Medievia Mudslinger

March 18, 2001

The Explorer's Guide to Learning Zones - by Kilith

So, you're looking to learn a new zone, eh? Maybe you're looking for a new place to average out your "SCORE Z" listing, or perhaps you've heard of which zone has that piece of equipment you just NEED. Maybe you've always wondered how to open up that locked door in your favorite XP zone, or been curious what really IS on the other side of that CPK area. Or you may even just are looking for a change of pace. In any case, learning a new zone can be one of the most rewarding challenges in Medievia - or the most frustrating. Hopefully, this guide will help you to be successful in your journeys!

The two main reasons to learn a zone are for gaining experience points (XP), and getting equipment (EQ). The lower your total level, the more you should be focused on XP, and the less you should be concerned with EQ. As you get higher and higher in total levels, the opposite will become true, until you are a Hero and no longer need XP. Generally speaking, leading forms or soloing for EQ is quite a bit tougher than doing the same to gain XP; also, most of the best EQ is usually on the "last" mobs (short for Mobiles - these are the monsters and other non-players in the world of Medievia) in a zone, meaning that you will often need to know the zone front to back, inside and out. Therefore, learning a zone for each of these two purposes tends to work quite a bit differently, and will both be addressed separately.

GETTING STARTED

First, you need to choose a zone to learn. Your clannies may have some suggestions, or you may already have an idea or two - especially if you know of a certain piece of equipment that you want. However, it is very important that you do not pick a zone that is beyond your means. Everyone wants to learn Bloodstone and Elysium and Demonforge, but if you are a single class cleric who's never led an XP form without getting everyone killed, you should probably set your sights a little lower to begin with. If you need some suggestions, check out the Areas in the Game section of MedWeb (The Medievia Website for players, reachable at www.medievia.com), or use the ZoneInfo (or ZI) command. Information about zones in either of these places will give suggested levels and formation sizes, making it much easier to decide where you can and can't go. Chances are, you've noticed quite a few zones that are around your level that you've never heard of before. Oftentimes, these are your best choices! Go ahead and pick one, and you're almost ready to go!

When first exploring a new zone, you may want to go alone or with one or two good friends/clannies, assuming the zone is survivable with small forms. You may be thinking "But I will surely die!"... With proper preparation you can minimize this risk. Also, in the worst case scenario that you DO die, all that you will lose (in most cases) is ten minutes of time while waiting at an altar. Don't worry about it! Most zones have an altar very nearby (or even inside of the zone), and if you DO die, you'll know what NOT to do the next time. The main reason for going alone at first is to get some ideas about the layout of the zone. You don't need to know the place inside and out, but just enough so that you won't get totally lost next time, when you bring a formation with you.

Invisibility and/or sneak will help a lot. If you're not a thief, then there's not much you can do about not being able to sneak. There are several items and pieces of equipment which can make you invisible, though - so try to pick them up. There are wands of invisibility available in many magic shops in the towns, so buy a few of them when you get the chance. Being undetected by many of the mobs in a zone will increase your life expectancy dramatically.

Also, if you DO bring a couple of other people with you, try to bring a cleric if at all possible. The cleric's ability to heal and cast the Sanctuary spell are priceless to a good form. If this isn't possible, bring lots of healing potions and maybe a couple of Sanctuary orbs/potions (like Flasks of Holy Water, which can be obtained from mobs in one of the zones directly adjacent to Medievia City), although the healing potions are much more important. These should also help your chances of survival. Also, if you are not a cleric, you should grab a couple of Swirling Blue and White Potions - these cast Word of Recall when quaffed, bringing you to the last RECALL POINT you were at, assuming that it is within range. Usually this is the last major city or town you were at (including clantowns), but some zones have recall points as well. Therefore, don't be too surprised if Word of Recall simply brings you to a room in your current zone, although it will usually be a safer room than the one you just left.

You may also want to consider finding a few teleport potions (also purchasable at many magic shops). If things get too dangerous, you can quaff a teleport potion to teleport yourself to the wilderness outside of the zone. Also, unlike the actual Teleport spell, potions have absolutely zero chance of failing. Personally, I prefer Word of Recall (or Transport, which will Word of Recall everyone in your formation that is currently in the same room as you), but some zones are not near a recall point, making teleport a necessity in some instances.

