everquesting

EverQuesting is an EverQuest Next, EverQuest II, and Landmark column by MJ Guthrie. [Follow this column’s RSS feed]

EverQuesting: Five EverQuest II features you may have forgotten

Use it or lose it. I may have learned that little gem in relation to skills and talents, but it applies to the world of MMOs as well. And I am not just talking on a meta people-must-play-the-game-or-it-will-shut-down level; I’m referring to features you can totally forget exist in a game, especially a long-running one like EverQuest II.

Whether you haven’t logged into game for a long while or you’ve been playing regularly for years, there are certain features that get lost by the wayside. Many folks either don’t know about them or just plain don’t remember. I know it has happened to me more than once! EQII is so feature-rich, it’s understandable that a few can slip our minds. That’s exactly what happened with researching spell upgrades. Yet these features can really enrich our experience. So here’s a reminder of five fun features you may have forgotten (or perhaps never knew existed!).

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EverQuesting: Researching for your free EverQuest II skill upgrades

Who doesn’t like free? Because I certainly do! And today is all about getting stuff for free in EverQuest II. Sadly, I don’t mean from the cash shop (although that would be cool). I am talking about skill upgrades and recipes that you don’t have to loot, barter for, or buy. No in-game coin or real life cash is involved in acquiring these.

Did you know you could upgrade skills for free? Not everyone does. I even have friends who didn’t know this feature existed for the longest time. And it doesn’t matter that I have played EQII for over decade — this tidbit continues to slip my mind as well! How do you get these skill upgrades? By researching them. Don’t worry, it’s actually the easiest thing ever: no actual study is involved. All you need is time, be it online or off, and a couple mouse clicks and you have stronger, better skills. Well, you need the memory to actually do it, of course.

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EverQuesting: Let’s lay the Landmark hate to rest

May I respectfully make a request to my fellow gamers? Let’s lay off the hate. It’s time to for us to throw down that torch (extinguished, of course!) and and stop trying to burn down the gaming industry. Let’s stop trying to tear things down before they actually crumble and we lose it all.

I could very easily be talking about just any game, but today I am focused on Landmark. The formally-known-as-voxels sandbox had had a fair share of hate heaped upon it, sometimes deservedly so, sometimes not. But it has continued, and in cases this hate is to an extreme that is not only unnecessary but damaging — to the industry, the community, and even the haters themselves.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t hold studios and developers accountable. I am not saying we shouldn’t express disappointment. What I am saying is there reaches a point when we need to move on, to focus instead on how the studio is making strides to improve Landmark. Sure, there may still be missteps, but the game is going in a positive direction. And that is a good thing! So let’s hear more about that.

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EverQuesting: An EverQuest II Heritage Quest guide

Now that you know the tips and tricks for running EverQuest II Heritage Quests in an efficient manner, it’s just a matter of choosing which ones to actually run! Do you want to complete them all in order, or do you just want to pick and choose depending on the reward? Maybe you just want to see if there is one for the zone you are currently in. Regardless of how you want to go about it, you still have to know where the HQs are before you can start them. And the best way to do that is with a snazzy guide! Oh sure, you could just wander Norrath and try to find them all, but with so many quests scattered about the landscape, you are sure to miss a few. Besides, this method doesn’t quite fit in with the whole “efficient” angle. So here’s a list to make acquiring — and working on — the Heritage Quests a smoother endeavor.

Like the previous leveling and dungeon guides, this one won’t be broken down and listed simply by level. Instead, certain quests that share steps will be grouped together in order to increase your efficiency. Trust me, unless you really love Nektropos Castle (and most folks don’t), you’ll want to know all of the HQs that need you to enter so you aren’t going back again and again and again. And again!

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EverChaosing: Adapting Pokemon Go for The Secret World and EverQuest II

So there’s this thing right now. It’s kind of a craze. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Pokemon Go? Yeah, I thought so. The thing is, I myself am not even slightly tempted. As much as folks are flocking to this game, I don’t even have an iota of interest. I did watch the cartoons when I was younger, but the game doesn’t grab me.

But the idea of this kind of gameplay technology does.

When the Pokemon Go discussion turned to using this game style for other things, my interest was piqued and my imagination took off! You might say that Pokemon Go is singularly popular because of the IP and the way it transitions so well into the real world. Well, I know (and love) another game that is seamlessly integrated into the real world: The Secret World! The thought of hunting down investigation missions or lore from TSW got me pretty excited. And what about EverQuest II? Take its collection of shinies and strew them around the world, and suddenly I’m poised to buy a new smartphone. I may not want to hunt and capture pokemon, but hunt shinies and lore? I may never be indoors enough to even play other games!

