Whatever happened to EQ2?

A little while back I hit level 70 in EQ2, which currently has a level cap of 80, at least until February when the expansion comes out and it goes to 90. Yay!, I thought, I might actually one day have a character at max level in a game. Max adventuring level, that is — not something I do often, let me tell you.

As it turns out, I was probably wrong.

I don’t know what’s intended to happen in EQ2 when you hit the 70s, but I know what happened to me. I got hit in the face with a brick wall, repeatedly. One with experience debt. One where a kill takes 5 times as long as it did 3 levels ago, where critters hit 3 times as hard, and where sudden death lurks around every unexpected add corner.

I’ve gone from feeling entertainingly overpowered to feeling horribly overwhelmed, frustrated, and about this >< far from /ragequitting the whole game. Furies — a sort of nuking healer hybrid — aren’t weak in EQ2, not by a long shot, and for once I feel confident in saying that anyone who finds them weak isn’t playing them right. Because if I can play one and do really well, then anyone with a modicum of actual adventuring skill can too. So, yeah, it’s not because I’m playing a weak class. It’s not because I don’t know my class — I’m not raiding leet, sure, but I’ve been playing this gal for a few years and I do have a fair handle on what she can and can’t do.

Like I said: I hit a lot less hard (aka critters have more health), they hit a lot harder, and I’ve gone from laughing maniacally at the devastation I was wreaking to sobbing sadly as I die, yet again, when a single add comes up and stunlocks me into oblivion. One stunlocking (or 30% HP–in-one-blow-dealing) mob at a time I can just about deal with. Two, apparently, spells x-p-d-e-b-t. Which, of course, takes much longer than it used to to work off.

I’ll admit, I’ve had a frustrating few game days. Unhappy with the idea that I’d have to kill 1,000 mobs to level I decided to mentor down a little and try some of my older quests. One of them took me into Solusek’s Eye, which is probably the coolest dungeon EVAR but is also a dungeon that spors dizzying views with instant death for the unwary mis-step. With my acrophobia that’s just not helpful at all; I’m at the stage where I can appreciate how neat the design is, but not yet at the stage where I can caper around on transparent walkways above molten hot mag-ma without feeling like I’m going to upchuck Christmas dinner. Unsure how to get from A to B, visible below me but unreachable, I eventually gave up.

A day later I unwittingly ended up in exactly the same place and trying to get to pretty much the same destination, only for another quest. Got there, looked again at the ramps I couldn’t reach and at the transparent stuff I’d have to run around on to figure it out, and went home. This, mind you, after 4 hours of doing the previous stages of that quest.

Like I said, my gaming world is currently made up of brick walls, and I have two black eyes and a nose bent out of shape to prove it.

Tried a third quest — also ended up in Solusek’s Eye. In the space of a week, Lavastorm has gone from one of my favourite zones to being a place I’ll quite happily never visit again, thank you very much. Tried a couple of quests in Sinking Sands instead, for a change of pace, but after 40 undead kills without a single drop I needed for a quest, I gave that up too. I may be old-school, but I despise the old-school kill rates. Don’t waste my time.

So, willy-nilly, I end up back in my level-appropriate content where, in the space of an hour, I’ve died 4 times, which is 4 times more than I’ve died in the past 15 levels or so. And I’ve managed about 4% of level.

This is not fun. If it continues to be not fun, I’ll stop giving them my money. It’s that simple.

Yes, I’m whining somewhat. Frustration is part of gaming and venting is part of my blogging. If you don’t like it, go read something else.

In fact, I do know what happened: past 70, you’re supposed to be doing group content and working your way into raiding. I guess that makes this look like the tired old soloer’s complaint, but that’s not really it either. I’ve never objected to group content and I’ve never asked for group-content rewards. What I’m objecting to is not an increase in difficulty but rather the excessive increase in everything. Stuff is harder to do and takes longer and has very rapidly become a mind-numbing grind, because you have to do stuff over and over and over again to get a fraction of the progress you used to for the same amount of time and effort. It’s excessive.

And I’m only at level 73. I dread to think what 74-80 are going to be like, assuming I have the energy to try to get there. Right now, that’s not a given.

20 thoughts on “Whatever happened to EQ2?

  1. Ysh, just had a thought.

    Instead of mentoring down to do quests for adventure experience, why not instead mentor to build up your AA points?

    That way, when you’ve built enough AAs up, the higher level content in the 70’s won’t be so bad. You’ll be able to get through it much faster. And you can take your time with the older content too so it doesn’t feel as much of a drag.

    1. Is a good thought, but I suspect Fair is more or less on track with her AAs: she’s got 99 and they’re coming relatively fast now. I read somewhere that one should aim for 100 or so by 70 (or something), so I’m not too far off.

