(With apologies to Don Martin) Aargh, run! Splash! Faloop faloop faloop! Tum ti tum! Yike! Crash! Gersplash! Faloopfaloopfaloopfaloop! Blaargh! Runrunrurnrunrunrunrun JUUUUMMMPP! Splash! Faloop faloop faloop! Lolz newb…

Anyway, I’m on the boat at last. No more briny mishaps and we’re off. Hard a-port Mr Captain. Steady the tethers, bosun, frame the mainsplice or something. Zone boundary sighted off the starboard bow and so on. All seemed to be going well at last until my very own iceberg loomed into metaphorical view. Seems we had no sooner zoned into Butcherblock when EQII/my PC/the great god Thor and his vengeful minions decided they weren’t done taunting me just yet and the game froze. Stone dead. As lifeless as a wax museum in a mausoleum.

I tried my usual three-point plan for dealing with this sort of thing, but since swearing in a Russian accent, hitting the monitor with a shoe to try and dislodge the pixels (don’t ask), and stomping around the room occasionally turning to glare menacingly at the screen didn’t seem to be working, I went for the old Vulcan Death Reboot instead, thinking that at the most I’d have to respawn at the docks and start the boat trip again (minus the theatrics of last time). More fool me.

Relogging into the game I find myself not amongst the tranquil sea and sarcastic seagulls of the Thundering Steppes dockside, but standing amongst towering rock formations, parched looking desertscapes and a small outpost of dwarven folk. Seems that rather than respawn me in the sensible position of anywhere near the point I was at when the game froze, it dropped me randomly onto the map several miles from safety and surrounded by arcane beasties that would sooner use me as a toothpick as look at me.

Did that rock just move? What about that tree? That mound of dirt is definitely looking at me funny.

Ordinarily my reaction to such imminent danger would be to hit the old Call Of Qeynos hotkey (always got that one on standby dontchaknow) and warp the hell to the safety of my tavern room. But I didn’t think I could face all the hassle of getting back to TS, messing with the docks and having people point and laugh once more, plus I have a handy stealth power that should see me safely past the beasts of fearsome size and dubious formation (I mean, really, how does something made of rock breathe?). Only problem is that stealth isn’t a permanent state. It only lasts for as long as I have Power in the tank. And naturally there isn’t nearly enough to get all the way to the docks from here, especially as I don’t really know which way the docks are. Sigh.

So I did what any right-thinking man in my shoes would do, I cheated. A quick scan of EQ2Map.com, just to point me in the right direction (and to scare the jebus out of me) and I reluctantly set off, like a ginger ninja of the night. The aim was to keep heading for any spot that looked safe enough from wandering mouths, recharge the battery packs and head off for the next one. Eventually I figured I’d reach safety and be able to start my new life proper.

Except that wandering mouths, well… they sort of wander, don’t they? So every time I holed up thinking I was safely out of aggro range, over an Earth Elemental or similar menace would start to stroll, causing me to flee on many an occasion, several times halfway up the sides of sheer rock faces just to widen the gap as much as possible. Death teleportation wasn’t really possible as I’d already tired that and was only given the option of rezzing even further into the wilds than I already was.

A pretty nervous half an hour then as I hopped from one relatively barren spot to another, each time barely making it through a patch of wild things before the stealth power wore off. The final moment of terror came as I could see the goal, only to pop back into the visible spectrum just as an unseen winged, razor-tooth thing came around a corner and started charging as if I was trying to steal its eggs or something. Flashing my RSPB membership card didn’t have any effect so instead of heading for the entrance to the docks (cut off by more nasties), I sped for the only way out I could think of – the cliffside that led to the Butcherblock waters below. I think the rationale was: death by plummet is marginally less painful than death by gnawing.

Then salvation! The dwarf-devouring birdman gave up the chase just as the cliff edge came into view and somehow the impression of a dwarf-sized hailstone didn’t take place as my little monk instead hopped over the side and started to clamber vertically down. Now I’d heard that climbing had been put into the game a while back, but outside of some fun in the training area for Fae with my alt, I hadn’t actually encountered it. What larks!

Don’t look down. Or up. Or off to the sides for that matter. In fact just closing your eyes entirely would probably be best.

To cut a long story short, I proceeded to spend the next half hour scaling up and down every off-coloured wall I could find, now that I was free of aggro, before finally making my way to the dockside. All’s well that ends well. At least until my first quest task asked me to run around on an island outcrop full of auto-aggro aqua goblins. But that’s a story for another day (probably tomorrow if I’m to keep this blog going). If anyone wants to offer advice for a mid-20s monk with a yellow streak the size of the road in Oz, just making his way around this new land, I’m open to suggestions. Just don’t expect me to be any good, is all.