Thursday, February 25, 2021

Ding 100 -- Absorbed in King Xorbb

And thus Stingite the Beastlord managed to level to 100 in Everquest. Tada! 

Thanks high-elf healer merc! you're the best.

Just 15 more levels, and I'll be capped. So if I kept at this at the pace of one level per week (not accounting for any more power and internet outages), we're then looking at, what, 3-4 months? Seems like a lot. I don't know if I'm gonna make it to be honest.

This level has been all about two zones really:

1- Good ol' Sarith for the daily level 95 hot zone quest.
2- The Valley of King Xorbb

If, when you read number two you had a knee jerk reaction of "whhhaaaaattt????" because when you used to play Everquest you remember a zone called the "Gorge of King Xorbb" aka the Beholder's maze, then yup! This is the same King Xorbb, just a different, much higher level zone with his name.

Also home to Dabbin Sneakfoot -- a halfling in a bush is better than two in Rivervale

Lemme explain: As it turns out, when all those shards exploded from Cazic Thule being overloaded with power, ol' King Xorbb got a big ol' fear shard of his own and made himself a new valley full of elementals, minotaurs, and snakes . . . and I've been killing them for exp and fun!

Don't be fooled this is no ordinary snake -- it's a yellow-con forest snake!

I haven't even really left the front door of the zone either. I zoned in, grabbed a ton of quests, and just started killing everything around me.  It was pretty great too. All the enemies were white or yellow to me, and, unlike a few of the zones in the Rain of Fear expansion, I could handle these just fine . . . as long as the adds didn't pile up.

Part of the problem was that my cleric two-box, Mr. Bigdeal, was just a few levels too low for this nonsense and his aggro radius was unbelievable. Bigdeal faced many deaths, but it was no matter. He always popped back up and managed to make it work.  While I was dinging 100, he was dinging 97, so just a few levels behind . . . all is well.

There were two particularly nice camp spots that I found at the entrance. The first was off to the right of the zone in just past the wall.  From here it was snake tail, whirlwind goo, and bear butt for days!

Stingite punched sooo much bear butt this level 

The second camp was off to the left of the zone in and in a little pocket behind a tree. From here it was mostly mud golems and minotaurs.

Minotaur Butt . . . it's what's for dinner.

Most of the quests were of your typical "kill 10" variety and would give just an extra tad of experience and gold for completion.  Easy stuff.

I need to go exploring to see what else is around the zone, but when the exp is amazing, why leave!  Especially when I pretty much had the entire zone to myself. Seriously, I never saw another soul in this zone with me.

At some point I'm going to need to be social again, but for now my soloing game is on point. An interesting thing that happened this level was realizing that I should just let the pet tank.  It's a shift for me. Back in "the day," I was pretty raid geared out and sitting pretty, so I was taking the tank role for my moloing group, but now I'm realizing how under-geared I am, so now I just really need to let the pet tank.

So here's how my typical mob kill goes:

1- If there are clusters of mobs, pacify with the cleric, then pull with a slow debuff.
2- if there's a single mob,  pull with a slow debuff.
3- As soon as the mob bites me once, the pet grabs aggro.
4- Cast a damage absorbing ward.
5- Recast the Slow debuff if it didn't stick.
6- Get the Beastial Evulsion and Growl "songs" burning to keep the pet nice and healed.
7- Cleric merc does her thing.
8- Tap my two melee damage skills and turn on attack.
9- Cast up a Howl at the moon mini-pet to do some steady damage.
10- Swap over to my cleric and cast a mark debuff on the enemy and a hammer pet.
11- big nuke, stunning nuke, big nuke.
12 - Swap back to the Beastlord and re-tap all the melee skills.
13- If aggro is high in comparison to the pet, Chromatic strike or roar to lower aggro.
14- Cast a couple nukes from the beast or tap a hotkey AA skill for kicks.
15- Back to the cleric for another big nuke, stunning nuke, big nuke combo.
16- Burn the mob down on Beastlord.

Seems to work great.  If I get a second mob, then there's a bit more dancing around as I get the slow debuffs placed on both mobs and join the pet in focus firing on one mob while the cleric mercenary off tanks and takes some hits for us.  It's surprising how durable she is.

That's a butt that's old as the hills and twice as crusty

Wash, rinse, repeat.

If I'm lucky, I don't get bored with this and get into the game's flow. If I'm unlucky and I am bored, I just collect the overseer tasks and log out.

