Unstable Flux, which you can buy in unlimited amounts from NPC vendors where the price never changes.

(Incidentally, when guild renown was first introduced in 1.06, the gem transformation recipes generated about three times as much renown as they do now; they were nerfed to their present levels a few months later in 1.07, and the renown values have been unchanged since then.)

Tarantia Common District riot event

But, you might ask, where can I get the gem transformation recipes? Well, they drop from the Riot Leader and Watch Captain, two group bosses in Tarantia Common District. Perhaps you remember the City Watch and/or Daughters quest lines that you get in Tarantia Commons after you finish the Crows/Rats quest lines and do the Crows’ Nest quests; the Watch / Daughters quest lines culminate in a quest to spawn and kill the Riot Leader / Watch Captain, respectively, with a pretty decent choice of blue rings as a reward, so many people do those quests. These two bosses also have a pretty decent chance of dropping the gem transformation recipe (my guesstimate is that the chance of getting a recipe is around 10-20%), so if you farm them long enough you’re sure to get one or more recipes.

There are 5 clickable doors in Tarantia Commons, and mobs called Troublemakers spawn from these doors occasionally. The troublemakers walk to one of the central squares in the upper part of the playfield and start assembling there; you are alerted to this by on-screen messages such as “unrest is growing in the district”. You can speed up this process by clicking on the doors (you can click each door once a minute and it spawns another troublemaker). A potential problem at this point is that other players can disrupt your efforts by killing the troublemakers.

Anyway, once there are enough troublemakers, they start walking as a group downstairs towards the granary (system message: “an angry mob is gathering”). A number of city watchmen will spawn on the way towards the granary and fight with the troublemakers. It makes sense for you to kill these watchmen, so that the troublemakers will reach the granary faster and in greater numbers. Once they get there, you will see an on-screen message saying that a riot has broken out.

Two types of mobs will now appear, Rioters and Watchmen. You should now pick a side and kill those mobs to help the other side win. Once you have killed enough of them, their boss will spawn near the granary. If you kill Rioters, you will eventually spawn the Riot Leader; if you kill Watchmen, you will eventually spawn the Watch Captain. (Note that some of the mobs you’ll want to kill will also be upstairs, not just down by the granary). Once your boss is up, just kill him and he will have a chance of dropping one of the gem transformation recipes. (The recipe is bind-on-pickup but you can relog to an alt to pick it up.)

It doesn’t matter which of the two bosses you aim for, as the results are the same (unless of course you have a quest to kill a specific one of them). After you’ve killed the boss, troublemakers will again start spawning from doors, you can go back to clicking them and thus repeat the whole process as long as you like.

(Note: when the boss spawns, he might initially be aggroed by mobs of the opposing side; e.g. the Riot Leader might be fighting some of the watchmen. If this happens, wait until he kills them and resets completely; only then should you attack him and kill him. Otherwise there is a risk that he won’t drop any loot.)

The Troublemaker Paymaster and the level 80 gem recipes

This is a rare group boss that can be spawned in Tarantia Commons and has a chance of dropping level 80 gem recipes. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been involved in farming him, so I’m fairly hazy on the details, and you might want look for more information in old forum threads (which, by the way, also provide an entertaining chronicle of the epic efforts through which some people went in mid-2009 to discover the ridiculously abstruse mechanism of spawning this boss): link 1, link 2.

Basically, the idea is to wait for the “unrest is growing in the district” message to appear, then kill a few troublemakers to prevent a riot from breaking out. After a while, enough new troublemakers will spawn that you will get the “unrest is growing in the district” message again; kill a few troublemakers again, and so on. After 23 or so of these messages, you should get a new message (“unrest is growing fiercer in the district”) and the Paymaster will appear. If you get the “angry mob is gathering” message at any point, this means you allowed too many troublemakers to gather up and you must start from the beginning again.

