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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Everquest 2: Kells, the Berserker, & Freeport questing

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Kells, my human Berserker, was “born” in Gorowyn but immediately moved to Freeport to quest there, picking up all but the Qeynosian mercenaries along the path to Freeport.  After picking up mercenaries, she arrived at level 4 and immediately went to The Ruins after hiring Stamper to act as her healer merc.  I did give her a mount  and any level appropriate weapons from my stash, but otherwise no help from my bigger characters

She immediately thought, “Hey let’s go to The Ruins” and then promptly noticed that everything was a little too large to kill in a timely fashion and so off to The Sprawl she went.  The Sprawl is filled with gangs and those gangs are “managed” by The Dreadnaughts with the blessings of the Overlord.  I was immediately given tasks to restore discipline and order amongst the various gangs. 

I’ll admit these “gangs” were challenging at first.  Slightly under-geared, Kells began her questing for The Dreadnaughts which resulted in the meeting of Gloomstalker.

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While a non-elite, he took a good minute to bring down but it was so worth it.

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That lovely Exquisite Chest at level six contained all level ten items, including a Master for my class at 10.  Needless to say, it was a minute well spent.  While working for The Dreadnaughts, I was sent to find out information from the Ratonga gang, The Black Magi.  The Black Magi appear in The Shattered Vale in Antonica as well.  There is mention of “The Marked” and “The Wheel”, both of which are hints of a quest in the Commonlands.

Quests completed in The Sprawl and I was given a new quested to report to The Ruins.  So off Kells went happily to The Ruins to continue working for the Overlord, although let’s be honest she will never kowtow to him like the Freeport Militia members pictured below.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Xbox: Diablo III Ultimate Evil Edition

We tried the demo of Diablo III on the Xbox360 several months ago.  It was appealing, the ability to play together without a split screen was the extremely appealing.  Life intruded and we never pulled the trigger, until this week on the Xbox One when the Ultimate Evil Edition released.

The new game contains the expansion to the game and looks amazing.  Blizzard did an amazing job, and the ability to link to your existing battle.net account was a very nice edition to the new release.  I can see familiar themes in Diablo and Warcraft.  Witch Doctor models are very similar to trolls, spells and animations are familiar as well.  Familiarity isn’t a bad thing, it is comforting in it’s own way.

We got our first chance to play yesterday afternoon and late into the evening.  He rolled a Witch Doctor and I rolled a Demon Hunter.  We are still in Act I but have had a blast.  The Witch Doctor is an amazing class with creepy pets and spells galore.  He has zombie dogs, spiders, bats, zombies, and soon hex chickens at his disposal.  Creepy wonderfulness and fits the name of the class.  Demon Hunter is ranged damage that is mobile and a blast.  She looks like a grown-up Little Red Riding Hood out for vengeance.

We started together and now I’m three levels ahead because all the gear I got had +experience modifiers and the exact opposite was true for him.  I have also been the random beneficiary of gifts from my friends list, although I haven’t been able to return the favor yet.  The gifts have been amazing pieces of loot that have made my demon hunter that much more kickass.

I have no doubt that there will be more Diablo III today, so excuse me it’s time to go kick evil in the ass.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

EQ2, The Forgotten Quests: Cedona Books, Freebloods, & City Quests


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Cedona ventured up from the Caves and into Qeynos to check out the sage’s offerings in the Mage’s Tower and to start her adventuring in Antonica. She was still level locked at 10 but close to flipping the switch. The helpful Sage, Indis Surion, gladly sold a selection of books from his vast offerings. I was disappointed to find that no history of Freebloods was available. I understand why after a Twitter conversation with Nathan McCall, but still disappointed.



So since I missed the Live event back in 2010, I did some digging around on the web this morning. Here’s what I learned. Freebloods were introduced into the game following Nights of the Dead in 2010 and were the result of experimentation by the vampires (House D’Morte) of Neriak. Cedona is not at all pleased to learn that she was brought back from the dead as the result of some twisted experiment by vampires. However she is relieved to learn that she is one of the lucky ones and has freewill and can bask in sunlight.

Having learned all this, she purchased the High Elf, aka Koada’Dal, history book along with several others. She hasn’t started the quest the book offers yet but it will be up soon. After purchasing the books, she did the Freeblood racial quest line in Qeynos which is very similar to the quest offer in Freeport. It offered a glimpse into why Freebloods are allowed within Qeynos.

