Thursday, August 9, 2012
The last time EQ2 raised its level cap, back in 2010's The Sentinel's Fate (TSF) expansion, SOE provided only two overland zones for an increase of ten levels - the previous ten-level increase had added four overland zones. This resulted in some absurd quest design, in which one hub awards nine quest completes for killing seven mobs just to hand out more quest exp. Even with this extreme measure, players were level 90 within hours of the expansion launch. The irony was that TSF had a variety of factions and repeatable quests solo players could have used to earn reputation. It would have been a far better expansion with a smaller cap increase (2-5) and a faction curve that allowed solo players to continue leveling as they worked on daily quests.
(Last year's Destiny of Velious expansion did not raise the cap, despite adding two overland zones, and, again, offered robust endgame daily quest options. This expansion too could have come with a few levels that continue into the daily quest grind.)
The game's current cap increase - two levels - came with a single overland zone. This should have been fine, except for a minor problem - an aggressive gear reset obsoleted every single piece of content that existed in the game prior to the current patch (other than an extreme hard-mode raid that was only marginally more rewarding than current, easier content). As a result, all the factions I failed to complete last expansion are no longer worthwhile. In their place is a single daily quest - once per day I can do a single dungeon (assisted by my mercenary) in exchange for a piece of random level 92 gear. There are some other repeatable quests in the new zone, but these are pretty much pointless, as there are no factions or items associated with them - effectively, you're just grinding exp.
There are some things I can do to speed the journey along. I have some veteran reward potions stashed away, I probably still earn non-zero amounts of exp from last expansions' content (even if I no longer need the rewards), and I can always betray and/or mentor down. (Or even group.) That said, it does seem unusually wasteful to cast aside so much content, with so little to take its place.