Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

As far as player types go, I’m not a raid person. I’m not a loot lover (with a few exceptions that I’ll get to below). I’m a crafting type with a large side of harvesting ho thrown in for good measure; it could be argued that one begets the other, but then we’d get into the whole chicken and egg and begetting and begat thing and we just don’t have time for that today. It therefore pleases me — as I have mentioned a time or two lately — that EQ2 appears to have not only realised that some people like to craft as a primary (or at least not a distant tertiary) activity, but also decided to provide a metric crapton of stuff for crafters to do. Adventury stuff — well, crafty adventury stuff, or at least stuff that gives crafting xp and other goodies, even though it sometimes requires risking your life in that nasty sunny outside world among the giant spiders and their arachnid ilk.

Mort (the spousal unit) and I had started a harvesting quest we encountered because, well, it’s a harvesting quest! Oh, and it paid 17g a pop, which for us poorer types is a lot for just bending down and picking stuff up, though in all fairness to the quest it ended up being a bigger pain in the harvester’s backside than just bending down and picking stuff up. If you need 30 of X and 30 of Y and they come from node Z that drops A 80% of the time, it’s going to take a LONG time to get X and Y. Make the poor harvester do that in two distinct areas rather than just one, and you’ll soon separate the hoes from the men, especially if the harvesting hoes in question aren’t quite the right adventuring level to survive the beasties protecting the nodes. We’ve become expert at gauging how finely one can cut aggro ranges, and just how close to a node you have to be to be able to extract all its resourcey goodness.

As it turns out, we were right to persist. At some point I discovered what that long series of quests actually gave as a final reward, aside from just cold hard cash, and that motivated us as normal items rarely tend to do. A harvesting cloak!!1oneone!! A cloak with bonuses on that make you get mo’ betta stuff! Oh, and the featherfall effect on it ain’t bad for people who happen to be scared of heights.


Stylin' and profilin'
Stylin' and profilin'

But wait, there’s more!

As the picture above shows, we’re also now riding two extremely stylish (and yes, quite clearly cloned) and useful equines who, presumably by virtue of their resource-scenting horns (?), also provide a harvesting bonus — a very respectable +48 — and of course the expected speed increase you get from any mount. Numbers alone mean nothing without context, so for the harvesting-stat geeks among you, I should note that one’s harvesting skill is limited by the highest level a character has, crafting or adventuring: Fairuza is a max-level provisioner at 80, so her base maximum harvesting skill is 5 x 80 = 400. The cloak and the mount therefore provide a not-quite-20% bonus, which I reckon is none too shabby.

And, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my rares mojo has vanished! That or the blasted unicorn is eating them while I’m not looking. Or, as is usually the case, one gets a huge bonus to something and suddenly one expects the entire world — or in this case, rares catalog of EQ2 — to fall in one’s lap. It’ll pass, I know; in the meantime, I feel cheated every time I go out harvesting and don’t come back with a packful of rares.

Speaking of which, another good move EQ2 made was to increase the incidence of said rares. They used to be… well, really really rare; that or I was just really really unlucky. A few years back, coming home with a half dozen divers rares after a day’s worth of harvesting was a great day; now, with the newer, higher drops, if I don’t get my half dozen within a couple of hours (in the lower tiers, at any rate) I start to get sullen and sulky and stamp my cute wood elf foot till the RNG gives in. Yes, it means rares aren’t as rare and more people are decked out in them or using them for decoration –but that kind of MMOflation seems to be inevitable without beyond-draconian curbing measures, so if it’s going to happen anyway we may as well enjoy the process. (I’ve never understood the whole “I play MMOs like a penitent would wear a hair shirt — if it doesn’t hurt and itch and isn’t crawling with lice, I don’t want anything to do with it!” How, exactly, is that fun? Sure, there’s excessive item- and rarity-mania *cough* WoW *cough* but there’s a whole spectrum between hair shirts/self-flagellation and cartoony consumption excess. Anyway, moving on.)

The unicorns themselves are a buyable reward from the far-ranging Far Seas Trading Company, whose Supply Division one encounters in the latest expansion. Just getting to where they are willing to talk to outsider plebs like us takes a few quests and quite some doing, and of course rewards a fair bit of crafting xp along the way — and once that’s done, we can take part in the crafterish equivalent of daily raids. Woohooo!

