[EQ2] The little man’s end-game

Having finally cleared the hurdles that have made my work-day worse than miserable this last month, I’ve been putting in more hours at the office/from home this last week, and playing a little less EQ2; at the same time, the rest of our gang has been playing a little less too.

Bear in mind that I’ve been playing EQ2 on-and-off since day 1 and I was an EQ1 fanboi before that. I’ve also had the advantage of being in good company when the expansions came out to give me a beginners intro to the expansion content (thanks, BK!)

But, aside from Granik, “the gang” are relative “newbs” at this game, and when I stop and try to look at the game from their perspective, this “end game” is a mess.

For the first 50 levels you are firmly anchored to your home town; the path of progression is relatively clear – once you know about the docks and the harbormaster and you think to go on out to the other side’s docks, the mechanism of progression is relatively straight forward.

Unfortunately, it made me realize that the game itself utterly fails to guide you on this path. That may be ok, maybe its a socializing atom – give the guy a quest in Everfrost and make him ask how to get there.

The next problem I found was that there is no guiding storyline at this point. Each zone seems to make do with a group of, what I call, “on-ramp” starter quests. There’s no sense of story, just a bunch of fast-exp quests you can pick up at the zone line. But without going to Allakhazam or Gamepressureyou have no guide to choosing between Zek and Enchanted Lands, except that Enchanted Lands seems to be harvester/grinder heaven when you first land there, only getting interesting if you can stomach reaching level 30 to earn the “honor” of fighting newbie mobs.

Once you reach the 50s, everything falls apart. You reach expansion land, and there is literally nothing to guide you into any expansion content. First the method of reaching the content changes. DoF: magic carpets, neat, but different. KoS: Teleporters in various zones. EoF: Boats from the place you normally use mariners’ bells to port around.

While these mechanisms are novel and unique and fun when they come out, to a new player working up the ranks, they are perplexing and confusing. You notice these things being added, but you don’t notice them on your way up.

And once you do discover the expansion content, there is a learning curve to make WWII Online proud.

Desert of Flames aka “Wii hasn’t been invented yet, so lets see how we can be innovative with the mouse buttons”. Some things need right clicks, some need left clicks, some need double clicks, some need click and hold. Double click a carpet, lets see where that takes us. Right click a carpet and get a list. Rescue a hostage on a grifters quest? Is that a right click, left click, hail or what?

I’ve watched my regular gang tearing hair out trying to work out not how to solve DoF puzzles but how to interact with them. DoF quests frequently appear under their own “zone” locales; like other players, I’ve reported every single one of these I encounter, but in 3 years, I’ve only ever seen two fixed.

DoF does introduce several new and novel features, and it introduces some nice zones and dungeons. I seem to recall storyline being stronger than it is, but that’s because I had buddies whirlwind me through access to the court of coin. Honestly, our guys got bored of token grinding after one evening: without me giving them spoilers, they had no idea why they were doing it. There’s a guy on the docks who explains a little about the factions, which actually all of them stood and read, but it didn’t give them any kind of motivation to get into the faction.

This is perhaps, partly, because DoF works differently than all the previous zone+dungeon combinations they’d gotten used to in the EQ-original content – even down to having to click on door knockers instead of doors themselves. Gah!

We did living tombs a few nights ago and had a lot of fun – the Silent City access quest is a lot of fun and shows some of the potential that DoF holds. But the lack of quest-lore threading together our adventures really makes it feel like a desert :( I’ve decided not to push any of our guys into Pillars of Flame and see if they wind up there somehow on their own. I don’t think they will tho.

Kingdom of Sky seems to mark some kind of KT boundary event for EQ2 (note the absence of quest info?) The zones look kinda neat, the quest lore/text has a little more robustness to it although in both spelling and grammar it looks like unproofed kfsone. But from the very outset, our little band of adventurers asked ‘why?’ Maybe we’re not high enough level to do more than grind torpid blossoms and turn in tasty baskets full of tangleflies. But we’ve got zero sense of what’s up there, what potential it holds, what we might be doing or what quests we might want to track down. I took a long break after KoS came out, so I don’t have the same introduction to it that I got for DoF. To us, so far, its just a series of floating spawn-camps separated by gaps you have to use a “griffin” equivalent to cross.

