There was a lot of anticipation and hope for the newest mini-expansion and while I wouldn't say OutSpark failed to deliver, what was released leaves much to be desired. Given, OutSpark did mention that not all of the content was ready when the cap was raised to 110 from 105, there is hope yet that certain maps and areas can be further tweaked to brighten up a typically dreary grindfest from 103 onwards.
The biggest example of a map that could be and should be better utilized is the newly released Dark Land map. Saying the map is huge is an understatement. It feature open plains, shady woodland areas, a walled in fortress, and a burned down forest. If only the mob layout were as promising as the visuals.
|Beautiful Woodland Areas|
There are a bunch of new, modified, and recast mobs in there, but they are so spread apart and in short supply that getting a grind party together for AOE'ing is nearly impossible. The map itself is so large that it could have easily lent itself to multiple AOE parties in many different areas.
|Wish the sign told me where the mobs are....|
The one somewhat promising, but it's still a bit of a stretch, kiting area is the Red Condor area located at B-5 to B-7. The mob itself gives decent enough experience, around 45k with 100% EXP boost and rest bonus (same as the Fire Shellas in AR that most cookied archers would grind on), but again, there just aren't enough numbers of them.
There are areas that are outstanding for the soloing fighter such as the Wind Neplims at B-1 to B-2. On a 100% EXP Boost and with rest bonus, they are 65k each. Those fighters that have tired of Fire Titans and Brown and Red Bears would do well here.
|Alka's Heal Skill during battle.|
Ranged mobs abound with both Alkas and Baridons inhabiting much of the landscape. Aside from the need for these mobs to fulfill a quest requirement, they will go untouched much like their Water-variant brethren in Alberstoll Ruins. They can heal themselves and have an obnoxiously irritating 60% Movement Speed debuff that they cast with consistency.
As you approach the fortress, you may encounter some Poison Mandrakes. They are similar again to their Swamp of Dawn kin, but are much larger and have a nasty poison debuff that hits you for 266 damage with each tick. They're not very plentiful, just a handful here and there, and they don't attack you from range, so you shouldn't worry too much about getting poisoned unexpectedly.
The Poison Mandrakes also shell out about 45k experience with each successful kill. Not really worth it considering they take quite a beating and they have that debuff that will haunt you for another 4 minutes after you've moved on.
Venturing into the Fortress area isn't as exciting as you would think. There are still open areas here with just some tented structures (like the huts you find on other maps) thrown in for decoration. There are no NPCs here as of yet, though you would think this would be a good place for some.
Inside the Fortress walls you'll find a few different mob variants including the Laplasian. Think of it as a Laplan that got hit with the T-Virus. For those of you that don't watch or haven't played Resident Evil, it's the virus that turned people into Zombies. But anyway, they're larger, uglier, and more dangerous than your garden-variety Laplan. 40k experience for these bad boys.
Strolling around inside the Fortress, you'll also run into the Giant Red Condor. These are slightly different than the Red Condors you encounter outside. They're a little darker colored and have a stun as part of their magic/special attack. So just be aware of this before you decide to take one on. Unfortunately they also give the same amount of experience as the easier ones outside, so you may as well stick to fighting those if giant running griffin type mobs suits your fancy.
The rest of the mobs you encounter are just AR retreads... Bears, Titans, Shellas, etc... so I didn't bother to screenshot those nor will I waste time talking about them. On a side note, should you die in Dark Land, you will be transported back to Alberstoll Ruins. There were some fears that you would be ported back to Uruga since a former GM had mentioned that AR is not considered a 'town' like Roumen, Elderine, and Uruga are. That was their justification for porting you back to Uruga should you die in Swamp of Dawn.
I truly am hoping that this map receives a much-needed update in the coming weeks. There is just so much potential for pleasurable grinding here, but it really falls a bit short at this point. Let's keep our fingers crossed!