Tag Archives: Blood of Luclin

Three to the Moon Now

Meanwhile, in Bizarro Norrath, I now have three characters at the new level cap introduced with the Blood of Luclin expansion.  This is a feat so without precedent that I am not sure what to do.

Now available to more of my characters

And I am not just at the  level cap for adventure levels, but also for crafting levels as well.  I have three level 120/120 characters.  And all of them have gone from level 100 to 120 since I got back into the game back in November.

The first, my berserker Sigwerd, was probably the biggest effort, since I opted to get him to Luclin the “hard” way, via the adventure versus the trade skill intro quest.  But he was still there at level cap only a few days after the expansion launched.  It took him a bit more time to get his crafting up to level 120, as he started at level 100, so went off to do the trade skill quest line in the Plane of Magic.  But in the end he was there.

The second time around was a bit easier.  I got out my other level 100 character, my paladin Vikund, and sent him on his way to Luclin.  He did the Plane of Magic to get to 110.  Then, because doing the access quest to Luclin unlocks direct access to the expansion, Vikund was able to go there, grab the gear upgrades from the box… I went on about gear for a bit previously… which made things go more smoothly when he went back and did the intro quests.

The third time through was with my templar Nehru, who is a copy of my first EverQuest II character, Nomu.  Back when EverQuest II Extended came along, the free to play experimental server, SOE had a deal where you could copy characters from other servers, though they could only bring with them what they had in the bag and not everything in their bank.  The price was a mere 1,000 Station Cash which, with the 3 for 1 bonus sales offers they were fond of at the time, made the idea seem pretty cheap.  I copied a few characters. (Vikund was a copy as well, taking my second oldest character to the new server.  There is clearly an exploration of my character paths post somewhere in the future here, if only so I can have it all laid out for myself.)

He was only in his 60s, but I had a level 100 boost token leftover from some point in the past, so I boosted him up back when the dragon even was going on, just to get him in on that.  I didn’t think I would get to him when it came to leveling up.  But then I was two characters in and he seemed like an interesting third.

That was because, unlike the first two, who were plate wearing tank types with healer mercenaries, making them somewhat impervious to most encounters, Nehru is a templar, which is a healer/caster type, and he had a paladin tanking mercenary. (Templars wear plate armor, like any good cleric should, but still.)  I wasn’t sure how that would work out.

In the end, he ended up doing very well.  While his merc’s DPS was nothing to get worked up about, geared up he was able to hold on against every encounter with Nehru healing him.  Meanwhile, Nehru’s offensive spells had enough power to take care of burning down mobs.  He actually moved through the encounters in the intro quest much faster than the two tanks.

It is a different sort of play style.  With the pally and the berserker I was content to gather up all the mobs in the area and burn them down while my merc healed.  I had to be a little more focused with the templar, if only to not spend all my time healing the merc.  But done right, he moved along to the adventure level cap quickly enough.

On the crafting side he was a level 95 alchemist.  I’ve been through the crafting without crafting thing in a post already this week, so I’ve mentioned how slow crafting writs get.  Fortunately, there are some trade skill quest options before the Plane of Magic, so I was able to pop him up to level 100 with that, then to level 110 in the Plane of Magic, and then to 120 on Luclin.  He pushed on and finished the whole quest path on Luclin so as to unlock flying.  Now he can soar, as can my other two level 120s.

Nehru Soaring Free

Speaking of flying, his path to 120 was made much easier as they fixed the flight path options.  Previously you could only fly from Seru’s Ascent, the city hub where a lot of the quests are based, but not to it, forcing you to make the run through a hostile range of mobs.  It wasn’t a long run, but you end up doing it a lot.  The last update put in the option to actually just fly there rather than being automatically sent off to Grieg’s Spire when you clicked on the drone.

This was not an option previously

He might be my most useful crafter at this point, as alchemists make skill upgrades for warrior types.

All three of my level 120 have finished up the crafting quest, but have not gotten to the end of the signature quest line.  All three are at the same stage too, where they need to do another instance run to kill a whole pile of specific mobs, which is not an enticing option.

So, instead I have been looking at who else I can get to the level cap.  I have two more level 100 characters, left over from the various free heroic character offers Daybreak has given out.

One is probably a no-go.  First, he is a berserker, which I’ve already done, and second, he is on another server, so won’t benefit from the handy dandy guild hall I have access to on the Skyfire server. (More on that in another post.)