In short: Kingdom of Sky feels utterly airy-fairy and wholly fails to connect with us as a group in any way :(

Echoes of Faydwer is absolutely fantastic :) I love it. However, the rest of the gang didn’t want to play Fae, so I started my group-Fury in Freeport. The EQ2 team appear to have done a terrify lore-spinning job with EoF, and I suspect that if you Play the Faeprogression is meaningful and interesting. As it is, we did bits of Crushbone and some bits of Butcherblock and had fun. We’ve got quest-tendrils pointing us towards Klak’anon, but we also have two other expansions competing for our interest and no real compass to point us towards any in particular – but mostly there’s no frickin’ way we want to wind up in Lesser Faydark. Ryan, please tell me that’s not your baby?

I’d liketo visit some of the other content in EoF – Loping Plains looks pretty darn cool. But I’ve got to recover our lil’ groups flagging interest.

The really core part of our problem as a group is that we are flying through all this content. Yes – we level too fast and too easily.

After everyone got to roughly the same level range, we all had quests that were blue/green to us solo that we were doing, but started doing as a group. That gets old and boring fast when you have a well equipped 5-man group. So we tried to move it up a notch and do some more challenging quests.

In short: We can either consume content faster than we can enjoy it, or we can consume content that just isn’t enjoyable (unchallenging).

I still hold Vitality beholden for this. Levelling didn’t used to be this fast. And what’s most annoying about vitality is that you can decline it. I’m already way ahead of our group, but thanks to vitality there’s no frickin’ way they can catch up with me unless I choose to forgo lots of quests.  Even with combat exp turned off and me mentoring every time we group for the last 2 weeks now, I’m still slowly pulling ahead ofthem! ARGH

[I suspect this may be a problem with the interaction between vitality and mentoring: you get 50% exp when mentoring down, but I think the vitality bonus still works at 100%; when I (lev 54) was mentoring easting (lev 36) my exp bar was progressing almost as fast as his]

I guess what’s happened to our group is that we’ve started running dry of quest-series and lines to do in any particular place; over the last 15 levels of “original” content, we became accustomed to being bounced around between zones trying to forage for something to do.

Having broached 50, our number of destinations is wider but the pickings between them seem so much slimmer, and the clues as to where to go slimmer still. Any its darn annoying trying to move between them. If you head out to Maj’dul and find nobody has anything particular to do and you don’t feel like grinding some more tokens, it’s gonna take you 20-30 minutes to get to KoS, much of which is a bunch of standing around. Travelling isn’t bad, but loitering is.

Like Killer, I find that the EQ2 world feels very small. Spending 5 minutes waiting on the docks or 5 minutes waiting at the spires does not make the world feel big, it makes the developer seem hostile.  The griffons, the horses, the clouds… Are all fine ways of adding time to travel. I’d even enjoy more of the carpets being travels rather than simple ports.

We’ve been discussing whether or not we should join another guild; right now there’s just 5 of us and none of us know much about the game beyond where we’re at – or even right where we are at.  But that’s really kind of my point here.  We were hoping that the new content would unfold itself for us like the content we’ve consumed so far. But that just hasn’t happened and EQ2 affiliate/fan sites seem to be drying up.

We tried to get our magic carpets, but SoE have apparently both bumped up the entry requirements (no quest pre level 47) and sneaked up the toughness of the mobs (the final mob is Heroic, not Epic, yet he consistently wipes us out before we can so much as cast a heal or swing a sword; even more so than he did when I tried him solo with Straef when she was level 54). I’m guessing we’ll need the entire gang to be 58+ to take him on.

