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?

7 thoughts on “How to Succeed in Norrath Without Really Trying

  1. bhagpuss

    For the love of Tunare don’t go to New Tunaria! Possibly the most boring zone in the whole of Norrath. Also avoid The Fallen Dynasty until,and unless you want to explore it for interest’s sake. It’s a really top-notch expansion for content but it was well above the average difficulty for its level when it was new and I haven’t noticed that changing. Mobs there are hard.

    At 60 you’re almost ready to go straight to Kunark. I was in Kylong Plains last night and I think the mobs near the dock are around 68. Checking the extremely useful Zones By Level table on EQ2Wikia ( http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/Zones_By_Level ) I see it listed as 67-72. It’s hard for me to judge difficulty for a real at-level character but I’m guessing you only need to get to 65 at most to get started there with a Merc.

    Gear would be the issue (and Spells/Skills). When the Kunark expansion launched there was a *huge* jump in gear. I remember being barely able to survive in a duo on the first day, wearing Legendary and Fabled gear from the previous expansion, then within a couple of sessions being able to manage perfectly well half-kitted out in Treasured Kunark quest rewards. Nowadays, though, I suspect that either current Mastercrafted or Legendary gear fit for a Level 60 will be more than adequate. I think the whole gear ladder has been revamped more than once since then.

    So, assuming you only need to get five levels before going to Kunark, and assuming you want to get them out of the way as fast as possible rather than wander around smelling the roses and visiting new places, the solution is fairly clear: chrono-mentoring. Check the zone level list, pick a Heroic dungeon in a range that lets you mentor down just far enough to trivialize. I like Klak`Anon or Clefts of Rujark but anything from Fallen Gate onwards will do – the higher a dungeon you can handle the better the xp per kill, but I find that’s often balanced in lower dungeons by the extreme ease and speed with which you can clear them.

    When you’ve made your mind up, visit your local Chronomage in Freeport or Qeynos (probably other main cities too)and set your level so that the majority of the mobs in the dungeon will con Yellow. Then go there and go nuts. The Berserker is probably the best class for this because of all the AEs and the massive self-healing. You may not even need a Merc, which will make xp come in even faster. With full vitality and xp potions you’ll probably do those five levels in a session. Don’t forget the Veteran reward item that lets you reset your vitality once a week too.

    If you don’t want to cheese your way through then you could try the new “Level Agnostic” dungeons via the automatic group-finder they added recently, You access it by clicking on a physical structure in the main cities – I know there’s one in Freeport and I assume they all have them. Anyone under Level 89 can group together in those and it uses some very interesting instanced dungeons from later expansions. I kind of hope you go down this route because I haven’t tried them yet and I’d appreciate a review!

    It’s only if you insist on questing your way through the overland levels that you’ll get bogged down where you are – and agree its a bad patch for that. As soon as you can handle Kunark you’ll have all the quests solo overland quests you can handle – there’s probably a year’s worth or more for someone playing EQ2 a few hours a week.

    Good luck and I look forward to reading your adventures. I’m on Freeport so I’ll drop you an in-game mail next time I’m on – I have vaults and vaults of gear just sitting there, all kinds of levels, and access to just about all the crafts to make anything you need at the levels your considering. You’re more than welcome to join my guild but at present it consists of just me and I’m playing about an hour a day so I’m fairly sure you’ll find a better offer!

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  2. gnomenecro

    I know you said you do not like the Kingdom of Sky expansion, but there is a quest series I always do with my various alts around level 55 or so that results in a decent set of matching class armor that serves you well as you head into Kunark, plus it nets you a cloud mount. This is just a ground mount that hovers above the ground (not a truly flying cloud) and you may not need it or like the looks but you don’t have to use it. Kingdom of Sky may be tolerable if you just run through this quest and then bail out and head to Kunark when you are done. The only bit that may be tricky is the quest “Searching the Awakened” which is a heroic zone, but with a healer merc that should be something you can do if you don’t wade into the deepest parts of the zone willy nilly pulling whole rooms without first testing the waters. http://eq2.zam.com/wiki/Cloud_Mount_%28EQ2_Quest_Series%29

    After the cloud mount quest, I head to Kunark and work on that until about level 78, although you can stay in Kunark longer. Kunark has a ton of quests. I have done them many times and am now sort of tired of the whole thing but it will be fresh for you. And after Kunark I head to the Sentinel’s Fate. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Sentinel’s Fate as the equipment has not been re-tuned and is very lackluster these days. That cloud mount gear you have had on for many levels will still have better stats than some of the quest reward gear from early Sentinel’s Fate although some of that early cloud mount quested stuff will start to go “grey” on you. When the gear is grey to you is when you no longer receive benefit from wearing it. Some people chrono down to 80 and do Sebilis from 80-90 or so. As soon as I hit 85 I head to Velious where the gear is leaps and bounds better than Sentinel’s Fate, plus you can use flying mounts at 85.