But the other one is a level 100 shadow knight who is in the guild already.  He also has an inquisitor mercenary, which is supposed to be close to the best balance between healing and damage.  Having taken him out for a spin in the Plane of Magic, he might be the next candidate for the moon.

After that I still have the level 110 booster that came with the expansion, which would allow me to send one more character directly to Luclin.  The question is, who?  I have a few low to middle range characters about… a ranger, a swashbuckler, a troubadour, and a mystic… all of whom are fairly far along with their trade skills.

And if I get five to level cap, I will then have a 100% boost to xp for all of my characters.  Is it then worth it to go back and level some up the old fashioned way, flashing through expansions until I out level them and then moving  on?  Do I start somebody from scratch with that big of a boost.

Anyway, I am not tired of the whole thing yet.  We shall see how long this run lasts.

Gearing up for the Moon

In which I run on about gear just for the sheer joy of doing so.

EverQuest II is a bit of an outlier MMORPG.  If nothing else, it was perhaps the last such game to launch into a world where World of Warcraft wasn’t live and taking over the genre.  Both EQII and WoW were children of EverQuest, but even launching in the same month in 2004 they ended up very different beasts indeed.

My working theory is that the WoW team, despite being game devs, took what they loved about playing EverQuest and tried to improve it while the EQII team, with their insider perspective, tried to solve a lot of what they saw as problems with EverQuest, including things people were complaining about on the forums.

So while EQII has been influenced by WoW at times, it has always been grounded in a pre-WoW sensibility that has set it apart for better or worse.  And it has, over time, developed its own set of standard mechanics, like the box of equipment at the start of each expansion.

WoW and EQII are both big on gear, but EQII drove that obsession to 11 from day one, with way more gear slots, way more stats, and almost a phobia about letting people use the same bit of gear for too long.

Currently EQII has 21 gear slots for your character.

Paladin Slot Count

I am not counting the food and drink slots nor the quiver slot for your ranged ammo container. (Food and drink are very different than in WoW too, following the TorilMUD to EverQuest to EQII tradition of you needing to always have some to hand.)

Compare that to WoW… and I’ll do WoW Classic and WoW retail, both with paladins to maintain a paladin specific matrix I guess… and you will see that WoW Classic has 19 gear slots, while somewhere along the old relic slot went away, so retail WoW only has 18 gear slots.

WoW Classic and WoW retail paladins

Furthermore, two of those WoW gear slots, the shirt and the tabard, are purely cosmetic, so I am going to say that they don’t really count.  So we’re really talking 17 and 16 slots.

And in WoW, or at least in WoW Classic, you get introduced to that gear fairly slowly.  My characters, now in the low 30s in old Azeroth, finally all have hats.  One so far has a necklace, and nobody has trinkets yet.

In EQII you can find and equip gear for all those slots from level 1 forward.  The various crafting professions can make anywhere from two to half a dozen choices for each gear slot I would estimate, while the weapon slot has a lot more options.

And don’t even get me started about stats.  That was simple back in the day, but unlike WoW, EQII has never felt the need for a stat squish so the numbers just keep growing while the range of stats expand.  And then there adornments, while are slots in the gear that you can use to upgrade an item.

A modest item, stat-wise, and an orange adornment

And I won’t even bother with reforging, which lets you tinker with the stats on your gear, as I am completely unqualified to even boggle at that.

On top of all of that, in EQII you pretty much have swap out every single piece of equipment you’re wearing every ten levels.  At one point they put in a mechanism that basically made any equipped gear worthless to wear if it was more than ten levels below your current level.  I think that was put in to drive the trade skill market… believe me, there is a whole post coming about trade skills here… and might have been pulled out later on when the company decided they needed to hand out gear.

WoW gates content behind levels and gear as well.  But when you roll into a new WoW expansion you just do a few quests and you get enough gear upgrades to make you viable in the new content and allows you to progress and earn more.

But EQII these days… I’ve never had an MMORPG simply hand me so much gear.

Some of it, like the summer Panda gear, is behind a few simple quests.  But most of it is just on a box on the ground by the first quest giver you run into in an expansion.  And in that box is something for every damn slot.

The box o gear on the Plane of Magic

That isn’t a set of “this is all you’ll ever need gear” either.  You still get a stream of upgrades as you run quests.  I was replacing items within minutes of getting that gear.  Rather it seems to be an admission that gating content gating based on gear hasn’t always worked out for them. I recall Rise of Kunark being a trial because the beta test was mostly raiders in peak gear so all the solo starter content was tuned for them.  So, rather than fret about that they toss a box of gear on the ground behind that first quest giver.  And it has been a thing for a while.  I saw that same box in the Planes of Prophecy and in the Chaos Descending starting areas.

