Monday, January 20, 2020

Different Angles: In Which I Talk To Myself About EQII For No Particular Reason.

As threatened, yesterday I made a new character in EverQuest II. That makes thirteen on my All Access account. I have quite a few more on what used to be my regular account, a couple of whom I still play.

My ratonga Necromancer over there was on for a while yesterday. I logged her in to invite the newbie into my one-player guild. (Technically, there are well over a dozen people in the guild but the last time anyone who wasn't me logged on was over five years ago). Once she was on, naturally she had to go and do a little bit around the house.

It's slightly annoying that some of the Prestige houses I bought a few years back belong to characters on the account I don't play much any more. In a way, though, that's only a nominal problem. EQII housing is incredibly flexible. If I could be bothered to set up the permissions, any and all of my characters on any account I play could use any of the houses on any other account with almost exactly the same freedom as their owners.

That's what I did with my Berserker's Mara Estate a while ago. It's become the central meeting point and crafting area for anyone I play. I already had a forge and a sage's scribing desk there, along with a full set of storage bins (one of the best purchases I ever made in the game) but now I also have a maxed-out Alchemist and a Carpenter closing in on cap I thought I ought to complete the set.

I remember when the cost of crafting tables capable making of what were then called "Pristine" quality goods seemed outrageously expensive. Not in money but in Status, the real currency of EQII. Looking at them now, they seem like absolute bargains. Time changes scale.

The Mara Estate functions as a de facto Guild Hall. I have an actual Guild Hall but it's been mothballed. It costs 69,000 Status per week to maintain, which isn't much between twelve or fifteen people but a lot for me on my own. That said, if I moved some of my furniture out of my overstuffed Maj'Dul mansion, where I currently enjoy a rent-free existence (in fact, my rent is reduced by 200%, although I don't believe I get a rebate) and put it in the Guild Hall, I could probably reduce that Status to next to nothing.

There would be a couple of advantages to doing that. It would make travelling a lot easier, for a start. At the moment everyone has to go to their own house first to use the portal to the Mara Estate. Not everyone has a portal yet, either. The house owner, in this case my Berserker, has to visit the house and install it himself, which also means that house's owner has to set permissions to allow him access.

It's an extremely flexible system but it does require some effort and understanding to get the most out of it. Not to mention time. A Guild Hall simplifies things a lot. All you have to be is a member and you can just go there directly from the Housing screen. That would save quite a bit of time.

The other big advantage would be access to crafting writs. At the Mara Estate I have everything necessary to craft anything at all. My storage bins are stuffed with every kind of material and I have a fuel bin too. I have all the workstations in place, including the Frostfell ones, should I feel the urgent need to make winter clothes in August.

What I can't do there is level up by doing writs. As Wilhelm found, that's not necessarily the way you'd want to go these days, but at certain levels it can be very convenient, grinding out xp in one spot rather than running all over the world doing crafting questlines.

Only, writs can be quite annoying. They require specific materials relevant to the particular level range and if you're trying to steam through twenty or thirty levels with xp potions running you're going to need a whole lot of different mats. I always find I'm missing some stupid bit of wood or some fish or other and since the best xp comes from doing Rush Writs, which are timed, running to the bank to resupply is hardly optimal.

If you have a Guild Hall you can hire an NPC to stand around all day offering you writs. NPCs, as is well known, don't have lives or families, unless they're required for questing purposes. If I had all my bins and workstations in my Guild Hall along with an NPC to feed me writs I could blitz through a few dozen crafting levels in no time. Well, in an afternoon.

It's something to think about. It would be a lot of work, though, and my Mara Estate is a gorgeous, open, outdoor landscape with trees and rivers and a wide, blue sky. Not to mention all the trees I've planted. Whereas the Guild Hall is a bit boxy and cramped. We couldn't afford a big one back when we got it and I certainly can't now I'm on my own.

Something to think about, anyway. The more consistently and committedly I find myself playing EQII, the more I realize just how vast and deep the waters beneath me are. And everything ends up taking so long, even when it looks so simple.

