One of those moments

One of the things that I really enjoy about MMOs in general is their overall complexity. The games themselves are so large, so involved, and so varied, that the details and intricacies of each separate game are a bit like a fingerprint as to the identity of the game itself. This complex system of rules and laws can seem quick to decipher at first, but even veteran players can find themselves finding out something new on occasion. When the light of discovery shines on the realization, my response ranges from joy and elation to shame and embarrassment. A tangled web of emotional processes that helps feed my continual appreciation for the genre. Last evening, I was thrust in to just such a situation while playing Everquest 2.

Since I picked up my dirge on my return to the game, I have really wanted to get his crafting level up close to his adventuring level. For those unaware – EQ2 has probably the best crafting system of any themepark MMO out there currently. It’s a fully fleshed out, deep and broad part of the game that’s difficult to find a parallel to in other games out there. In any matter, my desire to maintain the proximity of equivalence between the two is something I had never been able to maintain in any previous endeavor with the game. Killing things has always just been much more fun – but I was resolved this time around.

To that end, almost all of last weekend, I had cranked my experience distribution to go 95% towards my AA and 5% towards my actual adventuring level. This is part of how I was able to skyrocket from 32 AA to 78 AA in a week – which is in and of itself a very useful result, so my distribution is not wasted in the slightest. What I did over the weekend of play, and since, is travel between the zones intended for the 40-50 level ranges, harvesting everything in site, and doing as many quests and timelines as I could. After I felt I needed a break from mindless quest/kill grind, I would go back and grind out recipes to level.

Anyone who actively plays EQ2 is shaking their head in perplexed wonder at this point. The thing that I was not aware of, and that I just found out about last night, is that there are quests in tradeskill halls called “work orders”. These quests don’t give adventure experience like I had initially thought – they reward tradeskill experience – and a LOT of it. To give you  numbers for concrete comparisons: if completing a recipe of like level gave me 150 experience, that would be about 1% of a level. Finishing a “rush order” – a timed set of items I needed to craft – I would get in return about 4000 experience, about 20% of a level. That would be in addition to the experience for crafting the individual items themselves. As you can expect, these put afterburners on my tradeskill leveling. It also left me thrilled that I no longer would have to slave away hunting thousands of mats for crafting, and spend painful hours reproducing the same product ad nauseam. Of course, there is the embarrassment and shame I felt toward myself for being so foolish as to have missed this integral part of the game for so long. This small revelation has completely shifted my entire outlook on a portion of the game – what was formerly a painful and time-consuming chore has turned into an enjoyable side-experience.

It’s hard to remember at times, but no matter how much we may learn about any one game, there is almost always more to discover and find out – and some of it is probably even obvious.

That ol’ Norrathian bug

It bit me again. I played the free progression server weekend, which lead me to remembering my fond memories of EQ2 again, and the even more-so nostalgic days of EQ. This week saw me resubbing back to BOTH games for at least the next month. I’m going to hold off on buying the new expansions for either of them until I see if I want to stick with EQ2 for longer than a month, and until the progression server actually catches up to the newest release. That said, I officially knew I had been infected by the Norrathian flu in a bad way last night. The symptoms were strong and unavoidable, and the side-effects are being felt by me at this very moment.

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Remembering the Founders

It’s President’s Day today, and you likely have the day off. I, however, do not. That said, the timing coincides well with a topic that’s been on my mind since the end of last week. If you’re unaware, last week saw the opening of the Original Everquest’s “progression server” which is a new server, fresh and sparkly, with no expansions created. It is the “base” game. We also saw the start of the last of Rift’s open beta event. We had the old big daddy, the spiritual founder (okay – popularizer, but let’s not split hairs) of the MMO nation going old-school on us, and we have the new up-and comer making its self known to the world. Rift opened its doors for all to see their home, and all the slick, polished things he it can do. I had bronchitis which forced me to stay home Friday, and I happily spent my time playing Evercrack.

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