Wednesday, 8 March 2017

I Know What I Like In My Wardrobe : EQ2

It's funny how things turn out, sometimes.

Yesterday I read the patch notes for EQ2's weekly update. They're are always conveniently released well ahead of the downtime, which gives everyone plenty of time to rent their garments and anoint themselves with ashes before reality arrives to spoil everything. It's always best to vent your paranoia about how terrible change is going to be before you get to experience it first-hand, I always find. Reality can be such a letdown.

I read the notes at EQ2Wire as usual. I used to go to the forums for the news but of late I've relied on the estimable Feldon. The EQ2 devs themselves are mostly to found explaining themselves on Discord these days, apparently. I guess Reddit is passé.

EQ2Wire, as has been observed many times, is a reliable and accurate source such as many MMOs must wish they had. I was a tad surprised, then, to see Feldon out himself as a virtual ex-player. In his own words, he has "barely played EQ2 in the last few years", which is why he's advertising for a "Staff Writer", one who does.

It did cross my mind for a moment to apply, although I have had a lifelong rule never to do for money anything I also do for pleasure. As it happens I'm not qualified anyway, since I have neither an Ascended Class at Level 10 or the pre-requisites for an Epic 2.0 (much less the weapon itself).

I do have a Level 94 Warlock that I'm trying to nudge towards 100, though, which was why a couple of lines in the patch notes bothered me somewhat:
  • Removed bonus experience multipliers for defeating encounters from all previous expansion zones.
  • Going forward, bonus experience multipliers will only be applied to zones in the most recent expansion era.
I wasn't entirely clear about what this meant, as I commented in the EQ2Wire thread. I'd mostly been leveling my Warlock by the painfully slow method of going to level appropriate zones and doing the quests I found there. Primitive, I know.

Of course, no bonuses of any kind ever apply to the xp you earn from quest rewards. Most of the time I'm out playing my lower level characters the regular way I get little benefit from the permanent 60% xp bonus I earn from having three max level characters on the account, or even from the Vitality (100% rested xp) I almost always have running.

That's why, when there's a bonus XP weekend, everyone swigs their pots and rushes to the best bonus xp Heroic dungeon they can manage. Or they used to. I guess that's over and done with now, along with the Powerleveling services provided, at a fee, by bored Shadowknights all Norrath over.

Whether it's either a good or a sustainable thing, guiding everyone into the relatively small number of zones in the current expansion, I guess we'll have to wait and see. This patch also added "Expert" versions of all the instances so the number of "current expansion zones" very nearly doubled overnight. Not that I'll be seeing any of the Expert ones - it'll probably be three more expansions before I poke my nose into the regular Kunark Ascending Heroics. Take me that long just to get the Resolve.

Anyway, that was what spurred me to get the Warlock out and finish off Level 94. Seemed much the same to me. Slowish but then it always was. Certainly no slower than last time I took him hunting.

He dinged 95 and that meant time to visit the bank. There are four key levels in the 90s: 90 itself, 92, 95 and 98. Those are the main steps for gear. Moving from one to the next can be a huge upgrade.

Now that's what I call an upgrade.
My Warlock was largely wearing the generic gear he'd been gifted when I gave him the free boost to 90. No wonder things had seemed to be getting harder to kill; he'd missed a complete upgrade path at 92.

I fiddled around in the shared bank, trying on hand-me-downs but there were surprisingly few that fit him, which is how I ended up on my Berserker, going through his bags and boxes.  And that was when I had the brilliant idea.

Try and stop me!
It wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been talking on this blog the other day about the Wardrobe feature. There I was, looking at these drifts and piles of tunics and helmets and boots and cloaks (so many cloaks...), when it occurred to me for the first time ever to see just how much DBG are charging to increase the meager allotment of slots that come with the basic version of the expansion.

Not much is the answer. Not much at all. A pittance, you could say. So little, indeed, I would call it a nominal fee. Oh alright, it's 50DB per row of 6 slots. And as an All Access member I get a 10% discount, so 45DB for me.

Also, as a Member, I get 500DB per month, so if I wanted to I could add eleven rows of six slots to my Wardrobe every month, effectively for nothing. That sounds like a good plan. Only I don't need to wait because I'm sitting on over 15,000DB on that account alone from previous Triple SC weekends and general long-term miserliness.

I doubled all my slots, from six to twelve, for every kind of item the Wardrobe will hold. Then I went through my bank and tried on every No Trade piece of gear in the Dressing Room. I transmuted the ones that were so ugly I couldn't imagine ever wearing them even for a joke and added all the rest to my Wardrobe.