I didn’t need gear from either of those boxes because I had the summer Panda gear, but it was there if I did.  And, as my struggle to get to Luclin… the hard way, as it turned out… indicated, I might have been better off had I run through Chaos Descending for some better gear, though the easier answer was just to do the trade skill signature quest intro, which basically involves running down to the chemist for a pack of smokes, get access to Luclin, take the gear upgrades, then go do the intro quest for the adventure signature quest line.

Of course, once you have done either you not only have access for that character, you have access account-wide.  So now I have two characters at the level 120 cap, my paladin having gone through as well.  He still has some catching up to do on the trade skill front… he’s back in Planes of Prophecy for that… but that won’t take much time.  I’ve done that recently which, again, is another post in the making.

And then there is your mercenary, who also has slots for gear.  Because of course.  The slots get unlocked in a very EVE Online way, over time, like skill training.  Or you can pay for the unlocks with Daybreak cash, though the option is pretty expensive.

Still less time than a titan

To straight up buy the next rank would run me $15, which is a bit steep at this point.  I’ve been content to wait it out.

Mercs wear normal gear, but there is also mercenary specific gear.  In a stroke of good luck my first character to level 120 in both adventure and trade skills was an armorer who, it so happens, can make mercenary gear.  Or, at least gear for mercs who are level 100 and up.

Some merc gear items

I cannot make the accolades though.  Those are the ribbon items that are akin to stat boosters.  I am not sure who makes those yet.  But after Sigwerd made it through to 120, my follow on characters all have pretty well equipped mercenaries.

And then there are mounts, which got stats ages ago, but which got gear with the previous expansion, Chaos Descending.

My mount and its gear

Like mercs, mounts unlock gear slots over time.  I happened to get a few mount related gear drops as part of the dragon event that went on during the 15th anniversary celebration.  I was level 100 at the time and couldn’t use them, but on hitting 110 I had a few options.  Crafting them is apparently part of the Chaos Descending crafting timeline, an expansion I skipped over almost completely as there was no level cap increase… and I was able to gear up from the box on the ground on Luclin once I got there.  But I might have to go back and run through that just to get that as an option.  The good stuff is expensive.  More than I can afford to spend.

All of which is a whole lot to take in.  Believe me, it has been spinning around in my head at various points.  But it has taken 15 years and 16 expansions to pile on all of this, and some complexity isn’t a bad thing.  It is just another case of wondering how much this locks out anybody wandering into the game fresh versus veterans who have figured things out over the years as expansions have layered on change after change.

Otherwise there was no real point to this post other than to bring together a bunch of gear related items that have come to me as I have been back in EQII.

Holiday Reckoning

The holiday season is in its last day for me.  I took the two weeks around the holidays off from work, as is my usual pattern unless I am saving up vacation time for some big trip, so I have been off since December 20th.

Tomorrow though, tomorrow it is back to the office.  Back to work.  Back to reality.

Back to getting up early.

I say I am turning into my grandfather because I get up early like he used to.  But that might be as much habit from work as anything, because it turns out that after a couple of weeks without work my sleeping habits will change.  I cannot sleep until noon, something only the young seem capable of, but I was in bed until nearly 10am a couple of mornings.  And while I started off my vacation time going to bed at a reasonable hour, Friday night I was up gaming until past 1am and didn’t feel all that tired. (Though, granted, I had taken a nap that afternoon.)  So my sleep pattern is all messed up.

But it was a good two weeks or so off.  The holidays themselves went well enough.  We also saw a few movies in the theater (Star Wars, Jumanji, Knives Out), and more on streaming (The Irishman, Dolemite is My Name), as well as binging on a some TV (The Witcher, The Expanse, and finishing off The Madalorian).  I am sure there were a few more titles in there, but those are the ones that spring to mind.

I even managed to find some time to read.  For no good reason I decided to go back and knock out The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series again.  It has the advantage that I am able to knock out a book from that in about a day.  I think going after that was something of a reaction to my attempting to tackle Life and Fate again, a grim work by Vassily Grossman about the Great Patriotic War in the Soviet Union.  I will finish that some day.

And, of course, I got in a lot of video game time.  ManicTime says that I spent most of it playing EverQuest II.  I have been into the Blood of Luclin expansion pretty heavily.  I have two characters at both the adventure and trade skill level cap at this point.  Expect a few posts about that as well as the efforts to get a third character along that path… and wondering what other characters I ought to look into.

