Monday, July 27, 2020

Always Read The Instructions: EverQuest

Before I even begin I need to make a correction to yesterday's post. When I claimed with (unfortunate) confidence that "I'd already researched pet focus items for my new level" and found that "there were none. No tradeable ones, at least. No affordable tradeable ones", it transpires I was talking through my hat.

It's true, I had done my research. I just hadn't done it thoroughly enough. I'd checked several usually reliable guides, ones I've been using for years, ones I've always found to be accurate. Sadly, I fell into the trap of assuming they'd been updated to include the most recent information. As any MMORPG player ought to know, that's never a safe assumption to make.

The excellent EQMagicians has a comprehensive list of pet focus items that, at first glance, appears to be entirely up to date. I mean, it includes items that focus pets all the way up to level 120, five levels above the current cap. If you look more closely, however, you'll see a clue buried in the body of the text that suggests all is not as it seems: "As of the (final) Call of the Forsaken expansion..."

The Call of the Forsaken expansion is very far from being the "final" anything. It actually came out seven years ago. The reason the effects on the focuses on the list go so much higher than the then-cap of 100 is that they come from what was top-end group content, endgame questlines and raids - in 2013!

If you look at the level required to equip them, rather than what level pets they affect, you'll see it tops out at 101. Whoever was running EQMagicians back then clearly intended to carry on into the following expansion, The Darkened Sea, with its raised cap of 105, because they added entries for focus items with the next two numbered effects. Those have a Required level to equip of 101.

And that was where they stopped. Like so many legacy resources for so many MMORPGs, the information sits there, looking pristine but rusting at the core. And rust spreads.

Allakhazam, still the most reliable information source for EverQuest, doesn't have a focus list of its own. Instead it links to the EQMagician page and also to a discussion thread at, a forum for people who play Necromancers in EQ (what else did you expect?).

Since I'm playing a mage I didn't think to click that link. If I had, I'd have discovered that the Enhanced Minion line goes way beyond EQMagician's ceiling of XXIII. All the way to XXX in fact, as Allakhazam knows full well.

All of which amply demonstrates that half-assed research is worse than no research at all. I could have dug the truth out - if I'd just kept digging. Instead I stopped with the surface barely scraped.

All of this began to become clear to me only by chance. I was standing in the Guild Lobby, fiddling around with the search function on the Bazaar window. I'd been trying to decide which pieces of Conflagrant armor to buy first when it occured to me for some reason I can't quite recall, even though it was less than twenty-four hours ago, to remove the qualifier "armor" from the search.

In EverQuest the term "armor" tends to refer to what are known as the "visible" slots. The ones where what you equip shows up not just on your paper doll but on your in-game character as seen by everyone else. Unlike more modern games, jewellery and accessories aren't visible in EQ, so when I took that limiter out, a whole load of earrings, belts, rings and so on popped up.

And one of the earrings was called a Summoner's Conflagrant Earring. In Norrath, "summoner" is a synonym for "pet class". A magician is a summoner. Clue!

I examined the earring and sure enough, there it was in hyperlink purple: Enhanced Minion XVIII. A quick run to the actual Bazaar itself and there I was, forty thousand platinum pieces lighter and the proud - if somewhat red-faced - possessor of a pet focus item fit for my exalted level of one hundred and six.

The moral of this cautionary tale is that you can't always believe everything you read, especially if you don't take the trouble to read it properly. It also means I've gone on so long about my mistake that I probably ought to leave the real second part of the story for next time.

Not that it's much of a story. It's mostly about how I wasted a small amount of imaginary money and then saved a small amount of real money, doing something I was fairly sure I'd never do again. Still, it's something to post about, isn't it?

Just don't hold your breath or anything. I wouldn't want to over-sell it. And I don't give refunds.


  1. Especially if you play older MMOs, that up to date information issue can be killer. It's why I put prominant "this information good as of" dates at the bottom of all the guides I wrote for DAoC. I have tried to keep the guides up to date as things change, especially the PvE leveling guild that seems to get the most traffic. However, I can well imagine that seven or ten years from now I won't be doing anything with it at all if the servers are still up.

    1. What surprises me is just how long some of the websites themselves persist. There are sites up for Everquest that clearly haven't been updated for a decade and more but they still work. I imagine there must be guides still sitting there online for games that shut down years ago.


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