Herding Cats, Tundra Beets, and Other Fun in the Frostfang Sea

There is, in fact, a quest that has you herd cats.  Well, you put leashes on them and lead them across a glacier, so it isn’t quite herding.  But my experience with every cat I’ve ever known is once a leash goes on, they start immediately walking backwards.

Some of you know what I mean.

They will do a lot of things if you leave the leash on them for a while, but letting you lead them placidly is not on the list.

And don’t even think about a leash for these guys

But the real herd of cats was us as we tried to keep ourselves coordinated following the quest line through the Frostfang Sea.

World of Warcraft has spoiled us a bit and we are having to learn to make do without as much immediately accessible data.

For example, we have grown used to mousing over a mob or harvestable item and getting a info balloon that lets us know that we need said item for a quest, the quest for which we need it, and if we need more than one of the item, how many we need and how many we have already, plus that last line of information for everybody in the group.

That allows the whole group to be aware that an individual has not gotten and update, or has not killed all the ice bears required, or has not harvested that last ice beet.

On the last rolling stone

So those of us in the group who tend to obsess over who has gotten all of their ice beets were left to more primitive means, which did not always pan out… especially with tundra beets and bear poop.

The ice beet harvesting quest has one of those UI quirks that makes me fume.  It begins presenting data in a standard fashion, but changes format at the last tundra beet.  So the quest guide in your peripheral vision on the right hand side of your screen updates as follows. (This is an approximation, not a literal transcription, but it gets the point across.)

  • (0/3) Tundra Beets
  • (1/3) Tundra Beets
  • You should gather one more Tundra Beet
  • You should go talk to Charlie Questgiver

I have now done this quest four times, and every single time I do it when the quest guide switches from numbers to text I mentally mark the quest done and fail to collect the last tundra beet.

Damn you tundra beets!

Actually, I remembered about the tundra beet quirk before I ran back to the quest giver, and I made sure to tell everybody else about it, so we did not foul up the tundra beets.  However, there are a couple of other quests that do the same thing, so we ended up with the group out of sync a few times.  We would do the three parallel quests that seem to be the standard at the start of Frostfang Sea, and everybody would finish two of them, so everybody would run back to the quest hub and have something to turn in, but inevitably, it seemed, a quest went uncompleted.

This was usually discovered only after we moved on to the next item and somebody realized that they didn’t have a quest for the things that everybody else in the group seemed to be slaying.  Then we would double back and try to get everybody back in sync, though once we ended up having to backtrack a few quests because the person in quest got a few quests ahead in one line and so being out of sync was fine until all the quests for the group failed to line up.

In the snow, out of sync

You can visually audit the quest status.  You can see your own pending quests on your screen, you can see the quests that are shared by everybody in the group in the quest journal, and if those do not add up, you can then go through the quest list for each person in the group, which is also displayed in the quest journal in a tree control, until you figure out who is out of sync.

Not the worst system imaginable.  All the data is there for you, if a bit awkwardly laid out.

But I would be really happy if somebody on the EQ2 team went over and copied how LOTRO does group status in its quest log. (There, I didn’t even say, “Go copy WoW!”  But if they wanted to, I’d be good with that as well.)

Fortunately, we were not in a hurry to accomplish anything in particular.  This was the second night of EQ2 orientation, and we were all learning (or relearning) how things work in the game and what we need to keep an eye on.

The only real goal of the night was to form a guild.

The Guild Creation Window

Forming a guild in EverQuest II extended requires a few things.

  • A guild charter – 450 SC from the Station Store (60 silver won’t cut it)
  • A full group – that means 6 people
  • The whole group in the same zone with the guild registrar (herding cats again)
  • A guild name

Of course, it was that last bit that took longer than almost anything else.

Despite Potshot and I throwing around potential guild names for almost a week in advance, picking the actual name followed the usual pattern.  We began tossing names around and rejecting them until people grew tired enough to lower their standards.  The key here is to keep the name you really want to yourself until you sense that standards are beginning to waver.

Unfortunately for me, I sprang my own pet name, “Koyaanisqatsi Now!” too soon.

And so we ended up with the name Creedence Qeynos Revival.

There’s a bathroom on the right

(Those under age 30 might need to go here to understand the  guild name reference.  For the joke in the caption, you are on your own.)

One interesting note.  While you need a full group, six characters, in order to create a guild, guild creation is not canceled if one of the group members declines to join the guild.  Trucknut declined at the moment of guild creation for some reason, but the guild was created anyway.

