Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Remind Me Why I don't Live Here Again? : EQ2

Even though it happened today, I can't quite bring to mind the exact sequence of events that led to my creating a level 100 Fury on the Test Server. I think it started with the latest announcement about Everquest 2's upcoming expansion, Chaos Descending, which popped up in my Feedly this morning.

I've managed to fix it so I get the official PR puffs as they're released, rather than having to rely on spotting them on EQ2Traders or waiting until Wilhelm posts something. I've also worked out why I was getting my EQ2 news in French and put a stop to that. As it happens I can read French pretty well but that doesn't mean I want to.

There wasn't a lot in the latest post. Just the time and date for the now-inevitable Livestream, when a handful of self-conscious game developers will take an hour or so to deliver forty-five seconds of detail about the expansion. If you want to sit through it all you'll need to be on Facebook Live at 10am Pacific on Tuesday, October 9th.

Around about then I plan to be sitting on the balcony of a hotel somewhere in the Sierra de Grazalema, drinking a cold beer. I guess I could watch it on my tablet but I'm not going to.

It did make me think about what I might miss while I'm away, though. Mrs Bhagpuss and I generally go away for a week or ten days in October and sometimes we miss out on the start of Halloween in this game or that. We missed the very first Halloween in GW2 as I recall, which was a shame.

I think that's what made me go to the EQ2 Forums to see when the Nights of the Dead event begins in Norrath. I was also wondering whether there'd be anything new this year. I was guessing not. With its limited resources these days, Daybreak seems to be rowing back on the creation of a new quest for every holiday, every year - and honestly, there already more quests for the big holidays than most people are going to get through anyway.

It occured to me that NotD might already be up on Test and indeed it is! There's also a feedback thread right at the top of the first page of the In Testing section of the forum. And at the top of that there's the full running order for the event itself.

I was right about there being no new quest but there will be new stuff:

New Features for '18!
  • TLE Server
    • Fallen Gate - All of the event is active, except a lost necklace cannot be looted from A Gleaming Chest in The Hedge Hollow!
  • New Collection!
    • Grave Memories (added to Wake the Dead content)
  • New costume illusions available from holiday merchants!
    • Hobgoblin
    • Aviak Stormrider
  • The Nights of the Dead merchants have new things to sell!
    • Celebrations of the Dead XI
    • New mount!
    • New house items!
    • New equipment!
    • New Petamorph Wands!
I read the whole thread, which mentions a couple of other new bits and pieces and exemplifies the long-running, collaborative relationship between EQ2's developers and players - well, some of them. It's a wonderful antidote the negativity so prevalent in the Live threads.

As I was there, I happened to notice another thread, by Wilhelmina, Europe's answer to America's Niami Denmother and yet another player who was creating content before the term content creator was... um... created. The thread was entitled Free Level 100 Heroic On Test. That got my attention alright.

Wilhelmina has a clear and concise explanation of how to get your near-max level character for nothing, so rather than go over the same ground I'll quote her word for word:

  • choose level 100 heroic on the launcher
  • Once in game, proceed to Qeynos Harbor (on the docks, between the two gates leading to chronomages and loyalty) or East Freeport (on the docks, next to the door to South FP) and speak to Finch
  • Buy the level 100 adventure bauble and use it
  • Your char is now an unlocked heroic character, congrats!

As I've mentioned often, Mrs Bhagpuss and I played on Test for the best part of five years. We had some right old adventures there. Dramas, too. I have a whole load of characters on Test for whom I feel a great affection.

Before we moved to Freeport when it launched - and never came back (not planned, just happened) - several of our Test characters were max level, which was 90 at the time. They still are. I wondered whether I could use the free boost to level them up some.

Well, obviously I couldn't. Had I read Wilhelmina's notes properly I would have known that. She clearly and correctly states that you have to make a new character using the appropriate "Instant Level 100" button on the launcher. Reading comprehension for, as they say, the win.

