Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Lot Of Power But Not So Much Glory : EQ2

This morning has been mildly frustrating. Maybe more than mildly. With the whole day to myself I thought I'd do something a little self-indulgent, something I've always enjoyed, something at which, of all MMOs, EQ2 has always been one of the best. I thought I might take advantage of power creep to go back and complete some content I couldn't quite finish first time around.

EQ2 has ferocious power creep baked-in. It's more like power sprint. There's an expansion every year and every expansion is a step change, even if there's no level increase. Some people find that onerous but as a casual, mostly solo player these days I love it.

There's little more satisfying in an MMO than going through your quest journal to follow up on the half-finished missions that failed last time on a DPS check or at a jump in difficulty, certain that this time your new gear will turn a clattering into a cake-walk. Although they seem to have abandoned the annoying practice, the EQ2 team long enjoyed writing bait and switch signature questlines that flipped from solo to Group or even Raid at the end and it's these quests that are particularly attractive to return to when power creep permits.

There are currently three such quests in my Berserker's journal going back as far as Update 54 (In Search of Lucan). I skipped that one for now. It looked like it might be better mentored and i didn't want the fuss.

Instead I went to the other extreme and took another run at the final, Raid instance that completes the signature line for the Age's End story that ran for what seemed like forever, finally concluding about three years back. It was originally intended as a two group raid but I gave it a decent shot solo less than a year ago.

When I wrote that post I titled it "I'll Be Back" because I know how EQ2 works. Already Kunark Ascending has turned everything up to eleven so I wasn't surprised to find that the Epic X2 mobs I was able to whittle away at ten months ago now fell like wheat before the scythe.

Even so, I still died a lot to begin with. It took me a couple of deaths to realize that the huge dragon Kerafyrm wasn't just flying around the floating platform to provide photo opportunities for spectacular screenshots. No, he was doing what dragons tend to do, namely breathing death and destruction - and in my direction too.

Once I'd worked that out it took a couple more deaths to gauge the safe spot to stand when he opened his maw. And a couple more before I spotted the General dropping meteorites on me from above. I wrote about the problems he caused me last time but a lot has happened since then and I forgot all about him.

You really need a wide-angled lens for dragons.

In the end I got into the rhythm needed to dodge those two, unkillable, one-shotting nuisances. The crystals all got destroyed, my quest updated, I got to listen to some more very average voice acting while the plot progressed. Most importantly a box in my quest journal got ticked so I never have to do that part again.

Unfortunately the same can't be said of the next part, in which I have to fight and subdue an Epic X4 boss using Firiona Vie's Lifegiver Staff. She can't use it herself because she's lying on the ground unconscious, where said boss just put her.

The problem with this part is the problem GW2 likes to give players over and over again: learn all the skills on a weapon you never saw before at the exact same time something very, very tough is trying to rip your arms off and beat you death with them. Chances are I could probably do this part but the point was to have fun not pass a test so I banked my one progress step and passed.

Next on the list was the conclusion to the Signature Line from one of the two Velious expansions. It's called Casting a Long Shadow and it ends with the death of everyone's favorite jilted bride, Tserrina Syl`Tor, chatelaine of The Tower of Frozen Shadows.

Well...

I won't go into the details but this turned out to be a lesson in muddled thinking, both mine and the developers'. The original sequence was famously convoluted and even though it's been much simplified over the years there are still multiple instances and access quests and so forth.

I thought I'd done everything but the final instance and so it seemed when I entered The Tower and spoke to the Coldain inside. He confirmed I'd killed all of Tserrina's lackeys, leaving only the vamp herself, but even though my quest journal updated I couldn't find any way to access the eighth floor where Tserrina broods on her misfortunes.

A deal of wiki reading and googling did little to dispel the fog. I went around and around getting my hopes up and then having them dashed. I killed all the named mobs over again on all seven floors, only there was one that I just could not work out how to spawn, for reasons far too long and tedious to outline. By the end I was pretty much convinced that the problem all stemmed from the order I'd done things, which means I most likely need to go out and come in again (Metaphorically that is. I already tried literally going out and coming in again about half a dozen times, to no effect whatsoever).

Always reminds of the famous shot of The Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes.

In the process of all that, however, I also discovered that even though I had access to the Epic finale of that Signature line, I had apparently never done the Heroic part that comes before it. I have no clue how that happened.

So I started it. It would have taken me maybe half an hour to finish except I ran into another mysterious roadblock. My instance appears to have no Second Floor. It skips straight from First to Third. I killed the Third Floor boss, who was, ironically, the only one I couldn't find in the Epic version, but that gets me nowhere if I can't get the one before him.

All that took about three hours, maybe an hour of which was taken up with reading the wiki, the forums and various guild pages. EQ2 is in that period of it's existence where there's still a good deal of information being created to support it but only going forwards. For older content you have to hope someone had your problem back when everyone was doing it and, more importantly, that someone told them how to get around it.

Although strangely less confident that I'll ever find her in the first place.
Frustrating it was, because in the end I didn't finish either of those questlines, but fun as well. I did make some progress that's been saved by quest updates and I got a ton of loot, some of which may even be worth something on the market. I also got decent experience throughout, all of which went towards filling my new Ascension xp bar.

Of course, the one old, unfinished Signature questline I really should be doing, Proof of The Pudding, the original "Crafter's Epic", is the only one I didn't touch. There's absolutely no power creep when it comes to crafting.

I kind of wish there was and yet I'm kind of glad there's not.

7 comments:

  1. I have so many heritage quests I should finish up one of these days. I think there are a few signature lines and heritage quests that are needed for the epic 2.0. I should start with those. Added benefit would be clearing up quest journal.

    I do recommend finishing up Proof of the Pudding. The two adornments you can start making after finishing the new crafting line has been a great source of pp for me.

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    1. Yes, I have no excuse for leaving the Pudding unfinished. Mrs Bhagpuss has at least two crafters who can make the items, quite possibly more. I just need to log them in. Then I probably should do the first part with my Sage so he can make his item. That should mean I only need to get four or five made for me by other people. It's that part I don't fancy much and that's why I'm prevaricating.

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  2. I recently went in ToFS because I needed a shiny to compete a collection. I always forget the order to do things. Luckily the shiny I needed was the first one I found, heh. It's nice to go back and do these things we missed, but I agree it is sometimes a real pain to look it up instead of just head on and enjoy it as you go. I'm actually doing that in Rift as I wait for the next update, much easier there, lol.

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    1. I usually enjoy following walkthroughs. I like ticking off lists. TOFS, though, has always been insanely fiddly and the problem is you can never be quite sure if you've missed a bit or you're just bugged.

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  3. I need a post about which free 85 to pick (or an email telling me which I should pick).

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    1. Hmm...do you mean for the free EQ1 85? If so I just typed this before I realized you might mean EQ2...

      "Hmm. If you plan on soloing I would definitely go for a Magician. That's what I did when they did this the first time and I think it worked out pretty well, all things considered. I found this thread pretty useful at the time. It may be a little dated but 85 is still 85 so probably not.

      The other obvious choice is Necro although, of course, with a merc anyone can solo.

      If you plan on grouping then I have no idea. I haven't done that in EQ for a decade. Maybe Kaozz has some ideas?"

      If you mean EQ2 then, again assuming solo, I'd go for Berserker. Massive AE power, incredible survivability, enormous fun. Also can be converted to group content reasonably easily I believe although not the favored tank class. The Heroic option in EQ2 is now 95 though, come to think of it, so I guess you did mean EQ1 after all...

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    2. I meant EQ1. Thanks for the input!

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