Tag Archives: Fallen Gate

Given the Boot in Fallen Gate

One of the weak points of a primarily quest driven MMORPG is pacing.  If you are going to make quests the focus of you game, then they really ought to be tuned so that a player doesn’t out level them or find the quests growing in difficulty faster than they grow in power.

The former is the usual problem.  As a development team adds more expansions and more levels they often want to help players “catch up” so that they can play in the new content.  This is most easily done by simply reducing the amount of experience required to level up.

And so it is that in aging quest driven MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, and EverQuest II, you can easily find yourself out leveling the quest lines… and whole zones if you’re not careful… as you try to follow the prescribed path through the game.

A couple summers back when I was shooting for the Loremaster achievement in WoW… an achievement as yet unachieved by me… part of my plan was to finish out the zones with a character of the appropriate level.  This required me to run with three different characters due to the leveling too fast issue.

Once in a while though you run into the opposite problem.  Such is the case on the Fallen Gate nostalgia server in EverQuest II.  In order to give the server an old school feel the rate of leveling has been throttled back.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  As noted, EQII is an aging MMORPG where out-leveling the early content is comically easy on the live servers.  Some throttling was required.  But EQII isn’t EverQuest, where you can unmindfully move the experience gain slider and not change how people play the game.

In EQ you’re going to go grind mobs with a group at a spawn most likely.  Quests, such as they are in the early EQ content, were all side quests and mostly deliver gear of some sort rather than experience.

In EverQuest II the way forward is via the ubiquitous quest hub.

A likely location in the Frostfang Sea

Technically, EQII wasn’t always as quest oriented.  Back at launch quests were more common than in its predecessor, but were still a bit hidden.  There were no little quest feathers on your mini-map because the quest available markers floating over the heads of NPCs didn’t appear until after WoW launch with its now almost universally recognized exclamation point/question mark quest markers… and because EQII didn’t have a mini-map back then.

So for a few months in the early days you went out in a group to grind heroic mobs because the quest chains would only carry you so far.

That changed in 2005 as the team at SOE added more and more quests to the game to flesh out the zone experiences and accommodate those who expected to level up solo by doing quests.  And then they reduced the experience table and we ended up with the situation on the live servers of having many more quests than you can possibly run at level.

This was somewhat addressed back in 2010 with New Halas and the Frostfang Sea zone with a series of interlocking quest chains that would bring a new player from character creation to level 20 in one smooth progression… a smooth progression only marred by its unfriendliness to groups and the occasional recurring reduction in the experience requirements.

Basically, designed to be smooth in 2010, still relatively smooth in 2017 on a live server.

On the Fallen Gate server however Daybreak has rolled the experience table back to what seems to be a pre-2010 level.  It isn’t comically out of whack, but having skipped most of the Isle of Refuge (where the problem is apparent as well) the quest levels creeping further and further away from my level did start to become a burden, even with my completing the collection quests along the way.

Fortunately, if there is one thing that EQII does not lack for, it is low level content.  As quests started to get three and four levels ahead of me… rewarding gear I couldn’t use yet due to level restrictions, gear that I really needed in order to handle quests that far ahead of me… I decided to take a detour to Qeynos and Antonica where one can unironically kill ten rats for a quest.

Before it was a meme

I didn’t head for Antonica first, as I was only level seven and that zone was really for level ten to twenty, but the mini zones that are part of Qeynos proper.  Or I hit those once I could find them.  Back in the day they used to be connected to the various racial ghettos of Qeynos.  I spent a lot of time in Graystone Yard because that was the home of Dwarves and Barbarians, a zone that also held the entrance to Oakmyst Forest.

But they closed off all of those ghettos and so I was running around for a bit trying to recall how to get into those zones.  If Quasimodo had been about, he would have reminded me about the key to getting around Qeynos; The bells!

So I pottered about those zones, which was a bit of an “Oh yeah, I remember this…” time, perfectly fit for nostalgia, before venturing out to the plains of Antonica to slay some of the wildlife out there.

