Daily Archives: November 13, 2008

My Four Year EverQuest II Anniversary

Aside from being the big Lich King release day, today is also my own four year anniversary with EverQuest II.

While I had played EverQuest, I was burned out on it by the time I quit and was not keen to start playing that sort of game again.

Gaff and I had been playing Desert Combat and TorilMUD for a while when he asked one evening if I wanted to go play EverQuest II.  A friend of his was going to pick the game up when it came out and he thought he might give it a try as well, having missed out on the whole EverQuest thing himself.

I hemmed and hawed a bit, remembering the downside of EverQuest and not having yet been infected by the nostalgia inducing video “Sayonara Norrath.”  Eventually, seeing that a couple other members of our TorilMUD guild were going to play, I agreed to come play as well.

So, on November 13th 2004, less than a week after the game’s launch, I rolled up my first character in EverQuest II, Nomu Stonemantle. (And I went for 15 days before I rolled at alt!)

We ended up in a guild with some EverQuest players called The Knights of the Cataclysm.  I remember some early TeamSpeak conversations with a few select members who went on and on about how WoW sucked and how they were only playing EQ2 until Vanguard came out. (Because it was going to be the true Hard Core successor to EverQuest!)  At least one of the loudest in that regard plays WoW now.

So, four years later, it has been a strange ride for EverQuest II.  At times it was practically unplayable.  The early avoidance of EverQuest and nostalgia by the designers led to some questionable, in my mind, decisions. (I am so tired of seeing flying carpets.)

We stayed for over a year, then left for WoW when Kingdom of the Sky came along.

Echoes of Faydwer restored my interest in the game and seemed to be something of a turning point.  Things seemed to get consistently better from that point forward.

Now, at the four year mark, I wonder where the game will go.  EverQuest is still stable and running at 10 years, what will EverQuest II look like when it passes the 10 year mark?

And thanks to the magic of Norrath time, when the Shadow Odyssey expansion comes out next week I will be eligible for the five year veteran rewards.

No Shortage of The Wrath of the Lich King

As was the case with the release of The Burning Crusade back in January 2007, Wrath of the Lich King was available in huge quantities at my local Fry’s.  I dropped by on my way to the office to pick up my copy of the expansion, along with a copy of Kung Fu Panda/Secrets of the Furious Five.

Fry’s seemed to have cut back on the number of Collector’s Edition boxes they stocked, as they still had copies of The Burning Crusade Collector’s Edition sitting on the shelf up until last week.  There was only one pallet of WotLK CE’s visible when I was in the store.

Of course, arriving at the office, I had to open the box to see what it contained.  Contents:

  • Game install DVD with activation code
  • Expansion Set Game Manual (33 pages, of which 13 are credits… a lot of people worked on this!)
  • Two 10 Day Guest Pass Keys (destined for the recycle bin)
  • Blizzard Entertainment Product Catalog

The catalog was easily the biggest thing in the box, which I found odd for a company with essentially three game IPs, two of which are years out of date: Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo.

But I had not considered the World of Warcraft spin-offs.  They include:

  • WoW Novels (StarCraft and Diablo have them too)
  • WoW Strategy Guides (Is the game so complex we need a hard copy Atlas?)
  • WoW Manga
  • WoW Miniatures Game
  • WoW Original Comic Series
  • WoW Board Game (StarCraft too)
  • WoW Trading Card Game (10 different flavors, plus a treasure chest set with dice)
  • WoW Action Figures
  • WoW Wall and Daily Calendars
  • Talking (?) Murloc plush toy
  • Life Size Frostmourne replica sword
  • WoW T-Shirts
  • Carrot on a stick key chain
  • WoW Custom Statues

The last one intrigued me.  A company called FigurePrints will, for $130, make an up to 8″ tall statue of your character with its current equipment.  They are worried about such an onslaught of customers that there will be a lotto for the privilege of getting to pay to have you character created.  And they are probably right to worry.

I wonder why the company making the custom guild shirts does not have a similar plan to get you a custom picture of your character or if such a feature is being planned?  That would seem to be a more reasonable path.

And with all this, no animated series.  Maybe after the movie version of the game.

Anyway, still hours to go before I can get home and install it.  I’ve heard that there are some non-functional disks out there. (Earl seems to have gotten one.)  We’ll see if I am on that list.