I started clearing out some old Legend and Lore quests on the Berserker a couple of weeks ago, thinking it would take me an hour at most. It took a couple of sessions and even then I ended up buying the last few items on the Broker. I found out pretty quickly why I'd never finished them in the first place - they were all flying creatures in the underground caverns of Thalumbra.

There was a huge amount of swooping through tunnels and trying to land on pinnacles of rock and each creature seemed to have at least one body part that refused to drop. It was hard going at times but it worked out nicely in the end. I cracked and bought the last couple of parts for several thousand plat but then I put all the extras in my packs up for sale and they've been making me a steady income ever since. Evidently I'm not the only one to lose patience trying to find that last, elusive Fathomlurker Spine.

Burke and Hare's Body Chop Shop
Getting back to the new character I made, I followed Mailvatar's advice and went for a Fury. I dithered over the race for a while. I'd quite like to try the premium Freeblood but the price is prohibitive. In the end I went for an Arasai, which is basically an evil butterfly. Supposed to be a fairy or a pixie but look at those wings.

I have one on another server and they're great. You can make them very, very small with the help of the Mystic Moppet you get from one of the Veteran Rewards and they get the Glide skill, which means no falling damage and semi-flying from level one without a mount.

So far it's been a lot of fun. I can't really tell much about the way the class plays because I claimed the Monk Mercenary that came with one of the expansions and mostly I just follow him around as though I was paying him to powerlevel me. Which I literally am, except I only pay him a few silver, not the soul of my first-born, like a player powerleveller would demand.

I had to buy a character slot to make the Fury. It cost 1000 DBC, which seems very reasonable, especially when you're sitting on 18k of the stuff. I could have deleted one of the three characters I have no intention of playing seriously - the Channeler and the Beastlord, two classes whose mechanics I don't much enjoy or my Level 3 Wizard.

That robe has to go. And the hoodie.
The thing is, I've spent a fair amount of time with the Channeler and the Beastlord. I'm not going to claim deleting them would be committing murder but I worry the guilt would approximate to having a healthy pet put down. Or it might. Don't feel like risking it. As for the Wizard, she was the very first character I made on the account on the day the Freeport server launched. She was a founder member of the Guild. She has seniority. She's not going anywhere.

Having bought one character slot I was idly wondering whether to buy another so I could make a character on either Kaladim, the Time Limited Expansion server, currently running at High population and a great success, or the recent Rivervale Heroic Server, running at Low and not being very successful at all.

It turns out I already have a character on Kaladim. A level 21 ratonga Dirge who's also a level 20 Jeweller. I logged in this morning and couldn't see a character I wanted to play, which was when I realised I have so many I have to scroll down to see them all. So I scrolled down and two characters I'd forgotten blinked at the light. As usual, I remember them well enough now I've been prompted but without a nudge I'd have had no memory of creating or playing them at all.

I'll log the Dirge in today and see how things are over there. I might still buy that extra slot and make someone on Rivervale, too, but mostly I think I'm going to play my Fury. She did twenty-six levels in a couple of hours last night just to prove that, fast or slow, levelling is always fun.

I'm going to level her the old-fashioned way (well, the new old-fashioned way, with a Merc, 120% Vet bonus and xp potions) until it's not fun any more, if that ever happens. Then I might bump her to 110 with one of my boosts. Or I might save those for someone else. Someone new.

So many possibilities. It feels weirdly as though I just started a brand new MMORPG. I wonder how long it will last.


  1. I really need to do a better job at figuring out my houses as well. I do keep up my guild hall which all but my newest characters are members of. I just use that as it well set up from back when it was a thriving guild. I am sure I could make it easier and smoother with portals back and forth.

    From your previous post, you should take a look at this expansion's achievements. From what I have read, they reward some of the better gear that a solo player can get.

    1. I'm so used to seeing pop-ups from achievements that just tell me how many points I got that it always comes as a surprise when there's an actual reward. I've only ever seen a couple. I had heard something about there being things worth having there but I haven't looked into it yet so thanks for the nudge. I'll add it to the list!

  2. That's funny, my Fury is also an Arasai. What were the chances given how many classes and races the game has? :-)

    Looks completely different though, so there's that.


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