Tag Archives: Qeynos

Qeynos Reskinned – And The Beat Goes On

In which I complain about slights both real and imaginary.

Qeynos? There is no “there” there!  Let’s talk about me.

Firiona Vie, EverQuest Spokesmodel

Long have the residents of Qeynos suffered neglect as the second city of Norrath.  Ever have we been in the shadow of our rival city, Freeport, and have been discriminated against because of our unjustly diminished stature.

In old Norrath, in the original EverQuest, a vast right coast conspiracy placed Freeport at the center of the world’s activity, with many smaller racial home towns feeding naturally into it via the Commonlands or the Ocean of Tears.  It acted as a crossroads and became the destination for those looking to trade, and it flourished.

Classic Norrath

And even as the bounds of Norrath grew, even as the bazaar took over from the Commonlands tunnel, Freeport remained an important destination.  Ever is there activity in Freeport.  It was important enough to get a complete revamp a couple of years back, along with the Commonlands.

The updated Freeport docks

None of the original cities of Norrath have had such attention lavished upon it.

Certainly not Qeynos.

(Conspiracy theories and a few pictures of the new Qeynos after the cut.)

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The Worst News from Fan Faire…

At least EverQuest II related news… and in my highly opinionated view.

I saw this quote over at MMO Axis and felt a pang of despair.

Outside the expansion, EQ2 will be launching the revamp of Freeport.

Really?

Was the revamp of Freeport in EverQuest such a booming success that it was felt that SOE needed to repeat it in EQ2?

To me, revamping the over-wrought monstro-city of Freeport should be a pretty low item on the list of things to do.

Freeport cannot even claim to have been the focal point of the game the way it was back in EverQuest.

Unless the upcoming Age of Discovery expansion is going to focus on the city (and let the player base that is aligned with Qeynos/Halas… which seems to be the majority of players on the servers on which I have played… access the city) I cannot see the upside of this for the game as a whole.

Now I am biased, having suffered the neglect of the Qeynos citizen at the hands of SOE in EverQuest, where they took the time to redo Freeport but cannot be bothered to fix the fog effects west of Highhold Pass.  And then in EQ2 it felt like SOE spent about 10x the resources creating Freeport vs. Qeynos.

Long simmering resentments aside though, I still wonder what SOE feels they are going to gain from this.  If they had announced a Qeynos revamp, I think I would still be asking the question, “Is it worth it?”

Yes, the city could be improved.  Cutting down on the number of zones that make up the city would be a start.  And that goes for Qeynos as well.  But couldn’t the effort of doing the revamp be used elsewhere?

We need only look over at World of Warcraft which revamped the 1-60 parts of Azeroth and wonder if such work is worthwhile.  Did that improve the game, or merely sever a link that many of us had with the game’s past?

What do you think?  Is the planned revamp of Freeport a good thing or not?

Addendum:

EQ2Wire has some additional info about the Freeport revamp, which I only saw after I posted this.

A screenshot of the rebuilt Freeport which is being redone as a single large city zone which will function as a quest hub through the entire level range. Players will be encouraged to come back to their home city and continue to do quests for them. I look forward to a rebuilt Freeport which is no less sinister but perhaps one which looks a bit less like a landfill.

Still, the question stands: Good thing or not?

More details from the EQ2 Zones and Content panel.

Norrathian Scavenger Hunt

It looks like the low level armor quests are in for my two characters, a bard and an enchanter, as well as for Potshot’s paladin and druid.  So for much of this week we have put off the experience grind in favor of completing these quests, each of which give you a full set of armor and a weapon when done.

Seeking out these items is a bit of a scavenger hunt.

For example, to wrap up the bard armor quest in Qeynos, the Wind Spirits Armor quest line, you end up with quite a list of  items to obtain, which seem to fall into three categories.

There is the raw element needed for all of the recipes.  For the bard it is this:

  • 20 – Brick Of Crude Iron Ore

These drop off of gnolls in and around Blackburrow, so are easy enough to find, though they are a pain to accumulate as they weigh 15 lbs. and cause you to become encumbered after picking up only one or two.

There there are the standard vendor items that you can pick up around town at any time.  Again, for the bard quest these are.

  • 1 – Arrow
  • 1 – Bottle
  • 1 – Honey Mead
  • 1 – Throwing Spear

And then there is the Scavenger Hunt.  These items all drop off of mobs.  Some of them you can find at vendors in the area, having been sold for coin by people who did not need them, while others are flagged as No Drop and thus have to be looted from the mob in question by you personally.

