Like countless other people around the world, I played with LEGO blocks
when I was a child. I spent hours constructing buildings, spaceships,
and other flights of fancy born in my youthful imagination. Eventually,
I moved on to other toys and games, leaving LEGOs behind, but now,
LEGOs have returned with style="font-style: italic;">LEGO Universe,
an online MMOG. This bright, cheerful world is composed of different
zones in which players can smash, build, and race to their
heart’s content. One of the most interesting zones is the
Forbidden Valley, a mist-shrouded realm fabled to be the land of the
stealthiest of warriors…the ninja! Let us draw back the
curtains and preview this mysterious zone.
To begin, you can travel to the Forbidden Valley by departing from
Nimbus Station using your personal rocket. The path leading to the
launch pad that connects you to the Forbidden Valley is the one lined
with burning torches behind the Paradox booth. However, you
can’t travel to the zone unless you’re a member of
Nexus Force. Once you’ve decided which faction to join
(Paradox, Venture League, Sentinels, or Assembly) you’ll be
able to travel freely back and forth between the zones.
The Forbidden Valley is comprised of a number of floating
islandsTranquil water ponds, lighted lanterns, and pagodas show the
Asian influences that shaped the Forbidden Valley. A fine mist hangs
over everything, adding a mysterious and slightly brooding atmosphere.
You will first arrive at the Main Gate, where you’ll be
informed that you’ll need a Maelstrom infused Ninja Hood to
pass freely. Naturally, you don’t have such an item. What to
do? The answer is that you need to think like a ninja. When you
can’t go through, go around. There are a number of smaller
floating chunks of rock off to one side that you can jump across (if
you’re agile) to reach a gate that you can simply smash
through. If you get tired of plummeting to your demise by falling off
said rocks, you can destroy some of the objects around the gate, which
will reveal the components of a springboard you can build that allows
to jump over the gate.
Once you get past the gate, you’ll be directed to go to the
Great Tree, where you’ll be tested by ninja masters. The
first thing you’ll notice as you travel is that there are no
bridges connecting the various floating islands. However, there are
very strong updrafts between the islands. To get from one island to
another, you’ll have to jump! Not just any normal jump, but
the double-jump method of tapping your space bar twice quickly.
It’ll take some practice (and quite a few falling deaths),
but you’ll eventually get the hang of it. Remember, ninjas
The Great Tree is the island in the center of the zone and will become
the central point of your activities here. Located around (and on) the
Great Tree is a mailbox, a rocket launching pad back to Nimbus Station,
a gear vendor, and the various ninja masters who will give you
quests. From the Great Tree, you’ll travel to the
other floating islands such as Mantis Rock (where you’ll
first encounter the ghostly Dark Ronin), Cavalry Hill (where tombs can
be found along with the spectral Maelstrom Horsemen), and the Forbidden
Passage that leads to the Paradox Maelstrom Refinery.
An important item that you can get in the Forbidden Valley is a
maelstrom hammer.. To collect the parts of the hammer, you’ll
have to travel throughout the zone smashing the temple bells. Once
you’ve smashed all four temple bells you’ll be
rewarded with a maelstrom hammer that’s useful for smashing
and combat The maelstrom hammer comes in handy in that there are
statues around the zone that you can smash with the hammer, and then
you can quick-build a launch pad that usually bounces you back to the
Great Tree. You’ll need to smash the anvil located close to
the mailbox at the Great Tree with your maelstrom hammer to create a
pad that will carry you up to the top of the tree to see the greatest
ninja master, Numb Chuck. (If you don’t have the hammer yet,
you can always hitch a ride on somebody else’s pad.)
Besides the Great Tree, the other hot spot in the zone is the Forbidden
Passage and the Paradox Maelstrom Refinery. The Forbidden Passage holds
the last temple bell that you need to complete your maelstrom hammer,
but the entire area is flooded with dark ronin and maelstrom horsemen.
You don’t want to dally around here too long as that you will
get overwhelmed. On the cliff side of the Forbidden Passage, there is a
smashable object that can be quick-built into a launch pad that will
shoot you up to the cliff top. Behind the cliffs, there is a path that
has green dragons that you can tame as pets.
To get to the Paradox Maelstrom Refinery, you’ll have to pass
through a gate. Just like the Main Gate, you’ll need a
maelstrom infused ninja hood to get through. Unlike the Main Gate,
there is no way around it. To get a maelstrom infused ninja hood, you
need to see Numb Chuck at the top of the Great Tree. Make sure that you
get the quest to see him from the person standing close to the mailbox
at the Great Tree, or you’ll be like me running around for
quite a long time, asking where to get the darn ninja hood.
Once you have your ninja hood, you’ll be able to pass through
the gate and heads toward the Paradox Maelstrom Refinery. To get to the
Refinery, you’ll use launch pads to bounce your way across.
Inside the refinery, there is a gear vendor and a brick vendor. At the
far end of the refinery is a statue of a red dragon. This is where you
go to complete the Smash the Dragon quest given to you by Numb Chuck.
Clicking on the statue will take you to an instance called the
Dragons’ Den. Inside the Den, you have to fight and destroy
one of the dragons (there’s plenty to choose from!) Dark
Ronin will also attack you while you’re fighting the dragon.
It’s best to have a friend or two with you unless you have
some really great gear.
Overall, the Forbidden Valley is an atmospheric zone to adventure in.
The Asian-influenced style of the zone is great to look at. You can get
some pretty awesome gear, such as the maelstrom hammer, in this zone.
My favorite is the gi outfit which allows you to fight with an unarmed
combat style. The only negative is that if you’re bad at
jumping, be prepared to hate life. I lost track of the number of times
that I plummeted to my doom. However, most people should get the hang
of it rather quickly. The best thing about the zone is that
there’re ninjas all over the place! Who doesn’t
love ninjas? If you look around, you’ll also notice that
there are a few pirates lurking around the zone as well. Who will win?
Pirates or ninjas? Isn’t that the age-old question of our
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