Looking for a Path in Norrath Again

As it ever does, the coming of autumn turns my mind to Norrath.  There is certainly some association in my mind with there finally being a bit of a chill in the night air and nostalgia for what once was.

Of course, having a long running blog… the self-recharging epicenter of my of my nostalgia… as well as Daybreak talking about expansions and events and what not feeds into this need to return to Norrath, visit my house, and see what is new in the world… or what is old and memorable and still there.

Going to go see that bitchin’ Firiona Vie poster in my room

I will even have some time.  The war in EVE Online has reached its conclusion so, aside from move ops home, there won’t be much activity for a month or so, while I seem to have paused in Azeroth for the moment, as noted on Friday.  So Norrath could be a thing.  I have room on my calendar.

The problem is that EverQuest II has, over the years, accreted layer after layer of barriers seemingly designed to thwart any sort of easy return to the game.  As has been said many times over the years, EQII isn’t WoW.  But I still manage to forget exactly how determined Daybreak can be in blocking people from getting back into the game.

And this autumn there was an additional barrier on the way to Norrath.  Having upgraded my rig recently I was still in the process of finding out what worked and what did not after the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

EverQuest II started off in the not working column.  It crashed early and often.

That it was copied over from the old system meant that something might have gotten corrupted, so I renamed its directory and did a fresh install.  That did not seem to help.  Fortunately, having gotten ZMud to run on Win10 I knew I was not out of options.  Setting EQII to run under Win7 emulation and as administrator seemed to take care of the block on actually playing the game.  It has not crashed since.

Which left me with the old problems of what to do once I could play.  I see three possible paths forward.

Level 100

Over the years, through various boost offers, I have managed to accrue several characters at, or very close to, level 100.  The character I would consider my “main” is level 96.  I used a level 95 boost on him back in the day and actually played him enough to get within striking distance of level 97.  There are two other level 100 boosts and then the super-special level 100 boost from earlier this year.

They were handing out flying mounts with that boost

So getting a high level character isn’t a problem.  Figuring out what to do with one, on the other hand, seems to be a bit of a chore.  The last couple of times I have tried the in-game messaging has directed me in the wrong direction.  I certainly didn’t end up where many other people were playing.  But going out of game doesn’t seem to be much help either.  Googling what I should do in EverQuest II at level 100 gets me results like this:

  • A wiki article that directs me to an NPC that is no longer there
  • A wiki article that directs me to go back to the starting zone to run gray quests
  • A wiki article that tells me I need to learn two languages or I can’t play new content
  • A forum thread that calls level 100 boost “bait and switch” without very much in the way of push back

And I hate to say it, but those were among the more helpful, or at least on point, results I found.

Even if I can figure out where to go, there is the perennial problem of trying to figure out how to play a given class again, though that problem is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the last 100 boost I got had good enough gear that I could pretty much faceroll my way through anything I could find.

Start Anew

This is always an option, though it is one I have may have used a few too many times at this point.

On the upside, starting fresh does hit right at the nostalgia factor, especially if I start on the Fallen Gate progression server, which has the Isle of Refuge starting area.

The problem there is that I may have trod that path too many times at this point.  How many more times am I going to fight the orc on Zek or run through Feerrott trying to complete The Journey is Half the Fun?  And even when I throttle experience pretty heavily, diverting it to AAs, I will persist in leveling up faster than the content.  And then there is the need to completely re-gear every ten levels that becomes oppressive when you’re a level the market has forgotten.

And then, in the end, after moving through content I have done so many times I will hit a point where I will tire and stop, somewhere between the Desert of Flames and the Rise of Kunark if history is any indication, leaving me with yet another mid-level character.

Mid Level Options

The middle way is often the worst, and in Norrath it does tend to be a combo of problems.  I have an easy half dozen characters… probably more… situated between level 50 and 80.  I ought to be able to pick one of those up and carry on.  The double whammy here is that these mid-levels miss out on the old content nostalgia angle that I would get if I simply rolled up a new character but also face the age old EQII problem of having to relearn how to play the classes.

If I were to highlight a single problem that the game has, I would probably pick “too many damn skills” for every class.  I generally have to operate with three 12 button hot bars on my screen, which usually means I don’t have all the combat skills or most of the buffs/debuffs represented.

So this seems the least likely path forward.  I fear that my dual-baton wielding monk will never get any closer to level cap.

Finding a Path

So there I stand, looking for a way to proceed.   Subscribing isn’t an issue if that will make things easier to find, and the Planes of Prophecy expansion is half price, so if that was the way to go I would jump on board with it.

I am sure Bhagpuss will have a suggestion or two, but I an open to any advice on this front… as well as maybe a clue as to which wiki or site is the most up to date when it comes to EQII.

Hurry though.  That autumnal feeling doesn’t always last.

6 thoughts on “Looking for a Path in Norrath Again

  1. Telwyn

    I’ve not found dinged high level characters to be that effective a way “back in” as you said above. I’d probably reroll a new character mysefl as and when I get back into EQ2 again. I find the power curve bumps in new content in the game to be jarring – things go from faceroll as you put it to “feels like solo raiding” pretty suddenly. It’s happened to me at least twice with more recent expansions.