  • 1 – Bandit Sash
  • 1 – Bat Fur
  • 1 – Black Wolf Tooth
  • 2 – Blackburrow Gnoll Pelt
  • 1 – Brown Bear Femur
  • 1 – Coyote Skull
  • 1 – Diseased Wolf Pelt
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Carapace
  • 1 – Giant Spider Egg Sack
  • 1 – Gnoll Backbone
  • 2 – Gnoll Pelvis
  • 1 – Gnoll Scoutsman Documents
  • 1 – Greater Cat Tooth
  • 1 – Lock Of Scarecrow Straw
  • 1 – Low Quality Bear Skin
  • 1 – Matted Greater Cat Pelt
  • 2 – Ruined Wolf Pelt
  • 2 – Spider Legs
  • 2 – Vial Of Gnoll Blood
  • 1 – Woven Spider Silk
  • 1 – Young Puma Skin

The No Drop items seem to be spread out so that each recipe has one, so you cannot work completely from the vendors in your area.

Via some aggressive shopping (I covered all the vendors in West Karana, North Karana, and East Karana), and only a bit of mob camping, I have been able to make two bracers, the boots, and the breast plate for Tistann.  The armor is… bright emerald green.

Bard turning slowly green

The nice thing though is that, when you make the chest item for your quest, you also get offered the quest for the weapon that goes with the set, which in my case was the Wind Spirits Longsword.

That sword might be one of the best looking I have seen so far in the game.

Tistann's new blade

The design is simple and functional, taking the form of a katana.

I am somewhat stuck on the coyote skull, the young puma skin, and the giant fire beetle carapace, none of which I have seen anywhere.  And then there is the diseased wolf pelt, which seems to drop quite regularly off of rabid wolves in Qeynos Hills, only they are a pretty rare spawn.  I count myself lucky to have gotten one so far.

The Qeynos armor quest for my enchanter, the Arcane Order Armor, has a likewise long list of items to obtain.  The magic users, magicians, enchanters, and wizards all get the same quest.  It is no wonder nobody can tell them apart on site.

Thrall looking for some clothes

For Thrall’s quests, the basic item for each recipe is:

  • 20 – Woven Spider Silks

Those are easy enough to find hunting spiders out in West Karana.

And the vendor items… well… they make more sense than perhaps some of the bard items.  An arrow and a bottle?  Really?

  • 1 – Cloth Cap
  • 1 – Cloth Sandals
  • 1 – Cloth Shirt
  • 1 – Cloth Sleeves
  • 1 – Cloth Wristband

And then, again, there is the Scavenger Hunt:

  • 1 – Bandit Sash
  • 1 – Fire Beetle Leg
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Carapace
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Eye
  • 1 – Giant Fire Beetle Leg
  • 2 – Giant Whiskered Bat Eyes
  • 1 – Gnoll Jawbone
  • 2 – Gnoll Pup Scalps
  • 1 – Golden Bandit Tooth
  • 2 – Large Myotis Bat Ear
  • 1 – Matted Lion Pelt
  • 1 – Medium Quality Bear Skin
  • 1 – Puma Skin
  • 1 – Rabid Wolf Hide
  • 1 – Shadow Wolf Paw
  • 2 – Snake Eggs
  • 1 – Spider Legs

There is that giant fire beetle carapace again, and a rabid wolf pelt, which I am going to guess also only drops from rabid wolves in Qeynos Hills.  And then there is the medium quality bear skin, which Potshot also needs, and which does not appear to be a drop or vendor trash, but a crafted item.

Tistann had one of those as well, the low quality bear skin, but I managed to find one of those by searching all of the tailoring vendors.  We shall see if luck strike again in that regard.  If not, Thrall may have to take up tailoring, which will mean that Tistann might have to continue on with smithing since you need skinning knives to work on hides.

So far I have not been able to complete any of the recipes for Thrall, so he has no new armor to show off.  But I suspect Potshot and I will spend some time this weekend trying to outfit our team.

In Norrath You Can See Forever

And it is starting to bug me a little.

There is a distinct lack of fog in EverQuest these days, and fog is one of the things I associate with early 3D games.

My thoughts primarily hearken back to the original days of games like EverQuest and Tribes in that regard.

The fog that hid the tree tops in Surefall Glade, the fog in the middle distance that made me tread carefully across the Qeynos Hills towards Qeynos.

Or the fog that hid the far side of a battlefield in Tribes, out of which the occasional tracers or disc projectiles would fly.

I had to use Google to find some old screen shots to show what I mean.

Now you may look at that and say, “Hey, you know it is raining in most of those shots, right?”

True, but these were the best screen shots I could find, so you’ll have to trust me that, at least in my memory, the fog in the game was present even when it wasn’t raining.

And these days in EverQuest, this is what I see most of the time.  Outside of Qeynos it is this.

Running towards a clear blue horizon

From our favorite bandit camp in West Karana, the view is this.

A clear vista of West Karana

But for me, the clincher, the proof in my mind, that the fog is gone, is this shot from Surefall Glade.

Are those supposed to be trees?

Surefall Glade, the zone where I started, the first place I saw back in 1999, used to have the permanent layer of fog above it, so the giant tree trunks seemed to disappear into the mist.  It was like a Northern California redwood grove in the winter.

Now it looks like great big wooden dowels holding up a blue surface.  Or if I turn the picture upside down, it could be pilings sticking up out of water.  But either way, the fog is gone.

