EQ2 has open world areas, such as caves or buildings, that represent a bit of a challenge. The minotaur filled Mines of Meldrath in eastern Steamfont Mountains is one such zone. As is usual for these areas, it has densely packed groups with heroic (^^ or ^^^) mobs thrown in on occasion. I’d had a quest almost since starting the zone to kill the big bad leader of the minotaurs so finally last session, with my new merc at the ready, I plunged into the mine.
I was a bit low on other quests to do but as is usual for the game a bit of exploration goes a long way. As well as the assassination order, I also found some quest items for another quest without really meaning to and ended up starting on a new Legends & Lore (L&L) quest for minotaurs (sadly I didn’t think to take a relevant picture!).
I love these L&L quests, they are simple collection quests that you complete by farming monsters of a given type. Not only do they give a bonus reason to slay kobolds or whatever, but they also have a cool side effect, once you’ve done a L&L quest, you learn the relevant language! So the above pictured gobbledygook is replaced by understandable insults and cries of outrage or despair. It’s a wonderfully immersive system.
One other important benefit of L&L quests for the non-roleplayer is that you gain a special (master’s smite for all priest classes) for that creature type. I’ve no idea of how these stack up in the later game but at present one hit of master’s smite (kobold) will reduce any generic kobold my level to half health. That’s a really powerful spell I can use every few fights. It’s especially nice to have it ready for any fights against named heroic monsters of that type as I can drastically shorten them with one blow!
As a final side-note mercenaries are not quite invincible. After plowing deeply into the mines and completing my goals I thought I’d mount up and ride on out to hand-in at the Gnomeland Security base in the zone. Bad idea. All of the numerous groups had respawned by now. I stopped when I was dismounted to find my merc was fighting easily 10+ assorted monsters. So I waded in with him throwing as many area damage spells as I could. The issue with mercs, at least the healers, is that despite the bad gear/stat scaling his mana isn’t infinite. So even though he was keeping himself alive through some manic healing his mana wasn’t keeping up. We did avoid a ‘wipe’, he died but by then there were only a few left and I still had my emergency cooldowns ready to save me.
A lesson in overconfidence; thankfully one that wasn’t fatal although I think my merc will be in a sour mood next time I use him…