I'm going to need to explore a bit more this next level. Valley of King Xorbb entrance was easy peasy, but I either need to head in deeper or I'm going to need to escape the monotony. I hear there's some good goblin hunting further in . . . maybe that's my next stop.

Happy Dueling!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Surviving 100 hours without power. We did it!

The sun rose up over the skyline early morning on the 19th of February. I had on 3 pairs of pajama pants, 2 shirts, a jacket, and an old Yellow overcoat from Utah to keep the creeping cold out. Mind you, I was inside my house and the temperature was just slightly above freezing. 

The cat was tucked far under the covers purring up next to my wife who was laying in bed with 4 blankets over her in addition to a hoodie and several layers.

"I'm going to go check on the kids to make sure they're still alive," I said with a wink. My wife managed a half laugh. (I joked about that then, but a 11-year-old boy did actually die from the cold here in Texas come to find out.)

Over in the kitchen a small stream of water filled a Tupperware bowl. Before heading upstairs to check on the kids, I dumped the cold water into a separate, larger orange bucket. That bucket held enough water for us to do a couple of flushes in the toilets, and we had more melting snow in one of the tubs . . . just in case. Our water conservation game was on point.

Exhibit A . . .

. . . Empties into Exhibit B.

Exhibit C . . . in case things really get crazy.

Exhibit D: water drip harvesting for when Exhibit A wasn't working at all.

The entire sink area was full of dirty dishes with more dirty dishes in the powerless dishwasher. "Next time, I'm going to need a supply of paper plates and bowls. Check." I mentioned to myself.

This place was hang out central, and a complete wreck by the end of it all.

Bounding up the stairs, you couldn't feel it getting warmer like you usually do, it was just the same cold as downstairs -- that same kind of see-your-breath-in-the-indoors kind of cold. I opened up the blinds to see a clear blue sky and that happily meant one thing for the day . . . this frozen tundra of Pflugerville Texas was sure to melt. Now that's an expression I thought I'd never hear myself think, "Frozen tundra of Pflugerville Texas." We're typically the land where only a skiff of snow less than a centimeter thick dusts us every other year.

Melt  you stupid beautiful snow, MELT!

I opened up my oldest's room door to see them snuggled up to my youngest in bed. They bunked up with several layers of blankets. "You all alive?" I said. "Yeah" they both responded in a humorless, sleepy tone. "Ok, just checking," I responded with equal enthusiasm as I shut the door. They weren't going anywhere soon.

I opened up my middle son's room, and there he was with his hoodie up over his head and three-or-so blankets over him. "Miles! You alive?!" I asked with a smile in my voice.  He just nodded and curled into himself. "You need another blanket?" I asked. "Nope, I feel pretty warm actually," he said. "Good deal. Stay in bed."

"Stay in bed."  It sounded crazy when I said it. This is the kid I pry out of bed every morning to make sure he makes it to classes on time. Not today. Texas was not in session. Even our stupid senator had flown down to Cancun Mexico with his kids to get out of the cold, abandoning all of us and his poodle.

I mean it's fine. Looking back, it was the smart ones who fled to hotels and relatives' houses. Cancun seems a little much, but I heard a rumor that a Days Inn room cost had jumped to $900 in Austin at one point. Um, you hear a lot of rumors like that when the power's out. Anyway, yes, the smart (or maybe panicked) ones gladly emptied their bank accounts in exchange for warm showers and tv. If I had little, little kids, I probably would have done the same . . . if I could have found availability that is. Yeah, to be honest that same Friday morning I described above, I actually started to search for nearby hotels with vacancy after checking on the kids.  Nope. All booked. Even with the stranded Alaskan Hockey Team well on their way to warmer climes.

Over the past 100 hours of no power and little to no water pressure, I'd seen some crazy things. The worst was walking into Home Depot to get a clay pot to try the "heat a room" trick with candles. Then there it was: the 300-light lighting display to sell lighting fixtures. I just stared at the lights and thought, "You jerks. I'm here out of power on a random part of the grid and when all of Texas was supposed to be conserving to help get everyone back, here you are . . . thanks Home Depot."

This little bad boy put out an additional 3 degrees of heat for us ... and enough candle smell to mask the toilet

We did get the clay pots and some salt, but the propane was out at Home Depot as well as every other heat generating item.  All gone.  I had managed to cook four meals out on the grill over the course of the five days: Grilled cheese on night one, hamburgers on night two, scrambled eggs and quesadillas on day three, and pizza on day four. Everytime I used the grill I'd think, "This is it -- that gas is going to run out while making this."  After cooking pizza on Day Four, I turned to my wife and said, "I'm going to get this bottle of propane bronzed and offer it up as a candidate for sainthood." I couldn't believe it hadn't run out -- especially after a summer of grilling. What a freaking blessing that was.

