L2Search the internet, EVE noob!

This is how much of a noob I am. I’d never have found this amazing resource if a kind commenter, Latrodanes, hadn’t pointed it out to me. Speaking of which, thanks to everyone who’s stopped by with help, comments, advice, L2Pnub, and anything else on this game that I’ve supposedly already played twice but still don’t really know at all. It’s much appreciated. Just don’t taunt me a second time.

I’m proud of calling myself a perma-noob, because there’s always something new to be learned no matter how long you’ve played a game, but missing such a seminal info site is pretty noobish even for a noob. Especially one who prides herself on her Google-fu.

Shiny new site! With MAPS! I love, love, loooooooove maps. Stuff is clickable to show more targetted information and boy the amount of info! And realtime too (well mostly). Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

Am going to explore.

I may be some time.*

Is this cool or what?

* See what I did there?

PS — this is my second post today. I reserve the right to have it count for tomorrow on the Great Post-A-Day Endeavour.

EVE – The people down there look like ants!

As promised, my extremely noobish PI — Planetary Interaction — setup in EVE.

There are written and video tutorials in various places — here and here — that aren’t bad at getting you started, though nothing substitutes for a solid bit of in-game market research. You’re going to be producing stuff so it pays to decide what stuff, which depends on demand, ease of production, and whether you intend to refine (and do more with) your raws or whether you’re just going to sell the raw materials.

If you’re as much of a noob as me but interested in the basics, here they are. At base a planet installation needs:

  1. A command center. The name is fairly self-explanatory and without one you can’t do squat. They come in different planetary-type flavours (temperate, barren, ice, gaseous, etc) and also different goodness levels. A basic command center will set you back less than 100k, at least in my region, and that’s peanuts; on the downside the center’s powergrid and CPU values aren’t great, so you won’t be able to run a gigantic empire off one basic CC. Better CCs start to cost more, obviously. I stuck with the basic CC not only because that’s all I can use right now but also because it would keep my expenses in check. Better to spend only a small amount if I was about to discover I hate Planetary Interaction and want nothing to do with it.
  2. Extractors. These also come in various flavours depending on the resource you want to extract.
  3. Processing plants. Not strictly necessary if you don’t intend to process the base raw materials you’re extracting — but refining smushes stuff down in terms of volume, and volume is a big consideration in EVE when you have to haul everything around yourself in ships whose cargo holds are defined by the volume of goods they can carry.
  4. Storage units and other nice-but-non-essential-goodies.

So, you put down a CC, plop a few harvesters down, process or not, and grab your resources for sale at the other end. It’s a little more fiddly than that, but that’s the basic idea.

What you see above is as follows: Command Centre on the far left, leading to a storage unit (dark blue in middle). The Blue circles with arrows on them are extractors, of which there are 3. The orangey icon is the processing centre that turns my aqueous liquid into sellable water. (The aqueous liquid is sellable too, but in my estimate wasn’t as cost/benefit effective.)

It’s a rather messy setup because I wasn’t zoomed in far enough to begin with and so my various installations are further away from each other than they should really be — this is nibbling me in the ass (as opposed to biting) because time and distance are both money in this game. I also read halfway through that it was more efficient to route raws to a storehouse and then to a processing plant, but by then my buildings were plopped so I had to play a bit fast and loose with the routes. (You LINK buildings together for power and whatnot, and you ROUTE products from one linked place to another.) I’m also not sure why it’s more efficient, but it sort of makes sense so I’ll take the author’s word for it. I’m not sure it’s actually making a bit of difference in my low-volume, noobish setup, but it’s worth being aware of for later.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. To begin with, I decided to keep things really simple. I checked out first-step processed resources that are in reasonable demand for decent prices. There were a few decent candidates (among them water and toxic metals), and once I had those noted down I picked a relatively safe, relatively isolated (i.e. less people setting up PIs) system and went to check out its planets. I expected to have to check out several systems before I found something that fit the bill; I therefore didn’t shell out on a command centre until I had some idea what kind of planet I’d want to rape exploit use for resources.

Having found a temperate planet with pretty good concentrations of Aqueous Liquids, I got myself a CC and spent the next hour muddling about. Tutorials are all well and good but they can never replace the experience you get screwing up in practice. As it turns out my setup isn’t disastrously bad, and in any case it didn’t cost me all that much (~400k I think). Now I’m watching my little extractors suck up water — err, aqueous liquids, that I then turn into water. The water itself is slowly piling up in the command center, and when there’s enough of it I’ll shoot it up into orbit and go scoop up my goodies.

I can imagine that this will be fun, once I have the experience — and more importantly in-game skills — to run more than one of these / more complex / more powerful Planetary Installations. Of course, one can always extend one’s potential by using alts, too, but EVE is one game where I’m not at all sure I want to have any alts. I’ll no doubt end up with some, but I’m going to try and put that off for a while even if it makes me less competitive.

And that’s one of the problems I have with EVE. It’s an extremely competitive game where everyone is constantly measuring themselves against everyone else — in which I suppose it’s not that different from most MMOs. The difficulty for me is resisting the idea that I’m somehow sub-par by not wanting to buy in to the Achievers’ paradise. I just want to do my thing, have fun (which atm is actually debatable with respect to EVE), and maybe make a bit of money to fund whatever other fun stuff I want to do.

Another problem I have with EVE is that it’s definitely not a theme park type game. I like that — especially intellectually — but now I feel like many players do when they try something like EQ2: there are so many shiny interesting and ZOMFG QQ complicated things to do in EVE, I’m paralysed by my inability to choose. It’s the beauty and the curse of sandbox games: they can be hard to grasp and it can be extremely difficult to find your own bliss in them, so to speak.

RL encroachements may be impacting my mood, too — in fact they almost certainly are. I’ve written before that when I’m not having fun in a game, it’s not usually because of the game but because of the out-of-game baggage I’m carrying at that moment. Couple that with a MUNDUNGOUS and very, very complex game and you end up with confused, directionless, crabby me. YSH SMASH!

I’m pretty sure EVE is fun. I just need to find my bearings.

PS — I’m not looking for pats on the back or advice. I’m not overwhelmed to the extent that I have no idea what I’m doing (I have a small idea what I’m doing), I’m just overwhelmed by choices and possibilities. And crabby. More to the point, I like to do things my own way and in my own time, so if you want to tell me how and what to do, do so at your own risk. You Have Been Warned.

EDIT — for those of you who do play EVE and find it hard to see much of anything with that #)(*@)(*#)(* {many expletives deleted} font they use, which appears to be designed on purpose so that people with astigmatism can’t focus on it, try this. It might help. Note that I may be especially affected — I have one near-sighted and one far-sighted eye, which runs in the family, and the soft contact lens I (sometimes remember to) use doesn’t compensate very well for astigmatism.  All that option really does is expand the font, which can’t be changed, but it did help me quite a bit when I discovered this a few days ago. It’s still very eye-strainy especially at higher resolutions, but it’s not YSH SMASH LCD-SCREEN bad, unless I’m in a crabby mood like today.

Events, EVE, nothing much

I did promise to post every day in July (though you may recall I also rather qualified that promise), but we’ve had a pretty eventful morning IRL so you’ll have to make do with a screenie.

First we got stuck in the jam behind an accident on the way down the mountain on I-40, which looked very nasty (overturned RV among other things), though either everyone involved was okay and standing by the side of the road, or they’d already evacuated the hurt people out by the time we got to pass. A mere 3 police cars and a tow truck involved in that one.

