Washington got hit with yet another pair of blizzards over the last week (it's officially the worst winter ever in DC), so it's time to dust off my silly pun about a blizzard encouraging an EQ2 marathon once again.
Based on my limited experience in the expansion beta, I concluded that I was not going to need all of the existing content I had yet to complete to supplement the solo content of Odus en route to 90. As a result, I decided to finish off Jarsath at level 80 for the alternate advancement experience. The beta pre-made characters started off at 150 AA, and I was able to reach 140 through my various meanderings, so it was probably a good thing that I took the time to catch up a bit.
The main solo goal of the zone is to complete lengthy quest chains for three separate factions. Capping out that many reputation bars sounds intimidating, but all of the reputations hit their maximum just from completing all of the solo quests. The reward is a hammer that teleports you to the zone when you use it as a weapon. Why is this teleport in the form of a hammer in general, and/or an equippable weapon in particular? Perhaps some developer finds it amusing if someone forgets to unequip the thing and accidentally uses it to teleport out of a dungeon, I dunno.
I also visited an older dungeon called Unrest - apparently a remake of an EQ1 zone - with some guildies. The place was well crafted and pretty rewarding (I got an entire AA's worth of experience from the named kills), but it also had a moderately high amount of trash and a bunch of puzzles that I can't imagine would still be novel if you were running the place repeatedly. Given that class set helms and chest pieces drop off of the bosses, I'm guessing that running it repeatedly is exactly what players did back when the level cap was 70. Ah well, to each their own, I suppose.
When I wasn't killing stuff for AA, I took a bit of time to reorganize my UI and hotbars. I'm going to get a few new abilities, and I really needed to move and re-size some hotbars in order to make that work without eating up my entire screen. (I currently have a total of 17 buffs on my buff-happy Dirge, and I'm going to get a few more in the expansion and/or as I gain AA's.) It's amazing how many settings there are that I would have loved to have known about, but didn't set when I started playing because I was too new to know what they were for.
My last real goal for the pre-expansion rush is to learn the language of the dragons (which is needed for the new Mythical buff quest) and generally clear out space in my quest log for new and exciting areas I have yet to visit. As part of this quest, I had to go into the evil-aligned city of Freeport anyway, so I decided to complete the evil side of the expansion launch world event. What would a good-aligned Fae like Lyriana want with the title "Champion of (the Evil Overlord) D'Lere"? Given that I do technically play on an RP server, this seemed like a bit of a stretch. But what if Lyriana had an undercover disguise as an evil Dark Elf?
It's the little places like this where EQ2 gets me to actually think about my character and the storyline that really stick out in my memory in the long run.