Wii pajamas on, let's cook some eggs from a bottomless propane tank. Hurray!

We had lots of little miracles that happened. Our friends from church, The Edwards, kept in close touch with us and were our guardian angels.  They were only out of power for a couple days and were kind enough to invite us over to have chili one night and warm up while we charged our phones.  Steve even came to save us when my wife's car finally coughed up its last puffs of exhaust several miles from the house about half-way through the 100-hours-of-no-power ordeal.

We lucked out AGAIN when the police called and decided NOT to tow our car when we had abandoned it.  We convinced them we were headed right back to give it a jump. When we got there, we hoped and tried, but it was dead. We lucked out yet again when the same towing company guy slid by while we were trying to get it started and offered to tow it to our house for a quick $50. If the police had let him tow the car the first time, it would have been at least $250 to get it out of the wreck yard.

At least we managed to chip off an ice sculpture from the front of the dead car.

We lucked out one more time when our neighbors, Ken and Liz, gave us a giant 5 gallon supply of bottled water when they were headed over to their relatives house.  My 36 bottled water pack was almost out -- that gifted water allowed us to last just that much longer.

Oh valuable water . . . so good . . . so full of life!

So, when life wasn't seeing us filling our buckets with drip water and snow, it was about trying to deal with the boredom. I read a book, ironically enough, about a young teen that was charged with electricity -- Michael Vey -- my kids read it back in sixth grade and raved about it.  Not a bad piece of fiction, and I could see it as a movie -- just also ironic with us being completely out of power.

We put together two puzzles -- the first was 750 pieces and was insanely difficult. the second was 1000 pieces and also surprisingly difficult. As it turns out, my wife is a puzzle master. After a few days of puzzling, she joked that she now had a "puzzle neck" condition from her time as the master puzzler of our power outage ceremonies. She ended up gluing the first puzzle together to always remember this time and how difficult it was, just like that puzzle.

Man, this puzzle made me crave some Cherry Cola

Modge-Podge that!  We're done!

The fourth night of dealing with the never ending balancing act of suppling water, blankets, and phone charge, my wife looked over at me and said, "You know. I think I'm actually getting used to this." I had the same feelings strange enough.

It was kind of insane how much work the routine was, but we had it down to a system, and every night the kids would gather around with us on the couch at 7:30 and we'd just talk and sing stupid songs for an hour or two . . . and also complain about how much we wished the power was back on. Give us until Spring with no power and I'm sure we'd be buying chickens and a milk cow while converting the rest of the back lawn into a farm -- if the HOA would let us or even was still a thing by that time -- not to get apocalyptical here or anything.

By day four we had taken to bursts of laughter from the stupid situation we were in.  Someone would start laughing and we'd ask what was so funny . . . every time it was just "this -- this ridiculous situation we're in."

I mean, just the night before the outage was Valentine's Day, and I had cooked my traditional Crab Legs and Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes meal for the family. We watched the Dora the Explorer live action movie and it was surprisingly good for a family film. Everything was great on Sunday, and the next day was President's Day. We all had it off. 

I was going to play a huge amount of Everquest on President's Day.  As those of you who read this blog know, I've been playing that old game again lately, and I had it all planned out. I woke at 5:00am to feed the cat, and there I was knee deep in virtual exploring when I suddenly died. I was just about to recover my corpse from the summoner when everything went dark -- 6:38 am.

I didn't have any idea the non-virtual journey we'd be taking then, but ultimately here I was now, on a beautifully cold Friday morning. The kids were safe and warm. 

Melt you stupid beautiful snow, MELT!

Stomachs growling and cold, Kari and I got up and decided to drive around to see if any fast food places were open, which none were. Quick Trip was open, and as expected they were absolutely barren of food. All the Hot Chocolate was gone, and I considered getting a frozen horchata, but I was already frozen. No sense in that. 

When the kids called we were five minutes from coming back to the house empty handed. I could hear the elation from Kari when they told her that the power was back on.  The roads were icy and covered in snow still, but it was the shortest trip home I've ever had.

We ran inside and microwaved the last of the food that wasn't spoiled in the freezer and celebrated our return to civilization. YES! WE HAVE POWER!! I was texting everyone on my short list: I'VE GOT THE POWER! (go ahead, insert the 90's dance music power chords in your mind . . . they were definitely in mine.)

