Kael Drakkal is the home of the giants in Velious, populated by mostly storm giants but also frost giants. For you genuine newbies, there are three factions on Velious, Coldain (dwarf, city of Thurgadin), Kromzek/Kromrif (giants, city of Kael) and Claws of Veeshan (dragon, city of Skyshrine). All three cities have armor quests where you can turn in an armor drop and three gems to get quest armor. There is no way to get ally faction with all three, you can only get two, max.
The Kromriff are frost giants who wear blue armor and have long, white beards. Their primary feud is with the Coldain. The Kromzek storm giants look more like gladiators and have no beard. Their primary nemesis is the dragons. Frost giants are found in Iceclad Ocean (lowest level giants), Great Divide (the fort near the Eastern Wastes zone is a popular hunting spot), on the Eastern Wastes side of Kael and the Wakening Lands. There are some storm giants in WL but mostly they are inside Kael. The relations go something like this:
* Killing Kromrif will raise your Coldain faction and give you a slight CoV faction boost.
* Killing Kromzek will give NO Coldain faction but a bigger CoV hit.
* Killing CoV mobs will give you rif/zek faction, but no Coldain faction.
* Killing Coldain in EW, GD and Thurg will give you rif/zek faction and cost you Coldain/CoV.
Killing Coldain gives big Kromrif faction but negligible Kromzek faction. I turned in a few dozen Coldain heads to the Kromrif recruiter and went to amiable to the frost giants but still dubious to the Kromzek. The easiest way to get Kromzek faction is go to the courtyard in Skyshrine and kill Guardians and Sentrys. So you can ally with any two of the three. You need warmly faction with the Coldain for the quest armor, ally with the giants and dragons. To check, hail the quest giver and start asking things like 'what sleeves' or 'what gauntlets' and see if he answers. If the mob doesn't answer, your faction isn't high enough and they will eat the item.
There's three other factions, King Tormax, Lord Yelinak and Dain Frostreaver IV. They are the leaders of the giants, dragons and dwarves, respectively. Kromzek deaths raise Dain faction and lower Tormax faction, Coldain deaths do the opposite. Killing Tormax will raise your Yelinak and Dain faction, killing Dain will raise Tormax faction but do nothing for Yelinak, and killing Yelinak will raise Tormax faction but do nothing for Coldain. Got all that? :)
II. Quest Armor
People have to choose their faction based on what kind of armor they want. Generally speaking, it tends to be a guild decision although people tend to go Coldain/CoV for two reasons: most players tend to be "good" aligned, and the dwarves and dragons are considered a "good' race while giants are seen as evil, and two, Thurg armor is easy to get while Skyshrine armor is the best for saves and for casters. Skyshrine is known for saves and caster stats (int/wis) while Kael armor has far and away the best armor class and HP.
For the Thurgadin armor, you will need to hunt deep in Kael Drakkel. While the armor can drop anywhere, the Arena is where it is most likely to drop. You should look for the level 53+ Veterans, Adjutants, Legionnaires and Lieutenants, because they have the best chance of dropping the armor. There is a Lieutenant who spawns near the bank (see below) who often drops armor, too.
For the Kael Drakkel armor, you will need to hunt in the Temple of Veeshan in any area except the Halls of Testing (HoT) to the east of the central area and the entry. Everything here is 60+ so you need a lot of very high level people and high resists because so many are casters.
For the Skyshrine quests, you need to hunt in the Temple of Veeshan Halls of Testing. After running up the stairs and moving to the central area, it's to the right, or the east. There's only one thing to really remember about HoT: do NOT open the door until someone inside gives the all clear.
III. Busting into Kael
Ok, got sidetracked, on to Kael. Giants are a difficult fight because they cannot be stunned or mezzed, which makes life tough for enchanters. They can be slowed, although many of the Arena mobs will summon, so you can usually tell when the enchanter has tashed the giant. Giants can be charmed. Dire charm-capable enchanters often do this. I've seen AoW raids with 3-4 charmed giants. They have a tendency to break charm easily though, so keep an eye on the enchanter.
Frost giants guard the entrances from EW and WL. If you have Coldain heads from killing the dain, you turn them in to the Kromrif recruiter who stands at the entrance to Kael on the EW side. That gives some big faction boosts. These frost giants are rather low level. On the map below, you will find level 40 and lower frost giants. They drop no armor except for junky axes and swords, but they do drop heads and toes, which can be turned in in Thurgadin for faction.
The other way in is from the Wakening Lands side.
There are a lot of low-level frost giants here as well. It's not uncommon to see a three-man team just killing in this area, working on faction. There are also some low-level storm giants and one high level beast, Korakaz. He's a blue storm giant, level 54, hits very hard and fast. He drops something called Bear Skins of Rage, but no one knows what it's for. Going up the slope from the WL zone leads to the bank area.
Ok, below is where it gets fun.
Follow the blue line to get thru Kael to the WL zone. It's mostly a straight line with a hard right turn at the bridge, which is on the right side of the map. You'll go down a ramp, then turn left, go past the bank area, down a ramp and you're at the zone.
The Manor, some times referred to as "plate cycle" or "Iceshard Keep" when people do camp checks, is where you will find the highest level frost giants in the game. You can take a single group of 53+ people up to the manor, which is over a small lake that actually has a giant fishing at the shore, and stay outside the building and pull. There are a number of named frost giants, and some are shadowknights. Your puller will know which when he gets harmtouched. Some of the giants have the title "Oracle." These are the ones most likely to drop armor.
