Friday, April 10, 2020

Let's Go Jumpin'

By the time you read this Bristlebane Day will most likely be over so don't go thinking you're getting a rabbit like mine. Not until next year, anyway.

I wasn't planning on getting one either but after my last post on the holiday I thought I should at least visit the vendor and pick up this year's new crafting book, so I could not make anything from it, just like I haven't made anything from any of the others I've bought every year. It's a tradition.

While I was there I took a look at all the things you can buy with Fool's Gold. A few odds and ends caught my eye but the one that really jumped out (boom-tish!) was the rabbit mount. It was three hundred FG, which seemed like a lot Then I checked how much was in my wallet and I already had a hundred or so. Maybe it was doable.

Holiday currencies in EverQuest II are generally easy to get. The various quests tend to offer them as one of the rewards but most holidays (probably all of them although I'm not about to go check) also have some form of repeatable content that gives currency every time.

For Frostfell, my preferred currency grind is the Icy Keep, a dungeon you can easily run solo or, better still, mentor down and do the Heroic version for better rewards. During Tinkerfest the cogs just lie around all over the place waiting to be picked up. Several festivals have associated races, which are always good for coins. Bristlebane brings out patchcraft mobs to kill so that's where I set my focus.

Are they even the same species?
To kill patchcrafts in 2020 you need a max level character or at least someone at the upper end of the level range. Three of the four zones where they spawn are in the current expansion: The Blinding, Aurelian Coast and Wracklands. The fourth, Obulus Frontier, is a little lower, the level cap for the Kunark Ascending expansion being 100. Still not a spot for tiddlers, though.

I'd already been killing the patchcraft zelniaks as I ran into them on my rounds because I once got a nice165 resolve cloak off one and I was hoping there might be more upgrades. (I can now say they also drop a belt and that both belt and cloak come in different versions with stats to suit casters, tanks or melee dps and quite possibly other roles, too). I knew where they spawned so I started keeping an eye out for them.

I doubled my coins to around two hundred in a couple of sessions. Each kill is actually three because the first zelniak spawns another zelniak when it dies and the second spawns a goblin. It's the goblin that drops the coins and he always drops three of them. That would mean one hundred goblins and three hundred kills in total for a rabbit, if you were starting from scratch.

Except that one of the perks of being an All Access member is double currency. I don't generally think much about it but on occasions like this it really comes into its own. I was getting six coins every time. Fifty spawns for a mount seems pretty reasonable.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a frickin' rabbit!
After four months of playing regularly my Berserker has become fairly powerful in solo content. I'm gradually working towards a goal of having all his gear at 165 resolve, at which point I will use the infusers I've been stockpiling to make him more powerful still. I've been exceptionally lucky in getting limited use recipes for adornments and I've started to make them and slot them. It's a work in progress. I anticipate it taking me most of the year, at which point the next expansion will drop and I'll have to start all over again.

Right now, though, I can mow through two-up-arrow zelniaks in seconds. It made harvesting them for coins very straightforward and quite enjoyable - other than having to wait for them to spawn, that is. I popped a tracking scroll so I could find them and cruised around at low level, swooping down on any I could find.

It took me maybe half an hour to get the final hundred coins I needed. Off to Freeport via that other invaluable membership perk, instant travel, and I had me a bunny. A very big bunny.

It looked fantastic but I was curious to see how practical it might be. Rabbits don't fly, not even in Norrath, so you can't slot a rabbit into the mount appearance slot and use a flying mount for stats. It's a Leaper, the second grade of mount (it goes Ground, Leaper, Glider, Flying), meaning it can jump long distances, but crucially, as I discovered when I tested it, it also negates falling damage and is steerable in the air.

In order to maintain air-speed velocity, a rabbit needs to wiggle its ears 43 times every second.

That makes it a very effective ride in The Blinding, where you can jump off the platform at the zone in and pretty much glide to anywhere else in the zone. If I'd thought about it I'd have bought the mount for one of my characters that doesn't have flying in Blood of Luclin zones yet. But I didn't. C'est la vie.

The other problem is that equipping the bunny makes for an enormous drop in stats. I was astonished just how enormous. My Berserker has a maxed-out mount, Level 20 with all the regular gear slots filled and some of the additional barding slots too. Changing to a Level 1 mount with no gear dropped his key stats by almost twenty per cent.

I'm leveling the bunny up a bit because I have no other mounts I want to level and even at eighty per cent effectiveness he can still do what he needs to do quickly enough.. Mostly, though, I think it's a mount to pull out for special occasions and screenshots.

I feel quite pleased with myself for taking the trouble to get it, all the same. I may play a lot of EQII at the moment but I don't play it the way I used to, when it was my main MMORPG. In those days I made the most of holidays and special events. I'd forgotten how satisfying that can be, especially when you get the thing you've been eyeing up.

Let's hope I remember when the next big event rolls around. There's the very short Beast'r event this weekend and then a holiday drought until mid-June. And who knows what we'll all be doing by then?

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