Wait, stop, whoa. Daily raids? Having to log in and do something repetitive over and over and over again for a crappy little incremental — did I mention overpriced? — upgrade that will let me compete only so I can repeat the whole process for the next crappy little incremental upgrade? Say it ain’t so!

Fortunately, it ain’t so. There are daily crafting instances (daily in the sense that a character can only do one instance per day), but they aren’t obligatory and there are other ways of obtaining some of the goodies that come from them. Part of the rewards include faction with the Far Seas Supply Division, which is required in order to be able to buy some of the cool stuff they sell — like unicorns; but faction can be obtained through bog-standard writs, too. The instances also grant tokens, which are part of the payment required for said cool stuff, but those can be obtained (albeit at a much slower rate) through weekly repeatable quests. What the instances have that other methods don’t is loot — bien sur — of a type to make crafters drool: jewellery, recipe books, more tokens, the odd rare resource and so on. However, none of that is obligatory. I don’t have to do any of those instances to be a decent crafter; the only reason I might have to do them is for the recipe books that, as far as I know, can’t be obtained any other way.

On the bright side, they can be done solo, provided the crafter in question has the time. There are 4 different instances but they’re all basically the same format: 12 each of 9 different items (3 items for each of the three crafting “trees”), so a total of 108. Any crafter can make any item required by the instance, though things will be much smoother within one’s own tree. Mort and I have been doing them almost every day, and with two of us the instances take 60-90 minutes each. Since we both actively enjoy crafting, it’s not onerous at all.

I was going to wax lyrical about the various instance-places and stories and rewards, but I’m trying to keep my word counts down. In the meantime, have a random Mini-Me type picture. More next time!


32 thoughts on “Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

  1. Whiiich reminds me, me and Spinks are thinking of playing us some EQ2 on monday or tuesday nights, so we’re looking for recommendations for a duoing pair. She’s keen on being a rat (no idea why!), and we know nothing about EQ2, so I nominated myself to ask you!

  2. I started that very harvesting quest this weekend on the advice of one of our guildies (Lyriana IIRC). The first two stages went very quickly indeed, and at 17g plus change that’s a decent wage. More than decent actually, it’s a lot of money. I foresee all of my alts doing this quest in time. I dunno about ever wearing the cloaks though since I love my Journeyman’s Cloaks and the 25% speed boost they give.

    @ arbitrary: I highly recommend the Fury class for one of the two characters, since it’s very nice to have a healer as well as a means of transportation. Druids can cast free portals to jump all around the world, and can also cast the delectable Spirit of the Wolf spell for a 20% movement speed increase. For the other character, more or less anything will mesh well, and it really comes down to player preference. You might find that a Berserker or Shadowknight or Monk or Bruiser makes a good partner for the healer-type, able to tank and deal nice dps. But then, honestly, I think any class really duos well with the Fury, even another healer (slow dps but you’ll be able to live through some incredibly tough fights).

    Come play on Lucan D’Lere! And you should definitely get a trial invitation from somebody so you get the free loot (including the Journeyman’s Cloak). It’s very worthwhile IMO and any player can give you an invitation.

    1. thanks for the helpful comments, we’re reading through classes right now!

  3. What Foolsage said — if you get referred (and then you can refer Spinks, or vice vera) both parties get goodies, but it’s especially nice for the invitee, who gets a +25% movement speed cloak and some other nice stuff that I can’t remember what it is. (For info, the inviter gets a mount, cosmetic mostly, though pretty fast. No cloak, damn them!)

    Ooo yes and if a referer and referee play together (as in, grouped), each char gets a +100% xp bonus. It’s not essential, but it’s nice especially if you like adventuring. So if someone refers one of you, you need to be sure you or Spinksy refers the other, so the two of you can get that bonus. Hope that made sense!

    I’m a huge fan of the Fury class myself, though I know Green Armadillo (PVD) much prefers their “opposite” number the Warden, who is a little more melee and a little more defensive where the Fury is a little more nukey and a little more offensive.

    Potted class descriptions should be available on any decent EQ2 website. From what I’ve tried myself, I love the scout classes (swoosh! snickersnack! oof — hit hard, can be squishyish) and there’s plenty of different playstyles right there; bards don’t play like rangers who don’t play like swashbucklers. Fighters you have standard tank (guardian), hybrid (paladin/shadowknight), DPS fighter (berzerker), and the monk/bruiser option. I had a bruiser that I soloed easily to 40, she was a hoot.

    There are more standard healing classes too (Templar) and more melee/DoT? based healing classes (Shamans). And of course all your finger-wagglers, of which I know nearly nothing. I have a conjurer but she’s really a tailor. 😉

    If you’re still free to pick a server, I’d heartily recommend either of the two RP servers (Antonia Bayle or Lucan D’Lere) with a preference for LDL of course coz that’s where I am and we have a kicking casual guild. Either way though, both servers have great communities. I don’t know much about any of the others. I don’t know much about PvP in EQ2 either, but I gather it’s not a game one would necessarily choose if one were big into PvP anyway.

    Let us know where you end up, we can cross-server chat anyway! Also, if you want a referral or two, I’m sure there are plenty of people who can arrange it.

    1. Argh – note also that the referral can only be done on NEW accounts, so plan ahead if you intend to get referred and one of you refer the other. You effectively have to create the account based off an invite email.

      1. Oo, I’ll get arb right onto it. Which bits of game do we need to buy to start out/ get the best starting areas?

    2. Think I’m going to let Spinksy be the healer this time around, so I’m browsing through some of the fighters. And we are TOTALLY coming to your server to be pests.

      Also a referral would rock. To either of us, doubt either of us have an account ready and waiting, and can certainly create another one (just remembered I do have a Vanguard one I guess…). I think only you and GA are people we know playing it, tbh!

      1. Neither of you should need to buy anything to start off with — the trial is what you’ll be wanting, though in order to benefit from the good stuff (being able to chat and get housing f’rinstance :P) you’ll want to sub, which SoE of course make as easy as clicking a couple of buttons. As far as I can recall, it’s really cheap right now to get every expansion up to (but not including) the last one, The Shadow Odyssey, which to be honest you don’t really need until you’re 50 anyway (crafting or adventuring).

        Referral thingy mail thingy incoming on Arb.

      2. If you start with a trial account, the game plus all adventure packs plus every expansion except the most recent is all free. You don’t need the new expansion until you’re mid-level anyhow (I’m guessing 40+… I’ve been playing a month and a half now, have several chars in their 30s, and haven’t bought anything, just subscribed).

        Free is good.

      3. Not even till the 50s, I’d say — you can’t start the crafting quests until you’re a 50 crafter anyway, and as far as I can tell the adventuring content in that expansion is all even higher than that.

      4. The exception might be people who try to keep their AAs high for their level. I think there’s some TSO (The Shadow Odyssey – latest expansion) content if you have 60+ Achievement Abilities (AAs). None of my characters have even half of that yet but it’s possible to obtain 60+ AAs by level 30 if not sooner… it just requires a different playstyle than my own. I like to play when my chars have an experience bonus so they level quickly and have low AAs for their level.

  4. …and other fancy stuff.

    I’m a big fan of non-combat activities in MMOs. I keep meaning to check out EQ2 crafting, but I’m too far underwater on time to actually do much more than read FAQs and imagine what I’d see.

    It’s good to see that there are games and gamers that actually think about this stuff. 🙂

  5. Oddly enough… I just finished that quest on my 80 jeweler this weekend myself. She’s a 65 dirge now, but was only level 62 when I finished the quest. T7 wasn’t too bad in Tenebrous Tangle, but T8 in Kylong Plains got a little interesting at times. That said, she’s done the epic line preliminaries, so she at least isn’t “kill on sight” to the NPC factions in KP, JW, or the Fens.

    I made a ton of plat doing that quest too selling off all the rares I got. Funny thing, though… I only got 4 rares in T6, 2 in T7, and 1 in T8. T5 and lower though, it did feel like I was pulling a rare almost every other node, though.

    You *are* using the tinkered harvesting tools and getting their “2.5 seconds faster harvest and +10 to everything except +20 to mining” bonuses also, aren’t you? I notice you don’t mention them, and yet with the +25 on the cloak, +48 on the mount, +10 on the tools. . .and you should run “Funrest” until you can get the upgraded Dwarven Work Boots (another +25 to harvest everything).

    And of cours,e the Earring of the Solstice from your epic crafting series — another +25 to everything. We’re talking +133 to fish, gather, forest, and trap, and +143 to mine. I think that’s over the hardcap, actually. . .

    1. Aye, I have the tools – have had em for a while, since Fairuza was 70 when I came back. I just forget that they have a bonus other than the speed one. 😉

      Rares incidence sounds right — the higher your skill compared to the tier you’re harvesting, the more likely you are to get rares. After that, it’s just a matter of volume. I harvested T8 for a couple of hours yesterday and got lucky, I think I’ve got 7 rares in the pack already. Oh by the way, harvest at the UJL (other side of the canon ride from the Ykesha ship landing), there’s a large, perfectly safe loop one can ride with all node types.

      1. You can get them made by a woodworker or a tinker — the woodworker ones are based on adventuring level to use, the tinkered ones on crafting level, so you can use whatever works with whatever your highest level is. Either way, I believe the lowest-level tools are around 30.

        As you’d expect, the harvesting speed improvement gets better the higher you are — initially it’s only a half second or a second or so, but by the highest level tools you’re halving the time (2.5s instead of 5s) which makes a huge difference.

        My woodworker can make adv-level based tools to somewhere in the 40s I think. The tinkered ones are buyable, and aren’t all that expensive — though the highest level ones aren’t exactly cheap, but they’re more than worth it. I’m trying to remember what they’re called… ugh. Try “automated shears/pick/net” (not sure about the net) — each different level of tool has a weird prefix I can’t recall, except that the highest level ones are Overclocked Automated Blahblahs. At any rate, “automated shears/pick/net(?)” should find what you need.

      2. I don’t get a reply button to foolsage’s posts, so I’m replying here where I can —

        You are correct that the highest level tinkered tools all have the word “overclocked” as part of their name, while the lower ones are simply “automated.”

        The “normal” tools are named after the type of wood they’re made from — sandalwood, redwood, ashwood, etc. The higher the tier the better, of course.

        FWIW, there are also tinkered items that give 1, 2, and 3% success chance increases. Name varies by class that uses them, though, so I can’t tell you off the top of my head. My jeweler equips the 3% tinkered tool and the 1.1% and +10 jeweler skill thing she got from Mara for running around the village, and so (assuming they stack) gets a 4.1% success chance boost, even without her epic to improve that.

        TBH, I can’t recall the last time I failed a combine, though — is adding to our skill for our profession actually helping?

      3. @JC — I haven’t failed a combine since my first T1 crafter either, as far as I can recall. On the other hand, those success chance items are *great* for doing the crafting instances, especially since hubby and I duo them so we don’t have full coverage on all 3 trees. In those cases, every little boost helps — right now we’re still working on getting faction and tokens for some chars, so we’ve really only got the Shadow AA bonus to progress, but even that helps because it means you have less “ticks” to go through — many of which tend to be bad if you’re not using your main crafting prof. (Well, we have a bunch of skill bonuses, but I’m less and less enthused with those. They help a little, but not nearly as much as +success, +progress or +durability.)

      4. @ JC: Yeah, Ysh only has one level of tiered quotes active. To reply to the latest post in a reply chain, you have to reply to the first.

        @ Ysh: Another quote level or two could simplify these response chains a bit… 😉

  6. Hmmm. I’ve got a bunch of classes on both Antonia Bayle and Najena.

    Nothing too high level though. I wonder if I have a spare character slot…

  7. Ysh, I’ve been meaning to get back into EQ2 again (highest level character was about 27 back before Rise of Kunark came out, heh), so I’m reading through people’s blog posts about the game.

    First, how do you get the unicorn mount? I was a die-hard unicorn fan when I was a little girl and deep down still am, heh.

    Second, how and when do you get the harvesting cloak?

    Third, are you still playing on LDL? I haven’t been reading many blogs lately but kind of jumped onto this post through a link of Tipa’s, so forgive me if you just mentioned this in one of your more recent entries.

    1. Heya Mal 😀

      I’m sort of sharing what playtime I have between Antonia Bayle and LDL right now. The LDL crew are stellar, but some RL friends started on AB and weren’t willing to move over, so I’m spending some time there with them too. Good thing I’m an altoholic! 😀

      Now, the unicorn you get by getting 40k faction with the Far Seas crafting faction, which starts by doing “Ship Out” in the Moors of Ykesha. You have to be a level 50 crafter to start that. After that the faction actually comes pretty quickly. You need the Shadow Odyssey expac to be able to do this.

      The harvesting cloak comes from a Tier 1-8 harvesting questline that starts on the Isle of Mara (but you don’t need TSO to get it). There’s a little boy in a pond near the village who’ll start you off. Because of the need to harvest T8, you’ll have to be somewhere around level 65 craft or adv before you can finish it. I’m being vague because various items will boost your harv skills so although it’s technically lv 68 to harvest T8, you can get to that skill level earlier.

      If you play on LDL look for anyone in “Halasian Empire” (“/who all halasian” will find them). I couldn’t recommend a better guild. For me it’s the perfect size (not small, not large) with some of the best people you’ll ever meet in a game. My chars there are Fairuza, Kalliste, Lissom, Cordelia and a handful of others in an old (aka just me :P) guild.

      If you play on AB, look for “Knights Who Say Ni” (/who all say”) — I’ve been with these guys for 10 years now in various games and they’re ALSO the best people you can find. However, the guild is muuuuuuch smaller. My chars there are Ysharros, Tempestae, Tarantelle and more.

      My playtime is sporadic atm. I’ll get a day where I can play a lot and then several days where I can’t play at all — or rather where I log in and then have to afk for work for hours, heh. But welcome back! 😀

      1. Thanks so much for the information, Ysh. I really want the unicorn and yet as I was looking for information, the “bear pet that grows into a mount” thingy from TSO is calling to me too. Gaaaah. The Complete Collection — that includes everything except Sentinel’s Fate — has the bear, costs US$19.99, and includes 60 days of play time. But then I’m unable to take advantage of RAF (according to CMs on the official forums). Now I just don’t know what to do, heh. I was going to hit you up for a RAF for the runspeed cloak.

        Do you have the bear, by the way? How is it?

      2. Yeah the New Halas housing looks great.

        I don’t have the bear, so I can’t tell you what it’s like, and I’m not even sure what its final speed is.

        As for the cloak, there’s always been some confusion about how one gets it but I *think* it’s from doing a plain and simple trial account these days. Don’t need RAF to get one. *Do* need a new trial account though, so it wouldn’t work if you reactivated your old one.

        That said, as I’ve told others, you may well end up outgrowing the runspeed cloak (for instance to wear the harvesting one) and the fact that it doesn’t stack with mount speeds makes its use limited for most classes in the game.

        As for RAF — don’t worry about it. I’m guessing RAF offers a specific “upgrade to paid” path that wouldn’t include the TSO with the mount. I wasn’t aware the bear mount was still an available option to buy actually, so it might be worth nabbing if it’s calling to you.

        The RAF xp/porting benefits fade after 3 months anyway. The mounts are nice but only the referrer gets them, and if there are other benefits (other than free playtime) I’ve forgotten what they are. It’s not a huge deal. 😉

      3. Hi Ysh, I searched around for information on the bear and apparently:

        · Available as a summoned pet from 1-19, after that, becomes a mount.
        · Becomes a mount at level 20 – 20% run speed.
        · Increase in run speed at level 40 – 30% run speed and armored appearance.
        · Increase in run speed at level 60 – 45% run speed and increased armor appearance.
        · Increase in run speed at level 80 – 52% run speed and increased armor appearance.

        I wonder if it keeps leveling afterwards, since the new expansion up the level to 90. But I did go check out the various types of mounts available and I have to say, the amount of stuff there is in EQ2 just astounds me. 🙂 The things I love about EQ2 most are the housing and crafting. Love the fact you can have just a crafter without having to slay a single rat, heh. (I was obsessed with my carpenter, spending hours just making furniture. Which is kind of why I got stuck at 27 — I wasn’t particularly in awe of the way the dirge did in combat. Took forever to kill anything and always seemed to want to die by her own hand.)

        And you’re right, the runspeed cloak comes with every trial it seems. I haven’t yet created a new account — I am going to do that rather than use my old one, because level 27 isn’t exactly anything special — I’m trying to figure out when I can actually get some good time in! Though there is the 40% mounts that you can buy every 20th of the month through that festival thingy, I forget what it’s called.

        I always have the same problem with trials for EQ2 (I tend to create one every few months). I get paralysed with the choice of classes and races! Crazy.

        Thank you so much for all the information Ysh!

      4. We should take this to email, it’d be easier. 😉

        You can get me on ysharrosatgmail dotcom (cunningly enough).

        And yes, free 40% mounts *easily* obtained during the Moonlight event every month. From what you say the bear doesn’t sound all that great in terms of run speed, esp since they recently boosted the unicorn to 60% speed and you can get that from 50 crafting onward.

        If you give me some idea of how you like to fight I can probably give you some class ideas. 😉 Dirges are actually pretty quick killing machines… they just need a meat shield, or they need to kite. For sheer survivability I’ve loved my fury, *and* she does pretty good damage too… Anyway – mail me! 😀

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