Beetle infestations are ever a Qeynos problem…

Some time there put me back on track for the Frostfang Sea, so I returned there to pick up where I left off.  The gear that you get as quest rewards is good both in stats and from a cosmetic angle, so I was keen to carry on there… as were many others it seems.

The Frostfang Sea remains popular

There it was all about thwarting orcs, because orcs are orcs and fill the generic bad guy role so often.  I think there might be room in Norrath to make orcs a third faction playable race given how ubiquitous they are.  You could start on the Zek with Emperor Fyst as your mentor rather than the Isle of Refuge.  But for now, killing orcs is still the thing.

Facing the orc onslaught

I came back to the Frostfang Sea well into level nine, so it wasn’t too long before I hit level ten.

An easier achievement on the live servers…

But this is a special server with its own special achievements, so level ten is a two-fer.

Featuring the boot

A special achievement for a special server, and indicative of the reward you get for reaching the exalted level of ten; possibly the most heinous mount ever conceived by Daybreak,

The Pedipowered Posterior Punter

And I might well have eschewed this mount, as I do any of the gnomish contraptions, except that in a world where you are running around on foot any speed boost is a good speed boost.  And, being a “leaper” mount, you also get some jumping/soft landing benefits from it.  That does something to mitigate its look.

Also, it doesn’t stand out too much on my back.

The mount matches the Guardian armor… sort of…

The quest line through the Frostfang Sea ends with the player getting a nice mount… a horse.  I hope I can then use the horse as the cosmetic “look” while retaining the benefits of the boot.  Either way, having it will make getting around quicker and at least one heritage quest will be pretty easy with the speed boost.

Otherwise I am continuing on with the Frostfang Sea.  When I get through that it will be about time to start looking for a guild.

Looking for Nostalgia and a Guild on Fallen Gate

Over the weekend I gave in and re-upped for EverQuest II in order to potter around on the new Fallen Gate server.  That seemed to put me in league with just about every other EverQuest II player out there judging by the server status monitor.

Fallen Gate is #1

I did make one concession to my current play pattern and only opted for a single month Daybreak All Access subscription.  As I documented with Runes of Magic and Guild Wars 2, my interest seems to be wane in about three weeks.

Daybreak was happy enough to take my money and soon I was hooked up as a subscriber.  The first thing I needed to do was roll up a character on Fallen Gate.

But that meant deleting a character.

Through means shrouded by the mists of time I have managed to acquire 18 character slots on my account.  That is about half a dozen more than I think I should have.  I know I didn’t buy that many extra slots.  And, of course, all of them were full.

Fortunately a couple of the slots were taken by filler characters I rolled up back when the Stormhold server launched about two years back and never really used.  I wasn’t sure what class I wanted to play, so rolled up three right away because there was some early start prize or bonus if you did.  What the actual benefit was I have forgotten, but they got it and then never used it, so deleting them was easy.  My other characters, going back as far as November 2004, remain safe.

As usual I wasn’t sure what to roll up, so I went for my default, which is a berserker on the Qeynos side of the world.  And then I clicked the wrong thing and ended up with a guardian.  But, since I don’t think I have ever played a guardian, I ran with it.  I was soon on the boat to the Queen’s Colony on the Isle of Refuge (I got that bit right at least), a rescued bit of flotsam from the sea, and as quickly on the isle itself ready to start my new life.

On the Isle of Refuge

The isle isn’t what it used to be back in the day.  My memory is no doubt faulty to some degree on this topic, but the quests seem different as do some of the mobs.  And the pacing of the quest line seems to be set to accommodate specific rate of advancement not present on Fallen Gate.

Do I know you guys? Were you here in 2004?

On the Fallen Gate server experience gain is supposed to be set close to 2004 pacing than what you would find on a current live server.  For the first 50 levels on a live server you out run the old content pretty quickly.  On the new, while the pacing wasn’t completely hamstrung, I did find myself picking up quests that were marked as high and higher level without leveling up myself.

Well, the isle isn’t the only option.