Blah blah errands blah blah — and then we had to hit Kirtland Air Force Base for a few bits and pieces (the spousal unit is ex-Navy) at about the same time as some frothloony was busy shooting almost a dozen people — himself included — at a business not far outside the base. As a result Kirtland got pretty well locked down for a while. Turns out the guy was apparently alone, but when something like that breaks right next to a large military installation it’s not too surprising they go into mega-paranoid mode. One of the things we saw as we sat in the line of cars waiting to get out was a passing convoy of 2 police cars, 2 currently-repurposed school buses, and then 3 more police (or sheriff) cars. Given that it turned out to be a lone gunman and not even on the base, your guess is as good as mine as to what that little caravan may have been about.

We weren’t really anywhere near it, but the ripples spread pretty wide and we were in the area an hour or so after it happened, at which point everyone was still on high alert.

Weird day all round so far, so all you’re going to get today is a screenshot. Treasure it, because you won’t see Ysharros doing much in the way of missions in EVE; I think that one is from one of the intro missions. I’ve finally finished all 5 intro tutors and — aside from marvelling at all the crap you get given as a newb these days, including a Catalyst pretty much just for showing up — I have to say it’s a much better starting experience than it used to be, given the learning curve that game has. As a set of refresher tutorials/missions it was just about perfect; I can’t judge what it would be like for a total newb.

I’ve also started my very first Planetary Installation, but we’ll get into that tomorrow when I have more energy and fewer distractions.

Click for bigger pic

Oh yeah, and {/Columbo voice} one more thing. I’m doing my best to give my ships Culture-like names, because they’re just excellent and Iain M Banks was one of my absolute favourite authors at one point, though not so much in the last few years. So far I’ve got:

— Chain Reaction

— Not So Fast, Bucko

— South Beach My Ass (that would be my Iteron Mark III; they’re not renowned for their slender nimbleness)

— Not In These Heels (a mining ship)

— Poxy Doxy (not a Culture name – it’s a reference from a long, long-ago tabletop ArsMagica game; you had to be there)

… and a few others I can’t recall at the moment. It’s a challenge coming up with good names because you’re only allowed something like 20 or 25 characters, and those go quickly when you’re trying to sound Culture-ish. But I’m damned if I’m going to fly around in “Ysharros Eilat’s Catalyst” or whatever — how ridiculously boring is that? Sad to say… most everyone else I meet is exactly that boring, but I haven’t really left the newb areas yet. Maybe it gets better. Or maybe people lose ships so often they don’t plan on getting attached.

If you play any games where you have to name ships or vehicles, how do you pick? What names have you used? What names would you use? Maybe I can steal some of the better ones. 😉

(EDIT – apologies if there’s RSS freakiness. I hit “publish” by mistake instead of preview and it wasn’t quite ready. My post-fu is weak today!)

EQ2: monky love

I’ve been following Victor Stillwater’s EQ2-trial experiences with interest these last two weeks, and I’m glad to see he seems to have caught the bug.  Check out some of his posts for an EQ2-newbie player experience!

His latest post prompted me to comment in my usual excessive detail, and it occurred to me that most of what I wrote sort of fits under EQ2-newbie helpful things to know. So I’m going to be cheap and copy and paste a bit of it here, especially since my EQ2: 10 handy things to know post seems to have attracted a few readers. Hello, new readers!

I don’t actually have a single screenshot of my poor little monk (subject of most of this post), so have a pretty screenie of Kelethin with the bloom effect turned on instead. Bloom doesn’t work well everywhere in EQ2 — in some zones, especially at night, it just makes your monitor look foggy — but when it works well it works really well. Ain’t it cute? Uh, yeah, moving on.

Some classes need help to shine

In terms of playing fun, some classes are wheee! right out of the box and some are more meh — though granted a part of that will also depend on playstyle. Certainly in my case I’ve found that EQ2 fighter classes take some getting used to and some learning in order to play to their strengths and potential. This might be because I generally lean towards scout classes where you try to do lots of damage very fast, which in EQ2 usually means mashing combat arts in whatever sequence is most appropriate for the mob, then repeating if said mob isn’t dead yet.