Thus it can easily take an hour or so before the Paymaster spawns. You will also be preventing other players from using your instance of the playfield to spawn/kill the Riot Leader and Watch Captain, which some of them might need for their quests; if you want to avoid this sort of conflicts, you can go to the epic instance instead, but then it’s better to have more than 6 people in your team.

Most of the level 80 gems aren’t that great and it’s hardly worth the trouble farming for these recipes now. Note also that the Paymaster isn’t guaranteed to drop a recipe (though he has a decently high chance of doing so).

Attilius Mansion and the level 70/75 gem recipes

Attilius, the last boss in Attilius Mansion, a solo dungeon in Tarantia Commons, has a chance of dropping level 70 and 75 gemcutter recipes: Sanguine Radiant Sapphire, Marquise Pushparagam, Marquise Jet. They aren’t bind-on-pickup and can often be bought quite cheaply on the tradepost.

Categories: Age of Conan, Crafting

House of Crom – Vile Nativity

January 17, 2012 16 comments

Let’s start with some pictures of purple l00tz to motivate you 😛

The Vile Nativity is the 6-person group part of the House of Crom. You can enter it either from the Threshold of Divinity (the social part of House of Crom), or from the entrance in the northwest of Eiglophian Mountains; but the latter becomes available only after you’ve done a quest for one of the NPCs inside the dungeon, so the first time you have to enter it from the Threshold of Divinity.

Sentinel of Defense

Occasionally he casts Counterattack Stance, which gives him a 10 sec buff with 75% hinder movement and big retributive damage; so stop DPS at that time and just kite him. Other than that it’s a tank and spank fight. Several adds will come alive, but don’t focus on DPSing them. When you kill the Sentinel of Defense, one of the adds (Master of Resurrection) will rez him; just kill him again and he will stay dead. Some of the other adds will be putting a heal and a damage shield on the boss occasionally, which unfortunately can’t be removed by a rogue’s TW and FH.

Then you should focus on the adds. Kill the Master of Resurrection first, otherwise he’ll just rez any other add that you kill. After that it’s a good idea to kill the healing add, then the protection add and finally the awakening add.

A loot box will spawn, which contains among other things four Artifacts, which play an important role in the next fight.

Queen Cao-Polyphya

She initially lies on a bier; light the candles around the bier to wake her up and start the fight.

  • Sunder Outsider – big holy ranged nuke (8-10k damage on a tank)
  • Ritual Fog – unholy frontal cone aoe damage (3-4k on tanks, can be more on squishies)
  • Vision from the Outer dark – fear on the aggro holder (if it’s a player)
  • Shades of Misery – summons the Eerie Shade add
  • Nowhere to Run – 75% hinder movement + dot on the aggro holder, for 8 sec, to make kiting difficult
  • Blessing from the Outer Dark – +50% damage mitigation, +20% magic damage multiplier, +20% damage multiplies – buff that’s on her all the time

The Eerie Shade is an add, summoned occasionally by the boss. Initially the Shade has a buff called Ghostly Shroud (+99% damage mitigation), and it casts Haunted on a random player; this charms the player and oneshots him after 30 sec. Everyone should DPS the charmed player and when his health drops low enough (below 25% or so), he will get uncharmed, the Shade will lose its damage mitigation buff, its health will immediately also drop significantly, and it will get a debuff called Misery (-10% damage mitigation); at that point you can then focus on the Shade and kill it. Interestingly, the charmed player isn’t completely unable to act; if he’s a soldier, he can switch to frenzy stance (and should do so, so that others can DPS him faster).

In this fight, a friendly mob is also present, named Sentinel of Offense. You should use him to tank the boss for you. Someone should use the Artifact of Awakening soon after the start of the fight; this wakes up the Sentinel and causes him to aggro the boss and start fighting her. You can use the Artifact of Rejuvenation to heal him up (Atlantean Blessing: heals 1% every 3 sec, for 15.5 sec). Note that one of his melee attacks (Great Cleave) does pretty strong 360 degree AoE damage to players as well, so don’t stand too close to him if you’re low on health.

The Sentinel takes very heavy damage (more than half of his health) from the boss’s Sunder Outsider attack; so the player with the Artifact of Protection should watch the boss’s cast bar and when you see her casting Sunder Outsider, you should use the Artifact of Protection on the Sentinel (note: you must stand *very* close to him to use this Artifact). This gives him a 50% damage mitigation buff for 6 seconds. Between this and the healing from the Artifact of Rejuvenation, you can keep the Sentinel alive indefinitely. If he should happen to die anyway, you can rez him with the Artifact of Resurrection (meanwhile the tanks have to tank the boss).

The Artifact of Resurrection has a 45 sec cooldown, the Artifact of Rejuvenation has a 25 sec cooldown, the Artifact of Protection has a 30 sec cooldown.

The time between one Sunder Outsider and the next seems to be random in the 30-45 sec range.

There is a clickable pool of water behind the bier where the Queen was lying initially. All around the dungeon there are mushrooms that you can pick up (Frost Fungus), and if you then click the pool of water the mushroom turns into a Fortified Frost Fungus. Clicking this in your inventory gives you a 15-minute buff called Fortified Frost Fungus, but I don’t know what it’s used for. It seems that picking up a fungus removes your Miasma debuff, which you get as soon as you enter the dungeon (and which slightly decreases your natural mana/stamina regen).

All over the dungeon there are also clickable inscriptions, but you’ll need to consume a few Fragments of Atlantean from the the social part of House of Crom to learn to read them.

The Queen and the Sentinels before her are optional bosses; you can skip them and still proceed with the rest of the dungeon.

A somewhat rare drop from her is the following gorgeous social dress for female characters:

Overseer Olik

Several waves of adds (normal mobs) spawn at the start; it seems there are 5 waves of them and then you can click the boss again to start the main part of the fight.

The boss occasionally summons adds (Vanir Excavators); you can see him calling them in the cinematic text messages in the lower part of your screen.

Sometimes he calls for a healing salve, in which case one add comes and heals him up for about 10% of his health. This is not a heal-over-time and thus can’t be removed with Tainted Weapons. However, you can cc the add and DPS him. If you DPS the add down to 75%, he will give up and go away; or you can simply out-DPS these occasional heals.

Sometimes the boss calls for two adds, which bring explosive urns and start chasing two random players around the room. The boss meanwhile starts casting Ignition and when the cast is done, a trail of fire travels from the boss to the two adds and detonates their explosive urns. So nobody should be close to the adds when this happens, to avoid taking damage from the explosions. The fire trail also does a bit of damage, so don’t stand on the line between the boss and the adds. A good idea is to have everyone hug the boss (so the adds will be nearby), wait for him to start casting Ignition, then root the adds and run away.

At 75, 50 and 25% of his health, the boss does a big AoE knockback (Unshackled Fury) and then sends a trail of fire chasing each player. This fire does a lot of damage if it reaches you (most classes will get oneshotted from it); so everyone should run into the water in the foggy area in the back of the room.

The fire trail takes some time to fizzle out in the water, so don’t stand too close to the edge of the water, but wade further in. But be careful that you don’t stand in the water for too long; you will be taking damage while you’re in it (Ice Mist: -10% frost damage every 2 seconds), and after 10 seconds you actually get oneshotted. So stay outside the water until the fire trail comes close to you, then run into the water, wait until the fire goes out, and then hurry back out again. (After you come out of the water, check to see if the Ice Mist debuff is gone. Due to a bug it sometimes doesn’t get removed when you come out of the water, in which case you should quickly try removing it by going back into the fog and then out again. If you don’t get rid of the debuff in time, you will be oneshotted.)

After you come out of the fog, be careful as the boss’s aggro seems to reset around that time.

