Frackus Everburning's Guide to The Plane of Sky

After that, comes tactical maneuvering, than which there is nothing more difficult.
The difficulty of tactical maneuvering consists in turning the devious into the direct, and misfortune into gain.

Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

Last Update: 20 Jul 03

For those who have never been to Sky, it's a zone like no other - very strange to travel through and fight in. It poses interesting and complex dilemmas to even the most experienced raid forces. Of the many places I've led raids, none is more complex (or dreaded) than Sky.

In raiding Sky with my guild, largely to collect necessary Epic Quest components, I came to find that while there were a number of "guides" available on the web for those diligent to search, most were either incomplete, inaccurate, or difficult to follow. I therefore set about to writing the following instructions in order to help myself and other raid leaders run Sky raids more smoothly. I hope the information which follows will help improve the odds of survival, greatly simplify the process of moving and fighting in Sky, and generally ensure a pleasant, rewarding, and successful raid experience for all involved.


Table of Contents

  1. The Basics
  2. Important Facts about Sky
  3. Key Information
  4. Necrophilia - Using Corpses to Move about in Sky
  5. Questing in Sky
  6. Step by Step through the Isles
  7. Concluding a Sky Excursion

A. The Basics

  1. Plane of Sky is one of the Planar zones of the "old world". As a planar zone, only characters of level 46 or higher can go there. By modern standards for equipment only the very best quest items from Sky are still viable alongside more easily obtainable gear elsewhere, but because a number of Epic Quests require certain components from Sky, trips to the plane are still necessary. The purpose of this guide is to make those trips as smooth as possible.

  2. Entry to Sky is possible only through the use of a wizard spell called "Alter Plane: Sky" which transports the wizard and his group to the first ("Fairie") isle of the plane. The spell requires a Cloudy Stone of Veeshan (a.k.a. "skystone") as a component, which costs approximately 105pp. On arriving in Sky, all buffs are stripped from all party members. The arrival point is safe (non-aggro), so groups can be formed and buffed after bringing all raid participants into the plane first.

  3. The Plane of Sky is laid out as a series of islands, each of which must be visited in order, inhabited by strange creatures and governed by an insane NPC named "Sirran the Lunatic". The whole experience plays out like a discarded chapter by Lewis Carroll, but unfortunately, the novelty factor usually wears off long before the annoyance factor. Movement from island to island is done by use of keys, received from Sirran in exchange for turning in certain items (hereafter referred to as "key parts") dropped from creatures within the zone. Because of the fact that these islands are all floating suspended in the Sky, along with spell restrictions that keep you from simply floating from one to another, these keys form the primary method of progress from island to island. Sirran is spawned at each island to do the exchange by killing that island's "boss mob". Thus, the usual routine for each island is to clear typical inhabitants first, collecting necessary key parts, then kill the boss mob to spawn Sirran, and then do the exchanges with Sirran to obtain the keys to move to the next isle and start the whole process over again. Because movement is done via keys, the spatial relationship between the islands is seldom relevant, and so traditional mapping is near useless. Rather, the relationship between the islands (which keys get you where) is highly relevant. The collection and use of keys (and the relationship between islands) will be detailed further in "Section C. Key Information". Spell restrictions in Sky will be detailed further in "Section B. Important Facts about Sky "

  4. Because the key part drops are not garuanteed on each island, and because the largest number of key parts dropped is usually only 24, it is highly recommended that a raid force brought to Sky be restricted to a maximum of 24 people. After the keys, the secondary method of movement between isles involves the creation, summoning, and ressurection of corpses, so a necromancer or two (carrying plenty of coffins with them) is an absolute must. The use of corpses as a means to traverse from isle to isle will be detailed further in "Section D. Necrophilia - Using Corpses to Move about in Sky."

  5. Because of the expense of the coffins (even the smaller stackable kind), and the cost of the skystones, raids to the Plane of Sky cost money. The creatures of sky drop quest items, but not valuable sellable loot, nor coins and gems, so this cost will not be recovered from the plane itself. When planning an excursion to Sky, expect to pay a few thousand platinum to raid there.