Of course, things have changed over the years.  I started playing EverQuest on a 400MHz Pentium II machine with a 3dfx based Voodoo 2 card, which I upgraded soon afterwords to a very nice nVidia TNT2 based video card.  All that fog was there as a blind to keep from over-working the then current crop of video cards.

These days my current machine is considerably more powerful and the video card, a GTS 450, benefits from a decade of research and development.

My machine might now be too powerful to bother rendering fog as it can handle any request that EverQuest throws it.  Moore’s Law may have rendered fog rendering obsolete.

How about you?  Do you remember the fog back in the day in games like EverQuest and Tribes?  Is my mind coloring in blank spots with fog?

And do you see fog in old Norrath today?

Philosophy in the Qeynos Sewers

Saturday night found us without a full group for Azeroth.  Earl was without power and the rest of the group, aside from Potshot and I, were content to take the night off.

We remaining two headed immediately for Norrath to indulge ourselves in another round of EverQuest.

Having seen the Qeynos Hills and a bit of West Karana, we thought we would try something a little closer to Qeynos.

Qeynos Aqueduct System

This meant some more swimming.  But while we were nearly drowning on the first day, we seemed to be up to challenge of swimming through the water works below Qeynos by this point.  Granted, you have to swim straight down what seems to be a very deep well to get in.

Look at that corpse way down there

Fortunately, you only have to swim a little ways down before you zone into the Qeynos Catacombs.  Then there is a little maneuvering and the inevitable, but now manageable, climb out of the water.  Potshot was happy to see that Vikund had finally obtained a shirt, even if he now seemed oddly Roman in character.

Anybody for God and Heroes?

I remember spending quite a bit of time in the water system under Qeynos back in the day.  There were a few rooms of mercenaries we used to camp quite successfully.  Plus there was rumor of a bonus to experience down there, relative to Qeynos Hills or the Karanas.

I also remember getting lost in the place a lot.  It is maze-like in layout, and there are places where you have to swim under water through tunnels to get around.  However, the built in map tool I mentioned yesterday comes with a map of the Qeynos underground.

Skronk and I in the first room

Combining that with the map of the Qeynos Catacombs over at the EQ Atlas page and we were able to get around quite handily by comparing room shapes and water locations.

Qeynos Catacombs

Most of what is down there is not all that different from what is on the surface in front of Qeynos, though a little higher in level.  We eventually settled down for a stretch around room 7 on the map above, which seemed to be a haven for passing rats, bats, bugs, spiders, and my favorite Qeynos Catacombs mob, the gelatinous cube.

Cube Ahoy!

I love the gelatinous cube in EQ because it looks exactly like what I pictured it looked like when playing D&D back in high school.  It isn’t a blob, or some sort of rounded-edge cube-like shape, but a perfect six-sided square prism of goo, like something you would find at the dessert section of the school cafeteria… only much, much bigger.

We did not run into too many other people as we camped our little corner of the zone.  An enchanter was camping some mercenaries close by, and when he left we took over that room for a while, since it seemed to be a little more lucrative.

I was ahead of Skronk in experience because of my adventures earlier in the day.  By the end of the evening, he had hit level 6 and I was closing in on level 7.

We didn’t wander around too much while we were down there, though we saw a few of the key sites.  There is some graffiti on the walls down there.

Must have had a step-ladder to write that

Some of it is worthy of note, like this reference to Brad McQuaid‘s character.

Aradune is Stinky

I had also forgotten some of the better patterns down there.  While a repeating brick pattern is easy enough, there are a couple of places where the bitmap is animated, like these gargoyles.

Water Flows

Water appears to flow endlessly from their mouths, which was a pretty sophisticated graphical touch for 1999.

Eventually we had enough of the underside of Qeynos and took the nearest route back up to the surface, which put us at the docks in South Qeynos.

Wait, isn’t this salt water?

But while we were down and slaying, we had been talking on Skype about where to go with this adventure in Norrath.

I’m not sure that either of us have the devotion or wherewithal to pursue the progression server to its eventual end and all the levels that go with it. (Isn’t the cap now at level 90 as of the House of Thule expansion?)  And it seems doubtful that we could get the rest of the instance group interested in spending our 3 hours a week grinding through old Norrath.

On the other hand, we both still seem enthusiastic enough that we are willing to put down for another month of access.  So while I won’t commit to ongoing daily updates (which I am sure some are sick of already) you can expect to see more musings about EverQuest at least into March.

The key, at least for myself, is to have a goal.  Or, better yet, a series of short, attainable goals, like steps, to keep me moving forward with the game.

Getting to level 50 is too far away to be an effective motivator.

My current goal is getting to the spell Spirit of the Wolf, but I am very close to that by now, so I have to start thinking of the next goal.

Of course, we could look at something touristy.  Maybe we should shoot for getting high enough in levels to take a tourist screen shot in all of the zones in original Norrath.  That might be something we can manage, and it gives us a list of things to check off as we go.

What other goals should we consider for Norrath?

What would keep you going in EverQuest?