After 5 minutes, he enrages (Berserk: +40% movement multiplier, +20% scale, +500% damage multiplier, +500% magic damage multiplier).

Guardian of the Antechamber

At the entrance of the room, there are 5 circles of various colors on the walls; each player except a tank should click one of the circles and get a corresponding buff.

There are also 5 corresponding pads in the room; looking into the room from the entance, these are: water = far left; cold = near left; holy = near right; poison = far right; unholy = center.

Each player that got a buff from the circle should step onto the corresponding pad. (If you step on a pad that you don’t have the circle buff for, you take heavy damage, so be careful.) The tank that doesn’t have any of the circle buffs should then aggro the boss and kite him from pad to pad in the order given above. When the boss steps on a pad, he gets a buff as well (Water Essence, Frost Essence, Holy Essence, Poisonous Essence, Unholy Essence). The tank should avoid stepping on any pads during this as he lacks any circle buffs, so he would take heavy damage from the pads.

When the boss gets the buffs from all 5 pads, he moves away, stops being hostile and you can click him to get a buff, then click two braziers next to the door to open it. If you use the pads in the wrong order, the boss gets oneshotted and respawns.

Idols of Silence

This is a circular room with 4 pairs of statues (each pair consists of an Idol of Silence and an Idol of Secrets) along the walls. The Idols of Secrets are clickable; when you click one, its corresponding Idol of Silence wakes up and starts attacking it. Your goal is to kill the attacking statue before it manages to kill the one you clicked. After you do this for all 4 pairs (one pair at a time), a loot box spawns and the door leading further into the dungeon opens.

These statues seem to reset aggro often (or break away from their tank for whatever reason), so DPSers should be careful. DPSers should stand behind the statue.

The statue in the far left pair (looking from the point of view of entrance into the room) occasionally casts a heal (Light of Atlantis), which a rogue has to remove with TW, otherwise you won’t be able to DPS the statue quickly enough (the heals are too big to be easily out-DPSed, and if you try to increase your DPS that much, the tanks will probably be losing aggro and the boss will kill the squishies anyway). Other statues have other special abilities, which aren’t that important (for one of them, Light of Atlantis puts a 75% miss chance for 6 sec on its aggro holder; another one removes mage shields and blue heals by casting Negate; one has Molten Shield: 20% immunity, 400 armor for 30.5 sec, which can be removed with FH).

If you fail and one of the statues gets killed, it sometimes happens that they won’t respawn and you can’t reset the encounter and proceed further into the dungeon; you’d have to reform the group from the beginning in a new instance of the dungeon.

New in update 4.1: the near left statue (the one with Molten Shield) has an ability called Fall of Atlantis. This used to be a simple aoe hit with no particular importance, but now it targets a random player and spawns falling rocks on the spot where that player stood at the end of the cast. These rocks remain there for quite some time and do damage to nearby players — this is similar to Jade Dugout or the second boss in the Sepulcher of the Wrym. So the player that gets targeted during Fall of Atlantis should run away from others (and from the boss) before this cast is finished. I first noticed this after update 4.1; I guess this ability was always intended to work like this, but used to be bugged and now they finally got around to ninja-fixing it.


Initially he has a buff called Shield of the Lich, which gives him +200% damage mitigation, so don’t attack him when he has that shield or you will just heal him up.

At the start of the fight he spawns an add called Argo-satha’s Soul, which you have to kill; this removes the boss’s Shield of the Lich for 30 seconds, during which time you have to DPS him as much as possible. During those 30 sec the boss summons minions (Raised Husks). After 30 sec he gets his shield again and spawns a new Soul, so you have to go back to killing the Soul and the Wardens (see below) until he loses the shield again, etc.

The Soul has an ability called Horrifying Scream, which fears anyone in a cone in front of the boss. DPSers should be behind the Soul anyway, and the tank can walk out of the cone similar to the way you do with Frost Whip in the Palace of Yun Rau.

