Monthly Archives: November 2008

The Missing Title Quest

A tale of warning.

If you already have a character in EverQuest II and you go to make an alt, when you first enter the starter zone, you will get two windows that come up.

The Choice

The Choice

The one on the left is for a quest, the one on the right is to choose a default UI layout for your new character.

Accept the quest first!

If you choose your default layout first, as I did, the quest window will disappear, never to be seen again.  That quest ends up giving you a title if you hit level 20 within 14 days of creating your character, a feat that is now quite achievable.

So if you make the wrong choice, you’ll never be a Knight of D’Lere, or the Qeynos equivalent.

Day and Knight

Day and Knight

And then woe to you.  Unless you already have a bunch of titles for being around for four years.

WAR’s Trumpet Fades

I just got the automatic notification that my Warhammer Online account expired yesterday.  I thought it was going to expire last week, which I’m sure says something.  I did not even notice I had an additional week.

Overall, Warhammer Online is not a bad game.

There is a reasonable PvE game in it that takes you through a lot of very nice landscape, and once in a while you get a decent piece of equipment from a quest.  But for that part of the game to be my main focus in any way, three or four other MMOs would have to cease to exist.  I’m not going to complain that it doesn’t push the PvE envelop because, frankly, it isn’t quite at the state of the art in my opinion.  Two hours of running solo quests in WoW or EQ2 can be fun and compelling.  Two hours of the same in WAR becomes a drag for me.

Scenarios were fun, while I could stand them.  There is a reason I don’t play FPS games or do WoW battlegrounds.  I am not big on repetition.  Once I have spotted the decision point for a given scenario I can generally call the winner about two minutes into the match with 80% accuracy.  After that point I am generally not interested.

Open RvR was a lot of fun, when it happened.  At its peak, it was the best time to be had in the game.  A desperate defense against long odds (people who say they want a fair fight don’t know what they’re talking about… or they’re lying) can be a moment to remember.  As has been pointed out though, the stratification of the population through tiers means that if you are behind the leveling curve, you may find yourself searching long and hard for those desperate battles in open RvR, which is a shame.  That, on any sort of regular basis, might have kept us playing the game.

One regret I have is that I did not get to do much with the big guild I had joined.  However, half of our regular group couldn’t get in, so it came down to playing with the guild or playing with my regular group, the regular group won out.  You stick with who brought you to the dance and all that.  On deciding that our group was going to leave the game, my character was removed from the in-game roster.

In the end, I think the most telling piece of evidence for me is that I have not bothered to log back into WAR since our last Saturday night excursion.  There are just too many other games that I would rather play.

Maybe in a year Mythic will have worked out some of the issues it faces tuning the game to make it fun to a broader group of people.  I read about people having fun in the game, a lot of fun, but it seemed to be difficult to find on my part.  I’ll keep reading the news about the game.

And, finally, my friends at Ideazon would like to point out that Mythic told them that the L key should bring up the quest log as well, so it is printed on their Warhammer Online edition keyboard.  Damn you Mythic!  Damn you!

Shadow Odyssey by Noon

The Fry’s ad in the paper promises to have The Shadow Odyssey on the shelves and available by noon today, and at the discounted price of $34.99, five dollars off of the list price.

So it looks like I will be getting the $35 Dire Bear.

We’ll see if I can actually find a box on the way home from work tonight.

Chasing Heritage Quests

Wednesday night, Lich King Eve, found three of us together in EverQuest and looking to start charting a course forward in the game.  We had decided to look into heritage quests, starting with Restore the Light right there in the Commonlands.  We redid our group members to get ourselves back to the holy trinity of MMO games; Tank, healer, dps.  So we ended up as:

Denrohir – 18 Dark Elf Shadow Knight
Midden – 19 Dark Elf Warlock
Torill – 19 Kerra Fury

As several people pointed out in my post on the Constant Lightbringer, the lead in quest mobs have gone from being rare timed spawns, to spawns with place holders, to today’s constantly available mobs that respawn almost right away.

hailramanai

So we were able to run through most of the quest, from Rama’nai to the High Priest of Valmarr, including the four named orcs required for Bloodskull Vally access, in about as much time as it took us to travel to them.  The only real searching that had to be done was for the High Priest, since you used to be able to spawn him at a number of locations, and his current resting spot on one of the towers was not one of the locations I ever used.

Along the way we all managed to gain a level.

That accomplished, only the last big battle, and the quest wrap up, lay before us.  For purely comedic value, I suggested that we go see how tough Bloodskull Valley was.  We went in and the scout that waits out front killed Midden in a couple hits.  Torill managed to ress her, and I asked Denrohir to stand out front, and then the tide of orcs washed over us and slew us all in a second.