Back in the day I used to stick around on the Isle of Refuge with a new character until the bitter end, doing all the quests, hitting the max level allowed, banking up some additional experience so at least one more level would pop as soon as I left, and, most importantly of all, I would finish up the two isle-only collection quests.

The feathers quest

Back in the day you could not return to the isle nor could you find the items for those collections in any other place in Norrath.  So you had to find the last item there or pay what was often an extortionary price on the market later on.

Now though the feathers and shells spawn in the other starter areas and you can go back to the isle if you feel you must.  So while the Isle of Refuge has some nostalgia value, I’d been through it a few times since its return a while back, so was ready to move on.

Yes, I get it.

Even the NPCs on the isle were bringing up the idea of getting the hell out of there pretty early on.  Here I am hitting level 3 and being given a prompt to get out of Dodge.

Are you still here?

That meant talking to Captain Varlos to arrange the voyage to the mainland.

What are my options here?

From the Isle of Refuge you can head to Qeynos, which is semi-nostalgic though much changed since 2004, or the Frostfang Sea, which at this point is old enough to have some nostalgia value of its own.  The Frostfang Sea and New Halas also have a more coherent quest line and better housing when the time comes, so I chose the frozen wastes even though I had yet to find shoes.  Gear was an issue.

Alas, Captain Varlos and his ship did not survive the journey.

A quirk of the change from the Isle of Refuge to the newer starting zones is that they operate on the same assumption, that you were fished out of the sea.  So when I arrived I was telling people how orcs attacked the boat I was on.

Relating the tale of Captain Varlos… apparently

Since Captain Varlos and his crew were nowhere to be seen I have to assume they did not survive.

I was dropped into the shallow end of the pool in the Frostfang Sea, where the first low level quests start.  This seems to be at odds with Bhagpuss’s experience, as he ended up in the deep end somehow.  I am not sure why we were in different points, but logic doesn’t always survive the journey to Norrath either.

I kept on running the quest line from there, getting bits of gear.  I did spent a bit of Daybreak Cash to buy a pair of 24 slot bags from the shop.  They were 150DC each, but I got 500DC for subscribing, so I am still ahead on that front I suppose… plus I still had another 13K in DC on my account.

Another quest hub on the Frostfang Sea

This is the usual story, starting out, running through the initial content, getting the first bit of gear.  I suppose the next decision is what trade skill I should go with… I cannot imagine playing EQII and not crafting.  The problem is that EQII trade skills all have their merits, and by picking one I know I will feel the sting of missing out on another.  This is how alts develop.  I am leaning towards armor crafting, since you need to re-up all your gear every ten levels, or alchemy, to boost my skills through the complicated skill level process in the game.  I haven’t committed yet, but I am harvesting along the way in order to be prepared.

And then there is the bigger question.  What should I do to keep myself from tiring in three weeks and wandering off to some other short-lived adventure?

Ideally I should find a guild to join.  There is even a guild recruitment interface in the game so you can find guilds that are looking for players.

Looking for a Guild looking for me

However, I am horrible at picking guilds.  I tend to pick guilds where I know somebody so I have someone to chat with. I tend to be a very quiet person… ever the outsider at the party… so being in a guild of strangers ends up with me playing solo.  Of course, that isn’t all on me.  Guilds looking to simply scoop up players wholesale in order to boost levels tend to be a mass of individuals with a common tag as opposed to a team.  You can’t really be on the team if the team never gets together.

So that is my goal, to find some group or guild to join so I’ll have a reason to stick around.  I don’t mind playing solo 90% of the time, but I like to do some group content now and again.

Of course, part of getting into a guild is being something a guild is looking for, and at level 6 on a server where the great bubble of players looks to have already hit level 20 and beyond makes me feel like I am behind.  So I must grind up to join a guild so that I may be in a guild to grind… or something.  We’ll see how it goes.

EverQuest II Opens Up the Fallen Gate Progression Server

Daybreak is back to playing the nostalgia server card again, this time for EverQuest II.