Running around Antonica was helpful. Cedona started the lost love quest line which has a much different ending than it’s counterpart in the Commonlands. She also slaughtered gnolls at the bequest of various factions within Qeynos, hey what can she say easy way to level AA. Cedona then ran into my favorite halfing in Antonica and began his quests. It isn’t complicated but the poetry is lovely and you get a feel for the zone.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

SWTOR: Galactic Strongholds

Did reality match the long anticipated hype and hope?  First impression, not in the slightest did the hope and hype match reality this afternoon.

We all know I like my video games to have housing.  A place where my character can relax while I play someone else.  You know, home for the character.  Thus, I was very much looking forward to housing being implemented in SWTOR.  Star Wars holds a special place in my heart and I wanted my characters to have a place to kick back, relax, and express their personalities.

What I got was a hanger bay with prettier doors.  SWTOR, EA, and Bioware decided to go with the hook system of housing thereby destroying all player creativity.  No seriously, it is impossible to be creative when item can only go in certain places.  The decoration choices so far are cold and sterile, not remotely personal.  I’m disappointment to say the least.  Crew members and pets can be placed in the house, but they are static and unmoving.  Basically, the stand there like frozen actors or deer caught in the headlights.  It was soul crushing.

There was one highlight, the ability to park vehicles on the taxi pad.  But six vehicles parked next to a taxi is far from enough to make housing rewarding or enjoyable.

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I will give housing another chance but I am not holding out much hope. I need housing that is warm, cozy, and creative.  I need housing like in Everquest 2 or Wildstar.  I need throw pillows, pets the move and make noise, pictures in odd places, well you get the idea.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Everquest 2: Jeff the Bard

Oral History Comes Alive

 

By far, the highlight of SOELive 2014 for us was the performance by Jeff Bard EQ2 developer, aka Jeff the Bard.  The performance was amazing and it brought home the power of oral history.

The power of the spoken word is often forgotten today and the power of oral history you’ve participated in is long forgotten.  This amazing performance brought it all home.

Everquest 2: Oakmyst Forest & The Caves–Forgotten Quests 1

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Meet Cedona, and her alter ego Sedona,the Freeblood level 10 Illusionist as they take in the beauty that is Oakmyst Forest.  Quests in Oakmyst are available to good aligned characters only, I will cover the evil aligned zones of the same level in a different post.  Oakmyst and the Caves are accessible now from the intra-Qeynos travel bell (the brown bell adjacent to any world travel bell inside Qeynos).

Cedona immediately found Lt. Charlin and began his quest line.  Now be warned Oakmyst can be started around level 5 easily but be warned there is an aggressive level 15 triple up heroic that will be happy to kill you.  Lt. Charlin sends you on a series of quests to identify and solve the Gnoll situation that has sprung up in Oakmyst Forest.  While working for Lt. Charlin you will be earning Tunarian Alliance faction.  Successful completion of his quest line results in the quest that sends you to The Caves.

The Caves are deep underground and contain a plethora of monsters with corresponding opportunities to gain AA.  The quests are suitable for 8-15.  At level 10, with a non-10 year mercenary, and a cloth wearing class the is still a reasonable possibility of dying.  The Caves continue the Gnoll threat quest line from Oakmyst and the player ends the immediate threat to Qeynos and Antonica.  There is one roaming level 16 triple up heroic that I carefully avoid until level 13 at a minimum, Slaverjaw.

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The big, ugly mole hits for a ton and since my AA slider is set to 99% I’m still level 10 despite all the questing.  That is a personal choice, it is easy to quickly level from 10-15 by doing these two zones, but I hate being behind on AA and so until caught up I’m getting 1% experience and happy about it.  I successfully avoided Slaverjaw this afternoon, although I shall go back to gain his AA points when I’m 13 or 14.

Oakmyst Forest and The Caves offer not only forgotten quests and faction gains, but it also allows for collections that are often overlooked (feathers and butterflies to be precise).  These two zones also provide the background for the ongoing Gnoll threat that the player encounters in Antonica.  I like these two zones in particular for low level characters because there are decent opportunities for AA, interesting quests, and free AA gains in the form of collection turn in.  There is also the added advantage of possibly completing two language quests (Fayefolk and Gnoll), completing the Lore and Legend for Gnolls, and meeting the Gnome Emma Torque who quite simply put loves her job blowing things up.

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Cedona is off to Antonica next, to learn what the Gnolls are doing by the lighthouse and stopping my the Concordium Tower in Qeynos to purchase some history books and the Blackburrow mining guides.  Cedona hopes you join her further adventures.

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Everquest 2: The Forgotten Quests

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All games age, some age more gracefully than others but they all age in both years since release and the player base.  This November, Everquest II turns ten and after a decade there have been many changes, updates and additions to the game.  Some have been a welcomed by players and some have been dreaded.  The strength of Everquest I and II is that neither game forces a player into the “end game raid” model.  If you like to quest and enjoy good stories, then Everquest (either version) is a good choices.

I had every intention of discussing this with the Everquest II team in Las Vegas this weekend but that didn’t happen.  So, I’m going ahead with the blog idea on my own, this will be limited to Everquest II.  There are so many wonderful quests that have fallen off the new player radar.  There are multiple reasons for that: the revamped 1-20 questing zones, the rush to reach the end game, discouraged because zones seem empty, etc.  There are all kinds of lore and quests that get lost due to the sheer scope of the lore in the game.

I’ve got characters with scattered levels from 10 to 95.  There are so many wonderful quests that get ignored and if more people were aware or reminded they existed, the game would be fresh and new all over again. 

The one lesson I wish EQ2 would learn from World of Warcraft is the public, social media presence and interaction of their game historian with the community.  He actively discusses lore and questions with the community.  I no longer play WOW or have any interest in going back, but I loved those discussion about WOW lore.  Hell, I admit I sometimes read the feed when I’m bored and can’t sleep.

So, here’s my plan.  I’m going to pick one character a week and have them do something off the beaten path that isn’t readily apparent.  I’ll do my best to explain the lore or how it ties in with the larger picture (assuming I know how it ties in and if I don’t I’ll freely admit it).  It would have been most excellent to have done this in collaboration with the EQ2 team but hey, it isn’t a perfect world and I’m going to give it a go.  I know there are new and returning players to the game, so hopefully they will find it helpful.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our SOELive Experience

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We were looking forward to SOELive.  It was a chance to take a long weekend, have some fun, spend some quality personal time together, and hang out with fellow gamers.  How we both wished reality had lived up to expectation, instead we departed Las Vegas this morning thereby skipping the last full day of panels, the banquet and "Breakfast with the Devs" we had paid for.  But you know what? We are more than ok with that and are very happy to be home.

We checked-in on Thursday afternoon and the experience was pretty miserable from the beginning.  The staff was disorganized and didn't know the answer to basic questions.  The "SWAG' bag was incredibly disappointing: a plastic zombie mask, Planetside 2 console thumbstick covers, Landmark post-it notes, an Everquest 2 sticker, and an Everquest print that was curled in the non-branded gift bag.  The "SWAG" was so underwhelming as to be laughable.

The Thursday night keynote was pointless.  First they let everyone stand in line for over an hour, rather than letting people wander in, sit down, and get to know people at their table and surrounding tables.  Instead, people stood in line in a muggy, hot hallway for a very long time sometimes talking to the people next to them in line, sometimes not.  The opening keynote no longer spilled the beans about expansions, instead it was tired people in uncomfortable chairs, crammed into a hotel convention room listening to bad jokes, Smedley listing off words (some of which were inappropriate for the family friendly atmosphere SOE wanted to foster), and no real information communicated.

Thursday night disappointment over, woke up Friday morning to a Twitter feed full of expansion details being vomited by press who were given all the details earlier in the week.  Was so not pleased that I logged off Twitter so I could get the details at the Everquest 2 keynote, you know the whole reason we went to SOELive in the first place.  The keynote was great.  Jeff Bard was incredible as Jeff the Bard.  His five minute Bard Song recapping the events of the Everquest 2 was phenomenal.  Holly Longdale and the other developers presented an incredible expansion, Alter of Malice, that we are looking forward to diving into.  The second panel of Q and A was also informative.

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After the keynote, I spoke to one of the SOE employees about the press leaks.  I was told that Sony was fine with media leaking information prior to people who paid for tickets to SOELive getting the information first.  Media is more important to Sony than their actual gamers, those that paid to be at SOELive.  Sony may be happy with media leaking information but what they fail to acknowledge as reality is that bloggers, like me, share how they were treated at events like SOELive and that information is shared with people that may consider going to future events.  Sony should be wise enough to know that media is a fraction of their audience that has the proverbial "paper and pen" these days and should have required that all media stories be held until after the appropriate keynote was held for attendees of SOELive.

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The first full day ended there for Everquest 2 fans if you weren't interested in attending the evening drinking parties.  To be honest, I outgrew those activities before I graduated college and had no desire to watch fellow gamers make fools of themselves.  We discussed going home over dinner and came to the conclusion that made far more sense for us than staying and being miserable.  Sony starts everything late, keeps people standing around in lines for far too long, and there is no excuse for a Fortune 500 company being incapable of hosting a well ordered and punctual event boggles the mind.

We drove home first thing this morning and I don't miss the convention.  I can watch the whole damn thing practically from the comfort of my sofa, without drunken fools and cigarette smoke.  I was looking forward to meeting and talking to developers of the game I adore but they were hard to find, impossible to have a conversation with because if you saw one a lot of people wanted to get their say in.  In the years to come, we will watch from home and not miss the insanity.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Everquest 2: The Army of Alts Reappears

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As Benedicta sulked, believing the gods of Norrath were punishing her for boosting and thus awarding her with an over abundance of tanking gear, she went on a vacation coming out to play only when Valhakar could get some play time in or once she agreed to heal a guild daily dungeon.  Apparently, vacation worked and the gods of Norrath bestowed two pieces of Arcane gear, a necklace upgrade, and the remaining missing pieces of Cryptic gear.  Now if only she could figure out how to keep the gods appeased and the gear gravy train on the right path!

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Frann finally found an outfit that she totally rocks.  She teamed up with Fredlok, the trusty mystic from New Halas, and they messed around in the Commonlands with the public quest.  Frann is 25 and Fred was 22, my how he’s aged since, and the gear from the public quest was an upgrade so it was worth the effort.  Now, just Frann and Fred and their merc buddies couldn’t take out the Epic boss but they were ok with the end results nonetheless.

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Leonarda is my Shadowknight and although I am one of the worst tanks of all time, she is great fun in DPS stance which is the only way I’ll play her to be honest.  She’s 29 these days, has completed almost all of the relevant heritage quests and decided to do the Splitpaw Den quest line.  She never found the quest givers in the Den (maybe when I get back from SOELive) but she had a lot of fun with the quest.  A big thanks to Fredlok who at 26 completed Stiletto’s Orders Intercepted with Leo. Now if only I had managed to capture Fred in all his glory killing Varsoon!

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My favorite moment of the week by far occurred when Val and I downed the final boss in Halls of Veeshan: Laboratory of the Mutation.  We had both thought we lucked out and the boss dropped an exquisite chest, there was a huge sense of relief coming from Val since he believed that Bene was cursed and finally she’d be getting some decent loot.  We took screenshots and then opened the chest …

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The boss respawned, stronger and with a bad attitude.  We were both laughing the whole time.  While the final fight is long, it is still enjoyable. The Advanced Solo missions have made the game so much more enjoyable for those of us that prefer small groups or playing with our spouses. 

Next week will have limited play time as we get ready to leave for Las Vegas and my parents coming to stay while we are gone.  I will try and post highlights from SOELive when I can here and on Twitter

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Everquest 2: Benedicta and Valhakar venture into Advanced Solos

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Advanced Solos are amazing, they let you complete a lower version of a heroic six-man with two people or just yourself.  We did Advanced Solos this week and got gear upgrades, or rather Valhakar got Cryptic gear upgrades and Benedicta added tanking gear to her shared bank.  While it is nice that you can trade gear in for appropriate gear for your class, seven pieces of the wrong gear for the single piece of the correct gear is more than a little frustrating.  Also, being unable to trade adornments to the other party member is highly annoying.  We tend to trade off on opening chests and it never fails, I will get tanking adorns and he will get healing/dps adorns. 

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The updated Bixie models are gorgeous.  They have lost some of their bee/wasp identity true, but they have gained personality and adorability at the same time.  Fractured Hive is beautiful and relaxing on Advanced Solo setting, at least with our set-up.

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Chamber of Statis is another beautiful zone even if the Chamber Warden (final boss) completely kicked our rears the first time.  We got a new strategy late yesterday and now we know how to fight him and win and for once it requires me to heal Valhakar more than dps.