Gotta have more hats...
Some of them wouldn't go in because they had adornments stuck in them. I spent a few minutes googling that because I was sure there was a way to get them out without destroying either the adornment or the item and I was right, there was. What's more it's a permanent, free skill with unlimited uses that you get as one of the final rewards for completing the Age of Malice Signature questline - which my Berserker has done.

He didn't have the skill though. After some extensive swearing research I found the quest reward languishing, unclicked, in the depths of one of his bags. I'd never even realized what it was or what it did, just put it to one side for later and forgot about it.

Well, now it's later. All the adornments popped out neat as peas and the plain clothes popped into the Wardrobe. The whole exercise took me almost three hours, much of which was oohing and aahing and gosh-wowing over the amazing designs and styles I had locked away in my bank vaults. Many of them I'd never even seen before because when I'm out questing and I get a reward that's not an actual upgrade I tend to just huff a bit and throw it in a sack.

Which is a terrible shame because EQ2 has some superlative fashion designers, it seems. So many particle effects! So many sheens and glows and moving parts. What a waste it's been, leaving them all locked away all these years.

I learned a lot today. For one thing, I have strongly revised my opinion of EQ2's new Wardrobe feature. It may not be the very best I've seen but it's up there. It's more flexible, more practical and a lot cheaper than I had been imagining. Yes, you have to pay to expand and yes, it's per character not per account, but with so many of the best-looking items being No Trade that's as it should be. An account-based system would make a nonsense of the entire concept.


I also learned that it doesn't matter how long you've been playing an MMO, you never really, fully understand the systems. Yesterday I was struggling to get to grips with even the basics of the strange mechanics in Revelation Online and today I was doing the same in an MMO I've played almost without a break since it launched well over a decade ago.

Most importantly, though, I learned that, no matter how an MMO might change, it's always more fun if you change along with it rather than digging in your heels and begging it to stop. Some changes are bad but the really bad ones get changed again. Keep the faith and keep going and it will all come right in the end.

And I get to dress like a pirate, whenever I want, which is all I ever really wanted.

4 comments:

  1. I love having an appearance system now. You can even equip weapons and gear your class could normally not equip, could be a bug, I'm hoping not. I rather like my dual swords on the Necro, lol. It opens up a lot of options on what you can use. My only gripe is that it isn't account wide, like Rift, which is awesome, but nothing is perfect.

    I noticed the changes you mentioned about the xp, I'm not even playing my 100s, mostly my 95 Necro. Just focusing on what I feel like doing instead of what bothers me. I suppose I won't really notice anyhow if there is much to the change.

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    1. I carried leveling my Warlock after writing the post. I went to Tranquil Sea and continued the adventure questline there, which I'd forgotten I started back when I did the crafting one. Not only did the xp seem to be better than I remembered it ever being at 95 but even though I was still wearing more pieces of level 90 gear than 95, the mobs also seemed *way* easier to kill. If I get time I might do some comparison testing but on the face of it I am not seeing any issues over leveling in the 90s.

      As for the new expansion that I know you had a bad time with, really those problems only lasted for a day or two. I do think one thing DBG perhaps didn't make clear was that the last two expansion, ToT and KA, really need to be seen as Part 1 and Part 2 of the same expansion. If you've completed the Signature questline from ToT then the transition to KA is very smooth. If you haven't it's a bit rough.

      If you don't want to do the ToT Sig (which I would recommend because it's fun and not too long) then you can easily bootstrap your character to be start comfortably in KA by buying Handcrafted Twark gear off the broker. It's very cheap and does the job brilliantly. Go for the biggest +Potency and +Ability Mod stats you see - those are the key ones for the new content although +crits are still good too.

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  2. I replied twice to your last EQ2 thread but kept getting some errors.

    Anyway, the forums are up in arms over the xp change. I think they should have had all the changes only if you are level 100. I am sure you could code that in somehow. Having it affect characters leveling does not make much sense.

    I need to do exactly what you did and start playing with the wardrobe. I have so many appearance items in my bank and I hardly change my look.

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    1. Doh! I hate to lose any comments! I have changed absolutely nothing in the background this year so I have no idea why it's happening, let alone why you can comment on one post and not another. I am getting something very similar with WP blogs - sometimes I can comment and sometimes the comments just vanish. Stick the comments on the wrong posts if you have to!

      I'll check the forums although they are so incredibly, depressingly, persistently negative I generally try to avoid them. In-game chat, I note, is much less whiny. If DBG follow their and SOE's usual pattern they will reverse some of the nerf. They seem to like to go in hard and then pull back. As I said to Kaozz, though, for my playstyle at least I can't see much difference so far.

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