My third venture into EQ2: Part 3 4


The Beginning

Reflect arrived at Hate’s Envy a bit dazed and confused. You see it the teleportation spell that brought him here had the ill fated side effect of selective amnesia.

Reflect could recall his name so when the officer in front of him started barking information and orders, he knew it was to him the officer was speaking. He also knew he needed money, and that he could fight at least clumsily.  He also knew the man in front of him was a dark elf, and that he was someone Reflect should impress.

Thus he accepted his orders and proceeded to step outside the wooden palisade, which marked the safe area of Hate’s Envy, and began to punch at small creatures of stone. The officer called them elements, but Reflect thought of them as fodder. There were many more of the creatures than the officer asked Reflect to defeat, and many more kept appearing, a fact which unsettled Reflect.

Next up the officer wanted him to help reduce a growing wolf pack that was now surrounding the back part of the outpost. Reflect agreed, but before leaving saw another man beckoning him.

“You going to kill some wolves?” He asked, and reflect nodded. “Good, good. If you bring me their hides I can rewarded you. Sound good?”

Reflect nodded again, smiling. He could do one job and get paid twice. Money in his pockets, new equipment, and he was starting to recall more things he knew how to do. More ways to fight and defend himself. Yes, this would be a good day.

The Quests

After my first two installments (1, 2) describing my most recent return to EQ2, the above was how the first few minutes of actual adventuring started for me, as Reflect.

The voice overs from the quest givers was nice, it did add something to the game. I am not sure what that “it” was but it stood out, and when NPC did not have voices for everything it felt odd. This made me think of all the recent talk about Star Wars Old Republic being a fully voiced game, and how much work that is going to be.  Not just for launch, but every time they add NPCs or quests.

The next thing that jumped out at me, was the quest dialog system, it was simply and natural. It did not take me out of the game world and presented all the information I needed.

The quest journal itself is functional; provides sorting of quests by name, current zone (I suspect that means which zone the current quest step is for), level , and category. Selecting a quest and you can read the quest text, objectives, and rewards.

Alas after playing for while I reflected back on the types of quests I encountered and realized that there were only a few basic templates.  At about 20 minutes of gameplay I was level 5, and had seen 4 basic types:

  • Kill a # of X
  • Collect a # of X from defeated enemies
  • Gather a # of X from the ground
  • Bring X to Y

And after ninety minutes of play quests based on those same four templates led me to a second quest hub and up to level 11.   It was only after exiting the game that I realized that it had only used 4 templates of quests, thus even though MMOs have this ‘problem’ I made a note to mention it.

Combat

The basic explanation of combat is: Target something, move within range, activate abilities when you can. The only thing that stands out is the “Heroic Opportunities”.

The first time I saw something like this was in FFXI , and the idea is you use one ability to start a chain of attacks that have an additional affect depending on the order of the chain. When soloing your options for the chain are limited, but when in a group the attacks made by members contribute to the chain, allowing for several more options.   Its a concept that EQ2 refined from FFXI, and that Lotro has also implemented. It rewards coordinated group combat and provides solo combatants a bit more power.

I have rather enjoyed my solo combats thus far, though I wish the cooldowns were a bit faster on my attacks, or that I had more. As a bruiser I have several abilities that provide nothing when I solo, thus limiting the number of active abilities I have at any point in combat. If the abilities I did have were ready faster even just by a second or two, I would feel so much more potent.

Information overload

The game at the surface is rather easy to follow, but once you dig a bit there is a whole lot going on. Take these tooltips:

Look at all that suff on that tooltip

Look at all that stuff on that tooltip

Again more info, yet nothing saying it wont stack.

Again more info, yet nothing saying it wont stack.

Each of them have a list of of things they do, but neither of them say anything about those abilities being active at the same time. So I tried them both, and one you activate one the other one can not be activated. They present to me a choice of which “mode” I want to be in. I feel with as big as their tooltips are now, they would have room to add a keyword (like aura, or stance) to indicate their how they functioned.

Another example is the achievement point system. At level ten you get message saying you can now earn Achievement XP:

One of the three tabs of the achievement window

One of the three tabs of the achievement window

My first thought was, “So I should have not done all those quests, or explored those areas, or killed those named NPCs, that I did before I hit level 10?”  Why did it penalize me for that?

I do recall seeing message about the race and character traits that you get to pick at certain levels, so when I pressed L, I was not completely overwhelmed by the UI.  Though there are a whole lot of different options to choose from, and no indication of being able to swap them around.  I did not want to spend my point until I was very sure about what I wanted, but how would I know?

(edit: when I hit level 12 a tutorial hint popped up telling me that I could have points refunded at an npc)

Customizing The UI

I did get some advice on customizing the EQ2 UI, and while the game does not embrace modding as much as WoW or Runes of Magic , I was able to at least get things positioned the way I like. (at least when I am soloing). I have no clue how well the UI works when grouping of Raiding, but I suspect I would learn to adapt.

A quick shot of my UI in solo combat

A quick shot of my UI in solo combat

Things Unseen

Thus far the only exposure to any sort of trade skill came with a few fishing quests. These were quests in which I simply had to click on a fish pool in attempts to gather fish. I did not have to buy a pole or equip anything special, just click on node and wait. I think tried to gather from other nodes , and I could. It appears you can gather from any node as long as your matching gathering skill is at a high enough level. So a single character could be able to gather from all types of nodes.

