Saturday, April 3, 2021

Eggs Over Easy

Yesterday, I logged in to EverQuest II to set up my ten daily Overseer missions. There's not really anything left in the Season Two rewards that I want but I need to earn more experience to ding 21 before I can start on Season Three. 

Or so I thought.

I was surprised (Literally. The sudden, unexpected blast of sound made me jump) to see an achievement appear the moment my character loaded into the game: Season 3 Overseer. Along with it came two new missions set in the Kingdom of Sky.


I'm trying to remember if this is how things worked last year, when we started on Season Two. I thought I remembered having to grind out a whole level first but maybe not. Also, things were still in flux back then. When aren't they, though?

The achievement co-incided with the arrival of the very brief Beast'r festival so perhaps it was pushed with the data for that. Whatever the reason, I was glad to see it. Now I can crack on with expanding my repertoire of missions, agents and traits, then begin reeling in those juicy rewards.

It took me a moment to recalibrate. I'd become so used to having a full board of options. For much of last year, around breakfast-time I'd log in whichever character had set the missions the day before, collect the rewards, then I'd set ten more from whatever was off cooldown. 

I'd swap to another character if I ran out of agents but usually I had enough agents and missions to rotate across the two-day cycle on my Berserker. I had the whole thing down to maybe ten minutes a day. I'd forgotten that it takes quite a while to build up that kind of momentum.

With a new season it's back to square one. With just two Season 3 missions the only option is to keep repeating them as frequently as possible in the hope that more missions will drop as rewards.

The two starter missions are blue-quality. They take one hour and they have a one hour cooldown. That means no more once a day set-and-forget. Not if I want to get this whole thing moving. Either I stay and play so I can reset the missions as they come off cooldown or I have to remember to log back in time to do it every hour or so.

I'm doing both. Before I wandered off to play Valheim, I'd seen that there were five new Beast'r eggs to find this year so I spent a while hunting those down. It took a while, not least because I thought I'd remembered how the event worked but I really hadn't. After I admitted to myself that I might be wrong and went to check on EQ2 Traders things went a lot faster.

I was in Freeport asking guards for directions to the eggs and they kept sending me to the vendor instead. At first it was annoying but then I took a closer look at what he was selling and I was glad the guards hadn't really listened to me.

Kinda sinister for a fluff event, wouldn't you say?


The way diehard EQII players complain about the game annoys me a lot. I get the very strong impression that few of them play other mmorpgs, especially contemporary ones. If they did they'd understand how incredibly generous EQII is compared to just about every other game of its kind.

Here's what you can buy from the Beast'r Eggschanger:

  • Eight decorative housing items 
  • Two character illusions
  • Three plushies (animated placeable creatures for your house)
  • Three cosmetic pets
  • One full set of appearance gear

You can also trade out eleven of the sixteen available Beast'r Eggs, which are vanity pets, for house pet versions. Since you scribe the eggs into your spellbook to use them, you can collect duplicates, swap them and have both.

What's more, the cost of buying any and all of these is extremely trivial. Most of those items cost sixty silver. The most expensive, the Sifaye Robe Clothing Crate appearance outfit costs 2g 40s. A level one character could earn enough in a matter of minutes to buy everything the vendor has to offer.

This is for a very minor holiday, one that most players probably barely even notice. You can guarantee that kind of generosity, in spades, for every EQII festival. And there are a lot of festivals.

Compare that to Guild Wars 2, where this week the very similar, minor Choya event rewarded me with a few handfuls of crafting mats. And not very useful ones, at that. 

Most modern mmorpgs do not stock holiday vendors with good quality vanity pets, character illusions and appearance gear that anyone can buy for a pittance of in-game currency without having to farm for hours or days or even weeks. Such things, when they do turn up, tend to be tied either to log-in campaigns that require you to pay with your time or cash shops that ask you to pay with real money.

The Overseer system, which I think it's probably fair to say has found no more than grudging acceptance from the playerbase in the year or so since it was introduced, is equally open-handed. Indeed, as I found myself thinking yesterday, it may even be too generous for its own good.

I was expecting upgrades from the Season 3 rewards and even at this extremely early stage I have not been disappointed. The quantity and quality of the rewards will increase markedly as I gain access to the longer and more highly-rated missions but I got an upgrade from the second mission I completed.

Using the free starter kit from Reign of Shadows as a baseline, the floor for Resolve in current content would be 195. Having completed the Signature questline, most of my Berserker's gear is somewhere between 205 and 215, with one or two outliers in either direction. 


The lowest level rewards from Overseer Season 3 start at 205. That's from the blue missions. The yellow missions go to 210. Above those come purple and finally green. I don't have any of those to check yet but it's reasonable to assume they go to 215 and 220. If this season follows the same pattern as the last there will be some items better than that again in the Bonus chests.

This does mean that you could, in theory, outfit your casual, solo character to a uniform level better than you could expect from completing the content intended for you in the latest expansion, without ever leaving your spawn spot. Why you'd want to is another matter but you could.

Petamorph wand. So gonna use this!
I won't be doing that but I will be outfitting my less-regularly played characters with gear that means they can, if they wish, skip the Signature questline altogether. Of course, then they wouldn't be able to fly in those zones but then again they probably won't be adventuring in them either. 

Whether this is a positve thing for the game is another question. It incentivizes me not just to log in
regularly but also to play more when I do. I feel I get the best of both worlds, playing one character through all the content normally and then having the rest cruise through it in gear better than the content itself rewards, but I can see why it might end up being a disincentive for some people.

Whether it's a good idea or a bad one, though, I don't think it can be denied that it's exceedingly generous. If you don't like it you don't have to do it but I suspect some people made that decision without really understanding the possibilities. From the comments I see, both in and out of game, my feeling is that a lot of people gave up on Overseer missions well before they began to see just how rewarding they can be.

For solo players, that is. I'm not sure how much use they are to heroic group players or raiders. The gear certainly won't be of any interest and there's not much in the blue or yellow rewards I can imagine them getting excited over, either. It's mostly temporary adorns. Although, come to think of it, that may be the kind of thing players doing more difficult content burn through fast. I wouldn't know.

In the time it's taken me to write this I've completed several missions and recieved two new ones. One of those came from the Bristlebane Day holiday special Heist Society. I almost missed that one. It's a five quest sequence with some exceptionally nice, guaranteed rewards and it also pulls from the Season 3 pool for the random stuff, meaning a chance at new missions and agents. Very well worth doing in the few days it has left to run.

And that's me back playing EQII every day again. Mission accomplished from Daybreak's perspective, I guess.

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