  6. There is a quest hall in Sky containing a number of NPCs who give class-related quests. There are 4-6 quests per class, and each quest results in a No Drop item for completing the quest. Most of these quests are completed by collecting 3-4 specific items dropped from creatures within the plane, and 1 item for each quest is usually a rare, no-drop item that drops only from a specific island's "boss mob". Most of the easier quests (completed with rare drops from boss mobs on the early islands) result in equipment which is no longer very valuable in light of equipment obtained elsewhere in the game (this guide being written after the release of the Planes of Power expansion). The more difficult quests (completed with rare drops from boss mobs on the later, harder islands) still result in valuable equipment, but may take repeated (expensive) raids to Sky with a sizeable force to complete them. Quests and how to go about pursuing them will be further detailed in "Section E. Questing in Sky"

  7. Exiting Sky is done only one way - by falling off any island. This causes one to zone into East Freeport, falling from the sky and landing in the water offshore, just south of the main dock. There are no NPCs close to the drop-in point, so people KOS to East Freeport can still land in the water, swim to shore, and make necessary travel arrangements from there.

B. Important Facts about Sky

  1. On entering Sky, all buffs are stripped. Buffing before entering Sky is therefore useless, so it is simplest to just have your wizards bring all participants into the plane first, and then organize groups and buff accordingly. The are only two ways to enter Sky: be ported in by a wizard using Alter Plane: Sky (at the cost of a skystone), or to have a body there ressurected.

  2. A significant number of spells either do not function at all in Sky, or have their effects altered. These include:

    • All gate, ring, portal, circle, translocate, and evacuation spells fail. Exit from Sky is only via falling off an island.
    • Call of the Hero does not work, to keep it from being used to move forces about the plane.
    • Any spell with a levitation component cannot be cast, to keep people from floating to islands of lower elevation without requiring keys to get there.
    • Bind Affinity does not work, to keep people from using Gate from outside the plane to bypass content.
    • Pet-summoning spells below level 49 do not work.
    • Mages can only summon air-based pets. These appear as tiny blue genies.
    • Shadowknight pets cannot be summoned at all.
    • Necromancer pets appear as small purple will-o-wisps.

  3. Based on my own experience as far as Pegasus isle, and from everything I've read, nothing in Sky can see invisible.

  4. Sirran the Lunatic is, as his name suggests, insane. He cannot be trusted. He's stark raving mad. Do not speak with him. Do not use 'say' in his presence. Do not hail him. Yes, it is actually specific keywords that set him off, but for simplicity's sake, it is easier to just remember - say nothing around Sirran the Lunatic, just hand him the key parts, and be on your way. Also important to note: Sirran will assist other mobs in Sky, meaning if you kill a boss mob and spawn him while fighting other mobs, or if you chose to fight other mobs after you've spawned him, he will become involved in the fray. He will kill whoever aggros him. You've been warned.

C. Key Information

  1. This diagram illustrates the key relationships between isles in Sky.

  2. To move from isle to isle in Sky, one must acquire the appropriate key, and use it by clicking it on a teleport pad (a "bowl"). The Faerie Isle has three such bowls, one for each possible destination (and specific bowls require specific keys). All other Isles except the final one have only one bowl each. It is typical for a raid force to all move to the next isle simultaneously (or in rapid succession), and invisible.

  3. Keys are obtained as follows:

    1. Kill the common mobs on the present isle and collect one "key part" each, until as many as needed (or at least as many as possible) are collected.
    2. Kill the unique boss mob for the present isle, causing Sirran the Lunatic to spawn. Be sure that you do not have aggro from any other mob in the area when killing the boss, lest Sirran spawn and assist whatever you're fighting.
    3. Without bothering to talk to him, hand Sirran the key parts and receive your keys.

  4. There are two imporant facts to be noted about the nature of these keys, which play a vital role in Sky strategy:

    • These keys are not "no rent". They will remain in your inventory if you camp out of the game and return later.
    • These keys disappear if you attempt to take them out of the zone.