I did play a bit of WoW Classic, but with the holidays the instance group was often busy with other plans.  We’ll get back to that in the new year.  And I did go on a few ops in EVE Online.  But hours played is about 7 to 1 in favor of EQII against everything else.

Tomorrow it is back to the regular routine.  My alarm clock… which is an iPad these days… will wake me up a little after 5am and I will get in the shower, get dressed, and be on my way to work.  The fat and happy times of the holidays will be over.  The next official day off of work is Memorial Day, way out in May.

I only have a couple more end of year posts set to go before that is all a memory.  Then it will be back to the more normal pattern here as I adapt the old ways to another new year.

My Veteran Bonus Restored in Norrath

EverQuest II has a system in place to help you along in leveling alts.  When you get a character to the level cap all of your other characters get a 20% bonus boost towards their adventure or trade skill experience, depending on which cap you hit.  You can tell if it is active because the words “Veteran Bonus” are highlighted in color, as opposed to being grayed out.

Bonus Active

It is actually progressive, in that you get a 20% boost for every character at level cap, so if you get two you have a 40% boost, at three you get 60%, and so on, up to a maximum of 200%.

Mousing over the words “Veteran Bonus” in the character select screen will bring up a tool tip that will tell you your bonus status.

What you see with one char at adventure level cap

It is a handy little thing if you like to collect alts and get them moving along after you finish leveling up your main.

Why do I bring this up today?  Well…

Blood of Luclin level cap

Yes, by Thursday evening, the third evening of the Blood of Luclin expansion, I had made it to the level cap for the expansion with my first character.

I can seriously prove, thanks to ManicTime tracking, that I spent more time getting through the access quest to get to Luclin (yes, I did it the hard way, but the easy way hadn’t been posted yet) than I spent getting to the level cap.

I had hit level 119 before I even wandered out of The Blinding, the zone where you first show up in the expansion.  I hit level 113 for just showing up and was gaining a level with about every other quest after that.  At 119 I had a quest that sent me off to Sanctus Seru, a city zone, where I ran down two quests and hit level 120.

I barely have any screen shots of the new expansion yet.  Though I do have almost exactly the same one of riding the flying bug transport service across The Blinding that Bhagpuss posted.  Fortunately, I have another one that shows the flight destination coming up, so I won’t have to post an almost exact dupe.

Bug flight coming in to land

I am not sure how I feel about this.

On the one hand, I do appreciate a a quick and spirited leveling experience.  And it is likely that I will be working on some alts, so it is nice to have that bonus and all.

On the other hand… and this is going to be the hand that is dropping things because it is trying to carry too much… what the literal hell is going on here?  What is the plan?  Who decided that level cap in a day was a universal right to be extended to all players on arriving at their second zone?

I won’t stop playing due to not having hit the level cap, but I must admit that the drive to level cap is often a key motivating factor to me.  I do tend to be something of an advancement junkie and can get discouraged when moving forward is grindingly slow.  But going this fast is kind of crazy.  I am pretty much still wearing most of the hand out gear that I got for showing up.

I even went into the Alternate Advancement window to knock that slider over a bit, but realized then that we didn’t get any more AA levels this time around.  I am at the AA level cap of 350, and have been there since I wrapped up the signature quest in the Plane of Magic a few weeks back.

As for the expansion itself… well, I’ve barely been there, haven’t I?  And I don’t have the nostalgia factor that Bhagpuss has going into this as I was don’t with any serious play time when Luclin became a thing back in EverQuest.

The quests seem decent.  I probably need to read a bit more closely to follow the story.  Daybreak likes to have the story come directly from the mouths of the quest giver NPCs and I will admit I do occasionally with for a “can we just get on with the task?” response to hurry them up though the dozen or so “how did that happen?” and “is that the case?” and “tell me more” responses you’re prompted to click on.

I am also a bit surprised that flying isn’t a thing on Luclin.  Real world physics would indicate that flying would be easier on a moon where gravity is lower.  And of the few things I recall about Luclin from EverQuest, it was that the gravity was indeed lower.  Wasn’t that the lore reason for being able to walk about with a million platinum coins on your person in the Bazaar?  I do recall that time I forgot to bank my coins before leaving and ended up on the Plane of Knowledge severely over burdened and walking at a snail’s pace to get back to that sweet low gravity.

