Tag Archives: Frostfell

Frostfell and the Feast of Winter Veil

The tip off was the lights hung outside the bank in Stormwind.  Those hadn’t been there on Saturday when I passed through town, but when I made it back on Sunday afternoon there they were.

The bank gets some holiday decor… too late for Diwali, so must be Winter Veil

Inside the bank there was even a decorated tree, reminding me very much of how banks used to decorate for the holidays back in the day.

Prominently yet awkwardly positioned

What with the alleged “War on Winter Veil” you don’t see such sites as often these days.  But here in WoW Classic the Feast of Winter Veil was upon us.

As a group we had been wondering when it would show up.  Other games I pay attention to had already gotten on board with the holidays, with EVE Online kicking off their Naughty or Nice event and EverQuest II launching into its annual Frostfell celebration.

One thing was that I couldn’t really recall how big Winter Veil was in the 2006 era.  We all knew enough to sock away a couple stacks of eggs for the annual auction house festival of price gouging when people need five of them to make cookies for Santa.  (Too many people remembered that, so you could barely clear 6 silver an egg, though that is still a hell of a markup.)  But as an overall event it didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as Frostfell did.

Over in EverQuest II Frostfell has always been a pretty big deal, and it has continued to grow in waves of dev enthusiasm over the years, interspersed with times of neglect.  There is essentially a whole zone set aside and decorated for the event.

Behold Frostfell Village

Yes, that is just the bay at one end of the Everfrost zone repurposed, with the water frozen over and the islands all decorated, with other additions added over the last 15 years or so.

The EQII zone methodology, which I criticize for not making Norrath feel like a world, lends itself to this sort of thing, allowing them to carve out a temporary seasonal zone, which has spawned its own series of related instances.

It was impressive back in the day when my daughter was little and seeing a red nosed reindeer flying around got her quite excited.  I have spent quite a bit of time over the years in this area, running the quests, collecting snow globes for housing decor, and whatever else has been going on.  The wiki page for Frostfell runs pretty long.

Snow Globe collecting over a decade back

There are hints of Christmas that people will recognize.

Santa’s sleigh flies about the zone

Though there are other aspects that might diverge from expectations.

May I introduce Santa Glug. He has daily presents.

Anyway, as noted, it is quite a production, and one that has been built upon over the years, which I have indulged in off and on.  Some of my characters wear winter hats from Frostfell year around.

Paladin in gold topped off with a blue Frostfell hat

And Daybreak pushes the event in game.  It is difficult to miss the setup, the collection items glowing on the ground around the home cities, and even if you bypass that they send all of your characters a note in the mail to remind you that the season is upon us.  I always find those still in my mail box when I log in some long neglected character in the spring or summer.

In WoW Classic things are a bit more subtle.  No notifications and some decorations up around some parts of town.  But I remembered enough to go to Ironforge where I knew the main event would be. (Though if I had looked a bit harder I would have found the quest in Stormwind that would have directed me there.)

Outside the bank in Ironforge

My memories from the vanilla era are pretty vague.  As noted, I recall the milk and cookies for Great-Father Winter, as Santa is known in Azeroth.

Great-Father Winter is a dwarf here… only his helpers are goblins

As it turns out, there is a bit more to it than my memories of the time can bring up.  The WoW Head page for the season shows a range of quests as well.  There are a few easy ones that send you around Ironforge.

The dwarves have their own big tree in the back

There are also a few bigger quests that send you out into the world.  We will have to see how doable some of those are for the group, which is hovering about in the low 30s when it comes to levels.  But the season is upon us and, like so much else in WoW Classic, I am probably taking a closer look at it now than I did back in the day when this was all fresh and new.

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.

Suddenly I Had 280 AA Points

I knew that the patch was coming to EverQuest II yesterday, the patch that included the change to how Alternative Advancement points would be awarded.  I mentioned it in passing earlier in the week, how the game would now award some AA points with levels so as to make sure that by the time you hit level 90 you would have 280 points.  The whole thing was detailed over at EQ2 Wire.

What I did not expect, a few minutes after logging in… because it takes the system a while to catch up with you… was to get the achievement for having earned 280 AA points with Sigwerd, who was 27 levels shy of the guaranteed 280 points at level 90.

280AAAs I read the release notes, it seemed like the change would only boost you up to a minimum floor amount of AA points for your level, which according to the chart at EQ2 Wire should have put Sigwerd around 175 AA points, a boost of 65 over the amount he carried into the patch.

My immediate thought was that SOE had made a mistake and that they would be taking away these AA points if I didn’t spend them right away.  So I went and spent 170 AA points.

