One of the new areas added in Andor's Trail 0.7.3 is the graveyard area south of the waterway house. As part of the quest "Mine for the taking" you have to rid the graveyard of a zombie king - but it also doubles as a particularly convenient xp grinding spot. Here is how to make use of it:
# Why grind at the graveyard?
To no one's surprise the graveyard is swarming en masse with zombies: the 'graveyard corpse' mob. Individually not much of a challenge, their sheer number can make them a danger even to more experienced PCs. At the same time, because of their number after an initial clearing the graveyard becomes one of the best xp grinding spots in the game:
- with only 70hp for almost 350xp, graveyard corpses have a very good hp/xp ratio of about 5xp per hp (afaik only quick/vicious/strong venomscale snakes have a similar hp/xp ratio at an xp value over 300)^1
- the graveyard map itself is a large one with well over 220 spawning spaces - the stream of zombies to fight here is almost continuous
- most importantly (and ultimately the reason for this recommendation): graveyard corpses track you over the entire map - once they spawn they immediately start coming to you. As long as a path is available your xp will walk to you - you only have to lift your weapon of choice to collect!
- the graveyard map is structured like a maze, so zombies will track around and file in in an easily controllable stream instead of a large group
- in similar vein, the map offers some central safe spots where you can only be attacked from two spots at once - even if more zombies spawn, they'll have to wait their turn while you safely dispose of their colleagues in fair 2v1 fights
- this will probably work best for characters around lvl50 - but your mileage will vary depending on build and skill. I had no trouble grinding out levels 55-60 with a pretty atrocious one-handed shield build.
The graveyard area is a recent addition to the game and is located in the northern part of the map, just south of the waterway house on the road between Crossroads/Loneford and Remguard. Follow the river north of Loneford to the waterway house and take the south-eastern exit from there - the location itself is hard to miss.
However, to gain access you'll need to start (but not finish!) the "Mine for the taking" quest:
- Graveyard corpses are not strong on their own, but can be dangerous in larger groups. They make up for their low 70 HP with 9 DR and 135 BC. At 10 AP, with 3 AP per attack they will attack three times per round, with AC 160, Crit 5 and Crit* 2.0. They also have a 25% chance to apply Putrefaction 1 on hit, lowering the PC's AP by 1 for 3 rounds. They will also heal up by 1-2 HP per hit.
- Graveyard corpses will track you wherever you are on the map - pick a central spot on the map and wait for zombies to peter in one by one.
- If the initial fight gives you trouble, consider fleeing to step out onto the red tiles at the entrance: Zombie's won't track you here and you can heal up. Do so quickly though because respawn here is fast.
- If you find yourself dropping too low in HP while grinding xp here, consider standing on the yellow tile in the middle. On this spot you can only be attacked from two mobs at once - even if others spawn during your fight, they won't be able to pathfind to you and stand still until one of the tiles adjacent to you frees up.
- Consider using sustain items (or skills/buffs) for these fights - anything that awards +HP per kill is great here, in particular the Rapier of lifesteal. I've combined this with the new Guynmart Shield (Bark skin procs frequently with the quick zombie attacks) and Marrowtaint with good success.
- After the initial clear of the graveyard just pick your favourite spot and watch the zombies stream towards you. Sit back and hack away - ideal for semi-afk farming.
- Graveyard corpses will drop bones (1-2, drop chance 30%), gold (1-6, 70%), wooden clubs (AC10, Dam 0-1, 10%, sells for 47 gold) and crude iron shields (AC-10, BC12, DR1, 5%, sells for 128 gold). There are better spots in the game to farm gold, but it's something at least. No rare/exceptional items drop in this area.
- Don't kill the Graveyard King blue tile! Once you do This means that in order to grind xp here you cannot finish the 'Mine for the taking' quest. This means you'll also miss the quest reward for now,
- If you do decide to kill the Graveyard King, be wary of his putrefaction debuff. It temporarily lowers your AP and can stack up quickly, leaving you unable to heal up or attack. Potions of haste / minor speed can be a great help here, or anything else that prevents you from getting hit.
^1 Note: This does not factor in damage resist and block chances, so effective xp/hp rates will differ. Even if graveyard corpses are not the very best mobs to kill stat wise, they are still in the top tier just for the convenience of this spot.
Let me know if you spot any mistakes or you have any other feedback. I'm not 100% sure about which version the graveyard was added, and I've written up the quest steps from memory. Any other clarification on game mechanics, in particular spawning, is much appreciated. And of course, if you think this is useful or absolutely isn't, let me know!