Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Share The Ride: EQII

Any MMORPG that survives more than a handful of years develops fearsome levels of complexity, we all know that. We also know that some document it better than others and a game's apparent popularity or success isn't necessarily a good indicator of how easy it's going to be to find accurate information when you need it.

I've always found it surprisingly difficult to prise out the fine detail in World of Warcraft, for example. There's a wealth of information out there but far too much of it partial or obsolete for looking stuff up to be the simple operation I'd expect.

EverQuest II has always been surprisingly well documented, paricularly for a lower-profile title. It's largely down to a cadre of exceptionally dedicated hard-core testers and archivists, who form a virtual community within a community. When I'm I'm in a phase of playing a lot of EQII, I really notice the difference when I move to another game and try to look something up.

It's just as well those hobbyists are there, doing what they do, because even by the standards of long-running MMORPGs, EQII these days is ferociously complicated. Where other developers tidy up after themselves as they go along SOE, and Daybreak/Darkpaw after, always tend to show their workings as they iterate and innovate.

I prefer that. I don't like to see perfectly good systems and mechanics removed just because someone came up with a new idea. To my way of thinking it's always better to have alternatives. And when it comes to removing content just because it's old and not much used, well, that's just cultural vandalism.

It does mean I occasionally have to stop and look things up, though. And even with the best efforts of selfless volunteers I do occasionally run into things I don't understand, for which no explanation, guide or walkthrough seems to be available. One such thing that's been puzzling me for a while concerns mounts.

EQII, again like most MMORPGs of a certain age, has a plethora of mounts. I don't go out of my way to collect them but my more played characters all have a dozen or more. There's an excellent mechanic that allows you to use the stats of one with the appearance of another, which is just as well given the time and/or cost involved in raising your mount to max level (20) and opening all of the gear slots (17). You certainly wouldn't want to have to repeat that process every time youfelt like  changing your look.

The flexibility of the system goes further than that. Some of the mounts are No Trade, which is self-explanatory, but quite a few are Heirloom. That's a tag meaning they can be swapped freely between all characters on the account.

The recent freebie, Samenda Honorhoof, has the best stats of any mount available to any of my characters. I wasn't sure who should have it. My Berserker tends to get first pick of everything, being the character I've committed the most time to over the last few years, but these days I have several other max level characters I play regularly. They could all do with a better ride.

I'm especially interested in bringing my Necromancer up to the Berserker's level in gear and stats. I've noticed how much faster she kills. Plus, a pet class that can feign death has a versatility no pure melee will ever match. Her best mount was a couple of expansions off the pace so I decided to give Samenda to her.

As I was training the new mount up over the last couple of weeks I started to wonder just how this Heirloom thing worked when it came to mounts. I knew you could drag and drop the icon from the Mount tab to inventory and swap it via the shared bank but what would happen to the training accrued? And the gear equipped? And what if you'd used Extra Barding Slot tokens to open more gear slots?

I tried to find the answers on the wiki and the forums but for once I found nothing that helped. So I decided to test it for myself.

My Necro had trained Samendra Honorhoof to Rank 3, with just over two days remaining in the current cycle. That had opened one barding slot so I atuned some cheap barding and dropped it in. Attuning it also made it No Trade. I was very curious to see how that would work out. I also used a token to open one of the bonus slots along the bottom, just to see what happened there.

I dragged Samendra out of the tab and put it into the shared bank. Then I swapped to my Berserker. I grabbed the jackrabbit mount he'd gotten from a recent event and slapped that in the shared bank before pulling Samendra out and dropping it into the Mount tab.

Opening the mount window I saw that Samendra was now Level One again, with no gear equipped and no extra barding slots opened. At this point I wasn't sure whether what I'd done had simply wiped all progress and destroyed the equipped items. That possibility was why I'd chosen to experiment with a mount that only had a few days training and one cheap piece of gear to lose.

I put Samendra back in the shared bank and swapped back to the Necro. She popped Samendra back into her Mount tab and saddled up. I was delighted and relieved to see that all of the progress, slots and gear were back exactly as before. Just to be sure, I repeated the process, in reverse, with the jackrabbit, with the same result.

With everyone and everything back as it had been, I could see, at last, how things worked. The state of each mount must be stored individually in the character record. The mount itself is transferable across the account but it's characteristics are not.

This leads neatly into a discussion of character versus account-based gameplay and design but I'll save that for another time. For now, I'm just pleased to know what I can do with my heirloom mounts and what to expect when I do it.

If I was the kind of community-minded individual I was praising at the top of the post, I guess I'd go to EQ2i and edit the lengthy entry on Mounts accordingly. That's not really my thing. I'll just leave it here, where it might one day be of use to someone googling "heirloom mounts stats gear transfer".

Of course, they'll have to read a lot of waffle before they get to the information they want but hey, this is a blog, not a wiki. Waffle is what we do best!


  1. That is interesting. I just assumed that after it was equipped and especially trained and geared it would become no-trade. Thanks for experimenting. I gave the new mount to my next character I will level up, a lvl 100 palidan. He will need a decent mount at some time and the look of the mount is perfect for him.

    A little off topic but I enjoy when a game or hobby has plenty of internet sites documenting it or discussing it. Not only does it make it easier to figure something out but also I like to be able to go read about it during my breaks at work and I am not able to play. I have recently started playing Dungeons & Dragons virtually with some friends and there is certainly plenty to read on that hobby.

    1. I also guessed mounts would only be "Heirloom" before you actually used them, which I guess would mean training them. After all, Heirloom gear gets Attuned and becomes untradeable once you put it into a slot. This seems like a much better solution, even though I'm sure plenty of people will complain about not also being able to "Heirloom" the training.

  2. Some good research on the mount transfer and levelling dynamic. I was thinking yesterday about wikis, after looking at an EQ2 site and finding some info out of date. I imagined a good set of blogs forming a kind of distributed wiki - less well organised for sure, but perhaps less reliant on a few key individuals to keep info updated and relevant. It wouldn't replace the wiki in terms of organisation without requiring a certain community effort for consistent tagging and linking, more than could reasonably be expected of a bunch of hobbyist writers in all probability. But blogs are generally pretty well indexed by search engines so I find myself increasingly using blog resources more than wikis, with the exception of WoWHead of course.

    1. I've certainly had plenty of good tips from blogs, not least your own. I'm very well aware that my insistence on using abstract post titles isn't helping anyone doing a search for what might be useful to them in the post - if I'd called this one "How to swap Heirloom Mounts between Characters in EQII" it would have been a lot more helpful. I like my reference-based and/or "amusing" titles too much to stop, though. I just trust that Google's algorithm is smart enough to pick out the real content from the Labels and the content.

  3. Thanks for this. I logged in just to grab that mount when it's up. That got be the "equestrian" achievement, though I'm not exactly sure what aspect of the new mount triggered it. The character had about a dozen mounts already, but only one that could fly. He's also the highest non-boosted character I have at the ripe old age of level 61.

    1. I got that achievement recently, too. It was on someone I claimed that mount with. I logged into al my accounts to get it and i can't remember who got the achievement. It certainly wasn't everyone so it can't just be that particular mount.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide