Tag Archives: Terrors of Thalumbra

Getting Side Tracked on the way to 110 in Norrath

I carried on for a bit in the Plane of Magic in EverQuest II.  I made it through the faction quest line I was working on and dug into the signature quest line for the zone, making it into the Coliseum of Valor.

Hob nobbing with the deities of Norrath

I managed to make it to level 108 as part of that.

Another level further along

I even managed to collect enough status along the way to boost the guild up a level.

I don’t think we get anything until 50

It has been a few years since that happened.  I think we got to level 40 back in 2010 during my attempt to bring the instance group to the game.

After that it was into the Plane of Innovation where things… really slowed down.  Not the drip of experience, which was already almost non-existent for mobs, but the pace at which I could slay them.  I was able to slay them, despite being level 100 heroic groups.

That guys was worth an achievement

With a mercenary along to keep me healed and my gear level I was in no danger of dying.  But it was taking a long time to kill encounters.  Heroic groups were running past 5 minutes per fight and that Ancient Clockwork Prototype was a 25 minute bout.  That is a long time to be mashing buttons… and in EQII you have a ton of buttons to mash.  I have four hot key bars up in my UI, three to keep essential combat related skills and another for utility items I use often, and I know I am missing a bunch of skill.  I am just glad that when you die the game retains all of the “until cancelled” buffs you cast on yourself.  I’d need another hot bar for that list.

Anyway, with fights starting to run that long I began to think that perhaps my DPS was not up to snuff.  As I said, my defenses seem to be fine, so it was time to look into things to make me hit harder.

First up was skill upgrades.  I think I have mentioned before the complexity of EQII skills.  When you gain a skill, or a skill upgrade, it comes in at apprentice level.  You can upgrade that to journeyman level via trade skills, adept via random skill drops, expert from trade skills using rare components, master from rare chest drops, grandmaster via an every 10 levels, pick one skill, alternate advancement mechanism, and ancient via rare raid drops.  There is a whole thing on the wiki about this.

You can also train them up via a time learning mechanism akin to EVE Online skill training, which at level 100+ takes about 16 to 20 days to go from apprentice to journeyman.  But  if you want to spend money you can buy Station Cash and level those up instantly.

Upgrades, wait or pay

I opted to wait given the current price of Daybreak Cash.

Daybreak Cash Prices

With my subscription discount and buying Daybreak Cash at its cheapest per unit price, that instance upgrade to just journeyman would run about $78.  And, while I would take a journeyman upgrade, I really wanted something a bit better.

That is because, as you might expect, every step up the upgrade ladder makes a skill noticeably better.  You can even get in situations where a level VI version of a skill at grandmaster is much better than the level VII version at apprentice.  The game tries to work around that by doing a compare when you earn a new skill and leaving the old one on your hot bar if it is better.  But if you later upgrade the new one you have to go and audit your hot bar to make sure you have the right one.

And if you have boosted your character up levels… well.  Sigwerd got past level 60 on his own, then boosted to 90 and has gone from there to 108.  Along the way some of the skills in his hot bars have fallen behind.  So I went through and fixed all of that.

Then I started shopping for upgrades on the market.  But the prices for adepts for level 100+ skills are insane.  Sigwerd has about 50K platinum, making him my wealthiest character.  Inflation got him that money through the market.  But inflation means he could piss that all away quickly on the adept upgrades for his skill, which run from 2.5K to 10K platinum each.

Few people seemed to be making journeyman skills, and those that were on the market were even more expensive than adept skills.

The prices of a Frenzy VI upgrade

I went to my alchemist, but he is only level 92 in that trade, so I need to level him up there.  And even then there is the question of getting the recipes which require a signature quest run.

So I did what I could there then started fishing elsewhere.

I went through my alternate advancement trees to see if there was anything I could boost there.

I looked at gear, but my stuff from the Days of Summer quest last year was still better than anything on the market, along with the upgrades to that I had gotten in the Plane of Magic.

At one point I was looking through my claimable items… those have piled up over the last 15 years… and found a mount that had better stats than my own, so swapped to that and started upgrading it.  I also claimed a companion pet I had in there that also gave me a stats boost.  And I bought a familiar… which is also a pet of sorts that also gives you stats, so I am not sure what the difference is, other than that familiars are “collectable” and have seasons and cost Daybreak Cash.  I got a slug.  But it was a slug that gave me a stats boost.

While in the claims window I also ran across some other, older, unclaimed items I found a token worth a five ascension level boost.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I recalled something about ascension levels and it being something of an alternate alternate advancement path.  So I figured I ought to track that down.

Now we get into one of my gripes about EQII.  I am sitting in something close to the current content, running one expansion back in Planes of Prophecy.  But ascension levels came in with Kunark Ascending, the expansion before that.  In order to unlock access to ascension levels, I need to run down a signature quest in that expansion.  But to get that quest I need to go back to the expansion before that, Terrors of Thalumbra, and run through a signature quest there to unlock the trigger to get the quest that will get me into the zone, Obulus Frontier, that has the NPC that will give me the quest that will unlock ascension levels.  That quest chain actually starts on the Isle of Mara, which sends me around a bit to other zones.  Then it is finally off to Thalumbra, which you have to do a quest to access, and where I need to work on my faction with the local in order to get the next quest that will lead to the further quest.

Thalumbra is underground

So I ran through that, getting side tracked along the way to unlock access to trade skill recipes so I could craft beyond level 100, since that was only another six quest chain and I was down there anyway.

Eventually I get into Obulus Frontier, but it is late in the evening so I figure I will pick this up the next day and recall home to sell stuff in my bloated inventory and put stuff up for sale on the market.  In my inventory is a bunch of stuff from the Days of Summer 2019 quest event, which was still running, and which I ran across by accident when I ended up in the Sundered Frontier on one leg of one of the quests to get access to Obulus Frontier, so of course I stopped and ran those.  Now I have a full set of level 110 gear to wear if and when I make it to level 110.  So I had to put that in the bank.

Of course, the next day I had to figure out how to get back.  The wiki says there is a way to get there from Thalumbra, so I go to Greater Faydark, take the gnomish transport device, and fly around to the spot where I can get in.

Me, my companion, and my familiar

However, it won’t let me in.  I have not done the quest that opens up the access from Thalumbra to Obulus Frontier, because of course I haven’t.  So I go to Kunark and find my way through to the portal that will get me to the zone and I go in and I find the mob that will give me the quest that will finally unlock ascension levels… and I get this.

Say what?

As it turns out, I do not speak her language because, as you might be able to guess at this point, I have not done the quest that will teach me the language that lets me speak to her to get the quest that will unlock ascension levels and one voice in the back of my head is shouting, “Are you fucking kidding me?” while another is just sighing and saying, “Or course there is another quest.”

So I ran off to find that quest.  And I know that won’t be the last quest.  I took a moment to fly off to the person who actually ends up training you in your ascension class and they were surrounded by hostile guards, which likely means I will need to do some more quests to raise my faction sufficiently to get through the guards and converse with the trainer.

I am not upset about this trail of events.  That I spent three late evening running through all of this and am still going is an indication that I am invested.  But as a solution to my original problem, that fights were taking a long time, it seems to be something of a bust.  I don’t know if this will actually solve the problem and, more pertinently, if I had just put up with the long fights I would have easily been done and through and on to the next thing and probably level 109 with the same investment of time.

And if I had spent that same amount of time running some of the repeatable, faction earning side quests in the Plane of Magic I would undoubtedly be level 110 by now, my original goal.

Such is life with EverQuest II.  If you haven’t kept up, catching up can be a long process.  And I have had no shame in this using the wiki, pasting in way points, and just taking the direct route to things.  I cannot imagine figuring this out without simply giving up and embracing out of game information.

It has also been something of an interesting dive into an attitude or two that has changed at Daybreak on the Norrath team.  There was a era when they were very big on marking quest locations or areas on the map when you had then up on your tracker.  There were blue dots and shaded blue areas where you could expect to find the relevant NPC or mobs for the quest.  They have apparently given up on this completely with the last expansion or two.  Why spend time on that when there is always the wiki I guess.

The quest for level 110 continues.

Friday Bullet Points for the End of September

Another one of those round up posts to quickly cover some things I thought about working up posts around, but which never quite materialized.

CCP Closes the Gate

CCP announced that as of Wednesday the EVE Gate portal on the EVE Online site has been shut down.

You shall not log in!

The EVE Gate, for those who do not know… which is probably most people reading this… was a portal that allowed players to log in and access their in-game email and calendar.  It should not be confused with the in-game EVE Gate of lore, which is how humans first arrived in New Eden.

I’m not sure how big of a deal this really is.  I think I used it twice over the years.  I don’t get much in-game email really, as my corp, alliance, and coalition have other preferred communications methods.

Riverini returned to EN24 to write a post about the demise of EVE Gate.  As CCP notes, you can use their phone app or, if you want, you can use a third party app like Neocom.  I find the latter is much more useful overall, though it won’t let you send mail.

CCP is NOT Turning Japanese

Earlier this year CCP announced that they were cancelling their deal with Nexon for Japanese localization.  NEXON was a mixed bag for EVE in Japan, so CCP decided to carry on with a single Japanese speaking employee.  Sad for the Japanese community, but at least CCP was trying to carry on with support.

I want to hear Falcon read this in Vegas

However, things have taken a further turn as CCP has asked a lone Japanese speaking ISD member to stop translating patch notes and posting them to the forums.  The person in question was doing this on their own time, but CCP felt it was confusing as it was not officially sanctioned and there was some disagreement over the translations as converting EVE Online lore and mechanics from English to Japanese is problematic at the best of times.  The tale of this, with some translation examples, is in a Reddit thread.

Free Brittania!

Ultima Online has been celebrating its 20th anniversary this month, which I haven’t covered at all since I never played it.  I think Lord British and I parted ways at about Ultima V.

Welcome indeed

The game is still alive and rolling and trying to keep pace with the changes in the industry under Broadsword’s stewardship.  Over at Massively OP it was mentioned that, along those lines, Broadsword was looking into some sort of “free” option.  As the FAQ on the UO site indicates, free will mean giving up some options that I am sure any serious player would not want to do without.  The option is called the “Endless Journey” as is supposed to arrive in Spring 2018.

Expansions Coming to Norrath, But Not for Free

Both the EverQuest and EverQuest II sites have made it clear that we’ll be seeing the usual yearly expansions again for 2017.

For EverQuest it will be the Rings of Scale, while EverQuest II will be going old school again with the Planes of Prophecy.

We don’t know much beyond the names yet, but the usual warm up events have been kicking off and last year’s expansions are now 50% off for those late to the party.

One of the usual aspects of this phase is the addition of some past expansion to the free to play access level of the game.  Usually you can buy the latest and the previous expansion and everything before that is open for everybody.  But no longer.  As Massively OP reported (a pity Feldon isn’t around for this, he’d have done a nice full story on this), when asked when the soon to be in third place Terrors of Thalumbra expansion might be made free, the official response was:

We will not be adding anything further to the F2P line-up.

Harsh words, but perhaps the flip side of something Daybreak has said before.  The Planet Side 2 team opined in the past that there is a point of diminishing returns when piling on things for subscribers.  Now we’re seeing EverQuest II declining to remove something from the paid column.

I have not seen word as to whether the EverQuest expansion The Broken Mirror will face a similar path in not moving to the free zone, but I expect that will also be the case.

And that is it for items on my list.  I’m sure I will hate myself a year from now when I try to put these into my “One Year Ago” summary.

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.

EverQuest II Terrors of Thalumbra Goes Live Today

Today is the day and the unexpected 12th expansion for EverQuest II, the Terrors of Thalumbra, is set to launch.

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

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

I write “unexpected” because back in April Daybreak was telling us that they were done with the whole expansions thing.  It was going to be adventure packs or DLC or whatever you wish to call content additions that aren’t big enough to be expansions but which you still have to pay for.

Then, about a month and a half back, after some coy hints by Daybreak, they finally announced that they were back on the “expansion a year” plan for both EverQuest and EverQuest II.  I strongly expect that pricing had something do to with it.  Can you charge $90 or $140 for an adventure pack?

Premium packages available for premium prices

Premium packages available for premium prices

As noted, EverQuest got its own expansion with similar pricing, due out later this week.

According to the Daybreak copy, this is what you get with the expansion:

Terrors of Thalumbra
Deep underneath Norrath lies a realm on the edge of the Plane of the Underfoot, known as Thalumbra. This expansive, subterranean domain is home to fabled races and ancient terrors!

When the dark shroud upon this land is pierced by Lanys T’Vyl, the recently resurrected demigoddess of Malice, it spells doom for all! You are a hero on the stage of Norrath. Will you play your part and protect Norrath from those who seek to destroy it? What mysteries will your torch uncover deep beneath the surface? Can you withstand the terrors of Thalumbra?

