As it ever does, the coming of autumn turns my mind to Norrath. There is certainly some association in my mind with there finally being a bit of a chill in the night air and nostalgia for what once was.
Of course, having a long running blog… the self-recharging epicenter of my of my nostalgia… as well as Daybreak talking about expansions and events and what not feeds into this need to return to Norrath, visit my house, and see what is new in the world… or what is old and memorable and still there.
I will even have some time. The war in EVE Online has reached its conclusion so, aside from move ops home, there won’t be much activity for a month or so, while I seem to have paused in Azeroth for the moment, as noted on Friday. So Norrath could be a thing. I have room on my calendar.
The problem is that EverQuest II has, over the years, accreted layer after layer of barriers seemingly designed to thwart any sort of easy return to the game. As has been said many times over the years, EQII isn’t WoW. But I still manage to forget exactly how determined Daybreak can be in blocking people from getting back into the game.
And this autumn there was an additional barrier on the way to Norrath. Having upgraded my rig recently I was still in the process of finding out what worked and what did not after the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
EverQuest II started off in the not working column. It crashed early and often.
That it was copied over from the old system meant that something might have gotten corrupted, so I renamed its directory and did a fresh install. That did not seem to help. Fortunately, having gotten ZMud to run on Win10 I knew I was not out of options. Setting EQII to run under Win7 emulation and as administrator seemed to take care of the block on actually playing the game. It has not crashed since.
Which left me with the old problems of what to do once I could play. I see three possible paths forward.
Over the years, through various boost offers, I have managed to accrue several characters at, or very close to, level 100. The character I would consider my “main” is level 96. I used a level 95 boost on him back in the day and actually played him enough to get within striking distance of level 97. There are two other level 100 boosts and then the super-special level 100 boost from earlier this year.
So getting a high level character isn’t a problem. Figuring out what to do with one, on the other hand, seems to be a bit of a chore. The last couple of times I have tried the in-game messaging has directed me in the wrong direction. I certainly didn’t end up where many other people were playing. But going out of game doesn’t seem to be much help either. Googling what I should do in EverQuest II at level 100 gets me results like this:
- A wiki article that directs me to an NPC that is no longer there
- A wiki article that directs me to go back to the starting zone to run gray quests
- A wiki article that tells me I need to learn two languages or I can’t play new content
- A forum thread that calls level 100 boost “bait and switch” without very much in the way of push back
And I hate to say it, but those were among the more helpful, or at least on point, results I found.
Even if I can figure out where to go, there is the perennial problem of trying to figure out how to play a given class again, though that problem is mitigated somewhat by the fact that the last 100 boost I got had good enough gear that I could pretty much faceroll my way through anything I could find.
This is always an option, though it is one I have may have used a few too many times at this point.
On the upside, starting fresh does hit right at the nostalgia factor, especially if I start on the Fallen Gate progression server, which has the Isle of Refuge starting area.
The problem there is that I may have trod that path too many times at this point. How many more times am I going to fight the orc on Zek or run through Feerrott trying to complete The Journey is Half the Fun? And even when I throttle experience pretty heavily, diverting it to AAs, I will persist in leveling up faster than the content. And then there is the need to completely re-gear every ten levels that becomes oppressive when you’re a level the market has forgotten.
And then, in the end, after moving through content I have done so many times I will hit a point where I will tire and stop, somewhere between the Desert of Flames and the Rise of Kunark if history is any indication, leaving me with yet another mid-level character.
Mid Level Options
The middle way is often the worst, and in Norrath it does tend to be a combo of problems. I have an easy half dozen characters… probably more… situated between level 50 and 80. I ought to be able to pick one of those up and carry on. The double whammy here is that these mid-levels miss out on the old content nostalgia angle that I would get if I simply rolled up a new character but also face the age old EQII problem of having to relearn how to play the classes.
If I were to highlight a single problem that the game has, I would probably pick “too many damn skills” for every class. I generally have to operate with three 12 button hot bars on my screen, which usually means I don’t have all the combat skills or most of the buffs/debuffs represented.
So this seems the least likely path forward. I fear that my dual-baton wielding monk will never get any closer to level cap.
Finding a Path
So there I stand, looking for a way to proceed. Subscribing isn’t an issue if that will make things easier to find, and the Planes of Prophecy expansion is half price, so if that was the way to go I would jump on board with it.
I am sure Bhagpuss will have a suggestion or two, but I an open to any advice on this front… as well as maybe a clue as to which wiki or site is the most up to date when it comes to EQII.
Hurry though. That autumnal feeling doesn’t always last.