Do we unlock flying at some point, or has Daybreak gone where Blizzard only fears to tread and put out a no fly expansion?  I guess flying might be available in other zones, but I wouldn’t know yet, would I?

I am also a bit concerned about game performance with the expansion.  At prime time US there is a lot of server lag.  I have spent time waiting for the game to respond to my inputs, I get moments where I appear to be standing next to a mob but cannot hit it because the server thinks it is somewhere else, and my mercenary and pets have a hard time keeping up with me.  I see them lagging way behind as I move, and I see the followers of other players I pass wandering about, trying to find their way to their boss.  Maybe making us all keep a mecenary, a pet, and a familiar out at all times for the stat bonuses wasn’t such a good idea.  (Also, my merc seems to work for free on Luclin.  The pay time comes up and he gets zero.  Is that a bug or a feature?)

And then Skyfire server fell over for a while yesterday.  Naturally that is the server I play on and it was a bit disturbing to log in and simply not have any of my current characters listed on the character select page.

Some of this is new expansion jitters.  Daybreak has had extended maintenance downtimes for the last couple of days, no doubt to try and address some of the problems.  But still, there do seem to be some shaky aspects here.

As for my plan, I do want to see more of the expansion.  But hitting level cap also puts me in a mind for alts.  This could be a good expansion for getting some alts up to the level cap, though the hard part is going to be getting them to level 110 so they can join in.  I have a few at level 100 and the Plane of Magic path to 110 takes considerably longer than the Blood of Luclin path to 120.

And then there is the tradeskill path.  I have a few characters at or about level 100 for tradeskills, including Sigwerd.  I may have to look into how to get into Blood of Luclin crafting, though that too means going back to past expansions for a while.

Putting a Man on the Moon

Tuesday was launch day and I was ready.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

I thought, having leveled a character up to 110 and pre-ordered the expansion, that I might be able to visit Luclin and play in the new content on launch day.

More the fool I, for this is EverQuest II, the only MMORPG that can hold a candle to EVE Online when it comes obscuring content and needing to do half a dozen things before you can actually get to the thing you set out to do.

So one does not simply walk to the moon.

Blood of Luclin was up and ready to go by the time I got home from work.  I let it patch up a bit while I did some tasks about the house… Tuesday is garbage night… before logging in to see what was new.

And there wasn’t anything waiting for me.

Often there is something in the mail or a summons or a quest that just pops up that lets you know where that new content you paid real world money for actually exists.  But this time it was quiet.  I was beginning to feel like I had bought real estate on the moon.

But Bhagpuss had mentioned something about having to do a quest that had been part of the pre-launch events in order to gain access to the new content.  Fortunately people were already on the job and there was already a Blood of Luclin timeline entry on the main EQII wiki, which lists out much of what you need to do for the expansion.

And right at the top it says that you must have completed the “Light Amongst Shadows: Spires of Mythic Passage” quest to get started. (Since then another quest that unlocks access, “Piercing the Darkness: Chasing Moonbeams,” was added to the wiki, but it wasn’t there when I kicked this off.)

Great! Super! If I have a concrete destination I can formulate a plan.  And that quest looked hilariously simple.  But, of course, that quest had a its own prerequisites.  I would have to go speak to The Duality, with whom I had spoken before on a past merry quest chase.  I had even been given an item that would take me to him at some past point.

A teleport key

That key would teleport me to him, and was probably the intro to the expansion that showed up and was dismissed by me at the time because I was busy running down one language or another.

Anyway, off to The Duality to get the briefing and be on my way.

The Duality speaks of Luclin

From there it was off to the Jarsath Wastes, which only sounds like a Star Wars location, to speak to another guy, who happened to be right there on the docks where I arrived.

Brind, tell me where to go

Brind sent me off to an instance on the other side of the zone, the entrance to which was helpfully marked by a guild marker, no doubt to help guide members who, like myself, had ignored what turned out to be a very important prerequisite quest.

My familiar and my pet get in for a group shot with the flag… Jeff always smiles for the camera

I was into the instance, at which point things slowed way down.  It was going to be one of those instances.

I was going to have to fight my way through a series of level 114 to level 117 heroic and heroic boss encounters, and it was going to go slow.  I was in a similar situation back in the Plane of Magic.

I had since upgraded all my gear, added all the various stat boosting pets, familiars, and mounts I could, unlocked ascension levels, and boosted the skills I could afford to in order to get past that sort of thing.  But now I was on the far side of two expansions since then, and what was fine in the Plane of Magic was clearly below par in the prelude to Blood of Luclin.

