Archive for the ‘EverQuest’ Category

Nine Years Later…

I finally set foot in EverQuest today. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did play for about thirty minutes around 2001, but I was still playing Asheron’s Call, and EverQuest confused me immensely when I first booted it up. That said, I never really gave it a fair shot. Now that it’s 2008, I realize I’m a bit late to the party and I won’t really get the full experience that I would have back when I first tried it, but I still want to check it out.

I finally got it up and running early this morning, so I made a wizard. I ran into a bit of a snag when I jumped into a pool of water and couldn’t seem to find my way out in Felwithe. I looked for close to 15 minutes before I finally gave up and made a new toon. I rolled a necromancer instead and logged in. I got to level four in the Mines of Gloomingdeep before I took a break. It was interesting getting used to some of the settings and differences in gameplay (for instance hailing NPC’s) but it wasn’t too bad and I’m definitely looking forward to playing some more later.

So there’s my beginning as of yet with my necromancer being my main. Have I made a good or bad decision? Is there a class that is much more fun or easy to progress with as my first character in EQ? Let me know what you think or give me any suggestions you have.

~Kanthalos

*I decided to try out a fighter class, so I just got a beserker to level 6. I’m not sure whether I like it or not, but I can’t find any skills to use other than my basic attack. Am I missing something? In any case, I would really love to get some advice before I continue because I don’t want to get invested in either of these characters and find out that I’m messed them up or that they really aren’t worth playing, so please let me know what you think if you have something to contribute.

Can We Get It Back?

If you read this blog, it’s pretty safe to assume that you have played an MMO before, and if you have, chances are you have very fond memories of your first. It will always hold a special place in your gaming heart, and you will never truly forget the places and the people you encountered in your time there. For me, this is Asheron’s Call, though for many others it’s EQ, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, WoW, AC2, or pretty much any MMO to date. For me, I’ve always been looking for something to replace the euphoria and obsessive behavior that accompanied my time spent running around Dereth, but I’ve never quite gotten there. I’ve played over a dozen MMO’s since Asheron’s Call, but nothing has really drawn me in the way it did. I suppose this is to be expected as the first time is usually the most memorable with many things, MMO’s included. That said, is it fair to say that we shouldn’t or couldn’t try to get as close to that feeling again as possible? I don’t think so. If this were the case, we should have stopped playing MMO’s after we tired of the first one we played. We don’t, however, because we understand that improvements are being made every day to MMO’s currently out and those being developed for the future.

So why is it that our positive experiences don’t really seem to carry from our first MMO experience to all the others we’ve played since? The obvious response is that no two games are the same and expectations change as these games evolve. The reasons we loved our first might have been an afterthought or purposely minimized or not included at all in another game. No one with any common sense would ever implement Asheron’s Call melee combat system into a game now, and this is true for many of the systems that these games used. The problem is that by the time you change all of these systems to modernize them, the game that you loved so much is nothing more than a shadow. This is typically why sequels struggle so much. Just look at AC2 for evidence. Not only was it plagued by bugs on all levels, but they altered the game so drastically from the first that most of the AC1 players hated it. It’s reasonable to speculate that if the bugs hadn’t been there it would have had a much different result, but I think regardless, they would have been shooting for different market because the game was so incredibly different. The combat system was changed, the skill tree was added to replace the skill system that was used in AC1 (one that I truly miss and would love to see again in the future.) These two changes alone were enough to make it feel as though this wasn’t a sequel at all, so it made it very difficult for AC1 players to jump straight over, and instead many went on to other games completely.

Not only do we have to consider the game itself, but the way our lives have changed since then. Back in 1999, I was just entering high school with far less responsibilities than I have now. Granted, I am currently unemployed, but between looking for a job and taking care of other things, the time I have to play is much more limited than it was back then. I would literally spend 3-5 hours every night after school playing, and this is simply not feasible, or really desired, now. So since I have less time to play and less desire to spend that much time playing, does this mean that I can’t get as invested in a game, and therefore, won’t get as much out of it? I don’t think so. At least, I don’t think that should be the case. If I’m forced to spend 30-40 hours a week playing an MMO to fully enjoy it, then it’s not something that I’m going to be willing to do. If I WANT to play that much, it’s a completely different story (not that I actually would play that much) and I think it’s serving it’s purpose.

Taking into account that these games are constantly being upgraded and changed, can we really get back that experience that we long for? I really don’t think so personally, but I do think that when we find the game that suits us best that is a really good product, we will create a new set of memories and consider them to be equally valuable. Whether that means a fantasy-based game or not, I don’t know, but I do know that as long as I enjoy MMO’s, I will be looking for this type of experience again.