I’m pretty sure that if any of these expansions weren’t currently in game now but were released tomorrow right underneath us, we’d have a totally different perspective on them. But somehow the fact that we have to turn to big brother to get more than a toe in the waters of this new content somehow seems to be rubbing us the wrong way.

18 Comments

Huh. DoF was my favorite. Sounds like your group needs to go to PoF, and to Poet’s Palace. Some of the best zones in the game. Not counting those repeatable faction quests that require, for each quest, you get 5 of that rare-spawn solo fish way off the map in a sea of heroic sharks. Those types of things make me wonder who did what in EQ2… :) Naturally, I never made it to the Monk faction zones, and neither did anybody I ever knew, though I would have liked to have seen them.

The carpet djinni requires a chanter to mez his pets. Or a raid. When DoF first came out, you could kill him with an x2 raid and get credit… they changed it to require the second group be out-of-raid as to discourage mobbing. But yeah, get a chanter. For that, and for Cazel, and for Nizara, if you are very brave and enjoy the challenges.

KoS… yeah, no comment. You can, below 60, as mentioned, fill up baskets in TT for the frog. But there isn’t much beyond that for characters in their 50s. And even in your 60s there isn’t too terribly much there, for single groups, compared to DoF. Pretty zones, though; nothing like riding on a cloud, when it isn’t bugged out.

How’s that for big brother? I wonder if knowing there will be a big brother changes the way you design stuff…? EQ2 expansions hammer down the notion that “you have to earn it”… which, meh, whatever, it’s an rpg ffs.

Robusticus wrote:
Huh. DoF was my favorite

I liked it a lot too, and wanted to go back – that’s why we tried; back when it came out, it made a lot more sense and I had guidance on when to go and where to go – really what I’m commenting on is that apparently that came from without the game rather than within. Going back with a bunch of first timers now, I find it to be very quirky in a not-at-all good way, and when I think back, I remember other people working through these same perils and I find myself not at all surprized that we have Maj’dul to ourselves for hours on end.

Robusticus wrote:
The carpet djinni requires a chanter to mez his pets.

Remember – I have killed him before, I’m back 12-18 months later with a “fresh” group. We’re clearly too low currently, this quest we got at level 47 isn’t one we can complete. However, also note that I wasn’t complaining, merely commenting – this level 47 quest is too tough for us right now – although it should perhaps be denoted as heroic because, for a level 47 quest, its kinda tough ;) The last time we tried him, we had a level 60 illusionist with us and a coercer, but we only had the one group. If it said “Heroic” or “Epic” or something, we’d perhaps know that we need 2 groups.

Robusticus wrote:
How’s that for big brother?

Pretty good :) Take a step back from a second and look at it from the angle these guys have: there is no NPC in Freeport saying “Please go to Maj’dul” (unless you happen to be doing writs), and equally there is none saying “Please go to Tenebrous Tangle”. My hunch is the baskets are there because they wanted to make the range of TT a little wider so that they could “sell” KoS to more players and provide a new grind-zone for alts.

But how are these guys supposed to know that? :)

DoF is actually starting to green on us, and I virtually nothing about quest series there (except the faction stuff up in the northeast corner, the Ashen Order stuff?) but I see lots of zone marks on the EQ2Map, no idea how to get thru those, no idea what other zones hang off it.

I tried to get the gang to play on Oasis, where I know an active guild, but one of the gang refused to start over so we went with Befallen. I figure its time to join an active guild :)

Oh, sorry, sort of sounded like you were looking for a guide. I didn’t get that you ARE the guide.

But, jump down to my last paragraph, is it assumed you will have a guide? I think alot of it is. Some would say that is an exploit, however.

The thing I liked the most about DoF I think is that every single object is related to a quest, somehow. The first time through, you just get a sense of all this stuff that has no purpose… but everything is a quest prop.

More a case that out of our group I’m the only one who’s played this far before, the rest all left the game before or near the release of DoF preivously.

However my 50+ character was on a different server – all of the toons are first timers here; I hoped I knew enough to get us into some interesting storyline that would serve as a basis for our further adventures.

