Thursday, March 19, 2015

Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends... Everquest, EQ2

Somehow, what with the flurry of publicity surrounding Everquest's sixteenth anniversary and the nostalgic jolt I got from playing through Tipa's homage to a lost era, I find myself unexpectedly back in Norrath once again. Or, I should say, Norraths. Plural.

Everquest the Elder is running a whole raft of celebrations, including new anniversary quests and the opportunity to re-run all of the previous ones. Everquest quests have a tendency to be long and fiddly so I'm thinking I'll pass on that offer. The sixteen days of 160% bonus xp, however, is too tempting to ignore.

Yesterday I put two levels on my human Druid (birthdate January 24 2000) taking her to 62. My human Warrior, the first real character I ever made after the hapless half-elf fell to his death and deletion in the first session, added a level and a half killing wisps and borer beetles in North Karana. It brought her, very appropriately, to level 16. Sixteen levels in sixteen years. That's what I call a smooth level curve.

The real focus, though, is on the Magician who took SOE's Heroic shilling almost exactly a year ago. She's slowly (so slowly) climbing the endless, ever-extending level ladder, the top of which currently rests on 105. She's standing on rung 88 right now and if she'll just buckle down and do Franklin Teek's tasks each day for the rest of March with her double xp Lesson of the Devoted veteran reward running she might just make 90 before the anniversary celebration ends.

That, however, almost certainly requires more patience and discipline than I can muster. I'll be happy enough if she can get 89.

Much more manageable is the new Chronoportal quest over in EQ2. The Chronoportals were added in 2011, in somewhat of an unseemly rush, to celebrate Everquest's 12th Anniversary. Why the 12th and not the 10th, who knows? Maybe someone at SOE prefers Imperial to Metric. Anyway, they came and they stayed and jolly good fun they are.

Back when they appeared Chronoportals were very much a group affair. As Ark warned at the time and as the really excellent Zam walkthrough still warns today, these were not meant to be soloed. I remember running them in a Guild group that first year and in PUGs the year after. It seems so much longer ago than just three or four years.

Well, if you're a level 99 Berserker (hmm...really must get that last 25%) fully kitted out with Fabled quest gear from the latest expansion you can forget those dire warnings. It took just ninety minutes or so to run through all eight solo and most of that was traveling time.

If you aren't quite so crazily overpowered you can still complete the new quest if you're very, very careful. Hunt the Past, requires that you visit all eight Chronoportal instances but you don't actually need to complete any of them to close out the quest and get the reward. It's a scavenger hunt in which all the mobs you need to kill are either close to the entrance just inside the instances or tucked away in a quiet corner and, unlike everything else roaming around, they are all intended to be soloable. There are no longer any level requirements to enter the instances and the quest mobs scale to level so in theory anyone can do it.

After a short search through the Commonlands, interrupted by the sighting of a hitherto unknown (to me) named armadillo called Thrumplate that necessitated a change of character to get someone low enough to get drops from a level 10 mob to come and kill him, I found the questgiver, the unpronounceably-named Tazstra K'Rzheett, on the clifftop above the Commonlands dock.

From there it was a straightforward and highly-enjoyable jaunt around Norrath via bell, spire and stone circle, meeting and killing familiar faces from the past. It turns out that last year's addition to the event was a Collect, which I was able to complete as I went.

The reward for the new quest is a choice of two house pets, one of which is the very amusing Guk Basilisk, a goofy model I've always liked. He'll make a fine addition to the menagerie.

The Chronoportal event itself runs for another week. It's a lot of fun and if I can find the time I may well run someone else through it. Whether there's anyone on the roster who can breeze it like the Berserker, though, is another matter entirely.

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