And Then There Were Three : EQ2

I have spoiled myself with gaming time this holiday season. We often go on vacation during Christmas holidays but due to work and child activities/commitments we could not this year. The family decided to literally take three days and sit in our pyjamas at home, with a roaring fire, cheesy Christmas movies, and lots and lots of takeout/delivery food to eat. It was the closest thing to being lazy on a beach – minus the sun of course – but we kept the heat very cranked. It was glorious in it’s own, special way. My first goal was to complete the Kelethin story line – and I was not disappointing by the plethora of housing items as rewards as I played along.

(with all of my picture posts, you can click on them to expand to full size in a new window)

In the “old days” of MMOs  (wait – isn’t EQ “the old days”? Am I back to the future here? Time capsule? either way..) Quest rewards were a bit of coin. In the newer, old days they were clear upgrades. In EQ2 you get those upgrades AND something pretty/cool to put in your house. Don’t believe me? I was more excited for the hanging luinescent florets than the Sorcerer’s Bracelet above. Sure, I could kill things easier, but hanging things that glow! That is a true adventurers reward!

Not to be outdone Tuathil gave me a bookcase. I was truly happy for this as I had collected several books and had no where ideal to place them. Sure, I had some tables and boxes but not a proper bookshelf. Even better with this reward is that there was no gear upgrade to accompany it. Unless you could equip a bookshelf to swing furiously against enemies. And while I was enjoying the housing aspect of EQ2 I was even more excited to where my adventurer was heading. Crushbone.

I had mentioned before how much I loved Crushbone from Everquest. It was my standard leveling stop. I knew I would visit Crushbone eventually in EQ2 – I could see it clearly labelled on the map – so as I went from quest to quest it was always there as a reward for me for being a stout little adventurer. And here I was, at the gates of it, finally. Of course, one just doesn’t waltz into Crushbone – no! One must do all the quests surrounding the entrance first. Of course that wasn’t true in EQ  but here, in the new guided experience, it was.

The entrance to CB was always a mess in EQ. You had trains going in, and trains going out.  You would often barely escape one train by zoning through only to get crushed on the other side when the loading screen completed. This is where the name Crushbone comes from, I am certain. They have fixed that in EQ2 with a non-loading tunnel that is far longer (and safer) than the original.

The Orcs have also done some housing quests of their own, I see. I wonder how many adventurers they had to kill to get the “Orc Masthead – can be placed in any lair type” item.

EQ2 always plays on the nostalgic heart strings – and it works. The ORC belt quest was one of the first quests I ran in EQ. And every character I had that levelled through the elven zones ended up doing it. Heck, I did it on the progression server to great effect. In EQ it was a repeatable quest, not so in EQ2.

Not to be outdone they also added in the harder, upgraded quest of Orc Shoulder pads. Development of this game must have been easy peasy. Now fueled by nostagia, but I wonder at the time of launch if people were bored of “the same old thing” ?

There was an odd and comforting familiarity to entering Crushbone. It was always an open air dungeon of sorts – and the buildings in the background and wide open areas in between promised me farmable mini bosses, challenge, and “camp checks”. Except no one was in this zone except me, so I had all the bosses to myself.

Except I only found one and he did not drop the Shiny Brass Shield. At least, not in the 4 or 5 times I killed him. The timing was off in CB unfortunately – while the outdoor areas were easily soloable by the time I got there the gear was tuned for low level groups who skipped the quest line and went in as a team. I was level 21 and here level 10 gear was dropping. Still, the nostalgia factor was more important than the actual loot here. One big change in the new and improved leveling experience was that Castle Crushbone was it’s own zone. I went in and tried some soloing but it was truly dangerous for my level and I know I’d want some extra levels to fight there more safely.

I finished Kelethin at level 21 and was given a horse for my troubles. I wish I had the horse a bit earlier as Kelethin is a very big zone, but I still got by. There wasn’t a breadcrumb on where to go next and I was worried I missed something (I very well may have), but I had Google as a guide and it recommended Butcherblock. Which wasn’t the standard levelling swing in the old days but it would do. I took a Gryphon there and decided to take a break. Kelethin had a nice story to it and I was glad to have completed it, and the bits of EQ sprinkled throughout also made the experience a bit more satisfying. What to do next? I remembered a wise, old (?) blogging mentor once told me “there are so many leveling paths in EQ2 you could level several characters and not see it all, young padawan” (misquote and added a bit of style to it). That sounded good. What did the Frostfang Sea hold for me?

And just like that I was level one again. And a Paladin. Since I had a caster type I wanted to try a tanky type and I always aligned well with the theme of the Paladin class in many games. They were always alts of mine – but the stalwart defender of the weak style is how I like to live my life. I may have oversold that a bit.  Off I go again!

I did enjoy questing through the chain in Frostfang but sometimes it is the little things you appreciate. Such as having a potion to turn into a Manta ray to get to quest destinations faster. I also appreciated that when I was swimming around in the sea that the developers had placed mobs in the oddest of places – but it gave the zone and area life. Sometimes it is the little things.

And just like that, before I knew it, I was level 20 again. With more keys on hot bars than I could properly manage and a compelling and fun story line (albeit standard MMO fare) I decided to explore non-prestige housing, New Halas style. It was very quaint and cozy. Small Gallery below.

One thing I wish I had found – and it probably does exist if I searched for it – is a fire. I have fireplaces in my homes but no fires. I need to figure that out. The second experience was much quicker than the first to level 20 – and I ended up finishing the zone right at level 20 (the timing was impeccable) but I did the starter island first on my Gnome and spent WAY more time on housing. I was able to get the Paladin to level 20 in a single day.

