Monday, April 20, 2020

This One Goes To Eleven

Sometime around now I was hoping I'd be ready to write a post about the changes to EverQuest II's Overseer feature. There's just one, tiny problem, I'm not at all sure I understand them. Judging by this thread, neither does anyone else, possibly not even the people who designed them.

On Saturday I dinged eleven in Overseering (Overseerage? Overseerdom?). All of the missions I had on that account were immediately removed, except for the ones still counting down the clock. Those vanished as soon as they completed.

Along the road to level eleven I ran into two achievements, one each for for dinging Overseer levels five and ten. Each  landmark came with its own "tutorial" (a pop up window filled with multicolored text) and a consumable containing three missions from what I'm guessing we're now calling "Season One".
I just logged in to do some banking. What the heck is going on?

Every character I logged in got one  but as the tool tip tells you, it can only be unpacked by one character on the account. You can also only choose one of the three missions from each of the level five and level ten crates. Those then become "charged" options in your list of available missions and you can start them in addition to the ten you're allowed daily. Or that's how I thought it worked. Now I'm not so sure.

All of which is confusing enough but once you hit the magic level eleven you gain access to a vendor who "sells" all of the missions you managed to unlock during Season One. There are two of them, one in Freeport and one in Qeynos.

The Freeport vendor is a Sarnak called Stanley Parnem. (Is that really a traditional name for a Sarnak or is there some kind of in joke I'm missing?). I don't know who "sells" them in Qeynos. The missions cost zero copper and the game describes them as as "free charged missions", which suggests either someone writes this stuff in their second language or they're being deliberately obtuse.

You can mouse over the icons to get a great deal of detail about each mission but the two crucial pieces of information I look for - quality and length - aren't included. I thought that wouldn't really matter since you can have all of them for nothing but it seems that although you can buy them all you can only use a limited number of them. How limited and under what rules... no-one seems to know.

Stanley. He's quite the popular guy.

At first I thought you could have all of them, which seemed like total madness. Why have a ten-mission daily quota for the current season and also allow you to do the entire first season on top of it? That's forty missions! Imagine how many it would add up to after six or seven seasons!

It's not as crazy as that, fortunately. You can "buy" an unlimited quantity of free "charged" missions (I really wish they'd thought of a less confusing adjective there), including multiple copies of the same one (I tested that-  for science!) but there turns out to be a cap on how many you can use in a day. As I mentioned, no-one seems to know what it is yet, but there's definitely some kind of limit..

Mine capped on Saturday at five charged missions (plus the Weekly mission, which also counts as charged) but people were talking in the Test chat channel about having eight or more. Now that I've done those missions once, though, I can only repeat two of them. I'm waiting on the inevitable update to the update for more clarity.

When we briefly had twenty missions a day during the bonus mission week I did find that a bit too much of a good thing. I'd be happy with five charged missions on top of the regular ten but I know some people won't be satisfied until they get them all.

The implementation is clunky and buggy so far but it seems to be working after a fashion. I imagine there will be quite  a few tweaks and corrections before things settle down. However many we end up with, unless I'm missing something, I can't see any reason, other than the time it takes to set them up, not to do all the available missions every day from now on however many that ends up being.

Except, of course, that first we all have to build back up to having ten missions avaialable for the new season. Just like when the Overseer feature began, you begin with just two. The rest are going to come as drops from the reward crates, just like last time.

It's all very complicated. Overcomplicated, really.  The version of Overseer now running in the original EverQuest is a lot better designed and implemented. That one really is an enjoyable mini-game all on its own.

The EQII version is fun all the same and I've found it to be highly profitable. If I get rewards in Season Two anything like the ones I've had during the opening season I will be very happy.

The other big change to the system that came with the big update was the option to convert excess or duplicate agents into a form of currency called agent resumes. This only applies to talentless agents, the useless ones everyone stops using as soon as they get anything better. It occurs to me that as time goes on we're all going to start piling up multiples of the good agents and people are soon going to start complaining about that but maybe it's all part of some cunning plan.

For now, I'll just keep on handing the decent agents on to different characters to use. I have a team of ten on Skyfire so it should be a while before I run out of willing hands.

The vendor who takes the new currency in Freeport stands just along the dock from Stanley. I haven't checked where the Qeynos vendors are. His name is Old Michem, he likes to fish, and he sells a big selection of the items you can get as rewards for doing the missions themselves.

It means if you're out of luck with RNG you can save up to buy whatever it was you wanted. I know a lot of people like that although it never sets my blood racing. The prices are a little eye-watering. The 165 resolve gear runs to 60 agent resumes plus some status and plat. The bottleneck is the resumes, of course. You'd be lucky to get one item a month at those prices. Also, even 165 resolve seems to be old hat now. The new solo instance is handing out 170s.

The Shadowed recipe books cost 250 agent resumes plus 312,500 status and 7,500 platinum, which is a real hurdle. It would be worth saving up for something like the Shadowed Sage Studies 20 book, which until now has been changing hands for many millions of platinum on the broker but I can't imagine many people bothering with any of the recipe books other than Sage, Alchemist and Jeweller since crafting in BoL is generally agreed to be borked for all but those three classes. Oh, and Provisioner, maybe.

Anyway, as is always the case, what seems like an outrageous price today is going to look like peanuts in a few months. Only the very impatient are going to pay through the nose. And it should eventually drive down the cost of the pricier books on the Broker.

That's about as much as I know so far. Some of what I said is almost certainly wrong and anything I got right could change at any time. The Overseer feature is still very much a work in progress.

But I like it. It's interesting to play around with and I've done very well out of it. I'm curious to see where it goes next.

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