Zones for leveling: A medium length guide

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Zones for leveling: A medium length guide

Post by bardicle » 27 Apr 2020 18:02

Thought I'd try to compile a list of decent zones for leveling, with some commentary on benefits and drawbacks. This is something I would have found really practical when I didn't know the game as well, and it is my hope that others who are just starting out/coming back from a break will also find it helpful. This list will have a focus on dungeons, where mobs typically stand still, are of similar-ish levels, and can be found near eachother. This is by no means a complete list. I haven't started in every city, and I haven't really done any of the mid-level velious or luclin zones. I may also be flat out wrong/have opinions that you strongly disagree with. I've grouped zones by level increments of five. You can always go there earlier if you don't mind spells not landing most of the time, and you can stay longer, seeing as the highest level mobs often belong in the group one step higher. There are just fewer of them.

Assuming you don't wanna start out in the mines (and that may well be the case if you're an altaholic like me), your home town newbie yard. Bit of a no-brainer, but the simplest is often the best. That is not to say they are all equal, though. Some newbie yards have just awful mob density.
The worst: Kelethin, Oggok, Grobb, Erudin
These four have one thing in common, low mob density. Staying in these places will make you spend more time finding mobs than killing them. Kelethin has the saving grace of sharing a zone with the felwithe newbie yard.
The OK: Kaladim, Halas, Neriak, Shar Vahl
The first three have a good amount of mobs, but you still have to do some searching. Shar Vahl is the odd one out here, since it has a lot of mobs really close together. The only problem is that they're balanced for Luclin, which is to say, super tanky compared to those on Norrath. It's also dark and easy to get lost in.
The Good: Felwithe, West Freeport, Rivervale
High mob density. Rivervale has the lowest, but it's hardly an issue, since more than half the zone has mobs under level 5. Felwithe and West Freeport have the same problem that prevents them from being elevated to the highest tier; Geography.
The Great: North Qeynos, Field of Bone, North Ro
Mobs here will practically come to you. You'll never run more than five second before finding your next victim. Field of bone also has the benefit of earning you a pretty penny early on, as well as transitioning into higher level mobs the further from the gates you go. I should also mention that I am irrationally fond of Iksar.
The absent: Gukta, Ak'Anon, Crescent reach, Paineel
I like frogloks, but I've never spent any time in their newbie yard, mostly because their newbie armor drops all come from the swamp. Ak'Anon, well, I just don't like gnomes. Besides, from spending time there for epic quests, I can tell that the place is a death trap. Even level 50+ characters can't ignore the brownies for too long. As for Crescent reach... The bunnies will eat you alive. Paineel is the one city I've never ever started in here, live, or p99. I literally forgot about it until thinking about the Hole.

Only one real contender here; Blackburrow! Heaps of mobs, close to no casters, and a decent respawn timer. You can get away with zones like Qeynos Hills and Nektulos Forest, since the mob density is still decent, but they are not the ideal. Thinking back (after remembering Paineel) there is also the warrens, but I have only ever run through here on my way to stonebrunt.