So while SOE has simplified the rest of the quest to a quick game of tag, the hardest part remains far beyond the abilities of any at level group.  We’ll be back in 10+ levels or so to try and finish up the quest.

Stuck there, we decided to move on to Faydwer to try out In Honor and Service.  We headed out to the Thundering Steppes by bell to take the boat to Butcherblock, but when the boat left the dock, Denrohir got left behind.  It seems he activate the wrong account and won’t have access to Faydwer until he picks up the Shadow Odyssey expansion next week.

So Midden and I rode the boat back to the Thundering Steppes.  From there we headed to Antonica.

The first stop there was for the Dwarven Workboots quest.  However, we came up short outside of the Keep of the Ardent Needle where the quest giver, Hwal Rucksif, resides.  There was a level 25 triple up arrow Qeynos guard sitting on the bridge to the keep.  We thought that maybe we could take him, if luck was on our side.  But, as soon as Denrohir got close, he was dead, and that was that.  Another heritage quest we won’t be doing at anywhere close to level.

Finally, we decided to see if we could get to the starter mob for The Journey is Half the Fun.  As I expected, he is on the bridge to North Qyenos behind a couple of guards.

We were able to get around the guards to the Qeynos gate end of the bridge by swimming the moat, but we could not jump over the bridge parapet to get to Cru Naseto, the quest giver.  Finally, in last move, I highlighted the North Qeynos gate and enter the city.  That pulled me into North Qeynos, where thankfully no guard was waiting to slay me.

We then left the city and were on the bridge and were able to get the quest from Cru.

hailcrunaseto

Then we jumped back in the moat and made our escape.

We wrapped up the evening by running the Antonica and Commonlands segments of The Journey is Half the Fun.

clrun

And that is about it for us and heritage quests for a while.  We can work on one once the expansion comes out, but we have a lot of levels between us and being able to accomplish anything further when it comes to to at least two of the other quests.

Fjord Turkey

Azeroth’s new white meat as well as being perhaps the most amusing critter I have seen so far in the game, the Fjord Turkey.

Gobble, Gobble!

Gobble, Gobble!

Not only do they look great, but when you slay one, it turns into nice, golden brown roast turkey.  Completely immersion breaking and completely hilarious.  At one crossroads we passed people could not stop killing them just to see that happen.

Only available in Holwling Fjord as far as I can tell.

A Peek into Northrend

Of course, we had to get into the game and take a peek at the new expansion.

There were the usual first night queues.

lknightqueue

741 people ahead of me ended up being less than a 20 minute wait.

Once in, Skronk, Ula, Bung, and myself headed out to Northrend to scout and run a few quests.

Northrend looks like… well… it looks like Azeroth.  There is a warm familiarity to it.  There are new models for buildings and creatures and the like, so it isn’t just a rehash, but there are cues throughout that remind you that you are no longer on the other side of the dark portal.  There are sections of land right off the dock that feel a bit like Westfall or Tanaris or stretched of Darkshore.

This is a good thing.  Running around an area that has a flavor of Westfall, for example, has a really positive mental association for me.  Westfall was good times.

We ran through quite a few quests, starting the process of equipment upgrades.  Our progress was only really hindered by the occasional quest that required us to slay a named mob.  The location of the named mobs were easy to spot.  They were the points that were being camped by a dozen or so players.

Politeness and waiting your turn quickly went out the door and it became a matter of who could tag the mob first.  We did invite solo players to fill out the empty spot in our group when they were available to try and help out, but having been shoved aside by “Ownage!” shouting reprobates, we were not keen to let others go first.

After over a dozen quests and almost a quarter of a level before we decided to give the questing a rest.  The equipment upgrades were, as expected, significant for non-raiders like ourselves.  Blue socketed Outlands gear was quickly replaced by green quest rewards.

Bung, Skronk, and I decided to quickly roll up Death Knights just to see what that starting area looked like.

Name selection was probably the biggest chore, though I actually got my first choice.  Varsoon, which I felt was totally in character for a  Death Knight was available on our server.

We did the first couple of quests then took a screenshot of ourselves with the Lich King.

lkandstooges

It is like getting your picture taken with Mickey Mouse when you visit Disneyland; you just have to do it.

So far the expansion looks good.  It is, of course, crowded like crazy and I suspect it will only get more so come the weekend.  A look around the rest of the game showed Shattrath to be a ghost town but the main cities like Stormwind looked to have a reasonable number of players still hanging out.  The Auction House looked to be quite active, though with the in-game mail system woes, I’m not sure who in their right mind is listing or bidding.

We still have to decided what we’ll do on Saturday night, but I imagine it will involve some time in Northrend.

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.