Sunday, March 29, 2020

You've Been Fooling Me, Baby

Another week, another major holiday event in EverQuest II. This time it's Bristlebane Day, described by the wiki as "the annual live event that honors Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane and celebrates playful pranksters, tricksters, and good humor."

Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane is the trickster god of thieves and rogues. Every pantheon has to have one. His holiday has never been one of my favorites although it has its moments. I remember when the Ratical quest was added. That was fun. And I put some effort into getting a Horse of a Different Color, too.

It's become something of a cliché here, the way I link to unfeasibly lengthy lists of things to do on EQII holidays, but seriously, look at this. I wouldn't even call Bristlebane Day one of the really major dates in the calendar, either, although it's certain to be someone's favorite.

As I've observed before, EQII often employs a convention where a "day" lasts a week or two but I believe Bristlebane is unique in having an actual, single day when special things happen. That's April the first, of course. If you want to talk to the Sphinx or grab some shinies for the Prankster's Novelties collection, that's your moment.

Before and after, from the 27th of March until the 10th of April, the rest of the extensive program continues to play. Somewhat to my surprise, especially given what Kander was saying, there's no holiday-themed Overseer mission this time but there's no shortage of things to do.

Even though EQII has an excellent in-game calendar these days and although every character gets in-game mail announcing the event, I still hadn't noticed it was happening until a zelniak tried to kill me in The Blinding

It took me several moments to work out what was happening. There I was, like I am every day, happily trundling around the sands with my bunny and my pony and my trusty mercenary, gathering mushrooms and algae from bushes (just don't think about it), when suddenly something bit me. Hard.

Zelniaks are peculiar little goatlike creatures native to Luclin. We have them in original EverQuest, where they look a bit like zebras with sharp fangs, but over the intervening half-millennium they seem to have (d)evolved into cute, brightly orange, Shetland pony sized goofballs. They mill about in safe areas grazing and minding their own business and I tend to forget they're there.

Until they go psycho on me, that is. Once I'd adjusted to the situation I noticed two things: the zelniak was a two-up arrow heroic mob and it was even more colorful than usual. More significantly, when I killed it another one, different color, spawned instantly and began attacking me, too.

I killed that one and a goblin appeared, yelling some typical goblin nonsense. This was ringing no bells with me whatsoever. I had no clue what was going on but I was peripherally aware it must be related to some event or other. 

I killed the goblin and a small, wooden chest appeared. It was only when I opened it up and saw the Fool's Gold Coins within that I realised Bristlebane must be behind it all. Since then I've killed quite a few patchcraft zelniaks and their goblin keepers. I have the vaguest memory of these from previous years but really nothing's coming back to me even now.

I still wouldn't have gone out of my way to hunt the things down only I got jumped a few more times and something new happened. The fights are avoidable, by the way; patchcraft creatures are non-aggro until you get very close to them, then they match your character's level and attack, so if you don't want to bother with them you just have to practice social distancing. Only I kept forgetting and bumping into them by accident.

Each time it happened I finished off the trio of spawns and picked up my coins then went about my business. Until a metal chest dropped instead of a wooden one. Intrigued, I opened it and found inside a very decent upgrade to the cloak my Berserker was wearing. He had a nice level 155 Resolve item already but this was 165 and I don't see too many of those.

That does change things. I've been very slowly inching his gear up to 155 using the Overseer system but 165 items are still quite a rarity for me. If Bristlebane's handing them out then I'm killing every patchcraft zelniak I can find.

Since I'll also be piling up the holiday currency I guess I'd better go check out the vendors to see what they're selling and if I'm going to be there anyway I may as well pick up a couple, of the quests. There's a holiday dungeon that I'm not at all sure I've ever done, too, so I ought to go take a look at that...

Bristlebane's celebrations are followed immediately by Beast'r, which only lasts a few days, and then there's nothing on the calendar other than the regular city festivals and moonlight enchantments for nearly two whole months, until Oceansfull washes up in early June. It could seem like bad timing, what with all the enforced idleness going on, but luckily there's the spaghetti western themed Game Update to look forward to in April. 

That should tide us over for a while.

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