Here my curiosity got the better of me. I mean, the “good” guy experience was pretty good. No spoilers but I really helped Kelethin and New Halas. What were the bad guys up to when I was doing all of this goody-two-shoe work?

I needed to find out. “Evil” races don’t normally resonate with me from a story perspective. Yes, my first real main in EQ was a troll warrior – but there was no story for me to be shoehorned into. I was the gently giant and quickly left my hometown in search of people who would understand me and that who I could protect. I became friends with Gnomes, Elves, and even Halflings! I find playing evil races in the new, quest-guided mmo experiences normally out of character for me and I have to do things I don’t want to do to progress the story lines. I picked a Dark Elf because they are often more worried about killing each other than the innocent (well, okay, usually both, but I am reaching here) and while Greater Faydark was all about learning what was poisoning the land, and the Frostfang Sea about how the Orcs were invading – Darklight Woods was about ensuring the current power structure was kept in place. Very Dark Elvish, I was not disappointed.

I chose a healing class – because I already had a tank (plate) and caster (cloth). EQ2 is very bad at explaining classes (as are most guides on the internet). The Fury (which I chose, which I had never heard of) was very satisfying. It was a druid style class (leather) that had offensive and healing spells. Could shapeshift (Wolf, Tiger, Lion – so far) AND could also charm a pet. None of the cool things (shape shifting, charming) were explained at character select. And Charm Creature seems to work on anything living – including people. Basically I have a healing melee enchanter, or something like that, and it was very satisfying and super fun to play. I wouldn’t have known this by reading the tool tips and didn’t fully realize it until I was in my mid teens. Am I going to have to play all 25 classes to level 20?

Much to my surprise I may have a new “main”. The heals, the forms, the charming – it is kind of like a druid and enchanter all rolled into one. Although the charm doesn’t last as long and due to the buffing mechanics you can’t have all of your self buffs up and charm at the same time (there is some sort of mental capacity cap). I don’t want to speak too soon, however, as I have one more mission to do.

I need a scout class (chain) that can adventure in the Timorous Deep. I was leaning Swashbuckler as I love the idea of being a Musketeer, but they are a “good” class. I don’t want to have to worry about positional requirements which excludes Rogue (soloing with those requirements usually means I am in front of the mob, not behind or the side) so that leaves a Dirge, Ranger, or Troubadour as the primary candidates. Is there any secrets I should know? Much like how the Fury was an incredible surprise on capabilities, I don’t want to miss out on a cool class or mechanic because there is not a good explanation on them at character creation.

Thinking Dirge, which has great self buffs as a melee Bard. Any other recommendations?

2 Comments

  1. bhagpuss

    The Shiny Brass Shield is a Heritage Quest. Almost all the famous weapons and other items you know from EQ will probably be Heritage Quests. The SBS HQ is called “Training is a Shield” and it’s a series of trials given out by an Orc caled Grozmag The Trainer in Zek. You would probably need to be well into your 40s to solo it since it ends with a fight against Emperor Crush himself in Deathfist Citadel.

    Heritage Quests were originally intended to be done in groups although these days you can solo them pretty handily. Still not going to be doing many in your 20s, though. The items you get from them – the named items like the SBS – can usually be converted into house items to display as trophies, which makes the quests worth doing even when you’ve long outgrown the item itself.

    Butcherblock is a really good zone. One of the best in fact. There’s an incredible amount to do there, a ton of named mobs to kill, plenty of them soloable, and a good number of interesting or amusing questlines. You can also get the quest for a Leaper mount there, if I recall correctly, and I think the lengthy questline that finally concludes with the flying cloud mount starts there too.

    EQ2 has quite a lot of very extended questlines that come in ten level chunks. The cloud is one, Qho’s gathering questline from Mara is another. Then there are the racial quests that use the old city “villages”. Those are very interesting. There are a million quests in EQ2 though, or it seems like it.

    Scout classes have never been my thing in any MMO so I can;t offer much advice there. I don’t believe I have ever played any of them for more than a few levels except for the Beastlord, which really should be a Leather class anyway. I have played a Fury although I never took to the class. It’s always been a popular choice, though. I had no idea Furies could charm anything other than animals – are you sure that’s supposed to happen?

    Anyway, sounds like you’re doing fine without much in the way of guidance so keep on doing what you’re doing!

    Reply
    1. Isey

      I’m thankful I can always count on you to get me even more interested in what the future holds in EQ2. I ended up rolling a Dirge which is basically a rogue/bard that doesn’t need to twist songs. All of my group buffs are helpful as self buffs and the 30% speed I have up always out of combat (and 15% IN combat I think) Makes this the fastest leveller yet. Plus Timorous Deep has the most streamlined quest experience so far. The Dirge is plenty of fun and kills things twice as fast as my other characters so far. Plus has stealth to skip the mob densities you don’t want to fight through. My biggest issue now is sorting a main, because it’s not realistic to get all 4 to the level cap. What is that,110? Of course, not much reason to rush, but I’d like to get one to current in decent order.

      My three big things I get to sort out:

      1) who I am taking to level first
      2) where best to spend money – I’ve put enough time in they deserve more. Do I subscribe? My playtime will likely go down when I’m back to work, and I’m still playing Warframe, TSW, and DDO exploring as well.. just buy an expansion? I don’t even know which ones I have to buy or where to start.
      3) I already forget the third. My.brain is also still on holidays.

      For some reason. I thought your Ratatonga was a Swashbuckler, because of the hat. But no, a Bezerker, right? (I could go check but just in my phone so easier to ask).

      Reply

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