Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reading Dialog: EQ2's Mushroom Rings

One of the reasons I like to solo quests in MMORPGs is so I can take my time and read the quest text. If you are in a group, there is bound to be at least one person who tries to rush you and gets annoyed when you don’t simply click through the dialog boxes. That’s a shame because the developers spend a lot of time developing stories and some of them are quite good. For example, here is my experience in EverQuest 2 the first time I encountered one of the mushroom rings that was introduced in GU52.

I was wandering though Archer’s Wood in the old lands of Antonica just out of sight of the Claymore monument when I encountered it. A purplish haze in the air over a small circle of mushrooms. With signs of the Timberclaw clan roaming the area, I decided to check the area for traps. I figured that an experienced ranger like me could defeat anything those gnolls could come up with to entrap the unwary. So I edged closer to the mushroom ring and then … darkness.

When I woke up, I found myself in a lush green grotto. I was relieved, because no gnoll trap would have sent me to a place as beautiful as this. But where was I? The only way to answer was to move ahead and explore. As I walked down the path, I passed air spirits until I came upon a rare sight; dryads. I continued on until I met an elder tree spirit surrounded by her attendants.

"Greetings, trotter," said the Elder. "We rarely see your type here."

I blurted out, "What is this place?"

"This is our hidden haven," she replied, "a pocket of safety outside the realms your kind normally inhabits."

The trip through the mushroom ring must have taken more out of me than I thought, because all I could reply with was, "How did I get here?"

The Elder explained, "When the constellations align correctly, which is about once a month by your system of reckoning, it is possible to slip between our realms if you find a place where the realms touch."

"I think I remember a mushroom ring in the forest... that must have been it," I responded, my wits finally coming back to me. "Are there other places like this?"

"No others containing my kind. However, I have heard rumors of another similar weakness between realms that may sometimes occur in the area you would know as Nektulos Forest," she replied.

I then asked the obvious question any wood elf ranger would ask when confronted with a tree spirit elder, "Can I assist in any way?"

I was in luck! "We do actually have a recurring problem at present," she began. "Pollution from your realm is slowly seeping into ours, and aggregating in the lower levels here, where it's making some of us ill. If you could investigate the problem, it would be a help."

"I would be happy to assist," I told the Elder. And with a wave goodby, I followed the path down to the pool at the bottom of the grotto. I found sickened tree spirits surrounding the pool and ugly brown manifestations of pollution both on the shore and in the water. I destroyed all the manifestations I could find and then worried about how to save the pollution-tainted dryads. Maybe if I could collect water from the water spirits of the pool the purity of their being would counteract the filth affecting the tree spirits.

I started to collect drops of water from the water spirits along the edge of the pool, but I could tell it wasn’t enough. So I put on the old fishbone earring that grants me water-breathing and dove under the water to find more water spirits. After collecting what I hoped was enough water, I started back to the dryads. I placed a drop on the forehead of the first tainted tree-spirit and watched as the water purified the dryad. Excited that the solution worked, I quickly went to the rest of the dryads and cured them of the taint. My work done, I quickly walked back up the trail to the Elder to tell her the good news.

"I believe I have cleaned up all the pollution for now," I told the Elder.

"Thank you for your assistance," the dryad Elder told me. "Please accept this small token of appreciation." I reached out and took the elemental token she gave me. Receiving an item from such an august personage was almost as big an honor as having the chance to serve her.

I retraced my steps back to where I woke up and found another small mushroom ring with a purplish haze over it. Now knowing what the ring was for, I stepped into the ring and was transported back to Archer’s Wood. Armed with the knowledge that another such ring existed in Nek, I began a trip to that forest to see where that mushroom ring would take me.

All of the dialog in the story above came from the quest. The clues to find the next mushroom ring came from reading what the Tree spirit Elder told me. For those who are interested, a total of five mushroom rings exist. They are located in:

  • Archer's Wood in Antonica
  • The broken mage spire in Nektulos Forest
  • Near the spire in the Enchanted Lands. Take a right off the docks and if you get to the spire you've gone to far.
  • Near the Sullian faries in Darklight Woods.
  • Near the nursery in Greater Faydwar.

According to the notes I found, they will appear in the game around the 20th of each month. If anyone knows how to tell when they appear in game without having to make a visit to Archer’s Wood every day, please let me know.

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