Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Fabled And Storied : EQ2

On paper there's nothing much to EQ2's new Return to Guk update. It's just a few old dungeons amped up to give current max levels a fight. It could be seen as a lazy option or an indication that resources at DBG are flatlining.

Luckily we're not playing on paper. On screen it's excellent. I've ventured twice into The Halls of the Fallen and once into The Lower Corridors so far and my adventures have been both entertaining and rewarding, which is about as much you can ask from any content in an MMORPG.

SOE came up with the idea of upgrading existing dungeons to "Fabled" status some years back. If I remember correctly the orcish stronghold Clefts of Rujark was the first to get the pink wash. Since then there have been many additions but, as I discovered when I came to write this post, it's not as easy as it should be to find out what they are.

UltrViolet has a good point when he complains "they sure don’t make much of effort to accommodate new or returning players". It's true. They don't make much of a fist of explaining things to people who play regularly, either.

This is me fighting two giant hands with mouths in the palms. Don't have nightmares.

I don't think the EQ2 devs are particularly bad in this regard. Very few MMORPGs do a good job of providing detailed and comprehensive guidance in-game. Usually that slack is taken up by third-party websites like Wowhead or Dulfy and developers correctly assume players with questions will know where to look.

For older, less popular MMOs external resourcces can be thinner on the ground but EQ2 has several, including the excellent and well-maintained wiki at  EQ2i, EQ2 Library and EQInterface. None of which has a straightforward listing for Fabled Dungeons.

EQ2Wire may have closed its doors as a news site following Feldon's retirement but its offshoot EQ2U is still going strong. They don't have a list of Fabled Dungeons either but they do have something potentially even more useful: a sortable, searchable list of loot drops by level.

Using that I found the following:

Fabled Dungeons Suitable for Level 100 Characters

Fabled Dungeons Suitable for Level 110 Characters
The next question has to be will the Level 100 dungeons be re-itemized for the new maximum level of 110? The whole point of Fabled Dungeons, after all, is to provide a new playground and looting opportunity for max levels. When most of the dungeons on the first list were enfabled the cap would have been lower than 100, so presumably they have been bumped up, possibly more than once. 
I'm guessing here but I'm hoping I'm right because the loot in the Solo Return to Guk dungeons I've seen so far is, for want of a better word, fabulous. It's all called "Storied" and it's Level 110, which means every drop is an upgrade for any of my max levels. 
The best loot I've been getting from Planes of Prophecy solo content, including solo dungeons, has been Level 105. I have a suspicion some 110 stuff might drop in the Public Quests (the only 110 I got prior to Return to Guk was in the Tinkerfest PQ) but I haven't been doing many of those because of the way they've been implemented this time around. They happen mostly by appointment, on a timer, in an instance, rather than unpredictably in open world zones like the previous PQs The extra effort of negotiating that mechanic has tended to put me off just enough that I've passed on most when they get called in chat.
Doesn't this just sum EQ2 up, though? A rat in sunglasses fighting a minotaur dual-wielding daggers while an over-sized kitten in a Christmas hat looks on. Also you'll notice I'm using an anchor as a weapon. And people don't take the game seriously...
It's also my opinion that, while the newer dungeons are visually more polished and complex, the older ones are more straightforward, which suits me better. I do like to Tank&Spank. I've been very happy bashing frogs in the corridors and halls of Guk, even if the excessive knockbacks do mean I spend most of my time jammed in a corner.

So far I've killed the first three bosses in Halls of the Fallen twice and the first four in Lower Corridors once. I was camped at the fourth boss in Halls but my instance timer expired before I could log back in again. 
I've upgraded both rings, one wrist and one ear. I'm not sure if the bosses drop the same thing every time (twice is not a meaningful sample) but even if they do I can happily farm them a few more times for my three other max levels. It's a shame I don't have a leather class at cap because the only non-jewellery drops I've had so far have been for leather-wearers.

Generally I don't enjoy farming repeatable dungeon content for drops but in this case I'm having a fine old time. It's amazing how just knowing you're sure to get some really good upgrades makes you  want to go another round instead of throwing in the towel. It's also so much more satisfying, lifting the items out of a big metal chest, than it would be to collect tokens to spend on the same items at a vendor.

I wish a few other devs would take this route once in a while.


  1. "It's also so much more satisfying, lifting the items out of a big metal chest, than it would be to collect tokens to spend on the same items at a vendor"

    This is so true! Even if the item is not that useful, I'm more interested in the serendipity of pulling something out of a chest than I am in a more 'optimized' token system.

    1. I've never been a fan of token systems. EQ2 has had plenty of them in the past so it's nice to see some old-school drops for once.

  2. What's the minimum gear expected for these - i.e. might this be a good method to gear up for the later story-solo dungeons? I hit a dps-timer in one of the later innovation dungeons and got stuck as I too missed the timer and it reset the whole thing, I haven't faced going back again as it took a while to clear, which tells me my Inq's gear isn't good enough - he didn't get the fab new insta-ding armour as he was leveled the normal way from 100...

    1. Erm, I meant dps-check I couldn't beat...

    2. Hmm. I don't think it would work to use the Guk dungeons as a step to gear up for the later story ones. The mechanics on some of the Guk bosses are definitely less fiddly than some of the story ones but all the mobs in there (not just the bosses) are triple-up level 118s. I think if you are having trouble with the story ones these would be a lot worse.

      As a point of comparison, my Berserker, with the buff you get from the dungeons themselves, has over 30m hit points now. When he was leveling up through the story, even in the final stages, I don't think he had more than about 7m-8m at most. All his other stats are similarly higher.

      That said, when he started doing them he had only one item (his cloak) that was 110. He had some 105 pieces which I think came from doing the Weekly overland quest (kill five outdoor nameds) or from doing some of the solo dungeon dailies. Most of what he had was 103, which is what you mainly get from doing the story. I would recommend killng all the outdoor nameds in Plane of Magic. Most of them are pretty easy and I think they all drop 103 stuff.

      I really don't remember having any great problems doing the story on my Inquisitor (wearing the stuff you get from the guy at the beginning of Plane of Magic plus whatever I got along the way from the story itself) although it was certainly slower than the Berserker. If I did have any issues it would have been on a DPS check - I do vaguely remember one like that. Are you using a DPS merc? That might help.


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