We had a simple plan.
Having faced a third week of awkward parallel questing the last time around, we opted to let everybody just finish out the quest line in the Frostfang sea on their own or in smaller groups (while the quests can be annoying in pairs, it is nowhere near the logistical problem of keeping six people on track and getting the right drops) over the intervening two weeks.
We would then, all at level 20 or so and riding our first mounts, form up again to conquer some of the group content in EverQuest II.
Being eager, what with having momentum, I got on the next day and ran the quest line with Campell, got my mount, hit level 20, and was done.
I even went out and collected some of the quests for Stormhold, the first zone we were looking into attempting. Things were going well.
And then the next day SOE went down due to the security breach and didn’t come up until a couple hours before we were supposed to join up.
And while I was pleasantly surprised that SOE came up when it did, as we effectively did not miss a single planned group night, everybody showed up without their homework done. The dog, in the form of SOE, had eaten it.
And so we had to do the exercises in class.
I went along with Campell, turning the AA slider to 100% and mentoring down to the lowest level person in the group.
We actually ended up with just a group of four. Cerrdwyn was tired and promised to get caught up before the next Saturday, while Meclin turned out to still be at the previous quest hub, so he would just drive to catch up with us.
With four of us, and only three of us actually doing the quests, things went smoothly enough. It helped that I had recently done the quest line, so I pointed out a place or two where there was a certain efficiency in doing quests in a certain order, if only to avoid an extra swim to the islands you end up having to visit.
It was also nice to have along casters with water breathing spells for the last chunk of quests. There is an underwater swim that you can make without water breathing… if you are careful, time things right, and make no mistakes… but having water breathing on tap helps.
Yes, you get a totem of water breathing with 5 charges (not enough), and can get another (if you read all the quest text and found the totem replacement on the ground near the quest giver), but it still surprises me a bit that SOE made the swim under water so long. I only know I can make the swim and live because with an odd number of charges, you are likely to run out when you are down at the far end of the swim and need to get back to the surface.
So having the spell on hand meant not running out at an awkward moment.
Things went smoothly enough.
We killed many orcs. I think everybody in that group got Orc Lore & Legend completed before the end of the night.
There was one death, when Earl stood too close to the explosive barrels we had to blow down the wall in the underground. Three barrels of explosives will do that.
An interesting moment of comparison game up with the wall and the explosives. Campell had already done the quest, so the wall was down for him. However, the wall was still there for everybody else. And yet, we could all see each other and interact. Blizzard, seemingly addicted to phasing in Cataclysm, but Potshot and I in different phases of a zone for smaller changes than that wall. SOE felt no need to separate the group over such a small detail. (Though it was, perhaps, immersion breaking that Campell could walk through what seemed to be a solid wall to everybody else.)
The underground area is actually a place best approached in a small group. There are lots of orcs around, some of whom wander, so you can get in over your head if you are not careful. In a group we were able to plow through.
You put on this animated hat which then gives you essentially “warmer/colder” directions to help you find a couple of items in the underground. However, the directions only trigger at certain points and you can easily wander all over the place and get nowhere. I tried for quite a while when I first did the quest and eventually had to look up the locations.
So this time around I was able to point people in the right direction.
That done, we swam back and turned in the quest. Four of us now had our first mount.
The horse scales for whichever race, though Trucknut’s horse looks a little small for him for some reason.
After that there was some more running around and talking about where to spend AA points, since with double exp we all bumped the slider over a bit more and accumulated quite a few. But we were done with adventuring for the night.
We should, hopefully, be on tap for Stormhold this coming Saturday. The initial parts of the zone will be a bit below our level, but it follows the old pattern of getting considerably harder the deeper you delve. Stormhold is not a single visit dungeon.
And while we were sitting around chatting, I started opening up more of my Legends of Norrath card packs, looking for loot cards. I had about 50 to open up at that point, and it takes 10 operations in-game to actually open a pack up, so it is going slowly. But I did manage to get the card based on Brent at Virgin Worlds.
That was kind of cool… though it isn’t a loot card. I should probably figure out the set on which to focus in hopes of getting something else interesting. I’ve still got quite a few packs left to open.
But the group itself should be done with the Frostfang Sea at this point. It is time to get out and see more of the world.