We warmed-up already by knocking out the crafting requirements; this week we plunge ahead into the actual questing. Now here's a hint -- if you are prone to passing-out due to sticker shock, please, do not read ahead. Do not read any guides and do not ask any friends about the the total cost... although, if you find a way to pass Go and collect 200 kinah, do it! Trust me, every spare coin is going to come in handy.
For those who believe knowing the course ahead is just one step closer to crossing the finish line, dash across the cut and follow me as I race for the ultimate gold prize -- Miragent armor.
Put on your running shoes
If you planned ahead and completed your expert crafting requirement and all of your campaign quests before reaching level 50, then (other than saving kinah) you are just waiting until you ding that magical number to start the level 50 campaign quest series, The Hidden Truth. Now, the race it on!
As soon as those sparkly wings announce your achievement, the first of the quests -- A Past Mission -- enters your journal. To complete this, you simply have to talk to a couple of people. No sweat, right? Next comes Sword of Transcendence; here, you have to collect special materials to be forged into a special weapon. The pieces are found in Steel Rake (fragment of the shining tower), Dark Poeta (drana-forged steel), and Theobomos Labs (elements crystal). In the first two instances, you needn't even fight the main boss, as the pieces are found in boxes; however, for Theo Labs, you must kill Triroan -- and be alive when he dies -- in order to recover the item.
Now, if you've had the urge to revisit everyone who has ever given you a campaign quest, you're in luck! The next quest, Pearl of Protection, offers you just this opportunity. Not counting starting and ending the quest with Pernos, you have to run all over Elysea and back to get the blessing of 14 different people. Hopefully, you still have your running shoes on (or speed boots, as the case may be), because you can't catch everyone in the same region all in one fell swoop -- you have to speak to each of them in a specific order . Luckily, for everyone completing this quest since 1.9, the new flight paths save a great deal of time, even as they empty your pockets a bit. While the 39,000+ kinah I spent (and that is after generous use of my Return skill) may seem like pocket change after crafting expenses and compared to the upcoming ones, there is something to be said for saving coin every chance you get. If possible, grab yourself a sorcerer partner and gate to Sanctum as much as possible. Remember, every last kinah counts!
Finally, you reach the storied ending of (almost) recovering your memory with the next quest, An Important Choice. Many find this to be the most enjoyable part of the series, even if their hearts skips a few beats when they catch sight of what they must face. To complete this objective, you find a fissure in the Core and return to that very spot in the Abyss you caught a glimpse of in your memories way back before you earned your wings. For the Elyos, the isle is infested with groups of Balaur that you must clear through to reach the artifact of memory. Don't worry, just take your time -- these mobs are not that difficult to kill, as long as you don't end up with multiple groups on you (unless you're a cleric, then just use Word of Destruction and wipe 13 at once). Just before you reach the artifact, the creature that beat you in your memories reappears to try again, and you vanquish it. Proceed to the artifact to regain more of your memory, and then be presented with the important choice -- to follow, or not to follow, Lephar. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any repercussion for deciding either way; however, that didn't stop me from agonizing about making the wrong choice!
Once you turn that final quest in to Fasimedes, the Governor of Sanctum, it seems like nothing significant happens. I don't know whether it was lag or planned, but I was thrown into a cutscene only after I reached the elevator, which surprised me quite a bit. The scene was a nice little bit of flavor added to the ending of the quest line, and it hints at things to come.
The home stretch
Now, with all those campaigns out of the way, you can finally take the first Miragent armor quest, which is deceptively simple. Class Preceptor's Consent asks you to -- get this -- walk out the door and talk to each of the four class preceptors in the next room, go buy an oath stone for four million kinah, run to the other end of Sanctum to speak to Jucleas, then head back. Just don't let this simple beginning lull you into a false sense of security... the next quest more than makes up for it. Let me quote the first quest directly, as nothing screams truth-in-advertising quite like it does: "I'll be blunt: Everything you've done so far was just a prelude -- now the real symphony begins. The cost will be high... in every sense of the word."
Why do more people seem to hate this next quest even more than the grind-errific one following? Because, while they say good things come to those who wait, this is really stretching it. And at least while you are killing mobs, you feel like you are making progress, as opposed to sitting around. The minimum time span to complete The Quest for Templars is 12 real-life hours, and that's only if you catch the second spawn immediately
Well, that's it for this week folks -- we are out of time, and I am out of kinah. Unfortunately, despite our fervent dash, the finish line is still off a ways; we were unable to complete the Miragent quest line. I am not out of the race yet, and I will keep plowing ahead, but a whole lot of money-making needs to be done before I can continue. So if anyone has some brilliant (non-pyramid) schemes for fattening my pocketbook, please feel free to share!