All that was left was to check if the pipes had burst. I positioned a child at each of the attic spaces with commands to listen and watch for water.  Then I went outside and turned on the main line full blast.  Much to our surprise all was well. Not a single burst pipe . . . so far. There was one more night of freeze predicted.

The only causalities it seemed were the fish in the fish-tank. I honestly can't believe any of them were alive after that cold, but we only seemed to have lost 1/3rd of the fish. I can't believe how hardy these tetras were. Long live the white skirts and red eyes! I'm going to need to get a few new guppies.  Ahh well.  You died a noble frozen death my fish. I'm so sorry.

That was one cold, motionless fish

All in all I'd say we learned a valuable lesson about propane, water, and blankets. Those were essential. Also essential, all the wonderful friends and family we had that checked on us during the ordeal.  Love you all and thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.  It's hard enough to be under a pandemic, let alone a dumb disaster situation created by a power grid that can't handle the cold. Then again, I've never seen it this bad down here. Ever. I hope this is the worst it gets, but I'll be adding to my survival kits just in case.

We're still boiling water at the house, but we're gladly returning to a more-powered civilization. It feels good, but strange. It feels like I've been disciplined and humbled. I know there are national and global disasters every day. I know that there are many that have been through much much worse, but it finally happened to me. 

There's going to be some deeper thoughts about this in the future for me, but for now, here's to warmer weather y'all!

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Everquest Ding 99 -- Happy Erollisi Day!

It happened! *jazz hands* It felt a bit sluggish with a side of snailish, but it happened! *jazz hands* Ding 99!

Erollisi wants you to give Stingite a hug on Erollisi Day!

I fought almost the entire level wearing that headband btw, and by the picture you might be able to tell where I am. If not, that is a big crater called Shard's Landing, which was caused by Cazic Thule (the god of fear), who blew up with power when The gods of the ocean were all defeated. Now there's a group here camping out and offering quests to make this wacky hub expansion work.

Many bugs and snakes and wolves sacrificed their experience to me here.  There's a nice set of quests that allow you to just grind them over and over and over, and every time you complete the quest, you get a little experience bump. It was a nice change of scenery.

When snakes get round house kicked, punched, and pummeled to death . . . or at least 6% of death.

The one thing in common when fighting in Shard's Landing is that most of your fighting is done on the side of a mountain, so you get cool, weird angles in your screenshots . . . also a lot of bad pathing.

Gimme them wormteeth!

I actually started to really get the hang of two-boxing this level and made it work really well this time around. (Big Deal the Frogluk Cleric is now level 96 btw) To be honest though, it's giving me weird dreams where I dream in rectangle frames and split screens.  My brain is trying to tell me something . . . like . . . hey . . . you're playing a lot of Everquest lately. My brain knows me so well. 

My brain has even been digging up old memories from three years ago about why I gave up on this game back in 2017.  I remember fighting a bit in a zone called Ethemere Tainted West Karana. I think it was because I was really fed up with DCUO at the time and decided to never play again, so I unsubbed.  Then I just happily coasted out my sub time in Everquest, and then when my sub time ran out, and I was wearing all this prestige gear that you can only wear when you're subbed to Everquest, it made me rage quit and get angry.

I explored a few new zones while I was at it this level to see how they fared.  If I was a paladin, I'm sure I would absolutely love running around in the Chapterhouse zone.

I've got nothing but love for you, Mr. rotting paladin of Marr.

It's the new, updated version of Befallen, an old favorite zone of pretty much everyone in Everquest. Remember Befallen?! Of course you do.  Chapterhouse of The Fallen, just like Befallen, will also kill you with its wandering mobs and double pulls.  The funniest thing to me was the first quest I got here was to . . . kill 10 rats.  No lie.  The MMO cliche -- right there!

Man she was rude . . . you'd think the heart ears would soften her words, but nope

So, I'm missing the last four expansions that Everquest put out. I don't know how much that will restrict me from leveling up past 100, but for now I just keep grinding away.  It really would be nice to get better gear, but I don't really know how to do that aside from Heroic Adventure loot (which my second account can't wear due to being free to play), random world loot, and buying stuff in the bazaar.

If you've got any tips, lemme know.

Happy Dueling!

Monday, February 8, 2021

More Dreams -- Symazing and Dracula's Castle!

