Tag Archives: Kingdom of Sky

EverQuest II – US Server Merges Complete, Kingdom of Sky Rejected, and Other Tidbits

The server merge… or server consolidation… or whatever they ended up calling it… plans for EverQuest II, officially announced back in August, are now complete.  Nine of the low population servers have been consolidated into three.

As somebody who had characters spread across four servers, Crushbone, Guk, Freeport, and Stormhold, I can now say that… I still have characters spread over four servers.  They are now named Maj’dul, Halls of Fate, Skyfire, and Stormhold.

So no help for me on that front.

The old servers were grouped and merged as follows:

  • Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers into Maj’Dul
  • Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest servers into Halls of Fate
  • Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost servers into Skyfire

The ever-popular Antonia Bayle server was left to its own devices, while the even more popular Time Locked Expansion Servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, roll on as before.

Servers outside of the United States have not been touched as yet.  If you want an EverQuest II PvP server, your options now are Deathtoll and that Russian server… Harla Dar?

There is an official FAQ about the merges as well as a helpful why aren’t things working FAQ reproduced over at EQ2 Wire.

I suppose I can bask in the warm glow of each of the characters on those three servers having nine more titles to choose from.  It appears that I got three variations of titles for each of the three servers,  So my character Reynaldo from the Guk server can be “Of,” “Descendant of,” or “Native of” Guk… or Everfrost… or Unrest.  Not sure why he got all three, but there it is.  I think I’ll stick with the old school “of E’Ci” title to show my old Norrathian cred.

Also, Reynaldo has years old guild mail from Revelry & Honor in his mailbox.  Lots of it.  I should probably go delete that at some point.

Meanwhile, on both the Stormhold and Deathtoll nostalgia servers, the Kingdom of Sky unlock vote went down to defeat.  From the forums:

Hail Norrathians,

This is a quick update to let you know that the vote to unlock Kingdom of Sky did NOT pass on either Stormhold (PvE) or Deathtoll (PvP) in November 2015.

Don’t worry if you’re one of the players that was excited about Kingdom of Sky content, because the vote will become available again in 30-days.

So no floating islands in the sky this month.

All this... is for later...

All this… is for later…

I still think a vote every 30 days is too quick, but Daybreak seems keen not to let the EQII retro servers turn into a stale death march of boredom, as tends to happen on the EverQuest time locked servers after the first few expansion.

I was going to proudly report how I voted no on the unlock… and then I went and looked at my screen shot and… well… I guess I voted yes.

Official ballot

Official ballot

I am not sure why I did that.  It seems unlike me.  But hey, glad to see that I went down to defeat.  Go me!

EverQuest II also turned 11 years old this week.  Or maybe it was last week.  I see different dates in various places.  It was either the 4th or the 9th by most accounts, or maybe the 6th, but SOE celebrated it last year on the 10th.  I suppose that just symbolized what a long strange road and all of that.  To celebrate that, Daybreak has their 12 year veteran award all set.

On per account

On per account

I am so out of touch with the game that I have no idea what those tokens are for.

They had to roll out the 12 year reward because purchasing the first four expansions gave people a 90 day… um… boost… to their veteran status.  Don’t ask me why this seemed like a good idea or a needed incentive back then.

As it so happens today, Friday, November 13th, is my own 11 year anniversary with the game, having rolled in just after launch when the second round of servers were opened up to take overflow from the initial servers.  I wrote about all of that last year, so I won’t dredge it all up yet again.  You can read that tale here.

And, in what might be considered an ironic twist, my Daybreak All Access subscription expired yesterday.  I cancelled it at the start of the month because I hadn’t been playing on Stormhold as much as I thought I would.  I haven’t been playing any fantasy MMORPGs recently.  It is just odd that it should expire when it did.  What were the odds?  (1 in 30… so not that long of a shot actually.)

Finally, we stand on the edge of the first post-SOE expansion for EverQuest II, Tales of Thumbelina… ern… Trials of Terre Haute… no… wait… I’ve got this…  Terrors of Thalumbra!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Set to come out next Tuesday, November 17th, Daybreak has decreed that there shall be double XP from whenever they said until the expansion launches… at which time you may resume grinding at the usual rate.  Time locked expansion servers are exempt from this because you wanted an authentic experience, right?  Nobody made you roll a character there!

And that is what seems to be going on in post-Cataclym Norrath this week.

If it is Fun Once, It Must be Fun Twice, Right?

During the last week of last year I had gotten my berserker, Sigwerd, through the Kingdom of Sky expansion and into Kunark.  He went out into the Kylong Plains, wrapping that up and now sits just shy of level 75 in the Fens of Nathsar.

While he is still 25 levels shy of the cap, he made some decent progress and is my highest level character now in EverQuest II.  In the Norrathian expansion timeline I have nearly made it to 2008!