Now for the grumble, gear grind is horrendous.  No seriously, I’m close to losing interest in improving Benedicta’s gear.  I’d much rather go play an lower level character and lose myself in the story than run the same stuff over and over again for gear.  7 slots, just counting armor not anything else, times four yellow gems per slot (for the player crafted lesser quality gems) at a cost of 16 etyma (currency) to fully upgrade the gear to turn in for the next tier of gear to start the cycle all over again is insane.  So per piece of equipment, that is 112 etyma to upgrade what is in essence crap gear.  Sure there is a quest that results in bracers being upgraded with three yellow gems so that reduces the grind a wee bit but otherwise yeah, no thanks.

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That’s Benedicta taking a dirt nap next to a goblin who is getting pool balls thrown at him.  Real life intervened and I ended up dead, but it was totally worth it because of the goblins of High Keep and Pickclaw Depths.  Both of those zones make me smile immensely, so while I’m not a huge fan of the gear grind I am glad I got to see the zones.  Doesn’t mean I won’t continue to so the Advanced Solo zones or try heroic zones with guild members with much better gear, but I won’t be climbing onto the gear treadmill.

Gear grinding and progression are not everyone’s cup of tea and it definitely feels like the last couple of expansion have fallen into that trap.  I hope and pray that the dev team meant it when they said the wanted off the gear grind as well and that the next expansion won’t have one.  I want to have fun and encounter new quests and odd little things rather than run the same zone, for the same gear, day after day. 

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And finally, my favorite screenshot of the week HAMMY!  No seriously, I love the giant pig in High Keep.  It made me laugh and it was a blast.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Everquest 2: Wherein I Confess my Lore OCD

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When I decided to try and level a character to 95 before we left for SOELive without boosting, it was because I know myself very well.  I would feel guilty about the fifty levels I skipped and I would have missed out on all those wonderful places and stories between level 35 and level 85.  Knowing this, I boosted anyway and had a blast questing and exploring with my husband and gaming partner.  We hit level 95 late Saturday afternoon and by the time I logged back in on Sunday morning I was in a foul and irritable mood.  It wasn’t the game, the guild, or the decision it was me.

I was being given quests to go do such and such with presumptions being that I had finished all the relative quests.  I have no idea what happened in the Cobalt Scar or why there are dead gods.  It literally made my brain hurt and I was grumpy and out of sorts most of the day.  I spent a lot of time Sunday grumbling and switching between characters rather than being focused on Benedicta getting caught up on the current expansion.

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I logged in this morning and finished getting the Tinkered Mercenaries on the rest of my characters, which meant a lot of my characters spent money with the lovely Fae Linguist (pictured above) learning racial  languages to ensure they all spoke Gnomish before landing at Gnomeland Security.  I then proceeded to log onto Benedicta and took her back to Obol Plains to finish the Signature Quest line there.  It made for a much more peaceful day and I understood what is happening in the Vesspyr Isles more now.  Hubby meanwhile, does not suffer from lore OCD and he quested through VI enjoying himself immensely.

He did High Keep today and I got to listen to him chortle and stop and relay memories from Everquest.  Thank you to the developers who brought a huge smile to his face today.  I have no fond memories from the first game, since I never played the game, but I am looking forward to High Keep tomorrow. 

I am kicking around an idea in my head about documenting interesting lore tidbits as I run across them while questing.  The lore on the wikia site is sketchy and missing in large parts, i.e. game update lore is just plain not there.  A lot of great story and tidbits get missed by new and returning players because of the vast amount of choices and story lines that are present in the game.

My lore OCD is back under control, now that I have a plan and thus I can play and enjoy Everquest 2 at a pace I enjoy.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Everquest 2: Benedicta and Valhakar Reach 95

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I am writing this on the phone to see how viable blogging while at SOELive next week.  So if there are typos forgive me and I will correct them tomorrow morning.

This afternoon Benedicta and Valhakar reached max level, currently level 95, for the first time in their Everquest 2 careers.  We quested some but late this afternoon a group of guild mates grouped up and did Sky Shrine until we each dinged.  Their help and patience is much appreciated.   We are in Solstice on Oasis and it is quite simply the best guild we have ever been a part of as a married couple.  The casual, friendly, relaxed, and helpful atmosphere is something all guilds should strive to achieve.

We stopped by the broker before logging out.  Some of the gear available was good and reasonably priced but some of the gear makes no sense.  Funny thing the crappy gear was being shown to both of us because we both wear plate and it had primary stats for each of us on the same gear.  Needless to say, that gear remained on the broker.

We are both a little lost and definitely under geared.  Time to figure it out in the coming days and to determine how the veteran bonus affects AA leveling on the rest of the characters in our respective stables.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Everquest 2: Housing Delights & the frustration of Scale

A Gnome lives here but why

The title for the above, A Gnome lives here but Why?  First off, I love the acorn housing but how I wish the housing would be scalable.  My shorter characters, which by the way is almost ALL of my characters, are dwarfed by the walls and ceilings of their respective houses.  If you scale the furniture up it is still too small and then far, far too large for your character to have any realistic hope of being believably used. 

scales are so frustrating

This is Benedicta’s bedroom, again the bed is proportionally appropriate for a Halfling but scaled up it would still be much too small for the room’s dimensions.

Frann's mirrored pool

Enough with the whining about a technical challenge I realize cannot be solved retroactively by the developers.  I’ve had trouble sleeping for the last week or so and as a result, I’ve been working on housing for my characters.  It meant a lot of crafting but that’s not a big deal. 

 

Everquest 2: Weekend Adventures of Benedicta & Valhakar

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So began our epic and fun weekend Friday afternoon as we lay dead on the floors of Arcane Research Halls while our mercs attempted to kill the last boss, which we unknowingly pulled first.  It was the first of many deaths in Halls while working on the epic weapon quest, in fact I had an experience debt of 3.5% by the time we finished (all experience was off while hubby caught up) and the final boss went down like candy after all the other bosses were dead.  We got our epic weapons Friday afternoon, first for both of us, and it set the tone for the weekend.

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Like most instances, especially the newer ones, the scenery is gorgeous.  We spent most of the weekend leveling on signature quests, and this one brought us to Forgotten Pools.  This shot is before we killed anything in this room or realized that the room was split in half by color.  We did figure it out before we wiped however, so that was helpful.  I must admit, I’m loving the fact that recent but old content can be handled by the two of us with mercs out without having to ask our wonderful and helpful guild to come assist.  We may wipe a time or two before we figure out the mechanic but it is satisfying when the mechanic is new and unique and we figure it out. 

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Another instance shot, this time the water is reflecting the night sky and trees like a mirror.  It was a gorgeous shot I just had to share.  We were in the Temple of Fear in the Eidolon Jungle.  To be honest, there were many moments of stunning beauty in that zone. 

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First words I heard when hubby saw this NPC, “Now that’s when big imp!”  I was in the other room waiting for him to pull and he was right, he was a HUGE imp but alas he too fell to the might of our Paladin/Templar pairing.

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Sunday evening eventually rolled around and we had to stop playing.  I’m almost 93 and he’s about two and half bars behind me.  I will turn off my experience until he catches up.  That’s just one of the great things about Everquest 2, I can turn off all experience at will.  We had finished up in the jungle and are about to experience Wurmbone’s End next. 

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A big thank you to the Everquest 2 designers and developers for Advanced Solo versions of instances.  We are both very, very appreciative of being able to complete story lines and quests without having to do PUGs or distract guild members from their fun to come help us out.  Please do more of this content, it is fun and challenging.  There is a definite sense of accomplishment when we finish one of these instance. 

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Everquest 2: Double Experience Weekend

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Everquest 2 had a double experience weekend and while I didn’t manage to hit max level, I’m fine with my leveling experience.  Hubby hit 90 yesterday and we went up to SkyShrine (SS) and did one of the solo instances together and then went and hung out in the public zone for a bit.  Hubby also found and hired the elite merc that hangs out in the Withered Lands on Saturday!

The SS solo zone was fun, not super challenging with a Paladin and Templar pair up to be honest.  We manage to do enough damage with very little healing to finish the timed run well under the proscribed time.  Then we went over to the public zone with mercenaries out and that was much more challenging.  We didn’t necessarily kill groups of three to four quickly but they did die, well that is until a group of two spawned on top of us as we were killing a group of four.

I spent most of the weekend in the Withered Lands questing.  I did however finish up the Gathering Obsession quest chain and hired Qho as a mercenary.  I fully expected to enjoy getting him killed but the little brat grew up into a GRAND mercenary.  No really, he is quiet unlike Daeron, holds aggro, pumps out the dps, and made my Sunday of gameplay quite enjoyable.

I wish they would open questing up in the Withered Lands at 89 rather than 90.  The content isn’t challenging with Legendary gear equipped at 90 and most of the gear is crap compared to what can be crafted or obtained from the broker.  That complaint said, I’ve enjoyed the questing in Withered Lands immensely.  Great story line and I appreciated the satyr storyline, it was nice to see satyr’s portrayed as benevolent rather than evil like most games.