Now that I am back playing EverQuest II, it was almost inevitable that I would end up back in a trade skill instance before too long.
It is interesting how different trade skills are in EQ2 and WoW. In WoW, trade skills are easy, but until you get up in levels, almost nothing you make is sellable or, if it is, then it isn’t profitable because of the competition at the auction house.
In EQ2 you end up with a lot of recipes that are quite valuable and can make you money. However, it used to be like passing a kidney stone to get your trade skill levels up to the next tier.
As a group of friends starting out in EQ2 at launch, we split up the trade skills we thought we would need. I took alchemy. Later I took on other skills, but alchemy is where I started.
Ouch! I get pains thinking about trade skills back in November 2004. So many combines were required before you could get to a finished product. And the chemicals! Resin for this, wash for that, oil for another item, and temper for something else. Each of those had four different quality levels, so your bags will fill up with all those stacks of 20 (not 50) resources. And the harvesting skill required for each tier was higher, with 40 being the skill level required for tier 2 stuff in Antonica and the Commonlands. If you did not do any harvesting on the island before you entered the full game, you ended up spending a lot of time working on those skills.
And I was lucky in choosing alchemy! Alchemist and provisioner were the two self-contained skills. All of the other trade skill required that they get supplies from other each other. And as an alchemist, I was in demand in the guild. The other skills were hurting. The armor smith needed things from the tailor and the leather worker who both needed things from each other and the scribe and the weapon smith, who needed things from the armorer, and everybody needed stuff from the alchemist. The idea was to make a vibrant market with lots of trade. The result was a lot of grumpy people.
It ended up being no problem to level up my alchemist. The problem was escaping from that trade skill instance in the ground. I made a lot of chemicals for people in those first couple of months. I also had to say no to a lot of people. The needs of just friends and guild mates kept me very busy.
Eventually SOE wised up. Secondary trade skills were brought into the game so everybody could make their own chemicals. The different quality levels for chemicals were dropped, so, for example, one vial of xenolith temper was like another. The concept of experience vitality was borrowed from elsewhere and applied to both adventure and trade skill experience. Veteran rewards came in that gave experience boosts. Making a pristine item for the first time gave extra experience. Things began to look up.
I added a woodworker to my mix, having capped out alchemy. Then a jeweler to replace a friend who left the game. Then a weapon smith to round out our professions. By the time I got to my weapon smith, I had the system down pretty well, letting vitality work up, then knocking off a full tier in a day or two by doing the pristine first combines for each item.
Still, there was a lot of work making parts and chemicals before you could put together the final product. It was better, but still painful.
And that was how I left things in January 2006. I came back for a 10 day free pass in June, but it was just before LU24, so the trade skills were pretty much the same.
Imagine my happy surprise when I came back in October to find that all of the prerequisite combines had been eliminated.
And it is a good thing too, with friends coming back and making new characters, trade skills are back in demand. People want skills for their warrior or rogue classes from my alchemist and jeweler, harvesting tools from my woodworker, and shiny new weapons from my weapon smith. I just let people know which raws they need to get me and I head back down under ground and start working away.
Of course, after WoW, I am still a bit annoyed that making an item still takes as long and as much attention as a typical battle encounter. I am just happy that it is down to a single encounter, not the half dozen it used to be!