Four zones of note here. First, Crushbone. You can absolutely go here before level 10. I often do. Given shammy buffs, you can pull half the zone without much worry. The only issues are the oracles, the thaumaturgist, and the back end of the castle. This is where you might see your first caster mobs, and at low levels poison DoTs can be lethal. The thaumaturgist is also the lowest level mob I've ever been feared by, and fear is the single most infuriating debuff on this server, followed by root when the last mob walks away and social aggros ten red cons /rant. The emperor and his cronies are also quite a bit higher level than the rest, and you might have trouble landing spells on them.
The second is Kurn's Tower. The upper floors are all skellies, and they stand no real chance of killing you so long as you don't pull all at once. Exp is probably the fastest here, and they also drop some nice leather pieces which are most likely an upgrade if you didn't do your newbie armor quests. The basement also houses similarly levelled mobs, but the burynai cast and fear, which can be exceedingly bad if you aggro loads more and/or get lost
Third we have Runnyeye. The first floor is all melee, and very easy. Second level down is where the trouble begins. Tons of caster mobs, healers, and since many of the mobs wander, you might have more shoved into your mouth than you can chew. My recommendation is to only go here if you've gathered enough plat to buy yourself some CH and cure pots.
Last, there is The Gorge of King Xorbb. Or Beholder's Maze, whatever floats your boat. You might think that this zone has low mob density, and the geography doesn't help dispel this thought, but if you run a full circuit to pick up mobs, you might find more than you bargained for. If I'm on a caster, I don't go here 'till I'm at least level 12. That way the highest level minotaurs don't resist all the time. There is also the danger of running into King Xorbb himself, but I've only ever seen him once (the fabled version in fact). In the center of the zone there are also some evil eyes that really like to dispel all your buffs. They may also have pets, and in case you don't know, pets hurt a lot more than their level might suggest. (This is probably due to this server's custom rule set, and that NPC pets have the same stats as PC pets. This is only my guess, and if I'm right I sure hope beastlord pets with procs don't get added :P ) You may also notice the forboding custom beholder upon the throne. He's easy to avoid, and thus not all that dangerous.

Estate of Unrest. You can go here earlier, especially if you stick to the yard. I like to pull the entire yard at once, since nothing in it is any kind of dangerous. Just make sure you don't pull mobs through the house, since you might pick up something you don't want. The undead in the zone tend to give you long lasting diseases, so be sure to bring cure pots if you ever hope to heal by resting. The ghouls inside the house have a tendency to perma-root you, so when you pull a bunch of mobs, don't leave them for last, since they'll run off and be near impossible to find until they've regened up to ~20% again. Another downside here is how far out of the way this zone is. The closest port AFAIK is the Kaladim-PoK book, meaning your shammy haste buff will run out around half-way through Dagnor's cauldron. The silver lining is that there are a bunch of goblins you can kill on the way through the cauldron.
Upper Guk Decent armor drops if no newbie armor, and of course, good EXP. The layout, however, might be the single most confusing in all of classic, even with a map. Bring gate pots if you want to leave. Another, though minor, problem is that mob levels ramp up much quicker than in other zones. There are also a fair share of shammys among them, which is to say you'll be poisoned and diseased more often than not.
Eastern Karana. Unlike most other proper out-door zones, there are tons of mobs here. More than most newbie yards I'd say. You can come here earlier than 15, just watch out for the bandits (casters), the evil eye (usually has a pet), the druids (if they hate you) and the random level 30 mobs wandering. There are also the static custom minotaurs near the gorge, but they won't bother you unless you get close.

Najena. The first few mobs may con grey, but most of the stuff in here will be blue-yellow. With the map, getting lost here won't be a problem. The most dangerous mobs here are the nameds, who all seem to fear you. Then there are the odd summoners, but with heal pots they won't be an issue.
Mistmoore, or at least up to the graveyard. The initial area I typically pull all at once, since it's the only area in the zone where you are not in any real danger at this point. After that I may pull as far as the graveyard, if I'm feeling bold, but here you'll get rooters and nukers. The graveyard mobs are also safe to kill afterwards, but going further is a recipe for disaster at best. The area beneath the castle entrance is packed with red con mobs that invariably root, nuke and fear. Getting feared typically means you walking up the ramp, and possibly even into the castle itself. Every mob you aggro is just another one to fear your farther and farther into the castle. Even approaching the entrance to this area will aggro 5 mobs at the least. At this point, you want to go back and sell some of the valuables you've found. One item of note here is the Silverwing Loop, which are probably the best earrings you can get on the classic continents. They are rare, but tend to drop in multiples when they first appear.

