Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Hold...

Well, try as I might, I just can't seem to gather the time or enthusiasm to get blogging at the moment. Things haven't stopped for me in life or EQ2 and all is still progressing nicely. It's just that when I find I have time to write, I am spending it writing my book and not my blog. So, I'm not abondoning ole bloggy, just putting her on hold for a while. I'll say "see you soon", although to be honest, I'm not sure how 'soon' that will be.

Be well.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Back to the Future

It’s not unexpected (to me) that I’ve been away from blogging for a while. Of all my non essential duties in life, sadly it’s one of the first to get the ‘heave-ho’ for a while if things get busy for me. It’s simple really. I can’t shirk on time with my family and my other hobbies (like spending time with Ema, and gaming) takes up the little spare time I get at home and when work is busy, there is no chance to do anything other than that. But by the same fact I actually get a little frustrated if I cannot find the time to post.  I guess I have got used to, over the years, being able to vent my frustrations, share my funny stories, or simply just to type and empty the mind, and when that conduit is taken away from me, I think poor Ema get’s it in the ear as I discuss my thoughts with her instead. So, without further ado, in the interest of giving Ema a break from my ramblings, here are some updates.

I’ve been playing EQ2 pretty relentlessly when I get spare time. I’ve continued raiding and Volts equipment is not starting to look something like it should be. There’s some pretty large and important gaps though, such as my leg and head pieces. The leg pieces mob goes down at least once a week for us, and yet I still am waiting to be lucky enough to see them drop (always seem to be mage and scout legs when we kill Proto-Exarch Finnrdag) and when it has dropped I have never won the roll. As of yet the only head piece mob I have killed is in the x2 and I’ve only ever seen the fighter head piece drop once. Yes I lost that roll too. Aside from my unlucky rolls on those, I really have been doing quite well with drops. Fully fabled apart from my Legendary BP, with only two armour pieces to upgrade and a charm slot. So I’m pretty pleased. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I know! It's been a while..

And it's likely to be a while longer. I have so much going on at the moment in real life, I simply do not have the brain space to think about what I am going to write and although this may come as a surprise to some, I do actually consider my scribings before they are posted. This does not mean I won't be back regularly blogging, it just means I have to get all this RL crap outta the way first.

I know it's not MMO based, but there is one thing close to my heart I wanted to touch upon quickly before I head off to do more work, and that is this weekends British Superbike Chamionship final three races this weekend at Brands Hatch circuit (awesome place! It's where I cheered Colin Edwards to his second World Superbike Championship win).

The racing this weekend was spectacular to say the least and after a whole seasons worth of racing across 26 races throughout the UK, the Championship was won by six thousandths of a second! The finish had to be confirmed by timer and a photo finish. There was literally a wheel in it. That's some damn close racing. Sadly the fella I was supporting, John 'Hopper' Hopkins for the Crescent Racing Suzuki Team was the one to lose out in this battle to Tommy Hill. Hill was just as deserving of the Championship as he rode amazingly this year especially when you consider the difficult injuries he has comeback from and not to mention he nearly quit racing back in 2003 (I think) when his funding ran out.

So, a heart felt set of commiserations for Hopper who did an absolutely stunning job riding at the front for most of the season, especially when he had never ridden at over half of the tracks, and congratulations to Tommy Hill. Both amazing riders and ideally, they both should have won. I know it's not possible, but come on...six thousandths of a second after a whole seasons racing!

The below video (click through to watch in a better size) is well worth a look. One of the best final laps I have ever seen in motorcycle racing. Hopper is on the blue & white Suzuki #21, and Hill is on the Yamaha R1 in Yellow #33. Amazing stuff. Hats off to these riders. Apologies to any F1 fans out there or even MotoGP fans (yes I am one), but this ferocious battle is what motor racing is all about, not a procession. The size of the cajones on these guys...phenomenal.



The photo finish! This race decided the whole championship..after 26 races, this is how close it was..

Be well.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Age of Discovery

It’s about time I updated my raiding experience. If you read this blog you’ll know that I had been (originally) helping out a friend who needed a raid brawler for Destiny of Velious content. I’d hung up my raiding shoes but seeing as it was a specific request and seeing as I knew a lot of the folks, I of course agreed. Things have moved on a little from that currently. I guess it’s one of those things being part of a raid syndicate and not a full on raiding guild. Folks move on, the structure changes. Normally the ‘core’ stay the same, but change is a definite factor.

Currently, with the old (new)  syndicate changing  a lot of folks moved back to the old (old – yes I know it’s confusing) raid syndicate which is now where I’m at and raiding with a bunch I have known for quite some time. It didn’t take me long to get the raiding bug back and I’m a little disappointed in myself and my willpower that it was that easy. I had hoped that I would be able to ditch that particular addiction and move on, but after a few raids, I was hooked again. There is one thing that seems wrong though and that is that my wife Emarald is still absent and won’t be returning to game. It really doesn’t feel the same raiding without her sending me tells it’s my turn to make a cup of tea. We also miss her mega heals, although the raid itself is doing quite well, from what points of reference I have that is.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When the music's over, turn off the lights

My wife is currently looking for other games to play. She recently quit EQ2 (for about the third or fourth time) and has already reached saturation point from TV. Until The Vampire Diaries comes back on our screens, she’ll need something else to get her teeth in to before she throws the TV out the window.

She gave RIFT a go when it came out, as did I, but for some reason it didn’t gel with us. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t have anything to do with the game.  I think it’s kind of a MMO fatigue that gets in to your bones after you have been playing them for a while.  By ‘a while’, I mean for about the last ten years on and off for Ema and I. Any who have had this feeling when playing an MMO will know what I’m talking about. The way that we log in, then just sit around, chat a little and before you know it an hour has passed by and you have nothing to show for it. When things get like this, in my experience the game pretty much becomes social networking site with folks logging on just to see their friends and guildies. Not a problem of course, but the focus is definitely different and you end up paying a premium every month just to be able to hang with your friends.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Alts, I've had a few.

Alts. I have a lot. I used to own four Everquest 2 accounts (I now only run one). At its hay day my EQ2 involvement had me running five top tier toons over the four accounts with about six or seven lower tiered toons that I would work on when I had time. I’ve now only got one top tier toon and although my alt list is full on the account, I don’t play any of the other toons on a regular basis. I’ve been thinking about this and what had caused the change in how I approached the game.

A huge amount of folks play alts. It even has its own name when one becomes obsessed with running lots of toons, Altitus. There are folks who have teams of tradeskill alts, some who have an army of alts they can pick from when two, three, four or more boxing. Folks have raid alts that they swap in and out depending on which zone/encounter they are running. Alts are part of the game for most people.

My alts were all to do with experiencing the game though different styles of play and because I used to be a roleplayer, there is no shortness of back story and each of my alt toons was created because at that time I had an ‘interest’ in creating a toon of that type. For example, I recall creating Langdale my Ratonga Ranger who I played for a short while, all because when I created him I was in a buoyant mood and feeling a little childish and mischievous. For his short existence I wrote a blog about his adventures. From what I recall he was created following a few drinks at a family BBQ. Voltaan was created out of a roleplay point of view. I was fed up of playing toons with fancy glowing blades and huge amounts of magic going off, so I thought it would be nice to play a toon that in a world of magic and power, just liked to punch things in the face.

I guess everyone creates alts for their own reasons. As I say, I have created them from a RP point of view, and emotional point of view, and of course, as I am sure many have, from a boredom point of view. The one thing that does seem to be fairly consistent is the fact that once bitten, the player is doomed to have a load of alts that they switch in and out depending on mood and play style, pretty much for their entire gaming career in their game of choice. So, why did I quit alts? Why hit the Alt cold turkey?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Reluctant Raider

Volt went raiding again the other night, DoV content. It really does show you how much work I have to do when I don’t even recall the names of the raid instances we went to (yes I could check, but that would make it look like I knew what I was talking about). One of them was Kraytoks I think and the other Throne of Storms? I CoV’d in to the first one as I was late turning up (thanks Gibraltar border queue!!) and the other I got auto zoned in from Eastern Wastes. The nights raiding went quite well I thought, although obviously I have absolutely no point of reference. Volt came out with two armour pieces, a War Rune and a belt, all nicely equipped and adorned. I was a little frustrated that I couldn’t get any DoV red adorns even though I have enough faction. It’s all down to not having enough of the raid shards just yet. In the mean time he has filled the red slots with the war rune I won and red slot adornments from Sentinel’s Fate. It’s a good job I have a lot of Seals of Arad left.

I’m a little surprised myself that I have got back in to raiding. I swore I wouldn’t do it. I don’t really have the time and had got myself in to such a relaxed zone that the impetus wasn’t there. I just wanted to hang out with my Bro and guildies and have a bit of fun, questing and doing instances. So why did I? Well, if you read my post here, you’ll know that my old syndicate went through a bit of a tough time recently and as such a ‘splinter’ syndicate was started and they needed a brawler. So I offered to help until they get a better one (I’m kinda surprised that hasn’t happened already). That’s how I got back in to it. I’m not sure how long this will go on, or how long I will be needed to help out, but at the moment it’s quite good fun truth be told. I have considered that the more kit I get, the less likely they will want to let me go. It’s never fun for a raid force to get someone all equipped and then watch them stroll off in to the sunset. I want to avoid that if at all possible, so it may be that I stay, or that I find them a kick ass Brawler soon.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"10-42"

A bit of a departure from the norm today. A few of you will know that I used to be a Police Officer in the UK. I left because I became disillusioned with how modern day policing was developing and being influenced by politics (it’s all about the statistics and not actually helping folks!). I remember pretty much of every minute of my 16 years of service. It was an amazing job with equal amount of job satisfaction, elation and sadness all rolled in to one. One of the very best things about the Police was the camaraderie of the officers. I spent 7 years on a specialist unit as a Police Marksman, where the camaraderie was the strongest, but only just against the normal everyday policing years.

That is the reason I am writing today. I have not long heard of the sad death of one of my old colleagues (through illness, nothing suspicious). He was a person with an amazing character. Whoever he worked with had a treat in store for them that duty. There really was no one else like Clint. He was a one off. In a kind of eulogy for him, I’m going to run through some of my experiences working alongside the fella. By the end of the post, you’ll see why he was so well loved and respected by his colleagues.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GU#61..more info

Just a quick one, if you read this blog and not EQ2 Wire, you need to head over there or to the official forums (I’m not linking a post there. There are just too many on this subject). Because I hadn’t had so many problems with re-itemisation and things seem to have worked out OK for me and the few I talk to about such things following the GameUpdate #61, I really didn’t understand the gravity of the mess this had caused.

It seems our worries were well founded prior to the update. Disgraceful. Really.

Be well.

Unrest (not the zone!)

Been a little while since I’ve posted, I have my mother staying for the week and a few days off work seemed in order. Whilst I’ve been off I’ve started to explore DoV content a bit more and it’s not bad, but to be honest, I’m not getting the same interested buzz that I usually do when exploring new content. The quest lines are OK, I’m now running the Eastern Wastes solo timeline and am also looking at picking up the new faction quests that were added in the latest GU61. I’ve also been on my first DoV raid. It was only the x2 in ToFS, but it was quite a bit of fun and I don’t think Volt embarrassed himself too much.

I mentioned GU61 above and that deserves a mention. As usual SoE had some issues with the update, especially the unattuning and unadorning of items following the itemisation revamp. In fact they got it wrong and had to do it twice, which annoyed a lot of folks, especially those who have many alts. Not only did they have to spend an age sorting out their AA and equipment on all their toons, they had to do it again the day after. There was quite a few pee’d off folks, as the second time it was not very well publicised that they were going to do a re-run. As such quite a few didn’t un-equip their stuff and all the adornments popped off.

Luckily I did know about it and didn’t fall foul of the second load of unequips. There was obviously some who were still having problems with this as they had to offer a free option unattune yesterday. I do know that following the ‘failure’ there were a lot of upset folks. A few in my guild had already planned what kit they were sending down to their alts only to find that when they logged in, everything was lovely and unattuned, yet when they switched, everything had attuned itself again. I know some of them are still having trouble with this and are pretty upset about it. As for Volts stuff, all of his equipment he is wearing is fine. His Rune Scraped Turban is now adorned with my red adornment following a quick fix, and to be honest, since the original drama, things seem to have settled down a fair bit.

The other thing in game I have been interesting myself with is the new house rating system. I must say, some of the houses are impressive to the extreme. One thing I will say though, it’s quite apparent who has used the editor and who has not. I use the editor when designing to simply alter the angle of an item. The actual placing is always done free-hand so to speak. But some of them, wow. One had a roof design so complex and perfectly executed that it couldn’t have been done by hand. They looked very impressive, but I really do like the personal touch. To me, it’s like having one of those prefabricated houses put up in like 30 minutes. They look good, but have no soul. I’m yet to finish looking around. I may put Casa Volt up at some point into the limelight, although I do the designing for personal pleasure, not for the plaudits.

So, on to other ‘news’. There has been some rather unfortunate drama in an old raiding syndicate I used to be affiliated to and it’s had some knock on effects. Some folks have got pissy, some indignant, some just don’t seem to care. But without naming names, I’m going to try and summarise. Oh, before I do, I know some may say, let’s not ‘air’ our dirty laundry in public, but I’m not naming names and this blog has a long history of evaluating the reasoning and psychological interaction of those in game. I look at how folks act both in and out of game quite frequently here. So, on to it. The old raid leader left. Made it quite clear in a post that they were going. They had been the driving force behind this particular raid force for a long time and had done a good job under stressful circumstances. For those who have never been raid leader, it’s not so easy. No one had an issue with this. Of course it would be suitable to wish that person the best, thank them for all their hard work. But, just because one is leaving, does not mean the rest of the raid force has no future.

Friday, August 26, 2011

GU61 - Success or Failure?

GU 61 is in place. Yup, you guessed it, there’s been some hiccups. Firstly, the unadorning / unattuning didn’t quite go to plan. There’s been many reports and this includes myself, where items were unattuned and then after switching between toons, or logging in then out, the items became attuned again. This didn’t affect me too much as all of my kit that became free again were placed in to my shared bank straight away and those items remained unnattuned.

