ForEver Questing

Well, I tried EQ2 last night, and found I enjoyed myself a fair bit.  I made a Fae Dirge and decided to let my inner powerleveler shine for a night; with a bit of muddling around to learn the controls and iron out the kinks, and a lot of time spent running around looking for quest locations, I somehow managed to vastly exceed my own expectations and get the little guy to level 11.  Yeah, I know.

So how was the experience?  Really fast… unlike Ysharros, who leveled every time she sneezed, I seemed to level every time I blinked.  But how was the experience of playing the game?  I guess it was more or less as I expected… everything felt very familiar to me, mechanically speaking, but I liked the feel of the game, the responsiveness of my character, the look of the Greater Feydark (though dark, it was nice… but I learned quickly not to leave my infrared sight on, or it became really hard to navigate), and the voicework.  Actually, the voicework was pretty great, which is nice… the soundtrack was also quite pleasant, and when I played for a short bit without headphones on to test my reaction, I found myself dearly missing the audio.  So that’s a good sign.  My laptop’s getting a bit agèd these days (time to replace it, will do soon), so I had the video settings pretty low, which is a shame.  I suspect the game is fairly pretty.

I’m a veteran MMO player and enough of EQ2 is your basic Diku that I had a good idea what to do, but I’ll note that the game doesn’t do a fabulous job explaining everything that’s going on.  There are NPCs scattered around who will walk you through various game mechanics, but I think a solid, short tutorial would go a long way towards smoothing out the newbie experience.  I always thought CoX did a great job there, explaining powers and the GUI and all the basic game mechanics without being too oppressive.  LotRO’s intro is a good tutorial as well, for that matter.

The craft materials gathering was fun and easy, once I figured out that I could just left-click instead of right-clicking and navigating down the menu.  Again though, I wasn’t sure what I could do with all the stuff I gathered… obviously it’s used in crafting of some sort, but which craft uses which materials?  I was also a little surprised to see that I wasn’t able to sell the crafting materials that I gathered to a merchant.  I presume I can sell them to other players via the broker, but not in the trial.  So I have a bank full of stuff of dubious purpose and (currently) negligible value.  I do intend to try the crafting, but again, the game hasn’t really helped me know what to do there or where to go.  By patiently poking around the map of Kelethin I found several NPCs who teach various crafts, and I’ll visit them next time I play.

The combat was fun and fast.  By level 11 I had a lot of different things to do in combat, including stunning my foes and running around them to deliver a quick backstab – so it felt very active, not a sit-in-one-place-and-autoattack sort of game.  I liked that the hostile foes had a red line around their names, too… that’s a simple visual indicator that works well.  I used my character’s stealth rather a lot, and found myself a little disappointed that the red hostile indicator disappeared when I was stealthed… meaning if I approached a group of foes while stealthed, I couldn’t tell if they were hostile or not without uncloaking, which clearly can be dangerous.  I think the UI could be improved in this regard; a second visual indicator could be added which indicates that the target ~would~ be hostile but can’t currently see you.

Speaking of stealth, I was surprised to find that my stealth was 100% effective against everything I came across.  That certainly made travel easier, and kind of trivialized the quests to go deep into various caves, past multiple hostile foes, to kill a boss deep inside.  I’m not sure how I feel about the stealth really.  It surely is convenient, I’ll say that much. Between the stealth and the high DPS of the class, I found the Dirge to be powerful and fairly easy.

The quests were of the usual sort; nothing really stood out there as being especially interesting or well-done.  I’m jaded because I’ve done probably tens of thousands of quests in my lifetime, and the usual “kill X”, “gather X”, “go talk to X” are the staples of every MMO.  I will say that LotRO has an edge here since the Shire offers a host of interesting and different quests (e.g. deliver mail or pies, or the fabulous chicken quests); that’s just one area though, and the rest of that game has quests that are typical of the genre (i.e. forgettable).  Anyhow, the quests in EQ2 were neither good nor bad, just typical.  They sufficed.  Were it not for the better gear available thereby, I’d probably spend more time just running around killing things, which in fact I did a fair amount last night.  Stealth surely is nice for exploring.

The UI was basically what I expected, though I noticed that a few elements aren’t explained with mouseover tooltips.  That’s an odd omission.  I know from other games that the second bar beneath my EXP bar is the rested experience, but I didn’t have a tooltip explaining that, nor telling me how exactly it works.  There’s also a series of small rectangles laid out in a broken line beneath my health and power meter in the upper left; I gather it has something to do with buffs but still don’t know what it’s telling me or why.  That’s a failure of design.

Overall, the game was fun, and I liked the world and the class.  I’ll keep playing through the trial, and probably make another character or three to test out the other mechanics and settings.  Right now it seems likely that I’ll subscribe.

10 comments so far

  1. Ysharros on

    Try a non-fae race and you should be able to start on the old tutorial island — that’s what I did this morning, and it’s brining stuff back to me much faster. That said, it’s not essential since as an MMO vet you’re likely to pick up most of what you need to know pretty fast.

    There’s cross-server chat in EQ2 too. If we’re both on Trial accounts I’m not sure if it’ll work, but it’s worth a try. We’d have to add each other as friends first I think — syntax is /friend eq2.servername.charname and I’m playing lyssom on Lucan d’Lere atm which… I think? is lucandlere for the purposes of friending and tells (which are /tell eq2.servername.charname chattext). I don’t remember everything (or indeed half of everything) I used to know, but I do have the basics back.