  5. On the Faerie Isle in Sky (the arrival island), you will always receive 24 of each of the two key parts by killing all 8 thunder spirits. Additional key parts can also be purchased from a merchant there. Beyond Faerie Isle, there is no garuantee of how many keys parts you will receive. You should therefore prioritize who loots key parts first when they drop. Necromancers should be given the highest priority, and clerics second highest, because of the way corpses can be manipulated to advantage in Sky (detailed below in "Section D. Necrophilia - Using Corpses to Move about in Sky".)

D. Necrophilia - Using Corpses to Move about in Sky

  1. Raiding in Sky requires a firm understanding of the nature of corpses, and how they work. Turning "misfortune into gain" is vital - every corpse should be used regarded as a potential resource. To this end, it is important to understand exactly how corpses function:

    • When a corpse is "rezzed", experience is only regained the first time, but a corpse can thereafter be Revived, without experience-gain, to move a player to the location of the body.
    • A corpse can be summoned by a necromancer to a different location, provided he is grouped with the player whose body it is, and provided that player is in the zone at the time.
    • A corpse can be used to store items (even No Rent items, or, more importantly, keys which would be lost by leaving the zone), by leaving them on the body during looting.

  2. With these facts in mind, there are two chief methods of turning a corpse into a valuable resource: the pivot and the key corpse. They work as follows:

    • To pivot is to move a player from one island to another without the benefit of that player simply having a key. It can be used whenever an isle is cleared without enough keys to move the whole force to the next, or when making return trips to Sky and wanting to skip earlier isles (when used in conjunction with a key corpse.) A pivot works as follows:

      1. The player to be pivotted must create a corpse. If they've been killed in combat and did not loot all their equipment, they may already have one. Otherwise, they can die by dueling, attacking a mob without fighting back, or picking a fight with Sirran (that creates a corpse very quickly).
      2. A cleric, paladin, or necromancer rezzes the deceased. This rez counts for experience, so the best available should be used. On being rezzed, the player may loot some, but not all, of their gear.
      3. The necromancer groups with the recently-rezzed, and travels (using their own keys), to where they want the keyless player to be.
      4. The necromancer targets the player and summons the corpse to the new location.
      5. A cleric, paladin, or necromancer revives the deceased in this new location, moving them to their body. This rez does not count for experience, so the cheapest available should be used. On being rezzed, the player may loot their remaining gear, or may opt to leave items on the corpse in case it need be pivotted again.

    • A key corpse is a body created to store Sky keys, so that the player can leave the zone and return later (any time later, up to the duration of the corpse) and still have a set of keys. A key corpse is seldom valuable to any other than a necromancer, because of their vital role in "pivotting" others. A key corpse is created as follows:

      1. The player (usually necromancer) to create a key corpse places all their keys in a single (preferably non-valuable) container. These keys should be the only thing in that container.
      2. The player dies and is ressurrected by a cleric, paladin, or necromancer.
      3. The player loots all their belonging except that one container. These keys are now "in storage" for the duration of the corpse timer.

  3. The true value of the pivot and key corpse comes in to play best when used in combination to allow a raid force to "pick up where they left off", doing second and successive raids from a point well beyond Faerie Isle. For example:

    • Day One: The raid arrives on Faerie Isle and battles its way to a deeper isle. Before leaving Sky, a necromancer creates a key corpse for future use.
    • Day Two: The raid arrives on Faerie Isle. The necromancer summons their own corpse and loots their keys. Players create new corpses for pivotting by dying and being rezzed. Someone invites the necromancer and cleric to a group. The necromancer goes invisible, and travels past as many islands as possible using their keys. On arrival somewhere deep but safe, they drop invisibility, summon the cleric's corpse, and rez them. The group leader back on Faerie Isle invites players into the group one by one, whereupon the necromancer summons their bodies to the distant isle for resurrection by the cleric present there. The raid can then commence at that distant isle. At the conclusion of the raid, the necromancer could create another fresh key corpse in order to do this again on successive raids.