I had an additional problem. One of my pieces of equipment (my SF tier 2 raid helm – Rune Scraped Turban) had its red adornment pop off, then it wouldn’t let me reapply it. I even went and bought a new one just in case, but alas that didn’t work either. So I petitioned that problem. I didn’t hear of anyone else having any re-adorn issues.

There have also been reports of AAs resetting again after folks had painstakingly gone through the new trees and reset to their new spec. That hasn’t happened to me, but I ended up spending about an hour looking at the AA revamp and to be honest I wouldn’t relish doing it again. Stupidly, I didn’t save my new setup in my AA mirror.

So why’s that? Why would not saving be stupid? Well, because of all the issues, parts of GU61 will be run again today to try and hotfix the issues. The update time will be the same as yesterday which won’t be too bad. What will be a pain is that all of your equipment will become unattuned again with adorns popping off if you are wearing the armour. I haven’t read that they are going to reset AAs again, but I wouldn’t bet against it happening. So, if you are reading this in time before 3pm GMT today, then you still have a chance to go and unequip everything again and save your AA trees. If not you may have some more work to do to get things set up again when you log in later.

Overall, aside from the issues, I’m very pleased with how the re-itemisation went, and especially pleased that they included SF gear in the project. I have basically replaced the three remaining PQ rare armour pieces I have with old SF raid gear. After the revamp the stats are extremely good and probably place tier 2 SF raid gear somewhere between Ry’Gorr stuff and fabled instance drop stuff. I’m extremely happy I’m a hoarder in EQ2. My bank slots all have 44 slot bags in them and there are only a few free places as I always keep the previous few sets of armour / equipment I wore. Being able to go back and review their stats was very useful and I used a few pieces of armour and some jewellery. My crit mit has gone up from 109% to 142%, my crit bonus / crit chance / potency / resists have all rocketed. The only thing I have seen a detrimental difference to is my multi attack. I have lost about 20%.

The best way to see how all this shapes up is of course to run a few instances, but it took so long to reset everything I didn’t have time last night, so I headed to the training dummies to see what difference the changes had made. For my ‘control’ aspect of the test, I always use the group dummies (which creates about 10 level matched heroic dummies), and then kill three of them before ending the combat, to see how my DPS fared. The reason I do it that way is to simulate being in a group. Yes, I won’t have group buffs, but I reckon the time it takes to do those three is akin to a normal group encounter when you have a full group backing you up. My previous DPS high on this test was 42k. I did it twice last night and got 86k and 91k. So if that equates to a similar improvement in instances, then I’m happy with the game update. Yes there are a few teething problems, but then again there always is. They will sort them all eventually I’m sure. I’m not sure however, how long ‘eventually’ will be.

One of the things to consider, even though they have had the update improvements on test, is how it will affect the rest of the game play. Use Voltaan as an example. If from the re-itemisation like me many have been able to utilise previously won gear that is of a high standard and they generally see almost a 100% increase in their performance, then will this not trivialise many of the existing instances (aside from the already mega tough ones)? I ran through a couple of instances the night before the revamp and to be honest that was kinda easy as it stood. I’m thinking it will be cake now.

You see that’s one of the problems with such big revamps to a system. The knock on effects will come to light over the coming months, and as usual, hotfixes will follow to sort them. This isn’t a moan, it’s just the accepted way of how things work in EQ2 development. And let’s be honest, despite the hiccups, despite the unknown long term affects of the GU, the game is still an amazing one with so much detailed and fantastic content that even if they messed it up big style, I’d probably still log in to experience Norrath.

Sometimes we expect miracles from SoE because we pay them every month. Reality is somewhat far away from that though. Look at the actual stats. 54,000 items to re-itemise, and that was just a part of the GU. Now I pretty sure the dev team probably only has about 30 - 40 employees, if that, and there is a huge amount of work there for such a small number. Yes, there is the argument that they should employ more staff with our subs to speed things up and to make for better content. But my stance against that is a simple one. Too many cooks spoil the broth. What I mean by this, is quantity does not necessarily equate to quality. SoE have a good team. Yes it takes a little time for them to get it right, but they usually do, and usually with style (eventually). It’s always easy to focus on the bad stuff. But look a little more carefully past the surface and it becomes apparent that ‘there is more to heaven and earth my dear Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy’. Yup, I’m in an optimistic mood today.

Right, now I have to ring Ema and get her to unequip all my stuff again!

Be well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Finally. DoV instance cherry = broken

Last night was a blast. I’m quite shocked to hear myself say that about an evening spent inside a couple of DoV instances, but I really had a lot of fun. I grouped up with Emarald and Jahf with a view to learning some of the new (to me) DoV instances for both Voltaan and our friends SK, Hagras. We headed off to Forgotten Pools and after to The Ascent, and I was pretty shocked at how easy it was. The first instance Haggy tanked and the second one in Ascent, I had a bash at. Thanks to all who trooped me through.

For my first time tanking in DoV I’m pretty happy with how it went. There were no deaths, no issues with aggro, aside from Jahfs Brig, but that’s par for the course where decent Brigs are concerned as they have almost no hate reduction and high dps, and to be honest it wasn’t too much of an issue, I usually managed to grab the mob back with one of my many snaps. It was a challenge though as Jahfs Brig was churning out some very nice numbers, in debuff spec no-less! I’m glad he wasn’t in DPS spec. The content of the zones themselves were quite fun too, especially the nameds. There were some funky scripts for the bosses and I personally liked the sticky wall guy [technical term], although everyone else seems to hate him. Overall it was very smooth and there were no issues to be had, aggro management was ok’ish, and my DPS was very good considering the equipment I have. Jahf topped the zone wide with about 60k I think it was, and I came in second with 28k zonewide. Not brilliant numbers for me, but certainly OK and my first run at a DoV zone went well. It seems weird to have been playing the game since the expansion release, yet never having done anything other than some of the solo timeline.

Anyhow, I’ve been getting all excited because my Bro tells me last night before he logged that he has now completed the first four solo type quests for his Warden epic weapon, and it’s time to move on to the heroic stuff. I think tonight we will need to hit Karnor’s Castle for Levik, Chardok to get an update from trash mobs that are pretty deep in the dungeon (past the red gate I think) and finally to Sebilis to grab something off the named in the secret lab. If my Bro is up for it tonight, I think we will quite easily manage to get all three updates done. If they don’t have to be done in order, I think we’ll do Seb first as we have been there so much over the last week that if we get that out the way, we can then spend the rest of the evening enjoying new content (for Merecraft).

I’m looking forward to taking Mere in Chardok. I think we’ll spend an extra ten minutes getting all of the gate keys for him, so he can return whenever he likes and not get blocked at the gates. We may even do a quick run of the small Korucust instance for the AA as it doesn’t take long at all. It should all be great fun whatever we decide to do.