So you've got a zone picked out, and a few items to help... Looks like you're about ready! You may want to check the map on MedWeb for nearby clantowns and go to one of them first, so you will be able to Word of Recall when things get too dangerous. Now call a dragon and fly to the zone! It's time to get started!

EXPLORING A ZONE FOR XP

If you're seeking experience points, you probably don't need to know every single bit of a zone. The most important thing is to find out what you can and can't kill, and how much XP they are worth. If the mobs in the zone you've picked are difficult, bring a formation as soon as you get a feel for the basic layout of the zone.

Try to take down tougher and tougher mobs as you progress, and try to check all of the corpses - many will load potions, or maybe the occasional piece of equipment or key! Also, try to explore as much of the zone as possible. Search at dead ends, or try moving in directions with no exits to check for illusionary walls and invisible exits - you never know what you may find! Many hidden areas have tougher mobs, worth more XP, or possibly shortcuts to other areas of the zone that you were unable to reach before.

Be careful. If you feel that you are in over your head, don't hesitate to cast Teleport or Word of Recall (Transport if you have a form with you). If you cannot cast, quaffing a Swirling Potion of Blue and White will do the same thing as a Word of Recall spell. This has saved me from dying more times than I can remember.

Keep an eye out for locked doors, and try to remember where they were. That way, when you find keys, you'll know where to check. If there is a thief with you, you may want him/her to try picking a few locks, as well. While your main objective is simply to kill things, you may want to try to explore the zone in its entirety as well - then you'll know where to find the best XP, where the mobs who carry EQ can be found, or even how to finish the zone - your ultimate goal.

Some zones don't have a set finish, but many do. The finishing point in a zone is usually when you kill the most powerful, most hard-to-get-to mob. The reason you want to do this is two- fold; first, that mob is usually worth insane amounts of XP, and secondly, that mob will nearly always have some kind of equipment. Sometimes this equipment will be useful to someone in your formation, but if not, it may be worth more to someone who's been keeping an eye on the auction!

Once you get used to the new zone, it will become as familiar as any other XP zone. Try to kill as many mobs as quickly as possible, to maximize the XP everyone can get in their limited playing time. Check out the Mudslinger, as well - many articles are written about leading XP formations, and any one of them may help you out once you feel you know a zone well enough to lead formations there on a regular basis.

EXPLORING A ZONE FOR EQ

So maybe you're looking for a certain piece of equipment in a zone. Or perhaps you want to help the clanrankings in EQ rating points. Or maybe you just want to know how to finish a certain zone. In any case, you're going to be exploring a zone for the purpose of getting the EQ found there. Usually, there is some equipment scattered on the smaller mobs and the ones who carry keys, but the best EQ in any zone can nearly always be found on the final mobs, reachable only after a large amount of the zone has been unlocked and explored.

In most cases, this is a bit tougher. Many EQ zones require large forms of multiclass characters, but some are more based towards newer Medievians. Many zones CAN be EQ zones, if you go through them with the intent of finishing.

Most zones have many locked areas, so you will need to hunt down every key available. Also, some doors are not opened by keys, but by levers or buttons in other rooms. You will also probably need to find most (if not all) of the hidden areas in the zone in order to complete it. However, very few things in Medievia rival the feeling of completing an unknown zone. Here are some tips to help you along the way...

Keep BRIEF mode off, and check out every room description. If items are mentioned in the description (i.e. "There is a desk with several drawers here"), try looking at and looking IN them ("look desk", "look in drawer"). Keys can often be kept inside of items in this way. Also, room descriptions will sometimes mention items you can interact with ("pull rope", "push handle") in order to open doors without keyholes. In some cases, clues to secret exits can be found right in the room description. Think about the clantown portals in Medievia City and Trellor for a minute. There is no "portal" item in the room; if it weren't for the room name and room description, you would not have any idea that there was anything you could enter. Keep this in mind when exploring new zones.

