Monday, March 18, 2019

This Day's Portion : EQ2

What with all the ballyhoo over EverQuest's twentieth anniversary and the simultaneous launch of four new special ruleset servers it would be very easy to overlook the fact that EverQuest II just got a major content drop. Mischief and Mayhem, aka Game Update 109, added a new Fabled dungeon, a new Raid zone, a new Public Quest for crafters and a completely new community tradeskill system.

The Fabled dungeon this time round is Runnyeye. It's a revamped version of a revamped version. First there was Runnyeye, the open dungeon in Enchanted Lands, intended for groups in the 30s and part of the game from launch. Then, four years later, the Runnyeye goblins acted as hosts for a gathering of goblin clans from all across Norrath in Runnyeye: The Gathering, an instanced dungeon for players around level 80.

The new version, available in both Solo and Heroic (Group) flavors, requires players to be Level 110 and, since the zone-in is in Myrist, the Great Library, to own last year's Chaos Descending expansion. As is evident from Holly Longdale's recent interview with PCGamer, Daybreak are getting better and better at managing their properties in ways that monetize them effectively without infuriating their core players - the ones who actually give them money.


I ran the solo version this morning. For the most part I found it a lot easier than I was expecting. When Fabled Plane of Hate, the first level 110 Fabled Dungeon, appeared I could barely do anything there. Then came Fabled Guk, which was pretty tough at first although now I have it on farm. I was imagining another steep curve, with mobs tougher than those in Guk, but it turned out to be something of a cakewalk.

Until I ran into Chief Kanar, that is. The Chief has an extremely unsavory habit of releasing gas. Let's not enquire too closely into where he releases it from. As soon as you pull him the entire floor of the room fills with a noxious cloud that does around 20 million points a tick in poison damage. Even with close on 140 million hit points my Berserker can't take that sort of punishment.

The strat for beating him is simple: fight him above ground level. He has a throne atop a ricketty scaffold and if you jump up and attack him there the gas doesn't touch you. Not until he fears you into it, anyway.

Here's one in the eye for you, Sonny Jim!

Ah, but my Berserker has a very handy augment in one of his accessories that completely prevents all fear effects. That'll fix his wagon! Or not, as it turns out. Unfortunately, if the Chief can't fear you he just barges you off the platform by brute force. He has a huge knockback attack and I couldn't block or avoid it.

I tried five times and died on each attempt. The final two nameds won't spawn until Kanar dies so I had to quit without clearing the zone. I probably need someone to post a strat that works or else I'm going to have to die until I figure it out. Since none of the loot any of the other Nameds dropped was an upgrade I think I'll let someone else do the donkey work.

My Berserker is also a max level weaponsmith who's completed the Chaos Descending Signature Tradeskill questline so I thought I'd take a look at that instead. It starts in Cobalt Scar, which is where the permanent Public Quest will be - when you clear out the old mine that Wilhelm Nam'Terin has marked out as the place to set up his new enterprise.

Not that Wilhelm.

EQ2 Traders has a partial walkthrough. The devs kept their cards close to their chests on this one so some of the fine details are still to be revealed but there was more than enough to get me started. I talked to Wilhelm then I mapped back to my Mara storehouse to stock up on materials. And fuel. Nothing worse than getting halfway through a questline only to find yourself ten coals short of a combine.

I made the four pickaxes the quest required but I only needed two of them to tunnel through the rock and open up the hidden cavern. There I found a strange, rather cute "beast". I would have let it be since it seemed harmless enough but my instructions were to craft a net, catch it and cage it outside the entrance so that's what I did.

You can't just stick a beastie in a cage and leave it to starve, although if you happened to be "evil" like, oh, let's say an Iksar Necromancer, I'm thinking it really shouldn't be that much of a problem. Well, tough. If you want access to the new tradeskill instance (and get the creature as a very useful Tradeskill Familiar) better just suck it up, craft ten traps and set them out for kitty snacks. Faction in EQII really is completely meaningless nowadays.

The horror! The horror!

The traps have to sit for a full Norrathian day, which is forty-two Earth minutes long. I started this post while I waited. The next step, travelling to Butcherblock, Kelethin, Steamfont and Rivervale to convince some semi-reclusive crafters to up sticks and move to a god-forsaken cave in the back of beyond, also has some interesting time-gating, should you happen to fluff your lines as you try to talk them into it.

As I write this I've managed to get the Dwarven blacksmith on board - at the second attempt - and I'm waiting for the Elven seamstress to calm down so I can try again. If you annoy any of these divas too much they refuse to talk to you, which means a wait of a few minutes before you can try again.

Was it something I said?

I like these imposed delays. I'm sure plenty of people rage at the inconvenience but it makes me feel like something's actually happening beyond me clicking a few buttons. Intellectually I know it isn't but emotionally it works for me. Plus I always find it funny when one of my characters makes a prat of themselves.

There's a known bug in the questline around this point. It's scheduled to be fixed after tomorrow's weekly downtime, but thanks to a warning from Niami Denmother and an in-game message from Gninja I have already safely worked around it. In finishing the questline I opened access for all characters on my account. They can now enter the new instance and start grinding working on the hourly quests, which will incrementally lead to the acquisition of new crafting recipes for the whole server.

I was hoping for the return of Gnome Kabobs but its just a house item.

More about that when (or if) it happens.

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