I like spending AA points on things that enhance skills I already have or that boost my character in specific ways.  I do not like spending AA points on things that add a new skill to my book.  I already run with three full bars of skills visible at all times and another two full up of things buffs and other rarely used items, and I will be damned if I can tell you what even a full bar of them specifically DO… aside from “some damage” or the like… so the idea of adding in more skills, which just get lost in my skill book, has little appeal.

As I was spending, I started to wonder if perhaps, yet again, SOE had taken my trade skill level into account.  SOE has often been rather indifferent to any distinction between trade and adventure level.  Back in the day, when you had to complete a special quest in order to get to Zek or the Enchanted Lands before level 30, I was able to wander in with my guild well before that because my trade skill level was past 30.  Sigwerd, thanks to doing the Frostfell crafting quest, had just become a level 88 armorer.

To test this, I logged in a few other characters who also had an imbalance in trade and adventure level.  However, nobody else hit 280, though one hit 200.  But he also had a lot of AA points already.

So my theory then became that, for this transition to the AA granting process, SOE was just going to give you the total number of AA points that was set as the floor for your given level, regardless of how many AA points you may have had already.  That theory was born out later when I actually looked up the release notes, which appear to say something that could be interpreted as thus.

So Sigwerd had 110 AA points and then had his the floor amount for his level, 170-180 I would guess, dumped on top of that, stopping at the grant cap of 280.  He will, thus, be granted no more AA points as he levels, having already hit 280, and it looks like he might have missed out on 5-10 free points in the bargain.

On the bright side, he has his 280 AA points NOW and can continue to earn AA points as he moves forward to 90.

And he is moving forward.

I decided to follow the advice of Gnomenecro in the comments and have been splitting my time between the Cloud Mount series of quests and some activities in Frostfell. (I had also forgotten how much better ZAM’s EQ2 site is compared to the official, SOE supported EQ2 section at Wikia.)

The Cloud Mount quests, done while ignoring other quests in the area, are something of a whirlwind tour of the Kingdom of Sky expansion that sends you almost every island exactly once.  So you get discover XP, you open up the map, and you get a bit of a feel for the place.  I have been doing a few of those quests every night, and am about a third of the way through it, well into the Barren Sky part of the quest line.

Islands of the not-so-Barren Sky

Islands of the not-so-Barren Sky

The run has given Sigwerd some decent equipment upgrades as well as some furniture for his home… he might need a bigger house at this rate.  And, of course, adventure experience.  Last night Sigwerd hit level 64, officially making him my highest level character… in adventure levels… in EverQuest II.

Hitting 64 in a narrow canyon

Hitting 64 in a narrow canyon

And, as mentioned, I have also been doing some of the Frostfell quests, which has been enhanced by SOE’s holiday double status special.  While somewhat vague about what gets doubled, as an All Access subscriber I appear to be getting double Frostfell E’ci tokens with each quest turn-in.  That, at least, has made the Frostfell Decoration Committee crafting quests, where you must craft 48 things in an instance without leaving or going to the bathroom or logging off, somewhat more worth it, as the turn-in grants 20 tokens.

That quest also grants a decent amount of crafting experience, boosting Sigwerd up to a level 88 armorer, which I think puts him in contention for my highest level crafting character.

So the return to Norrath nostalgia run seems to be off to a decent start.  Gaff even logged in to see what was going on, though he was struck by how dated the game felt.  And that is a hard part to argue with, especially since we have both been playing Warlords of Draenor content recently as well.  Despite years of updates, there is still very much a sense that this game was released before everybody felt they had to follow so many of the conventions cemented by WoW.

But, in its way, the dated feel of the game is part of its charm for me.  EverQuest II hasn’t always aged well.  Recently I felt especially odd heading back into the Echoes of Faydwer content, which when it was launced was an amazing revitalization of the game, but which now strikes me as an awkward and disorganized jumble.  Bits of it are still good.  I like the Butcherblock dock area and a lot of the dungeon content still feels fine.  My attempts to quest in Lesser Faydark and the Loping Planes were just frustrating.

But then I wander into some really old area, like sewers under Qeynos or the Isle of Zek or… and I am loathe to admit this because I did not like the expansion at the time… some parts of the Desert of Flames expansion and things still look as good as they did a decade back.

We’ll see how I feel when I get into the 2007 content with Rise of Kunark.

Happy Frostfell! You Can Leave Now!

I did not do much in EverQuest II over the holidays.

With the instance group going, the EverQuest nostalgia in full swing, and my daughter calling to come watch a movie, play with LEGOs, or start up the Wii, there wasn’t much time for EQ2.

