Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Magic Items Sold By Weight: EQ2

Two of my ratongas were in the West Freeport branch of the Norrathian Universal Bank this afternoon, about three hours into an intense session of inventory spring cleaning (so about 5% done then) when the server came down for a patch. Chief among the small changes was this:

All single group instances now have a lockout of 90 minutes.

Sounds so innocent at first glance, doesn't it?  Who'd complain about fewer restrictions and easier access? The standard lockout for heroic instances in EQ2 is 18 hours. Now we can do the same instance sixteen times a day. Someone will, too.

I'm in favor of the change myself. There have been a few times when I've wanted to do the same instance back to back, to get some drop that didn't or finish some quest while I still remember I have it. It'll be a boon for collects, too. But there's a downside. Loot.

If only we'd had pandas in the EC Tunnel
I have a clear, if hazy, memory of something that happened the first week I played Dark Age of Camelot, back in 2000. I was in Albion, in some starter area the name of which I've long forgotten. Some imps or demons were near a river and one of them had a name. My mercenary fought and killed it and it dropped a magic item.

I have no idea now what the item was or if I could use it. I just remember the sheer astonishment. A Named! A Magic Item! And I killed it on my own! Who knew such a thing was even possible?

Last year, when EQ2 had The Great Item Revamp, I took my Berserker on a tour of Kunark hunting overland named mobs. At first I thought I was having a great run of luck. Every named, and there are lot in Kunark, dropped a Legendary item. No treasured items at all. Sometimes, for variety, they'd drop a Fabled. Eventually it became obvious that that was all they had and they had one every time. Like the good ex-Tester I am I sent a bug report.

It wasn't a bug. Just the latest stop on the ever-ascending Loot Elevator. I should have known. I actually quit playing EQ2 the second time partly because of the changes to loot that came with the Rise of Kunark expansion, when treasured weapons, armor and jewellery started dropping more often than rat whiskers in the Qeynos newbie yard.

You get it. You have wings!
It's not so much that I mind magic items not seeming special anymore, although I do mind that. It's the storage! Every named always drops something and there are so many nameds. Where once I would return to town with my bags oozing with monster body parts for which small-town merchants, presumably backed by some secretive necromantic sect with unlimited financial resources, would shower me with gold and silver, now I come back weighed down with amazing sparkling magic weapons, gleaming enchanted armor and jewellery fit for a Djinn prince.

I can't just sell the stuff! It looks too good to vendor. I blow a lot of it up for the raw materials for Adornments. At least those stack. But lot of it looks too good even for that. So I have to store it. It might come in useful. One day I might have a level 79 Warden and this would be perfect for him. Or a level 90 Assassin, she'd love that! Of course every character I ever level will acquire his own warehouse of "useful" stuff and won't thank me for someone else's cast-offs but let's not think about that.

I really don't want to go all the way back to the "good" old days, when a whole Sunday afternoon could pass while I watched WTS messages streaming up my chat window in the East Commons Tunnel, hoping to see something I both needed and could afford, but a slight frisson of scarcity in the Magic Item market might be nice, just for a change.

Or I could just stop being a packrat.

Nah, not going to happen.




2 comments:

  1. There does seem to be a misuse of the terms legendary and fabled in EQ2, should I really be seeing anything with that label before I reach an endgame, even if it's no longer the current cap?

    The cynic in me thinks: well F2P players need unlocks for these so why not shower them all over the place to tempt people...

    I guess the item revamp predated the F2P conversion though?

    There's the analogy with 'purple' items in WoW. In the old game they were rare wondrous items to behold. Then the token system came in and heroics dungeons started dropping them and now they're just standard end-game loot, nothing special.

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  2. Yes, it did indeed precede the general move to F2P although EQ2X was running. Some said it was to drive SC sales but all the other evidence at the time was that the EQ2 devs never gave a thought to the impact any changes they were making might have on EQ2X. I think that by then Legendary had already become the de facto minimum standard for gear on Live. They were already tuning solo content in the expectation that everyone will be wearing full legendary and using Expert spells, I believe.

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