Instead, the stuff we’ve run into has been either seemingly buggy, difficult to operate not neccessarily to work out, or just ethereal – per e.g. there’s nothing about KoS/TT to indicate that its not really an adventuring zone; I was playing a paladin on a different server when KoS came out, and at the time I stopped playing, TT seemed to be – or at least seemed to be believed to be – an adventuring/questing zone.

I also had the impression that getting into a court was the basis of DoF play, but honestly if the gang sat and ground their way into a court, we’d have outlevelled all the content by the time we got access to our court; so I’ve been grinding guards to get them coins so that once they get in the quests are still white/yellow.

I don’t expect the game to hand-hold you thru everything, but I do think there should be some kind of lead-in to the new zones, some linkage to motivate you towards an area or a zone or a quest line, and that seems to be lacking.

I’m not disagreeing, here. Just pointing out the other faction’s view.

TT is a quest zone, just tough for people below 60. Serving the Land will take you back to TT for some interesting stuff.

The link between DoF and KoS is through the Shimmering Citadel, as I understand it. They released KoS too early, in my opinion, for both sides – not enough time for players nor developers. I remember quite clearly we were sort of beginning to stumble towards the twin dragons and the djinni master stuff when KoS was released. They did well to hide that stuff as it would have probably frustrated us to no end. The Peacock, Claymore and the Shen quests are sort of in that category also – fun until you realize you won’t ever see the end. Many don’t mind that aspect of it, however.

For your group, maybe you could do the peacock quests. I think you still need two groups to finish it, at level 70/50/50, etc. So you would have to judge that to see if it is worth starting.

Can you tell I want to resub to EQ2? :) I have a level 20 on Oasis…

Going to ding 37 tonight after a quick trip to Staples to return my GPS. Was in Zek all last night keeling orcs, got a page collection together and a new spell from it. Gives me a 3 minute orc killing buff, recastable in 9. Works about a 20% of the time.

I have to agree with Oli for the most part. I am part of his “gang” and can tell you that after Zek (well really, after Nek) everything seems so…..I dunno…..”so whatish”. As silly as it sounds, the Freeport quests, the Commonlands quests, and Nek stuff was all very interesting to me. It all tied to together in a way, and the story drove me to continue.

Now that I am 54, and stumbling around DoF, it just doesn’t have that same appeal. Aside from the coin quests (court I imagine), there seems to be no continuity to the whole thing. I could be wrong, but everything seems like a grind now, as before, I felt like I was accomplishing something. Maybe it was a grind back then, but it felt less like one.

One thing I do like is decorating my house/apartment. Anyone have some good trinkets for sale?

The best way to discover the new zones and get a quick review of their lore is to do the city writs for them. This will have you visiting all the open zones for the expansion eventually and able to pick up more specific quests along the way.

Each expansion has a quest line that runs through it that will eventually take you everywhere. The original game had the Prismatic Weapons quest, which you would happen upon in Lavastorm once you were high enough level and happened to be passing by Maiden’s Gulch.

Bloodlines Chronicles has a very fun quest line that I did just this past weekend; I missed it when the adventure pack first came out. It would be amazingly fun for a group of level 30-40 adventurers to work on.

Desert of Flames has the Peacock quest chain; it starts with a random quest in Maj’dul, “Damsel in Distress”, and by the end of it, you have seen nearly every zone in DoF (and probably a little too much of Living Tombs).

Splitpaw has a very short quest line that I haven’t yet bothered to finish, so I don’t know the reward.

Kingdom of Sky has the infamous Claymore quest, which starts in an inn in your home city. I believe that covers every zone in KoS eventually, though the later portions are raids.

The Isle of Mara expansion (forgot the true name of it) leads you through the Monk quests, where by completing missions you gain their favor and open up harder missions and some innovative solo missions.

The EoF questline has just been discovered and promises to be the best yet. Unfortunately, it is also starting out to be one of the most annoying, at least for Freeporters.

