Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Winter Seems Fine : EQ2

Frostfell arrived in Norrath a week ago. I have eight or nine characters parked next to Santa Glug  waiting to collect their daily present . It's such a tradition now. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Frostfell. Even writing a post about it is becoming a tradition in itself.

As Kaozz says, EQ2's midwinter holiday is one of the best in a very competitive field. It was also one of the first. I remember when the Frostfell Wonderland Village first appeared, way back in 2006.

The Frostfell event itself began the year before but I don't remember much about that. The following year, though, I recall vividly.

By then, Mrs Bhagpuss and I were playing full-time on the Test server so we got to see the whole thing come to life in fits and starts. I remember the immense excitement that blew up around the very idea of an entire instanced zone dedicated to a holiday event.

Test was innundated with new characters coming to see what was going on and back then there was none of the automated creation of extra instances to handle population overload. The zone was crowded and laggy and there was huge competition over the crafting nodes. It was crazy, chaotic and everything MMORPGs should be.

One of the many oddities of playing Test was the length of time holidays hung around. Because SOE, like DBG after them, have always been so diligent in adding new content for every holiday they can't just flip a switch on the day. The whole thing needs to go before the dedicated community of volunteer testers ahead of time to bash the bugs out of it. Test's "Christmas" usually started in November and ran into January.

With something like six or even eight weeks of Frostfell every year I was sometimes glad to see the back of it. Even now, with it lasting over a month on Live, I feel we're occasionally in danger of having too much of a good thing, but I'm always excited when the wardrobe appears.

Frostfell got a major makeover in 2008 and another in 2013. After a dozen years of iteration there's a mind-boggling amount of things to do and I've done them all. Most of them several times.

There's a new quest for 2017. It takes place in in Plane of Magic, meaning you need to have both a level 100 character and the new expansion, which might be the first time that's happened. I hardly think anyone without the wherewithal could complain, especially since the quest is an add-on to the wonderfully-named existing questline "A Gigglegibber's Work Is Never Done (By A Gigglegibber)", which offers the same rewards from lower level zones.

Last year I made quite a run at the Icy Keep instance (one holiday instance at a time is nowhere near enough for EQ2 - I think Frostfell has at least five, maybe more) so I was going to skip it this year. Then I found out we're getting kittens!

I already have a pet kitten of course but this one's different, not just a cute vanity pet but a full-feature Familiar, with all the stats and gameplay benefits of EQ2's latest must-have accessory. If nothing changes between Test and Live, the Frostfell Merry Kitten, when it arrives, will cost fifty Frozen Tokens Of E'Ci.

My Berserker has 96 tokens in his wallet from last year so he's covered but almost everything in Norrath is character not account-based so if anyone else wants a kitten they're going to have to do the hard miles around the good old Icy Keep themselves. I'm kinda looking forward to it.

There's a bunch of new gifts in Glug's sack and a three new craft book to scribe if you'd rather make your own. I think I'm over Frostfell crafting now although I did plenty back in the day, when it was a great way to level up a tradeskill. Now there's no more discovery experience that's just a happy memory. More happy-sad, really. I miss the old crafting...

But the good times are far from over. EQ2 is really buzzing at the moment. There were nine instances of Plane of Magic up on the Skyfire server on Sunday afternoon and three Frostfell Villages last night. Everywhere I go I see people, at the banks and brokers, at the Wizard spires, and, of course, clustered around the badly-bearded goblin that hands out the gifties.

It's great to see the old place feeling so alive. A Merry Frostfell and a Happy New Year to all!


  1. Title error?

    Also - I think we discussed this before but I also played on EQ2 test as my main server (after spending my life on EQ testserver). Funny that.

    1. Oops! Thanks for the catch! This was going to be a GW2/EQ2 post and then I wrote so much about Frostfell I decided to split them in two - then forgot to change the header!


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