  4. Because of the usefulness of a corpse in Sky, it's recommended that prior to beginning a Sky raid, every player bring with them at least one non-valuable container into which they can place their keys (for the possible creation of a "key corpse" later), and at least one item (perhaps something that can be put into their ammo slot) that they can leave on their corpse when looting, to preserve the corpse without leaving anything valuable on it.

E. Questing in Sky

  1. Sky contains about 4-6 quests per class. The quests are all similar in that they involve the following:

    • Obtain 2-3 common, tradeable drops that usually come from killing common isle inhabitants.
    • Obtain 1-2 rare, No Drop items that usually come from killing isle boss mobs, usually boss mobs on later isles than the common drops.
    • Turn in these 3-5 items to an NPC in the quest hall accessed from Faerie Isle.
    • The better the reward, the more likely the rare and common drops come from deeper isles.

  2. There are so many quests available, involving so many drops from so many mobs, that this information is usually tracked in complex spreadsheets, such as the one available here. Frequently, players begin collecting all the common drops from the earlier isles, and then either (a) give up because they realize the reward for the quests associated with those drops isn't all that great by modern standards, or (b) give up when they realize the difficulty of obtaining the rare drop from the boss mob on a later isle. I feel the key to questing in Sky is to take the correct approach: pay little or no regard to the common, tradeable drops, and instead examine the No Drop items you obtain from the boss mobs to see what quests they can be used for. Only pursue completing quests for which you've obtained the rare No Drop item. This method will save considerable time and aggravation. Chances are, if you simply stash away all the common, tradeable items onto mules for safekeeping, that when the No Drop item appears one day, you'll realize that you already have some or all of the remaining pieces anyway, and if not, they likely come from earlier isles which you can easily revisit later. A list of drops, and which quests they are associated with, is available here.

F. Step by Step through the Isles

  1. Faerie Isle: Isle is non-aggro. On arrival, all buffs are stripped. If you have a necro's key-corpse, summon it and proceed to pivot to your start location. Otherwise, move to a bowl, buff, and pull and kill the thunder spirits one by one, leaving the Thunder Spirit Princess until last. Each spirit will drop exactly 3 of each key part, allowing for 24 people to move to the next isle. Additional keys can be purchased from the merchant, the Key Master. The Thunder Spirit Princess (boss mob) does not death touch, procs only a very light dot, and is fairly resistant to spells without debuffing, but highly susceptible to Lures. Killing her spawns Sirran, so that keys can be obtains for Djorn or Azzerack Isle. Djorn Isle is visited only for the monk epic or the Jaggedpine quest. Otherwise, it is routine to move directly to Azzerack Isle. If moving to Azzerack Isle, it is advisable to invis the entire raid force first (except perhaps the Main Assist), and move there all at once.

  2. Djorn Isle: Isle is non-aggro. On arrival, move to inside the windmill, as it is best to fight indoors without risk of being knocked off the island. Mobs can be pulled inside and killed. After Djorn Isle, it is only possible to move to Azzerack Isle. It is advisable to invis the entire raid force first (except perhaps the Main Assist), and move there all at once.

  3. Azzerack Isle: Isle is KOS. The raid force should be invisible on arrival, except possibly the Main Assist. When ready, start tagging and killing azzeracks right from the arrival point. Adds will likely come quickly and need to be mezzed. Treat the experience like a Fear break-in. After dispatching all the azzeracks that attack the arrival point (or add), you may likely have to deal with only one or two others. Now you must be careful: one of the remaining azzeracks triggers the spawning of the Protector of Sky (boss mob) on its death, which you want to fight last, lest you have Sirran around while there's still an aggro azzerack remaining. Of the remaining Azzeracks that didn't rush the arrival point, one should be stationary (usually off to the left from where you are standing, if you're facing the middle of the isle at the arrival point), while the others all roam. Leave the stationary azzerack until last. Once the others are cleared and looted, finish the last azzerack and then the Protector of Sky. The Protector of Sky does not death touch. Killing him spawns Sirran, and the raid force can obtain keys and move to Gorgalosk Isle (non-aggro, no invis required). Because the key part drops are random off azzeracks, this will likely be the first time the pivot may be necessary to get everyone to the next isle. If so, corpses can be created by attacking Sirran.