Mistmoore again. At this point you can take the aforementioned area on. Maybe even push into the castle, depending on your level/class/confidence. Though beware, the mobs in the castle are a special breed of nasty.
SolA. I usually try to go here at 20, and I regret it every time. The first few mobs are a breeze, but not at all indicative of the level of the rest. The zone is also very confusing, not at all helped by the map. I am decently used to navigating the place, but I still get lost all the time. The zone is jam packed with shammys, wizards, and even rogues (which is only really a problem if you're a rogue yourself). Thankfully the shammys are more prone to nuke than DoT. There are a few drops that are used for mid-level armor quests here, so keep a lookout for those. The jackpot here is the Warforged Emerald Hoop. A rare drop, but an extremely good ring that you won't find an improvement on 'till high-end velious zones.
Dalnir. I have mixed feelings about this zone. On one hand, the Exp is great. The mobs on the first level will all con yellow to you @25. The sarnak on the lower levels are slightly tougher, but nothing you can't handle. If you're a monk, some dope gear drops for you here. On the other hand, most mobs here are casters, so fears and enemy CH's are pretty common. Also, a number of iksar class quests take you here for loot that you'll never get when you're looking for it.

Every time I hit level 30 I am faced with the same problem. Where to go. Nothing ever comes to mind, initially. So I go looking on Alla and the p99 wiki. Then I remember Lower Guk. The undead side is filled with mobs that you should be able to take down. You might also be able to gradually repair some froglok faction by killing the undead ones. Getting there is not too easy, though. I myself have memorized a path along the east side of Upper Guk that'll take me to the undead side of the lower dungeon. The undead side is also the less confusing part of the zone, barring the many floor traps.
Kaesora is another option, though one that I regularly shy away from. That place is a vertical maze, and I have no idea how to navigate my way down there. The mobs, on the other hand are very straight forward and only a smidge tougher than the antonican mobs their level.
Some other places you might be tempted to go after reading the p99 wiki are Splitpaw and Temple of Cazic Thule. On this server, that is a bad idea. Here, we have the revamped zones, which are suitable for levels 50+.
Other possible zones are Crystal Caverns and Tower of Frozen Shadow. Crystal Caverns, I've found, has nice and easy mobs, but a horrendously complicated layout, probably the most confusing of any zone on the server. Unless you know your way around down there, or are a masochist, I suggest you steer clear. The tower has a different problem. The mobs in the library are super scary, and an encounter with one will have you waltzing around the entire floor, aggroing everything. From what I recall, they also snare you, making escape without a gate pot about as easy as swimming in quicksand.
If you're planning on doing Velious armor quests, you'll need faction, and these are the levels you can start building that. Murdering dwarves in Thurgadin if you want Kael to be your home away from home, or Slaughtering giants in Kael if you like the other two. The skyshrine armor has the best stats, plus you need dragon faction if you want the top tier ToV quest gear.

SolB. One of my favorites. The kobold tunnels are filled with warriors and shammys, and that means you won't be getting stunned left and right. Plus the mobs might as well be made of wet tissue paper. This zone makes these levels a breeze, and they drop some decent classic plate armor. If you hate yourself, you can always go fight the bats. Some words of caution; Don't immediately go pick a fight with the king and his crew. They are a good bit tougher than the rest, sometimes with pets. The beetles in the south tunnels are very tough for their level, plus they have a nasty fire-based DoT. And finally, the fire giants. They are closer to level 50, and see through rogue invis. Overcons they may be, they are still very tough to down at this point, and you'll never pull just one.
City of Mist is a zone where your milage may vary. Most mobs on the eastern side are easy to down at this point. The problem lies in the fact that they will occasionally respawn as mid-40's mobs, which will give caster classes without pets a lot of trouble. Shammys hoping to advance their epic quest here will invariably run into some of these, and have little choice but to zone once your pet aggros onto something else while chasing down that red con, who then aggros everything left in the zone.
Skyshrine is also an option, but doing so would dampen your prospects for phat quest gear down the line.
Lastly, Kedge Keep. Eqitems tells me there is a lot of high-end classic gear to be found here, but IMO it's not worth it. The zone is terribly complicated, and all under water. Not to mention, everything is KoS here, forcing people without invis or feign to fight everything.

