If it is Fun Once, It Must be Fun Twice, Right?

During the last week of last year I had gotten my berserker, Sigwerd, through the Kingdom of Sky expansion and into Kunark.  He went out into the Kylong Plains, wrapping that up and now sits just shy of level 75 in the Fens of Nathsar.

While he is still 25 levels shy of the cap, he made some decent progress and is my highest level character now in EverQuest II.  In the Norrathian expansion timeline I have nearly made it to 2008!

But in his bash through Kunark, Sigwerd had used up all of his vitality… or bonus experience… or blue bar in the parlance of Azeroth… as well as his weekly refill from the Orb of Concentrated Memories, a veyeran’s reward that is now available from the loyalty points vendor.  And since I am in tourist mode… I want to see stuff, but not necessarily grind it to death… I started looking to see if there was an alt I could run around with while Sigwerd recharged.  My goal was to find a character I could get to run through the cloud mount series of quests again without a lot of effort.

To do that, I needed somebody at least kind of close to level 55 or so, about the soonest you can really dig into that quest line.

My first choice was Nehru, my level 56 templar, and a copy of my very first character in game. (Copied over when EverQuest II Extended was the hot new thing and its own server.  He still shows a November 13, 2004 creation date and all the play time recorded back when I used to leave him logged in to sell while I was at work, back when there was no offline selling option.)

He was right in the zone and I had even played him some in our last run through EQII way back when.  He was geared up and good to go.  So I got him out and gave him a try.  To do this I figured I would have to work with a mercenary, as Nehru was biased towards healing.  However, the rhythm of working with a tank mercenary felt really awkward and I gave up after a short time.

Which did not leave me a lot of choices if I wanted to stay on the Freeport server.  I have a bunch of characters in the 20-40 range, but there was only one other character beyond those.  That was Vikund, a level 49 paladin.  He is a copy of my second ever character in EQII, but unlike Nehru, who got a new name and who actually got some play time, Vikund was copied over for his trade skill and was otherwise left as he was.

He was actually very close to level 50, so I quickly ran out and got that.

Level 50 about a decade late

Level 50 about a decade late

But from there he was struggling a bit to move forward.  This appeared to be, in part, because he was geared up straight from 2005 before some gear had stats and such.

I like my cloak to be clear of numbers!

I like my cloak to be clear of numbers!

I thought I would be okay because I was at least wearing a full set of Ebon crafted armor.  However, it was really, really old.  Gaff made it with his character Meclin… I would guess in 2005 or so… back when the mastercrafted gear was available at 20, 30, 40, 50, etc., rather than the way it is now at 22, 32, 42, 52, etc.  So I am going to guess that it did not get whatever updates eventually got applied to gear over time.

Not an astounding helm

Not an astounding helm

I could be wrong on that, but I was struggling some.  Fights against single mobs were very slow, though that could have also been because I had no idea what my skills did.  My hot bars were a complete mess.  I ended up wiping them out and filling them up again, trying to apply some order to them.

Vinkund's hot bars

Vinkund’s hot bars

My general logic is that a ranged started gets slot 1, whatever I need to do to start melee reliably (which means a skill without a cool down) in slot 2, first step and second step skills for heroic opportunities arrayed on either side of the starter (that yellow skill on 8), AOEs grouped together (alt 1 through 4), other stuff I think I might need strewn about where I will likely forget what it does when I actually need it, and buffs on bar 4, which I will scroll to should I need to re-buff… which I never need to, since most buffs are good until cancelled and persist through death.

Of course, SOE’s icons don’t always help.  You will note that 4 and 9 plus 6 and 7 have the same icons, despite being different skills.  A red background makes them single target damage attacks, but a couple are physical attacks, a couple are magic… because paladins… and the skill at alt 1, which has a mostly red background, is actually an AOE attack, despite other AOE attacks having a blue background.  And purple is for group buffs, except for the skill at 1.  There is nothing quite like having a system that you only mostly keep to.

(On the berserker side of the house, there are four skills, hate, enrage, mock, and chaos, which all use the same basic icon, three of which are taunts, which matches the “shouting at somebody” design.  But chaos is a temporary group buff.  Need more icons.)

And after I cleared the hot bars it took me quite a while to find the Master’s Rage skill, the special attack you get to use against mob types for which you have completed the appropriate Lore and Legend quest.  The spell book is as muddled as always, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I couldn’t remember what the skill was called.  I found it after I set the spell book to show all spells, sorted them alphabetically, and went through them page by page until I found it.

But now I have a system that mostly works, though I am going to have to move that long cool down big heal at alt-7 because I hit it now and again when going for the short cool down attack at alt-6.

I also decided to grab a mercenary.  With Sigwerd I went with the barbarian warder as support.  While that worked out well, I decided to change it up a bit and went for a mercenary in the druid line.