Both ideas were simultaneously so awesome, I couldn’t decide which one I’d focus on first — hence this week’s mash-up of both the EverQuesting and Chaos Theory columns.

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EverQuesting: A guide to running EverQuest II Heritage Quests efficiently

Have you experienced EverQuest II’s Heritage Quests? If not, then you haven’t truly experienced EQII! While basically all MMORPGs have level grinds and dungeons, and many have housing and crafting, few can boast a system like HQs. These special story-driven quest lines are epic endeavors, meant to send players on a grand adventure (usually all over the map) in order to earn an impressive treasure — treasure that, along with the story, many times pays homage to the game’s elder sibling, EverQuest.

HQs are no wham, bam, thank you ma’am quicky quests, either. They aren’t light questing fare that can be whipped out in a 10-minute gaming session. HQs usually involve quite a chunk of time as well as a few friends to complete; thanks to the dungeons and even epic encounters, adventurers who are completing Heritage Quests at their intended level will often need others to join them on these jaunts throughout Norrath.

There are however, some tricks to increasing your efficiency and maximizing your effort. If you’ve been following OPTV’s EverQuest Two-sday adventures, you’ve learned a few of these tips already by watching the crew work through many HQs. This guide gathers all those hints together to share them with you so you can be prepared to tackle these worthwhile quest lines (a complete listing of which will come next week!).

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EverQuesting: Landmark is offering new races – for a price

I knew that new races would eventually come to Landmark! From the beginning it didn’t make any sense to me that Daybreak would ignore something the community really wanted, especially when it obviously had the models already made. The studio showed them off quite publicly. Later, with the (total suckage) cancellation of EverQuest Next, I couldn’t fathom letting those assets go to complete waste. Surely they would come, perhaps at launch.

Alas, races did not accompany launch. However, with the addition of the Crimson Parlor, an in-game customization station, and the various NPC races, I knew it was only time. I was sure that Landmark would indeed add other playable races. And I was right! It’s a glorious day, right?

Uh, well… What I had hoped wouldn’t happen in all this, unfortunately did: Access to these new racial looks is gated behind the cash shop. So you can have some new races, but only for a price. For now. And I am hanging my hope on that last little tidbit because Daybreak really needs to do something to engender goodwill – and soon.
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EverQuesting: First impressions of Landmark’s launch

So it finally happened. Really and for truly! Landmark launched into the realm of released games. I can officially remove the alpha/beta tag off this column. But other than that, what does launch mean? How did it go?

Other than the game being offline for a couple days, it felt very business as usual. There weren’t any major crashes or load queues that I personally experienced (granted I also didn’t try to play the days that there were network issues that prevented logging in on multiple Daybreak games), but there also weren’t really any mega wow-factor features. Except for having to experience character creation — and all those subsequent a Luminary was made messages each time someone else did so — I might have not been able to really distinguish launch from any other day.

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EverQuesting: Preparing for Landmark’s launch

Admit it: At least at some point, every single one of you had doubts that Landmark would actually ever launch. Hey, it’s understandable. I have been there, too. After such an extremely long alpha phase and a lengthy closed beta phase (but no open beta!), doubts were natural — even expected. Then there was the SOE turns into Daybreak thing. And then the loss of so many talented developers. After all that, we were greeted with radio silence. After all this, even the most hopeful and dedicated of supporters had moments of uncertainty. Who could blame them?

But launch is now real! The voxel world (yes, I still say voxels) is actually going live. On June 10th, Landmark ditches all the early access and beta monikers to become just plain old Landmark.

Since you may have thought this day would never come, you may not be ready for it. (We are not going into whether or not the game is actually ready right now). Even if you think you are more than ready for this to finally be a real live game and are wishing the launch day were here right now instead of next week, there may be some little housekeeping things you have overlooked — some prep work that you want to accomplish before the beta servers go down for good on June 7th. That’s where we come in. To find out all you need to know for this occasion, you can check the official forums, but where’s the fun in that? To help you get all set for the big day, we’ve got a run down of things you may want to check on to make sure it all goes as smoothly as possible for you. Here are the highlights you need to know about Landmark’s launch — and probably a few things you didn’t!