The server was expected to go live at Noon yesterday.  However this is Daybreak, so unexpected issues are the order of the day..

That got extended for a bit.

But by late afternoon Daybreak announced that the server was up and people could log in.

This isn’t the first progression server that Daybreak has done for EverQuest II.  Back in the summer of 2015 they brought the Stormhold server online, springing the revised Isle of Refuge on us as part of the experience.

Since then there hasn’t been too much news about the server, aside from the expansion unlock votes and its PvP server twin Deathtoll being merged into Stormhold due to a lack of interest.  But that is the nature of these sorts of servers; there is often a fuss up front, but they excitement tends to fade over time, especially when they get many expansions out.

So after two years I suppose it is about time for a new one, and so we have the Fallen Gate progression server going live today, named for the dungeon zone that is sort-of the Commonlands version of Stormhold.

Outside Fallen Gate, which has a door that is still standing

As with the Stormhold server, you need a Daybreak All Access subscription to play.

The difference between Fallen Gate and the old Stormhold server appears to be that all races and classes will be available immediately on Fallen Gate and that expansion unlocks will come at regular 12 week intervals rather than being subject to the whims of a vote.  Voting just leads to bad feelings, especially if the vote is close.

There is also something of a theme for the server, which is focused on heritage quests.  Those quests are a nostalgic nod to the Norrath of the original EverQuest, proving that even 13 years back SOE hadn’t completely lost sight of the link the two games share.  You can earn some special achievements by completing such quests.

As usual, there are some incentives to come and play on the server, including a deplorable “mount” you can get if you reach level 10 on the server before July 11.  There is also a special Gateway to Adventure Pack you can buy in the cash shop that has a 66-slot bag, speed enhancing Journeyman’s Boots (not the ones from the heritage quest I assume), and some potions to help speed your progress in other ways.

 

There is an announcement page with the overview as well as a FAQ posted about the server.

My favorite item from the FAQ has to be this:

What will be available for Tradeskills?

Tradeskilling should look similar to the original EverQuest II launch.  Apprentices will not be made available until a later date.

I seriously doubt crafting will look anything at all like the interdependent tradeskill chaos that marked the launch of EverQuest II, but the thought of it amuses me.

As keen as I am on such servers being available, I do not think I will be joining in this time.  My nostalgia for the Norrath MMOs involves playing with a semi-regular group, so embarking on what would be a solo venture doesn’t have much appeal.

The Odd Quests of Fallen Gate

Saturday night found us short of a full group again.  It was just Gaff, Earl, Potshot, and myself in EverQuest II, so content that I was hoping to introduce to the whole group, Stormhold or Crushbone, had to be set aside for another evening.

Still, there we were and we needed something to do.  Finishing up the Dwarven Work Boots quest from the previous week slipped my mind, perhaps because the majority of what was left was the 72 minute wait for the boots to be made.  We could wrap that up on another night.

Instead we headed to the Commonlands and to Fallen Gate.

Gaff got out his mystic Chuggs and his berserker Sixo and mentored Earlthedogwo, who was level 21.  Potshot got out his warden Deneldir, and I opted for my swashbuckler Sedgewick.  So the group was:

  • Sixo – Level 82 berserker (mentoring Earl)
  • Chuggs – Level 82 mystic (mentoring Earl)
  • Deneldir – Level 29 warden (mentoring Earl)
  • Sedgewick – Level 24 swashbuckler (not mentoring)
  • Earlthedogwo – Level 21 berserker

I did not mentor with Sedge because I wanted to get him to level 25 and the coveted scout ability of escape.  With that you can pull the whole group to a safe spot in the zone if an when things go bad.

We had no real problem assembling, except for Earl dropping connection while he was riding towards me at the docks at the Frostfang Sea, which caused him to continue in a straight line out into the sea.

Earl heads into the deep

And then there was a bit of a mix-up about where Fallen Gate actually was in the zone that ended up with three of us taking the griffon to one station and two taking it to another station.

