Steps of Madness
Steps of Madness or SoM is a static instance in northern Omni Forest, at coordinates 800, 2840 (/waypoint 800 2840 716). Added to the game in 2001 as a Halloween treat, players originally needed a special teddy bear called Childhood Memory (the object of a separate quest) to enter. When SoM was made a permanent fixture, the teddy bear requirement was removed.
With the addition of Patch 17.9, the instance has been newly updated to scale the monsters down in health to even out the challenge for all players and loot was added or updated.
Players in teams are advised to be of level 30 or higher, and a level of 50 or higher is recommended for solo play.
Players will greatly benefit from the items in Steps of Madness, but it is designed to exclude XP gain by making all its enemies very tough and low level. Biomare is better suited for leveling after leaving the Temple of the Three Winds.
Steps of Madness is but one of the Halloween special events and added content, so numerous they have their own, extensively detailed article.
Getting There and Getting Back
There is a teleport to the instance, but no return teleport. For teleporting to the instance, a strange floating Nanomage named Zyvania Bagh can be found in ICC HQ. "From the transportation terminal in ICC HQ, exit left and loop around the building until you see an orange tent with a floating woman named Zyvania Bagh".
If you talk to her, she will be willing and eager to tell you about the revelations of the Neleb and the Steps of Madness. If you can talk politely with her for long enough (relatively politely, that is. The dialogue is intended to be satirical, and is overtly dismissive of Neleb and thus her beliefs. Just avoid the rudest comments), she will offer to teleport you to the entrance of the instance so you can start your own 'journey of enlightenment'.
Omni characters can easily reach the instance, or return, by leaving Omni Entertainment via one of the East exits and traveling slightly north east.
Characters wanting to return back to the last Insurance Terminal the character saved at: just suicide, either the old fashioned way or by typing /terminate and choosing to accept, which takes one minute. To get back without losing XP to the pool, Clanners can risk it all and take the grid in Omni Entertainment themselves. If they are cautious enough, Clanners can possibly make it through the city alive. Or they must use other modes of travel, such as travel northwest to the northern border of Omni Forest, northwest across Pleasant Meadows, and take the ferry exit north of the OT Outpost across The Stret River to Harry's and its Grid exit. Vehicles will speed this up considerably.
Traveling north from the Omni Entertainment east gate, players will come upon a path composed of parallel rows of standing stones. The path leads to a large rock with what appears to be a living eyeball in it. The eyeball eerily rolls around and watches the players approach. Access to the instance is afforded by right-clicking the eyeball.
Players are then teleported into a winding system of caverns occupied by nightmarish creatures with equally horrific names, many of which are the Manifestations so similar in appearance to the Meta-Physicist summoned pets. Most of these mobs drop items unique to SoM.
The fire cannot hurt you but the lava does damage over time: 25 per second.
Persistence is always required for collecting item drops, but with Tidal, Arachnid, Spacial, Burning and Darkness Ethers to collect, it helps to have another edge. One is Time: groups of creatures in an area seem coded to, at one time, drop more of one sort of Ether, while later they will drop a lot of another. Another is that the higher level creatures seem to be coded to drop more of what you currently need. And finally, do not expect the drops to be entirely equal. Arachnid and Spacial are considerably more common overall. Tidal can be quite rare, especially if you never get as far as Neleb's room. Burning and Darkness are uncommon, particularly if you do not kill the higher level creatures and revisit areas.
Entrance: Gleeful Greeter floating ball level 30ish. Can drop the rarer Ethers.
Two doorways to the left after the entrance both lead to a U-shaped room with Childhood Horrors; these small Spider monsters in level 30 range block the path to the large Unrelenting Fear spider in the 45+ level range. Unrelenting Fear drops Fear Forged Blade and Arachnid Ether. The Childhood Horrors are a reliable if not 100% source of Arachnid Ethers.
Fire Ethers in particular but also Darkness are quite rare; the Foundation of Sanity in the passage outside the doors spawn very slowly but are a fairly reliable source of Darkness and especially Fire ethers. Tidal Ether is less rare when all the higher level spawns are factored in, but uncommon, and the Foundation of Sanity mobs drop that, too. They drop almost exclusively the three Ether types, but may drop none at all, hence "fairly reliable".
Cavern of Sanity
Many Figments of Imagination, occasionally dropping Ethers, spawning quite rapidly. Fragment of Sanity-Brutal Hands 100% drop. Brain Splitter. Roving Eye.
Passage to the Southwest and Cavern of Hatred: second Brain Splitter, second Roving Eye.
Passage to the Southeast; three Fragment of Sanity.
Cavern of Hatred
- Nervejolter - 100% drop chance.
Suppressed Emotion (valuable Emotional Sponge, roughly equivalent to Lien's ring from To3W. Not a 100% drop, but high chance) Detached Psyche
Caverns of Disassociation
- Neutrino Flash - 100% drop chance.
Caverns of Madness
Pathway to Caverns of Madness: Mind Shard: Brainchopper
Others: Baleful Eye, Frazzled Nerves,
The cavern itself is Figments of Imagination and the Sanity's Edge, which, like the Notum Habit, looks like one of the Chemical Vindicator creatures from Biomare. Stalactites grow from the floor of this cave; stalagmites hang from above. Bones are scattered between.
Neleb the Deranged
For those who were unable to obtain a BM MM Notum Ring of the Three from The Curator in the Temple of Three Winds, at least one Fractured Sanity is productive. The Fractured Nightmare upgrade to Fractured Sanity, with its +4 to Intelligence and Psychic, is equivalent to the BM MM version of the Platinum Ring of the Three, since both BM and MM are Int/Psy dependent.
The updates to the Steps of Madness brought with it a couple of new tradeskills that improve some of the old items.
- Aggression Enhancer (Jealousy Augmented)
- Complete Nightmare Ether
- Neleb's Nightmare Battlerod
- Neleb's Nano-master Robe
- Fractured Nightmare