Desert healing

Forest Spirit Healing

That meant an elf following me around and summoning plants and what not, but it wasn’t a bad change.  That allowed me to get up to level 52 quickly enough where I diverted into Frostfell village (which was still up last night… how long does Frostfell last?) where I ran enough quests to upgrade my gear to the holiday set. (Also, no helm for the Frostfell set? I didn’t notice I had the ebon helm on still because I had the blue Santa cap in my appearance slot.)

Vikund in holiday armor

Vikund in holiday armor

It does feel a bit like I am running around in my pajamas at times, and the snowflake aura isn’t exactly a tough guy look either, but the upgrade was very noticeable.  I added in a cobalt sword and kite shield, after which I was able to put away my mercenary for a while as I tore my way through the Pillar of Flames to level 55.  (Also, at some point in the distant past, I got an item that applied that glowing yellow eyes look to me and I have no idea how to turn it off.)

Anyway, I got to 55 and headed up to the Tenebrous Tangle… which meant getting to some spires… where are the closest spires to New Halas? I keep going to the Commonlands… to start the cloud mount quest chain.

That went well enough.

Okay, I fell off the edge a couple times... mounts are too fast

Okay, I fell off the edge a couple times… mounts are so fast

I did not need my mercenary until I hit the Sanctum of the Scaleborn, which includes heroic mobs.  I also tried to pick up a side quest now and then to run in parallel as the cloud mount quest advances in levels much more rapidly that you, as a player, do if you are running only that.  Parallel quests went okay, except for one in the Sanctum of the Scaleborn which runs just fine until the very last step.  At that point you discover that, if you did not complete a language quest back in the Desert of Flames expansion, you cannot finish it.   I’ll have to get back to that.

I also got skunked in the Sanctum of the Scaleborn for a bit because it is an open dungeon and a group popped in with me… the first time I had seen another player doing anything beyond passing through in Kingdom of the Sky… and proceeded to jump ahead and wipe the whole place out.  So I had to wait for the end of their rampage and a round of respawns.  (Commence “instanced vs. open dungeons” argument.)

Those quests were still not quite enough to keep Vikund from getting ahead of himself at times.  But that is why he has a healing mercenary.  I think his main problem in running ahead as fast as he has is that all of his skills are at the apprentice level still, which means that they do not hit higher level mobs as often as I would like.  I may have to get Nehru out again, as he is an alchemist, so he can whip up a batch of journeyman skill upgrades.

Overall, swapping out to a new character for another shot at the cloud mount quest line has been fun.  It has also been a bit quicker, as I know where I got lost or confused previously.  Vikund has made it past 60 already and is into the second stage of the quest line in The Barren Sky.

Level 60

Level 60

I was tempted to run back to Frostfell village to upgrade his equipment again, but then I started getting pieces from the Angelic Soul paladin armor set that are part of the quest line rewards.  That will keep him going for a while.  The question is, how long will I keep going?

I guess I can make it through this weekend.  SOE is having a bonus exp event, so I should be able to get a little bit further with either Sigwerd or Vikund.  But my thoughts are turning back to Azeroth.  There are garrisons to maintain and alts to work on and Darkmoon Faire to run through.  So much to do.

8 thoughts on “If it is Fun Once, It Must be Fun Twice, Right?

  1. Asmiroth

    Holy skill bloat batman! You’re level 50 and have all that junk that gets used? With 50 levels to go?

    I thought Rift and WoW hunters were bad…

    After Neverwinter i’ve become a fan of limited skills and more choices. Dunno why that particular game triggered it mind you. Just seems to make it easier to get back in to the game after a break.

    And saves hand cramps.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Asmiroth – Well, as things evolve in EQII, you get most of those skills by somewhere around level 25 and from there on out you just get upgraded versions of the skills that automatically replace the older versions. So at level 100 I probably won’t have much more in the way of skills.

    Unless we talk about alternate advancement, which I totally forgot to mention in the post. Vikund had 12 AA points or so before the great update that awarded points just for leveling up, so got awarded 100+ due to being level 49, and more with each level. You can spend those on the AA tree, which sometimes gives you new skills.

    Where I bitch about skills not following the color pattern… almost all of those skills are awarded via AA points, and whoever was doing those skills felt they didn’t need to follow the pattern or some such.

    And, if you want to get into complexity, almost all of those skills have tiers within each upgraded version of the skill. You are awarded a skill at a given level at apprentice tier and can upgrade them to journeyman, adept, and a few other tiers, all the way to “Grandmaster II” I think. The tier affects how much damage or healing or whatever the skill/spell does, plus how likely a mob of a given level is to be able to resist it. So, if you hit a level and get a new version of a skill, say level III of kick, at the apprentice tier it still might not be good as level II of kick if you upgraded that to master or some such.

