Sunday, March 27, 2011

EQ2 Epic Complete

Always fun to get a personal grats from a dev, thanks Domino

Lyriana has been working on her epic weapon for over a year now.  I completed the fabled version in late January 2010 and started working on the quest to upgrade it after hitting the new level 90 cap in June.  Unfortunately, I ran into a wall that took a lengthy hiatus from the game and a server merger to overcome.   

Mythical History
The upgraded "Mythical" epic weapons, with sometimes class-altering abilities, have been in the game for over two expansions now, and they were causing a bit of a design problem.  Classes had been balanced assuming that they had the epic abilities, but the only way to earn the weapons was to complete Kunark-era raids from 2007-2008.  Once you had your weapon, you were never willing to use anything else, because it would mean losing your epic abilities.  Neither of these conditions was tenable.

In 2010's Sentinel's Fate expansion, SOE added a new quest that allowed players to drain the energy from their epic weapon, gaining the powers that the weapon previously held as a permanent buff to your character.  The good news is that this only required single group dungeon content from the new expansion.  The bad news is that this quest was now nigh mandatory, as you would always be behind the curve no matter what weapons you obtained in the future if you did not have your epic buff.  

Looking For Server
I'm in a small guild called The Halasian Empire from the Lucan D'Lere server, so it wasn't possible to just strong-arm guildies into taking me through the content.  Meanwhile, LDL was desperately in need of a server merge due to low populations, but it did not receive one until this past February because it was an RP server, and there was no RP server with room for additional players.  This made it nigh impossible to find a group for the epic questline.  The big dungeon I needed was a zone called Cella, and I once spent an entire evening asking for it in the LFG channel on a day when it was the daily dungeon quest, without success.  This had gotten too frustrating, so I finally gave up.

LDL finally got its server merge into a regular PVE server called Crushbone earlier this year.  The improvement is dramatic.  It still took about three days to find a group to run Cella (which is now previous-expansion content, and was even less attractive this weekend with the EQ1 anniversary event running), but I was finally able to get a PUG to complete the dungeon last night.  Two of the players in the group even accompanied me into a non-instanced dungeon area known as The Hole to kill the last few relatively weak (but not quite soloable) mobs I needed, and I was able to claim my epic prize. 


Epic Group Finder
As Rohan said in his Rift-wrapup, it's hard to overstate the impact of not having a dungeon group finder.  I actually enjoy single group content when I can actually get a group.  The thing that I don't enjoy is having an entire night feel like a waste because I spent the whole time plaintively looking for a group and failing to find one.

There were a lot of problems with WoW's Wrath era heroics (most significantly that Blizzard intentionally packed them with overgeared raiders), but a 15 minute queue time plus a 30 minute dungeon run meant that I could actually do group content whenever I wanted to.  Last night's session ended up taking over four hours and running to about 1 AM - fortunately, I was able to find a group on a Saturday, because I'm not young enough to pull those kinds of hours off on a work night anymore.

Overall, I enjoyed the actual content, and I look forward to taking Lyriana's new toy for a spin over the next few weeks.  That said, it's somewhat problematic that the logistics kept me from finishing for so long.  In an era where group players are increasingly feeling that they're being pushed to the side in favor of solo play, studios need to do a better job of helping people who actually WANT to make the jump from solo to group content do so.

Blades, blades everywhere!


Ferrel said...

Congratulations on completing the quests!

jimr9999us said...

Congrats on a great accomplishment!

Me said...

Congrats! But I thought mentoring was supposed to take care of lowbies grouping needs (or that the developers thought it would).

I haven't played EQ2 since Nov and have a few toons on LDL, but never joined a guild. I actually enjoyed the game, but just couldn't see dedicating the time to it. So my toons are automatically on the "new" server then?

Green Armadillo said...

@Me: Correct, your characters are now on Crushbone server. The good news is they all get a title "of Lucan D'Lere". The bad news is that you might need to rename a character if there was a conflicting character on Crushbone.

Mentoring affects whether you get exp (and AAXP in particular) for content, and there are occasionally times when someone might be more interested in doing old content if they can mentor down for the AA. In the case of the epic, the challenge is that the content is still new enough that you can't just get one or two friends to carry you through with their max level characters.

Pid said...

Congrats! It is sad that our little guild couldn't just power you through. I really like the laid back nature of it, but it would be nice to have some of the perks of a uber guild once in a while. In the meantime the rest of us lowbies can /envy your new gear!