EQII beastlord
EverQuest II's most recent update brought two new additions: the dungeon finder and the prelude event for the new Beastlord class that will arrive with the release of Age of Discovery. I was going to look at the dungeon finder this week, but it's had its share of problems, and with the team still working on tweaks to make it more useful, I figured I'd table it until some of the changes get patched.

That means this week's Tattered Notebook is focused on the Beastlord. Closed beta is beginning, and while it's hard to believe, the expansion is due to launch in late November. There's no doubt that many of us will be rolling up Beastlords, so this is a perfect time to start making preparations in advance of launch day. Read on for a look at some tips to make your first few days as a Beastlord fun and enjoyable.

Prelude quest

There are signs of something unusual happening in Norrath, and through a series of quests, you will discover that Beastlords are coming back. The prelude event has two parts, and it's available for both good and evil races. As you progress through the event and speak to the Harbingers, you begin to learn that Norrath is on the verge of the Third Great Awakening, a window of time when the Truespirit bond with mortals, resulting in the re-emergence of Beastlords. After completing a series of trials, you receive your own Codex of the Khati Sha, which outlines some of the qualities of the Beastlord and perhaps gives a hint about what types of warders will be available. If the list in the Codex mirrors the warder choices, then it looks like players have the opportunity to have wolves, chokidai, bears, crocodiles, and tigers as pets.

There's also some great lore within both the prelude event and on the site, and it's probably worth taking the time to brush up on your Beastlord knowledge. Or, if you prefer the crib notes, EQII designer Paul "Cronyn" Molina supplied this handy comic.

EQII beastlord comic Cronyn
Arm thyself!

From what we learned at Fan Faire, Beastlords will be scout classes that use leather armor and brawler weapons. That means an inevitable scramble for appropriate gear on launch day as armies of new Beastlords scramble to scoop up all relevant armor and gear from the broker. Why wait for launch day? In the following weeks, you can quietly peruse the broker or track down your friendly crafters to make you some mastercrafted gear. And you might even want to stock up on higher-tier armor, since the early levels can sometimes fly by quickly.

You might also consider stocking up on useful consumables. Some players prefer to load up on Marketplace experience potions, while others choose to stick with just the broker clickies, such as totems or player-crafted potions. And don't forget bags and boxes!

Where to level?

From the sounds of it, the Freeport revamp will provide lots of fun and fresh content to play through as we all level up our Beastlords. But beyond that, if you're coming back to EQII from a break, you might be rusty on where to go at what level. EQ2i has a terrific timeline of solo areas and level-appropriate instances, and it's worth a look as you prepare to create your new character.

A crafting we will go

Starting a fresh character also means starting fresh with crafting. If you're looking for tradeskills that complement your class, some possible choices include Tailor (for leather armor), Jeweler (for scout class spell upgrades), Weaponsmith, or Provisioner. And on top of that, there are the secondary skills to consider, like tinkering and adorning. Whatever you choose, you might want to stock up on harvestables and breakable items now so that you have everything on hand to get started right away. Chances are, lower-level crafting supply prices might temporarily go up as the initial demand increases at launch day. So stocking up now might save you a pretty penny later.

Combat: It's all about timing

One thing I love about scout classes in EQII is the pace of combat. In order to get the most from your scout in combat, you need to time your spells and combat abilities with your autoattacks, and the time between autoattacks is based on your weapon's delay. If you queue up a bunch of abilities, you'll miss those effective combat hits in between. In addition, when you get the hang of it, there's a rhythm to melee combat that's actually enjoyable. If Beastlords have a similar scout mechanic, you'll want to brush up on timing abilities with autoattacks and perhaps even consider an autoattack addon like the one at Advanced Combat Tracker, which provides a sound when an autoattack lands. It's not just a min/max thing; it's more like a combat metronome, helping you keep up with the pace and rhythm of combat.

Mounts

You'll be running a lot as you level up, so you'll want to get yourself a mount as soon as you can. We recently looked at some fun options, but whether you get one in-game or through the Marketplace, acquiring one should be a top priority.

EQ Shar Val
In a few short weeks, Norrath will once again be inundated with Beastlords. What was once "the class that shall not be spoken of" soon might be the most popular class in the game. Now is a great time to brush up on lore and get your supplies so that you can jump right in and enjoy the game when Age of Discovery launches. You might even want to go to EverQuest and pay a visit to Shar Val, home of the Vah Shir (pictured above), or the Plane of Knowledge, where you're bound to cross paths with veteran Beastlords. But whatever you do, please do not choose the name Bstlrd for your new character. Khati Sha thanks you.

From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.