Tales from Norrath: Camping Ragefire

I've been thinking about writing some EverQuest-related blogs for a while. I doubt many people will read them, but I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy writing them. So...here goes.

Halfling Luck

One of the biggest features of EverQuest's first expansion pack, The Ruins of Kunark, was the introduction of epic weapons for each class. The stats on these weapons were the best in the game, and the particle effects on the equipped item made sure that your prize would not go unnoticed by other players. Having an epic weapon was a true status symbol among players. Obtaining one of these weapons required embarking on a marathon quest that spanned across the world of Norrath. Some tasks along the way could be completed alone, but, most of the time, they required the help of a few, if not dozens, of friends. It took several months for players to completely discover the entirety of each class' unique quest, and while some epic quests turned out to be easier than others, they all had their bottlenecks.

The most notorious of these bottlenecks was the last leg of the cleric epic, The Water Sprinkler of Nem Ankh. Even speaking the name "Ragefire," will probably send a chill down the spine of anyone who played a cleric between 1999-2002. Zordak Ragefire is a red dragon, who first appears in the form of a human merchant, that must be slain in order to obtain the last piece required in quest (his heart). The cleric going for it would likely need the help of 30-40 players to defeat this dragon, and that was the easiest part of the task.

Lord Nagafen

First of all, Ragefire only spawned in Nagafen's Lair and in the same part of the zone as Lord Nagafen himself. Nagafen was one of the original dragon boss fights in the game. So, you're thinking "two dragons at once?" Nope. That'd be easier than the truth. The problem with Nagafen is that, in an attempt to keep content available for lower level players, Verant had put a level cap on Nagafen. What this meant is that if you were above level 52 and attacked Nagafen in any way, you would be teleported out of the zone. Ragefire could only spawn if Nagafen was dead (more on this later). So, this typically meant that the cleric (or his/her friends) would need to organize an open raid on Nagafen that they themselves could not participate in.

Once that was completed, the real fun began. I'm not sure if anyone ever truly figured out the math on this part, but I'm going to tell you the way I understood it. After Nagafen died, an invisible timer began. At one hour, there was a chance for Ragefire to spawn…a 4% chance. At the end of hour number two, a 5% chance. Hour three, 6%. And, so on. This meant that the cleric could possibly be there for 96 hours. Yep, that's four days of real, Earth time. I knew of several clerics that had camped Ragefire for three full days.

Oh…it gets worse.

Ragefire's human form in Nagafen's Lair

The fire giants that guard Nagafen respawn every six hours, regardless of whether or not Nagafen is already dead. So, not only are you potentially going to be awake for the better part of four days, but you're going to need help from at least five or six people several times a day (and in the middle of the night). If you didn't get help in time, another group could potentially take your camp. There weren't any official rules on this, but if you couldn't kill the giants, basically you forfeited the camp whether you'd been there six hours or eighty-six. The same goes for whenever Ragefire spawns. If you couldn't mobilize enough people for a dragon raid, someone else could take it. Fall asleep, forfeit. Internet goes out, forfeit.

So, let's recap:

  • Complete a dragon raid in which you probably cannot actively participate in.
  • Be prepared to stay in one spot for up to four days real time.
  • Enlist the help of several friends to accompany you at least every 6-8 hours to clear fire giants.
  • Hope you have enough friends/guild members to quickly mobilize if/when Ragefire spawns.
Fire Giants - There's a bunch of these guys.

Clearly, this camp was a test of endurance, camaraderie, and sanity. And, keep in mind that this is only the last part of the epic quest. There are many steps leading up to this monumental task.

Why am I telling you about all of this? Because it was the most ridiculous, shocking, lucky, unbelievable moment I've ever had, and likely will ever have, in a video game.

The server was down for scheduled maintenance. I had told my guild that I was going to attempt to claim the camp once it came back online at noon. The server being down guaranteed that Nagafen would be alive, which meant we would immediately need to get to work putting together a pick-up raid to take him out. I was level 58 at the time, so I could only help organize it. It took about six hours and included one of my paladin friends/guildmates (Wranglersan) dying on purpose multiple times to delevel himself from 54 to 52 so that he could lead the raid.

Fighting Ragefire

Because it took so long to get organized and kill Nagafen, that meant the fire giants were going to be respawning soon. So, five of my guild mates stayed behind to help me on the first wave of giants after everyone else had left. They start spawning and we start killing them. Not long into this, the ranger in the group (Davaren) says "Um…Ragefire is on track." Rangers in EverQuest had the ability to pull up a menu that lists almost any player or NPC within a certain range. Of course I told him to shut up, assuming he was messing with me. His real-life wife, a dark elf cleric named Eternyal, assured me that he was not lying. I couldn't believe it. Davaren immediately called out in guild chat for everyone to pull a 180º and get back to Nagafen's Lair. No one else could believe it either.

Zordak Ragefire had spawned exactly one hour after the fall of Nagafen. Not only was the 1-hour spawn insanely lucky, but at this point it was about 7:00 PM Eastern Time, meaning that almost everyone in my guild was online. Within minutes, I had an army of 50+ guild members ready to slaughter a dragon. And that's exactly what happened. And that's how I became the second halfling cleric on the server to wield a Water Sprinkler of Nem Ankh.

Hanging out with The King of Thieves

My only question at that point was… What am I supposed to do with these two cases of Cherry Coke I just bought in preparation of staying awake for several days?

I think my next entry will tell the tale of how my luck completely ran out after this.

16 Comments
18 Comments
Posted by Ravenlight

I dislike actually playing MMOs but I love reading/hearing about stories like this. Keep typing them words!