The manor has a 28 minute respawn timer, but there's plenty of giants to
kill. Klaggan Iceshard, who is in the throne room, drops Royal Kromrif Blood, which is used in the 7th Coldain
Prayer Shawl quest. If you clear the building, you can do the plate cycle, which
coincides with the 9th Coldain ring. Move your group inside to the throne, stand
at the edge of the throne and say "The Dain shall be slain for the peace we must
obtain." Doldigun Steinwielder, a Coldain, will spawn. Kill him, he dies
with one smack, and two level 51 giants will spawn. As you kill them a pair of level
54 giants will spawn. When you kill the two level 54s, a 57 giant will spawn, and when
he dies, a level 60
giant spawns, and he is totally MR.
After the level 60 giant dies, Doldigun will spawn in the throne room and start running. You have to kill him either way, whether you are doing the Coldain ring quest or not. If he despawns you won't be able to repeat the quest for 20 minutes. If you want to redo the plate cycle immediately, then you have to kill him. He's pretty tough this time, around level 55. Kill him and loot his head for the ring quest. It's one of the six heads you need for the Coldain traitors.
There is no limit on how many times you can do the plate cycle so long as you kill Doldigun. You can restart it and go it all over when you are done and do the cycle all over again. With each plate cycle, it's expected that one or two pieces of plate armor will drop, and only plate. So you can do it over and over to get tons of plate. Just remember, every 28 minutes the giants will respawn, and if they respawn during the plate cycle, your life can get very difficult.
The noble house is a popular spot for a single group. They hide in the corner outside the the house and pull to there. The group usually pulls from the area around it, the manor and the area marked "Bvellos," where Captain Bvellos and Staff Sergeant Drioc spawn. Both are used in various quests and are pretty hard to kill. Inside the manor is a noble named Wenglawks Kkeak, who actually won't attack you. He's used in several quests, so you don't HAVE to kill him.
People like to kill him and the Lesser Nobles who populate the house. Be careful of Noble Helssen, a level 60 giant who looks like Wenglawks. He's a caster and will gate back into the manor and summon players, and that can be rough. Inside the house is also a merchant. Con him, he'll be dubious even though you are KoS everywhere else. Don't pull him, they are a bitch of a fight and drop nothing.
The bank area is rather weak, with low level mobs like the Storm Giant Commoner. Kill them only because nothing else is up. In this area, a storm giant Lieutenant will frequently spawn. By all means, kill him. I've seen him drop plate arms and silk legs. Lieutenants are easy to spot because they are blue while most storm giants have a copperish armor color.
Ok, this is where the fun begins.
In case my illustration doesn't make it clear, the dark blue dots are spawn spots. After people were tramping through Kael totally unmolested, Sony decided to make us earn our keep by putting in giants that see invisible. That starts at the top of the ramp leading to the arena. At the top will be two pairs of giants, usually frost but some times storm, that will see invis and sneaking rogues. People like hanging at this spot, as it's a great pull location and you've got plenty of nearby giants to grab, both going into the arena and down the ramp, near the noble house, if no one is camping the nobles.
Be careful when going to the arena, it's easy to turn into the arena itself where supposedly gladiator fights take place and the stands are full of giant "spectators." There are two ramps that lead to the arena, one on each side. A giant stands guard on the opposite side of the ramp, as the spawn spot dots show. I have successfully run by them by hugging the ramp wall on the opposite side, so it can be done. But see how there's another giant spawn spot right near them? You have to be careful, because that giant will see you running up the ramp, and he roams. Wait for him to walk away, down that dead path behind him.
In the Arena you will have a host of giants to deal with. You want Veterans, Adjutants, Legionnaires and Lieutenants for armor drops. If you are leading a raid, collect all the storm giant toes and giant warrior helms. These can be turned into Sentry Kcor at the entrance to Skyshrine (WL side) for faction. Most raids have one loot nazi who divvies up the helms and toes after the raid is over to people who need them.
You will run into a lot of Protectors of Zek, nasty monsters from level 56 to 58 that hit for up to 350 a shot. You need some mature tactics here: pull with a monk and have an MA gain agro before calling in other melees and casters. Three spawn right next to each other inside the arena area, so separating them is a challenge for the monk, and often you need two monks to do the job. PoZs drop no armor, just their head. Wood elf Rangers need the head for the Helm of the Tracker quest on the Plane of Growth.
Quick rundown of the big name mobs in the Arena:
A Priest of Tallon Zek: Drops the Idol of Erosion for the high elf cleric quest Symbol of Tunarean Worship, a PoG quest.
A Cleric of Vallon Zek: Drops the Idol of Decay for the cleric quest.
Semkak Prophet of Vallon: Drops several quest items, including the third idol for the cleric quest.
Kallis Stormcaller: Tough giant, head is needed for the Helm of the Tracker quest.
Gkrean Prophet of Tallon: Drops a number of quest items, including the fourth idol. Teachings for for the Circlet of Falinken.
Bjrakor the Cold: Popular with monks for his Scepter of Mastery, a nice 1HB item for them.
Vkjor: Arena spectator, around level 60, druids Silver Steel Gauntlets, a nice pair of warrior gauntlets.
Vealok the Angry: Guess I'd be angry if I had no loot, too.
To the north of the arena is a bridge leading to the temple. Now, a warrior worshipper of Rallos Zek can walk through Kael largely unmolested, although he's dubious to everything until he works on his faction. Here, though, everyone is KoS. The bridge has three wandering mobs, two level 58 Temple Guardians and Derakor the Vindicator, a very nasty level 65 giant. Vindi is probably the most overrated mob in the game. His BP is nice, but considering what a tough fight he is (250,000 HP), his drops aren't that good. But killing him spawns the Statue of Rallos Zek, who in turn spawns the Idol of Rallos Zek, and killing that spawns the Avatar of War. But they are another story.
Compiled from numerous guides around the Web, plus my own experiences.