Finding My Way in Norrath Again

The change of seasons, the chill in the air, and the release of a new expansion got my thinking of Norrath.

Hey, look, a post about something other than EVE Online!

I’ve also been a bit down on WoW of late.  As I noted previously, I enjoyed the going through the initial four zones in WoW Legion, but wasn’t really into settling down to a daily quest grind.  Add in the lengths one would need to go to get the eventual flying unlock achievement and I set off in other directions.  I was toddling along doing pet battles and crafting and a bit of transmog hunting when the last update broke the PetBattle Teams addon, which I find essential for managing a stable of over 400 battle pets.  And then they broke the ability to mail stuff to my alts and I was done.  It was like they picked two things they knew would drive me away, so I let my account lapse there.

Meanwhile, the usual Norrath nostalgia season was upon us and I was interested in the Kunark Ascending expansion, especially with its level 100 character boost.

Of course, I already had a character boosted up to level 95 from the free boost offer Daybreak had back in September, so I got myself subscribed and logged in and started trying to figure out where to go and what to do.

I have mentioned before that for MMOs that I have played there tends to be a dividing line which my brain flags as old stuff/new stuff.   While it is often a division based on time, it is also generally a division based on my knowledge of the game and what I am familiar with.  In World of Warcraft everything after Wrath of the Lich King is the “new stuff.”  I know Northrend and before very well, while I have never been as well… integrated I guess… with Cataclysm and after.

In EverQuest the line is somewhere between Ruins of Kunark and Planes of Power.  In Rift the new stuff starts with Storm Legion.  And in EverQuest II the new stuff starts with the Kingdom of Sky expansion, which takes the game all the way back to early 2006.  I never really got into that expansion.

That is a big knowledge gap, spanning a decade and all.

Now, the situation isn’t completely black and white.  I came back for Echoes of Faydwer ,have messed around in the Frostfang Sea, and have managed to play at least two characters into the Rise of Kunark expansion.  But that still leaves me in November 2007 as far as EQII expansions go, or about nine and nine years expansion behind the curve.  That leaves a lot of “new stuff.”

So I got my level 95 boosted berserker Sigward out and looked at the current map of Norrath.

Where should I go today

Where should I go today?

For whatever reason, when I took the level boost I went out to Cobalt Scar, so that is where Sigward was when I got back to him.  Then I had to figure out what mobs I could take on.  This is more confusing that it should be at times, and made all the more so since my last round of play in Norrath was on the Stormhold server.  There the idea of my level 25 Shadow Knight taking on a heroic encounter required serious planning, and the encounter had to be lower level than him.

Out in Cobalt Scar the question chain immediately set me up against some high level heroic encounters, so I began to despair.  However, giving it a “what the hell” try, I found I could defeat them easily.  I ran through a bit of that, but got stuck on a quest that seemed bugged.  So I wandered back New Halas where Frostfall, the winter holiday event was starting.  I started the quest for a new holiday tree for my home which sent me off to slay things in the Eidolon Jungle and the Obol Plains, zones that aren’t even on the map.

It turns out you have to go to Feerrott and find a special portal to get into the first, and then another portal from there to get to the second.  There I found my items and fought the usual array of interesting creatures… and actually finished up an old Lore and Legend and an old language quest along the way.

Right in the eye!

Right in the eye!

There I was somewhat emboldened with my ability to slay heroic encounters, stumbling into an instance where I was able to clear a whole range of them, including several named encounters.

Sigwerd versus a named 96 heroic

Sigwerd versus a named 96 heroic

Further on into the Frostfell stuff my assessment of my own abilities were further inflated as I took down some serious mobs as part of the even.

Just a 4 group epic raid mob, no big deal

Just a 4 group epic raid mob, no big deal

I’m pretty sure I had some sort of Frostfell buff on me for that, but it is hard to tell as the buffs and effects window in EQII gets pretty full pretty fast.