Daybreak gives you some help.  You get a special boost when you enter the instance, but it seems to boost using yous stats as its baseline, so if you stats suck, your experience may not be ideal.  But if I was going to get to Luclin I figured I had better start in on things.

Who wants some of this?

The trash mob groups were not horrible.  The 114 groups took a few minutes, but so do some of my big hit geomancer ascension attacks, so those were almost in sync.  I’d tear down most of the trash group leader with those attacks, then clean up the rest of the mob, rest a moment, then start on the next group.

I do sometimes wonder if I am fighting correctly.  My form is based on what I learned back in 2004, which meant running heroic opportunities as often as possible for big adds to damage and the occasional buff.  I am not sure if those are really worth the effort now, but I play the way I learned.

Fighting a big amphibian guy

The higher level trash came solo rather than in groups, which tended to make them easier to deal with.  They still took a while, but I could keep my damage focused on single target attacks.

The bosses are where things got bad.  As a rule, I was never in any danger of dying so long as I was paying attention.  My mercenary sat back and kept me healed and buffed and had plenty of mana… erm, power… it is power in EQII… in reserve.  It was my ability to slay things that was the problem.

In a boss fight

Bosses, even bosses at the same level as the trash, are always a step up in difficulty and often have their own special mechanics, including my least favorite, the power drain.

Straight melee damage in EQII is shit.  They don’t give you a couple of dozen different melee attacks because they want you to go all old school EQ and just swing your sword every 2.3 second.  Those special attacks are what makes things dead.

And most of them depend on you having something left in your power bar.

Thanks to monumental stat inflation, even with my below par setup, I can chain attacks for days without ever worrying about that power bar depleting.

So, naturally, one of the common boss abilities is to drain your power, slurping down that blue power bar of yours until it runs dry.  And then you are stuck with the could of abilities which don’t require power and your base level melee, at which point fights can stretch out.

I was three hours into this instance before the last objective was in sight.  Most of that time had been spent in boss fights.  Some mechanics, like healing assistants, were easy enough to deal with.  And with my own endless healing merc, getting a boss that summoned help were no big deal.  But a few of them would drain my power and then it was a slog.  I clocked one at 40 minutes to finish off.

I had learned about this power drain thing in the Plane of Magic and had bought 75 vials of power regen.  Those were good for bringing back about 20% of your power, one bubble, but there is a delay between reuse and, of course, the boss can just drain even that little bit down again leaving you back where you started.

(An odd aside: It is interesting that health and mana potions have always been a thing in WoW, no doubt the Diablo series influence, but were really never a big deal in EQII except in special circumstances.  I don’t think I ever used on in EQII during its first decade.)

There is also an odd mechanic that faces you away from mobs, which effectively removes any melee attack which requires you to be looking at the mob.

My merc isn’t just mooning the mob

Add in the boss attacks that prevent you from attacking and if can be a long and frustrating experience.  You can imagine the joy of popping off one of your precious power potions only to find you ability to attack the boss turned off and having your power then drained away before you get to use it.

Eventually though I made it to the final objective, a stone I had to pick up.  In a moment of hope I realized I could skirt around the edge of the platform, bypassing all the mobs, to get to the stone.

The stone is right there

However, when you try to take it you are told it is being guarded.  Basically, you need to kill the bads before you can have it.  And the last boss was a big one with two helpers.

That is an encounter and a half

At level 117 to my level 110, this seemed likely to be another long fight.

I took this screen shot later, during the fight

It was way past my usual bet time and I was certain I did not have possibly another hour left in me to deal with this.  I seemed to remember that you could camp out in an instance like this and come back later.  Tired and done for the night, I figured I would risk it.

And it turned out I remembered correctly.  Wednesday evening after work I was able to log back in… though there was a moment of panic when the game froze as it was loading, but that turned out to be an EQ2 Maps problem.  I had run the updater to grab new maps and it downloaded the broken version.  But there was a fix for that.  Once in place I was back in where I left off.

It was off to the races and, as I expected, this final boss had the power drain mechanic, so I after a while I was down to popping a potion every once in a while in the hope that I could get some hits in.  At one point the doorbell rang as a package was being delivered.  I figured it was safe enough to just sit there and melee and took my time getting back to my desk, only to find that my merc had somehow pulled aggro and had gotten all of his power drained.  I pulled the boss back to me, hoping that my merc would regen enough power to keep me alive… but just as the merc got power I went down.

Would you like to buy a combat ress?

