Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Let's Go To The Moon (Like We Did Last Winter)

Right after I finished yesterday's post I found out EverQuest II had dropped a double-sized update, including some pre-expansion events and this year's somewhat inaccurately-named Days of Summer questline. That makes me very happy, for two reasons. First, new content. Yay! Second, something to post about. Yay!!

Last year the run-up to the expansion was spectacular but that was largely because it co-incided with the fifteenth anniversary celebrations. The two things were very cleverly intertwined.  

The expansion-related quests themselves were relatively low-key. Some collection and crafting for tradeskillers, some solo slaughter for adventurers. The real attraction was a sustained draconic assault on the wizard spires, which created huge crowds and a party atmosphere. There was a big tradeskill event, too, with the corpses of the defeated dragons providing the materials to build the giant statues that now stand proudly in Antonica and the Commonlands.

It was enormous fun and the desirability of the rewards kept people coming back all the way until the expansion launched. I spent many hours across a couple of months, leveling tradeskills and fighting dragons, to my great profit and satisfaction.

It would be a bit of an ask to expect Daybreak to repeat the whole extravaganza all over again, although I admit I was hoping they might. Based on what I saw last night, that's not going to happen but there is some solid, enjoyable content in the form of the by now traditional repeatable quests.

Like last year, the action begins in Teren's Grasp, the icebound mountain city high above Kylong Plains. I woke up my berserker and sent him there, via the spires, to grab whatever was going. 

There are five tradeskill quests, all of which I have and none of which I've done yet. Probably should have thought about that before I started the post, really. I don't imagine they take very long. Why don't I do one now and see how it goes? Talk among yourselves for a moment...

And just as well I did! That wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Oh, the gathering of the one specific quest material went as I'd imagined it would. Just run around Teren's Grasp and harvest from the many spinning crystal formations. 

No, the unusual part happens when you come to craft whatever item the quest requires, in my case a Box of Nails. The dwarf who gave me the quest said he wasn't picky about what materials I used, something confirmed in the quest description in my journal, so I was planning on using whatever ore I had the most of. 

I wasn't expecting the combine to decide at random which materials I was allowed to use and I certainly didn't imagine they'd all be rares! The recipe requires seven mats and you need to repeat the combine three times to complete the quest, making twenty-rares in total. And for that you get a measly two G.L.E.E.S.H. Marks, the new currency. (You don't need to know what the acronym stands for, trust me on that).

I know rares aren't what they once were and I can certainly farm a lot of them fast these days, but even so that seemed out of order, so I checked. God bless EQ2Crafters is all I can say.

Niami Denmother is recovering from some very major surgery (get well soon, Mum!) but Wilhelmina from the French crafting site EQ2Artisans has stepped in to keep us all informed. It seems that you can indeed use regular mats but the quest doesn't select them randomly at all. It picks the smallest stacks in your inventory. 

If, as I did, you go to your home and let the stupid AI loose on your materials depot, it brilliantly  manages to spot that all your smallest stacks are, inevitably, rares. Because of course they are. That's why we call them "rares"!

The solution is to pick out the materials you want to use and have those in your inventory and to do the combine somewhere other than the zone where you have your harvesting depots. Shame I didn't read that first, isn't it?

I'm not sure I'll bother going to all that trouble. Not when there's a nice, simple adventure quest that, once completed, lets you farm an infinite number of invading mobs, each of which has a fifty-fifty chance of dropping a mark.

That quest, by the way, is called "The Not So Nice Yet Accurate Prophecies of Beckah Stormsong", which has to be a hat-tip to Pratchett and Gaiman's "The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch". As well as giving props to the masters, the quest also throws a little shade on the work we're all doing to facilitate the next phase of the recovery of Luclin. Let's hope Beckah isn't really as accurate in her prognostications as Agnes turned out to be.

Last but for my playstyle definitely not least comes a repeatable Overseer mission. It follows the familiar pattern we've come to expect from previous holiday and event chains. You speak to an NPC in Teren's Grasp to get the initial quest and then each subsequent mission gives you the next in the sequence. 

I'm on part five, I think. It's called Iksar Intent: Into The Essence. There's at least one more part after that. Not sure what you get but I'm betting on a title.

And that's about it. All of the above will be with us from now until the expansion launches which is... well, we have no idea yet. I don't believe we even know what it's called, do we? Unless it's "Haven Bound". But I think that's just the name of the pre-expansion event.

It's always like this. I rather like the vagueness. We'll find out soon enough, I'm sure.

I ran on so much there, I think I'll save what I have to say about the new Panda quests for tomorrow. I've done the first one and I do have a few observations on how that went.

Meanwhile, I think I'll go farm some marks. I do want those petamorph wands and who says no to free mounts?

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