Bhagpuss has rolled a new character in Everquest 2 and given us all an update, and I feel I should do the same about my newbie alt.
My character is a Level 30 Necromancer/Level 38 Weaponsmith with 115 AAs. We've cleared out the Freeport suburbs, the Freeport sewers, and the Commonlands. Nektulos Forest will be done by the time I hit publish on this thing. I've been going for a fairly completionist run, doing just about every quest the EQ2 wiki has listed. Some of the quests, particularly some of the book quests, are just too darn grindy to bother with. My main goal is to get a feel for each zone: hit the important quests, learn the important landmarks, soak in the excellent background music and art.
I'm not necessarily playing through slowly, but instead deliberately. I do have the nasty tendency to optimize the fun out of things, and I fear I've done that quite a few times in Everquest 2. The things I like about EQ2 have more to do with it's charm rather than the endless treadmill of progression. Mindful playing is something I've concentrated on doing every since I started this blog last August. I've found it to be a mixed bag however. Stopping to smell the roses is good, but some games aren't roses. They're poop. A lot of games are somewhere in between. If you let the game have it's way, the pacing becomes unbearably slow. I'm currently playing through Kakarot in the evenings and it's exactly like that. I'll write more about that game in the future, but in summary, it's a guest that will stay just a little too long after the party is over if you aren't forceful enough with it. EQ2's pacing is mostly fine, although some of the quests can be a bit much. Needing to clear out entire camps of mobs in hopes that the rare placeholder's spawn is pretty annoying. Those rare placeholder's not dropping quest items 100% of the time is even worse. I've made the executive decision to skip most of those quests.
I'm trying to focus on zones that I've really not done before. I don't remember doing the Freeport Outlying Areas (I always called them the Suburbs). I almost certainly did them back when the game first launched, as they and the Sewers were needed both before you hit the Commonlands and during your teen levels.
At least I think. There are so many bits and pieces from EQ2's first year that I sorta remember but then discover I was wrong about. EQ2 is already an unfathomably deep game, but the fact that the developers keep reinventing it makes it that much harder. I don't mind any of this, if I enjoyed the old ways well enough they have a perfectly suitable legacy server at the ready. But I do often feel like I've lost the "thread" of the game. The evolution of the game itself, from it's move as a group game to a more soloable game, getting it's ass kicked by WoW but then finding it's long term niche, feels as much as part of the 'story' as the actual storyline in the game. Part of the reason I started blogging in the first place was to have a way of capturing that feeling in a way I could access myself.
Back on track, I've not done the "evil" zones in probably close to a decade. I always found the NPC interaction on the evil side to be off putting. Everyone mean mugging each other is a child's idea of evil. The writers tried to build up this sense of treachery around every corner with every quest giver stabbing you in the back at the completion of every questline but I found it all a bit too corny. EQ2 moving away from the Freeport vs. Qeynos dynamic was probably a good move. Either way, after I finish Nektulos Forest, I'm making my way to Zek. I don't actually know if I ever did Zek. I've always did the Enchanted Lands with any character that made it high enough. I'm pretty happy I get to see some new content this early in my playthrough.
As I'm writing this, word has come over the chat that Daybreak has created studio names for the developers of it's franchises. I think this was already known since leaks of their various trademarks happened months ago. I don't know what this means for the future of the EverQuest franchise. I hope it's not Daybreak imminently being chopped up and sold for parts. It seems both EQ and DC Universe Online have found themselves stable footing finally and I'd hate for that to get disrupted. Planetside is probably in trouble after the failure of its Battle Royale split off, which was almost certainly a Hail Mary play that I think most people knew would fail.
Mostly this just means I'll have to train myself yet another name to call the developers of EQ2. I was just finally breaking the habit of calling them SOE all the time. And now I'll be editing out 'Daybreak' for 'Darkpaw' in all my posts. At least I'm not still calling them Verant.