As of Thursday night I had three level 47 characters in EverQuest II. I took a quick snapshot of the basic play stats for each of the characters so I could compare how much effort it took to get to level 47. I figured that this might shed some light on the question of how much tinkering has been done with the experience and levelling curve in EQ2 over time.
Nomu Stonemantle – Templar
My first EQ2 character, rolled up on the day I brought the game home.
Rolled: November 13 2004
Hit 47: November 27, 2005 in The Pillars of Flame
NPCs Killed: 7394
Quests Completed: 608
Adventure Play Time: 31d 10h 28m
The adventure play time is somewhat inaccurate. It reflects the odd way that selling through the broker worked in the early days, something I will cover in another post.
While it appears that it took about a year to hit level 47, there were about three months worth of gaps where I did not play Nomu at all, so call it nine months.
Vikund Versuche – Paladin
I managed to play EQ2 for a whole 15 days before I made my first alt.
Rolled: November 28, 2004
Hit 47: October 29, 2006 in Antonica
Hit 46: December 4, 2005 in The Enchanted Lands
NPCs Killed: 6940
Quests Completed: 462
Adventure Play Time: 19d 7h 28m
Again, adventure play time is skewed by oddities of the early days of the game.
Technically, it took me almost two years to make level 47 with Vikund. However, I did not play EQ2 at all for 10 of those months. I included the time to level 46 to illustrate this. Since I stopped playing EQ2 by the end of December 2005 and levelled him when I came back with a small quest turn-in in Antonica, I would say he was pretty darn close to 47 before then end of 2005.
A look at the adventure level history on EQ2Players.com does not show any huge gaps where he did not level during the first year. But he has always been my #2 character. I never set him aside fully when playing other characters, but rarely made him the focus of my playing either. I would call the time to 47 about 12 months of moderate play.
Blintz Plinsen – Swashbuckler
Rolled: November 18, 2006
Hit 47: March 22, 2007 in Steamfont
NPCs killed: 4007
Quests completed: 373
Adventure Play Time: 7d 5h 26m
Adventure play here is accurate. I also was not distracted by alts very much after I started playing Blintz. I did slow down some during January when I started playing the Vanguard open beta, but otherwise I ground Blintz along at about the fastest rate that real life and spousal tolerance would allow, four months from creation to level 47.
- Adventure Play Time: I have to throw this out. There is no way to compare the numbers due to changes in the way the game worked. Add in the fact that at some points I ran Nomu or Vikund out to harvest for Blintz and you can see that this isn’t really worth analyzing further.
- Calendar Time: This is a hard one to compare as well. Certainly Blintz’s time is significantly shorter than either Nomu’s or Vikund’s calendar time, even when adjusted for alts and time away from the game. While I concentrated on Blintz, I did not play EQ2 itself any more than I did in the past. I just always spread out my time on other characters before. This is inconclusive.
- NPCs Killed: At last, something that can be compared. In getting to level 47, Blintz killed only 55% of the NPCs than Nomu killed and 58% of the NPCs that Vikund slew. That seems to be a pretty dramatic number when you consider that in EQ2, killing NPCs usually yields up the lion’s share of the exp when compared to quests. This is a strong indicator that experience has been tuned.
- Quests Completed: Another telling factor? Blintz only did 61% of the quests that Nomu completed and 80% of the quests that Vikund completed. But when it comes to experience, few quests in EQ2 deliver very much. NPCs killed is a better measure in my opinion.
- General Feel: A subjective entry, I know, but it just felt easier to get Blintz to level 47 compared to Nomu and Vikund. With both of them, levelling after 40 was something of a slow grind, especially solo. Both of them did most of their post-40 experience in small groups because that was where the games was optimized when it came to experience at the time.
Blintz on the other hand has glided through levels, both literally and figuratively, and almost always solo. I might suggest that the swashbuckler class really suits me, but then I also have a ranger which, when it comes to soloing, plays about the same. Things definitely felt much smoother with Blintz.
While the patch notes over the life of EQ2 have had entries about experience being tuned this way and that, it seems that it has ended up set to a point that allows easier levelling, especially for solo players. As I mentioned in a previous post comparing the current WoW and EQ2 levelling curves, EQ2 now seems to very much in line with Blizzard’s own tuning of the experience tables.
And with however many million players, who is to argue with WoW as a model? Blizzard figured out that people like to see progress in their levels, even when they only have a short time to play. I know that I have had a lot of fun with Blintz and part of that I attribute to the constant feeling of progress.
One Last Barb
Of course, now that the EQ2 experience table is on par with WoW, offers more paths to level up, more character classes, and more races, you would think that this would translate into a game with high replayability that invites people to experiment with new characters.
Except that there is the whole “6 character limit” for your $14.99 a month. A game with 24 classes and 17 races ought to have more character slots than that. I cannot pass up another opportunity to harp on that issue!