Last Stand at Sethekk Halls

Saturday night and the LAST instance group before the Wrath of the Lich King release assembled in Azeroth looking for adventure.  The lineup included the usual suspects:

70 Warlock – Bungholio
70 Warrior – Earlthecat
70 Priest – Skronk
70 Mage – Ula
70 Paladin – Vikund

We decided, in absence of any other plans or events, to just move on to the next five person instance on the list, which turned out to be Sethekk Halls.  Located in Auchindoun along with previously run instances, the Mana Tombs and the Auchenai Crytps, along with Shadow Labyrinth, it was a location we were familiar with, a short flight out from Shattrath.

We got started a little bit late because Earl was still fixing dinner… at midnight… and needed to get that set before we moved out.  The lives they live in glamorous New York!  Then we served up our own little banquet in game.

Health Stone and Mana Biscuit Buffet

Health Stone and Mana Biscuit Buffet

Once started we did note that at least every kill in the instance gave us a boost to our Lower City reputation.  While not quite as good as seeing an advancing experience bar, that was some salve on the ache.

The mobs in the instance turned out to be a mix of humanoids and undead, which meant that crowd control was not a big issue (good, because they came in groups of five towards the end of the instance) and that Vikund could actually inflict some damage.  The 3.0.2 changes that messed with seals and judgments meant that Vikund the protection paladin was somewhat down on his damage.  I still have to figure out his role in the group after these changes or maybe swap him out (what, again?) for my hunter, who would offer more DPS and still have the off tank option with his pet.  We’ll see.

The trash mobs did not cause us too much trouble.  Some of them cast fear, which cause one wipe not too far into the instance, but otherwise was manageable. (I have to remember to try that EQ2 “walk” strategy next time we face mobs that fear.  We progressed to the first boss, Darkweaver Syth.

His big special feature is summoning four elemental helpers at various points during the fight.  However, they are just normal mobs, not heroic, and they spawn close to Syth and rush straight in, so a consecrate from Vikund and a little AOE from Bung and Ula disposed of them quickly each time.

His special trick not being so very tricky, it ended up being a tank and spank and we put him down without any losses at our end.

On we trekked, working our way through groups of four and five mobs.  One thing about the mobs in this instance, all of which are Arakkoa, is that when they are polymorphed, they become disturbingly large pigs.  They shrink down in a moment, but having a giant pig appear in your battle can give you pause.

You Can Be A Big Pig Too!

You Can Be A Big Pig Too!

Eventually though, we reached the last guy, the big boss, the reason we were all in Talon King Ikiss (but do not tell).

Talon King Ikiss

Talon King Ikiss

Our first run at him ended up in a wipe.  We had read he had a vicious AOE attack and tried to deploy accordingly.  We fought him where he stood and got knocked flat pretty fast.  He blinks to a party member, in this case one of the casters, does a wind up, then casts his AOE.

We then did a little more reading and found that his AOE attack requires Ikiss to have line of sight to you for it to hit you.  Hiding behind the four giant pillars in the room was recommended.  So we tried it again in the middle of the floor.  No joy.  We couldn’t get to the pillars fast enough.  Wipe.

Then we moved the fight to one of the corners near a pillar, but still on the main floor.  That almost worked.

For the fourth fight, Earl pulled him back behind one of the pillars.  We fought him there and were able to dodge around the pillar quickly enough to avoid his AOE attack… most of the time.  It was a near run thing, the casters going down one by one, Vikund taking over healing then going down, and then Earl alone, his own health bar slipping down as Ikiss’s own health went down to 3%… 2%… 1%… DEAD!

I had to consciously avoid one of those family-waking shouts, last uttered at our over Archeadas in Uldaman.

Still, the battle was a near run thing.  Skronk, provided this picture of the final state of affairs.


But in the end, victory was ours as was the key to the last Auchindoun instance, the Shadow Labyrinth.

Ikiss of Death

Ikiss of Death

And so ended our last pre-Lich King instance run.

Today we will all run out and grab a copy of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and come Saturday night we will all have experience bars again and a new place to explore.  I imagine we will skip the instance plan and just run around in a new zone running quests and upgrading our equipment a bit.

Let us ride to Northrend!