Still, I found just a bit of time to log in and collect my Frostfell presents.

In fact, thanks to one of my favorite UI extensions, Mahonri’s Quick Change Shutdown Window, which lets you change characters directly without having to linger on the select screen, I picked up presents with all six of my characters most days.

Since I have been back to work though, I haven’t stopped in to check. So last night I logged in to take a look, mostly to see where you got dumped if you were parked in Frostfell Wonderland Village when they took it away.

And I found it was still there.

It is a long Frostfell this year. In Azeroth the decorations have been down for a well over a week now, and most of my perishable holiday goodies have disappeared. (I still have that fruitcake in my inventory though.)

But in Norrath, somebody (probably those community relations people) seems to have wished for Frostfell all year around.

Well, maybe not all year, but long enough for the presents to run out.

ff07allgifts.png

Whee! I have all the presents!

Does that mean I win Frostfell?

Or is this just a polite way to tell me I have over stayed my welcome?

I am actually glad I got them all, as I am still jealous after last year when Stargrace got all nine of the snow globes, while I only got one. (I did not know there was more than one!)

This year, however, I am the snow globe king! Behold the eleven snow globes of Frostfell.

ff07elevenglobes.png

The snow globes are, in order from left to right:

  • Mystical
  • Gorowyn
  • Everling
  • Volcanic
  • Neriak
  • Frostfell
  • Dervish
  • Thulian
  • Fae
  • Antonican
  • Bixie

After setting them all out in my acorn, I thought that perhaps Frostfell might be closed after all. Maybe they shut the doors and only the die hards, camped in the zone, were still able to see Frostfell Wonderland Village.

But I ran and checked and, at least in Kelethin, you can still come out of the closet and into Wonderland.

ff07envoy.png

A fae is still waiting there to guide you.

Frostfell forever I guess.

SOE Holiday Bonuses

In addition to the usual holiday themed in-game treats, Sony is also offering some other perks to players this season.

EverQuest – There is a 25% bonus to experience between now and 11:59pm PST January 1st, 2008. Details here.

EverQuest II – As noted by Mrrx, there is a 20% experience bonus this weekend and next that applies to both adventure and trade skill experience. Details here.

Vanguard – Accounts that have been inactive for at least the last 60 days will be activated and able to play between December 18th and January 20th. Enough time to patch AND get in some play time! Details here.

Frostfell Excitement!

We are hosting Christmas Eve at our house this year, as we do every year.  Part of my job every year is to keep my daughter out of the way so my wife can work her magic.

To occupy my daughter, who will turn five at the end of the month, I thought we might explore the Frostfell fun in EverQuest II.

As I expected, my daughter was excited about the whole Frostfell Wonderland Village.  We ran around and looked at things, picked up presents, ran over the rainbows, threw snowballs, and admired the big tree.

But the excitement went up a few notches when she saw a flying reindeer with a red nose.  “Rudolph!” she screamed.  Here he is:

frostfell02.png

Seeing this was almost too much.  We had to chase him all around Wonderland Village.  I actually wanted to harvest enough stuff to make the fireplace for my home, but there was no swaying her.  We did get close a few times as you can see, but we never caught him.

frostfell03.png

Then we saw something to distract from even Rudolph.

If that scene isn’t already on the side of a van, it should be.  Yes, we had to follow the unicorn for a while.

Here is the unicorn a little closer.  The rainbow/unicorn mixture in the zone is too perfect.

frostfell04.png

The greatest disappointment for my daughter was that we could not ride the unicorn.  She had been admiring my horse before we went in zone, so it was a natural jump to assume I could ride the unicorn as well.  Fortunately I did not have to get into the whole area of unicorn lore and exactly who gets to ride them.  She seemed to accept that it just would not let me.

So running around Frostfell Wonderland Village kept us occupied all the way to bed time and really put some Christmas excitement into her.  She had to run out and tell mommy all about what we saw before she would get into bed.  I am sure she will be dreaming of Rudolph, unicorns, and rainbows, which all make for happy dreams.

Bonus Experience for Frostfell

The patch update from this morning includes the following treat:

In the spirit of Frostfell giving, we’d like to announce that there’s a 20% added Experience Bonus in play until the new year!  Adventurers and Artisans alike, from levels 1 to 60, will be gaining this special holiday bonus automatically.  Happy Frostfell!

Whee!  Time to get my little armorer to level 30!

I do wonder about this though:

It should be a lot harder to get stuck coming out of the Magic Closet into the Frostfell Wonderland Village.

I thought it had been made quite clear, the Fae are not gay.