I thought I already had one level 95 but I was wrong. Turns out the Berserker stopped leveling half way through 94 when he completed the signature quest line for the expansion before last, Chains of Eternity. The prime candidate on the other account, the Beastlord, was a lot farther behind than that at somewhere south of halfway through 92.
|There's a dragon under there somewhere.|
Last weekend was a double xp weekend, extended by a day to compensate for the lag and log-in issues brought about by the DDOS attack caused by the same jolly crew who brought down WildStar and GW2 a few days earlier and had John Smedley's flight diverted through the very old-school means of a bomb threat. Possibly a tactical error on their part, that last one. We shall see.
Anyway, what with the Beastlord being Gold on the All Access account, and having full vitality, double xp from the server and a potion running, even though I only managed to play him for a couple of hours he's now sitting close to 94. Given that every level in the 90s is a good old-fashioned hell level that takes about as long as five levels in the 80s, that was pretty good progress.
The Berserker, ironically by far my most fully-developed, rounded and filled-out character in EQ2, is on the original Silver account. Not sure what those are called now Silver isn't a thing any more. Just "An Account" presumably. That means his experience bar is perma-locked at 50/50 with half the xp going to level and half to AAs. Only he is maxed in AAs already.
At first I thought that meant he was losing fifty per cent of the xp altogether but fortunately that isn't how it works. The "lost" xp was going into the Prestige Point Pool, Prestige Points being what SOE decided to call new AAs when they got bored one day.
I tried leveling the Beastlord the proper way, following the Signature quest line through the relevant expansion, in his case Destiny of Velious. That lasted about half an hour before I threw in the towel, recalled to Freeport, talked to the Chronomage and set off for Sebilis, mentored down to 80. Still the best way to grind the higher levels solo after all these years. Enjoyable too.
Last night and today, in a couple of one-hour sessions, while I was on leave from WvW duty, the Berserker took his turn beating up sarnaks. Even at half-speed the xp flowed in very comfortably, as did the loot. There are a lot of Nameds in Sebilis and these days they all seem to be up most of the time.
It's a busy old place, especially on a double-xp weekend, but it's also huge and everyone was doing a pretty good job of letting each other play through. The change to how xp is allocated in a group (you have to do something now or you get none) seems to have seen off the professional power-levellers that used to make it impossible to find a living mob some days.
The Beastlord will need another few runs before the expansion pops in November but the Berserker is prepped and ready. It was interesting to find out that the full set of Reinforced Icewall Armor that I got for both of them last Frostfell by running a few sessions (alright, quite a few sessions) in The Icy Keep is exactly comparable to the first set of quested armor in the still-current Tears of Veeshan expansion.
The difference, and it's a huge difference, is that you can wear the Icewall at level 92. Having level 95 armor three levels early is a massive advantage, not surprisingly. I'm so glad now that I took the trouble even though at the time it seemed a bit self-indulgent. I did it because I could see how good it was even though I wasn't really sure I'd ever need it - the Beastlord couldn't even equip it at the time, still being 91.
Since he was 95 I thought I'd take the Berserker to Vesspyr Isles, the Ethernere version of Kingdom of Sky, where the ToV storyline and Signature quests take place. He'd been there already at 94 and had a little explore but even though he could survive and even kill some of the lesser wildlife it was all a little bit beyond him then. This time it was perfect.
Vesspyr Isles is a delightful zone visually. It feels just like you've fallen into a Roger Dean album cover only without the inevitable reek of patchouli. I did the first few quests, got my Sokokar mount and a couple of pieces of armor, met Harla Dar (even I know who she is). I was thoroughly enjoying myself but then it occurred to me that I might need this xp when the new expansion drops.
|I Get Up, I Get Down (One for the Yes fans out there)|
SOE are notorious for designing expansions that don't have sufficient quest xp for the additional levels that come with them. Tipa can tell you all about that. Also all the xp was going to AA (the "Silver" slider flips to 100% AA when you reach max level) and I don't believe my Berserker can get any more AAs. He has 340, which I think is the limit, and they're not adding any with AoM, since the flavor of the month is still Prestige Points. The bar is still filling up though so I could be wrong.
The story is good so I will definitely follow it through. Just not necessarily right away. Most of EQ2's storylines are good, I think. It's just as well because they take a long time to play through and once is usually enough. I might save the story for the Beastlord, who still has plenty of AAs to make up.