Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Visions Of Vetrovia Is EverQuest II's Eighteenth Expansion

It's been a few weeks since I played EverQuest II. When I got swept up by Bless Unleashed something had to give and EQII took the hit. It was midsummer, I'd done just about everything I cared to do from the last expansion, some of it twice. I wasn't even getting that many upgrades from Overseer dailies any more.

If I'd wanted to keep busy I could have spent time taking more of my max-level characters through the Reign of Shadows adventure and tradeskill Signature Questlines, seen they all had the best spells and combat arts I could craft or buy, made sure everyone had appropriate potions, food, drink, mounts, mercenaries, familiars...

In EQII, there's never a time when there isn't something more you could do to progress your characters, make them more powerful, more efficient, just... more. It's reassuring in a way to know you can always log in and work on your characters but in a game that cycles through an expansion every year and a level increase every two years, all improvements come with relatively short expiry dates. 

By the middle of summer most years I've not just taken my foot off the pedal, I've pulled over to the kerb. I've got the door half open and one foot on the tarmac. I pop in for high days and holidays, to sample the new quests, buy the new craft books, maybe run a couple of old favorites for kicks but that's about it. If I was a hardcore player I'd be beavering away at Ethereals, week after week, stacking the currency and buying the gear, but I'm way too casual for any of that.

Only when Yun Zi the panda pokes his big head out of his cave and starts inviting all and sundry to dig through the endless coffers of goodies left him by his father (I think that was the original lore pass) do I begin to think about getting myself organized for the expansion to come. After Panda Time we usually get the pre-expansion events, which offer a hint of what's to come and allow those so inclined to work on various craft and cosmetic options over the autumn.

This year things have been turned around a little. Yun Zi's still firming up this year's schedule but the pre-expansion events have already begun. Not only that, we've got the name of the expansion: Visions of Vetrovia.

And just what is Vetrovia, pray tell? Search me. It might be a place. It might be a person. It might be pretty much anything. About all I'm prepared to say with any certainty is we've never heard of it before. If you fancy getting in on the ground floor, is available for a mere $2275 from Brandbucket.

Yesterday I ran my Berserker though the one-time pre-expansion adventure quest, Unknown Shores and two of the three repeatable quests, Lichveil Crockery and Jars Aplenty. I also took but didn't do the three repeatable crafting quests, Stock the Deck, Stock the Hold and Stock the Galley
Based entirely on the dialog and characters it looks like we're in for another ocean voyage to unexplored lands. No alternate dimensions, afterlives, planes or planets, just good old islands and archipelagos, possibly a continent, although I'm not sure Norrath has room for any more of those. 
I took a bunch of screenshots as I quested, thinking I'd post a detailed account of the pre-event but then today I saw the official Press Release. It says almost exactly what I was going to say and uses almost exactly the same screenshots. I know it sometimes feels as if I'm doing unpaid, volunteer PR work for the game here on the blog but this is just a little too on point.

To save any further embarassment I'm just going to link to the official announcement and to the excellent, detailed walkthrough at EQ2 Traders. Between the two I think you'll find everything you need to know. 
I'll just carry on, briefly, with a couple of things I noticed. Firstly, the "new islands" are somewhat familiar. I felt that immediately but it was confirmed when I opened my map on arriving at Lichveil Island to find EQII Maps recognized it as Oakmyst Forest, one of the original starter zones. 
I have no problem with asset re-use provided it's appropriate and in this case I thought it worked quite well. I hope and trust, when the expansion itself arrives, we'll get genuinely all-new lands to explore but for now I'm happy to kill new things in old zones.

Speaking of killing, in each island there's a Named that spawns when you kill all of a certain type of mob. I would just mention, to save possible frustration, that you can't currently track either these Nameds or the mobs you need to kill, which may or may not be working as intended. 
My Berserker, a ratonga, has no tracking skill of his own and he doesn't generally use a Mercenary who can track either. I buy him Tracking Scrolls from the cash shop and he uses those. They don't seem to work in the new islands but I can't say for sure whether that's because tracking itself doesn't work there or whether it's an issue with the scrolls specifically.

Either way, the islands are quite small and it's not too difficult to cover every part to flush out all the baddies. I had a bit of a problem getting the last couple of monkeys to show but that's monkeys for you. I got the little sods in the end.

As far as I can tell, the main reason to keep doing the repeatable quests would be to earn the currency to buy the various new items sold by the vendor on the Mara Docks. It's not going to take most people very long to get everything they want. The most expensive item is a pteranodon mount at 45 Acorns and I saw someone was already riding it last night.

I'd like the petamorph wand, maybe four or five seagull plushies and the Captain's hat. I could probably get the lot in an hour or two. That would be me done with the adventure quests.

The craft quests might be more useful. The EQ2 Traders post points out the quests accept mats of any tier and that the entire thing can be done in Mara. Depending on how much XP the quests give, that might be a handy way to level up some more crafters, something I've been meaning to do for months.
I'll try that at some point. Probably not yet a while. All the pre-events will be with us until the expansion arrives so there's no hurry. We don't have a date yet but I'd bet on early December.

Now all we need is for Yun Zi to back out of the bamboo thicket and get his black and white backside down to the spires so we can get on with the annual freebie free-for-all. Wake up, bear! It'll be Halloween before you know it!


  1. More expansions than there have been years since launch. 8 for WoW in the same period. FF14 about to his the 4th in 11 years. LOTRO has 8. SWTOR has 5?

    While I'm impressed at the sheer volume of it all, it's always made me wonder if there was any real quality to it.

    1. The quality of EQII expansions is generally high to very high. The earlier ones would pretty much count as full game releases by modern standards, often coming with new races, classes, starting areas and so on as well as many new zones and dungeons. Back then EQII was my main game and sometimes Mrs Bhagpuss and I would barely have completed the content we wanted to do from one expansion before the next arrived - and we weren't touching the upper group and raid stuff.

      The later ones, as resources reduce, follow a formula and are much smaller but I generally get 6-8 weeks of daily play as a casual player before tailing off and as I mentioned in the post, if I was playing EQII in the way I used to, as a main mmorpg, I could be occupied doing stuff from the expansion for at least half the year. I do generally prefer the ones with a level cap increase to those without, so I'm looking forward to this one. They haven't confirmed a cap increase but usually it's every other year.

  2. You got much further than I did last night, though I only did a few of the provisioning quests before bed. The Swimming Oak was just lolling about at anchor for me. I'll have to carry on.

    1. I'm just about to log in and do the crafting ones on a lower-level crafter. Hoping the xp is good. I took two crafters to the cap in the event where we built those dragon statues in Antonica and Commonlands but of course that was an anniversary event not a pre-expansion one.


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