While the game has presented me with gathering and collecting of crafting materials, I have not yet had any exposure to the actual crafting of items. I am hoping that will come in my next session of play, though I find it odd that they have waited this long to introduce me to it.

I have also not seen an actual city yet, nor a banker, auction house, or home. I am thinking that along with crafting those things should appear very soon.


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4 thoughts on “My third venture into EQ2: Part 3

  • Ysharros

    “If the abilities I did have were ready faster even just by a second or two, I would feel so much more potent.”

    That seems to be particularly true for the Bruiser. I’m getting the same feeling when I play mine. I actually got the auto-attack timer mod for her, so that I could better intersperse my combat actions, and it’s how I realised quite how much damage fighty-types get from these auto-attacks. Even so, I still find myself spamming all my arts one after the other, and then standing around like a lemon wondering why they don’t come back as fast as they do on my other chars (e.g. the dirge). It’s a balance thing, I’m sure, since the bruiser arts do tend to do a fair bit of damage.

    The Neriak starting zone is very nice, but lacks a good crafting lead-in — as best I can recall you’re not actually going to get one at all, and it takes far longer than it should for anyone to direct you to Neriak itself… which is just down the road over the bridge from that second quest hub (eastern edge of Darklight Woods). However, once you get to Neriak and find the crafting area (which is nicely designed and has everything you need right there, from trainers to a broker and banker and whatnot), you’ll be able to get started fairly easily. There’s an intro to crafting quest that should help, not to mention half a ton of bloggers willing to answer questions. 😀

    One last thing, as I’m rambling. Harvesting is split into five different skills: gathering (roots, bushes), mining (ore, stones), trapping (creature dens), foresting (lumber) and fishing. Each skill is levelled separately by harvesting the appropriate nodes, and your maximum possible skill is based on adventuring or crafting level times 5, whichever is higher. So if you’re a level 10 adventurer but level 20 crafter, your max harvesting skills will be (20×5)=100.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  • MrAnderson Post author

    @Ysharros
    Thanks Ysharros the information. Last night I started a wizard, another class I have never played, to see how a pure DPS class felt and wow. The cool downs on the wizard felt much faster than the bruiser. I suspect you are correct and they balanced the bruiser cool downs around the fact that they use auto attacks much more.

    The lack of a good early introduction to crafting is a big disappointment. With crafting(and gathering) being one of the big activities, I would have made sure every starting area has some introduction and instructions about them.

  • Magson

    I have a monk, rather than a bruiser, and I also have the AA that both can choose in order to reduce my cooldowns by 10%. At level 59 I can still run out of all my combat arts and stand around just auto-attacking for several seconds if I don’t space them out.

    For my monk I organized my icons thusly:

    1st row is the 10 second or less cooldown ones.
    2nd row is the 20 second or less cooldown.
    3rd row is the 30+ second cooldowns.

    What I can then do is go through line 1, then semi-slowly work through line 2. Once I’m through line 2, line 1 is available again. I work through it and then hit line 3. When done with line 3, line 1 is ready. Do line 1 again, and now line 2’s available again.

    Downside of this is that line 3 includes a damage over time, so to maximize it I need to actually hit it 1st. . . . and a lot of the 20 second ones includes stifles or stuns and thus should be used a little more situationally, but overall it works pretty well.

    Even so, it works out well enough, usually.

    That does seem odd that your offense and defense stances aren’t labeled on their tooltip. The skillbooks to improve them (from apprentice to journeyman, adept, expert, or master) are labeled “Stance” so I’m surprised the description doesn’t say it. I actually have my tooltips set to be a bit more minimalist so they don’t take up half the screen when I’m hovering over them. FWIW, you’ll eventually get a “balanced stance” with both offensive and defensive bonuses (smaller than granted by the focused stances) and no penalties. I think it’s in the upper 30’s or so though, IIRC.

    I’ve only started 1 character in Neriak, but that city lags me out so I immediately changed citizenship to Freeport anyway, so I don’t recall much about crafting there. What little I do remember matches what Ysh said — it’s got a nice crafting area, but the quests out in Darklight Woods don’t really ever send you there. I think only the original newbie islands have crafting as part of the true new experience, but even there I think you’re limited to level 9 and can’t really do much until you get to your “crafting dungeon” and talk to the “official crafting trainer” or whatever it’s called. The crafting tutorial that npc provides is actually quite good, but it’s farther along/out of the newbie zones — which now that I think about it, is pretty silly. The newbie island right at launch had the trainers there on the island itself, as I recall it. Makes me wonder why they moved it away from there.

    Anyway, I’m rambling like Ysh now (I think I do it worse). Welcome to EQ2 though, and I hope you enjoy your foray into “New Norrath.” And that you like your wizard. I’ve got 2 fighters, 5 healers, 2 scouts, and 3 mages, so I cover all the archetypes pretty well, so if you have questions or something, feel free to shoot me an email or something.

  • MrAnderson Post author

    @Magson
    First thanks a ton for all the tips.

    As for crafting instruction, I am confused about their choice, I am not really worried about it. It just baffled why they did not provided at least an early quest chain to teach players about gathering.

    Up until now I have always played good characters, and most started in Qeyons; well I mean the original starting isle. On that Island I thought they did a great job of introducing crafting to players.

    On another topic, today I got lost. Something that has not happened to me in an MMO in a long time. And while it was a bit exciting, it happened completely do to what I believe was terrible design. I will explain more in my next eq2 post, which I will write after I get a bit more play time in.