There are many good options here. First is The Hole. You start out indifferent here (not sure about Paineel citizens), but you will be KoS in no time at all. Mobs here are pretty tanky, and have higher resists than normal, making this a bit of a slog for casters. There are also some higher level casters interspersed with the rest of the mobs, making this a tough place to say the least. However, mobs here drop items that are worth upwards of fifty plat apiece, the elemental binder being one of them. So if you need money, this is the place to go at this point.
Second is Karnor's Castle. It's been a while since I went here, but I remember it as a dangerous zone, though very good for Exp. Monks also find the easy half of the zan fi flute here.
Chardok is packed to the brim with ezpz mobs. Monks will grow to hate this zone during their epic. Which is the reason I don't have a lot to say about it. I've avoided this zone for some time now from the burnout on that single camp.
Howling Stones/Charasis is one of the tougher zones in this tier. Mobs are tanky, and you'll fall down the same holes every time you come in here. Bring levitate unless you want to die an embarrasing death. Some decent gear drops in here, but I'd rather come here for the Exp than the loot.
Lastly, Sebilis. The frogloks in the beginning of the zone hit hard, but are fairly squishy. At this point, the frogloks are all you'll want to mess with. Sure, you can take the odd ghost here and there, but the golems are very tanky. Bards will be back, and they'll love it :lol:
I am aware of Veksar, but I haven't been in there in so long that I can't even remember what level of difficulty/reward it has.

SolB, and this time, fire giants. As mentioned before, they are overcons, and will go down quite easily by now. As you approach 50, you may well be able to take Naggy himself down. The earliest I've done it was around 45/46 on a monk. Granted, it did take a lot of time and healing pots. Casters and proc dependant classes may want to wait until 50/51 so he doesn't resist everything.
At 46 the planes become available. The planes of Fear and Hate are the ones you can take the most easily for now, so...
Plane of Fear! Those of you that have never ventured here before will be surprised here. Mobs have a truly astounding aggro range. My advice, run for the edge of the map, then fight off the three or four mobs you aggroed along the way. Progress slowly, and don't be afraid to retreat to the edge as soon as you aggro something. Mobs here drop very valuable class gear. Granted, you'll never see anything for your own class drop, but it's great for twinking out alts. Some things to watch out for; Turmoil toads fear, which can be a death sentence with the aggro range here. The evil eyes and the tentacle terrors will strip you of all your buffs in a matter of seconds. The imps teleport, inevitably bringing a train with them as they make your way back to you. The wisps have pets. The Dracoliche roams, harm touches every 30 seconds or so, is incredibly tanky for this zone, and only theoretically has a chance to drop something useful. The three golems also harm touch frequently, and one of them (i think its Fright) has a long lasting stun, making him very dangerous to fight. Lastly, there is Papa Thule himself. As big as he is, you'd think he'd be hard to miss, but this zone is deceptively confusing. I have accidentally aggroed him more than twice. And as the big cherry on top, aggroing the big man will in turn aggro everything in the zone. I have no idea if anyone on this server has ever downed him, and even less of an idea of how they did it.
Plane of Hate. I've heard horror stories of pre-revamp PoH. Aggroing through the walls and ceiling from the smallest action. Thankfully we have post-revamp here. Most mobs are static, and are for the most part managable. Mobs are a bit tankier than in Fear, but in return you won't get trained for looking at a mob funny. Some mobs heal, but few cast damage spells. The biggest benefit is how rich you'll get from a single trip. Upwards of a thousand plat per trip isn't unrealistic, making the 50 plat teleport stone very worth it.
The other planes are going to be tough for you at this point. Zoning into PoSky will strip you of all buffs, and the zone houses mobs ranging from 45-60. Going past island 2 will be very tough at this point. Tier 1 PoP zones are appropriately leveled, but the mobs are very tanky, so unless you are twinked out with lvl 60+ gear/have a bunch of AAs, I'd steer clear for now.
There is also Dragon Necropolis, and Velketor's Labyrinth. Both of these zones have very tanky mobs compared to the alternatives, and the labyrinth I know next to nothing about.