~Kanthalos

Slightly Bummed…

Well, apparently I misunderstood how the Living Legacy program worked. Since I didn’t have a subscription to the original EverQuest, I don’t qualify for the two free months. This bums me out quite a bit because I was looking forward to playing this game basically for the first time, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I actually bought EverQuest long, long ago, but there is no way that I could ever remember my username and password to re-activate it. Guess it’s EQ2 for me.

~Kanthalos

*Great news! I actually did manage to recover my old account information! That said, I’m patching EQ currently and I should be up and running soon.

Heading Back Into Norrath

Well, I was pleased to read about this offer to re-up all former EQ and EQ2 players accounts through July 31st, as well as include EVERY expansion. This is excellent news, and an amazing marketing strategy for SOE by my thinking. For me, this means a $70 value for free if I only play EQ2 since I’ll be getting the RoK expansion for free as well as two months of free play. If I do decide to give EQ a shot (which I’m considering) then the value is probably in the $100+ range.

The only thing I am concerned about is that players who have already bought the most recent expansion might feel upset that they paid for the expansion when all of these returnees might not have. I personally don’t think I would care because they have been playing it since November (I believe) and have experienced all of this content already, and they will also potentially have an incredible amount of new players to meet and join up with.

I really can’t tell you how excited I am about this. Yes, I have played EQ2 twice and given up both times because something didn’t feel quite right, but the fact that I have two months to play without feeling pressured by a subscription fee to do so is wonderful. My goal is to get a character to 35 (or 50 or so if I start with one of my characters at 24 and 25.) I’m not sure that I’ll get there, but who knows, I could end up much further along than that even. The only online game that I’m seriously playing right now is Mythos, so this gives me another game to add to the mix, which is always nice.

Regardless of what I get out of this personally, I am really impressed that SOE went ahead with this. It must be incredibly hard “throwing away” all the money you would get from customers for the expansion(s) as well as two months of play, but on the other hand, if players were never going to come back in the first place, what have you really lost? Nothing. Hats off to you, SOE. I really hope this works out well for you for using such a bold strategy. Now if only I could patch in less than 16 hours… đŸ˜‰

~Kanthalos

RIP: XP Grinding

Let’s all think longingly back to the good old days of grinding in Asheron’s Call and EverQuest. Those were great times. Who didn’t thoroughly enjoy those hundreds of hours spent killing tuskers or olthoi (or whatever they were in EverQuest) ? Just kidding. Back then this was the only form of leveling. We didn’t know any better, and that’s all we knew so we accepted it, and yeah, we were pretty happy and satisfied with it. Sure there were quests, but they were few and far between, and certainly not the main form of leveling. Today this won’t fly. No one (or very few, rather) are going to willingly spend hours on end farming the same creature for xp to get to that next level. Every once in a while this can be somewhat relaxing when you want to watch some tv and not run or fly all over the place. That’s exactly what I was looking for tonight.

So there I was, fresh into level 66, sitting in Blade’s Edge Mountains when I realized that I really didn’t like (or felt the necessity to complete) any of the 12 or so quests that were currently in my quest log. That said, with 18 bars of rest xp to my name, I decided to go to my favorite gold grinding spot. In about five hours, I managed to gain about 500g worth of crafting mats and vendor trash, as well as 16 bars of xp. This certainly wasn’t shabby, and I probably would have gotten about the same amount of xp and 1/3 the gold questing. That was with rest xp, and most people don’t depend on this for leveling, so would I have done this without rest xp? Not a chance. It literally would have taken twice as long, which means that grinding through level 66 would take the average person about 12-16 hours, depending on class and skill.

While this seems horrible, Blizzard being their utilitarian selves realize that those who grind for xp are the great minority, and therefore cater extensively to the questing crowd. They don’t want their quests just sitting there, so they offer excellent xp and gear bonuses for completing them. Virtually every other game out there runs on the same concept now. Even Asheron’s Call is including far more quests and large xp bonuses for completing them to help compensate for all the grinding that is still more or less required. Some gamers are stuck with the mentality that since grinding is more hardcore that it is still the fastest way to level if you know what you’re doing, but why then is any leveling guide that’s decent using almost nothing but quests to level? Because times have changed, and while grinding definitely used to be the fastest form of leveling, its days are over.

So what does this mean? It means that you can grind if you choose, but you better have rest xp or kill creatures with excellent drops or you’re in for a fruitless, boring time. That said, you might just be looking for a little mindless grind like I wanted earlier, and you can certainly still do that, as long as you know that you aren’t maximizing your time. Then again, you are playing a game after all…

~Kanthalos