  2. foolsage on

    Sounds good. Do you happen to recall what the tutorial island is called? I read about something called the “Isle of Refuge”, which sounds likely.

    Serves me right for making a fae first, though I think this is a design oversight if the developers assume anyone making a fae already knows the game, and thus can’t access the tutorial.

    My first character is Aloro on Antonia Bayle. I’ll likely have a few more characters within a short space of time though. 😀 I’ll definitely look you up, and Wiqd as well; last night I was reveling in the sheer awesomeness of my Dirgehood and the power went to my head a little. I was a bit antisocial and didn’t talk to anyone, which isn’t like me.

    Also, do you have any leads on a good jewelerycrafting resource? My initial searches haven’t yielded much usable information.

  3. Ysharros on

    Aye, Isle of Refuge sounds right. I was shunted right there when I made a wood elf char, so I suspect you will be too.

    There used to be some top-notch crafting sites around for EQ2 — I’ll ask Pete’s better half Angela, who’s been playing EQ2 for years and will certainly know.

  4. Wiqd on

    They basically took out the idea of everyone starting on the Isle of Refuge and placed the good side on Freeport and the bad side on Qeynos and made those the starting areas for just FP and Q. Neriak has Darklight, Kelethin has its little place and Timorous Deep has Gorowyn.

    @Foolsage You are correct in that you can sell the harvested materials on the broker (but not while you’re on the trial). Sometimes they fetch a good price, other times not so much 😛

    I’ll suggest heading to and at least looking at EQ2Maps as a mod addition. I use a custom UI (Profit UI) and EQ2Maps and that’s it, but the Points of Interest on the map are awesome. Profit UI (as well as some others) comes with InfoCenter, which is like a little in-game reference guide to important quests and gathered FAQs.

    Don’t want to give you TOO much information overload, so there ya go :D. Oh P.S. My froglok Inq is Finneous and my Sarnak Inq is Cryanixus. I’ll probably be playing my frog though, as I’m in the process of betraying him from Templar to Inq.

  5. foolsage on

    @ Ysh: Thanks, that’d be great. I’ve poked around a fair amount and still am a bit unclear on exactly what to do. I’m sure with a bit of time spent in game it’ll all become clear, but I kinda hoped there’d be some good crafting guides that step you through the whole process from scratch. I’ve found a lot of guides to harvesting, but… well, that’s incredibly obvious to me and I don’t need a guide there.

    @ Wiqd: That looks promising, thanks. I’ll check in when I’m able to spend some time online again… might not be tonight but we’ll see; maybe late. I’m generally impervious to information overload – one of my superhero powers is the amazing ability to keep learning stuff without getting bored or overwhelmed. 😉 If you have any other tips or hints they’re most welcome.

  6. Wiqd on

    @foolsage If you start in one of the newer zones I *think* you get a book and a quest that shows you how to be a crafter. If not, go to a tradeskill area and there should be a “tradeskill tutorial” NPC somewhere that has you make various things to take you through level 1 – 9.

  7. Ysharros on

    I just went through the Isle of Refuge — it’s not the same as it used to be (no zillion class trainers for one), and the crafting chap is more of an info point than a start-me-crafting quest chap like he used to be. You get a book, and when you eventually make it to Qeynos or Freeport there will be a crafting area in your home “area” (based on your race) where you *should* be able to do various “how do I craft and what do I craft?” quests.

    As regards mods, I probably shouldn’t weigh in. I just went nuts with a bunch of single ones (Drum’s, because for some reason his stuff doesn’t seem to come in one handy pack), mostly because I don’t like most of the packet-UIs (don’t like them graphically, I mean).

    In any case, they’re pretty easy to manage. Not as easy as WoW’s, but not bad. A lot of the EQ2 UI mods relate to making the UI elements less huge, which used to be a real issue but, as I’m seeing now, isn’t so much of a problem on a big screen. I’m getting them mainly because I prefer a cleaner, more streamlined look rather than have curlicues on everything, but even in that respect the base UI has become a lot cleaner than it used to be.

  8. Ysharros on

    Oh and the best place for em, as Wiqd mentioned, is

  9. foolsage on

    Thanks, you two.

    I read a lot of newbie tutorials this morning and now know e.g. what the 5 mini bars are under the health and energy bars (they indicate that you have buffs running, and the max # of buffs is apparently 5). I now know enough to get started with crafting as well, and maybe there’s an NPC in Kelethin who can tell me more about crafting. I dunno when I’ll get to Qeynos, given it’s on the far side of another continent as I recall. I’m given to understand there are magic carpets though, so maybe I’ll end up exploring that-a-way sooner than expected.

    I’ve poked my head into and it looks promising. I used a LOT of mods back in my WoW days so am open to whichever will make my gaming experience more fun. I’m not very concerned about resizing the UI elements right now… I play on a 24″ monitor, which is big enough for everything to have plenty of room. It’s no 28″ behemoth but it suffices. 😉

  10. Ysharros on

    The 28″ is the same max rez as the 24″, so essentially they’re the same thing. The 28s just happened to be at a really good price so we figured why not. Best computer purchase we made in the last few years, for sure!

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