I had kind of been agonizing over this past week's community jam project in Dreams. The topic at hand is "Symmetry," and I went completely brain dead . . . right up until yesterday.  I made a long ramp that bent like a pool noodle and thought . . . I bet that's fun to run up.  So I took it and made several clones where you could go up and down it like chutes and ladders.  Then I turned it black and white like keys on a piano, then cloned that again and made it face the other direction like it was a mirror image . . . and viola, I had an idea: Symazing!

Welcome to the noir world of . . . symazing!

Basically it's an obstacle course with a symmetrical left and right hand side. The object . . . get to the finish portal!  In the process of turning one of the pool noodle ramps white, the cat character I had downloaded for the playable hero of the maze not only turned white, but also glowed!  Having a cat for a hero demanded that I had a dog for an enemy and someone had already made the perfect evil dog enemy. Thank you, Dreams community! All I needed to do was tint the dog a little black and it was perfect.

I also gave the world two suns that change from a dark black to a pale white and they switch on and off every seven seconds. Stylistically, I'm loving how this level turned out. 

The first problem I was facing was my pool noodle ramps were very hard to jump up to, so I gave the cat a mega jump.  Perfect.  After this I found a couple of nice "balance" quotes and used them in the level to give it that personal touch.  

Loved the way this one turned out.


During the off week for the Dreams Game Jam, I decided to remake an old fashioned haunted house ride from the amusement park I used to visit as a kid. Behold Dracula's Castle, the real thing!

Unfortunately, that's just too many poly's to remake and the models they had for Dracula and Frankenstein existing in the Dreams library were enough to kill the ride remake just around the first bend.

So, instead I tried to match the themes of the ride to the track I had made, i.e., hall of pictures, whale bones, Frankenstein, headless horseman, Dracula, wolves, torture, electric chair, undead miner, etc.  It kind of fell apart at the end, and I just wanted to make sure I got the rotating tunnels. whew that was a lot of work.

Behold, Dracula's castle, the dreams version!

I spent entirely too long making this thing.  The first part was laying down all the track and getting the walls put up.  It was a lot of work.

Here's a top down view of the ride path inside Dracula's Castle

Building a ride that cue'd certain things happening as you traveled the path meant building a HUGE timeline to go with it.  This was really the first hurdle and I learned a lot about using pathing blends to make the cart turn at certain spots.

The amazing timeline of Dracula's Castle

I pushed the limits on a lot of memory constraints in this ride. Dreams only lets you put "so much" into a level. I wish I could have put in a lot more!

I tried . . .

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my dreams.

Happy Dueling!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Everquest Ding 98 -- ok, if you say so . . .

I don't know, man.  This level's ding did not feel satisfying for some reason.  Usually there's this great moment of elation followed by hands rubbing together to see how much better that made my character.  It should have felt great! Level 98 for the Beastlord brings an upgrade to your pet, a couple great buff spells, and a standard power increase, but getting there was grindy and still full of deaths. I guess that's just Everquest though.

So lemme try to figure this out . . .

Maybe it was because there was more elation during the middle of this level than usual? What do I mean by that? I mean, I finally remembered my second account had a cleric on it. I logged in the account and I didn't realize I had worked up this my Frogluk cleric to 95 as well.  What the heck?!  That's amazing! TIME TO TWO BOX!

Stingite, Sethanae, Bigdeal, and Jatrier back together again!

Baron Bigdeal brings with him an erudite caster DPS merc and that alone started making fights go faster and faster. The funniest thing is that Baron Bigdeal THE CLERIC did not get kicked from my old 2017 guild, but Stingite Sleestak THE BEASTLORD did. I see where you place value in things, old guild leaders. I SEE WHAT YOU DID!

Perhaps my lack of elation came from the stupid re-learning curve of this game? With newfound power, comes new stupid tests of it.  There's a boss in Rubak Oseka named Tiuanid the Faithful. He conned yellow to me, but I'm like . . . LOOK AT THIS TEAM! WE CAN KILL ANYTHING . . . and tried to take him down. I pulled him and started to work on him, and at first it looked like I could pull it off, but then the Mez spell started hitting my beastlord over and over, and I was just locked down. Come to find out, my 2nd box cleric could have been casting a spell called radiant cure to cure the mez, which I had no clue even existed. So . . . the learning curve lengthens YET AGAIN. 

Could it be that two-boxing brings with it its own set of problems? It takes twice as long to get somewhere. I'm managing two screens of knobs and dials. I'm also managing group agro now . . . idk. It all just makes me grumpy.  And now that I know I have the second account and how much it speeds up kills, how can I ever go back to just playing one account. LOL.  Look, these are all first world problems here, folks. Just let an old Everquest player rant for a second.

