Having spent literally minutes mulling over my options as were left to me at the end of the last post (which alt to be my main and which area to go to with him), I think I’ve decided to split duties between my Dwarven Monk in Butcherblock, and my Sarnak Fury in Nektulos Forest. I really couldn’t abandon my first real main EQII character for some young upstart, I felt I’d invested far too much pain, humiliation and column inches in him to just throw the little one to side of the road without even stopping to open the car door first. And since he was the first to get to Butcherblock and had already started carving out a name for himself as the premier Aqua Goblin dispatcher du jour, it wouldn’t be right to stop now.

But Nektulos was always an area that held some interest for me. The only time I’d encountered it before was months ago on a magazine screenshotting exercise, which required the rapid creation of a random alt (an iksar funnily enough so maybe there’s some karma in all this somewhere) with inherent invisibility powers, a skipping past the training island and a quick sprint straight past anything with teeth to the entrance of NF, and then a madcap race around as much of the locale as possible, snapping scenery shots like a crazed wildlife photographer covered in BBQ sauce and running around a lion enclosure. I think I was level 4 which meant even the grass was auto aggroing me.

In fact, it’s usually a safe bet that if you ever see a ridiculously low-level character running around completely unsuitable environments in what appears to be a mad panic, constantly stopping to crouch or jump on a rock to get a better angle on a shot, chances are it’s me doing my best Peter Parker impression while on Official Business. Sometimes I wish EQII came with a set of ‘Press’ armour, bright, blue flak jackets with the legend “Don’t Eat Me, I’m A Journalist!” written across the back and that have the dual effects of removing any aggro, but also prevent you from attacking anything.

Anyway, the point is, I’ve seen Nektulos before and it has an appeal, one that I’d like to explore at a more suitable pace and progression. It’s definitely time to start exploring the lost art of Pick-Up Groups in more depth as well. So far, all I’d managed to achieve on that front was to join a silent mob slayer back in The Caves who must have fallen into the old trap of assuming I Know What I’m Doing and without a word just proceeded to attack anything that moves without even stopping to draw up a plan of action, assign group roles, fill in ANY forms in triplicate whatsoever, or even introduce himself.

That and one other time I haphazardly agreed to join a PUG that was setting out for Fallen Gate (I think it was, can’t fully remember for sure) but was having difficulty locating a healer online to join us. So instead of the much promised adventure and excitement I thought I was going in for, I spent a confusing fifteen minutes trying to work out how the teleport spires worked, then an oddly disconcerting dash across the Commonlands with my distinctly Qeynosian dwarf, and then much sitting on rocks and waiting while the group leader cursed constantly about how no one plays healers any more before he gave up on the whole enterprise and logged off. Leaving a nervous and suddenly bereft of companionship ‘goodie’, knee-deep in ‘baddie’ territory. Thanks a bunch.

So basically I haven’t had the greatest of luck with groups to date, but I’m not going to let that get me down. I know there has to be some decent action going on out there, and I aims me to find it. I’m fully house-trained, I promise not to steal loot (in fact I won’t even roll for it, how about that? I’m just happy to help out), and I’ve recently started to get a hang on what all these combat arts do so I might even prove to be useful. Look out world, I’m coming for you!