Daily Archives: December 16, 2014

How to Succeed in Norrath Without Really Trying

Be patient? Don’t you realize I’ve been working here… well, two whole hours now?

-J. Pierpont Finch

As I mentioned last week, the 10 year EverQuest II anniversary has stoked a bit of nostalgia for the old game in me.  It was one of my choices to install after the big drive disaster.

So there it is, installed.  It is also free to play, so I need not even get out my credit card in order to return to post-cataclysm Norrath.  I can jump right in.

And yet I am wary of an uninformed jump back into the game.  There is a history here.  I have a rather large slate of characters sitting in the 48-60 level range.  From launch through each return to the game, I have found myself stalled there.

At one point, of course, that range was, or was at least close to, the level cap.  But as the years have gone by and one expansion has lead to another, the cap has crept further and further away, sitting now at 100.

I have taken a number of runs at the game at various points in its history, and I always get bogged down in the same spot.  I am good through the classic content for the most part, which gets you to about level 50, I am okay with the content from the Desert of Flames, which will get you close to 60, but after that I just fall flat.

In the Pillars of Flame

In the Pillars of Flame

Kingdom of Sky content has never clicked with me, while Echoes of Faydwer, the expansion that revived the early game for many, just runs down at about the same point.  I get lost, the quests get scattered all over, and momentum dies.  There is also some content in The Fallen Dynasty area as well, but as with EoF, I always seem to end up at a dead end, lost and forgotten.

The map of place, most below my level now...

The map of place, most below my level now…

Basically, I am good with the 2004 content and the 2005 content, but once I get to 2006 content I fall of the horse and never get back on again.  And I would kind of like to see some more recent content in Norrath.

Yes, there is an easy out for that.  I could take up SOE’s offer and just boost a character straight to level 85.  I already used their freebie offer on a whim, but the cost is only 3,500 SC, and I have 10K sitting around… still.  I could boost one of my old favorites.  That would gear them up and push them right into content from 2010.  Sentinel’s Fate raised the cap to 90.

The problem is that while I want to get past the content that has stood as a barrier to me for so long, I am also interested in playing through the content just on the other side of the, the Rise of Kunark expansion.

I think that might be the last expansion I purchased for EQII.  I would like to play through it at level, which means playing to it.

So I need a plan.

I have a character picked out.  My berserker Sigwerd, on the Freeport server.

Sigwerd in New Halas

Sigwerd in New Halas

He is level 60 at the moment.  He is wearing the full set of cobalt armor that I made him back… when was that when we actually played this game last? 2011?  That will serve him for a couple more levels, but at 62 he will have to completely refit because… does gear in EQII completely lose value still when it is 10 levels down?  Anyway, I’ll need to find a pile of xenogite to make a new suit soon.  Berserkers are… or used to be… crazy good for beating on stuff.  He has a healing mercenary if he needs it.  I should be set, I just need to plot a course.

SOE is helping to narrow things down for me by removing experience from Dungeon Maker this week… today, actually… so that will no longer be an option.  Another system SOE invested in and then abandoned, or at least turned into something akin to second tier housing.

Surrounded in a farming dungeon

Surrounded in a farming dungeon

Though, honestly, if my only option was to do Dungeon Maker for 10 levels I would probably just quit right now, so that being removed isn’t going to change anything for me.

SOE is also helping me out by changing how Alternate Advancement points are earned.  Going forward you will be granted AA points as you level up, so I can leave the experience slider set to 100% for adventure and 0% for AA… if I subscribe.  Which I think I will, since that gives you a small experience boost and removes what Bhagpuss described as something of a tax on free players, with half your exp being siphoned off into an unnecessary pool.

So with that set, should I just try to plow through some combo of paths through Kingdom of Sky, the Loping Planes, and the Isle of Shin?  All of those have defeated me before.

Should I try to press into some of the open dungeon areas, like New Tunaria, with my healer in tow and make my way on heroic mobs?

New Tunarians were not happy to see me...

New Tunarians were not happy to see me…

Or is there another path through to 70?  I still have every single experience boost potion SOE ever granted me as a veteran reward.  I could use those to speed things up and ease the pain, though I hate to drink too many at what is now the mid-levels of the game, as I understand the experience curve spikes up sharply later on.

But then, my goal isn’t necessarily to get to 100 so much as it is to get into some of the newer content.

Where would you head in my place?