OCEAN OF TEARS
The Ocean of Tears is a vast expanse of water that lies between the continents of Antonica and Faydwer. Boats frequently travel between the Butcherblock Mountains and Freeport, taking travellers of all types over the ocean. There are two distinct routes, and each boat only stops at one dock in Ocean of Tears before finishing its journey.
The vast expanses of ocean are punctuated with many small, isolated islands (hence the name, Ocean of Tears, as if the islands were tear drops). Each of these islands is a world unto itself, and the intrepid explorer can travel between them by using canoes that are pulled up on the shores of some of the more populated islands.
The Ocean of Tears is quite a high level area, with some monsters of level 30 or 40 and higher roaming the islands. Of all the creatures around, the only ones listed that aren't aggressive are the aviaks and the alluring sirens, who will generally leave you alone if you leave them alone. All of the other monsters will attack on sight.
Also, fighting in the Ocean of Tears is very different than fighting anywhere else. There are no guards to train monsters to if you get over your head. There is no handy zone edge to cross in order to escape. The only escape for most is to Gate if they can, and I've heard that running far enough into the water will deter monsters from chasing you, but this is at best an unreliable method of escape. Therefore, choosing battles carefully becomes very important.
The area is also dangerous because of the vast expanses of water and the difficulty in travelling across it, whether by swimming or by canoe. Taking canoes is a relatively safe, if slow, method of travelling around, but one must be careful to not right-click anywhere on the screen, because doing so will "uncaptain" you from the boat and you'll run straight off the end into the water. It is possible to get back into the boat, but requires quite a bit of timing and coordination, and sometimes you just can't do it. Swimming from the middle of nowhere to an island is also not fun, and dangerous as sharks will attack you.
The canoes here are also not very reliable. Pay special attention to islands that do not have boats on them. The boats reset about every hour of real time or so, and if you're not in your boat or used it recently, it will vanish back to its starting point. This means two things. One is that if you are hunting on an island with no canoes, and you don't use the canoe every now and again, it will vanish and you will be stuck swimming off of the island. It also means that sometimes canoes aren't where you expect them to be, as someone took them a while ago or the canoe you thought spawned in that spot was actually just left there. Be aware of these problems and plan accordingly.
The only other problem with this area, which isn't a danger just an annoyance, is that there are few shops around. Although you can make good money and loot in this area at lower levels, hunting critters like aqua goblins who always drop a bow and arrows, as well as occasionally a rusty weapon, you will rapidly become encumbered and wind up throwing out stuff. Lighten your load coming in or you will be losing a lot of money...
This area has become one of my favorite areas of the game. It is usually completely unpopulated with players and has the feel that the game was supposed to have, that of being out in the middle of uncharted territory, adventuring. This is probably the least frequently travelled areas of the game (other than the boats), and there are probably a hundred players who have ever seen the Allizewsaur, I'd guess. There is little competition for hunting here, very little camping and lots of good loot. Everquest the way I remember from the beta...
Several areas are especially good for hunting. Hunting aqua goblins and alluring sirens on their two groups of islands can be lucrative for a solo player of level 12-14 or so, or groups a little bit lower. Just be careful that there are no boats on them. They are also good for archers, because the aqua goblins carry arrows with them, ensuring a constant supply for hunting with. The aviak island is good for 13th level and higher solo players because the starlings all /con blue to a 13th level character. There are also a good range of even through tombstone other aviaks, which begin to appear more as the starling population strangely dwindles. The plus of the aviaks is that they never catch on that you are killing their young, and I've butchered probably 50 starlings without them becoming aggressive. Other areas of the islands are good hunting for people of the appropriate levels, probably nearer to 30th to hunt gargoyles, seafury cyclops, and spectres. And if you plan on taking out the Allizewsaur, let me know so I can come watch...
What else can I say? I can go on and on about how awesome this area is to adventure in, but I would be restating what I've said above. All of the problems in Everquest seem to vanish when I'm hunting here, and I'm not looking forward to when I reach a higher level and have to move on to different areas.
Travelling To and From Ocean Of Tears
The map is very confusing, mostly because I think Verant was confused when they set up this area. According to the geography of Norrath, Faydwer lies to the southeast of Antonica. On this map, you go west from Antonica to get to Faydwer. Don't ask me to explain, that's just the way it is.
That being said, the boat travelling from Butcherblock Mountains docks shortly after entering the Ocean of Tears, and then keeps a pretty steady course across the southern edge of the zone. The boat coming from Freeport dock at the Island of the Sisters of Erollisi, and then take a route through the center of the ocean, passing by many of the islands before taking its passengers to Faydwer.
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