Alik’r Desert Dolmen Farming
Back in 2014 when I was still regularly playing Guild Wars 2 a popular way to level up quickly, as well as grind various rewards, was to join the Queensdale Champion Train. The region was home to multiple Champion level bosses and groups would farm these for hours on end. On arriving in Queensdale, if you wished to join the “train” and farm the various bosses, it was customary to ask “choo choo” in zone chat. You’d then be informed where the “zerg” was and you could catch up with it accordingly. Such are the quaint and esoteric customs associated with the MMO genre. The Queensdale Champion Train eventually got nerfed by ArenaNet and the bosses downgraded, so that it ceased being a viable undertaking. The reason I mention this is because I recently discovered a very similar set up in The Elder Scrolls online. Namely Alik’r Desert Dolmen Farming.
For those who don’t know, here is a brief explanation of how this player driven event works. Dark Anchors or Dolmens are specific places where the forces of Molag Bal set an "anchor" point to pull Tamriel into Coldharbour. Each zone has 3 Dolmens (except Cyrodiil). The Dark Anchors are activated when fanatical cultists spawn around the Dolmen and begin incantations to open them. Once active these become world events. You can see the effects and hear the incantations from far away, and a horn will sound when the portal is opened. Evil forces then mount an incursion which has to be repelled. Once the event has finished and the Dark Anchors closed, a chest spawns with various rewards. Naturally Dolmens can be used a means to gain XP quickly and level up.
The reason the Alik’r Desert is popular for Dolmen farming is because there are wayshrines (quick travel teleporters) conveniently close to each location. The Aswala Stables Wayshrine is near to the Hollow Waste Dolmen, Goat's Head Oasis Wayshrine is well placed for the Myrkwasa Dolmen and Shrikes Aerie Wayshrine is at the foot of the hill of the Tigonus Dolmen. Furthermore, the Dolmen respawn quickly in this region and it is not to difficult to complete each and swiftly travel to the next. As with Guild Wars 2, if you enquire in zone chat, you can ascertain where the current “zerg” is. If you type “+ Dolmen” in chat you can potentially join any group farming in the area. Grouping increases XP gain by 10% and also shows the location of the group leader on the map.
I have spent some time recently farming Dolmen in this fashion and it certainly does allow you to level quite quickly. Because content scales in ESO, it’s not as if you out level the regular story quests in the game. Naturally some purist players will pooh-pooh this play style. There’s also the possibility that ZeniMax might nerf this situation in the future if they choose to. One of the reasons ArenaNet nerfed the Champion farming in Guild Wars 2 was because they felt that the “zerg” disrupted new players in what was essentially a low-level area. Whether a similar situation occurs in ESO remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’m going to “make hay while the suns shines” and continue to supplement my regular progression through ESO with such Dolmen farming.