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EverQuesting: The absurd number of things to do in EverQuest II, part II

Have you finished up everything there was to do in EverQuest II from last week’s list? Neither have I. That first half alone is enough to fill your calendar for an extremely long time. Even so, making fully informed decisions is important when it comes to your play time. That’s why you need all the info! EQII has a plethora of things to do outside the standard MMO fare we discussed before, and some of these off-the-beaten-path activities are actually my favorites!

In that light, here’s the second half of the I’ve-logged-in-now-what-do-I-do list to help you stave off the feeling of running around, flailing wildly like a boss with its head cut off! Use this to avoid the dreaded decisional paralysis that accompanies diving into a game as rich in features and activities as EQII by homing in on just one topic or two to occupy your time before you actually start. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with sampling a little bit of everything, either. So go forth and enjoy what Norrath has to offer!

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EverQuesting: The absurd number of things to do in EverQuest II

If ever there was a game that gives me decisional paralysis, it’s EverQuest II. While it may technically be very much a themepark, there is no denying that EQII has plenty of things to do; so many things, in fact, that my mind spins trying to narrow down my choices whenever I log in. With so many variations of classes and races, and the opportunity to have a large number of alts, some days I just stare at my character select screen, unable to even get past that!

As much as having so much to do in EverQuest II is a strength, I have heard new and even returning players express exasperation and give up at the sheer volume of it all. Trust me, I understand. Beyond the standard fare people think of when envisioning an MMO — questing, raiding, crafting — there’s a plethora of other activities. There’s content (after all these years of expansions and updates, boy is there content!) as well as systems for players to create more content. Housing, collections, and festivals galore can eat up astronomical amounts of time as well. Many times these various activities are intertwined, and doing one will benefit another. I’ve gone on raids just to get a housing item, and crafted my gear to help my adventuring.

The trick may be to pick one aspect and focus on that even before you log in. So here’s the first half (yes, there is that much!) summary of some of the things that are available. We’ll focus today on that standard MMO fare.

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EverQuesting: The gaffe of gating EverQuest II’s content behind a sub

With last week’s release of GU100 in EverQuest II, an interesting conversation reared its head again — a not necessarily flattering one for Daybreak. While I am as excited as the next person for new content, I have reservations about this delivery this time around. That’s because this recent game update’s content is gated behind a subscription wall, which leads me to ask: Are non-subscribing players second-class citizens? Specifically, are those who choose not to buy into membership considered inherently substandard in the eyes of developers, regardless of how much money they put into the game?

I’ve made pitches more than once for people to pony up and pay for games they like. Nothing says that has to come in the form of a subscription, though. Game models today provide various ways to pay and play, so I wonder why devs figuratively spit in the face of those who want to give them money in one of those other ways. Is sub money somehow superior to non-sub money? While I personally have kept my All-Access going basically from the beginning, why is a friend who prefers to use the offered a la carte method not worthy of obtaining the same content? I’m not talking about folks who are fully free-to-play and never invest a single dime into the game; I referring to players who opt out of subs but still fork over up to hundreds of dollars between the Marketplace and expansions (versus my measly $15 a month). Why is there content these folks can’t purchase, even if they want to? This really does not make sense to me.

I’ve come to think that how the goodies of GU100 were made available was wrong, and it worries me about content distribution going forward. Slighting paying customers is sure to drive away business. How much, I can’t say, but I have friends who refuse to spend in games they actually planned to when learning no matter how much they spend, it will never be “enough” to access content. Special perks for subscribers is all well and good, but content should be accessible to anyone willing to pay for it, whatever their method of doing so.

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EverQuesting: Daybreak is on the right side of the MMORPG legacy server debate

WoW is stupid. Yes, I said it. World of Warcraft is dumb. More accurately, I should say Blizzard is stupid. The reason? Its stance on legacy servers. This month, the studio through legal pressure effectively shut down an unauthorized, player-run WoW emulator, Nostalrius — a place where fans were getting their fix of vanilla WoW goodness. I can understand not wanting others to profit off your work, but we’re talking about ignoring a fan base that desperately wants your product! Why not get in on the action?

As much hate as people want to hate on Daybreak (and far be it from me to say some of that isn’t rightly deserved), the studio got one thing right: It respects players’ desire to play older versions of its games. Both EverQuest and EverQuest II have official progression servers, and Daybreak has even signed a supportive agreement with the fan-run EQ emulator Project 1999. Even Daybreak’s former President John Smedley threw his support behind emulators. So why don’t more companies give this notion a go?

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