Don’t fight the Soul near the boss or the splash damage might heal him up (remember that he has his 200% mitigation shield up during that time).

While the Soul is up, the boss also spawns adds called Ravenous Wardens; they spawn in front of the fires along the outer edge of the room and each Warden keeps a player rooted, so you have to kill wardens as soon as possible. Before you kill the Soul, make sure that no Wardens are up. The Wardens spawn on a timer; if your DPS is really good, you’ll get just one Warden by the time the Soul is dead, otherwise you’ll probably get two.

Corpses of dead minions and wardens occasionally cause very heavy damage to players standing nearby (Banish Souls; seems to be like 1/3 of the player’s health) — you can see blue ray particles going from the boss to a corpse (but the damage only happens if you’re near the corpse, not elsewhere on the way from the boss to the corpse). So the main challenge is to avoid getting killed by the corpses while still doing enough DPS on the boss that he’ll die before he enrages (the enrage timer is 10 minutes after the 7 Feb 2012 patch, the enrage timer is apparently longer; some said 13 minutes).

In particular, you probably don’t want to have dead minions close to the boss, otherwise melee DPS players won’t have any place to DPS the boss from. We used a ToS and guard with crossbow to pull the minions to the outer edge of the room and kill them there (after you kill a minion, you of course have to move away from the corpse as soon as possible). The problem here is that the minions are extremely squishy and it’s hard to avoid occasionally killing them near the boss. The players standing next to the boss should be careful not to use any kind of AoE damage (nor should the ToS use his Storm Crown). Preferably they should all stand on the same side of the boss, so that the minions will be more easily within reach of those pulling them away.

Be careful if you have lots of minions to you; they put a dot called Necrotic Pulse on you, which stacks up to 10x, at which point it does 10% unholy damage every 2 sec. Their melee hits aren’t that negligible either if you have several of them on you.

An alternative approach might be to stack a lot of ranged DPS classes in your group; then you don’t have to send anyone to DPS the boss from melee range, so you don’t have to care if there are any corpses there.

IME it definitely also helps if you set your gamma to max in your video settings; that way you can see the corpses on the ground much better.

Incidentally, corpses seem to despawn after a few minutes, not that it makes a huge difference.

There seems to be a hardmode on this boss. In the room just before the one where you fight Queen Cao-Polyphya, there is a clickable book which gives you a scroll called Curse of the Empowered Lich. Clicking this scroll during the Argo-satha fight gives him a buff called Empowered Lich, which causes him to put a -50% healing debuff (also called Curse of the Empowered Lich) on the target of his Spiraling Descent spell. According to a post on the AoC forums the boss also has more health and spawns more wardens in the hardmode; the drops apparently include just some potions and extra AA xp.

After you kill Argo-satha, you automatically get a quest to kill the next boss, the Little Prince, with a purple cloak as a quest reward (Cape of Atlantis: 68 con, 55 hit rating, 35 hate dec rating, 100 protection (cold)).

[Update: there is now a separate post about the Argo-satha hardmode.]

The Little Prince

If the sandworms of Dune mated with Cthulhu, this is what their offspring would look like. A door opens behind the foggy area where you fought the Overseer Olik, and this boss is a bit further down a corridor that starts there. A door that ports you into that corridor is also available from Argo-satha’s room once you kill Argo-satha. (It used to be possible to jump on an invisible wall and reach this door even without killing Argo-satha, but the 7 Feb 2012 patch fixed this.)

There are several group mobs in the corridor; don’t kill them, just run into the boss’s room. Keeping them alive will trigger the hardmode. The mobs will reset and a barrier will spring up when the fight begins.

