After getting a feel for Old Tarantia, my home-town, I decided that it was time to enter the grander world of Hyboria, but where was I to begin? Now, just because I was an Aquilonian didn't necessarily mean I had to stick with Aquilonian quests in Aquilonian zones. No, quite the opposite in fact, and this is what excites me as a member of a large, hard-working, and goal-oriented guild. If you and your buddies decide that you all want to group and quest together, you can do so. It doesn't even matter if you're all Stygian, for example; you can make the journey to Conall's Valley in Cimmeria, if you wanted to, and do your questing from level 20 to level 35 or so. With this in mind, I decided to make the dangerous trek as a fresh-faced Aquilonian to the dark and mysterious lands of Stygia, through Khemi, to the Khopshef Province.

It wasn't long after I stepped off the jetty in the region of Bushbur in the Khopshef Province, that I noticed, what I assumed was a level 20, soldier-class character only a matter of yards in front of me. The individual - who will of course remain nameless - I soon discovered was a Guardian class character wielding a particularly nasty-looking sword and shield. We stopped and stared at each other for a while, but it wasn't long into admiring the artwork in the armour pieces he was wearing that he actually drew his sword (which also looked spectacular) and shield and decided to rush at me. It was here where the PvPer within me uttered a loud primordial "Yawp" and grinning, I said to myself, "It's on like Donkey Kong!" Okay, so this is open PvP; so be it!


As I was playing a Ranger I had to think to myself, "How did I play ranged/nuker characters in other MMORPGs against melee-based opponent?" Unfortunately I had to resort to kiting at first just to see how this guy would react to my movements, which in the first moments of the battle seemed more like a cheesy Benny Hill video clip only without the footage sped-up to double speed, but this was not fault of the game's mechanics; simply my own decision to alter the parameters of this particular encounter. I was quite sure that the Guardian noticed the bow and arrow quiver on my back and immediately assumed that I was a Rogue character of some sort. By him charging at me it was my assumption to see how I was going to react, but then again I often read too much into things and he may well have just wanted to rush in like bull that has just been smacked on the backside by a cast-member of Jackass.

After a bit of dancing around I had a look at the feats in my feat tray. Yes, I had a snare, and I was going to use it! In order for the snare to be effective and give me enough time to get off a few more ranged combos and shots on my shield-wielding opponent, I had to gain a bit of distance between him and me. In order to do this I had to sacrifice a bit of my stamina and sprint to a spot where I felt comfortable. I felt a distance of about the equivalent of 30 to 40 metres would be ample, so it was at this point I triggered my snare combo (which was in its weakest manifestation at this particular level - it does improve in effectiveness) and watched the Guardian's movement speed go from a solid jog to a sluggish hobble, a bit like watching a father and child in a three legged race where they haven't quite got their walking rhythm in-sync. Anyway, this allowed me some time to fire off a couple of combos; just enough to take a chunk out of the Guardian's massive amount of hitpoints.

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