One thing Ema was talking to me about was trying to have a crazy fun night when Merecraft has his fabled version of his weapon, and try and get him his Mythical update in one night. That’s three raid mobs. Two of which are near the end of a raid instance. It should be fun and I actually think it’s doable in one night, especially if Volt feign deaths his way to some of them then summons the group, although that will probably only work in Veeshan’s Peak. That would mean, Protector’s Realm (item drops off last mob), Temple of Kor’Sha (think item drops from Seldrach or something, again last mob from what I recall) then finally it would be into Veeshan’s Peak to take out that pesky Cinder Wasp Queen. I’ve always wondered about that update. It seems strange to have a final mob of a Myth weapon timeline to be a mob that appears in the middle of an encounter and isn’t the actual focus of the fight. Anyhow, that’s the last one. I reckon it’s doable in a couple of hours, probably actually a lot less considering the steps forward in equipment (if SoE don’t mess up itemisation). Oh, one thing worth noting if you are doing the Myth warden raid version. The item you get off the bosses that you need for the update, needs to be consumed within the zone before zone out, as it’s a no-zone item. If you zone out before using it, you’ll have to run the raid instance again to get your update. One night Myth updates would be cool though. I remember how long it took to get mine!

Be well.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Jolly Spiffing Update

Lot’s of EQ2 news right now. Let’s start with GU61 which is upcoming today, sorry, Thursday. Yup it’s been delayed for a couple of days so the Devs have a chance to make sure they have the itemisation correct. I’m thinking that with 54,000 items to review and change the stats for, there are likely to be some mistakes. Already there are a few rumblings that some items not only have changed stats but have changed archetype also. Hopefully this won’t affect too many folks or any really popular items, but if it does there may be some pretty pissed off folks who log in to find they can no longer use some of their most treasured items. I’m actually thinking that hopefully, there really will be only a few circumstances where this is true.

Additionally all this re-itemisation has a very beneficial side line. That being that all of your attuned stuff, be it on your toon, in your bags, in your bank or in your house vault, will now become un-attuned and if you are wearing the item at the time and it is adorned, your adornment will be removed also. Don’t worry you won’t lose your adorn, it should be placed in your bags. Now what I have done is try and think laterally on this. None of my current equipment on Voltaan needs to have its adornments removed, so I have stripped him naked and placed those items in my bags. What I have done is equip all his old gear that he wore in each slot prior to his upgrade. That means that I will get about 6 red adorns back and multiple silver. They can go in my bank and at least I won’t have to fork out a huge amount should I level another toon that could use them. Also if everything becomes un-attuned, I am not sure I will ever need to adventure again for kit as all my toons never get rid of their previous gear, I just bank it. I think I may be able to open an EQ2Mart for my alts after this update.

So, what else is coming? Well, for someone who seems to have a fair amount of Arasai critters on my character list there is good news that come level 85 and GU61, Faes and Arasai will be able to complete a quest that grants them the ability to fly. When the update is live it can be picked up from the Goahmari encampment in Great Divide, just like the Griffon quests. I’m quite looking forward to this. It really is about time that our little winged cousins have a chance to get airborne. Now I just want totally customisable wings. Check out the doctored picky of Emarald to see what I mean.


*please hum Dambusters theme*
What Ho! Ema joins the Brylcream Boys
There are a couple of dynamic dungeons coming up too in the next update. These are called ‘dynamic’ as there are apparently up to 14 different mob sets that you can get given when you zone in. This means that each time entering will be a different challenge, although I’m not sure if that includes nameds. Both are in the Desert of Flames expansion and seem to be set around the Silent City area. The zones match your level from 60 to 90 and apparently the mobs do drop some quite nice stuff, although I’m not sure if that was pre-itemisation changes, or after.

The first part of the Beastlords preview quest will be arriving also. There will be no spoilers here, this is just a warning to keep an eye out for it.

As for DoV content there should be two more questlines appear in Eastern Wastes, which is just what the zone needs. A great looking zone, but without too much substance. Faction quests with the Goahmari Stormfeathers and the Threal’Gorr Orcs will be appearing to beef out the zone and its content a little. Hopefully it will work. For an expansion I dislike, it’s refreshing to find a zone I like, and that the Devs are paying it some attention to make it better.

Overall I’m looking forward to GU61 with some trepidation and not a little bit of hope. If it goes well and as intended I can foresee solidification of an already great game. If it goes wrong (why is my SoE radar telling me it’s going to have issues?), then as usual there will be the normal uproar, the normal feeble responses from SoE and then a resolution to the problem two years later.

As for my gaming, I have of course been playing EQ2 (as well as a bit of DIRT2). Although my Bro’s playtime is understandably a little restricted in EQ2 currently, he has nevertheless managed to get him to 80th level (GRATS MERE!), has hammered out all of his Reet faction already and has picked up that pesky Epic weapon starter. So things are actually moving a quite a pace. I’m hoping we should be able to get him his epic soon. Perhaps we should start working on it tonight. I hope so. For some sick reason, I really really enjoy doing the old epic quests, even to the point of helping others gives me just as much of a rush. I also prefer to get an epic myth’d ‘properly’ before doing the enervated. Weird huh? But lots of fun. Well, whatever the reasoning behind my unstable thoughts, they are there, and we have an Epic to do! Let’s crack on.

Be well.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lord of the Klakrok Drones

Apologies for the delay in posts. Work has seen me travelling again. I'm back now, so let's crack on.

I was having a rather interesting conversation the other day with a very good friend of mine about attitude. Specifically about how those who play EQ2 develop theirs and how they conduct themselves during their sessions online. During the conversation we pulled apart the issue of how those who play act and the conclusions were interesting. The subject of EQ2 being only a game was raised and that would it be realistic to attach the thoughts here to such a situation. It was decided in the end, most definitely. Look at your guild. Look at the different people who play. There are pensioners, students, career folks, teachers, and so on. The game itself is actually a nice slice of society and a good indication for being considered as a social experiment.

So, as I said above, when I say ‘conduct themselves’ I mean basically how those that play interact with the rest of the community. At one stage I mentioned that I saw it having the possibility of being a social experiment and that studying how those who play the game interact with others of varying different social groups within the game can give a valuable insight in to a nice slice of our society, through a very specific window, with some very interesting influencing factors. The main one of course being the removal of actual ‘standing in front of me’ contact during these interactions and something I call ‘The Barrier’, which I’ll explain later.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Construction Complete

 A picture tells a thousand words...

Yeah. That didn't work in school either when I submitted a picture of my hamster instead of a thousand word essay...got me detention. Anyhow, pictures..it's finished. If you want to visit, name of 'Voltaan', Gorowyn 6 room on Antonia Bayle server. Whilst you are there have a cocktail in the house itself at Club Tropicana. Go, help yourself. Relax. The drinks are free. Or you could head west along the beach from the Lodge then south to the Wall of Bone. Enjoy.

From the Lookout Tower

The Lake with Othmir Ninja Turtle


300!

Well, I hit 300 AAs the other night. Thanks to my old friends Jahf, Ratty and Tymar and Aleksi, and of course the devastatingly sexah Ema, we powered through Chardok time and time again and in no time whatsoever, it was ding 300. I also hit Karnors Castle thanks to advice from Jahf (think I have mentioned that before) who suggested I mentor down and plough through there. It worked a treat, mebbe even a little quicker than the Chardok exp. Either way both instances were awesome and the company even better. Thanks for your help folks, Volt is now a powerhouse once more!