      Seriously, I’m not the only one who’s complained about the way the pace suddenly changes after 70. It’s not a matter of being crap, or crap-geared, or not having enough AAs, though all of those things would certainly make it worse — nonetheless the basic situation is, everything is slower and takes longer — excessively so. You’ll see soon enough at the rate you’re levelling! 😀

  2. I just hit 70 last night myself, so I have yet to experience the post-70 change. I’m planning on finishing what I can on Faydwer (Lesser Faydark and Loping Plains aren’t quite finished yet) and probably the KoS zones (still have Barren Sky and The Bonemire to quest through) before moving to Kunark.

    But you aren’t the first person I’ve heard talking about how unforgiving Kunark is. Personally, I’m with you – if the grind gets too bad, or I’m dying more than I’m progressing, then I will lose interest in the game. I agree that the designers seem to want to funnel people in the last few levels into the beginning raid game. Why can’t they understand that some of us would like to hit the level cap without having to follow that path?

    I actually quit vanilla WoW within spitting distance of the goal line…twice. I had a 53 shaman and a 56 rogue when I left the game. In both cases it was the same thing you are talking about here – the solo quests got more grindy, killing things a level below me starting taking three times as long, and all signs pointed to starting the instance grind to gear up for raiding. And I don’t have the time or inclination to raid.

    If the same thing starts happening in EQ2, I’m certainly not going to be able to see it through to the end. We shall see, though. I certainly hope I make it, and I hope you make it as well. After all, you are responsible for me coming back to the game and making it as far as I have – I’d hate to see you go. Plus, who will make boxes for all my alts if you leave?

  3. Actually, the problem is less that they expect you to group for the Kunark era content than that they tuned the content for people who raided when the cap was 70. This was monumentally stupid, as those people just grouped up to abuse solo quests and hit 80 in days anyway.

    The other issue is that the current iteration of the AA system was added to the game AFTER most of the pre-70 content. I.e. it’s not JUST that the content post-70 is harder, it’s also that the content pre-70 is EASIER than was originally intended because you have AA’s and it wasn’t designed around that.

    The bad news is that it does not get any easier – I dragged Lyriana through to 80 and she’s never been anywhere as powerful relative to mobs as she was before the Kunark content. The good news is that you do get used to it after a while and start to adapt – I have skills I never used pre-70 that are suddenly mainstays for dealing with multiple mobs.

    Also, I’m making a point of saving the remaining solo content that I didn’t need to get to 80 until the level cap increases. Judging from how much landmass they say will be in Odus, we can expect the new content to be brutal, repetitive, or both. I’d rather be able to hit level 82+ on existing content than be at the mercy of whatever gets done in time for the expansion launch for the trip to 90.

  4. What gear are you in? Buy the level 72 MC stuff. It helps a TON. Going from 70 to 72 on my SK was a pain, but 72 to 80 was pretty much a breeze.

    1. I’m in 72 MC stuff — the only crafter I don’t have at 80 right now is my jeweller, and hubby has one of those so I’m all set.

      I chatted with a guildie earlier today though, who also has a fury, and we ended up figuring that Fair will need to respec more protectively. Right now she’s built for damage, and in fact she tears through the Kunark mobs with ease even several levels above her — but that means her healing is therefore somewhat below par; I’m going to have to reverse that or at least balance it somewhat so that when the root does break, she doesn’t get smacked around too quickly (and her heals work better).

  5. I’ve seen the complaints, and tbh, I did get a bit frustrated with my fury in the Kunzar Jungle on the quest where you have to kill these stupid wasps that pop 5 adds (you don’t have to kill the adds, though — they die when the main does) and the constant interrupts from them.

    But…. once you learn the mob’s pathing it’s pretty easy to avoid adds. Most mobs have a “trick” (in your case you’re seeing the stuns) that once you learn what it is and how to mitigate/avoid it, then it’s really not bad.

    Good luck, and I hope it gets back to being more fun for you!

  6. It’s funny you say that they push you into grouping post-70, when one of the biggest complaints when ROK came out was that it was too easy to race to 80 on solo content.

    Quests. You can run quest lines of just solo quests from 70-80 without ever grinding mobs or running instances. And you can keep doing the same as you grind your AAs on up as well. Start in Teren’s grasp/docks area, and just work your way through all of the various quest lines/zones. Most of them are a joke at 70, even more so if you’ve already gotten 72/73. And with TSO, there are even more silly easy quests to run over there, albeit probably harder based on level, but plenty of AA still there.

    Granted, I was a raider prior to ROK, and still am, but when ROK came out our entire guild became a bunch of selfish … people, and it was just a race to 80 so we could start raiding again. I can’t speak to furies, as I’m a serker, but I know we had some healers who were plowing through the solo content as fast/faster than the rest of us.

    There are some new tactics for some of the mobs, and yeah, they have more HP and hit harder than earlier stuff, but once you adjust your approach, they still go away fast enough to finish the quest and move on to the next one.

