Tales from Norrath: Don't Sleep in The Hole

Posted by Marino (4705 posts) -

In my previous entry, I briefly mentioned a guild mate of mine named Glimpse. Glimpse was a high elf enchanter and I think he was still in high school at the time. Most importantly though was his notorious reputation for being a tad narcoleptic. It didn't really matter what time of day it was or what we were doing, if he was AFK for even a couple minutes, we just assumed he had fallen asleep. It was just an accepted risk. Glimpse was a cool guy though, so no one ever really got angry about it. Although, while this was quite funny at times, it could also became hazardous. Like that one night in The Hole.

A Brief History of The Ruins of Old Paineel

The Ruins of Old Paineel
The Hole is a massive underground cavern created by an explosion caused during the Erudites' civil war. The study of necromancy is strictly forbidden in Erudin, so a group referring to themselves as Cazicites (as in worshippers of Cazic-Thule) decided to leave the the High City and establish their own city where the dark arts could be freely researched. They called their new city Paineel and became known as Heretics by those true to Erud's teachings. It wasn't long before the two factions were at war. With the vast majority of Erudites being highly intelligent spell casters, this was a war waged primarily with magic and not swords. At the height of the battle, the clashes of magic resulted in an enormous explosion that blasted an island-sized chunk of earth completely off the face of Norrath.

Aghast at what they had done, both sides parted ways. What was left became commonly known as The Hole, and the Cazicites began investigating its depths. They should have left it alone though, for the blast cut so deep that it opened the Vault of Living Stone, a passage to the Plane of Underfoot, the realm of Brell Serilis. The Cazicites were overrun by powerful earth elementals and other types of Brell's minions. Now, the Hole is not only full of powerful earth elementals, but also the ghosts of many fallen Cazicites. The citizens of Paineel refer to this area by a more proper name; The Ruins of Old Paineel.

Operation: Keep Glimpse Alive

Nortlav

The Hole has seen a few different types of revamps over the years, but it's always been a challenging zone. It was also the location for certain parts of several different class' epic weapon quests. A pair of ghosts named Kindle and Polzin were sought by enchanters. A wretched erudite was tracked by rangers. A ghost named Glohnor was a target of shadow knights. Paladins all needed a tainted sword carried by the Keeper of the Tombs. And, at the very bottom, was a legendary dragon-slaying Erudite named Nortlav who often carried red dragon scales that both bards and warriors would want. We were there to hit a number of those targets for members of the guild, but the last one was an Iksar known as High Scale Kirn that our buddy Szago needed for his shaman epic.

We'd been there for a while, so it was getting late. I forget exactly how the encounter with Kirn goes, but we got him. We probably had about 25-30 people down there and we started to head out. The easiest way out for casters (wizards, enchanters, magicians, necromancers, clerics, druids, and shaman) was to just cast Gate, which would return them to their bind point. Wizards and druids also had group teleportation spells, so they would typically get the melee folks (warriors, paladins, shadow knights, bards, rogues, and rangers) out so no one had to try to fight their way back out.

High Scale Kirn

Well, Glimpse was in my group. And, as if you didn't know where this was going, he'd fallen asleep. The problem was he was the group leader. This meant that he was the only person that could invite people to the group, and we didn't have a druid or wizard in ours. You had to be in a group in order for the teleport spell to work, so others could disband and group up with a porter, but Glimpse was effectively stuck there either way.

Why is that a big deal? Well, when you die in EverQuest, not only do you lose experience, but your corpse also keeps all of your stuff. So, when you respawn, you are 100% naked. You have no gear and none of your bags or other inventory items. If you didn't get to your corpse within 24 played hours, it rotted, taking everything you were wearing and/or carrying with it. So, leaving him to die was not an easy choice to make. Also, we didn't know where his bind point was. All casters had a spell called Bind Affinity. If you played a melee class, you needed a caster to cast this spell on you in a city so that if you died, you would respawn (hopefully) relatively near wear you were raiding. Casting it on other players only worked in cities, but the caster could use it on himself/herself almost anywhere. We would have liked to assume Glimpse was bound in a safe place, but if he wasn't, letting him die could send him into a death loop that could potentially delevel him all the way to a newbie.

The Hole

Yeah, you read that right. If you died over and over, you would lose levels. And corpses with nothing on them rotted faster than ones that did. So, what did we do? Well, myself and a few others knew we could probably at least hold the room once the mobs started respawning. We could do this indefinitely and hope Glimpse would wake up. A small group of us, in one of the most dangerous zones in the game at that point, protecting a sleeping enchanter. Maybe we were delirious from being up that late, but the whole situation was hilarious to us. Unfortunately, it got to a point where one or two of us simply had to go to bed. There was no way three of us could hold the room, so we said goodbye to our sleeping enchanter and ported out of there.

Within fifteen minutes, Glimpse was dead. Luckily, his soul wasn't bound in a dangerous place. The next day we all had a good laugh about it. Luckily, necromancers had a spell that would summon corpses, so one of our necros escorted a naked high elf to The Hole and got all his stuff back in time.

I don't know where "Glimpse" is now or what he's up to, but I hope he's got some good friends to keep an eye on him when he's out late and surrounded by ghosts.

Here's Glimpse muggin' the camera for my screenshot of our first Tunare kill.