As you know my Bro is not in game at the moment tending to his lovely new addition. I have been spending my time finishing my Hunters Lodge. Yup, it’s now done. All the finishing touches have been made aside from one fence line I have yet to still lay. I must say I’m pretty pleased with it. I only used the editor a couple of times to make sure the sloping roof and adjoining walls worked out ok. They kinda still look a bit weird to my eyes, not sure what I’ll do to fix that but at the moment it is fine. I have tried, like I always do, to make it about the small details of the place. For example, it’s a hunting lodge, so you’ll not see any nice shiny furniture in there. Everything is rough and mostly wooden in keeping with what you would expect to see in a Hunters Lodge. I like the small details whilst decorating and Jahf commented the same thing to me, that often it is the little things that adds to the whole ambience of a house. Anyhow, I’ll add some piccies in a bit. I may even do a video walkthrough.
 
Ema has been hitting her raiding pretty hard recently and has her kit almost up to scratch. So much so she is looking to gear up her Coercer already. She has only been back raiding for a few weeks. This got me thinking about if I would like to return to the raid scene. In every expansion since DoF I have been part of a raid force and have either dabbled or seriously hit the top tier content. The most concentrated raid periods were during Kingdom of Sky and Sentinels Fate expansions. I really do enjoy it. It’s exciting, fun to hang out with your mates and after many beat downs, it’s always nice to conquer very tough new content, to progress and to witness the knock on effect of getting better kit. It’s quite pleasant to watch yourself become pretty uber.

But raiding does have its down sides. Anyone who has ever raided in any MMO will know this. From taking up a lot more of your time, to dealing with (sometimes) those who seem to be in the MMOSPG (massively multimedia online special population group – yes, I made this up..but they’re out there..beware!). From the endless waiting around to lost rolls in favour of those who only raid once in a millennia. The pitfalls are many and this got me to thinking. The crummy stuff does crop up a fair bit. You DO spend a huge amount of time waiting round. It’s unavoidable, whilst the raid force prepares and hears strats of how they are going to defeat the new content, whilst those have afks, or switch out toons for particular mobs, there is always some degree of running to stand still. But the feeling when you get that synergy between the raid members and everything flows as it should really is quite a buzz, especially the very first time you defeat new content.

However, one of the biggest downfalls for me that currently over-rides all the good stuff to be experienced in raiding, and the one that means I really am not going to be getting involved in DoV raiding for the foreseeable future is the extra time and more importantly the extra commitment. You are committed to it if you become part of a raid force. Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s not a raid solo mob, it’s a damn big group with 24 people in it. You can’t just pick and choose where and when you will raid when there are 23 other folks depending on you to do your bit. It’s a commitment to the game and your fellow raiders, and that is why I cannot get back in to raiding just yet. I have so much other stuff going on, I really couldn’t justify allocating more of my time to the game and more regimented time at that.

When I play currently, I don’t want it to be an issue if I need to go afk for 10 minutes. I don’t want the rush-rush to get kit and become uber again. I don’t need it. I still get to chat to my mates who do raid and I still pick up the odd piece of loots that my old raid syndicate and bunch of mates collect when they have no one who can use it. I guess what I am trying to say is that at the moment old Volt just wants to put his feet up in his new Hunters Lodge, relax and enjoy his retirement, helping out friends and guildies alike, as and when they need it. It’s time for Volt to experience some relaxation EQ2 style. Bring on the Nayad masseuse.

Be well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hunter's Lodge

The new housing options are now available on the Marketplace in EQ2.  Anyone who knows me will know that I have been getting a little bit excited about the ‘blank canvass’ islands that are going to be available to purchase. I had heard that they were going to be based upon Temple Isle in Tenebrous Tangle, and was pretty made up about that. Even if they had removed all of the temples and ruins, it would still be an awesome place to create some structures. But when my Bro shouted up the other night to let me know he was checking them out and “it’s just a big flat island really with a waterfall”, I was a little perplexed. Where was my Tenebrous Tangle island? Wishing to see this with my own eyes I hopped over to South Freeport to take a gander. And he was right!

Yup, that’s all it is. A big flat grassy island that looks like it is flat enough for a ball pitch. There is a waterfall too, coming from an island way way above your head in to a tiny pool. That’s your lot. There is nothing more. So, my enthusiasm well and truly deflated I put away my hopes of having a cool island of my own and Mere and I decided to head off and quest some.

I was disappointed with the islands truth be told. As Mere and I discussed at the time we are absolutely sure there will be some amazing creations on these islands and in just a short space of time we came up with some great ideas. A Country Club & Spa, A Football Pitch, Mini Golf & amusements are just a few. There is a huge amount of potential there for development and perhaps moving out to the other very distant islands you can see. But, it’s not for me. I wanted nooks and crannies, little valleys and tranquil pools. Woods and streams. So, I decided I wasn’t going to move house. I am keeping Voltaans Gorowyn home but am revamping the outside area. Out goes the under construction ‘Fort Brakkarg’ with just the Wall of Bone remaining to protect my little property and in comes the new falling down cottage I am building for Voltaans home. Well, it’s not falling down just yet, but it has got a tree growing in to the construction somewhere! I’ll add piccies of the building site later. It’s going to be a labour of love and will probably take me some time as I dislike using the layout editor for anything further than changing the angle of an item which I have had to do already to get the slope of the roof tiles. Piccies and more after the jump..

Monday, July 25, 2011

Who's a clever little asshat?

This weekend saw the completion of the Wizard Spire event in Eastern Wastes and the Dragon Ring event in Great Divide. I didn’t take part in the Dragon Ring event, but I was lucky enough to be about when the Wizard Spire final quest popped at 99.7% completion of the Spires. At the time I was just standing around and Jahf (on his Ranger I think) happened to be stood near me and we ended up grouping in preparation for the final event quest.

I cannot explain how many player characters were there at the Spires in Eastern Wastes, but it sure as hell caused some devilish server/instance lag. At one point the dude you have to speak to (Researcher Kilat I think) was not to be found anywhere, and masses upon masses of PC toons hovering all in the same area waiting for the NPC that would be buried under all of the PCs meant that for about 20 minutes I couldn’t even see him let alone target him. As it happens, when Jahf and I popped off to gather some crystals to help hurry up the progression of the event and all of a sudden it moved forward pretty damn fast and we had to make the hop back to the Spires quickly. Jahf very cleverly warned me to delete the quest originally given to me for those Teleportation coin thingies (tokens) and as we approached the Spires, I automatically got offered Researcher Kilats quest for the final epic battle and a very nice 500 tokens.

So, Jahf and I were sat under the tent, waxing lyrical about the benefits of pulling in a tent to negate knockback, when we both moved forward as it seemed the many raids present were gathering ready for the start of the event. It wasn’t until we got closer to the crowd that we realised it had already started, but the lag was so so bad, we could only see the combat text “Soandso is stunned!” and so on. It was quite clear the battle was taking place, but absolutely no NPC mobs were to be seen to actually try and hit. It was that way for the whole fight. It was clear a battle was going on around us, but I could not see one mob, just lots of damage being done and heals going on. I was concerned about not getting enough credit to get the quest update to I ran around like a crazed idiot spamming my area effect spells. But still nothing. After the fight had ended my quest thankfully updated, even though I hadn’t hit one mob. Strangest thing though. After the battle to see what the hell happened I switched windows to my ACT which had been bubbling away in the background and it hadn’t even registered the battle. The list was empty. As far as it was concerned I may as well had been sunning myself on Antonica Beaches.

What Jahf pointed out to me a little later was pretty cool though. One of the GMs (I can’t recall his name, Jahf help me! Think it was Gnil...something or other) had been in chat channels checking that all those present had gotten the quest updates/rewards as they were aware of the laggy bug that was happening when the fight was taking place and they just wished to make sure that no one who was there got left out, which I thought was pretty darn cool of them. Anyhow, I got my update and my many Tokens. Which I promptly spent on two replica Wizard Spires, a couple bags of teleporters and plenty of shards. It was only after I had done this though that I realised that there was a merchant at the Dragon Ring event too and I had perhaps missed out on some cool loots.

I headed over there straight away to find out and to my dismay there was a really cool replica of the Dragon Ring available for 25 tokens. I only had two left! Because both the Spires and the Dragon Ring events had been completed, the only way to get more tokens was from the shiny like collectables found around the event areas as ground spawns. So, I spent the next hour scouring the area and gathering enough until I could buy a replica of the Ring event. Mostly when I was harvesting these collectables, the PCs were gracious and I tried to do the same where if I saw another near a shiny token collectable, I stayed away. Mostly they did the same for me too. However, as always there was this one particularly inspiring individual who had either an excellent connection, amazing reflexes, or a hack of some sort. He would run up to a node and even if I had started harvesting it, my green progression bar would conclude only to be told, ‘There is a lottery for that loot already in progress’. He did this to me numerous times. I was going to report him, but then realised I could not be bothered to waste more of my time on such a well rounded and obviously highly educated individual and just sent him a /tell. “You’re a clever little fukker eh?”, I got a standard “I guess” answer and I just left it. I only needed two more spawns at that point anyhow and as I said, my time is too precious to be spending with those of such higher social standing than me. I could name him, but then again, I can’t be bothered. Those who deal with him will already know of his sterling quality as a human being.

Is it just me or is my English sarcasm taking a real royal outing today?

Right –o, that’s me done for the minute. Thanks to Jahf for the Spire event fun and help whilst there. I’ll be back soon with an update on Mere’s and my progression through Kunark.

Be well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Warrior & The Warden

 I had fun making it. Hope you have fun boring yourselves stupid for 5 minutes !




Be well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A look in to the looking glass

Thanks to the guys over at EQ2Wire, I have a nice list of things that we can expect from the Devs in Eq2 from now until the new expansion has hit and beyond. GU -61 promises to be one of the biggest updates we have had for some time and sees some truly game-play changing items on it’s agenda. I have supplemented the full list below,. My initial thoughts / comments on each section can be found in red.

Game Update 61 – The War of Zek

Dynamic Dungeons
* New versions of Silent City and Djinn Master’s Prism.
* Encounters are randomized when you enter
* Dungeons scale dynamically 60-90
* Test bed for a new flavour of content creation.

- Sounds interesting. I’m intrigued by how they will achieve a correct balance to a dungeon when they will be randomised. I guess they will not be totally randomised but probably more like, operating within set parameters.

The War of Zek
* Plane of War content
* New dungeon (normal and hard)
* New raid (normal and hard)
- New stuff is good, as long as it is good

Itemization Changes
* Stats revision
* Increase # of stats
* Add auto attack for casters and priests
* increasing headroom on old stats
* Re-itemize 20-90
* Major AA revamp
* Class focus revision

- WHY WHY WHY??? The rest of the suggestions are great, but there is no need to mess with the level 20 to say 75 itemisation. It just isn’t worth it and messing about with that could have some pretty nasty knock on effects. Leave the re-itemisation alone and concentrate on some of the other decent and required stuff in the above list.

Tradeskill Crafting AAs
* 3 rows of abilities — 10 points each row. max 25 points for crafting AAs
* Progress, Durability, Double Harvest Chance
* Crafting Stats Progress, Durability, Success Chance
* Increase chance of harvesting a rare

- Me no tradeskilly really, although I can see how this would be like mega useful, so gets a thumbs up from me.

House Rating System
* Decorate your house, publish it for others to see
* Leaderboard (48 hour falloff)
* Awards for staying on leaderboard
* Hall of Fame system
* 5 star rating system

- This is going to be fantastic. Those of you who know me know I love to decorate and create. Already I have some rather special ideas about what I am going to create.

Dungeon Finder System
* Any size group can queue up
* Matchmaker system. you can disband if you want.
* Any Dungeon
* Get XP boost for being flexible
* Initially same-server only, cross-server later

- I’m really liking this. I love what they are doing with dungeon design too (see later). This should make PuGs pretty darn easy to get balanced and should see an end to that horrible moment when you realise there’s a Zerker, Pally and Brawler in your group...and you’re an SK. Things should be a lot more balanced with this matchmaker system where PuGs are concerned..

GU61 More stuff
* Fae/Arasai Flying (level 85, must complete a quest)
* New content in Eastern Wastes
* Beastlord prelude event
* Velious signature line update

- Arasai / Faes get to fly. About time really imho.

Game Update 61 is released in AugustVery soon really, since latest expansion. Not sure if that’s good, or if SoE rushed things.

Freeport — Lucan Gets Serious
* Lucan’s Lore — Lucan was kidnapped
* His captor was killed
* Lucan crushed his usurpers, levied a new army, and now seeks to dominate and control
* Freeport revamp will have a ton of lore related to it

All (Evil) Roads Lead to Freeport
* Evil starter areas lead to Freeport, not Butcherblock Mts
* Multi-level questing hub
* Race and Class specific quest lines
* Instances within the city (hoods, sewers) — some quests will cause NPCs to attack
* Public quests in Commonlands
* Special Guards watching the area around Freeport (leapers and gliders, juggernauts)
* Exploratory content

Freeport Unification (in progress)
* Entire Freeport city can be explored without zoning, excluding the suburbs

- I’m really liking all of the Freeport ideas. I generally play evil toons and as such I know the zones well and have a particular fondness for them. Pièce de résistance will be the new quest hub and hopefully smooth running of the now BIG instance. Freeport should be a buzzing city once more! Check out the design differences expected after the revamp...


The Age of Discovery expansion

Chock Full of Features
* The Age of Discovery focuses on features that open up new ways to play the game.
* Game Updates is where the content/zones are.

ROLL OUT CALENDAR

GU61: BYOD (August 2010)
GU62: Freeport (November 2010)
GU63: Velious (February 2011)
GU64: Velious (May 2011)
GU65: Qeynos (August 2011)

Tradeskill Apprentices
* Acquire an apprentice via quest at level 30
* Customizable (race, name, gender, clothing)
* Set tasks, the longer the task the greater the reward
* Train your apprentice over time
* Able to make best-in-slot items over time but Heirloom

Item Reforging and AA Limit Increase
* Reforge your powerful items and a shift stat bonuses around
* Allow player customization of particle effects on powerful weapons
* Additional the AA limit gets boosted to add more AA choices

- Liking this very much. It’s a discussion I have had previously with Jahf. We both thought this should be approached. Let’s just hope they get the setup right and don’t unbalance everything once again, I’m not holding my breath.

Mercenaries
* Hired help for small group or soloing situations
* You pay them gold/platinum
* They help you destroy stuff
* They take a small cut of coin and XP gained
* One mercenary per character
* Choose from any of four combat types
* Healer, tank, melee DPS, ranged DPS
* But here’s where it gets fun….

Mercenaries are Varied
* Just because there’s only 4 merc types doesn’t mean the variety stops there
* Different AI brains
* Different stats
* Different spells
* A healer you get in Neriak may think differently, have different spells, even different stat emphasis than one * you get in Qeynos.
* And you can assign them behaviors (like pets).
* Mercenaries are Visual.
* Races are city-specific.
* Customize appearance.
* Some are merchant bought.
* They’re your Perma-Pals.
* They level up, you never outgrow them.

- So, Mercenaries are an awesome idea. I’m particularly impressed in that they have not just launched Mercs on their own. If you think about the dynamic they are addressing here, it’s solo, vs. group content. But more importantly the gap in between the two. Those situations when you and your duoing partner really could do with being a Quattro rather than a Duo. SoE are aware and have long been so, concerning the fact that most folks solo their way to at least 80 and sometimes 90th level. This was, using the Mercs and in addition, using the Dungeon Finder System above a great great idea. One of the big bugbears of the game (solo play and the lonesome feeling!) has been addressed. No longer are you alone! More options have opened up to fill your nights with pseudo company!

World Lore Mercenaries
* Some mercenaries aren’t available from merchants
* You might be able to hire Lucan for 1000p per hour
* Hirable for a time
* Characters from Norrath
* Extremely rare spawns

- Ohhh, this could be good. I would love to have someone famous cruising around with me. Imagine that! “Hi, how you doing. Let me introduce you to my friend, Fippy Darkpaw”....”This is my buddy, goes by the name of Mayong...”

BEASTLORD
* Vintage character class with new emerging gameplay
DISCLAIMER WARNING
**What you are about to hear about the Beastlord is subject to change!!!**

* Beastlord Lore
* The Truespirit retreated when the gods did
* Beastlords faded away, unable to bond with spirits
* Beastlords are Scouts
* Leather wearers
* Brawler like weapons
* Melee DPS class, on par with other top-tier DPS
* Beastlords are a Pet Class (Warders)
* Pet class on Steroids
* Should always use a Warder to be effective
* Can collect and use many different types of Warders

Beastlord Warders (pets)
* Different Warders have different abilities, hotbars, AA lines
* More utility, damage, combat
* Use stances to affect what abilities become important

- I’m keeping my opinion closed at the moment on Beastlords. I really do need to have more of a look at them when they go live to get a proper impression of gameplay and how they will fit in with the rest of the EQ2 clan. I left EQ1 just before they were released and never did get to play one.


Design Your Own Dungeon
– a feature so powerful, it deserves its own presentation
DISCLAIMER — Mock-up art, this is work in progress

Be a Builder
* Dungeon Maps, Creater Spawners, Traps, Decorations you have to go out and quest, raid, tradeskill to get them
*Come back and build with the enhanced housing system. You teleport into the dungeon and you get an extremely advanced housing interface. Housing will eventually get the new design system.
*Intuitive UI and experimentation modes

So you’ve built it, now publish it!
* Publish your dungeon
* Watch your NPC minions slaughter real players in real time
* Compete against other Builders on leaderboards for player ratings
* Earn builder tokens redeemable for builder-only items. BYOD items only available for Tokens

Builders get Reputation
* Ready to Play? Find your Dungeon
* Shows up in the Dungeon Finder System
* Review leaderboards, screenshots, player ratings
* Play solo, or woith a group. all part of the dungeon finder system
* When you enter a dungeon, you are collecting adventurer NPCs to run the Dungeon. The NPCs have a limited set of abilities. You cannot play a player-made dungeon as your own character. (groan)
* Tokens to buy loot for your real characters.
* How do you keep from exploiting these zones by making an easy zone with just mobs?
* When we launch, there will be one game type, Survive through the dungeon and kill boss at the end.
* Automated Challenge Rating system to determine rewards for finishing the dungeon. Difficult to exploit. The creator script detects the difficulty of the zone by determining the shortest path in the dungeon.


DYOD has Fringe Benefits for the rest of the game:
* House rating system
* Dungeon Finder for regular dungeons

- Design your own dungeon is so funky. I’m looking forward to this a great deal. It can add an element of uniqueness and obviously lets those who are good at this sort of thing create genuinely fun content. In games such as Company of Heroes, map design has long been a part of the fun. If they can make it work here, there are bound to be some wonderful creations. Think of all the creations that will be based on fun genres/franchises and other fun stuff that we already know. Fancy a Star Ship Enterprise? A copy of the Alien vrs Predator Pyramid? Jabba the Hutts Palace? Sounds like fun anyhow. having said all of that, there is one huge huge thing I have failed to mention. Roleplayers. How amazing will it be to create your own little instances to back up the roleplay story you are running for your guild. The Dungeon where your guild leader has been imprisoned, the Tower where the antidote to the poison that your guild strategist has been given! this has the opportunity to really open things up for those who like to R.P and will add some real substance to the ongoing in guild storylines out there. Great stuff.

Be well!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Been a while huh?

So, yeah, been a while. Lot's been going on, but mainly a week off with the family taking it easy and enjoying the Summer here in southern Spain. Plenty of time in coffee shops, walking along the beach front and melting in the heat. Back to work now though and it's amazing how quickly you forget you were off. I've only been back three days and already my break seems as though it was an age ago.  Of course one of the good things about having some time off work is the late gaming nights! I have had my fair share this last week and I'll share soon what's been going on.

Talking of late nights, it's midnight here and an early start tomorrow. Until then, it's about time I caught up on posting some screenies. Enjoy and see you very soon.

We'll start with Voltaans photoshoot for Men's Health

My Komodo gets friendly with an Iksar Statue

Voltaan's photoshoot for Urban Protection Monthly

Velious, first session. Great Divide

A big Tortoise with a village on it's back. Curious.

Velious flight

Eastern Wastes

Acolytes of Valor, Deathtoll

To An Ancient Time!

Back to Voltaan's Men's Health photoshoot


Be well.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Net Connection Update

Technician came round this afternoon. Reckons he should have us up and running online by Friday. Not getting my hopes up, but it's more promising than it was. See you all soon.