@Marino said:

My only question at that point was… What am I supposed to do with these two cases of Cherry Coke I just bought in preparation of staying awake for several days?

DRINK THEM ALL AT ONCE TO CELEBRATE YOUR VICTORY/IMMINENT KIDNEY FAILURE!

Posted by jorbear

I really wish I could get into MMOs, because this sounds awesome. Its the same reason why I wish I could get into EvE and Dwarf Fortress, really.

Posted by Nasos100

@Marino: mate that was fantastic, cant wait for more!

Posted by MideonNViscera

Dude, that's fucked. I thought getting my shitty Burning Rapier was bad enough.

Posted by Marino

@MideonNViscera said:

Dude, that's fucked. I thought getting my shitty Burning Rapier was bad enough.

Ugh. I ended up doing that quest as well with my rogue. That thing was tedious as hell. I don't even remember why I did it. I think there was a quest that required you to give it up for something else.

Staff
Posted by MideonNViscera

@Marino said:

@MideonNViscera said:

Dude, that's fucked. I thought getting my shitty Burning Rapier was bad enough.

Ugh. I ended up doing that quest as well with my rogue. That thing was tedious as hell. I don't even remember why I did it. I think there was a quest that required you to give it up for something else.

Pretty sure it ended up being factored into the rogue epic weapon quest. Back when I did it though, it was just for the rapier itself, and the rapier sucked. They eventually buffed it but I was into planes stuff by then.

Posted by Marino

@MideonNViscera: Yeah, that's what it was. I'd have to look it up, but there was a way you could skip that part or something.

I ended up doing the quest later when I was doing the epic quest for the second time in order to get the high elf illusion mask from the alternate ending.

Staff
Posted by Marino

@MideonNViscera: Wait...no, I think it had something to do with this thing.

http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=17029

I remember having to kill the quest guy in Temple of Solusek Ro after getting the rapier from him. Had to give his head and the rapier to a different dark elf in Neriak to get something for high level poisoncrafting in Planes of Power. I mainly just wanted that thing so I could better pretend to be a caster when using illusion masks by wearing a robe and having a glowing, sparkling thing on my fist.

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Posted by tescovee

Great read, I did the druid epic sword. Which is way less of a pain, but I do remember having to camp for bs mobs. I always love stories of eq.

Posted by MideonNViscera

@jorbear said:

I really wish I could get into MMOs, because this sounds awesome. Its the same reason why I wish I could get into EvE and Dwarf Fortress, really.

MMOs aren't really like that anymore anyway. EQ was pretty much the most difficult one ever. Killstealing, massive exp loss, trains, and all the things I loved are mostly phased out of newer ones.

Posted by Marino

@tescovee said:

Great read, I did the druid epic sword. Which is way less of a pain, but I do remember having to camp for bs mobs. I always love stories of eq.

The druid one was definitely easier, but it had its moments. It crosses over with the cleric one in a couple spots too. That goblin tower under Lake Rathetear had things we both needed. And then Faydedar was on that same isolated island in Timorous Deep which was the headquarters for the cleric epic. Every time I had to go out there I was afraid he'd be in that pond and kill me.

Staff
Posted by Lanechanger

That was an awesome story, you should write more of these! I think the frendships I made from EQ lasted a lot longer than those in WoW because of some of the endurance like this. I loves the eq crowd, it was very multicultural and friendly. Two buddies I met from eq were in the UK (I'm in Ontario) and I remember I stayed up till 4am playing with them in Plane of Storms if I remember correctly... one of the planes, that's for sure. I told them that I couldn't keep my eyes opened anymore and needed to sleep and they basically told me to just keep my character logged in there. By the time I woke up, I had found that not only was I still alive but I had gone up by a level and a bit (in the 50's). And your friend deleveling twice which I think is insssane, is reminiscent of the great people that grew up with that game. I get nostalgic every few years. I went back on an emulated server several months ago but it just wasn't the same and sadly, never will be.

Posted by Irvandus

Cool read

Posted by Marino

@Lanechanger: Totally on the same page with you. I've also come to the realization that EQ was the most fun I'll ever have in a game. I chased the magic in several MMO's afterwards, but, as you said, it'll never be the same.

What server did you play on? I was on Rodcet Nife.

Staff
Posted by ExplodeMode

I feel weird pride that the guy who deleveled for you was a Paladin. I would covet the flaming sword daily. When I think back to all of the crazy stuff people did, and some of the crazy stuff I did, It seems impossible that the game was successful at all.

Totally agree though, most fun I've ever had playing a game, but also the most addicted I've ever been to anything.

Posted by Marino

@ExplodeMode said:

I feel weird pride that the guy who deleveled for you was a Paladin. I would covet the flaming sword daily. When I think back to all of the crazy stuff people did, and some of the crazy stuff I did, It seems impossible that the game was successful at all.

Totally agree though, most fun I've ever had playing a game, but also the most addicted I've ever been to anything.

The paladin epic was definitely high on the list of difficulty. If I remember correctly, getting that frozen book was a real bitch. We were all too high of level to do Vox, and Gorenaire was almost always dead within minutes of spawning.

@Ravenlight: @Nasos100: @tescovee: @Lanechanger:

Also, I've posted another story over here: http://www.giantbomb.com/profile/marino/tales-from-norrath-it-pains-my-soul/30-95455/

Staff
Posted by aceofspudz

Hey, I was also the second on my server in my class! It was a photo finish between the top 3 encs. Number 3 we nicknamed 'Triboy' because we suspected he was played by 3 people. I literally don't remember a single thing about it, other than the fact that it was a snake and slithered around a bit in lieu of particle effects. Always felt a little ripped off, but I guess it was cool in its own right.