After getting some of the festivities under my belt, I was digging through my in-game mail and found the message that came with the level 95 boost which directed me towards yet another zone, the Tranquil Sea.

When I got there I found mobs that were a level or two above me, but not heroic encounters, so I figured they would be no big deal.  And then they totally kicked my ass.  The time to kill went up dramatically compared to the same level heroic encounters in Cobalt Scar and if I got a couple of them on me I was done for.

Well that was a fine move.

And then I remembered mercenaries and that I had a healer I could summon to follow Sigwerd around.  So I summoned him and things went much better.  In fact, things probably got a bit too easy then, as I found I could just pull mobs back onto Ben Nevis (his name) and he would kill them in a couple of blows.  That is a powerful merc.

My problem is probably gear related.  But, having jumped up 20 levels, I have no real feel for whether the gear they gave me with the boost is good or not or what stats are important or what I should look for when replacing them.

Do I swap for that sword or not?

Do I swap for that sword or not?

In the picture above, the quest reward sword has better DPS, but I am not sure how to weigh some of the other stats.  I think I should take it, but I am not sure.  Logic would say that they should be giving me gear good enough to take on the area.  But then, logic would also seem to indicate that they should have given me gear good enough to start the zone, and I was struggling there when I was solo.

But I was at least able to progress further through the zone with the merc in tow.  As a location, it was clearly design for flight.  While I got a flying mount with my level 95 boost, I stuck with my Race to Trakanon mount from the event server.

Flying about, enjoying the view

Flying about, enjoying the view

I will say that I have not quite mastered the controls for flying yet.  Is the flying mount ALWAYS going to go where I am looking rather than where I am trying to point?  I can get around, but I am constantly at war with the thing.  It seems designed to punish people for not using the first person view.

Anyway, this has made me a bit wary of the Kunark Ascending expansion.  That comes with a level 100 boost, but there was a strong thread of opinion in the forums when I last looked that the gear you get with the upgrade is NOT for Kunark Ascending, but rather to allow you to do Terrors of Thalumbra content that will gear you up enough to go do the new content.

That seems like an odd approach to take… here is some gear but it isn’t good enough for the content you just purchased.  Then again, I went where the game told me and found my level 95 gear wasn’t up to snuff… or so it seems.  I could just be bad.  Of clueless.  Even the EQ2 Wire expansion FAQ isn’t dumbed down enough for me to figure things out.

Meanwhile, I have decided to try and loosen up my grip on all that Station Cash… erm, Daybreak Cash… I have been hoarding since back in the day.  I might buy a couple more level 95 boosts if I can figure out which characters I ought to raise up.  I did buy a three pack of Legends of Norrath loot cards, which got me another painting for the wall and a pet that I sold for more cash than I have ever had in Norrath.

Now I am set for plat

Now I am set for plat

Well, post-cataclysm Norrath in any case.  Platinum inflation in EverQuest led to some silly things and I once found I was immobile because I forgot to deposit my cash when I left the Bazaar.

I even opened up the old Qeynos Credence Revival guild hall.  I wanted to get access to the guild gatherer for doing some trade skill stuff.  Back in the day 1.7 plat and 135K status rent a week seemed like a lot.  Now the plat is negligible and I can earn that much status easily enough, though there is more than 2 million status in the guild escrow and another 2 million on Sigwerd alone.

So there I am, back in Norrath again.

6 thoughts on “Finding My Way in Norrath Again

  1. bhagpuss

    Welcome back!

    The bullet point version is that pretty much every zone before Age of Malice is going to be easy to very easy and every one after…isn’t. And yes, it absolutely is a gear issue.

    I don’t think there’s a “right” way to go. You can just potter around doing stuf that’s comfortable and enjoyable and you are going to run out of interest long before you run out of new things to do. Every expansion and major update comes with a lengthy Signature Quest Line and they are all good stories and a lot of fun. You could very easily just work through those, starting at Cobalt Scar and going through the Chains of Eternity and Tears of Veeshan timelines, which would bring you into Altar of Malice which in turn goes to Terrors of Thalumbra (via a small detour to the Rumn Cellar and a trip to Zek).