Thanks for posting, Tipa :) I didn’t recall that Damsel connected to Peacock, but I’d been getting the guys to do Damsel pointing out the rod/picture when it was up while I was grinding tokens to get them past that part.

I think Roca is correct – it feels as though the expansions tried to tone down the questing craziness, but the early morass of quests actually had a vibrance to it that threaded your own personal little tale. It gave you less of a sense of trying to find “the” quest track. I think that’s really where we are struggling with DoF/KoS – we seem to be seeing mobs turn green without finding a real hook into what seems to be a solid quest line – when in fact we had (Damsel).

You know, as part of the Claymore series, you get a cool jacuzzi for your house. Baby dragons especially appreciate that amenity.

I’m thinking if you guys did not like pharming the all too common court coins you will not like raid pharming the all too rare Fountain of Life eyeballs. Not that I know firsthand what that’s like, but I did the dragon shards in t5. I can only vividly imagine the drama on a failed God King attempt.

So, yeah, Serving the Land in the Barren Sky (not TT, my bad) and the Amulet of the Swords of Ro in the Pillars of Flame are safe bets. These are similar to how the first 20 levels of the game operate. Not counting EoF, I haven’t done that one yet, so I have no idea what that’s like.

I’m confused about the reference to the first five tiers, those heritage quests weren’t exactly obvious, either.

I don’t see a reference to the first five tiers? If you’re referencing Roca and my talking about the original content, we’re not talking about Epic material, we’re talking about quests pure and simple.

Qeynos/Freeport have an ecology of quests with trivial direct rewards but the ecology provides a culture for exploration and discovery of new content, without giving it away like a trip to Allakhazams.

If SoE decided that the prevalance of stuff like GamePressure abrogated the neccessity of some of that for the expansions, then its a shame that the spoiler sites seem to have dried up for these expansions. Without a guild who’s been there and done that, as late arrivals, its incredibly confusing and barren.

It’s been, hmm, nearly 2 weeks since we started DoF, and in those 2 weeks we’ve found less quests than we got in the first 15 minutes of, say, Ferrott.

Curse you kfsone. Because of your posts I bought EOF and started playing. This is my first online game other than WWIIOL and Warbirds. Since I haven’t been playing WWIIOL much (like to fly mostly), I to the plunge into EQ2.

I have been hooked, bad. I started a High-elf Ranger (22) Sage (25), then started a Erudite Warlock (10), crafting (10), a Froglok Illusionist (12) Weaponsmith (18), and now a Barbarian Palidan (19) Outfitter (20) (because I want to SOLO and kick ass for a bit to explore and better learn the game).

I had one experience in grouping with a level 50+ Palidan, and he/she was awesome. A level 15 heroic quest(?), but I was only level 12 at the time. So I want to get to 25 or 30 before I start grouping with some noobs to help the lower levels, and with higher groups that I can actually contribute to.

As I learn more with each character, I go to the next one to do it better, and develop different skill sets. At this rate I’m never gonna get done with this game. When I get bored with one, I move to another alt and work that one up a bit. I try to max out crafting, so I will harvest for a bit with the higher level guys too.

I find this mix to be very entertaining. Of course it is all new to me. Now I even find myself the leader of a guild (which I just joined so some guys could get the min number to start one LOL).

I have been very pleased by the player base on Befallen, everyone seems very helpful and friendly (if you are not obnoxious about questions). So once I get through with these “Good” characters, I can turn to the dark side even, so I feel that there is a huge amount of content left.

The Ranger lets me sneak around and see things without getting into fights, but it does not seem as easy to solo as the Palidan.

Oh well. So once again, thanks kfsone for the push into my new addiction.

I think it is part of what abrogates the necessity of concepts like the Ashen monks having an insistent taste for those rare-spawn fish I mentioned and requiring several hundred, or thousands of them, to finish the quests. It all results in a suffix title, “the Ebon Dragon”, which now that I know that, come to think of it, I did see a few people running around with that one on. If it can be guided, then everyone will have it, therefore it isn’t really a reward.

