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The Tattered Notebook: Decisional paralysis in EverQuest II

Jef Reahard

So the last time we talked EverQuest II, I confessed that coming back to the game felt a lot like coming home. That's still true, in more ways than I first realized. I don't know about you, but when I return after a lengthy absence I have an overwhelming urge to get things done. As I look around the place and figure out what's changed, what needs fixing, and what seems like fun, I tend to get overwhelmed, too, because there's just a lot of stuff that needs doing.

That's exactly what happened to me in Norrath over the past two weeks. I logged in with my 92 Sage and my 92 Shadowknight, surveyed their vast array of abilities and possibilities, and promptly threw up my hands.

EverQuest II - Shadowknight
I also got the duo up to 95 (EQII's current max level), and I dinged 320 alternate advancement points on the SK. So, aside from getting him some raid gear and finishing up his crafting levels at some point, he's basically done. The Sage is a much older character (he started out a Wizard, and he's hovering somewhat permanently around level 50 because his entire reason for being was to craft EQII's bodacious player-authored books).

With the SK, I'm actually a bit embarrassed to try and play him around other people. He hasn't finished his epic weapon line (and the quests he needs to do are basically raids from older expansions that no one bothers with anymore), his gear is a mish-mash of level 90 crafted stuff and a couple of halfway decent drops, and frankly I don't know all the ins and outs of how to properly play what is one of the most powerful classes in the game. Even picking out his last few AAs and prestige points was an exercise in humility as I perused both the official forums and EQFlames and ended up a bit intimidated by the endgame knowledge grind instead of Shadowknight-smart as I had intended.

EverQuest II - SarnakAnyway, enough of the boring this-is-my-virtual-life crap, right? What it boils down to is that after so much time away from these characters, I kinda want a fresh start. Now it's a matter of choices, and therein lies another rub.

EverQuest II has 25 classes. Twenty-five! It also has tradeskill paths that are deep enough to be considered classes in their own right, plus gear progression and bells and whistles for days. The game also boasts a ridiculous number of solo quest timelines and dungeons sprinkled liberally throughout the level range. The quests are particularly appealing to me at this point, because for one thing, it's called EverQuest II for a reason, amirite? SOE is fantastic when it comes to PvE content (provided you pause in your clicking long enough to read the well-written stories and dialog).

For another, despite the fact that I've played EQII in some form or fashion since 2005, I haven't experienced many of the title's more celebrated quest lines (most of my heritages remain unfinished, for example, and I've yet to complete any of the major arcs from the game's nine expansions). Not only that, but Freeport and Qeynos have been completely revamped, with new quest lines, etc. My characters all started in the late, great Queen's Colony or Isle of the Overlord zones. One of my old level-one name placeholders is still on the latter, in fact, and it's curious that SOE actually left the area in the game and playable (I logged in and checked it again this morning) despite making it off-limits to new characters during one of its zone revamping sprees.

See what I mean about choices? Taking one last character through that old-school Isle content is something else on my to-do list!

Anyhow, I've basically boiled down my EQII reboot to a couple of options. I'm going to start a new character, that much is clear. I might even start two. I'd really like to take one avatar on a leisurely journey from one to 95, though, using the solo quest timelines primarily and probably augmenting that with a few group dungeon runs here or there.

I'm thinking about starting a Teir'dal (that's a Dark Elf, if you're unfamiliar with EQII's lore) Bruiser in Timorous Deep, the volcanic island home of the Sarnak that was introduced in 2007's Rise of Kunark expansion. Gorowyn and its surrounding environs feature a load of content designed to get you to 20 or thereabouts, and from there I'd branch out to some of the zones I haven't seen yet (i.e., no more Thundering Steppes and Enchanted Lands).

If you're curious, the Bruiser is basically the evil version of a Monk, and it's got some pretty nice-looking boxer/martial artist animations and the ability to both tank and do respectable DPS depending on your spec.

EverQuest II - Teir'Dal in Timorous Deep
I'm also thinking about making another Ratonga caster (either an Illusionist or a Conjuror) and starting him on the Greater Feydark timeline. I've yet to play through most of the Kelethin content deployed in 2006's Echoes of Faydwer expansion, and I also might break from my usual evil/Teir'Dal schtick and make a good-aligned character with a home in the newly refurbished city of Qeynos.

Or, as I said, I may do both, heh. And suggestions are always welcome, of course.

At the end of the day, I guess I ended up using this column entry as therapy of sorts. I don't want to say that EQII is causing me stress, because hey, I'm glad to be back in a real MMORPG and also... first-world problems. But I have felt a little decisional paralysis this week, and spelling it out has been helpful. So, thanks in advance for being a great sounding board, and I will see you next week in two weeks. MJ's got next.

EverQuest II is so big that it takes two authors to make sense of it all! Join Jef Reahard and MJ Guthrie as they explore Norrathian nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running every Saturday, The Tattered Notebook is your resource for all things EQII and EQNext -- and catch MJ every 'EverQuest Two-sday' on Massively TV!

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