    That is basically what I did, filling out the odd leveling gap with chronomentored sessions in Kunark dungeons. I loved it but it takes a long, long time. It meant that coming out of ToT in the full solo quest reward gear plus some drops from nameds I was just about comfortable in KA right off the bat. A few sessions in and a few KA quest rewards and everything overground is cake – I’m still struggling in the Advanced Solo dungeons though.

    Alternatively, you could do what everyone else does and queue for Level Agnostic Dungeons. It’d be good if you did because you could post about it here and then I’d know what it was like and how it works. Haven’t had the nerve to try one yet!

    Gear in EQ2 is still ferociously complicated. I spent an hour last night reading websites trying to work out how the new KA Adornments work. Adorning your gear is super important if you want to go beyond regular soloing but of course you never actually *do* need to do that if all you are trying to do is see the world and have fun. Still, being more powerful is always good.

    On those swords, the one on the left, the D.I.R.T.Y one, is a good upgrade to the one you have equipped. Or I would take it as such if I was making the choice. I always look at the “Rating” first. With that much of a difference I’d say it’s an unequivocal upgrade. In the KA content I’m led to believe that Potency and Crit Bonus are the key stats (apart from Resolve but let’s not go there). Other than that it depends what you see your character as doing I guess.

    If you want to make money then broker all the collects, all the fertilizer/water/plant food (or better yet feed your plant and broker the collects from that which is why the stuff sells for so much in the first place). I just discovered though that the real way to make huge amounts of money for almost no effort at all is to buy those XP vials from the DBG store, fill them and sell them. I made 50k plat in a couple of sessions doing that, which is literally ten times more platinum than I have made in the entire life of the game. Of course you probably want your xp to level up with, unlike my level capped, AA capped Berserker, but it’s worth remembering as an option.

    Anyway, as you well know, with the immense depth and complexity of EQ2, this could go on for pages so I’ll leave it at that. It’s fun working it out anyway.

    Oh, and a very, very good resource is http://eq2library.com/ That will tell you what the current state of play is better than anything.

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – In WoW I would just look at the DPS and go, but you only get two stats on a weapon plus the DPS. Here though… yeah, I saw somebody on the forum going on about resolve and something else as modifiers. If you lack resolve you cannot do the new stuff, or so I read.

    As for level agnostic dungeons, I’d hate to join a group without knowing what in the hell I am doing, which is clearly the current state of affairs.

    At this point, with Norrath, I am pretty much a tourist. I just want to run the main quest line in each zone and see the sights for the most part. But in some ways I am reminded of EVE Online, because I look up how to get on the quest line in one area and I get a list of four other things I need to do first, some of which have their own prerequisites, occasionally getting back to stuff I didn’t do back when I was playing the game seriously-ish. It is a chore.

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  3. bhagpuss

    You can forget about Resolve, I think. It only comes into play for Heroic KA content, which I don’t expect to see until another level cap increase, or probably two, have come and gone. And yes, EQ2 is now (and has long been) at the stage where no-one really has much hope of just muddling through unless they start at the bottom and work their way up. It’s no wonder there are virtually no new players and most of the returnees go to Stormhold. On the other hand, if you start at 95 and work your way up from where 95 starts, which is Cobalt Scar, give or take, then you will be able to power through just about everything without really needing to know what you’re doing – especially as a Berserker. Whether that’s fun or not depends on your idea of fun – it certainly worked for me!

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  4. Helistar

    Hmm for PetBattle Teams, I had switched to Rematch some time ago, so it’s not really an issue for me. But what’s the stuff about mailing to alts? I never had a problem with that…..

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  5. Muir

    I haven’t had any issues with mailing items to alts either. Especially odd since (I think) the last patch added all your alts to your “contact list” when sending mail.

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