Not that I agree or believe in any of that in any way, like I said, devil’s advocacy.

Ah, yes, Feerrott, another of my favorites. Do you not think it is very similar to the Pillars of Flame? I bet they even have a single word category for that type of content.

Oops. :) That would be XHTML, not HTML.

I think you misunderstand my use of the term “guide” – I’m not talking about a walkthrough, merely something to steer me towards possible content.

With a lack of foreknowledge of what quests go where, we’re really finding that there’s almost nothing to do in DoF. There’s some stuff off in Pillars of Flame that we’re very vaguely aware of, but we’ve been spoiled by the early content into believing that there’ll be some kind of quest that’ll move us through the general vicinity of that content.

So far, that’s not holding out to be true – we’ve gotten writs for Sinking Sands, but they’re real grinds and as of yet we haven’t – yet – really had to grind anything in the old content.

The stuff you’ve described does sound like it’d be interesting but, again, we’d have had to go research out-of-game to even remotely stand a chance of discovering it :)

Its apples and pears – having played our characters up in the current rendition of the original content, we’ve enjoyed playing in a jungle of quests only to emerge into a literal desert where the quests are now much sparser but longer linear sequences.

In the old content we were drowning in a lack of direction to help us pick which content we wanted to consume, in expansions #2 and #3 we’ve discovered ourselves trying to find quest-content to occupy us between court/writ grinding.

If you’re playing a level 34 character today, you’ll probably pick up some writs that will want you to go kill orcs or trees in Zek. Ok. You’ve got a quest. You’ve not heard of Zek before, but so far everywhere you’ve gotten has been by using the mariner’s bells on one of the docks. You skip out to Nektulous and check it out; no Zek. Ok. You skip over to Thundering Steppes. Voila link to Zek. Thru you go. (Previously you’d probably have discovered it by getting and doing the access quest)

In the immediate “off ramp” area there’s a whole bundle of quests – 15 minutes after you’ve arrived in Zek, you have 12-14 quests to do. They’re nothing special, but they’ll get you moving around the zone and take you in the area of other quests/lines. You’ve got a large enough working base to keep you in Zek for a good 3-6 levels.

Then you get up to level 48ish, and you get your first writ for sinking sands. You spend a half hour trying to find the mariners bell before finally someone tells you that you have to use a carpet back in Freeport/Qeynos. Well, doh, you already used your Call so you have to run back into town, 10 minutes pass.

You zone thru into sands and you talk to the first guy who tells you a LOT of stuff about courts and this and that and wow-this-is-long-already all in one go, and gives you a quest. Cool. There are four NPCs at the bottom of the ramp with quests (of course, you’ll later discover that 3 of them conflict with each other). But after that there’s not much really pointing you anywheres. We picked up about 4 quests in Maj’dul, not counting grifters; but it all feels very vacant, to the point where I kinda miss the noise of fetch & carry quests, hehe.

Lol, Ding :) Easting joined Legends of Faydark and I’ve grouped with them a few times and found them to be a relatively good gang – fairly typical EQ2 guild (so that people tend to lonewolf it while hoping *you* might ask for a group) but good people on the whole.

Very interesting points, I’ve learned alot from this thread, thanks. Not the least of which being my picky monk friends in PoF can go without fish by deleting that quest and asking for it again. Ok, maybe that IS the least, but hey, there’s a workaround, and that’s always good.

I’m not very often playing the fanboy role, so I think I sorta blotched it a bit. But all I got to say is I think you’re judging DoF by only one half of it, and what I gather from your playstyle, you’re missing the better half. So go there. :)

Like I say, we may need to join a guild to get that sense of direction within DoF that I described, on the other hand its possible we’ll just expand out into EoF because, so far I’ve enjoyed almost everything about EoF I’ve encountered (except Lesser Fay!)

Do appreciate your comments tho – they have genuinely been helpful.

– Ol

Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

%d bloggers like this: