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.

Voltaan is currently about half kitted now in DoV easy mode gear and I know I’ll never be getting the Hard Mode gear. I think this must be one of the only expansions with there being Hard Mode content that has still yet to be broken by any guild on any server. Of course that may not still be the case, but it certainly was a while ago when I last checked the rankings. So, I’m not too bothered about the HM stuff. Sure it would be a challenge if I ever get kitted enough, but being honest, by then, I’m not sure if I’ll still be playing EQ2 or not. I have in my opinion, valid reasons for my apprehension to my future with EQ2.

Over at EQ2Wire, they have posted here a summary of all the official chat concerning the upcoming expansion, Age of Discovery. Which, to be honest, after reading the write up seems like a bit of an ironic title. So to start with, the Age of Discovery, will include, wait for it... no discovery. There will be no new overland or dungeons for this expansion. Taken from EQ2Wire and the official SoE release, here’s what to expect. Before we delve in to it, one must consider SoEs track record for testing content (GU61 anyone?)

  • Beastlords — The most frequently requested feature of EQ1 arrives with the Beastlord   class. The 25th class will wear Brawler equipment but otherwise have an archetype of Scout. Will have a separate AA tree for their pet
  • Mercenaries — NPCs which can be hired to assist in questing, groups, and raids
  • Tradeskill Apprentices — Little is known about these, but they use a new crafting table type and offer unique new recipes.
  • Design Your Own Dungeon — Based on an updated version of the housing system, players can build dungeons using existing Zone styles, placing Items and Mobs picked up from around Norrath. They can then publish their Dungeon for others to play *using avatar NPCs* (you may not use your own character to run a DYOD). Rewards include gear for your main character, or items which can be used to build your own Design Your Own Dungeons.
  • Item Reforging — Reshuffle some (but not all) of the stats on your items. You’ll also gain an in-game Particle Effect editor.
  • Increase to 350 AAs

I’m not that bothered about Beastlords. I have already come to terms with the fact I no longer have time for alts, let alone levelling one to 90 again. Voltaan will remain my main until I finish playing the game. I simply cannot afford to commit to another character.

The Mercs sound like fun, if they get the mechanics right. It worked well in EQ as far as I am aware. Let’s hope the same gremlins work on the EQ2 version. This could mean that a lot of those folks who like to solo will now have their options widened. It will mean the same for duo-ing partners and for smaller raid forces. It remains to be seen how useful or how effective they will be. If they turn out to be too powerful we could have issues and in addition, if they are too weak they will be of no use. I’m sure they will find a happy medium, at some point. My lack of faith is showing methinks.

Tradeskill apprentices is a cool idea. Pity SoE didn’t think of it first. Let’s hope they can make it work for those who like to be all EVE about their tradeskilling and if they’ll work for you whilst offline as well as out adventuring. I'm sure the answer to this one is out there somewhere, but I've not researched it yet.

DYOD should be a lot of fun. The only hope I have for this is that we will be allowed to take our own toons through content created by other players. It says above it may be a system where you enter with a pre-determined avatar (not your toon), even though your toon will reap the rewards. Not so sure I like that idea. I play my toon for a reason and for those old table toppers like myself, the back story of a character is very important and when I play my toon, I’m not just playing some pixels, I’m putting on a pair of old comfy shoes. I hope with the DYOD feature I’m not forced away from that.

Item Reforging sounds interesting. It could mean unique weapons/equipment for our toons and they are implementing a way we can alter the particle effects, making it truly unique in looks and effect. Or as my cynical side would wish me to state, this is a way of getting players to rectify the mess up with the re-itemisation and to stop all the complaining.

Increasing the AAs to 350 will be interesting. Why? Well because they have not given any clue if we will be getting a new AA tree. If not, that means an extra 50 AA to spread around what we already have. I’m sure some would benefit from it, and Volt would a little but to be honest, about 40 of those points would be wasted as he already has pretty much most of what I like to be a jack of all trades (tanky/dps). We’ll have to see how they deal with this.

So, knowing all this and knowing there will be no new overland or instance/dungeon content (aside from what players will design and implement under DYOD), I have to ask, is it actually an expansion par-se? Am I willing to pay for it? The amount of content seems a lot less than some of the old Adventure Packs that were released way back when. I’m just not sure. I guess the pricing will have a lot to do with it for me.

I know SoE won’t be worried. There are enough out there who have been waiting an eternity for the Beastlord and for the serious endgamers, the extra AAs will not be missed. SoE will make their money, just you see. But for me ( I know a lot are happy with the ‘expansion’ content), I have to ask, what are they actually getting the for their expansion money? I’m not so sure that the spent Euros will equate to value for money, and nowadays most of us don’t have an extra cent to spend. I’m still on the fence. This may just be a blip in the road for me, but if they charge a fortune for the expansion, it may be the end. There’s 2 months to go. We’ll see what happens.

Be well

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