There are gobs of wilderness adventure areas in DDO, and each of them comes with quite a hefty chunk of XP available to those willing to plod about and stab a few things. Much like quests, everyone has their favorite “go-to” zones.. here are a few of mine.
Ataraxia’s Haven, base level 10
This has long been a “mandatory run” for every single one of my Heroic toons. Just twenty or so minutes of ambling about, nailing the Explorer points and the two-hundred kill mark can easily net over 20,000 XP, with the potential for more if you get a good Rare run. The “desert resort island” is a bit of an amusing tongue-in-cheek humor, as setting more than a few feet out of the resort area will result in attacks by duergar, scrag, scorpions, razor cats, wildmen, hyenas, rust monsters, and spiders. I’m particularly fond of the Explorer run, here, as it can be done in a “one loop” fashion without any doubling back, making ticking them all off a fast source of XP, indeed.
Sorrodwusk Isle, base level 7
Another “mandatory run” for my toons, Sorrowdusk Isle is a pretty large place, but the Explorer points themselves are pretty simple to grab between quests if you’re doing the arcs here, anyway. The Sorrowdusk arcs are worth a pretty hefty chunk themselves, and tacking on some Slayers between quests makes this an often-overlooked source of free experience points. Riddled within the hills are half a dozen caves which each contain their own little cache of monsters, all of which have a chance at a Rare, and are worth poking your nose into while hoofing it back and forth between quests.
Devil Battlefield, base level 19
Regular readers of this blog just knew this was going to make it onto the list. Of course it did! It’s Shavarath! I absolutely adore the Plane of Battle. Chug a Slayer Count Boost, grab your favorite character of divine vengeance, and go have fun spilling devil blood all over their own backyard! The Explorers are pretty conveniently doable in something closely resembling a single “loop” of the field, minimizing the time spent backtracking. Plus, you rarely ever have to spend time looking for enemies to kill – they teleport to you! Now isn’t that convenient? I thought so.
Sschindylryn, base level 22
While in Epic levels, this is one of my favorite places to go chug a Slayer Count Boost and go wild in. Unlike some wilderness areas, the kills here are close and fast, and odds are you won’t have to wander for more than a second or two before finding something else to kill – the King’s Forest comes to mind in that regard. The close-quarters feel of the subterranean urban landscape (does that make it sub-urban? -Ed.) is reflected in the fact that roughly half of the drow you encounter are ‘commoners,’ with laughable combat abilities, alongside the trained combatants themselves. It’s quite gratifying to lop a drow commoner’s head off in one shot and listen to them squeal like a gerbil in a microwave*. Locating all the Journals (Explorers) can be a bit tricky at first, but once you learn their locations, this is an easy 120-150,000 XP in twenty minutes or less on the first run. The later Slayer runs provide a massive amount of XP, as well. Also – it’s Sschindylryn. Come on. The architecture in here and scenery is truly epic in scale, even when limited to an almost all-purple color palette. Bravo, Turbine!
Epic Three-Barrel Cove, base level 25
I’m specifying the Epic version of Three-Barrel, not to disparage the Heroic one (although pirates are a blech theme in my book, along with Mafia stuff and Westerns), but because OH MY GOD the Epic version. It’s hard to get more Epic than blowing up enemy airships that are targeting you… sometimes from the ground, sometimes from within… and let’s all admit it, that “suicide leap from the top of the lighthouse onto the deck of a ship to enter the engine room, destroy the elemental, and then swan-dive off into the water before the airship detonates and comes crashing down” totally makes you start humming the theme to Mission: Impossible. (Or James Bond, or some other spy theme.) Hostile airships alone would be enough for this to top my personal list, but of course that can’t be everything – no, we have to have some pretty amazing loot from the Rares in the area that will make most players drool. (Have you seen the Orcish Privateer’s Boots?) And no, I don’t want the Heroic version to have hostile airships. That would just make the feeling… diluted. Taking down your first airship is a “holy sh*t!” moment that just feels awesome and wouldn’t translate well to levels 3-7.
Well, there you have it, my personal thoughts regarding my favorite Wilderness Encounter Areas in DDO. Strangely, the level order almost mirrors the actual “favorite” order… coincidence?