Eventually though, we were inside the doors of Fallen Gate.  And I didn’t even start in on, “I remember when there was an access quest to be able to get in here….”

Spelling up inside the zone

My worry about Fallen Gate is that, being on the Freeport end of the world, we might not be able to find many quests to drive our time in the dungeon.  Yes, we could just go in and kill stuff, but it is nice to have a set of tasks to help you gauge, if nothing else, when you are done for the evening.

The listing of quests shows 69 quests that involve the zone, but I was only sure there would be one quest would be available to us.  At the entrance, there is a quest to find Mr. Burpbelly, a halfling who has gone missing in Fallen Gate.  That was at least something we could take care of.

And getting to Mr. Burpbelly was not an issue.  There were four or five other groups also in the zone, including a group that appeared to be on the same quest just ahead of us, so the path was pretty much clear.  We had to kill just enough in getting to him that Sedge hit level 25.  So when we found him…

Mr. Burpbelly in the Pot

… we were able to use the ability escape to zip back to the start of the zone and turn it in.  There the quest giver, Logan Belchbottom, gave us another quest that asked us to slay things between him and the zone exit, but seeing as there was really nothing between him and the door, that did not seem possible.

As it turned out, killing 10 of anything in the zone finishes the quest, so that was taken care of pretty quickly, leaving us with no quests for the group.

Individuals had quests.  Items drop in the zone that start quests, but they only start the quest for one person and cannot be shared.  So while I had a quest for gloom snakes, somebody else had one for undead rangers.  That ended up with us simply ignoring these quests for the most part.  Instead we went exploring, looking for named mobs.

Exploring Fallen Gate

And, as I have noted previously, named mobs seem to be up, if not 100% of the time, then with a frequency I would put at somewhere around 80%.  With Sedgewick using his tracking skills, we were able to spot a named in a multi-story building just to the right of us in the above picture.

While there, we also found a clickable bookshelf that gave us all a new quest.

Bookshelf Quest Dispenser

Unfortunately, the fist step on the quest was to go speak to somebody in Freeport.  That was not high on our list of things to do.

We continued on, slew the named, then had Sedgewick use his skill smuggle, which is a group wide sneak ability, so we could all take a break and refill our glasses and such.

Smuggle break time

On returning, we pushed on further into the instance in search of named mobs and the special chests they drop.  We found a few.

Time for loot!

We even ended up behind a group who was killing but not looting their chests.  They left a master chest behind.  Chests are freely lootable after a timer specific to its type runs out, and the master chest they left behind had 17 minutes to go when we first ran into it, so we found some stuff to do in the area while we waited.

Waiting for more named

You can see that we now have a guild cloak pattern for Credence Qeynos Revival.  Sedgewick was the only one without an item in his cloak slot, a serious oversight since he was still sitting on a completed Frostfang Sea quest which gives a cloak as a reward.

We kept the area around the chest clear of mobs as they began to respawn.

Deneldir Smote!

Earl's Mighty Tulwar

I might have to turn off those target marking arrows.  They work well in combat, but look bad in screen shots.

Eventually the timer ran out and we were rewarded with a master level skill.  Somebody left that behind, so it was money in the bank for one of us.

At that point, it was about time for us to start heading towards the exit.  We had seen every point on the map, the group had no further  quests for the zone in common, and the hour was growing late.  We found another named mob or two as we fought our way back, but there were no more surprises.

Once out of the zone, we spent several minutes trying to setup a picture in front of the doors to Fallen Gate where we were not all staring at each other.

What are you looking at?

We failed miserably.  We need a “break eye contact” or a “look at the camera” or “look straight ahead” command to fix this.  Sixo managed to not stare, but even his minion, the mini goliath in the background, is staring at somebody.

And so we had a look into Fallen Gate, where we finished all of two quests.

Earl, with three people mentoring him, popped up to level 25 during the run, so he will have to switch and mentor somebody else when we get the full group together again.  If we get the full group together again in EQ2.  We haven’t been doing well on that front so far.