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.