Following on from the previous EverQuest post, I arrived in the main area of the tutorial. It was time for it to teach me a few more things about the game. There was a list of people to speak to… to hail, in the parlance of the game… who would in turn instruct me in some aspect of world.
But before I could start on that, I was told about the Find option, which you can invoke with Control-F or via the Find button that is placed on your hot bar by default. This present you with a list of NPCs in the zone, with a description of each. You just select the NPC you need to find and a glowing wisp trail appears to guide you to them.
For whatever reason I feel that EQ does this better than most games. That includes EverQuest II, which has pretty much the identical wisp mechanic. But the wisp in EQII seems to spend a lot more time confused as to which way you should be going. It also seems more likely to send you towards impassible terrain before changing its mind. In EQ, at least in the early zones where I have used it, the wisp is solid in its directions.
You end up visiting somebody to upgrade your weapon. Base EQ weapons have basically two stats, damage and delay. You want a big damage number and a small delay number, which together you can use to figure out DPS. The upgrade actually just made my club slightly faster.
You also learn some basics about spells from another NPC, which generally includes a spell to add to your spellbook. The spell system was definitely influenced by TorilMUD, yet ended up as kind of its own thing. It is still over complicated though, and I still have to go look at Allahkazam or some other site online to figure out what spells I need to buy when I level up as they’re all just at a vendor listed by name.
Another NPC tells you about the map, which is another item that came in after my time in the game.
The map is primitive, but better than nothing. And it is community driven, as you can add and edit maps. The game provides some basic maps, but the community does the rest. You have to go download the collected maps if you want to know where things are.
Also, just to roll up a pair of items, one of the reason the wisp is superior in EQ is that the route it sends you down also shows up on the map. That is a surprisingly useful aspect of the wisp at times.
I also talked to the NPC about mercenaries. You can hire a mercenary to heal for you or tank for you. While I have used the mercenaries in EQII, I have tended to stay away from them in EQ, mostly because my EQII characters have a lot of cash while I tend to be dirt poor in EQ and mercs cost in game money to keep around. You have to fork over some in-game cash every 15 minutes for your merc. However, the in-game economy is focused on richer, high level characters. In the tutorial I was looting stuff that sold to the vendor for some copper or a few silver, yet the vendor is now scaled to display prices in platinum coins. Hard to get there on loot, though a couple of the quests did give out plat coins. So I gave that a pass for the time being.
You don’t really need a merc to start with anyway. You’re just going to go kill some rats.
The quests start off easy enough. But eventually you hit some that are flagged as being for a group. While the tutorial was more populated than I expected… I saw maybe a dozen people running around at any given time… it was a quiet bunch and grouping didn’t seem to be their thing. So I went back and rented a tank mercenary.
Despite reading the intro, I rented the tier I apprentice tank, who is about as useful as a third nipple. After having to flee from Spider Tamer Gugan, I went back and got the journeyman tank. After that, things went much more smoothly.
From there, supported by my mercenary companion, I continued on through the tutorial, trying to do all of the quest. The mercenary is free for a while, and then it starts charging you every 15 minutes. First one gold coin, then two, then three. I kept him on since he was effective, but when it is 10g to 1p, and I had about a dozen plat all told, that was starting to seem expensive.
On the quest hunt I found one I had missed previously. But I am also sure I missed a couple. The meta quest ends when you speak to Arias at one point, even when there are some sub-quests still available. But you will hit level 10, which overall doesn’t take too long, and you’re all dressed up in the blue armor set that you acquire from the quests along the way.
At that point the game sends you off to the Plane of Knowledge, the hub of Norrath.
Of course, first you have to get there. My memory of leaving the tutorial is pretty vague. I think you can hang around until level 15, at which point you’ll get kicked out to the PoK, but if you want to leave earlier, you must take direct action.
Avoid the obvious cave.
There is a sign next to it that moves… for reasons I do not recall… but you get a message about the slaves having dug a way out. You can go through the cave to exit Gloomingdeep, but you end up in Crescent Reach. That is a whole different experience that came in with The Serprent’s Spine expansion where you can level up to… I forget how far, but pretty far… in a series of purpose built zones with quests and the like.
That’s not horrible, but it starts at level one and is an alternative to the tutorial. If you’re already at level 10 or beyond, and if you want to do the PoK armor quests, going there won’t help you. (Unless you go find the PoK teleport book, which you will probably only be able to do if you’ve downloaded and installed all those maps. It used to be in dangerous territory, but I think they moved it.)
I got back to the tutorial by camping out and selecting the “Tutorial” button from the character select screen, since I was too lazy to go find the teleport book.
Back in the tutorial you have to go find Arias one last time, select him, and say “I am ready to leave” to get out. The tutorial tells you that at some point I am sure, but like so much of the information, it is in small text in various windows and easy to miss or forget.
Saying that to Arias will teleport you immediately to the PoK where you can run over and bind your soul… basically set your respawn on death point, just select the NPC and click on the “bind my soul” link in chat… and be ready to work on the armor quests.
The next set of quests, at least on a live server, will get you well along to level 20 or so. That is what I seem to recall anyway, the evidence being the other characters I created on the server, which all seem to be level 20-ish. After that, the game has tended to get a bit less directed in its help.
Of course, the last time I played was a while back. Since then some new things have come along. There are a whole series of achievements for going places and slaying particular mobs. That might even be an interesting way to tour the game. And then there is the Hero’s Journey, which the game popped up a window to tell me about.
I’m not sure how deep that is… at level 10 it seems to just point me at an achievement in my level range… but it might be something to look into.
Now to see if I carry on in Norrath. I’ve warmed up with the tutorial. The anniversary events are about three weeks away. I could wait for that or I could go do the armor quests and see where that leads me.