As an elf, in order to get your 16×16 farm design in ArcheAge, you have to complete four Trade Run quests. I’m assuming it’s the same for humans, and basically the same pattern if you’re one of the Eastern factions. (I don’t know of any other ways to buy these scarecrow plots … I have seen people with multiple plots but I don’t know how they got them. I haven’t been able to find them for sale on Mirage Isle.)
The first run is taking Strawberry Jam from Solzreed Penninsula to Gweonid Forest. The second is taking Goose Feathers or something from Gweonid Forest back to Solzreed Penninsula, at which time you are rewarded with a donkey. (I urge you to grow beans before placing your geese.) The third is taking Stone from Lilyut down to Marionople. It takes a long time to farm up the stone for this one.
The fourth one is by far the hardest, though, because you have to take flowers across the ocean to the other continent.
It is easy and cheap to grow the flowers required, which is a good thing because unless you have friends willing to take you, you may very well lose a few trade packs in the process.
Somewhere around level 20ish, you are given a rowboat in a quest, which makes travel over water a bit faster than swimming. (Not much, though.) Unless you’ve gone outside the quests and farmed up Nui’s Tears to buy a boat on Mirage Isle, that is what you’ll have to cross the ocean with. It is slow and extremely vulnerable to any hostiles you encounter.
When I first got my rowboat, I thought it would be a great way to speed up taking my strawberries down to Marianople. (Selling strawberry jam in Marionople is a quick, safe, and easy way to pick up some gold.) I reasoned that I could stick to the coastline and zip right around the gulf down to the city and shave tons of time off of the land route.
I eagerly jumped in my rowboat and set off. Soon I discovered that the rowboat is only 0.3 “units” faster than a donkey. (Meters per second? I don’t know.) It’s slow, in other words. But it was pleasant scenery. I saw some ships go by and decided to take some screenshots.
Then I saw a ship turn toward me. Then I saw a ship ram me, impaling my rowbow so I couldn’t move. Then I saw somebody (of my own faction) throw a bubble spell at me and kill me at their leisure. Oops. So much for rowing down the coast as a shortcut.
With that experience in mind, I was understandably nervous about attempting to row across the big, wide ocean to Austera, a place that is known to be hostile territory. Every time the issue comes up in the general chat about going to Austera for this trade run quest, the answer is always, “Don’t try it. Get some friends together to escort you. Otherwise you’ll die.”
Well, obviously I had to do it just to spite them. Because I’m a pro gamer, yo. Plus I don’t know anybody else in the game hehe. In the end it took two tries before I made it, with two practice runs beforehand.
Before I attempted to cross the ocean with a trade pack anchoring me down, I attempted a few trial runs. I was able to gather some data about the dangers of the ocean.
In the ocean you will encounter Sea Bugs, which are level 35 creatures who try to kill you. You can avoid them like any other monsters, though, by steering around them. You see them in plenty of time to avoid them, so that’s good.
Unfortunately you may also encounter a Jelly Fish, which is a level 50 creature that specializes in appearing out of thin air right on top of you. It is the most annoying thing in the entire world, because it will kill you.
I also came across a whirlpool once in the middle of the ocean, which did damage while you are close to it.
For my first trial run, I launched from a point south of the Ezna port, hoping to avoid all of the naval traffic around the port. I planned to make my way north up the Eastern continent toward the Austera port. (In retrospect, it was a dumb idea.) That run started well and I didn’t encounter any pirate activity, but it ended about halfway across with a death by Jelly Fish.
For my second trial run, I reconsidered my route. Obviously I wanted to avoid as much human traffic as possible, so I didn’t want to go anywhere near a direct line between Ezna and Austera. This time I decided to launch from north of Ezna, and travel north of the main route, then steer southward as I got closer to Austera. This plan worked brilliantly, and I made it across during the (game world) night without any incident. I avoided the sea bugs and never saw a jelly fish. I passed one other row boat which seemed to be fishing or AFK. (It was then that I noticed the horrifyingly bright lamp in the bow of my rowboat, which you can only turn off for short periods of time.) I made it to the Austera dock and walked right up to the Gold Trader without seeing another soul. This was early on a Sunday morning, when the server population was quite low.
Filled with confidence, I got my trade pack and rode my donkey down to Ezna and launched myself into the ocean in my rowboat, following roughly the same route. Halfway across, I ran into a Jelly Fish and died.
I respawned a million miles away, but I finally got back to the ocean and started rowing out to where I died, hoping I could pick up my trade pack and continue onward. But before I could get there I ran into another Jelly Fish and died. At that point it erased my original corpse location so I had no way of knowing where to find my trade pack again. I rage quit. (Rage quitted? Raged quit?)
On Sunday night I decided to try again. I knew it was suicidal because it was prime playing time and people would probably be out looking to gank noobs in the ocean, but I didn’t want to wait until the morning and I didn’t feel like playing another game. So I made another trade pack and set out again.
Of course I ran into another Jelly Fish. But it turns out you can escape from them.
The first thing I did was abandon ship. I noticed that the Jelly Fish attacks your rowboat, not you. So I jumped into the ocean and swam away while my rowboat was pulverized, hoping beyond hope that I could get out of range before it finished off the rowboat.
Soon, my rowboat was gone and I was stuck in the middle of the ocean with an annoyed Jelly Fish that was still well within range. Unfortunately you can’t swim very fast with a trade pack on, so I was not even close to getting away from this monstrosity. It came after me.
At that point I thought I was dead for sure, but I kept swimming and popped a health potion. The Jelly Fish attacks hit me for about half of my health each time. Luckily it attacks very slowly, so you have some time to recover between attacks, and that’s the only thing that kept me alive. I have a couple of healing spells from the Vitality skillset so I kept healing myself and putting up the Sorcery shield in between attacks and swam for all I was worth.
After an eternity, the Jelly Fish finally turned away. I was really alone in the middle of the ocean, a sitting duck if any pirates happened to come by.
Fortunately, none did. I swam, watching the coastline in the distance that never seemed to change. After a large cooldown I was able to re-summon my rowboat and got rowing again. I passed one or two merchant ships skimming by but they paid me no mind, and eventually I came to the Austera port from the north side, and I got close enough to complete the quest. Mission accomplished!
That is the good news: You don’t actually have to sell your goods to complete the quest for the 16×16 farm. You just have to get close to the port. You could probably do a suicide run with a fast ship and smash into a swarming horde of bad guys and still complete the quest.
I almost ended up doing that. At roughly the same time I arrived at the quest destination, a veritable flotilla of merchant ships came sailing into the port from both factions. I started to see messages about people dying. I couldn’t see what was going on, but I didn’t want any part of it, so I logged off while I was floating in the water hiding behind the docks. I came back the next morning and was able to sell my goods without incident. I got a pittance, making me think I should have dropped my pack and ported back to town the previous night.
Now I face the challenge of logging for enough lumber to actually build the 16×16 farm, and then the impossible task of finding a place to put a 16×16 farm on a server that is completely covered with farms already.