    As for the AA grind, I still haven’t finished it, I’m in the 160s somewhere right now… but I also quit for the better part of a year, as our guild exploded shortly after the race to 80 and didn’t really recover til early 2009. I’ve gotten back into it, been raiding most of this year, and I’m hoping to find the time to finish hitting 200 before the expansion, but we’ll see.

    In any case, good luck!

    1. Heh, thanks for the input! 😀

      As it turned out, I hit 74 with Fair yesterday and I think this post was prompted mostly by my irritation with the fact that I can’t handle heights, which made 3 quests in a row become a frustrating exercise in (ultimately) futility. I was just peeved, but it’s more Lavastorm’s fault than Kunark’s.

      The hard-hittingness and whatnot seems to be very largely a factor of AA builds, and having only just come back to EQ2 earlier this year myself (after a 3 year break), I’m still learning about those. Fair has a decent selection, but they’re all geared towards doing as much damage as a fury can do while still being able to heal — for ROK content I’m going to have to rejig her so she’s a little less squishy, or get used to having to root-nuke and accept her squish. 😉

  7. I’m glad you’ve found some solutions. I remember I resubbed when Kunar first hit the shelves, and I found the transition post-70 to be a massive slap in the face. As was said earlier, making it to 72 helpe tremendously. When I went back a few months ago, I easily solo-ground my way to 79 on quests. Of course, I played a Kerra SK, with the racial changes is probably the BEST solo’ing race/class combo in the game (Feign Death, Evac, Track, Safe-fall, Plate armor, and life-taps galore).

  8. One last weigh-in to confirm that yes you had to respec to the best possible defense and heal build you could. This may take several tries to get it right, but you will eventually.

    Also, as mentioned, RoK was not built for grouping…well…at least not from the start. People found out quickly that you don’t even want to try the easiest dungeon until you’re level 75 or 76. However, with a coordinated effort between you and a couple friends…it was easy to run all the solo quests and hit 80 very fast.

    The downside is that with your respec you are set up to do solo quests, which will get you all the way to 80 anyway. So you have a decision to make at 75/76. Do you respec for grouping dungeons or do you stay solo? I have a feeling I know what you will pick. LOL

    Couple of tips.

    As you finish up quests in the jungle…don’t forget about the Jarsath Wastes area. There are no real quests that send you there so you tend to forget you have a whole area of quests left to do.

    People aren’t really raiding RoK too much anymore since the Shadow Odyssey.

    If you start to slow down toward 80…get the Shadow Odyssey expansion. Quests start around 75 there so you have a whole pool to pick from. Plus, it’s kind of a fun place.

    Shadow Odyssey brings us void shard armor, which is what everyone is running instances for right now anyway. This armor is where it is at for when the new expansion hits. You need about 50 void shards for a complete T1 set. There is a repeatable daily solo quest with a shard as the reward. Plenty of time to get enough before the expansion. Then more shards are needed to upgrade to T2, and then T3. Of course, all will be worthless when you level to 90.

    Ah EverQuest!

    1. Both my accounts have TSO, because I had to get access to the higher level crafting stuff. Moors is my T8 harvesting areas as it happens (though most people I know prefer other areas, but I’ve got a nice, non-dangerous circuit I can run).

      I have no plans to ever get shard armour, though I suppose one should never say never. I’ve made it for other people and I’ve seen how many shards that stuff needs — and since I don’t raid, what for do I need it anyway? 😀

      1. Shard armor would help you solve the squishy problem… between the armor itself and the set bonuses, especially when you factor in all the jewelry sets on top of the armor, it’s good stuff.

        And the TSO instances are very popular, pretty easy to find groups for, good/easy AA, lots of quests for each one, bonus quests for the daily double, etc etc.

        More AA = easier to find the right build = less squishy also.

  9. I’ve always wondered what an MMO would be like, if instead of an exponential ramp to climb that gets harder at the top, you spread and distributed that evenly over all the levels. The PnP RPG’s that do it seem to have a fair amount of success with it, so I guess its just a matter of time until some MMO latches onto it.

    In other news, I didn’t know *another* expansion was coming in February. Guess that means I’ll skip buying the Complete Edition available at Best Buy, since that means I’d just be shelling out more money in a month…

    1. One thing, I’ve just seen Steam have a sale on, Rise of Kunark was ~£1.74 and I think The Shadow Odyssey was $5, definitely worth using if you need to upgrade an edition.

  10. I don’t recall having an issue with the difficultly around level 70 although I was reasonably geared when I did it and had plenty of AAs. Maybe they’ve upped the difficultly since I played?

    1. Nah. Like I said to some of the other comments, I got narked because I had to do stuff and my vertigo wouldn’t let me — and then I died a few times through inattention and being generally irritated, which only made it worse.

