Sunday, March 19, 2017

King Of The Rumbling Spires: EverQuest

I mentioned that the celebrations for EverQuest's eighteenth included a few new quests, one of which looked particularly intriguing. Last night my Magician went to the party grounds in Plane of Knowledge to track down the the questgiver, High Magister Zueria.

She found her inside the building beside the Nexus stone, the one where all the guild functionaries hang out. Zueria was about to leave on a fact-finding mission with the head of The Combine Empire, Tsaph Katta himself. She asked my Mage to come along and help although she didn't say how.

Looking at the entry in the Quest Journal I wondered if she might want me as cannon fodder. Zueria is a dark elf, after all, and The Combine is hardly known for its outreach programs. The quest clocked in as a red level 105 and in Norrath red generally means dead - as in you are - so I didn't have too much hope of finishing it.

It also had a duration of six hours which made me think. Anyway, what the heck, right? You only live an infinite number of times. When Zueria asked if we were ready I said we were and off we went.

There's a walkthroughs up on  Allakhazam already so I won't go through the steps one by one. It's a sign of the ongoing health of EverQuest that full details of brand new quests like these appear so quickly on fan sites. Not to mention that I thought Allakhazam was in maintenance mode. Maybe that's just the EQ2 pages.

With the quest being called Tsaph's Day Off I did wonder if it might be a humorous homage to Ferris Bueller but it turned out to be something much more wistful and elegiac. Although maybe there is a connection after all....

The whole quest takes the form of a tour of inspection. Zueria, presumably a Wizard, creates portals that whisk everyone nearby from spire to spire so her ruler can assess the state of some of the more far-flung outposts of his empire. As they travel they chat and in their conversation much is revealed, about their beliefs and attitudes and hopes for the future. Far from lasting six hours the whole thing took only around fifteen minutes and my Magician didn't die once. Her pet did, though.

The whole thing is quite beautifully written. The conversation is natural and the personalities of the two characters shine through every phrase. My understanding of the past and current states of The Combine is hazy at best but I do at least know that it was they who built the constructs we often call the Wizard Spires in the first place.

Most of the round required only that my Magician listened. Nothing was asked of her. Her thoughts and opinions went unsolicited. At the end the Emperor told her she'd been good company by which I took him to mean she knew not to interrupt her betters.

There were several interruptions to the conversation. Some of the locals seemed not to take kindly to the landlords making a tour of inspection of their property. When the first bunch of mobs attacked my Mage sent her pet in and started nuking. Force of habit.

It was only after we moved on to the next location I realized she didn't have a pet any more. When the next attack began I thought to con the mobs: red. Very, very red.

To be honest, the pet would probably have been fine had my Mage noticed it was taking damage in the first place. Or if she hadn't put the Merc on passive and forgotten. During one attack a mob did get past Zuera (who tanks like a boss - they make Wizards tough where she comes from, apparently) to take a few swipes at my Magician and the damage wasn't immediately fatal.

The quest, for once, though, really isn't about fighting. I'm confident I could do it on a much lower level than the Magician's 92. All that's required to complete every stage is that you stay with Zueria and Tsaph and Zueria is more than capable of handling everything that comes at her without any help from anyone.

The final reward is an extremely nice charm slot item that doubles as a clicky portal to all the places visited on the tour. That's something any of my characters would be very glad to have. Shame you need to be Level 105 to use it.

This is a quest that really isn't about the reward, though. It's a true story quest and a very good one. More than that, it felt absolutely right for an Anniversary.  Tsaph's Day Out stands as an  acknowledgment of the great achievements of the past and the lasting hopes for the future, both in EverQuest's lore and in its history.

Wonder what they have planned for the Twentieth in two years time?


  1. Your EQ posts always drag me back into it. Off to claim my free 85 (I know that was a few posts ago, but I was away on vacation) and maybe, finally, get a class playing near max level.

    Of course, that new progression server... is it no box? =)

    1. True box, yes. i.e. you are only allowed one account. I think no box would mean an empty server...

  2. I logged into EQ to get the free heroic character. It has probably been a year since I have logged in. I always forget what a learning curve EQ has. I decided to bump up a ranger I played years ago. Should limit how much I have to relearn. I do not think I claimed all the rewards correctly since I am missing a few items. I ran out of time and had to log out before I could figure it all out. Once I do, I am off to Franklin Teek to see a new zone.

    1. I find I have a shallower learning curve with EQ than almost any other MMO but that's because a) I have played it forever and b) I rarely go more than a few months without playing. That said, I also do tend to stick to doing what I know. Any benefit in time form roughly knowing what I'm doing is swallowed up by the incredible amount of "set-up" time EQ still requires. I can't think of any MMO I play these days where, if I want to spend half an hour killing stuff for xp, I block out at least an hour, most of which is getting there.

    2. Back when I had more free gaming time, the getting there was a lot of the fun. You really had to know your way around. I always loved the variety of zones at any level. First had to decide on where you wanted to go and then figure out how to get there.


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