EQ2: Travels with my frying pan

There’s something pathetic about having early access to a game  expansion and not being able to make use of it. My EQ2 Sentinel’s Fate CE box gazed sadly at me each time I opened the drawer to which I’d consigned it until we could get our internet access sorted out (and our computers here & unpacked). Then, as Sod’s Law* will have it, when the internet & computer thing happened I got real work that chewed up a couple more days.

WTS Conscience. Must offer enough to pay the bills.

But finally, after a weekend spent hearing about people’s experiences in shiny new zones with shiny new quests and shiny new crafting recipes, I got to try it out for myself.

Yea, and it was pretty. And lo, there was lag.

Actually, it was more packet loss than lag, but the net result w-w-w-was v-v-very h-h-h-hitchy gaming. A frame rate of 8-15 will do that to ya.

And I will, at some appropriate time, rant about EQ2’s increasingly huge zones, which I am pretty sure contribute to things running more slowly. But I’m not a developer so I could be talking out of my arse. All the same, when you have a more than reasonable computer with a more than reasonable gfx card, 8 FPS not at max settings is a bit of a pisser. EQ2 has always had this issue, and it’s one of my biggest complaints about the game. A decent computer should be able to run this damn game well all the time, not just some of the time in some places, and with the damned shadows turned on. Maybe Blizzard can give them some tips on how it’s done.

But today is not the day for that rant; the previous paragraph was just foreshadowing. Instead, I’ll post a couple of screenies. Arkenor beat me to it, but have PrtScrn, will snap. First up: Fairuza’s shiny new Collector’s Edition Not-He-Man’s-Tiger-Really cat mount:

They come in two flavours, armoured or not, and each character on the account can pick one. They’ve got a 65% movement bonus, more yay! And they don’t move nearly as stupidly as some of the old-world cats (or character cat-forms), so  triple yay!

Next up a view of the, er, viewer at the Observatory of Dartain’s Eye, just because it was pretty neat. I’d turned my gfx settings down a little by then and you can tell. Well, I can tell, so bummer and mutter mumble whine whinge.

Problem is, Odus is another one of those damned zones that’s been built floating in the sky and I have this perfectly reasonable fear of l-l-lag riding my way over the edge and to certain death. Doesn’t matter that death is pretty meaningless in EQ2 these days, it’s the principle of the thing. I do so hate dying for a lag-missed step. Enough already! Pleeeeease! It’s possible to make perfectly fun zones that are firmly planted on, you know, the ground! My acrophobia hates you all. (Muttley grumbling.)

Sadly there’s some fairly good lore about how this place got to be where it is and how it got to be so blasted. So damn you again, designers. I’ll just have to switch out to my email each time I’m taking one of those little floaty platforms from A to B. And you can totally forget about me taking stupid little rope bridges between stupid little floaty islands with nothing under my feet, m’kay. So there’d better not be any quests that take me there. Or Mort had better be in the house to take over the Fairuza-steering.

Oh, er, sorry — are some of you waiting for a review? I haven’t really seen that much of it. The crafting questline is a lot of fun, at least I thought it was, but then I’m the type of player to enjoy crafting quests. The Paineel part of it (Paineel is the zone’s central city-type place) alone, assuming I’ve even finished it, took Fairuza from 80 to 81, and then doing her new recipes and a couple of crafting writs took her well into 82, all in the space of 3-4 hours of actual play. And I’m not hurrying. The place was crowded with 90s already, who I’m sure were there on Day 2 of the early access, but when levelling is a primary activity in a game it seems a little counterproductive to do it as fast as you possibly can.

Then again, I’ve never held with the idea that the game only becomes interesting when you’re max level, but that is also a (repeated) rant for another day. Regardless, I’ll take my own sweet time getting my wimmin to 90 crafting, especially since the lovely lovely xp bonus for having max characters went poof when the level cap went up. D’oh!

~ ~

In the interests of full disclosure I should note that I now have some characters on Antonia Bayle, too. I cracked and got the Station Pass to get those 5 extra character slots, so now I just have to hold myself in check and not use all those extra slots until Halas goes live, so I can experience the new starting areas.

The main reason I’m server-adultering is that I have some very good friends in Rome– oh wait, I have a very good friend here in NM who’s taken up playing EQ2 and who is far enough down the early levelling road that it would be a pain in the ass for her to start over, at least right now. So what the hell — I’m an altoholic, what’s one more character, eh?

Now where’s my notebook so I can remember what they’re all called and what account they’re all on?

Oh yeah, and here’s the frying pan. It’s on the stove. In case some of you were going to be anal about my title choices.

-_-_-_-

* Sod is Murphy’s English cousin. I suspect he’s from the East End and he’s much less friendly. He’ll nut you just as soon as look at you. And oh, he watches over us all.

7 thoughts on “EQ2: Travels with my frying pan

  1. I finally got in last night, and even in my little newbie zone, there was significant changes afoot. Since I don’t normally stick with MMOs long enough to deal with expansions, I don’t really give a flying frying pan about them, but this was a nice suprise.

    And I also spent about 15 minutes trying to tweak the settings to get the game to look more then 8-bit with a decent frame rate…but it seems I can only get one or the other. And I DO consider my PC to be pretty decent. Not cutting edge, but should be decent enough to run this puppy in pretty-mode without stuttering 🙁

    1. It’s been a long-time EQ2 issue, part of the problem being the amount of gfx work being done by the processor and NOT by the gfx processor(s) — they made some dumb-ass choices early on that, I’m sure, probably seemed quite reasonable at the time.

      It’s worth remembering that EQ2 came out right before WoW, so it’s in its 6th year — I tend to forget that sometimes, but it does have far more ambitious graphics than WoW does. Shame it doesn’t deliver them as well. 😉

      That said, they’re working hard on this Shader 3 thingy which was supposed to be phased in late last year but (AFAIK) hasn’t been yet. Maybe that’ll help.

  2. How much memory have you got? With the same graphics card and everything, going from 2 gig to 8 was like night and day for my framerate.

    Thanks for the link, by the way!

    1. I have 8 gigs too and a whateveritis processor (I posted the details somewhere, I’m sure I can find em again) — and in all fairness I’m being a little harsh. I know what’s causing the FPS/hitching/gfx in general issues, and I do insist on running at very high settings.

      But still. I think it keeps a lot of people away from EQ2 or turns them off from trying it in the first place, because the game has a rep for being hell on gfx/performance. Sort of like Vanguard had early on. (Wonder how that’s doing these days. Oh wait, I have a Station Pass now! :D)

  3. Nice to hear an update on EQ2. I have no time to play EQ2 now but if I had time, I’d love to look around some. At least I can do a little looking around vicariously.

    Enjoy the new expansion! It’s always fun to be able to kick the tires. 😉

  4. I just re-subbed with the expansion also, but only on “regular” instead of station pass. I can still “/camp Charname” and have full access to all 12 that I have from formerly having station pass, though, so… once you have your full stable of toons, feel free to downgrade again.

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