Monday, February 5, 2018

Please Let Me Come Mooch Round Your House : EQ2

It was this post at MassivelyOP that started it. I was nodding away in agreement with by M.J. for once as she listed EQ2's unparalleled storage options, when I came across the section on what she calls "stashes".

I've been aware of both Personal and Guild Depots for a very long time, all the way back to when they were first introduced to the game. I have a vague memory of them once being either ferociously expensive or extremely rare or more probably both.

That hasn't been the case for a long while. Mrs. Bhagpuss had some back when she was playing, half a decade ago and I vaguely remember buying one once myself. I'm fairly sure there were some in our Guild Hall for a while, although the glory days of the Guild Hall mostly happened while I was busy in Tyria.

Similarly, I was dimly aware of the existence and usage of Prestige Home Portals. I'd even installed one or two in some my own houses, although I couldn't tell you which.

Portal to Mara

What I had never done until this weekend was to put all of this together. As I read M.J.'s effusive description of the capacity of the Depots the full potential began to sink in. I decided to do a little research and the results were more than just surprising - they were quite literally game-changing.

  • The storage capacity of the Personal Harvest Depot (Large) is breathtaking. It holds one thousand unique items and each item can stack to 99,999.
  • You can set permissions on the house so that anyone with "Trustee" status can use the PHD(L).
  • If you place Crafting Stations the recipes will draw their required materials from the PHD(L) automagically.
  • A Prestige Home requires no rent and is always open and available.
  • An unlimited number of free Portals to the Prestige Home can be acquired at will and placed in any house, Prestige or Normal.
  • Once placed, these portals create a network. Any home on that network can be accessed from any other by means of the portal
This means you can create what is effectively a free equivalent to a guild hall, without needing to deal with upkeep or any of the usual guild issues, which you can use just for yourself or for any subset of friends to whom you wish to allocate permissions.

Moreover, it provides immediate access via the housing system to every location with a house on the network, which is potentially more places than you can reach via the World Bell or Instant Travel. For example, due to the nominal existence of Good and Evil faction in EQ2, a Qeynosian can't use the travel system to enter Freeport - but she can arrive there by house portal and just step out of the door.

The more I thought about it, the more amazing it seemed. It occurred to me that not only could I set this up to benefit all the characters on my All Access account but that I could include every other character I have on my half a dozen unsubscribed accounts as well.

Everyone on every account could pool their resources. Instead of spending (literally) hours logging characters and accounts in and out and searching through dozens of boxes and bags on each for a specific resource I could just take anyone who needed something straight to the shared depot and there it would be!

It wouldn't just be for crafting, either. There are Depots for Collectibles, for Lore and Legend quest items, for Food, Drink, Potions... with a little effort (alright, quite a lot of effort) I could set all my characters up as a Collective, free hundreds of inventory slots and save myself countless hours of busywork. Does any other MMO have anything even remotely close to this?

I love the physicality of EQ2's storage. All those boxes are packed with stuff.

I spent a very happy and satisfying Saturday doing exactly that. I had several Prestige Homes available but I decided on The Isle Of Mara because of its long association in my mind as a crafting hub, going back to my days on Test.

First I checked the prices of the various Depots on the Broker and found them to be both plentifully available and (by modern EQ2 economic standards) very reasonably priced. I bought one of every kind there was and placed them in a convenient location.

Next I used the guild roster to set all my characters up with Trustee status. Then, with my All Access account up and running I signed into my former All Access account as well. EQ2 runs quite smoothly in multiple instances on my current PC. I spent several hours logging in every character on my two main accounts, going through all of their storage, stripping out every item that the depots would hold and piling them all in.

As I went along I placed House Portals in some of my homes to form the beginning of a travel network. That requires the owner of the Prestige Home to visit the other character's house to place the portal, which is a fun little project in itself.

These portals are annoyingly difficult to place and when you try and move them you often fall in.

It was only right at the end that I realized I could have saved myself a lot of running by paying a week's upkeep on our long-abandoned Guild Hall, slapping a portal in there and using it as a hub to get everyone to the new place.

I suppose I could just have revived the Guild Hall and run it for myself but there's something depressing about being in a once-bustling Guild Hall all on your own. Personal housing is somewhere that feels entirely natural to use solo - and as I said, if you use the Prestige version it's free, too!

I could do a whole post about how great EQ2's sort options are.
This is going to be a big project and for all its very obvious advantages there may be a few worrying downsides. Everything comes at a cost.

This morning I visited the City Merchant in Freeport and bought an Elegant Forge and Desk for status points, something I could have done years ago. The reason I never did is that I love crafting in areas where I can see and hear lots of other people crafting alongside me. I always try to find the busiest place to do my writs or make upgrades.

Crafting alone, in my own, personal crafting hub, risks missing out on that sense of community. I won't hear someone beside me ding loudly as they level or hear the rattle and scrape of the machines. It will be less like playing an MMO than I'd prefer.

And then there are my established houses. I've been in the habit of returning to at least two of them at the end of every session, my Berserker's and my Warlock's, because they have the plant from the Kunark Ascending questline that gives a daily rare and a bushel of mats.

Yesterday I moved both of those plants to the Mara Estate. It seems probable that, if the new hub establishes itself as I imagine it will, I'll gradually move all my housing amenities there so everyone can use them.

That will be a major increase in utility because currently and historically I haven't made much use of anything like that. I've tended to place the item in someone's house and forget about it. With all of those things in a readily accessible central location they will see far more use but will I end up with everyone living in the Mara Estate while their own homes go unvisited for months or even years on end?

I'm going to try and minimize that risk by getting every single one of my homes onto the new network. With a bit of luck that added convenience will act as a counterweight to the gravitational pull of the hub itself.

Either way, the decision's made now and with the Planes of Prophecy signature crafting line due sometime this month it couldn't have come at a better time.


  1. I'm already all over the map. I have a couple prestige houses and 7 characters pushing level 30 now, each with a rented space. This is appealing to me, when I get a max level character and stop selling all of those tomes and books as I level. SOmething I havent been concerned of until I end up rolling the class that could have used that book, that I never thought I would ever play so didn't bother saving. =)

    1. Sadly there isn't a Personal Library Depot (yet) that will let you store all the Adepts and crafting books. I wish there was.


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