Monday, July 27, 2009

Played Lately: Everquest 2

  • The regularity with which I make these posts borders on the comical. I'm tempted to exercise my copy-and-paste skills and call it done. However I love you all too much to resort to such trickery. (Well, maybe I don't love that guy over there. He smells funny.)

  • Inspired by the recent announcements from Tipa of West Karana and Stargrace of MmoQuests that each was packing up and moving over to the Antonia Bayle server, I decided the time had come to try Everquest 2 again. When I joined up earlier this year to harass Exeter from LootBot 3000, I rolled a new character on Antonia Bayle and had a lot of fun doing so. Of course, that only lasted a month as EQ2 always frustrates me around the twenty day mark. But since there was already a character on AB and I hadn't completely forgot how to play, I decided to give it another go. I thought I would make a few observations about my return. Don't be too surprised if I touch on topics raised by Wolfshead's in his First 15 on the game. That elephant just wandered in here and I can't avoid talking about it.

  • One of the things that has constantly frustrated be about EQ2 is the slow pace of combat. I have many spells of wildly different effectiveness on long cooldown timers. Enemies constantly resist my spells and they are very effective at disrupting my spellcasting. I never know when I start a fight whether or not I'm going to survive it. From the perspective of a former WoW, it is terribly frustrating.

  • But as I step back from that bias, I see that combat is not slow, it is deliberate. Each fight should be a struggle. I'm an adventurer, not a bug exterminator, and combat should be challenging. When joining one of my very, very rare PUGs to quest, I noticed combat went a lot smoother and more efficiently. EQ2 definitely rewards people for helping each other out.

  • While I've come to respect EQ2's combat system, I'm starting to despise the crafting. Somewhere between falling behind in my harvesting skills and the overly complicated crafting game, I have lost all interest in pursuing it anymore. I understand that many people sing its virtues so I would never ask SOE to throw it out. However I've got far too little patience for it. Of course, I barely had patience for LotRO's crafting and that was a click-and-wait system. So it's not EQ2, it's me.

  • One thing I have taken a greater interest in is my house. I only have a one room tenement in Gorowyn, but I've had some fun messing with what few decorations I have. This latest holiday, Tinkerfest, has been a boon in that department. I collected a bunch of housing items pretty quickly and put together a little gnome sized alcove for potential visitors. Not that I have any friends, but I like to be prepared.

  • Another thing Tinkerfest gave me was quick access to another questing zone, the Steamfont Mountains. I was able to clean out the lower level quests there within a few days, but I've been stymied by the big ones. So I decided to have a little adventure and see where I ended up. After a quick boat ride and a travel bell (What?!?) or two, I found my way to the Feerrott. The EQ2i Wiki tells me this is a parallel leveling zone to Steamfont, so I feel pretty lucky to have found it. Especially since I was aiming for the Enchanted Lands or Zek. It is kind of cool to set out on an adventure and have no real idea where I'll end up. I probably couldn't find my way back to Gorowyn if I didn't have a portal spell, but I feel accomplished just the same.

  • As I've been writing this, I found new impressions from Spinks of Welcome To Spinksville and Ysharros of Stylish Corpse about their time in Everquest 2. I see a lot of the fun and frustration I've had mirrored in their posts. SOE must be doing something right if so many people like me want to give Norrath another chance.



© 2009 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.
If you're reading this on a site other than Bullet Points, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

2 comments:

  1. I have taken up EQ II three different times over the years. At launch I pretty much hated it. My most recent foray, during the free summer right around when RoK launched, was actually quite a bit of fun. The main things I found frustrating were that it was often very hard to figure out where to go next once you exhausted the solo quests in a given zone (and even more confusing to figure out how to get there once you looked up where to go), and that the crafting mini game eventually became very grindy to me (though I liked it at first).

    I also found it odd that the starter zones were so utterly unbalanced. Depending on where your choose to spend your first 20 levels, you will end up with either a great set of armor from quests or a bunch of vendor trash that no sane player would use. I know why the game ended up that way (the vendor trash is from launch newbie quests), but I find it really odd that quest rewards in older zones have not been revisited. Unless you have a fleet of crafters, you will gimp yourself by not starting in Kunark these days.

    All in all one of the better fantasy MMOs out, but it never seems to grab me for more than a month or so.

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  2. @ Yeebo - I'm not sure I would get too far in this game if I didn't know about the EQ2 Wiki. Heck, I even set up a macro to open the wiki in the in-game browser. I try not to spend too much time there, but the Solo Timelines chart did come in handy pointing me where to go next. The game really could use some better zone to zone breadcrumbs.

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