These are the levels where you can start earning AAs, start taking down raid targets, and get some progress in your epic quests, and that's what I'll recommend you do.
Naggy is the easiest/least painful classic raid mob to down. Getting there is simple, he isn't very dangerous to a level 50, and he drops great gear, plus some epic quest items.
Phinny, on the other hand, is a pain to get to, and while I do like the idea of taking down every raid target at least once, Phinny is the one you won't kill more than once, unless you need what he drops. Meaning Bards, Mages, Wizards and Rogues may well come here many more times (He dropped both the robe and the backbone last time I killed him /gloat)
Vox is a bitch. There are no two ways about it. Getting to her is easy enough with the map (bring invis pots), but the mobs in her lair have a tendency to dispel you. Vox herself is the same level as Naggy, but a good deal tankier. She has a pet that hits very hard, and she likes to CH. To top it off, she never drops what you want, so bards and pallys will most likely be back a good many times.
Now, the rogues among you might wonder where to go after your epic, so
Temple of Cazic Thule is now a good place for you. The mobs are tanky, but they drop valuable loot, with the occasional offhand replacement.
Mines of Nurga has been revamped, and has level 50+ mobs for you to slaughter. Beware that everything but the rats casts in here. It's fast Exp, but not very lucrative.
Siren's Grotto is another place you can take on. Personally, I can't recall ever killing anything in here. I just gun it for the Western Wastes and ToV, but I think it's safe to assume that the mobs here are Velious-level tanky. That shouldn't be a problem if you have your epic, though 8-) .
I've heard Crypt of Nadox is a good spot for these levels, but I have never been there.

Not much to say here, sadly. Just progress deeper into the zones previously mentioned. Nihilists can attempt Vex Thal.

ToV! Assuming you have good dragon faction, you can venture into the east wing and pull half the place at once. They drop skyshrine armor pieces, and the nameds drop items for the ToV quests. This is some of the best pre-Luclin gear you can get your hands on. When you've got everything you want from here, you can go to the north wing, and take your faction from max to min in a single trip. The drops here are great.
VP is another option. The drops aren't as good as in ToV, but it's nothing to sneeze at. From what I remember, the mobs here are very tough for Kunark mobs.
Plane of Sky also becomes doable, and I think it's a nice challenge to undertake.
Assuming you've gotten some AAs, the lower tier PoP zones are also an option. The mobs are tanky, but with some Velious gear they are good Exp.

At this point, you're looking for AAs, and gear. Clearing the planes of power and downing Gods for their ph4t l3wts. This is the farthest I've come on any character, but I have yet to attempt PoTime. The end game would is then the custom mobs that have tempted you so throughout your journey.

This became a bit longer than I had initially envisioned. Hopefully it's not terrible to read. Critiques, corrections and reformulations welcome. I would ideally like to expand this list to include the Luclin zones, but I just don't know enough about them.

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Joined: 27 Nov 2016 18:40

Re: Zones for leveling: A medium length guide

Post by y2sky2003 » 27 Apr 2020 23:16

That's not a bad array of options, but it's missing some great spots in the Luclin and Ykesha expansions, especially if you have a box/friend/potion to DS you. Most of these are large zones full of mobs that all aggro so you can pull as much as you can handle. Been a while so my level ranges might be slightly off. Go from when you can consistently land procs/spells in a section to light bluing out.

- Maiden's Eye 40-50
- Umbral Plains 50-65*
- Gulf of Gunthak 33-48
- Dulak Harbor 38-50
- Crypt of Nadox 48-65*

* - These spots were popular for zone pulling by geared 65s, so starting at max level, custom mobs that warp behind you and backstab will randomly spawn at your location while fighting. If you want to mass pull in these spots, turn off regular XP at 64.

Also, you can actually do FoB to 20 if you fight near the forest where Kaesora is (on the other side of the canyon from Cabilis). If I were speed leveling a toon today, I'd probably do FoB -> Mistmoore -> Gunthak/Dulak -> Nadox, switching to the moon zones if Ykesha zones were camped. However, most of the point of the server is nostalgia, so that's not going to get you the old school experience =)

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