We also went over collection quests, status item drops and where to turn them in to help level the guild, and AA experience slider bar.

So as far as the Frostfang Sea quest line went, we did not make a huge amount of progress.  We essentially moved from the quest hub on the shore by the raft to the quest hub in the cave.  If you’ve done the quest line, you know what I mean.  If you have not, well, we’re about one third of the way through, with the whole group ending up at level 11 or 12.

But since was more or a “training and explaining” evening, we were not expecting a lot of progress.  Plus Earl could not make it on with us (I logged on another account for the six member of the group at guild creation) so we did not want to get too far ahead.

Next time we should be able to bash through the remainder of the Frostfang Sea quest line.  We all want the mount you get at the end.

And then there will be the question of where to go after that.

The Frostfang Sea quest line sends you to Butcherblock, but I am wondering if we shouldn’t start looking into some more dungeon-like group content.  Maybe Stormhold over in Antonica.  There is a series of quests for it both in Qeynos and inside the zone itself, and the encounters are all tuned for groups.

Plus I haven’t been in there at level since early 2005.

7 thoughts on “Herding Cats, Tundra Beets, and Other Fun in the Frostfang Sea

  1. Gdub

    I just want to notate that I am under thirty and completely understood the guild name reference… But I believe it’s “bad moon on the rise”, but man the CCR singer needed to enunciate a bit.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gdub – There was an article at one point on the most mis-understood rock and roll lyrics, and that line got singled out for special treatment. I think Paul McCartney (you know him, from Wings and that other band) was the one who said he thought the line went as I wrote it in the caption.

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  3. Bhagpuss

    Once you’ve heard the alternate version of what Jimi Hendrix is singing it’s pretty much impossible ever to hear him singing anything else.

    There’s a book on this topic called “The ants are my friends”, by the way, although it’s not very good.

    On the EQ2 adventure, much though I liked the Frostfang questslines in general, they are a bloody nightmare even to duo, lave alone tring to keep a full group on the same page. They were obviously designed to be soloed and I definitely wouldn’t try to introduce anyone to EQ2 by trying to group through them. Pretty much guaranteed to give a poor impression, I’d say.

    If there was one single idea from other games that I’d add to EQ2 it would be the “mouseover a mob and get a list of what quests you have that need it” thing. Sadly, that never happens. Quests do become a lot more coherent for groups later on, although most outdoor ones don’t actually need groups to do them.

    I would very much recommend Stormhold, but it’s always busy on Freeport. It’s fun and it’s full of nameds with lots of loot, some of which untwinked characters will even want to use. Just watch out for the various room-size blobs with enormously long names, they’ll easily wipe a level-appropriate groupp and have a vast agro range.

    Don’t forget that before Stormhold come Wailing Caves in Commonlands and Blackburrow in Antonica, either of which a group could start at maybe 10th. The Dungeon you really want to be aiming for at around 20th is Crushbone, which is excellent. Fallen Gate in Commonlands is a tad lower and also really good fun.

    There’s a very handy timeline on the wiki

    http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/Dungeon_Timeline

    Finally, I’d be very interested to see how your groupmates who are familiar with WoW but don’t now EQ2 take to The Commonlands. When Mrs Bhagpuss and I finally tried WoW we were stunned by the eerie synchronicities between The Barrens and The Commonlands. Co-incidence isn’t even in it!

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – The reason I was thinking Stormhold was for the variety of quests and named mobs to which you refer. (Don’t pull the levers that summon the giant blob avatar thingies! I remember that!) But also because we will want to finish out Frostfang and get our mounts, which will put us around level 20. At that point, Wailing Caves and Blackburrow have gone significantly gray.

    Plus, Meclin has suggested we pick up the level 20 armor quests in Qeynos, which will send us to the Stormhold vicinity if I recall right. (And into Blackburrow for those spiders.)

    Fallen Gate was also a potential (I have already been working from that timeline) but I don’t know the quest lines that well except to know that some start in FP, which is off-limits to us. If I just wanted to grind mobs for exp and drops, I’d go to FG.

    Crushbone Keep I have never really done, and it has potential because of the HQ associated with it, but I recall the lead-in quest line for the HQ was very long.

    We’ll have to see how it goes. With the open dungeon thing it is good to have a backup plan and we may find all three fully camped or being farmed by higher level players.

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