It is almost essential that you have a thief with you, for two reasons. First of all, many locked doors can be picked open by a thief, given a few tries. Second, thieves are able to see what items are in a mob's inventory, which can be vital for finding keys at times (although some mobs will "hold" the key, meaning anyone will see it when they look at a mob).

Some keys work in ways you wouldn't expect. You may need to HOLD a key to get it to work (as is usually the case with keys that don't look like keys), or USE it, or even put it inside of a container inside a certain room. Remember the location of any rooms with items that you cannot pick up - if there is an item in a room called "a really big rock with a hole in it", and you later find a key called "a broken piece of a rock", chances are there is some connection between the two.

Always keep an eye out for secrets! The search command can often find secret exits along the sides of hallways, at dead ends, or even in the ceilings and floors of rooms. There may also be illusionary walls or secret exits in any of these places, so try leaving rooms in directions that you should not be able to. Again, keep an eye on the room descriptions - many secret exits are hinted at there.

Open every container you see! Look inside chests that are in rooms, boxes and bags that are carried by mobs, or even inside lockets and books. Sometimes containers don't look like you would expect them to, but casting Identify on any item will tell you if that item contains anything inside.

If you come across mobs that talk, LISTEN. Many of them give clues as to the location of keys or EQ - even if it is not quite so obvious at first.

If you need help, ask your clannies, or Link and ask on the gossip channel. If all else fails, try telepathing an Avatar. Avatars (if they have the channel on) can see the telepaths of single class characters, and can telepath back to them as well. Avatars receive their Avatar status because they have a good knowledge of the game, as well as a reputation for helping out newbies in need. The WHO -A command will give you a list of all Avatars currently online.

Also, if you are trying to gain EQ points for your clan, check your clan on the SHOWCLAN # command before you pick up items from a room, container, or corpse. When you check SHOWCLAN again after getting the EQ, it will be updated with any points you have earned. Much of the equipment in Medievia (especially the items found on smaller or weaker mobs) is worth no EQ points, but don't get discouraged! You can use this technique to find out what items DO give points, and can plan later runs accordingly ("We'll skip Flametosser the Mage, since he didn't give any points last time... but the Skullbasher in the last room gave us ** points!"). Usually the final mobs in a zone give MUCH more EQ points than the others, so keep this in mind if you can't find anything that gives more than one or two points.

These hints may seem somewhat vague, but this is because there are many different ways in which keys and items are concealed in the zones of Medievia. These tips all apply to multiple zones, and in many cases (such as the part about keeping an eye on the room descriptions) to pretty much every new zone I've tried to learn. Hopefully this gives you a good framework to start with... Good luck!

EXPLORING CPK

So you think you're ready for everything? Not so fast... While this isn't recommended for smaller characters, at some point you will want or need to explore a Chaotic Player Kill (known as CPK) area. Some very valuable EQ and incredible XP can be gained in CPK, but with a phenomenal risk! Players can attack you in CPK, but if you die, instead of simply being teleported out of the zone, you will actually DIE. Then, players can take equipment from your corpse! To make matters worse, you will lose ALL gold on hand, and half of all experience points gained so far in your current level! CPK is not for the weak of heart.

If you still have any interest in exploring a CPK area, then I congratulate you. Many are not so brave. It's not ALL bad... if a mob kills you, all that you lose is your gold, although other players in the zone could theoretically still take some of your EQ if they find your corpse. If you take the appropriate precautions, however, you have little to fear.

This is not a guide to CPK'ing other players - this is a quick, rough guide to surviving while exploring CPK areas. Also, keep in mind that this is aimed at smaller CPK areas inside of zones; these strategies and hints will not help you run Bloodstone or Elysium!

First, put almost all of your gold in your bank account. You will still need a little bit for calling dragons and such, but you want to minimize your potential loss. Also, if you're close to your next level, or are sure you do not want to regain the XP you've already gained, you will probably want to wait until next level before trying to explore any CPK areas. The best time to do it is when you've JUST leveled.

Second, put any equipment and items you absolutely do NOT want to lose in your locker. You always risk being attacked by players while in CPK and having your things looted from your corpse. You may want to grab some temporary replacements from the donation room in Medievia City (this is referred to as "goon eq" or "goon gear"). This will prevent you from losing your favorite items in CPK.