Be well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Classic Kunark

So, it’s been pretty damn tough without the net at home. You really don’t realise how much you use it until it’s gone. Just the other day I was watching a movie and couldn’t place one of the support actor’s names that I had seen in a different movie the week before. Usually, it’s straight to http://www.imdb.com/ for some info, but not this time. I was shockingly left wondering! I have not missed the ‘phone that much, in fact not at all. But the ‘net? Wow, that one is stinging real bad.

So, what have I been doing? I’d be remiss if I said I had been working hard, filling the time with lot’s of chores. I haven’t done those things, well much anyway. Mega Summer has started here and already we are pushing crazy temperatures. So, what to do in this wonderful weather? Would you do chores? Well, you might if you were more diligent than I am. I have been spending much time with the little rug rats. Although I’m not so sure my nine year old would like being called a rug rat. I’ve also been spending some very important time nursing cold beers by the pool. Yes, it’s a tough life. Not sure how I cope with it to be honest.

It sounds like my Bro is having fun in EQ2 still testing the new mounts, although he does say that he’s not had the impetus to log in as much without ye’olde Voltaan. I must admit, it is my gaming sessions with my Bro that I am really missing. Was looking forward to getting in to some Rise of Kunark fun with him. That’s my fave expansion and have many happy memories of those questlines, both solo and grouped and of course the RoK raiding. So, in anticipation of our RoK sessions (fingers crossed on t’internets solutions), I thought I would highlight the things I find most desirable about the Kunark expansion.

I played Everquest and when I first visited Kunark in that game, I was in awe. From the crazy boat trip over there to the wonderful scenery on arrival. It was an epic expansion and held so much fun for many a year, even when it was superceded by new expansions. I have found RoK in EQ2 to be very similar indeed. I still head back there from time to time and always enjoy my stay.

When you start in Rise of Kunark, you catch the boat from Antonica or Commonlands docks and it gracefully bobs up and down until you reach Dreg’s Landing in Kylong Plains. Immediately you are greeted with a pretty vista and lots of little feathers floating above NPC heads. I love this part. It is the start of what I think was the best set of linear questlines for some time. They led you neatly through Kylong Plains from Dregs Landing to the snowy peaks of Teren’s Grasp, on to Brakthyr’s Post, Kunzars Edge and then Highton with the Bees. Some of the main locations in the zone are awe inspiring. From the sprawling mass of Karnor’s Castle to the spires of Teren’s Grasp, from the lofty heights of Varis to the deep canyons of The Gash of T’Thelin and from the Tunnels of Charnax to the devilishly evil and well populated Chardok. Kylong seems to have it all. The zones you move in to after Kylong (Fens of Nathsar, Kunzar’s Jungle and Jarsath Wastes) tell the same story. Excellent questlines leading you neatly through each and every area of the zone, guiding you through faction gain and very interesting zones and instances. Oh, and there is the great questline given by Anda too, starting with ‘Fistful of Metal’ and in to ‘A Few Coins More’ (Carries on in Fens of Nathsar with ‘An Ugly Bounty’). Anda is fun to reach too. I first saw him on my first trip back from Teren’s Grasp on the Sokokar, half way up a mountain with a little quest feather above his head. I couldn’t help but think that I must go and speak to the guy (is Anda a guy? I don’t recall) who hangs around on his own half way up a mountain, and I am glad I did. The questline is great fun.

So, on to instances, well, there are just so many that I think are quality. In fact pretty much all of them are. In this expansion, they seem to have go the mix just right. What’s more the instances have a nice amount of quests linked to them which means that the first few times you go in there, you are actually achieving stuff and not just going through the motions. This expansion was also (imho) the last one where truly fun shared dungeon zones could be found. Yes, later expansions had them, but I personally feel that RoK was the last time they were done well. Even the Hole doesn’t live up to Sebilis or Chardok. OK, so moving on. I’m going off memory here, but here are my fave instances to be found in the RoK expansion. I reckon the Crypt of Agony (CoA) is one of my faves. Sharing some of the layout of the Protector’s Realm raid zone with the entrance to be found in Sebilis, it really is a fun zone.

We also have the two Charisis’s, Vault of Eternal Sleep (VoES) and Maidens Chamber (both great dungeons with linked Legendary weapon quest), The Court of Korocust and Chelsith the gooey yucky zone inhabited by funny fishmen and horrid wurms and gooey floaty blobs.

Aside from the zones, of course this expansion saw the introduction of our Epic weapons. The level 80 quests to gain the weapons were huge and depending upon your class, pretty damn tough, especially not long after release. When you have finished the weapon questline you get the fabled version of the weapon,), then you could indulge in RoK raids to make your weapon a Mythical weapon. Nowadays, you can do the ‘Enervated’ quest line from the Sentinels Fate expansion to side step this part, but the weapon remains fabled (with the Myth stats) and the special class specific ability you get now comes as a spell not as an effect on the weapon (allowing you to upgrade the weapon but keep the buff). Personally, I like having the Mythical version before I trade it over to the newer enervated version because there is nothing quite like the server wide message stating that you are awesome (see below - note the different guild tag. Clan Werre was the raid group I was in during TSO expansion).

Adurj is awesome. Look, it says so on the screen...kinda.
I know it’s an old, used and rather baggy questline by now, but it still feels good to do it properly. Oh, one hinter before you start the Kunark expansion, research your Epic Weapon timeline as you will most likely need to watch your faction for when you come to do the quest. It's handy to know so you can start to build the required faction early as some of it is a right ole bugger to get.

On top of all this, the raiding in RoK is damn fun indeed. The first of what appeared to be the tiered raids, there was a nice linear progression and your Mythical questline led you nicely through the tiers also. The equipment was nicely balanced, so the further you progressed through the raid zones, the better the fabled equipment you gained. It was all nicely thought out and very interesting indeed, with some cracking scripts for fights, especially in the final raid zones in Veeshans Peak (I’m including Trakanon’s Lair in that).

To sum it up, the Rise of Kunark expansion is probably the most fun I have had for a sustained period in game, not just because of the great company I kept, but because of the amazing and varied content too. I love the expansion and am chomping at the bit to have another go at it with my Bro. Just need internets to start complying now.

Oh, you can check out my original thoughts (amongst others) under the 'kunark' tag on my old webby ' Revenants', here. You'll need to scroll down for my first impressions, or just click here and here.

Be well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Questions at Fan Faire

The goodly folks over at EQ2 Wire have had a wonderful idea and asked for visitors to post questions they wish the Devs to be asked at this years Fan Faire. The EQ2 Wire crew will select the best and deliver them to the Devs for answers at the Faire. Great stuff. Get your gripes and wonderments in now!

I did.

16.Comment by Voltaan — June 28, 2011 @ 10:59 am

Voltaan is tired! When will he be able to sit down in a chair or lay down on a bed?

All very important stuff, I'm sure you will agree. I was going to ask why the hell they are looking at re-itemising all items from 20-80th level as I see this as a complete waste of time. Having just run those levels at a not too fast rate, there really is no mega issue from my point of view. There are much more important things to look at like making the classes a bit more distinct again, especially with a 25th class on the way. But hey-ho. Thems how the dices roll. So, I decided to ask a question about a small inane subject that personally drives me mental! I'd like a music script like LoTRO too, but that's never going to happen.

Be well.