When I reached level 49 with my Witch the Black Spirit offered me a new quest. As long as you don’t finish that quest you can’t ding level 50. This is important because from level 50 onwards you’re enabled for PvP.
I had already read that some folks decide to lock their life skill characters at 49 so they can go out and do their stuff without ever having to worry about being ganked by some bored PvPer. Since there’s a penalty system in place for killing folks who haven’t flagged themselves for PvP this doesn’t appear to happen all that often, but it’s still a thing to consider.
While I thought about it I had an idea. During 2017 a few new classes have been added to the game, among them the Striker, a martial arts fighter. I’m a big fan of martial arts, and had already thought about trying him out. So why not play one for a while, and if I liked him let the Witch sit at 49 and level the Striker beyond 50 as my combat main?
Which is exactly what I’ve done. The Striker has lots of punches, kicks and combinations thereof in his arsenal, is beautifully animated and pretty fun to play. And he’s at level 50 already. Here’s how that happened.
Since I’ll continue to do life-skilling with the Witch I fully focused him on combat content from the start. Playing on one of the double XP servers and stacking all available daily boosts to combat XP on top of each other makes leveling a breeze. I outleveled main and combat quests very quickly just by killing enough mobs to fulfill said quests. Hence I decided to ignore all further quests for a while and just go to where mobs of the appropriate level are. The map has helpful icons depicting what type and level of mobs inhabit certain areas, even if you’ve not yet been there.
This indeed led me to regions I hadn’t been before very soon. A change of scenery was nice after having stayed in Heidel’s surroundings for quite some time.
When I reached the mid-40ies I chose another unexplored area where skeletons ought to dwell. After crossing a river the landscape changed dramatically, and instead of Serendia’s wide open spaces with mountains and the occasional group of trees and shrubs I found myself in a pretty dense forest.
It’s beautiful. The music there is quite ominous for some reason though. While I still relished the ambiance dusk came, and the world went very dark really quickly.
The spooky music made a lot of sense all of a sudden, and I now felt a very real sense of danger. I was far from known and safe territory, surrounded by high level mobs (which are stronger at night to boot), and I could hardly see the path right in front of me. Now I know what those lanterns and corresponding oil the game keeps handing out are for. Sure enough I had neither with me.
What the hell, I thought, I’m here to kill mobs, so let the pummeling commence! First I backtracked a couple of yards to park my horse in a supposedly safe spot, then I stormed into the fray.
I killed mobs left and right, just following the little red dots on my minimap. Soon I had no idea where I was anymore. The enemies didn’t exactly look like skeletons, but they gave XP and loot either way. They weren’t pushovers, but I didn’t take too much damage, so on I went.
After a while I arrived at a graveyard, and here I finally found the promised skeletons. Battering those is tremendously fun because they shatter to pieces, bones flying everywhere, with appropriate sounds to go with it.
I indulged in beating the crap out of the scraggy fellas until I dinged 49. Then I consulted the Black Spirit and took the quest to get to 50. Seeing that I had to travel a good bit further into unknown territory I decided to make my way there right away. So I just had to fetch my horse and…dude, where’s my horse?
Not only had I no idea where I was and where I had parked my horse. The button used to either whistle for your horse to come to you (if it’s close enough) or show you a path to it…was gone from the UI. Just not there. That didn’t bode well.
After contemplating alternatives for a minute I concluded that my safespot hadn’t been safe after all, and my horse had indeed died. This hadn’t happened to me before, so I wasn’t quite sure of the consequences. What I did know was that I now stood in pretty much the middle of nowhere without a horse.
Well, it couldn’t be helped. The course to the quest’s target area was plotted, so off I went. Fortunately the Striker can give himself a little speed buff regularly and is additionally wearing a pair of boots with +1 speed at the moment.
After a while I reached a little village that looks kind of like a base of operations for a bunch of lumberjacks. I ignored all of it’s inhabitants but one for now – I was relieved to see that there’s a stablemaster there. Sure enough he resurrected my horse for a fee, and it wasn’t even transferred back to Heidel, where I had stabled it last, I could use it right then and there instead. It has a Death Count of 1 now, which as far as I know might be a problem should I decide to use it for breeding. I will deal with that when/if it comes to that. At least I didn’t have to walk the rest of the way.
I reached the quest area without further complications, summoned the boss I had to fight, gave him a walloping, finished the quest, and after one more killed mob I dinged 50.
This was the first time in quite a while that I felt like I had a real adventure in an MMO. Which is exactly what I was hoping for when I picked up the game. So: yay!
What’s more, the next adventure was already waiting around the corner. But that’s a story for another time.