Features:

  • Subterranean Overland Zone – Overland zone deep beneath Norrath’s surface.
  • Signature Quests – Special quests for both Adventure and Tradeskill players!
  • New Level Agnostic Dungeons – Brand new dungeons that scale for players 20-95
  • Upgrade Your Items – Through the new Infusion system!
  • New and Updated Deity System
  • New Relic Item System
  • Heroic & Advanced Solo Dungeons, Challenging Raid Zones and a New Contested Zone for level 100s!

Level 100 adventurers are to speak with Virun D’Xyafin in Neriak or Dangle Springbolt in Greater Faydark to begin their adventures.

Right now the servers should still be down for the deployment, along with other updates, details of which you can find over at EQ2 Wire.  Noon is the time slated for the expansion to go live, so it should be good to go by 4pm Pacific Time, given past history!

Terrors of Thalumbra and Why Expansions Trump DLC

Yesterday Daybreak broke loose and finally gave out some details about the previously hinted at/mentioned/waved about behind a curtain full on expansion for EverQuest II.  And so we were shown the Terrors of Thalumbra in a live stream that I totally missed, but which Feldon at EQ2 Wire attempted to live blog.

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

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

The copy for the expansion reads:

Deep underneath Norrath lies a realm on the edge of the Plane of the Underfoot, known as Thalumbra. This expansive, subterranean domain is home to fabled races and ancient terrors!

When the dark shroud upon this land is pierced by Lanys T’Vyl, the recently resurrected demigoddess of Malice, it spells doom for all! You are a hero on the stage of Norrath. Will you play your part and protect Norrath from those who seek to destroy it? What mysteries will your torch uncover deep beneath the surface? Can you withstand the terrors of Thalumbra?

Terrors of Thalumbra is the 12th EverQuest II expansion and brings new adventures to Norrath.

I keep thinking Cthulhu when I read about it and see the screen shots.  That can’t just be me, right?  Not that borrowing from Cthulhu is bad or hasn’t been done many times before. (Where do you think C’htun in WoW came from?)

As mentioned previously, this is a return to the classic expansion plan previously, and presumably successfully, followed by SOE for the game, and an overthrow of the adventure pack/DLC path that Daybreak set themselves on earlier this year with The Rum Cellar.

And it doesn’t take you much time to figure out why Daybreak might have headed back to the tried and true expansion path… it is tough to sell DLC for $140.

Prices

Terrors of Thalumbra Prices

The pre-order page is up and ready to take your money, with the price for the expansion ranging between $35 for the base package to $140 for the premium edition.  Past history shows that half of those buying the expansion, who represent the core following of the game, will opt for one of the two higher priced options.   All Access subscribers get a 10% discount on the prices, and they will make up a majority of the buyers I am sure, but going past $100 is still asking a lot.

Far be it from me to tell people what value they should put on virtual items, but it would take a lot more than what Daybreak is offering to get me into either of those packages.  But that is just me and I have long since admitted I am not really invested in the game anymore.  2004 is more than a decade in the past.  I might feel different if I had characters at level cap and was active and in a guild and so on and so forth.

And should I get back into things, the standard edition seems pretty reasonably priced for me.  The expansion content includes:

  • 1 large new (underground) Overland zone for level 100s
  • 13 Heroic Dungeons for level 100s (6 are event heroics!)
  • 6 Advanced Solo for level 100s
  • 1 Contested for level 100s
  • 5 Level Agnostic Heroic ToT Dungeons for levels 20 to 95 added to Dungeon Finder
  • 3 “X4” (or 4 group) Raid zones (AT LEAST 5 bosses each) for level 100s
  • 1 “X2” (or 2-group) Raid zone with 9 bosses for level 100s!
  • Over 80 quests including Signature line, tradeskills, locales, missions and more!
  • Over 50 Collection quests!

No new class, race, or level cap increase, but otherwise pretty standard fare for an expansion.  Basically giving the people what they want.

Finally, in what seems like an old school SOE move, Daybreak also announced a $35 “Time locked server adventure pack” which includes an 88-slot bag and a vitality potion bundle.  It is stuck there in the middle of the Terrors of Thalumbra order and info, but does not explicitly say that it includes the expansion, just the two items.  For that price, it is way too expensive for just those items, so I assume it includes the expansion, but since it doesn’t say that explicitly I wouldn’t put money down for it without some clarification.  Ambiguity for the win.

Anyway, expansions are well and truly back.  The proposed launch date for Terrors of Thalumbra is November 17th.