EQ2: Progress Report

I’ve been subbed to Everquest 2 again for about a month, and because of the holidays much of that time was wasted, but I’ve paid my next month’s subscription already and I’m making progress nonetheless. Initially I was torn with whom I wanted to use the level 100 boost on, and eventually chose my low level Wizard who has actually been around since 2009 according to my /played stats, but had only reached his mid-30s in that time due to being an alt and not getting much attention.

My Wizard “Fohs” on one of the fancy mounts that came with the expansion.

After using the boost, it turns out that boosting a character to 100 doesn’t quite work as well as one would like. Some of your skills and factions are unaffected, so there’s some potential for back tracking there. You also don’t get any of the boons you may have collected over the years like tradeskill pack animals, various teleportation devices, epic weapons, etc. You do get leveled to 100 and earn 320 AAs right off of the bat, and can also use a boost for your tradeskill level (which I did, so Fohs is also a level 100 Sage), but there are still things to work on and sometimes that means backtracking to learn languages or build faction here and there. I have spent the entirety of my play sessions doing just this, and haven’t even begun on the new expansion, but of course I don’t play as religiously as I once did. I’m still finding enjoyment in this and that’s rare for me; I typically burn out during the slog but being so close to new stuff (and actually the old stuff is still new to me) is a motivator, and seeing something new at every turn has kept me engaged.

The long and the short of things was that in order to be truly viable in the new expansion, earning “Ascension Classes” was optimal. In the last expansion, Kunark Ascending, these classes were added as another alternate form of advancement, as the prior two expansions did not raise the level cap. There are four Ascension classes, and it appears that any class can be any/all of them, and each can be leveled up using a different form of experience. Once you have unlocked all four there is a best-in-slot mythical trinket that raiders are still using even in the current meta, so apparently it’s a necessity. There is a list of prerequisites to get started here, and though my original two characters would likely have most if not all of those done already, my boosted character did not. This meant having to learn Draconic (had the tablet in the bank though, so that was less of a hassle), Goblish and Satherian languages, completing the Greenmist HQ from Rise of Kunark and also earning some faction in the Terrors of Thalumbra expansion.

ToT was an “overland” zone that was underground, and despite being mostly rock formations it still had some interesting sights to see, but I was basically in and out of there. After completing a few quests you earn enough faction to head into the city of Maldura, which is where the Ascension trainers are. Next, I had to start on the Kunark Ascending signature timeline, which sends you into ToT for a little bit before teleporting you to the Obulous Plains, the main overland zone for KA. At this point, I have completed 4-5 quests in the chain but there are a few more to go. Obulous Plains is another one of those throwback zones, much like in the original Kunark expansion where it hearkened back to EQ1 zones like The Overthere and Lake of Ill Omen, this new Kunark zone hearkens back to zones like Warslik’s Wood and I think that’s really cool. The zone design is pretty impressive as well for a 13 year old game, they seem to have figured out ways to improve use of the engine because the newer zones look damn fine.

The Kunark Ascending timeline is supposed to run me through the entirety of the zone and there are a few instances as well. After completing this timeline I will have access to the trainers, and at that point I can buy a bauble from a merchant for 100 plat that allows any alts to skip all of these prerequisites and get straight into the Plane of Magic to start on the newest content. However, I know that my Brigand is level 94 and had a couple of expansions to go before even getting to that point so perhaps he will see a bit of the older content and won’t even need the bauble. My Paladin will likely need the help though as he hasn’t been played with any regularity since the level cap was 70 or 80, so he’s probably missing some of the quests.

So far I’m enjoying my time spent in the game. I will finish off this timeline soon and immediately get involved in the new stuff. I think within a month or so I should have this character at level 110 and then can focus on bringing up my other characters. It would be nice to have three characters at the cap, so that if I do take a break again (let’s say by summer) then I can come back at expansion time and be ready to go instead of always playing catch up!

Terrors of Thalumbra Announced

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Most of you who are following Everquest II news will have already heard about the expansion coming down the pipeline, and earlier today there was a live stream detailing that expansion. It is also available for preorder now, with the price tag varying greatly dependent on which edition you choose. If you do preorder, you’re supposed to get instant access to everything that’s currently out, including Altar of Malice and The Rum Cellar Campaign, as these are included in the purchase price of Terrors of Thalumbra. The expansion’s feature set includes:

  • Subterranean Overland Zone – Overland zone deep beneath Norrath’s surface… underland zone?!
  • Signature Quests – Special quests for both Adventure and Tradeskill players!
  • New Level Agnostic Dungeons – Brand new dungeons that scale for players 20-95
  • Upgrade Your Items – Through the new Infusion system!
  • New and Updated Deity System
  • New Best-in-Slot Relic Items
  • Heroic & Advanced Solo Dungeons, Challenging Raid Zones and a New Contested Zone for level 100s!

So basically, there’s no AA cap increase, and no XP cap increase. There’s a big zone, new in depth quests, scaling dungeons, new solos/raids and a contested zone. There’s some new upgrades to the item system, a new slot Relic item, and a new Deity system that sort of doubles as this expansion’s AA tree, but that’s not clear by reading this. You should do what I did, and head over to EQ2Wire’s live blog of the dev stream, where they detail some stuff that isn’t on the pre-order page.

I had been thinking about pre-ordering this, but was unsure if I’d be able to play the older content without a sub. Then I was thinking I could just wait til it releases because then I would get the old stuff for free, and only have to pay when I got to the new area. Then I heard what’s going on with this expansion, and it’s not too exciting. I was thinking level cap increase or big boost to AA numbers. This doesn’t seem to be the case. Screen shots of the new stuff look well enough, but at the same time it’s not out yet, I’m not ready for new content yet, so I’m not going to bother at the moment.

Still, it’s good to see an old game still getting love. Especially from a developer who has moved onto different things over the years. I haven’t played in about a week myself, and am still quite a ways behind. I’ve had fun with the game recently, but at the same time I’m not playing it everyday either. Usually it’s spurts of two or three days in a row then nothing for a week, but hey, it’s not a competition and it’s progress nonetheless. It works for me. We’ll see how I feel when I get to the point that I’m nearly caught up. Maybe then I’ll spring for a sub and new stuff.

Are you picking up the new expansion?