Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Free Level 95s! Get Yer Free Level 95s! : EQ2

It's very rare for this blog to act as any kind of news source but just in case anyone missed it the lovely people at Daybreak Games have succumbed to an unaccustomed fit of generosity.

Today was the day of the Big End Of Summer Patch (not the official name). Since I was at a bit of a loose end, what with ArenaNet having broken GW2 (okay, really broke it...) and me not being able to stomach another WoW Invasion after the half dozen I'd just done, I thought I'd patch up EQ2, collect my 500SC and see what was up in good old Norrath.

Quite a lot as it turns out. In addition to the deluge of new content including new Public Quests, the entire Fallen Dynasty expansion converted to Fabled status for max level fun and a bunch of Level Agnostic dungeons added for (almost) all levels to enjoy together in a spirit of harmony, there were several rather significant Free Gifts.

  • The Altar of Malice expansion is now free for everyone. Yes, everyone. Not All Access payers, not current level 95s and above, everyone.
So, how's that going to work, then? I mean anyone under level 95 is going to be a splotch on the dockside the moment they log in, right? Those mobs are tough. Well, how about this?

  • Everyone gets a free Heroic Character and the start point for those is now Level 95.
And when I say everyone, once again, I mean everyone. Don't I? Okay, maybe I don't exactly mean everyone but I do mean everyone who's ever played EQ2. And not got banned.

Here's the small print:

"You must have had an EQ2 account in good standing on/prior to 12:00PM PT on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 in order to get the free Heroic Character. If you create a brand new account, it will not be eligible for the promotion, unless the account has membership."

It's pretty darn near everyone, amiright?

Now I would say those are two very generous giveaways. Of course, the previous expansion always goes free when the next expansion comes out but there's not even a firm date (or, as far as I know, name) for the next expansion yet. And although we already got given a free Heroic Character when they were first introduced, when they upped the level from 85 to 90 it was only those free HCs that got an upgrade; no-one got a second one.

Well now we do! What's more, that character will start in The Shattered Seas, which in my opinion is one of the most manageable, enjoyable and attractive high-level zones you could hope to find. Apart from the really depressing first few  minutes with the horrible miasma hanging over everything, that is. Just try to ignore that - it gets wonderfully light, bright and airy just a few yards further in, after you do the first few quests.

If anyone reading this is sitting on an old account and fancies seeing some of EQ2's higher-level content this really is a great opportunity. It's only going to be around until September 6 so don't miss out. Yes, I know Legion. All you have to do is log in and claim the Heroic Character before then - you don't actually have to play her.

You'd think that would be enough but there's more. Not much more but it is a significant little bonus for a particular and quite unusual reason.  For the next week everyone gets

  • Double Personal Status, Double Guild Status and Double Alternative Currency
Hey! There's that word again! Everyone! And once again it means what it says. Double dibs on all those things that you probably don't want but are going to get anyway even if you are a rotten cheapskate freeloader. For a long while the practice has been to limit bonuses like this to paying customers only but for one week starting today it's a free for all that's free for all.

So there you have it. Or you will if you log in. Now pardon me while I go and make a bunch of level 95s I'll never play on a bunch of old accounts I haven't logged in for years. It's free stuff!


  1. I read this while flying between Invasions. Loged in and my little level 20 Ratonga Wizard is now A BEING OF UNIMAGINABLE POWER. Hehe. I'm going back into the Wailing Caverns where I've been killed over and over and I'm not going to die, not this time.

    1. I love that kind of payback! I did it all the time in EQ - looking at you, Dorn B`Dynn!

  2. I always plan on actually playing EQ2 - the farthest I ever got was level 18 - and this feels like skipping way too much. Of course, I can't comment on the levelling experience, let alone a 95 level slog.

    1. Well of course you can do both. I'd definitely "bank" the free 95 while it's going. If you ever do decide to play you can level up the normal way on another character and just take the 95 out as needed to earn some platinum - a 95 can make money very, very easily. It'd be like having a generous benefactor - you could even RP it!

  3. Wow, that's big news about the Altar of Malice expansion and the free level 95. Gonna log in again for this. The biggest question is which alt to level up! Thanks!

  4. hmm currently trying to juggle 3 MMOs... argh, this is too tempting! thanks for the heads up :)

  5. I thought I would post this here rather than derail Tobold's thread as I thought your question was interesting. I therefore derail this post's thread instead! Ha.

    "One thing that does interest me, though, is whether MMOs are subject to the kind of post-launch spikes in customer interest that affect other consumer/leisure products. For example, it's not unusual for a book to do very poorly at the time it's first published, perhaps even to go out of print, and then re-appear to much greater interest and success five, ten, twenty, a hundred years later. Similarly, we're all familiar with the concept of a "sleeper hit" in Movies or Music. Is there any reason that couldn't happen to an MMO?"

    My view is that this would be near to impossible in general for MMOs due to:
    - Gameplay. MMO combat does not age well. It is IMO the weakest aspect of MMOs. Their strengths lie in the world they pull you into (and your interactions with it )and the social aspects. For an MMO to have the same sort of resurgence as a book or movie, it would need a major revamp like FFXIV. Also lots of filler questing and mundane activities are not the stuff of classic gameplay.

    - Method of interaction. MMOs require active rather than passive interaction with the player. In movies you watch someone else in a scripted and prepared story and world. Same in a book. You are not the character. In MMOs you are and it requires you to engage with it differently. You must go to this village. You must kill this orc. Those moviegoers who do not already overlap with gamers want the story. Nothing else. This is why I do not think that you see millions of non-gaming people playing Batman games despite having enjoyed the movie. Crossover sales of a written book and its movie happen more often as the method of interaction is similar.

    - Graphics and production value. Once a book is written, it exists in that form indefinitely untouched by the ravages of time. A well-written book will hold up forever. This applies to most movies excluding technological blockbusters that may share the following issue with games in general. Graphics age and with most art gaming styles, badly. It is only the older handcrafted games with more cartoonish styles that hold up somewhat. Even then, the texture quality may still make the game look awful as time goes by. Let's not even get into animations, movement etc. Only games with stellar gameplay or story (that being its far more compelling strengths) could possibly overcome this. S
    This is my two cents at least.

    1. Sorry for the long-delayed reply - for some reason I missed your comment when it arrived. I'm sure Tobold could stand a bit of derailing but I'd much rather have the conversation here!

      Gameplay and particularly graphics are indeed a drag anchor for MMOs making a comeback later in the cycle. It even applies to old-fashioned but actually new games. You can see comments about Project Gorgon along these lines, where people are saying they'd like to play it but they can't get past what it looks like, for example.

      What I was really thinking about, though, is the way a book or a movie that came out many years ago can be almost ignored at launch and for years afterwards but then, either gradually or suddenly, pick up a huge amount of interest and become massively more successful later in the cycle. One example might be Blade Runner, which tanked on release and did next to nothing for years afterwards, but which slowly gained traction to become the exemplar of noir-SF that it is today. Another would be John Williams' novel "Stoner", which was at best a very modest success in the mid-60s, swiftly going out of print, only to return almost 40 years later to become a best-seller and, to quote The Guardian, "the must-read novel of 2013".

      This sort of thing happens all the time in most entertainment media but not, as yet, in gaming. I think that, when gaming hits a plateau of maturity both in technological and aesthetic terms, which is probably a while away yet, the same phenomenon could occur, meaning that the specific cycle Tobold was talking about, while still being the norm, might not any longer be universally applicable.

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