While you all have been out playing Rift, Potshot and I have kept banging away at another game that also recently had a problem with queues and not enough servers, EverQuest. Or at least the EverQuest progression servers, where SOE was also off by 100% in the number of servers needed at launch.
The work to get our characters on the EverQuest Fippy Darkpaw Progression Server nearly up to double digits was apparently so satisfying that Potshot and I decided to do it again.
We both decided to two-box the game past the initial free period, but quickly found that our initial characters were too far ahead to group up with any new, second account character. So we rolled up four fresh, new characters instead.
And thus the journey began again.
I think we actually chose a decent set of classes for the group. The Fippy Darkpaw server at this point is a game without talent trees or souls or even alternate advancement (not yet), so you get what you get when you choose a class. Your role in a group is limited by your class and everybody at your level has the same skills.
In a way, the simplicity is refreshing.
Potshot chose to roll up a druid and a paladin.
The druid, in base EQ, is one of the best classes around, with the ability to heal and buff along with travel spells that come along later. With his druid we have one of the tanks favorite spells with coat of thorns plus the ever popular Spirit of the Wolf at level 10. (It was a tough call for me between shaman and druid with my first character.)
And then there is the paladin, beloved of all classes in all games in which they appear, right?
Okay, stop laughing.
There are no healadins or ret pallys in EQ, but it is a solid choice for a tank with a bit of healing, buffage, and special powers versus undead. My highest level EQ character back on my original account was a paladin. If we can get this guy a Ghoulbane, he’ll be set.
So Potshot has a nice duo there that can form the nucleus of any group or go out and do some damage on its own without too much drama.
For myself, I decided to go totally outside of my comfort zone and run with a bard and an enchanter.
Actually, a bard isn’t all that outside of my comfort zone. I had one as an alt back in original EQ. And seemed like a good class for a support character when boxing. Bards sing their song and, when you have a moment, you can put them in melee range to help out with some damage. And since SOE left in the /melody command that lets you automatically weave together songs (you used to have to do that manually back at launch, and I’m not even sure that the devs intended for people to do that) you can keep a couple of songs going for the party.
EQ bards hearken back to their TorilMUD progenitors in that they have a song that restores hit points. Ever the mid-battle panicked request in Toril, once again the tank can shout, “Sing Heal!” Plus I already had him rolled up. He appeared in an earlier post.
Then there is the enchanter. I have a long and disastrous history with cloth wearing casters. A plate wearing cleric is fine, and I have done well as a leather clad druid, but being the guy in the robe with the pointy hat has never been my thing. I’m more often the corpse in the blood stained robe laying smashed into the dirt next to the crushed pointy hat.
But for rounding out a group an enchanter is worth his weight in gold. Mesmerize for crowd control, breeze for fast mana regeneration, damage spells with some punch, and that pet which, if you can get the mob to hit the enchanter a couple of times, will join in and do a chunk of additional damage.
Compared to the druid/pally combo, bard and enchanter isn’t the ideal pair for grinding, they do work in their own way. The enchanter pet helps a lot.
So we formed up our new group in Qeynos.
- Tarlach – Paladin
- Deneldir – Druid
- Tistann – Bard
- Thrall – Enchanter
My daughter, looking over my shoulder yet again, was appalled that I chose the name of the Orc war chieftain for my human enchanter. I figured that with mesmerize as a spell, it wasn’t a bad name. And I have a Deathknight named Varsoon over in WoW, so turn about is fair play.
We did the same run through the Qeynos front yard and the Qeynos hills until the group got to level five. While things are not as hectic in those zones as they were during the first, free week of the progression servers, they are still quite active. There is never less than a dozen people visible out in front of North Qeynos.
Then we headed out to West Karana. Up until that point, things are pretty tame. Sure, Holly Windstalker will come by and kill you if she catches you killing bears or wolves in the Qeynos Hills. She got Tarlach at least once. And there is always the dread corpse problem, but that is only at night.
But as I said before, West Karana is different.
Sure, it is a happy hunting ground where you can find things to fight, like giant spiders.
And game is plentiful. You can find a nice spot and pull game to your group.
But danger lurks out there as well. The above picture is us resting after a giant spider fight where a second, then a third giant spider wandered up mid-fight and assisted the first spider. Who knew spiders were so social and supportive?
Bandit wander between camps. Giants wander the plains. There is a werewolf who walked right by us while Potshot was AFK for a minute, barely outside of aggro radius. That would have done us all in right there.
And then there is Froon.
Froon is a cyclops that lives up in the hills in West Karana, but who walks the plains from time to time.
Back when EverQuest came out, the first time I went to West Karana to explore, I ran into Froon.
This was one of the very few times I can say I felt real fear and alarm in a game. Here I was, out in this open plain with only a few trees around, and this giant cyclops was striding across the landscape towards me.
I ran straight back to Qeynos Hills. But it was one of those moments that impressed the hell out of me. Here was an area that wasn’t just dangerous, but one populated by giants.
Since then, whenever I see Froon, I feel a tingle, an echo of that first time when I saw him. It isn’t so much fear now as excitement though. We had just formed up in tower 2 in West Karana when I noticed that the guards were fighting something. I went out and saw Froon. He was almost dead, but I had to get a screen shot of him. He is such and important aspect of the zone… the game… to me.
Some day our new group will take on Froon. That is one of my goals for our current venture in Norrath now.
But we’re not there yet.
We’re closing in on level 8 right now. Tistann the bard can now “sing heal,” which has proven to be quite a boon. It only heals a few health points per tick, but it keeps going continuously. And when a 20 point hit is a big one, this helps keep us afloat.
Tarlach has armored himself up some. We’re going to have to find some mobs that drop equipment some day though. Tistann and Thrall still have only one or two items and have been spending their money on spells, songs, and backpacks.
We also haven’t had a chance to use mesmerize as yet. We’re not quite high enough level to take on the bandit camps yet. I did test it out in the Qeynos sewers, but I’ll have to work out how best to play the crowd control card when the time comes.
But for now we trying to get in a little exp each night and camping at tower 2 in between.
We still have to work out some additional logistics, but our second round of characters is moving ahead.