Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Crow Will Remember Your Face : EQ2

This afternoon I finished A Stitch in Time, the Signature Tradeskill questline from Planes of Prophecy. The entire affair ended up being easier, shorter and more enjoyable than I had expected. I didn't time it but I'd estimate it took me somewhere between six and eight hours, all told. The story made just a tad more sense than the Adventure line, Legacy of Power. I thought the finale was a little more dramatic and scary, even though it didn't involve any combat - or indeed risk.

Speaking as we were of difficulty, it seems to me that whoever worked on the crafting questline took a deal of trouble to make sure it would feel solid, satisfying and sufficiently challenging. At the same time there was a clear and welcome understanding that those who invest the most time in tradeskills aren't necessarily the most digitally dextrous of players, ironic though that may be.

One good example of the care that had obviously been taken to make sure things remained inclusive was the way the quest offered a choice between either jumping across chasms or crafting a device to bridge them. Since it was clear that jumping was going to be faster I tried that first and found that, at least to someone used to GW2's jumping puzzles, the leaps were very easy indeed.

Roll out the red carpet.

What's more, the first chasm had a fall of a mere few feet and a teleport device where you landed to send you back for another go. What happened if you fell after that I can't say because I was as sure-footed as a cat (hem, hem...) but I'm sure there would have been no major penalty beyond a few dings in your armor and a slight delay as you re-oriented yourself back at the start of the zone.

When the final "battle" arrived it had all the chaos and drama of a big set-piece combat event but none of the danger. Even so, I found the whole experience of being yelled at by thirty foot tall gods while their ten foot tall minions barged me out of the way and bounced me from hither to yon quite exciting enough, thank you!

As I mentioned in another post, I have found the interactions between my character and the gods that he's grown up either worshipping, fearing or trying to pretend aren't real, to be surprisngly affecting. I only found out Ulkoruuk existed a week ago but I was still sufficiently impressed that when he appeared I found myself exclaiming out loud "Wow, that's Ulkoruuk!".

Yes, I know who that is. It's you I'm not so sure about.

Also I found out Ulkoruuk's not a him. He's a her. The Lady of Insurrection in fact. Saryrn, Mistress of Torment, also showed up to send a shiver down my spine. I already knew her name and gender. I remember her from EverQuest, or, more specificaly, I remember her ravens. I met them in Plane of Torment, one of the handful of second tier Planes I saw when the original PoP expansion was current. They were the first creatures ever to cast silence on my cleric, which was something many groups he was in probably wished they could do.

As for Innoruuk himself, I've been scared of him for twenty years, nigh on, so I really didn't need any of his progeny telling me what a reckless fool I was for bringing him back. Speaking directly to him after I'd restored him to something like his full pomp was one of the creepiest and most disturbing things I've ever done in an MMORPG.

All told, the whole thing did the number on me that it was meant to do. I certainly feel like I've gotten my money's worth out of this expansion and then some.

Will it now? We'll see about that.

Of course there's plenty more to do - mostly a lot of grinding to upgrade gear, combat arts, ascension spells and so on. If EQ2 was my main MMO, getting everything up to standard would most likely keep me occupied until the next expansion arrives.

It isn't, though, so I'll just pick away at things here and there until November. I considered getting an Alchemist up to 110 to make Expert CAs for my Berserker but then I checked the cost of buying them from the broker as against the value of the rares it takes to make them and decided I might as well buy some instead and save myself weeks of effort. So I did.

More player-controlled difficulty there, when you think about it. That's one of the pros of having a balanced and/or stable economy in an MMO. You can divert your effort to things you enjoy and buy your way out of things you don't. Although since I enjoy crafting I'm not sure that logic entirely holds in this case, other than recognizing it's definitely possible to have too much of a quite pleasant thing.

You've heard the expression "A cat can look at a king?" Well this is like that. Only more so.

Now I just have to take my Inquisitor through the rest of the Adventure line and my Warlock/Sage through both and I really will be done. I might, at a push, take my Necro through the Adventure stuff as well, if only to get the extra XP bonus for the account but I think that might be a few repeatable faction quests too far.

With the last one largely behind me, I'm looking forward to some news about this year's expansion, especially since we've had it confirmed already there's going to be one. Druzzil Ro dropped a few ominous hints about the ramifications of what we've done so I'm betting it's going to involve Innoruuk in some fashion.

I just hope he remembers who put him where he is today. Then again, come to think of it, maybe I'm better off if he doesn't...

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