After more than four years I think I am detecting a pattern in when the instance group goes on hiatus.
While there have been notable times when an individual in the group is unavailable for weeks at a stretch, summer seems to be the season when getting the group together is most difficult.
And so it was on Saturday night, which found, out of our groups of six, only Gaff and myself in EverQuest II.
What to do? What to do?
I got out Sigwerd my 40 berserker to see if there was anything I could work on with him that would help advance the guild, which was closing in on level 35, a level which would grant us two more guild hall amenities.
I did not feel like doing writs, especially trade skill writs, but there are other ways to earn status for the guild. I had done a few of the heritage quests with Sigwerd, but there were more out there he could attempt.
I mentioned this to Gaff on guild chat as I was headed out to find Dragoon K’Naae to start the quest. Gaff started going through his characters to see if any of them had not done the quest. About the time he came up with a level 34 halfling dirge named Punt I was out at the owlbears for the first stage of the quest.
This was the point in time when Potshot and the others were probably lucky to be away, as when idle in an old zone in the game I tend to start rambling along about how things have changed since launch. And Potshot had suffered from that already. The previous weekend we had gone out to run some of the Journey is Half the Fun routes and of course Nek Forest was on the list.
Nek Forest used to be a tough run. In following me through the zone later on even Gaff laughed and commented on how I traveled on the ground. I never followed the road and always ran in very straight paths that were optimal for getting between two given points, the sure sign of somebody who had run the route in the old days when the time limit was such that following the road meant failure.
Of course, some of what I said about the zone must sound like one of those “had to walk back and forth to school every day in 6 feet of snow uphill both ways” sort of tales.
For example, as we ran to Port Naythex I mentioned how dangerous this section of the road used to be. Not only were there heroic groups of aggro spiders, wolves, and owlbears on either side of the road, there were heroic groups of bats flying on the road. And some of the bats, they were on fire!
It is that last bit that I am sure makes people skeptical. But it was true. If you were there, you remember flaming firelight shrillers along the road. But you tell new players that these days and they don’t believe you.
And they probably don’t believe what a pain this quest used to be back in the day with no griffon towers and flaming bats dogging your every step and quest updates coming maybe every fourth kill.
That used to be the real grind of this quest, aside from the travel. The first two steps involve getting 30 pieces of owlbear meat and 30 pieces of undead flesh, both of which are updates as opposed to items you loot. When Punt and Chuggs, Gaff’s mystic, mentored down and along to heal and ward, arrived we were able to knock out the owlbears and undead pretty quickly.
Back in the day these two steps used to be the bulk of the time spent on the quest. As I mentioned, you used to get an update about every fourth kill, which meant killing at least 120 owlbears and undead. Oh, and only certain owlbears used to work. They had to be plain Ash Owlbears, and not Elder Ash Owlbears or Enraged Ash Owlbears, or as I seem to recall, Burned Owlbears, who were probably scalded by those damn flaming bats.
Now though, any owlbear will do and you get an update every time. So we burned through the owlbears, turned in that step, then burned through the undead. Travel took more time, even with the griffons.
And the griffons only take a while because the flights are not always direct. To go from the Darklight griffon station, which is in the NE part of the zone, to the griffon station just a bit north and west of us, we had to fly via the Commonlands and Port Naythex stations, both of which are at the extreme southern end of the zone. We ran back from that one.
With those two steps done, we moved on to collecting water from Behemoth Pond, yet another travel adventure, and one with a timer no less. But it is a pretty lax timer when you take into account that you can take a griffon flight. We had time to slay the named beaver, Paddlefoot, on the way back and had time to spare.
Then it was off to the big fight with Captain T’sanne. Again, this used to be a camp-fest like most named mobs, where you had to sit and kill his placeholder, plus any other mob in sight “just in case” until the Captain and his entourage made their appearance.
Arriving at Captain T’sanne’s little castle, we found him out. I was actually surprised to find a named mob not up and waiting for us. A little investigation later on made me determine that another group must of just finished him off so we were just waiting for the respawn.
We did find another player there alone looking to knock off the Captain, so we invited him to the group and attempted to impress him with our knowledge of the quest. He was level 27 so Sigwerd mentored
Falling back on old habits, we slew everything in sight as we waited for Captain T’sanne, who showed up about 15 minutes into our camp. The fight, a multi-round event, went by so quickly that I did not even get a screen shot.
The it was time to travel back to Dragoon K’Naae for the very last step, the one that historically almost always gets messed up.
When you speak to K’Naae, you get attacked by a group of bad guys. This is the very last fight in the quest. Oh course, it is a group, so the first thing you do, standing there next to K’Naae, is kick off an area attack forgetting that K’Naae is not a magic invulnerable NPC like most quest dispensers, but somebody you can actually kill. And now you’ve aggro’d him, so you have to kill him and wait for him to respawn to finish the quest.
I’ve had to go through that wait for K’Naae to respawn multiple times. I’ve been there when another group shows up just as he comes back only to have them kick off the last event, AOE, and kill him before I could turn in the quest.
So the group had to put up with me saying, “NO AOE ATTACKS” about 27 times as we traveled back to finish the quest.
I seemed to have said it as many times as it needed saying, as we managed to finish the final fight without killing Dragoon K’Naae and were able to finish the quest. This was also just enough status to push the guild over the top to level 35.
That also earned Sigwerd and achievement and a title.
Finishing five heritage quests gets you both, though the achievement doesn’t really mean much to me except as a screen shot item. Amazing how SOE could copy WoW’s achievements so directly and yet make them feel completely sterile and unfulfilling. I cannot put my finger on why, but earning an achievement in WoW makes me happy and earning one in EQ2 does almost nothing at all for me.
But the title, Treasure Hunter, that is good. Most titles in EQ2 feel as good as a title in WoW, if not better, and while perhaps a bit common, they are not handed out quite as readily as they are in, say, Lord of the Rings Online. I still have to go find the right guy in Qeynos to speak to in order to get the title, but it is out there waiting for me.
And that was it for the evening. We shall see how many people we get in game this coming weekend. I am not sure that Father’s Day is a big deal in any of our households, at least not to the point of necessitating out of town travel.
But as a backup Gaff and I were looking into what might be interesting to run with Nehru, my level 52 templar.