      70+ isn’t particularly more difficult, but it’s certainly more tedious. Quests that can take a while to do now reward you with a whole 2% of level, and it just generally feels a lot more grindy. I’m not sure what the pace *should* be, because I did get to 74 yesterday and now I’m halfway to 75 while also having picked up 4 or 5 AA points… but somehow it still feels laborious.

      It might just be how Fens is put together. In Kylong (68-72 or so) the quests and levels just flew past, in fact — the wall came at 72, so maybe it’s not a pacing issue so much as a content issue. There doesn’t seem to be much story, and I feel as though I’m just going out and killing 10 rats for 76 different NPCs.

      Which all probably just means it’s subjective, and I’m simply not enjoying the Fens zone much. I may move on to Moors, because I can easily take stuff above my level even now, or I might pay a visit to Jarsath Wastes. There’s Kunzar too, but the place is a tad gloomy (artistically) for me.

      Anyway, I really just wanted to moan about something. I did, and after that I felt better. 😉

      1. I did find the XP slowed down a lot myself with 1-3% a quest or so after you pass level 70 so after the roller coaster speed of level 60-70 it does feel slower.

        Yet compared to WoW its actually not much slower if at all statistically level 79 is about the same in both games, I think here its a question of the gradient being much steeper.

        My Froglok guardian is level 79 now (my first character to reach that level in EQ2 so I’m a newbie at it), its harder but because of that I love it even if at times I do rage (normally after playing for too long and getting tired and sloppy but still wanting to progress).

        The reason I like it is because I’ve been learning how to play my class so much through the expansion especially when I find a named which aren’t triple up arrow’s like in the previous expansion, but tantalisingly close to soloable, even so I’ve won so many times now using every trick and skill I have and ending the battle on 5% health.

        Maybe playing a tank class helps for the survivability, I would recommend personally to make sure if things are hard that you get a couple of levels up above the intended level for the content.

        For this reason I stayed in KoS until 70 (Tenebrous Tangle – never needed anymore even though I really loved that zone, it looks like the floating islands in Avatar now too), then went to Kunark until level 75 and onto the Moors where I found it was a bit too hard to did some more Kunark and returned at level 77 where its just about right.

        There are still things here and there that are a bit too hard, but that’s something I really thirst for in a game after playing WoW. The way I see it is there will be content aimed at fully geared raiders and these will be the people able to handle it (or in groups).

        I do hope that they keep this sort of design going, WoW used to be a bit like it but changed to the easy mode where nothing is a challenge anymore and people round up mobs and AoE them down like the chumps they are. Instead having mobs that look mean and actually are mean brings the world a bit more alive, ideally they should be just as powerful as us, but I think that would have to be another game.

        One last thing, Chrono-magic (solo mentoring) is also excellent to use if things are getting too hard. I’ve used it a fair bit now to finish things off and the XP earnt isn’t much less at 65 in KoS then 75 in Kunark from experience if you ever get stuck.

  11. Have you done the Harvester Cloak quest from the Isle of Mara? Since you like crafting, and need materials anyway, it takes you through every tier of harvesting until you finally get the Harvester’s Cloak. It’s easily solo-able (though sometimes frustrating getting all the “right” harvestables the NPC wants you to get.)

    That cloak gives +25 to all harvesting skills (very nice), has an illusion that turns you into a rock (to help you “lay low” from your enemies (I AM a ratongan assassin after all)) with the ADDED benefit that, if I /hide my illusion, it actually enlarges me, so I look big and imposing (not so easy to do as a ratonga).

    One MORE thing it has, while wearing it (note: NOT in appearance slot) is, it gives you the ability to float. Always. In combat, when getting hit, even when on a horse (which is NOT the case for racial abilities that do the same). This just MAY help with your vertigo . . . because you will know that, no matter HOW high up you are, you will always just float down easily and gently . . . (of course, in places like Solusek’s Eye, it just gives you more time to contemplate what it’s gonna be like when you finally land IN the lava . . . ).

    If you HAVE done the Harvester Cloak quest, you may want to give wearing it a shot. I’ve a macro that switches it in at a moment’s notice for the times when I look before I leap (which happens often, having safe fall has helped tremendously with any height aversion as well). It JUST may help with your vertigo.

    1. I’ve done it on 5 chars now and they’re all wearing them. However, that doesn’t help with extreme vertigo when there’s nothing below my character’s feet. If I can see ground (like in Kelethin) it’s not so much of an issue. If I can’t, no amount of cloakage will stop the phobia effect. 😉

      Oddly enough, lava doesn’t seem to count as ground for me – maybe because I know it’s certain death regardless, as in KoS. Fair has pretty good fire resistance so if it’s tick-damage (like in the LS lava streams) she might actually be ok for a while, but I suspect it’s instant death.

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