I logged my 90 Ratonga Bruiser out and made a Ratonga Fury instead. I wasn't going to go ratonga at first. I spotted that on Test you can make a free Freeblood, EQ2's vampire race, something that has always required a cash shop purchase on Live.

I tried. I flipped through a dozen or so random variations in character creation. They were all unmitigatedly hideous. More Nosferatu than Count Dracula. Knowing I was getting something for nothing wasn't enough to persuade me to make one, even just to run around for a few minutes to get screenshots for this post.

In the end I decided on (yet) another Ratonga, why not? Can't have too many ratongas. At least the class was something new. I don't have a Fury on Test and I've never successfully played one for long on Live. Always thought it was a class I'd enjoy but somehow it never quite seems to happen.

I followed Wilhelmina's instructions and in a few minutes I had a permanent Level 100 Fury. It was very straightforward but there are just a few things to be aware of, should anyone decide to try it for themselves:

  • There's the usual astonishingly loud DING! when you log into the world for the first time, followed by a flurry of opening windows and flashing achievements. Don't be scared! It's quite safe!

  • For some arcane reason (actually because it was the main Level 100 content at the time this boost was added) you appear on the dock in Phantom Sea. Don't be scared! It's quite safe! So long as you don't move.

  • Luckily you spawn within arm's reach of a World Bell. Use that to go to either Qeynos (if you're a goodie) or Freeport (if you're bad).

  • After you speak to Finch and get your Level 100 Adventurer Bauble and use it, as well as losing your temp flag and becoming Level 100 for the duration, you'll also get a mount and a box of gear. DO NOT USE EITHER OF THEM!

  • Okay, you can use them. As in you can equip the mount in the appearance slot if you want. I wouldn't. I did and I regretted it. It looks great but it moves like a boat in a force 9 gale. You will feel seasick riding it. 

  • Also you probably do want to open the pack, if only to to get the extremely large stacks of potions - they go to 900 where the ones you got as a try-out character only go to 10. The gear itself, though, is without exception much worse than what you already have on.   

  • Not that it matters much because if you carry on then the first thing on your agenda is to do Yun Zi's 2017 questline, which will render even the better of your two free sets completely obsolete. Someone really ought to do a logic pass on this stuff once in a while...

  • If you decide to carry on playing, don't try to level up. You can't. Not unless you buy the Planes of Prophecy expansion. Maybe that will get added to Test as a freebie when Chaos Descending, er, descends...

  • And finally, don't forget your free Level 100 Tradeskill boost. It would cost you 3,500 DBC on Live - that's like $30! And this one does work on existing characters!

    I just bumped my Level 90 Sage to Level 100 and I'm going to get myself a full set of all the trade skills at Level 100. There are nine of them and I have ten characters. Why not?

    When we used to duo on Test, Mrs Bhagpuss and I covered all the crafts between us. You need to be self-sufficient because you can't rely on buying what you need (Test has no economy to speak of) and while everyone is astoundingly helpful, sometimes there's just no-one around when you need a spell or a potion made.

    Test is actually a fantastic place to play EQ2 if you're a self-reliant individualist. It has a permanent 100% bonus to xp, you can buy things from NPC vendors that aren't sold on Live (like all the Advanced spell books) and now you even get to start at Level 100 if you want.

    Maybe I should play there...


    1. I made test my home already, but slogging through the 50s solo was ok fun, but not staying power fun.

      Free 100s are always fun. I'll do my coercer, finally, who is only low 20s.

      Thanks for this!

      1. You're welcome. It actually happened at the beginning of August and I only just found out about it.

    2. Why, oh why, is Daybreak using Facebook Live to stream now? Is this a sign that Daybreak thinks they are catering to an ageing demographic and Facebook is the one site they know grandma uses?

      1. Hahahah! I really hope that is the reason! Yes, it used to be Twitch, didn't it?


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