  • Corrupted Sputum: poison nuke on the aggro holder.
  • Thundering Slam: 11-12k crushing damage, big aoe. Run to one side, e.g. the right side, to avoid it. When he starts casting the next one (which is immediately after the first one), run back in front of him again.
  • Eldritch Ruin: a dot, 20% poison damage every 2 sec. This ruin appears between the 2 Thundering Slams (though you won’t see the boss casting it). First it appears on a random player and then, if it isn’t removed quickly by a priest, it spreads about a second later to other nearby playres. It will disappear when the boss reaches next 20%, but your priests should remove it much sooner already. IME the safest thing to do is to have people wait on the right side of the room (where they all fled from the first Thundering Slam) and stay huddled up in front of the priest until the ruin appears and the priest removes it; only after that should they go back to their original positions. An alternative is to have the priest remove the ruins after people return in front of the boss, but this is more risky: if the ruin has also spread to the person that’s taking the Poisonous Sputter, the priest won’t be able to remove it from him as he doesn’t stand with the rest of the group (another way to avoid this risk is to have two priests).
  • Poisonous Sputter: from the stuff on the ground, gives +50% hinder movement for 3 sec. Lands on the person that is farthest from the boss. When he’s done casting it, move away quickly to avoid the snare. You should assign a person to stay farthest from the boss and keep the Sputter away from others — it’s the same idea as Blood Void in the Coppice.

When the boss is at 80%, 60% or 40% of health, he disappears for a while, and adds called Little Prince’s Tentacles will start spawning. When a Tentacle spawns, someone should go stand in front of it; he will get rooted and take a crushing dot (Grasp), but if some Tentacle doesn’t have anybody standing in front of it like that, it will affect everyone in the group by an even more annoying debuff (Machinations: +90% miss chance, +90% fizzle chance, 5% poison damage every 2 sec). DPS the Tentacles until they all disappear again. It’s a good idea to not let a healer get rooted by them, so that he can walk around and heal other people.

The boss gradually buffs himself up during the fight; in the 80-60% HP phase, he has a +10% damage buff (Pestering Wounds); in the 60-40% HP phase, he has a +20% damage buff (Burdening Wounds); below 40% HP he has a +30% damage buff (Infuriating Wounds), but he also gains a dot that causes him to lose HP quite fast (Bleeding Out: the tooltip says 164 points of damage every 3 sec, in the combat log it’s acutally 6058 points every 3 sec).

One of the following epic cloaks will drop in the hardmode:

  • Vicious Cape of Ill Intent: 86 str, 50 hit rating, 60 crit dmg rating, 212 combat rating (cold)
  • Bladekissed Cloak of the Final Goodnight: 90 dex, 50 hit rating, 60 crit dmg rating, 200 combat rating (cold)
  • Mantle of Valka’s Wrath: 130 wis, 52 hit rating, 60 crit dmg rating
  • Shroud of the Ghost Crows’ Spite: 130 int, 52 hit rating, 60 crit dmg rating
  • Valka’s Illimitable Aegis: 172 armor, 78 con, 8.2 nat stam regen, 37 hate inc rating, 67 crit dmg rating

If you jump over the ledge where you fought the Little Prince, the following on-screen message appears when you die: “N’GHA….N’GHFT…SYHA’H…”.

The Catacombs

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

This is a level 59 group dungeon attached to the Tarantia Noble District. It’s also quite a pleasant place to farm with a level 80 character (a ToS is particularly suitable); Jan Vermis drops the Tiraz recipe, and Commander Zoria drops all 4 recipes for “base armor” (Brute Garb, Celebrant Garments, Incanter Attire, Mercenary Equipment). Each of these recipes makes 3 level 62 items (chest, head, legs), which have very good stats for that level, but more importantly they are used as base items to craft the main pieces (chest, head, legs) of culture armor. The base armor recipes aren’t bind-on-pickup, so they can be sold on the tradepost, where indeed they are often seen for sale at various more or less fantasy prices. It’s only fair to note that there doesn’t seem to be much money in crafting culture armor nowadays, nor in the base armor parts.

