Friday, July 1, 2022

They Don't Call It A Sweatshop For Nothing

Naturally, the moment I post in praise of Daybreak's engineering team, they break something. When I went to log into EverQuest II yesterday, the launcher didn't work. I found a workaround on the forums so it wasn't a serious problem. Then there was a patch and after that I didn't have a problem at all.

Until I logged in again today and found the launcher didn't work. Again. 

The same workaround did, though, so I was able to take a look at the new, improved Summer Jubilee version of Scorched Sky Celebration, which I realize I've been referring to as "Scorched Sky" or even "Scorched Skies" all this time, without the "Celebration", which is actually part of the name. Must pay more attention.

I read the news item and rushed off to Sinking Sands to get the new quest. Someone at the bonfire in Buccaneer Bay had a feather over their head so I chatted with them for a bit, took their quest, set off to kill some Scorched Sky elementals and then realised I was doing last year's new quest, which I wrote about back in 2021. At least I noticed before I'd really got going!

 Re-reading the news item, I spotted this key line: "The most advanced adventurers with a penchant for all things toasty warm can head to The Highlands in Butcherblock Mountains to find your path." Granted it's a bit flowery but I can't say I wasn't told. Must pay more attention. No, really, I must.

I'm a little unclear as to the connection between Butcherblock Highlands and the searing heat of summer. It's a pretty cold and unsummery place as far as I can see. There's a party of celebrants there all the same, including Chandrima, the questgiver, who I have a feeling may also be one of my Overseer agents. Or maybe I'm imagining that.

She explained the situation and sent me to get some Flaming Runes of Ro. After I'd popped the requisite number of Scorched Sky elementals, of which there were plenty within a shuriken's throw of the camp, it was off to another unlikely venue for the Scorched Sky Celebration, namely Dropship Landing in the Moors of Ykesha

This time there is a lore-appopriate reason to go there, despite the complete absence of sunshine, volcanos or deserts. It's where we went for Tinkerfest and the new portal uses the same "celestial apperture creator" as last time, handily still poking out of the ground where we left it. I imagine we'll be back there again in August for Oceansfull

I got the portal up and stepped through. I was playing my Bruiser this time. He's now my best-equipped character and he does a lot more DPS than the berserker, while being almost as tanky. Plus he has Feign Death, the Pause Button of mmorpgs.

Inside the zone, Doomfire Ro's Sweatshop, I found another questgiver waiting. I picked up his quest, which I found to be both nicely phrased and rather intriguing. There's been some speculation on the forums about whther the new hires at Darkpaw have been given the new summer quests to work on and I wouldn't be surprised if there's something in that. The new quests are very much in the standard EQII mode but there seems to be a freshness and an enthusiasm about the dialog that suggests whoever's writing them is really enjoying themselves.

I began pulling. Most of the mobs came in gangs of three or more but they posed little threat to my Bruiser, who chopped them down in seconds. The quest items came from boxes on the ground but naturally the owners of said boxes objected to them being rifled through by passing strangers so we came to blows. 

The drop rate was good and it didn't take long before I had everything. did the hand-in and got the pattern I was after, along with some directions and a word of advice. When I turned around and headed towards place I'd been told to go next, I found a horseman named Elemy Elmonnier in my way; the first boss.

He had a couple of tricks, one of which seemed to be the power to summon an unlimited number of guards to his side. The other was to have his horse trample me. 

According to the walkthrough, which I didn't look at until after I'd killed him, I should have backed off to avoid getting trampled. It doesn't mention the guards at all. I just stood there and face-tanked him and AE-ed the guards and that seemed to work.

The loot he dropped was nice for a solo character. Two pieces of Fabled gear, 305 Resolve, and an Adept spell book. The neck slot item was a good upgrade. I was going to carry on to the next boss but before I could spawn him, Beryl the dog woke up and came to tell me she wanted to play so that was that.

I really like these new instances, the Tinkerfest one and now what I've seen of this. The stories are fun, the difficulty level is just about right, the gameplay is enjoyable and the drops are worthwhile. I'm usually pretty happy with EQII's questing and the holiday content has always been some of the best in the genre but these have been noticeably above par. I do think the current team has upped their game significantly of late.

Beryl permitting, I hope to finish the instance tomorrow. I doubt I'm going to find the time to run it half a dozen times before the event ends to get the bracers I didn't get during Tinkerfest. I'll be happy enough with the rewards from the questline and the bosses.

After that, roll on Oceansfull!

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