I figured I would blow the 89 coins for the instant ress as the boss was two thirds down at that point and both the helpers had been slain.  However, while I was down the boss had drained my merc’s power once again, so my revive did not last too long and I was soon dead again.  Then it was back to the start of the instance.

Fortunately they don’t believe in respawns at Daybreak.  But the whole encounter reset, which meant taking the boss and both helpers once again.  There was nothing else for it but to get stuck in a second time.

The second round went a bit better.  The boss seemed to focus on removing any debuffs I put on it before draining my power, so I tried to keep those going.  It helped some, but I was soon back to potions, and my supply was diminishing.  I was down to a dozen before the right was over.

The final boss looks a bit like Larry Storch from this angle…

It was still a slog, and added together both fights ran over an hour.

I don’t want to seem like I am complaining about this not being easy.  It is more a matter of it being long and frustrating.  In a lot of those boss fights I would have gladly doubled the bosses hit points if I could have spent less time standing around unable to do anything.  There were a few fights, like this final one, where being unable to act, essentially losing control over your character, made up much of the encounter, and I just don’t find that fun.

But I won in the end.  The boss went down, I collected the magic dingus, and was able to get out and back to The Duality to carry on with what was the easy part.  I basically met with him in his instance, then again at a set of the travel spires, where like the cable guy, he hooked me up by adding the Luclin channel to my lineup.

Waiting for him to get me connected

Now whenever I go to the spires, I get the option to go to the moon.

Luclin on the map

And it was a crowded moon, as there were two instances of it running.  I chose the second instance and went through.  One small step for me and all that.

Once I turned in the quest though I jumped from level 110 to 113.  That seemed odd.  I mean, if you’re going to add ten levels to the game it feels like a bit of a waste to give away three the moment you show up.  Trust me to complain about everything I guess.  I won’t give the level back now that I have them.  And I have to check if I have to go through this with every character or if I have unlocked spire access to Luclin account wide.

But for now Sigwerd was on Luclin at last.  I made it to the moon.  A strange new landscape awaits me.

Well, not so strange when compared to some of Norrath

My experience getting to the moon was different from some others.

  • Inventory Full – Bhagpuss had done the quest so went straight there
  • GamingSF – Telwyn starts on the other path to Luclin

 

Blood of Luclin Expansion Arrives for EverQuest II

Daybreak has released its 16th EverQuest II expansion, Blood of Luclin.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

There was a little bit of nervousness about whether or not we might see the expansion today, despite it being the announced date, due to Daybreak being uncharacteristically quiet about the expansion on social media as the release approached.  Also, something about adornments popping off and orange ones not working.

But Daybreak appears to have gotten past that and has announced that the expansion is going live today and that players will be off to Luclin, one of Norrath’s moons. The servers appear to be up and ready to go now.  The expansion promo reads:

We will not wait for the shissar — that insidious race of snake people — to begin their invasion of Norrath! We, Norrath’s proven adventurers and artisans, will travel to the moon of Luclin to implore the moon-goddess herself to join us in stopping the shissar. If we all should fail, the shissar forces will slither across Luclin and arrive on our own doorsteps. Scouts to Luclin found the moon is not as easy to traverse as it might have once been and a great many threats await us. But nothing will stand in our way! Norrath unite!

Straight to the moon!  Also, I feel like “shissar” should be capitalized… and I am giggling a bit because Sunday’s Rick and Morty was also about a planet of sentient snakes.  Hell of a tie-in.

Features of the expansion include:

  • Level Increase to 120 – Take your character to all new heights with ten new Adventure and Tradeskill levels!
  • Experience new Mission, Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests as you explore the mysteries of Luclin and confront new and legendary lunar creatures.
  • Overseer Feature – Recruit and send agents to do your bidding and earn rewards!
  • Conquer all new Solo, Heroic, and Raid content, including new challenge modes, and contested Raid fights!
  • Reach for the stars with 10 levels of new Spells and Combat Abilities.
  • Expand your knowledge with new Achievements, Collections, and more.

Most of that seems to be in the “we get this every expansion” category, but the Overseer feature is something altogether new.  I am not clear yet as to what it will add up to, but we shall see.  There are patch notes up in the forums about the release which, among other things, include this gem:

Corrected location where players were becoming stuck in a crevasse.

You need no longer beware the crevasse.

This expansion is somewhat special for me as it marks the first time since Desert of Flames that I have a character leveled up and ready to go into the new content.  So I will be bumbling my way into the expansion this evening and trying to figure out what is going on… and probably something about adornments.  Expect further updates.

