Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Just Relax

Syp and Belghast both posted today on the relaxing nature of leveling. I should need no reminding of that. Syp even talks about how the whole process can be made even more stress-free by avoiding quests in favor of killing mobs and farming crafting materials, something I was doing an awful lot of this time last year.

Ah, last year, eh? Remember that? When the biggest thing we had to worry about was whether to cancel our subscriptions to World of Warcraft to teach Blizzard a lesson? Happy days...

I was doing a lot of leveling back than. Two months, at least thirty hours a week, taking a Hunter into the fifties and a couple more into the twenties. When that all fell apart there was the EverQuest II expansion with another ten levels to do. Wouldn't have taken very long with the new accelerated xp but I had a lot of characters so I managed to make it last well into the New Year.

This year it's mostly been good old EverQuest picking up the slack. My highest character was level 93 back in the spring. Now she's 113, just two dings from cap. For much of the summer I was taking her out almost daily to hunt in all kinds of new zones and do all kinds of new content (new to me, obviously, not to anyone who's actually been playing since about 2013).

I kind of fell off that wagon when the recent double xp ended. I'm back to just logging in to set and collect the Overseer dailies. Since those give orders of magnitude more xp than I'm likely to get by going out and soloing there's not a huge amount of incentive to do anything more effortful.

It's very nice to get levels for doing nothing but I'm starting to get twitchy. I love leveling. Like Bel and Syp I find it relaxing but I also find it involving and interesting, too. I'm generally at my most  engaged with an MMORPG when I'm actively leveling a character.

I've been thinking about what I could do about it for a while. I have a Fury in the nineties in EQII I could dust off  but the nineties can be a real struggle in that game. It's why I stopped there in the first place. 

It's also so close to a hundred it feels crazy to slog through seven or eight tedious levels when I'm sitting on several boosts I haven't used. I could skip to 100 or even straight to 120. Which would defeat the object, so there she sits, dithering.

In Guild Wars 2 I considered converting some of my extensive gold reserves to gems to buy a new character slot. Leveling in GW2 can be a lot of fun and although I have all the classes, most of them twice at least, there are plenty of race/class combos I haven't tried yet, not to mention weapons.

And then I remember how my bank vaults groan with every kind of leveling boost. Last time I counted I had enough consumables to jump thirty or so characters from zero to eighty. I know I don't have to use them but just knowing I could is undermining. Plus, they're taking up space!

There are other options. I was enjoying leveling my Final Fantasy XIV character under the endless free trial  back when that only went to thirty-five. She's level thirty-three if I remember correctly. Now she can go all the way to sixty. I could do some more with her.

Then there's that new Microsoft game, Elder Scrolls Online. I was enjoying that one for a bit. And Blade and Soul, didn't I go back there for a heartbeat not a month or so ago? And I took the option to have all those Lord of the Rings quests for nothing back when they were giving them away. I could level up the normal way there instead of grinding mobs and pretending it's a prettier EverQuest.

Oh yeah, and Star Wars: the Old Republic too. Let's not forget that one. All games where I'd like to level up some characters - in theory. I just can't seem to commit to doing any of it in practice. 

And y'know what I blame? The weather, that's what.

Doesn't proper get-stuck-in, do the hours leveling feel like something you do when it's cold or wet or dark outside? Doesn't it feel a bit weird to be grinding away on mobs when the sun's shining through the open window and the birds are singing away?

In fact, back in the summer, when I was leveling away in EQ, it was mostly wet and not that warm. I remember doing a whole bunch of adventures with Test Match Special on in the background as the team desperately tried to fill an entire week of airtime with random conversation as a whole five-day test match was rained off. And they were playing not that far away from me, so we had much the same weather.

September has been glorious. I've spent most of my time either out enjoying the late summer sunshine or using the dry, warm weather to do a whole load of stuff around the house. What with that and going back to work, albeit only two days a week, I haven't felt much like sitting down at the computer for anything much, neither blogging nor gaming.

I'm coming to the end of the home improvement projects I wanted to get done this year, though, and today the weather broke. Tomorrow it's going to feel much more like autumn and that ought to do it.

The timing looks good. Blizzard are still being coy about the precise date of the Shadowlands pre-patch but everyone seems to think it's imminent. When that drops I've decided I'll definitely re-sub for a month. I'm hoping that the squish and the new leveling mechanics will give me as much to chew on as the launch of Classic last year.

Back then, the blog posts all but wrote themselves. Here's hoping history repeats.

Whether the pre-expansion experience translates into a desire to try Shadowlands itself will be interesting to find out. If I had to bet, I'd bet against it. In the end I never did play through any of that Legion expansion I was given. But who knows? Maybe I'll get the WoW bug and use the squish to explore all the supposedly good leveling content from Pandaria, Legion, Battle for Azeroth (people did say the zones were nice...) and Shadowlands itself.

That ought to keep me going until the next EQII expansion comes out. Which, now I think of it, won't have any new levels, anyway.


  1. I have been running solo zones in EQ2 on my main trying to finish up collection quests before the next expansion. No real reason other than I doubt I would go back to finish them after the expansion comes.

    I keep thinking about logging into EQ after reading your posts. My highest level character is sitting right around lvl 90. I would enjoy leveling him up too. If there was only more time in the day.

    1. In the entire time I've played EQ2 I've never really worked on collectins. I love them but I treat them like weather - not something I can control. Very occasionally I'll go through my unfinished collections and buy the missing items but only if they're really cheap, which of course none of the good ones are. I really ought to take it more seriously.


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