But in his bash through Kunark, Sigwerd had used up all of his vitality… or bonus experience… or blue bar in the parlance of Azeroth… as well as his weekly refill from the Orb of Concentrated Memories, a veyeran’s reward that is now available from the loyalty points vendor.  And since I am in tourist mode… I want to see stuff, but not necessarily grind it to death… I started looking to see if there was an alt I could run around with while Sigwerd recharged.  My goal was to find a character I could get to run through the cloud mount series of quests again without a lot of effort.

To do that, I needed somebody at least kind of close to level 55 or so, about the soonest you can really dig into that quest line.

My first choice was Nehru, my level 56 templar, and a copy of my very first character in game. (Copied over when EverQuest II Extended was the hot new thing and its own server.  He still shows a November 13, 2004 creation date and all the play time recorded back when I used to leave him logged in to sell while I was at work, back when there was no offline selling option.)

He was right in the zone and I had even played him some in our last run through EQII way back when.  He was geared up and good to go.  So I got him out and gave him a try.  To do this I figured I would have to work with a mercenary, as Nehru was biased towards healing.  However, the rhythm of working with a tank mercenary felt really awkward and I gave up after a short time.

Which did not leave me a lot of choices if I wanted to stay on the Freeport server.  I have a bunch of characters in the 20-40 range, but there was only one other character beyond those.  That was Vikund, a level 49 paladin.  He is a copy of my second ever character in EQII, but unlike Nehru, who got a new name and who actually got some play time, Vikund was copied over for his trade skill and was otherwise left as he was.

He was actually very close to level 50, so I quickly ran out and got that.

Level 50 about a decade late

Level 50 about a decade late

But from there he was struggling a bit to move forward.  This appeared to be, in part, because he was geared up straight from 2005 before some gear had stats and such.

I like my cloak to be clear of numbers!

I like my cloak to be clear of numbers!

I thought I would be okay because I was at least wearing a full set of Ebon crafted armor.  However, it was really, really old.  Gaff made it with his character Meclin… I would guess in 2005 or so… back when the mastercrafted gear was available at 20, 30, 40, 50, etc., rather than the way it is now at 22, 32, 42, 52, etc.  So I am going to guess that it did not get whatever updates eventually got applied to gear over time.

Not an astounding helm

Not an astounding helm

I could be wrong on that, but I was struggling some.  Fights against single mobs were very slow, though that could have also been because I had no idea what my skills did.  My hot bars were a complete mess.  I ended up wiping them out and filling them up again, trying to apply some order to them.

Vinkund's hot bars

Vinkund’s hot bars

My general logic is that a ranged started gets slot 1, whatever I need to do to start melee reliably (which means a skill without a cool down) in slot 2, first step and second step skills for heroic opportunities arrayed on either side of the starter (that yellow skill on 8), AOEs grouped together (alt 1 through 4), other stuff I think I might need strewn about where I will likely forget what it does when I actually need it, and buffs on bar 4, which I will scroll to should I need to re-buff… which I never need to, since most buffs are good until cancelled and persist through death.

Of course, SOE’s icons don’t always help.  You will note that 4 and 9 plus 6 and 7 have the same icons, despite being different skills.  A red background makes them single target damage attacks, but a couple are physical attacks, a couple are magic… because paladins… and the skill at alt 1, which has a mostly red background, is actually an AOE attack, despite other AOE attacks having a blue background.  And purple is for group buffs, except for the skill at 1.  There is nothing quite like having a system that you only mostly keep to.

(On the berserker side of the house, there are four skills, hate, enrage, mock, and chaos, which all use the same basic icon, three of which are taunts, which matches the “shouting at somebody” design.  But chaos is a temporary group buff.  Need more icons.)

And after I cleared the hot bars it took me quite a while to find the Master’s Rage skill, the special attack you get to use against mob types for which you have completed the appropriate Lore and Legend quest.  The spell book is as muddled as always, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I couldn’t remember what the skill was called.  I found it after I set the spell book to show all spells, sorted them alphabetically, and went through them page by page until I found it.

But now I have a system that mostly works, though I am going to have to move that long cool down big heal at alt-7 because I hit it now and again when going for the short cool down attack at alt-6.

I also decided to grab a mercenary.  With Sigwerd I went with the barbarian warder as support.  While that worked out well, I decided to change it up a bit and went for a mercenary in the druid line.

Desert healing

Forest Spirit Healing

That meant an elf following me around and summoning plants and what not, but it wasn’t a bad change.  That allowed me to get up to level 52 quickly enough where I diverted into Frostfell village (which was still up last night… how long does Frostfell last?) where I ran enough quests to upgrade my gear to the holiday set. (Also, no helm for the Frostfell set? I didn’t notice I had the ebon helm on still because I had the blue Santa cap in my appearance slot.)

Vikund in holiday armor

Vikund in holiday armor

It does feel a bit like I am running around in my pajamas at times, and the snowflake aura isn’t exactly a tough guy look either, but the upgrade was very noticeable.  I added in a cobalt sword and kite shield, after which I was able to put away my mercenary for a while as I tore my way through the Pillar of Flames to level 55.  (Also, at some point in the distant past, I got an item that applied that glowing yellow eyes look to me and I have no idea how to turn it off.)