Encounter mechanics

Jan Vermis: an assassin-type boss. Special abilities:

  • Lotus Overload: this is a buff that gives him 90% invulnerability to all magic damage for 20 seconds. You can easily recognize it by a brown circle around his feet.

  • Prediction: this is a buff that gives him 90% evade chance for 20 seconds. You can easily recognize it by a white circle around his feet.

  • Lotus Overdose: he gains this buff when his health drops to 10%; it gives him a +50% damage multiplier and +50% magic damage modifier.

Karel Vernus: a conq-type boss. He has a special ability called Monstrous Hulk (+45% scale, +350% damage multiplier, +200 damage deflection, -60% movement multiplier), during which you have to kite him (he’s invulnerable to damage and hits much harder than usually; fortunately he is also slower).

Catacomb Stalker Queen: this is just a simple tank-and-spank fight. Occasionally she roots you (Spider Web: root for 4 sec) or snares you (Phermone Spit [sic]: +5% hinder movement), and spawns waves of minions.

Aturballon – Flame of Acheron: a HoX-type boss, he seems to be a bit bugged in the sense that some of his combos (Cleave, Fire Lance) do not appear on his casting bar, nor does he have any sort of animation while he’s doing them; you just get suddenly hit after he seemed to be standing still for a while. They hit hard, so you should step away and kite him a little when you’re low on health. Occasionally he spawns a patch of fire on the ground (Living Fire), which moves around slowly and does fire damage if you step in it. He also has a knockback ability (Blast Wave).

Commander Zoria: a DT-type boss; she does crushing and unholy damage. She hits pretty hard, so you might have to kite her. Occasionally she casts Shadow Barrier, which spawns a wave of minions (Dread Shades), which you should kill quickly or they will heal her. Killing them gives you debuffs that make you more vulnerable to unholy damage (Shadow Taint: -10% unholy invulnerability for each minion you killed), so you might want to kite her until your debuffs expire.

When her health reaches 40%, she starts casting Deaths Void. During this 20-second cast, she has 150% invulnerability to all types of damage; in other words, any attacks during this phase would actually heal her, so leave her alone and move away so you’ll be out of reach of her big AoE attack (Burst of Death: 4-5k unholy damage) that comes just after Deaths Void. Then you can DPS her again for about 15 seconds before she casts Deaths Void again, and so on.

When her health reaches 10%, she starts simply spamming an attack called Shriek of Acheron and you don’t need to worry about Deaths Void any more.

Loot tables

Jan Vermis: drops 1 of

  • Grand Elder Jerkin
  • Lauded Curatic Band
  • Praeceptum Bands
  • Savant’s Ancient Scripts
  • Sleightcraft Mitts
  • Sylphlike Sash

Can also drop recipes:

  • Architect: Honored Matriarch
  • Weaving: Tiraz

Karel Vernus: drops 1 of

  • Battlestance Boots
  • Bloodvaliant Gauntlets
  • Bonecleave
  • Eminent Girdle
  • Heroking’s Breastplate
  • Upholder Armguards

Catacomb Stalker Queen: drops 1 of

  • Catacomb Legguards
  • Catacomb Gauntlets
  • Catacomb Gloves
  • Catacomb Tunic
  • Queen Blade

Aturballon — Flame of Acheron: drops 1 of

  • Dimshade Straps
  • Frostfire Cowl
  • Incandescent Cane
  • Rustic Fauld
  • Sinister Tunic
  • Timeworn Gloves

Commander Zoria: drops 1 of

  • Blackrain Arbalest
  • Consecrated Libram
  • Dictatus Carver
  • Judicator Arcus
  • Wildling Hauberk
  • Zoria’s Spire

Can also drop recipes:

  • Armorsmith: Brute Garb
  • Armorsmith: Celebrant Garments
  • Armorsmith: Incanter Attire
  • Armorsmith: Mercenary Equipment
  • Armorsmith: Circlet of Might