Fighter classes play a little more slowly, even the less tank-up-front! ones like the brawlers (monk, bruiser) and the berserker. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all capable of tanking, but monks and bruisers especially take a slightly different slant since they only wear light armour and are more evasion- than soak-based.

Anyway, /begin cut and paste job.

As for the monk — your experience is very similar to mine a few years back. As a result, my monk was stuck at 17 from 2005 to 2009. However, when I picked her up again last year I started having more fun with her, and I’m not sure what changed. A couple of guesses though:

1. I learned to use auto-attack damage. For the fighter classes (and scouts) it’s VERY important. Hence the auto-attack bar mod that I use, so that I can space my combat arts out.

2. You can’t spam combat arts like you can on some other classes (like bards), because of the way the various timers are set up. However, you also don’t need to. I’ve learned to use them more slowly and to chain them more intelligently (debuffs and DOTs, then DD) and to make constant use of heroic opportunities. People think those are only for groups but they’re actually a great help in providing extra damage when solo too — and they’re easy, or can be. The standard fighter HO is {damage attack} + {taunt} for {extra damage} — and since that’s pretty much stuff you’re doing already in fights, it’s easy to integrate. Try it with the SK, too.

3. I learned to keep her fighting skills at max. That actually applies for all skills in EQ2 — if you’re not at max for your level, you’re going to be penalised. VERY important thing to know. (For example, just look how many more bad tick results you get when crafting when you level, until your skill points hit that max again.) If you’re a fighter you don’t want to be missing, even moreso if you’re one of the lighter-armoured brawlers.

4. Keep your combat arts upgraded as much as possible. You don’t have to get everything at master, but apprentice-level combat arts are as weak as they come. Doing more damage and having bigger buffs always helps. This is actually valid for all classes. Finding Journeyman versions of CAs/Spells on the broker is easy and usually very cheap. Adepts are a little more expensive, and Experts are rares-crafted and thus not cheap. However, journeyman and adept will be fine until you reach much higher levels.

5. Make use of your AAs. I’m coming to the conclusion that by 30 I should have at least 30 AA (and I’m sure others will say it should be more), and probably 75-100 by 50. Needless to say, that’s not the case for any of my chars. It doesn’t *hurt* you per se to not have them, but it sure helps if you do.

/end cut and paste job

Note that I’m not very knowledgeable about classes in EQ2, certainly not for dungeons and higher level stuff, but I do fine for most solo content and almost all my characters can take on at least green-con ^^^ heroic mobs. So even if I’m not doing everything right I’m doing some things right. And I keep learning as I go — which for me is one of the biggest elements in making an MMO fun. Once you’ve learned it all, been everywhere, and done everything, what’s left?

EQ2: 10 handy things to know

(EDIT – we’re talking a baker’s half-score here. Blogging’s not an exact science, you know! Thanks to all who have made suggestions for additions.)

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1. EQ2 has a dizzying number of classes…

but it’s not as confusing as it seems. There are 4 basic class archetypes and three paired subclasses per type. Most pairs are good/evil alignment, but one pair for each archtetype is neutral. Paired classes play sort of like each other, but aren’t just alignment-mirrored versions; there are some substantial differences even though the class basics will remain the same.

Note that the descriptions below are heavily circumscribed by my own lack of experience with several of them — but it should be enough to at least give you an idea of the basic differences.

Every single class in the game has buffs, whether they’re self-buffs or ally buffs or group/raid buffs.

G = Good, E = Evil, N = Neutral

FIGHTER archetype

Guardian (N) / Berzerker (N) — G is slightly more geared to soaking lots of damage, B slightly more to dishing it.

Monk (G) / Bruiser (E) — light-armored tankish types. Bruiser a little more offensive than Monk and a little more multi-target (I think).

Paladin (G) / Shadowknight (E) — heal/harm tank combo. Paladins heal more, SKs have damage soaks and many tasty AOEs.

SCOUT archetype (all types can wear chain)

Troubador (N) / Dirge (N) — happy bard, sad bard. One mostly buffs, one does lots of debuffs. Happy happy high runspeeds.

Ranger (G) / Assassin (E) — Ranger very range biased, Assassin very stealth biased.

Swashbuckler (G) / Bandit (E) — positional classes both. High DPS, some tankability with shield equipped and the right AAs.

PRIEST archetype

Fury (N) / Warden (N) — Druid classes. Fury is more nukey, Warden is more melee(ish). Many HOTs, many buffs. Leather armor.

Templar (G) / Inquisitor (E) — Templars are the plate-wearing, low-damage healing heavy-hitters. I don’t know much about Inquis except that they deal a little more damage.

Mystic (G) / Defiler (E) — Shamans who see dead people and bend them to their will. Or something like that. Damage soak spells, direct healing a little weaker than the other priests. PET class (if desired), though the pet is relatively weak unless AA-boosted.

MAGE archetype

There’s a reason I put these guys last, since I don’t play them much and have never got one past 30. Take these comments with a grain of salt.

Wizard (N) / Warlock (N) — Wiz is more direct damage, root & nuke, Warlock is more encounter-based (linked group of mobs). No idea what buffs they have.

Conjuror (G) / Necromancer (E) — fairly standard pet-wielding mage classes. Forgiving for newbies since the pet can cover a multitude of newbie sins.

Illusionist (G) / Coercer (E) — kinda-sorta pet classes. The illy can create a duplicate of herself, while the coercer can (temporarily) charm enemies. Both classes are said to become extremely powerful when played well, but can be hard to master, especially the coercer.

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2. EQ2 alignments made simple

Here’s the really important part: Alignment DOES NOT affect a character’s ability to group with other people. It does not affect an account’s shared bank slots. It does not affect tells or mails or guild joining options — basically, it’s not the insurmountable dividing wall that Alliance/Horde is in WoW. In practical terms, alignment determines what cities you may become a citizen of without betraying, which determines where you can buy housing. It also determines which guards will try to kill you on sight. Other than that, alignment really only affects roleplaying.

Your choice of class and starting area is what determines your alignment in most cases. Shadowknights can’t be good and Paladins can’t be evil. EQ2 currently has five capital cities, three of which are very strongly aligned with one side or the other (you’ll get killed if you’re the wrong alignment and the guards can see you and aren’t grey to you) — Qeynos (G), Freeport (E) and Neriak (E). The remaining two cities — Kelethin and Gorowyn —  are somewhat good and somewhat evil aligned respectively but are happy to tolerate visitors from both sides provided you don’t stray into certain areas (like the Royal Platform in Kelethin, where the guards are good-aligned).

HOWEVER… You can “betray” your current city and, by gaining faction, eventually move over to the opposite alignment. This isn’t nearly as painful and grindy as it used to be (though it’s still a bit grindy). The important thing to note here is that if you are an aligned class, you will have to swap to your opposing class if your alignment changes. So if a Paladin betrays Qeynos for Freeport (or anywhere else), they will become a Shadowknight. Neutral classes can stay as they are, so a Fury can betray Qeynos for Freeport and still be a Fury at the end of the process.

It’s worth knowing that even neutral classes are presented with the class confirmation event when they betray, so it’s a way to turn a class into its paired class (e.g. Warden <–> Fury) if you discover you’re not entirely happy with the gameplay or want to try something different.

Note that even if you’re playing a “neutral” class, your character still has an alignment. A Fury living in Qeynos WILL get beaten up on by Freeport or Neriak guards.

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3. Bank slots — use them!

Each character has access to 12 personal bank slots that can be filled with bags that can, in turn, hold more stuff. (You can’t nest bags.) Each account has access to 8 shared bank slots that can be seen and used by all characters on that account, regardless of location or alignment. (The only exception to this is that betraying characters who are temporarily “In Exile” cannot access the shared bank.) This personal/shared bank arrangement also includes money — each character has their own savings account, and each account has a joint money area available also.

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4. Chat commands, EQ2 haz dem

Lots of things that can be clicked on can also be done via chat commands, which I much prefer. I don’t click the EQ2 button and then the Camp (or Logout) menu option — I just type /camp. Or /camp Charname, which will log my current char out and log in the one I just specified. Or /camp desktop, which cunningly enough will neatly log my current char out and then exit the client. (I’m not a fan of /exit in any game, because half the time it means any options you set up or UI changes you made don’t get saved. This may not be the case for EQ2, but it always pays to log out properly if you have time to do it.)

In the basic setup, hitting T will start a tell, R will reply, and G will open a group chat line. (Okay, those aren’t technically chat commands, but they’re handy.)

EQ2 also has an auto-complete type feature. If you think there’s a chat command for something, say inspecting another player, but you’re not sure what it is, you can start typing a command — such as /inspe — then hit TAB, and the game will list all possible commands starting with the string you just typed.

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5. Hotbars and bags can be resized

Right out of the default, unmodded UI that is. Right click on a hotbar and pick “Hotbar options” and you can set all manner of fun things. Right click on an open bag (not the bag icon in inventory or the bank, for some reason) and you’ll get an equally useful “Bag options” window. Default bag sizes are ludicrously huge, at least for me; mine are all mushed down to 29 pixels per bag “slot”, which is probably too small for new players unless you’ve got sharp eyes, but 34-ish pixels is more than big enough to see what you’ve got without handing over all your precious screen space.

At my 1920×1200 resolution I can have 12 (personal bank) + 8 (shared bank) + 6 (personal inventory) 36-slot bags all open at once on screen. And neat, too. I may be a messy slob in real life but I’m OCD about game inventories.

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6. Right-clicking is your friend

It’s amazing how many hidden interactions you’ll find when right-clicking on stuff in EQ2. A banker NPC will suddenly reveal their alternate Guild Banker identity (if you’re in a guild). UI elements will suddenly reveal customisation options. Creatures will spontaneously explode. (Okay, I made that one up.) You won’t be constantly right-clicking, at least I don’t, but it’s worth knowing that sometimes that’s what you need to do in order to access the game’s arcane optional underbelly.

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7. EQ2 has more options than you can shake a stick at

Srsly, I think EQ2 has more options than I’ve ever seen in any other game. You can customise the graphics to a pretty large extent (and can do even more if you’re willing to go in and mess with .ini files). You can customise how verbose the combat text is. You can customise whether you see floaty numbers in combat or not, and what colour your various chats are — if you want experience messages to be in red, you can do that. It is absolutely worth hitting ALT-O and poking around in the options; it’ll take a while, but there’s a treasure trove of customisations in there.

One default setting I’ve always hated is the mob-naming. The default setting shows mob level in a pretty circle, along with some pretty curlicues that are supposed to give you an idea how tough the mob is. The alternate setting dispenses with showing the level (though it’ll be visible if you actually target the mob, and names are level-relative colour coded anyway) but also dispenses with the silly curlicues in favour of far more obvious down / or up ^ arrows. A triple-down mob, as they’re known in EQ2 parlance, will probably die if you cough on it. A ^^^ (or triple up) mob will probably kill you by coughing on you, especially if it’s also “heroic” (which means tougher than usual).

How to change this: Options –> User Interface –> Name and Chat Bubble –> NPC evaluation. Change that from Simple (frames) to Detailed (arrows). Tada!

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8. Alternate Advancement is your friend too

It’s certainly not as scary as it seems at first glance. For one thing, you don’t even have to think about it till you’re level 10, since you can’t start gaining AA xp till that level. For another, your choices there are not as final as they may appear. Each separate tab in the AA window can be respecced once for free just by clicking a button at the top of the window (which won’t appear till you first spend points in that tab). After that, there are NPCs you can talk to for respecs, though as with other games this process becomes progressively more expensive. You don’t want to be changing your mind every 5 seconds, but neither are you locked into a choice forever.

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9. EQ2 spells/combat arts upgrade automatically as you level

Unlike WoW, you don’t have to visit a trainer every couple of levels to get new versions of your stuff. HOWEVER — characters are only given the basic “potency” of any given spell or combat art, when in fact there are increasing levels of power. So if you get, say, Jalapeno Breath II at level 14, you’ll only get the “Apprentice” version of the spell; you can obtain improved versions from crafters, loot drops, Research Assistants, or specialisations you can select every few levels as you go. Jalapeno Breath II (apprentice) does less damage than Jalapeno Breath II (Journeyman) which does less than Jalapeno Breath II (Grandmaster).

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10. Not all starting areas are created equal

This was suggested by Spinks, though I would add the caveat that starting area quality will to some extent be dependent on player preferences. Fact is, however, that EQ2 has been added to and refined over the years, and some starting areas really are easier, more friendly, and generally more fun and flowy than others.

Playstyle caveats aside, I did find that the Darklight Wood and Timorous Deep starting areas are way more streamlined and organised than older starting areas; sadly, they’re both evil. The Greater Feydark (Kelethin) starting area, in contrast, I found to be really tedious, but I gather lots of people like it. Similarly lots of people hate the “Isle of Refuge” starting area (which is the oldest), but I’m sentimentally partial to it and it too has been somewhat streamlined over the years.

If you just want to get to grips with the game and don’t want to have to worry too much about what and where, I’d say start in Neriak or Gorowyn, where the new player experience isn’t too overloading. You can always start a good character somewhere else once that initial new-game-overload feeling is gone.

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11. Hit J and RTFQ

Most of the time quests are fairly self-explanatory… except when they’re not. Some of the older EQ2 quests, in particular, can be exceptionally opaque and can contain a lot of info that isn’t presented during the dialogue with the NPC. Be sure to check your quest journal (J) when confused. That same quest journal also contains tabs so you can see all the quests you’ve finished, all the collections you’re doing (or have done), and what achievements (not AA) you’ve completed or are working on.

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12. Learn the Way of the Shiney

If it’s on the ground and it’s shiney, whether it’s gold (the most common), purple, red or blue — or even green — pick it up. It’s a collection, and collections are fun. Collections reward xp, AA xp, and often some pretty nifty items too. Just remember, it’s a slippery slope; shineys are EQ2’s version of crack cocaine and they can severely inhibit your ability to get from A to B in reasonable amounts of time.

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13. You don’t have to get mods, but only a dummy doesn’t get EQ2Maps

Seriously, it’s what the EQ2 map should be. It’s got a wealth of information provided by other players and most of it is even accurate. And if you feel overly slapped with information, you can filter what shows — but still have decent maps if you need them. And believe me, you need good maps in Norrath sometimes. Get it right here.

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14. How to disable the welcome scream

Not so much for newbies, unless you’re comfortable editing .ini files. Not that it’s particularly arcane or anything. Here’s how. Open the “eq2.ini” file that lives in the top level of the Everquest 2 directory (notepad is best for this). Add the following line of text, minus the quotes: “cl_show_welcome_screen_on_startup 0” (that’s a zero at the end there, not a letter). Et voilà.

-_-_-_-

Now that this post is done, I can admit that these weren’t the 10 things I wanted to post. Stuff keeps occurring to me, usually when I’m not at the keyboard, and then disoccurring because I have an awful memory and never think to write stuff down.

So we’ll consider this a post in progress. If folks want to suggest things they don’t know but want to know, things they discovered and wish they’d known sooner, and so on, please do so. I’ll amend the post accordingly.