Some areas have a very small amount of CPK, maybe a room or two that then turns back into NPK, so it may not always be worth going to all this trouble. However, if you actually want to explore an unknown CPK area, I highly recommend doing these things.

Some skills, while not necessary, help a LOT in CPK. Sneak will keep you undetectable to players as well as mobs (most players will cast Detect Invisible, making invisibility less useful than usual). Farsight will allow you to look inside of a CPK area before you enter it, to see if any surprises are waiting for you. Sense Life will allow you to sense the presence of hidden players who are normally undetectable (more on hiding players later).

Also, keep a VERY close eye on the WHERE and WHO -Z commands to see who is in the zone. If there are people who are much bigger than you and could easily kill you, you may want to come back later. If there is a player or two who are low level, but have lots of PKs (Player Kills) or are in clans notorious for PKing, you may also want to reconsider. Also, try a CLANWHO #, using nearby people's clan numbers. If they have a lot of people online in their clan, that person may be a PHASE POINT, meaning his or her clannies are outside of the zone and could teleport to that person's location if he or she detects easy prey in the area - however, this will only work if that person is currently outside of any kind of PK area.

Even if you are alone in the zone, you're not out of the woods yet. The HIDE skill allows players to remain undetectable through the WHERE and WHO -Z commands, meaning a nasty surprise could be waiting for you just inside of CPK. While Sense Presence will allow you to see hidden life sources inside of a room, you will not be able to determine who it is, or even if it is a player instead of a mob. Plus, you need to be inside of the room for it to work, meaning it may be too late if an ambush is set up. Something else to keep in mind is that many mobs in CPK have the ability to hide, so hidden presences do not always mean an ambush is waiting.

Still, if you've got your gold deposited in the bank, and have lockered your favorite equipment, and have not gained much XP so far in your current level, you have very little to lose. Use the WHERE and WHO -Z commands frequently; you want to always be aware of other players coming into the zone before they drive a blade through your back. Also, be ready to Teleport, Transport, Word of Recall, or quaff a Recall or Teleport potion at any time - if you ARE ambushed, you want to escape as soon as possible! A quick note: players will often try to Trip or Bash you in an ambush, which will stun you and prevent you from doing these things - so escape is not a certainty. Turn on the WIMPY command (HELP WIMPY) so that you will automatically flee if damaged too badly by an ambush - Trip and Bash will not prevent this particular type of fleeing.

If the zone is empty of any threats (A level twelve mage on the other side of the zone is not necessarily a good reason to stay out of CPK), it's time to explore! The XP will be much better than normal, and there is often a few handfuls of nice equipment in any CPK zone. Just keep an eye on who's in the zone a couple of times per minute, and escape from CPK if a threat is nearby.

Many zones have small portions of CPK. Sometimes this area is hidden, sometimes it is not. There are even CPK areas hidden in some of the major towns and cities! If it is only one or two rooms that you will be briefly passing through (you can check with the Farsight spell) then you might consider risking it with your current equipment - but always be aware of who else is in the zone. By entering "Y" at the CPK prompt (the game will always ask you if you are SURE before allowing you inside any CPK area), you are always taking a phenomenal risk. I would recommend taking the preparations above any time you think you will be fighting mobs inside of a CPK area - this will keep you inside of CPK for a considerable amount of time, and you will be weakened during the fight, meaning a passing player could pick you off quite easily. Try to rest (or heal or quaff potions or whatever else you do to regain hit points and mana) outside of the CPK area, to lower the chances of your being attacked.

All in all, while CPK is risky, you don't have that much to lose if you prepare appropriately. Remember, this IS only a game! While you may lose some equipment or gold, your clannies will usually be more than happy to help you back onto your feet. And while it may not be as good as the equipment you had before, in a worst case scenario you could always grab some equipment from the Donation Room to replace any you lose in CPK, at least until you find more suitable replacements!

AND NOW...

And now it's time to try out what you've learned. There is no better teacher than experience, even in Medievia. Test yourself from time to time to learn zones harder than those you already know. Good luck, Explorer!

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