Next time I'll talk about a time that I binded myself within the scariest zone in the game.

Staff
#2 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

@Marino: Great read. I've been looking into playing again, but the game has changed so much, that it's not worth it anymore. I'm desperately hoping EQ next is going to be the late and great. From some things I've been reading about what Smed says, it might be true. Are you looking forward to EQN?

#3 Posted by Marino (4705 posts) -

@Jams said:

@Marino: Great read. I've been looking into playing again, but the game has changed so much, that it's not worth it anymore. I'm desperately hoping EQ next is going to be the late and great. From some things I've been reading about what Smed says, it might be true. Are you looking forward to EQN?

I'm cautiously optimistic. The whole MMO genre seems kinda chaotic right now. While I'd like to know more about EQN, I'm kinda glad they're not really talking about it beyond that original announcement nearly two years ago. Hopefully they're taking notes from all the problems others are having in the field.

Staff
#4 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

@Marino said:

@Jams said:

@Marino: Great read. I've been looking into playing again, but the game has changed so much, that it's not worth it anymore. I'm desperately hoping EQ next is going to be the late and great. From some things I've been reading about what Smed says, it might be true. Are you looking forward to EQN?

I'm cautiously optimistic. The whole MMO genre seems kinda chaotic right now. While I'd like to know more about EQN, I'm kinda glad they're not really talking about it beyond that original announcement nearly two years ago. Hopefully they're taking notes from all the problems others are having in the field.

you know what'd be cool. If you wrote a story based on your eq adventures. Then had some one do a voice-over with a slide show of the screenshots that went with it. It'd watch the shit out of that.

#5 Posted by AjayRaz (12428 posts) -

great read. can people rob your corpse if you're dead. if so then that'd totally be like in Runescape which was the worst.

also, it's pretty amazing that you still have these screenshots

#6 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

hahaha Lurik was there, awesome. He took up leadership of the Veiled Alliance (all rogue guild) when I refused. Way to be second best, Lurik!

#7 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Again, I love hearing about the EQ mechanics in play, but I would have absolutely hated actually playing.

It's hard to think back to what other games looked like at the time. Was EQ ever praised for having great graphics, or did everyone always know that they were kinda bad?

#8 Posted by Marino (4705 posts) -

@AjayRaz said:

great read. can people rob your corpse if you're dead. if so then that'd totally be like in Runescape which was the worst.

also, it's pretty amazing that you still have these screenshots

No one could take your stuff. You could give someone consent to move your corpse to help you get it back. Originally, giving /consent did give them permission to loot it as well, but they took that out fairly early on.

As for the screenshots, I actually lost all the ones from my first year playing in a hard drive failure. It still sucks thinking about it. My second main character (Slowride, as you can see in the last screenshot) was a rogue, though. And rogues got an ability in Luclin called Shroud of Stealth that amplified your sneaking ability to the point that practically nothing in the game could see you. That made it pretty easy to go get screenshots of all the memorable locations. It also makes it easy to revisit those places if/when I ever feel like logging back in. So, I was able to sort of document a lot of places, but the original screenshots included guild mates and friends that I'll never get back.

@MideonNViscera said:

hahaha Lurik was there, awesome. He took up leadership of the Veiled Alliance (all rogue guild) when I refused. Way to be second best, Lurik!

Never had any problems with Lurik. They often put the rogues in one group during raids and we'd compete to see who could click the boss to announce the loot first. He was in Echoes in Eternity, led by Jeet, by that point. We (Dol Amroth) allied with them from late 2001 til DA folded just a year or so ago.

@Ravenlight said:

Again, I love hearing about the EQ mechanics in play, but I would have absolutely hated actually playing.

It's hard to think back to what other games looked like at the time. Was EQ ever praised for having great graphics, or did everyone always know that they were kinda bad?

I don't think anyone ever thought it was amazing, but you have to imagine being in 1999-2000 with the ability to play with literally hundreds of people at once and still look pretty good. What you don't see in these screenshots are the spell effects, which added a lot to the graphics. They totally revamped the graphics engine with the release of Shadows of Luclin in 2001. Zones from that point forward looked considerably better than what you see in the "old world." While the character models looked way better, the animations weren't as good if you ask me. Lots of people continued to use the old models.

Staff
#9 Posted by Marino (4705 posts) -

@Jams: D'oh. Missed your response yesterday.

I don't know. A video/audio production seems like a lot of work for what not many people are interested in. I wasn't really even sure I'd get any readers/replies on these blogs at all. If someone were to ever do something like that, it should be a group project with more than just one person's screenshots/experiences.

Staff
#10 Posted by tescovee (359 posts) -

wasn't there some weird trick you needed to do just to zone into the hole? Like, you had to shrink and sort of clip into it? The hole and Karnor's Castle had some of the craziest pathing, one mob could bring the whole area onto you. Another great read, Marino.

#11 Posted by Marino (4705 posts) -

@tescovee: Yes and no. You couldn't shrink outside, but you could swim under the boulder (which was a door) to get into the zone. Most people did it that way because the key to open the boulder/door was found in Paineel, and evil Erudite players were pretty rare. So, if you didn't have someone who wasn't KoS in Paineel, you squeezed through the gap underwater.

Paineel
Paineel
Staff

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