Anyway, I got to 55 and headed up to the Tenebrous Tangle… which meant getting to some spires… where are the closest spires to New Halas? I keep going to the Commonlands… to start the cloud mount quest chain.

That went well enough.

Okay, I fell off the edge a couple times... mounts are too fast

Okay, I fell off the edge a couple times… mounts are so fast

I did not need my mercenary until I hit the Sanctum of the Scaleborn, which includes heroic mobs.  I also tried to pick up a side quest now and then to run in parallel as the cloud mount quest advances in levels much more rapidly that you, as a player, do if you are running only that.  Parallel quests went okay, except for one in the Sanctum of the Scaleborn which runs just fine until the very last step.  At that point you discover that, if you did not complete a language quest back in the Desert of Flames expansion, you cannot finish it.   I’ll have to get back to that.

I also got skunked in the Sanctum of the Scaleborn for a bit because it is an open dungeon and a group popped in with me… the first time I had seen another player doing anything beyond passing through in Kingdom of the Sky… and proceeded to jump ahead and wipe the whole place out.  So I had to wait for the end of their rampage and a round of respawns.  (Commence “instanced vs. open dungeons” argument.)

Those quests were still not quite enough to keep Vikund from getting ahead of himself at times.  But that is why he has a healing mercenary.  I think his main problem in running ahead as fast as he has is that all of his skills are at the apprentice level still, which means that they do not hit higher level mobs as often as I would like.  I may have to get Nehru out again, as he is an alchemist, so he can whip up a batch of journeyman skill upgrades.

Overall, swapping out to a new character for another shot at the cloud mount quest line has been fun.  It has also been a bit quicker, as I know where I got lost or confused previously.  Vikund has made it past 60 already and is into the second stage of the quest line in The Barren Sky.

Level 60

Level 60

I was tempted to run back to Frostfell village to upgrade his equipment again, but then I started getting pieces from the Angelic Soul paladin armor set that are part of the quest line rewards.  That will keep him going for a while.  The question is, how long will I keep going?

I guess I can make it through this weekend.  SOE is having a bonus exp event, so I should be able to get a little bit further with either Sigwerd or Vikund.  But my thoughts are turning back to Azeroth.  There are garrisons to maintain and alts to work on and Darkmoon Faire to run through.  So much to do.

Riding in the Kylong Plains

I managed to finish up the cloud mount quest line in Kingdom of Sky fairly early on over the weekend.  As a tour of the expansion, that worked out pretty well.  You end up seeing most of the various sky islands and some of the key locations in the expansion.  Some of them, like the Sanctum of the Scaleborn, are heroic level, but with a healing mercenary in tow, following Sigwerd around, that worked out well enough.  Heroic mobs were manageable, even if I got an add.

I skipped every other quest I ran across, and sold all of the collectibles I picked up on the market, fearing I wouldn’t be there long enough to complete any of those collections.  That meant, in addition to hitting heroic mobs, I was also a bit behind in levels.  Again, a healing mercenary solved that problem and I was able to run the whole thing down, even the couple of rather awkward jumping segments.

And at the end of the quest chain there was a huge pile of loot.

Here lies treasure...

Here lies treasure…

That pile of treasure has no relation to what you actually end up with, but it certainly helped mark the spot.  What you do get is a small amount of gold (at least relative to that pile), experience, a decorative dish with some gems on it for your home, and the cloud mount itself.

Cloud mount away!

Cloud mount away!

The cloud mount doesn’t actually fly, except when the quest delivers you back to your start point.  It is just a ground mount that happens to look like you’re riding on a cloud.  Certainly better looking than some mounts in Norrath.

The setup to a "frog in a blender" joke

The setup to a “frog in a blender” joke

And you can turn it into a house item, which was my immediate plan. (Though wait until you get back to your house to do so. If you convert it to a house item when the quest gives it to you, you end up stuck on a branch sticking out of the side of a floating island with no way back.)

Then I discovered that the cloud mount had one attribute that distinguished it from other ground mounts.  It applies the feather fall effect to you, which means that when you ride off a cliff you glide gently down to ground level, in a way reminiscent of the Fae glide trait back when Echoes of Faydwer launch, before it got reworked, normalized, or otherwise nerfed.

So I decided to keep the cloud mount and make it my default, though because even mounts have appearance slots in EverQuest II, I was able to keep my horse as my mount look.  It just so happens to be a magic, gliding horse now.

Glide, horse, glide!

Glide, horse, glide!

All of which left me at level 66 and ready to head into the Rise of Kunark expansion, which kicks off in the Kylong Plains.

Landing in Kunark

Landing in Kunark

I am pretty sure I landed at the dock with another character way back in the day just to see it, but with RoK mostly being a level 70 to 80 expansion, I had not gone any further.

More after the cut.

Continue reading

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.