    Finally, if I wanted to put all my skills on hot bars, I think I would need three more hot bars to include buffs, skills I just ignored, and all the goofy thinks like recall and hail and sprint and whatnot.

    EQII has a lot of buttons.


  3. bhagpuss

    Don’t forget your auto-upgrade for spells/skills. Its under the Research tab I think (logged into GW2 right now or I’d check). In the 50s it only takes a day or two per upgrade. You can take a skill all the way to GM in stages that way.

    If you have the coin I’d definitely buy the Adept versions of all your abilities – they are generally not that expensive and the difference between Apprentice and Adept is very significant. I don’t believe the average player needs anything above Adept to level up, but you can use the auto-upgrade to jump straight from Adept to Expert on any you feel are key.

    I’m sure you know all this but I admit I frequently forget to use the auto-update and not infrequently forget to upgrade altogether!


  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Apprentice to Journeyman seems to run about 4 days at level 60. And having rushed from 49 to 61 in a short time, I have a long trail of skills now sitting at apprentice, to the point that when I am up against orange con mobs, I see a lot of resists. I see that there is a Station Cash option to speed up those upgrades, but I am too much of a cheapskate. (I am also saving those veteran reward “catch up” upgrade boosts for the right occasion.)

    Adepts are probably the route I will go. I thought about that after I finished the post. I get a lot of them as drops (just NEVER one I can use) and they don’t seem to sell for much more than 20g ever. Part of me just remembers when 20g was a lot of money. I think in the two weeks I have played Vikund he has made 150p just selling stuff he has picked up along the way. Since he gets auto-AAs, I have been putting a lot of collection items on the market unless if seems likely I will complete the collection.


  5. C. T. Murphy

    @Asmiroth EQ2 has way too many abilities, but I miss having truly situational abilities. The modern trend of streamlining everything to the bare minimum tends to kill off the fluff, the rarely used, etc., which often makes me feel a unique mastery/connection to a class!


  6. gnomenecro

    Necromancer is my main but I have a paladin alt and a berserker alt as well, along with a dozen other alts. The paladin is my favorite of those two tank classes as he is just a tough little self-reliant character that can solo well and can help my wife’s various characters. With my paladin I typically run with Daeron Ashenwing, the monk merc (DPS) from the ToV collector edition, and heal myself. I’m not sure which non-elite DPS merc is good if you don’t have Daeron. While technically not required, extra DPS helps things move along with my paladin whose DPS is not stellar. When I have something just a tad too much for me to self-heal I usually bring Bdorn (templar) or Stamper (inquisitor) with my paladin. Stamper is not bad because he heals o.k. when he feels like it and will cast Verdict which is handy on boss fights.

    If you decide you really want to run your templar, I’d recommend pairing him with Lady Liae or Lord Valkiss. Those 10-year vet mercs are pretty darn good and pair nicely with healers. Lady can tank those levels very well and both will do a lot more damage than your templar making things move along at more than a snail’s pace. Trying to solo a templar is painful because their DPS is just very, very bad. I guess if you don’t mind long fights it’s fine but it drives me bonkers after playing the necro to try and level my templar.

    On spells, yes, either go to adepts (cheap route) or, if you are going to be around a particular level range for a while, snag the experts off the broker if they are cheap enough. I typically don’t get experts until I get near the level cap, but then EQ2 is my main game. I am cheap as well and just research my experts to master over time. I refuse to spend SC on that, especially after SOE raised the price on that substantially last summer. Don’t forget to go select your free grandmasters too. I see you have Refusal of Atonement II at level 54 so it looks like you know about those. I have a bad tendency to space out and forget them. I have to admit there’s been a time or two I’ve gotten gung-ho on buying upgrades on the broker only to realize “oh hey, I didn’t need this expert because it’s a free grandmaster.”

    On EQ2U you can click the Spells tab and see what all your spells are at as far as levels and so forth. Feldon even lists what rares you need to make the experts, which is handy. If you have an alchemist/jeweler/sage of the appropriate level you can make your own experts if you harvest the rares. EQ2U is an awesome tool. Don’t forget to look at all the different tabs for just tons of good info.

    Jan. 8 (yesterday) was the last day of Frostfell.

    Another travel tip: Moors of Ykesha is a nice hub because they have spires, bell, and druid ring all close to each other. So you could use the New Halas bell, go to Moors, and then use the spire there to hit Tenebrous. If you have a guild hall you can get a spire teleporter NPC and a druid ring teleporter NPC as well, assuming your guild is high enough and you have the ability to buy them.

    I always enjoy reading your adventures in WoW and other games but especially in EQ2 since it’s the one I hang out in most.


  7. Laniala

    Are you still playing on Crushbone? If so, I have a Krono I’m not going to use, if you want it.

    Also, I have a 30 day trial key (with some cash points included) for The Secret World if you want that too =)


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