  4. Gorgalosk Isle: Isle is non-aggro. The raid force should move to the bowl on arrival, as it provides a good camp spot. When ready, start tagging and killing the various mobs. Leave the Gorgalosk (boss mob), Heart Harpie (mini-boss), and Avenging Gazer (mini-boss) until last. You should split the mini-bosses and kill those before going after Gorgalosk. Otherwise, when Sirran spawns on the death of Gorgalosk, if either of the others is arround and aggro, he'll assist them and wipe out your raid force. Also, the Avenging Gazer dispels buffs very quickly, and should be fought alone. The Gorgalosk does not Death Touch. Once the Gorgalosk is killed, Sirran spawns and can be given key parts to obtain keys for Pegasus Isle. This next isle is non-aggro.

  5. Pegasus Isle: Isle is non-aggro. The raid force can camp near the arrival point. When ready, start tagging and killing the soul harvesters and essence harvesters. These are the first Sky mobs that split when killed. When a harvester dies, two carriers will spawn at the site of its death and attack immediately. When a carrier dies, a single tamer spawns and attacks at the site of its death. So when each single harvester is pulled, it actually represents fighting 5 mobs, in a "1-2-2 split". While there are only 6 harvesters on the isle on arrival, it will be necessary to kill 30 mobs to clear the isle. Another important note about split-mobs is that their spawn point is at the site of the camp, meaning they will not wander off to return to a distant spawn point if aggro is cleared (e.g. if you wipe out). Recovering from wipeouts involving split-mobs usually means dragging the bodies elsewhere, so if you need to camp out a cleric, it's advisable to have them invisible when they camp. It is believed that the Keeper of Souls (boss mob) spawns 70 minutes after the death of the first harvester, regardless of your progress with the others. If you clear the isle in under 70 minutes, you may have a wait time before the Keeper spawns. The Keeper of Souls is the first boss mob that death touches. You'll need a "sacrificial lamb" before pulling/rushing the Keeper. When the Keeper dies, Sirran spawns and can be given key parts to obtain keys to Spiroc Isle. Spiroc Isle is aggro, so you'll want to invis the raid force before proceeding there.

  6. Spiroc Isle: Having not yet proceeded to Spiroc Isle myself (but due to shortly), I will refrain from posting strategy suggestions for this isle until such time as I've experienced it myself. I expect my next update to cover this. Until then, I recommend consulting guides from the bibliography below.

  7. Wasp Isle: Having not yet proceeded to Wasp Isle myself (but due to shortly), I will refrain from posting strategy suggestions for this isle until such time as I've experienced it myself. I expect my next update to cover this. Until then, I recommend consulting guides from the bibliography below.

  8. Drake Isle: Having not yet proceeded to Drake Isle myself (but due to shortly), I will refrain from posting strategy suggestions for this isle until such time as I've experienced it myself. I expect my next update to cover this. Until then, I recommend consulting guides from the bibliography below.

  9. Butterfly Isle: Having not yet proceeded to Butterfly Isle myself (but due to shortly), I will refrain from posting strategy suggestions for this isle until such time as I've experienced it myself. Seeing little reason for ever visiting Butterfly Isle, to be honest, I don't expect to be able to provide strategy advise for it any time soon.I recommend consulting guides from the bibliography below.

G. Concluding a Sky Excursion

  1. Once you're progressed as far in Sky as you intend to, I recommend the creation of a key corpse by a necromancer before quitting for the day.

  2. Common, tradeable drops that have been collected to this point should be given to those people requiring them who've obtained the rarer No Drop items, while the remaining ones should be stored on mules or simply destroyed.
Frackus Everburning
Agnostic Erudite Sorcerer
Founder of Seofon

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Bibliography

This guide was based most largely on my own experience, but with some information researched from the following other guides: