Tuesday, May 24, 2011

EQ2 Pre-Raid Progression In Practice

One of the big complaints about EQ2 today is that the current cap - level 90 - is not really the end of pre-raid progression.  I must be in a weird demographic, because I'm perfectly happy with the way things are running right now. 

Beyond Levels
Key, class-defining abilities are handed out through the game's alternate advancement system, and it is very easy to hit the game's level cap with a substandard AA count, especially if you didn't spend time farming AA's at some previous level cap in expansions past.  I hit level 90 last summer with 173 AA out of 250, a cap that rose to 300 in the new expansion.  Raiding guilds are currently asking for players to have 277, as required for access to the top ability in the "Heroic" AA tab added in the expansion. 

(Only this last ability is a real choice - the rest of the 50 point tree are small passive state increases.)

On top of this, there is gear progression.  In the new model, critical hit chance is a contested stat that is mitigated by a boss mob's resistances, which means that values greater than 100% are once again in high demand.  I have been told that I did not meet the gear check bar for an instance group because my crit percentage is too low, but all of the "upgrades" I have seen include Critical Hit Bonus (which magnifies the size of the Crit, once you have guaranteed it) which does nothing to help me meet the bar for higher instances.  These upgrades are sitting in my bank as a result in favor of objectively worse gear that contains the crit chance I still need. 

That said, where am I in progression right now?  I have currently run six of the nine single group instances in the current expansion.  I did Pools, Shadowed Corridors and Ascent three times each (one of the Ascent runs broke up on the final boss due to bugs), but I have only completed the other three dungeons (Umbral Halls, Haunt, and Spire) once each.  I have yet to max out any factions, half of the quests in Eastern Wastes (and a few in the dungeons I have cleared once) are still incomplete, and I have yet to complete a single piece of Shard reward token gear (though I'm definitely excited that one of the pieces will remove the concentration requirement from one of my buffs, a previously raid-only perk). 

I'm now sitting at 225 AA's and gaining about one per dungeon run (more with bonus exp).  Now 40-50 dungeon runs does sound like a bunch, but I also gain AA for any number of other things I'm working on, and I'm maybe 1-2 gear upgrades (if I find any that have crit chance instead of crit bonus) from qualifying for the final three instances, which I have yet to see.  A new patch slated to hit in the next few weeks will then add three more. 

The bottom line is that it's my own fault for focusing on the easy stuff if I run any content into the ground before I hit the bar that qualifies a new character for raiding.  I don't really care about that mark because I'm not looking to raid.  The group that is not happy right now are the folks who would like to skip over the single group dungeons to join their friends in raids (an issue we're also seeing in Rift). 

There are real problems - including itemization woes and instance-killing bugs - in EQ2's single group game.  That said, as a player who enjoys running moderately challenging single group PUG's, I am literally picking EQ2's instance game over both WoW's (my mage has only cleared a single heroic) and Rift (where I left my Cleric at level 35).  Either I'm doing something wrong or they are doing something right, but I'm having fun either way. 


  1. What is the "single group" game? Is this soloing group content?

  2. It must be grouping solo content, no one does group content under level 90, maybe you can get the group parts done for your epic, if you have a good guild, maybe.

  3. I'm talking about the level 90 content for a single group of six players (default size in EQ2), which I am pugging at the correct level with the appropriate number of players. EQ2's raids are then called x2 or x4 to indicate the respective number of groups allowed in the raid.

    It might be more correct to call this content "heroic" - I think that's what the game calls it - but I was concerned that this would be confusing because WoW uses that term to mean something else.

    And yes, I had the advantage of having done the level 80 portion of the epic line back when that was the level cap. It's not too hard to get a PUG for the level 90 stages, but I've never seen anyone looking for the level 80 stuff. Most classes can probably 2-3 man that content at level 90, but you're likely going to need friends because strangers aren't going to get much benefit out of the project.

  4. Yes and EQ2s biggest problem at the moment is as Smokejumper says, the game works at 90 but unfortunately it does not work on other levels, not as an MMO at least.

  5. I switched mains at the start of DoV and soloed the Troubador Epic up to Epic Repercussions with mostly PQ and instance gear. Had to get a group to finish Epic Repercussions.

    Currently, a lot of part time raiding guilds on Oasis are looking for recruits. I think some of them are willing to reduce or skip the AA requirement just to get enough people to fill a raid.

  6. I can't really imagine taking a character all the way to 90 in EQ II. It's a solid game with a lot to like. But it always starts to drag for me at some point during the mid levels.


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