Maybe it just wasn't different enough from the last level? I mean, that's kind of a base issue with Everquest. With Sarith being a Hot Zone for exp, why leave? For real . . . the mobs are evenly spaced out and aren't tough, you can run the same quests over and over again, and it's just buttery.  But at the same time, it's the same zone with the same mobs over and over: King Crabs, Large Squid, Sharks, and . . . tiny little piranha dudes.

This fish probably has more DPS and health than most gods in the Planes of Power.

But I must give these well-deserved props . . . the one major game play difference throughout this level was starting the Overseer quests thanks to a helpful tip from Bhagpuss from a couple posts ago. I'm loving the little extra boost of experience from these jobs. It reminds me a lot of the companion tasks from Pirate101. Completing those little text adventures was one of my favorite things from this last level.

Which dev posed for this Rugged Gnome Citizen who is also Benevolent and Extravagant?

AND LOOK . . . I don't want you to think that I had nothing but a bad time last level. I actually enjoyed playing Everquest last week. I was pretty obsessed with it to be honest. That's a good thing and a good sign that I'm enjoying a game. It's just that ding didn't really feel great. Shrug.

I think I'm going to take a break from Sarith for a bit and head over to Shard's Landing.  Lemme go kill snakes and bugs for a while and see if that feels better. You know?  I'm feeling pretty waterlogged from killing all those sharks.  

Happy Dueling!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Everquest Ding 97 -- Shark bait, oo ha ha!

This level in Everquest, I began as Nemo . . .

. . . And I emerged this level as SHARK BAIT, OO HA HA!  If only I had a cool group of tank mates that would welcome me back into the game.  

Just look at that happy smile!

Actually, I did try to be social. I sent out a message to the general channel that I was looking for a guild with absolutely no response. I posted my name in the Looking For Guild Message Board Area with absolutely no response.  Eventually I got so sick of not having the most basic of guild travel amenities available to me, that I asked my old Everquest buddy, Calrain, to log on and invite me to his old guild, which he did!
Yessss! A guild tag!!!

I am now the highest leveled character in Quest For Enlightenment (QfE), an old Role Playing Guild on the Erollisi Marr server. The last person from QfE to log in and play a bit did so about six months ago . . . and that character's name is "RezAlt" . . . sooooo . . . sounds like a cleric parked in the guild lobby to me.

It's not a total ghost town on this server. There are people talking in general from time to time, and last night the chat actually got quite busy.  It was kind of cool to see.  From what I understand, the real grouping fun happens on the recommended servers, servers like Firiona Vie. How do I know this? I've been watching a few YouTube videos. This feature guide below from Nerd Navigator was pretty great. In fact, all his Everquest videos are pretty great.

As for me . . . I've been soloing, um, or "moloing" (soloing with a mercenary) in the Veil of Alaris expansion. The daily Hot Zone Quests have been pointing me toward Sarith, City of Tides, where it's all about killing sharks, squids, sneaky little piranhas, and those delicious King Crab.

Gimme dem claws!

Sarith is a "Tier 2" zone in this expansion where as long as you can talk the local language of Alaran, the repeatable quest givers will gladly give you a few extra platinum for killing the creatures there. 

There's also a row of "breadcrumb" NPCs that point you toward a "Tier 3" dungeon in the zone known as Rubak Oseka. When I wasn't killing sharks in Sarith, I was downing cultists in Rubak.

Take that, Zealot!

What an interesting dungeon this is! Basically it's a spiraling downward dungeon with the internal shape of a giant conch shell. This place is great for soloing! I imagine with a group it'd be even better. I imagine with two groups, it'd be awful!  Why? I think the groups would end up walking over each other a bit with long respawn timers, but that said, I guess I could see a group taking "top shell" and "bottom shell" camps here. Although at the bottom of the shell there appears to be a small raid event that appeared to be pretty challenging back in 2012?

Now lemme tell you how many times I died inside this shell called Rubak Oseka . . . at least 10 times . . . AT LEAST, but by the end of level 96, I was much more comfortable and even able to handle 2 mobs at once here.  And really that's what this level's theme was all about--trying to get more comfortable with the game again.

Undoubtedly level 97 will have more visits to these two zones, and possibly on to a few zones I've never seen before . . . there's literally a mega ton of content I own, but have never even seen.

Happy Dueling!