Everquest yet again?

EQ is like the horrible abusive drunk who finally went to AA, and has now cleaned himself up and is trying to do right by the family. They’ve finally (after how many years?) added some critical elements like an automap, spell descriptions, a transport network, and a lot of UI improvements. Much of the art still looks like the 1998 art that it is but it holds up rather well, considering. And with the 6 expansion packs there is a RIDICULOUS amount of content in the game, which is cool. They’ve made it a lot easier to get into the game as a newbie; plus the economies are so over inflated now on the old servers you can get a lot of good gear cheap; which makes the power curve of the game one almost friendly to casual players.

Thus, do I find myself playing EQ and enjoying it. I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the game – they do the treadmill leveling & looting thing better than any other game out there, but I’ve always been held back by the sheer user unfriendliness and lack of polish that it had. Well, it may have taken them forever to do it, but much to my surprise they have finally really started to shape it up.

Which is bizarre to me at some level, since they have EQ2 coming out, and I’d think they would want to migrate users. But despite the seemingly obvious classic marketing error of competing against yourself, they are trying to promote players playing EQ1 and EQ2 simultaneously – they have announced special bonus stuff you can only do (apparently) if you have a high level character in both games. It’s a Shoot the Moon strategy, but if anyone can do it in the MMORPG biz, it’s Everquest…

In any event, if anyone here wants to get back into EQ, or is still into EQ, the new LDON content (as mentioned before here) is pretty cool for having a specific adventure with your buddies. I’m on Errolisi Marr, look up “Xemmu” or post your usernames here…

They’re also “remaking” the original with a new graphics engine, which can be seen in the November issue of CGM (and yes, we’ve been made well aware that we mislabeled which region is shown).

I have such a soft spot for EQ, but I hate that feeling of having been in a coma for 50 years and awakening to an all new world. My beloved EC tunnel now deserted, business being done with some kind of static vendor system instead of just calling out your wares and trying to buy low/sell high–I just hope my comatose body wasn’t used the same way Uma’s was.

Yeah, their vendor system, while not as good as the one in SWG, is fairly functional. The ridiculous part of it is that you have to be logged in to have your wares available, so lots of people just leave themselves logged in 24/7. If you go to the new big traffic sites (Plane of Knowledge, Nexus, or the Bazaar itself) you can find the usual /auction traffic for people looking for more immediate deals. Not quite the same wild and wooly atmosphere as the old East Commons was, but theres a lot more stuff available and it’s a lot easier to sift through.

The biggest problem I have with the game is not having an uber character. I’ve got a level 29 druid and about 4-5 lower level characters. It is extremely hard to find a LDON group for my druid – hard enough to where I’ve given up trying. The game has become very unfriendly for low-level players. If you have to solo, it’s still a pain in the ass, and if you’re not level 50+ you’re probably going to be soloing more than you like. The downtime can still be pretty ridiculous if you’re soloing. I was surprised at how slowly my druid recovered mana after draining most of it.

I don’t think SOE is interested in migrating players to EQ2. They’re interested in getting you to sign up for the multi-game account.

That’s interesting about a new engine for EQ. The Luclin engine isn’t all that bad, really.

“Not quite the same wild and wooly atmosphere as the old East Commons was, but theres a lot more stuff available and it’s a lot easier to sift through.”

The wood-elf town in the trees(Kelthain or something?) was a busy spot for trading too since the bank wasn’t in a seperate zone.

I think I’ve come to the realization I’m more of a fan of the concept of these games in that I like being in a world with thousands of others at the same time, but I just can’t bring myself to commiting the time these things entail.

Well, I never played the original EQ, though I have played DAoC and AO. Part of why I haven’t tried EQ is because there are so many people who already know the world so well. I figured the game had probably become kind of mechanical. So I am looking forward to a sequel. It will give me a chance to jump into a fresh new game…I hope.

Disclaimer: I only play EQ in a real-life social environment, and therefore in a really casual manner. I have a life, I swear!

The biggest problem I have with the game is not having an uber character. I’ve got a level 29 druid and about 4-5 lower level characters. It is extremely hard to find a LDON group for my druid – hard enough to where I’ve given up trying. The game has become very unfriendly for low-level players. If you have to solo, it’s still a pain in the ass, and if you’re not level 50+ you’re probably going to be soloing more than you like. The downtime can still be pretty ridiculous if you’re soloing. I was surprised at how slowly my druid recovered mana after draining most of it

The reason that most people don’t look for LDoN groups at the 30ish level range is that there are a lot of great exp spots with preexisting rotating groups. Unless you have friends in your level range, or a guild to set things up, your low level character is going to have a hard time with LDoN until the 40+ area.

Try going to maras seru (group at the big rock that’s straight off the zone entrance). Dawnshroud peaks is also an option(most people group near the south, east, or west zone points in case of adds), as Tribals there hold acrylia bricks that sell for 50+ plat each. Highhold keep (in the basement area) can be ok, assuming the camps there aren’t full; you get ok exp and the moneysplit + fine steel weapons keep the money flowing.

Being a druid, of course, means that you can solo pretty effectively, and you may want to do so. Give dawnshroud or maras seru a shot in the solo department, they’re large outdoor zones.

Just try to keep in mind that LDoN is just one of the tools you have to march forward on the treadmill. With those areas above you can gain a level and a few hundred plat with each 2 hour session.

As far as the solo difficulty thing, you can alleviate that pretty easily. Go to the Plane of Knowledge and pay a cleric 12 plat for Temperance (+1200hp and 60ac or so), then donate a little more to an enchanter for clarity, then port down to the area you want to solo and downtime will be pretty nil for the following hour. But really, you don’t need to solo to do very very well in EQ at your level. I have a 31 ranger, having just bought Evolution a little while ago, and at the beginning I didn’t want to group at all…but eventually I realized that it’s pretty beneficial overall. Just find the right zones for your level and send an ooc “lfg” message, or run up to the standard spots and ask the group leader there.

Also keep in mind that at around level 30 equipment starts to affect performance. Save up some cash and get some wis/mana items, a decent weapon, etc.

The problem of finding a group can plague you at any level. Its one of the biggest problems with the game and LDON didnt help that. Especially if you arent an in-demand class, good luck getting a group in a decent amount of time.

What LDON did do, though, was to alleviate bottlenecks for hunting grounds. If you have a group, you have a place to hunt. Thats nice.

As for the EQ engine, I think its a piece of shit. I have a fairly beefy comp and I cant run the game at 1280x1024 with spell effects on at a raid. Even with spell effects off and clip plane at 50%, with 40 people around I get chop in most zones. Thats kind of ridiculous given the overall crappyness of the graphics.

olaf

Yeah, that’s a huge problem, and forms kind of a barrier to re-entry for me, as does the “everyone is now uber” aspect Mark raised.

I suspect that as the number of players who have tried an MMORPG and burned out on it rises it will get more and more difficult to launch new games. Everyone harps on how addictive EQ was/is, but in truth I found it built up my MMORPG immunity in a big way. Three years ago I wanted to try everything. These days I can’t be bothered – even SWG didn’t grab me. I do think I’ll play again, but retention is going to be an issue.