Friday, June 26, 2020

Ethereal Message : EQII

It's holiday time in Norrath once again. The brief hiatus ended with the coming of Oceansfull three weeks ago and this morning saw the start of Scorched Sky. Both of them are relatively new, having been introduced to the game in 2018 for the precise purpose of filling the long gap between the end of Bristlebane Day (and Beast'r) in mid-April and the start of Tinkerfest in late July.

I didn't get round to posting anything about Oceansfull when it was on, this year, but I did spend an afternoon beneath the waves and along the shorelines of several different zones. There were several items I wanted for the lakeside Othmir enclave in the Mara Estate home where all my characters tend to hang out these days.

I got everything I was looking for. Like most holiday events in EverQuest II there's no real obstacle to getting anyything you might want, other than time and patience. The boats look especially splendid on Mara's placid waters, I think.

There were also two new quests, both of which I did. One is in Eastern Wastes, the other in Tranquil Sea. I didn't think anything of it at the time, but now I reflect, something about those quests does strike me as a little odd. Involving no combat, with only housing items as rewards and designed to scale to all character levels, why put them in such inaccessible spots in mid-high level zones?

It's not that they're entirely unreachable by lower level characters. The areas where the quests take place are entirely safe. Getting to them could be something of an adventure at level ten, though. Then again, that's just the kind of adventure I used to relish, back in the days when I actually had low-level characters.

Scorched Sky started this morning and runs until 7 July. My Bruiser popped in to Darklight Woods to see what was new, if anything. He both was and wasn't a good choice because to him it was all new. I can't remember who I took there last time but it clearly wasn't him.

Unlike Oceansfull, whose watery theme turns up all kinds of furniture and appearance items that catch my eye and whose seaside settings appeal, Scorched Sky doesn't do all that much for me. I have a problem with armor that's permanently on fire. I can't help but imagine it burning the character who wears it.

Flaming mounts don't really light my fire, either. In fact, the whole molten look, incredibly common in many MMORPGs, makes me feel I'm looking at the cover of an eighties' metal album. Probably something by Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. Very much not the look I'm going for.

Scorched Sky this year does have something I do like - a new Overseer Quest. To get it you once again need to travel to somewhere rather inhospitable and unwelcoming, the Dragon's Breath Tunnel in the middle of Lavastorm, which I have to admit is about as appropriate place as you could possibly find for a celebration dedicated to Fennin Ro, the Tyrant of Fire and his son, Solusek Ro, the Burning Prince.

So far, no-one at all seems to have written up the new quest, Conflagrant Rites, for the wiki or anywhere else. I started it in the middle of writing this post. I'm on the first part, which takes thirty minutes. The reward for that, other than the next quest in the sequence and a regular Overseer crate, is a flaming, flying book that refuses to be photographed in the Dressing Room.

If it's like previous Overseer holiday quests I imagine it will have five parts, al lasting thirty minutes. If it comes with anything especially good I might pop back in and update this post with a screenshot or two.  
(Edit: I'm on what seems to be the final (at least, it's twice as long) of only three parts right now. The reward is a title, Flame Bearer, and a rolling cinderstone pet, which looks exactly as you might imagine.)

As well as Scorched Sky we also have the first phase of the Summer Ethereal campaign. Ethereals are a tradition in EQII to which I paid little attention for a long time. They're the exact opposite of the usual calendar holidays in that they exist almost entirely to give out top-end adventuring gear. I used to think of them as something raiders did although I think they were always also accessible to Heroic group players, too.

A year or two back, the door was nudged open for solo players to poke thier noses in and peer at the ethereal glow and I started to take a bit more of an interest. This year, seeing that I've been playing regularly and making a decent fist of upgrading several of my max-level characters, I've decided to make more than a token effort at collecting enough Peculiar Medallions, the currency in question

I'm hoping to buy at least one or two of the 200 Resolve accessories. There's a weekly quest called Ethereal Ahoy. It's auto-granted and completes as soon as you finish any of the regular Blood of Luclin weekly quests, including the solos. I finished one this morning and got two dozen Peculiar Medallions.

Summer ethereals, which come in three phases, stay around for about fifteen weeks, so if I did Ethereals Ahoy every week I'd earn exactly enough to buy three items plus three "Shard of Peculiar Allies", the adornment that allows the items to be upgraded. That makes it likely they'll stil be useful even after the inevitable stat inflation of the winter expansion, which obviously increases the appeal.

Whether I'll have the discipline to do it every week remains to be seen but I really ought to be able to manage at least enough for a couple of earrings. EQ2Traders has a detailed explanation of how the event works, if needed.

Last and very much not least there's a fresh trio of free Pride bunny familiars in the cash shop. I'll probably try and knock out a quick post on them in their own right because the whole thing's quite interesting, but just in case I don't get time, I'm mentioning them now. If you play EQII you wouldn't want to miss out on them. Aside from the cultural significance, they're decent familiars (1807 Potency, 807 Crit Bonus, 3.4% to all Attributes) and they can, naturally, be used for Overseer questing.

So much all happening at once. I can't keep up!

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