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  2. anypo8

    A friend of mine who I didn’t even know played EQ announced last night that he was leaving the game, having played almost since the beginning. He has decided that the game is just too dated: the now-poor graphics and gameplay have finally outweighed the nostalgia for him. He is now looking for a more modern MMO. I was sad, because I know how much fun you’ve had with the game, but I understand his position.

    Thanks much for blogging about Norrath. I’ve really enjoyed reading about it, and felt like I knew where my friend was coming from even though I’ve never played.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anypo8 – Yeah, original EverQuest is a tough call for me these days. My last big run into old Norrath was on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server with Potshot. That was a lot of fun, but we didn’t get as far as I thought we might. Part of that was the fact that Sony getting hacked and put off line for a couple weeks broke our stride. We were playing nightly and never got back into it once things were back up. But I doubt we would have gotten much past Kunark even had we kept going. After that I start losing track of where to go. If there was every a fantasy MMORPG that might be too huge and sprawling, it would be EQ.

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  4. Bhagpuss

    If you flip back through your previous returns to Norrath i’m pretty sure you’ll find some suggestions from me there already! However…

    There’s a very useful start you could make that might scratch the nostalgia itch, introduce you to some new places and get you some really useful gear, all at the same time. I’m talking about the Days of Summer quests given by Yun Zi the panda in Sundered Frontier.

    http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/The_%22Travels%22_of_Yun_Zi_Timeline

    The current, 2018, series hits many of your nostalgia buttons as it takes you around the really early zones. It’s on week five of nine right now. According to the wiki it “scales to level” although I had thought it was for max levels (110) only. The rewards are largely good only for 110s although the house items are for anyone.

    Before you do this year’s quests, though, you have to last years and those are for Level 100s. You have some of those! The quests are non-combat, involving visiting a series of locations in various zones, but the gear they reward is really very good indeed for the level – almost certainly it will upgrade whatever Level 100 stuff you have on. Doing the quests also opens all the rewards for every (level 100) character on that account. It basically opens a vendor you can buy from for no cost.

    At this point you might need to decide whether you plan on leveling up to 110 or just staying at 100 and seeing some new stuff. If the former, you will obviously have to buy the expansion and probably subscribe (although I don’t think you have to be subbed to level up if you have the xpack). With the new expansion due in a couple of months that’s a bit counter-intuitive because I imagine the next one will include the old one as well. The expansion comes with gear that upgrades the 2017 Yun Zi stuff, too, so there’s that, although Yun Zi has other stuff that’s still useful. (The 2018 Yun Zi stuff is a major upgrade to the expansion starting gear).

    The problem with Planes of Prophecy (and the previous expansion) is that EQ2 at cap right now is a very different game. Most of the focus is on Ascension classes, which many complain turn every class into a Wizard. It’s quite confusing. I’ve only just got my head around it. The place to look for current endgame info (and for previous expansion eras) is definitely EQ2 Library. I use it a lot when I’m completely confused, which is often.

    http://eq2library.com/

    If you opt out of leveling above 100, I would suggest doing the panda quests and getting the gear and then doing the main questline from to The Shattered Seas. Follow this timeline

    http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/Shattered_Seas_Timeline

    In the panda gear that should be very easy indeed but since you won’t be leveling up – or getting much in the way of upgrades in content that old – it would be mostly about the story. And the story is very nostalgic, focusing on the Isle of Refuge and taking you to the EQ2 versions of Kithicor and Highpass/Highkeep among others. It’s chock full of nostalgia triggers for old EQ and EQ2 players alike.

    Other than that, if you decide to go the full nostalgia route, I’m not sure how busy Fallen Gate is these days. A new expansion in the offing tends to pull people back to the Live servers. Anyway, those are my ideas – if you don’t like them I have others! Just ask.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Indeed, I am blatantly imposing on you with this post, especially since I linked back to that last heroic character boost post where you have a bit of advice relative to the misdirection the game was giving me. Still, that was back in… was it only June… so maybe something might have changed. And I was legitimately looking around for advice beyond getting to the Plane of Magic and found myself stumped on Google with the aforementioned out of date or unhelpful information.

    So thanks for stepping up yet again! Ideally I would like this to lead to a series of blog posts where I actually achieve some sense of accomplishment in EQII rather than the usual “I did what the game told me and was totally lost and didn’t understand a thing” than has visited me on my last couple of attempts. And, in writing this I already subscribed and bought the half price expansion, sucker that I am, so we’ll see.

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  6. Mailvaltar

    Should the ability to start on the Isle of Refuge be the deciding factor for you, you should know that you can do this on any server with any character. The days when you could only start in New Halas or Gorowyn (or whatever the options were) are over.

    My highest level character was my Warlock at level 84 when I came back to the game recently. I’ve taken him to 91 since then mainly by questing in Sundered Frontier and Stonebrunt Highlands. For me this worked quite well since it let me reacquaint myself with playing him slowly and steadily, without having to dive into the new progression systems Bhagpuss mentioned right away.

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