Addendum: And there did end up being a trailer for the expansion.

 

Level 105 Fever in the Plane of Magic

I re-subbed to the Daybreak All Access pass for the EverQuest II 15th anniversary events, as I did back in March for the EverQuest 20th anniversary.  This started off with chasing some dragons, as I mentioned last week.

Dragon in the Loping Plains

There are four dragons and they are not hard to find.  They spawn in a rotation by the travel spires in four zones.  You can follow them through their cycle going from Thundering Steppes to Everfrost to Nektulos Forest to Loping Plains.  I think that is the order.  I just go where the crowd goes.  There are some interesting drops and an achievement and special mount form if you slay all four dragons.

Spires Defended

Achievement reward

I did that with the character I consider my main, Sigwerd, a level 100 berserker on the Skyfire server.  Then I got out my level 100 paladin on the same server and did it again.

Dragon in Nektulos Forest

And then I did it yet again with a level 100 berserker, Reynaldo on the Hands of Fate server, who is still knocking around in the Revelry & Honor guild.  It was a bit tougher with him as I have never bothered to get him a mercenary, and not having your own pet healer means taking care.  Still, I managed it with him.

I have another level 100 character sitting around, a Shadowknight who was one of my level 100 boosted characters… Sigward is the only one who leveled up to 100, and I seem to recall boosting him to 85 back in the day… but I wasn’t sure how much commitment I really had to him.

And I was wondering how to use some of the nice drops I got from the dragon event.  Bhagpuss has a post that shows the dragon form mount.  They were all flagged for level 110 players and my highest group there is all level 100.  I wanted to get somebody to level 110.

The easiest way to do that would be another boost.  And since you get a level 110 boost with the base Blood of Luclin expansion pre-order at basically the same price as a boost out of the cash shop, I figured I might as well grab the expansion.

So there was now a level 110 boost in my /claim items.  However, in buying the expansion I also unlocked all of the previous expansions.  I do not remember the last time I bought an expansion, but now I had everything live on the server.  So I decided to see if I could just level up to 110 via content rather than using the boost right away.

Of course, as I always say when I come back to EverQuest II, the game is pretty bad at telling you where to go or what to do in order to get started at whatever level you left off at.  I had been doing something in the Vesspyr Isles previously with Sigwerd, but I recalled it being very slow.  He was barely 5% into level 100 and I knew he had done a series of quests there already.  I was not keen to go back, so I looked around at what else was available.

There was Myrist, The Great Library on my map, but that said it was for level 110 players.  Next to it, however, was the Plane of Magic.  That said level 100, which seemed good enough for me, so I gave that a shot.  I took the spires there and was in.

When you wander into the Plane of Magic you have to pick a faction to work with.  Each espouses a specific philosophy, but I chose House Vahla pretty much at random.  They had a nice gold trimmed platform.

Turning in a quest on their platform

The first couple of quests boosted me up to level 101 pretty quickly.  It was one of those deals where you have to earn enough status with the faction in order to unlock further quests, so I repeated the first two a few times.  Soon I was level 102.  Clearly these were decent quests.  I had read somewhere that Daybreak chose to emphasize questing for leveling up.  While I had the membership boost, the vitality boost (blue bar in EQII land), and a pre-expansion experience boost going, slaying mobs didn’t move the experience bar at all, no matter how hard I hit things.

Hitting things repeatedly

The damage I do seems to throw out crazy random numbers.  And EQII does not suffer from a lack of combat skills, so I just mash a bunch of buttons and things die.

Getting around wasn’t too bad either.  EQII has embraced flying and my berserker had a mount from a special event from way back, so I just glided over the terrain, dropping on my targets when I needed to.

Swooping by a waterfall

But it is the quests that boosted me along.  It wasn’t a long time before I had made it to level 105.

Half way to 110

After that the quest experience started to slow down some.  But I am going to try and carry on a bit and see if I cannot get to 110 on my own before the Blood of Luclin expansion hits.  It might be something to actually be lined up at the right level for an expansion when it drops.  Of course, we’ll see if I can actually figure out where to go when it does drop.  Daybreak still isn’t very good at that.

Addendum:  I carried on after I wrote this and made it to level 107.  I had to use the Orb of Concentrated Memories, an item usable once every seven days that restores you exp vitality.

The guild log shows me leveling up

Now I’ll have to see if I can make those last three levels before the bonus exp runs out.