    Chrono down like Bhagpuss said as well if you want to revisit some of the old heroic zones that were just brutal back in the early days. Some of those are fun to visit and with gear and stat inflation and mercs you can now solo (molo) them.

    Sometimes between Kunark and Sentinel’s Fate I swing by The Shadow Odyssey and do the Bogstrutter quest. I found questing in TSO tedious due to the zone layout, but I will do this one quest for the Bogstrutter Walking Stick, because I like to move faster indoors. http://eq2.zam.com/db/quest.html?eq2quest=6b7e8b4f25f44854ba66aae0e690f36e

    Frostfell is going on and the crafting quest there is not bad in knocking out some crafting levels if you feel like doing that. You can e-mail me too if you have more questions or what not. I’m a chronic soloer in a mostly-dead micro-guild so I am well-versed in the solo playstyle in the game.

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  3. bhagpuss

    Sorry to chip back in again but just wanted to say that those are really good tips from gnomenecro. That cloud mount questline is both profitable and entertaining and Frostfell is definitely an opportunity not to be missed, for adventure as well as crafting. Great armor rewards for some of those.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @gnomenecro – I will look into that quest line. I actually got on last night, found the starter for it, and went through until I got to the Sanctum of the Scaleborn, at which point I ran out of time for the evening. I got to see that somewhere along the line SOE revised the spires. Back in the day, if memory serves, you had to go to the right set of spires to get to a specific island and then had to sit there and wait until the spire was good and ready to send you. Now it seems that you can activate the spires and pick your destination.

    Anyway, it looks good so far. Next time I am on, I’ll get my merc out and hit SotS.

    @Gaff – I opened up the guild hall last night to send the harvesting bots off to gather level 60-69 stuff for me. Dump it in the box if you happen to collect it.

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  5. gnomenecro

    Yes, travel has been simplified. You no longer need a travel connection map to figure out your route.

    Here is a link to the Frostfell token rewards vendor stuff: http://eq2.zam.com/wiki/Category:Frostfell_Token_Rewards

    I forgot just how good the gear is you can buy from him. Tokens are very easy to earn, especially if you have a sub and get your token rewards doubled. It’s actually worth buying some of this gear ahead of time and banking it for when you get to the level to use it.

    Other things I thought I would mention:
    – Until you can fly, the leaper mount is the fastest and most efficient mount, except in towns where he typically is not allowed to leap. Here’s the quest to get one if you don’t want to spend Station Cash: http://eq2.zam.com/db/quest.html?eq2quest=7c07d23a891dd3729a6f666c3edf151d

    Note that when you get a mount it puts it in your mount tab on your character screen. Don’t panic when you open your bags and it is nowhere to be found. You probably already knew this since I see you on a horse in your screenshot but I figured I’d mention it.

    – When in any city zone that has any kind of housing (including Maj-Dul, Thurgadin, Frostfang Sea, etc.), you can type /house and it brings up the list of your houses and your guild hall. Click where you want to go and enter, even if the guild hall or house is physically linked in another town. This can be a cool time-saver and is helpful when your guild recall is on cool-down but your city recall is not for example. Plus it’s always a nice thing when in Frostfang Sea on newbies after you have fought way back into the underwater cave and want to get out after wrapping up a quest and don’t want to wade through all the trash and swim back up. Just /house, choose the guild hall, and off you go. There is a housing tab off your character screen that does the same as well.

    – Storage depots are awesome for helping to manage harvestables, lore and legend bits, collection bits, and even a place to dump your leftover crafting fuel. There are guild hall and personal house versions of the depots. The personal ones are tinkered and you can usually find them on the broker if you don’t have a high level tinkerer. EQ2 is a great game for pack-rats as they give us a lot of storage options. The guild hall depots are amenities you can buy. Read the warnings about using the depots though. If you want to make your fortune selling collectibles you might not want to use the depots for storing them.

    – I think you already know about the pre-canned AA builds but I’ll mention it just in case. This can be a huge off-putting thing to returning players, to log in and see their AAs have been reset and groan at having to spend a bunch of time studying it all again. The pre-canned builds work good enough to get you going. If you get really into things you can do all the research and roll your own later.

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