EverQuesting: Returning to EverQuest II’s Guk (for the first time)

In my last EverQuesting, I mentioned that I had not participated in much — if any — of EverQuest II’s The Shadow Odyssey content. I’ve since realized that TSO added dungeons all around Norrath, dungeons that I have delved and explored; I just haven’t touched anything related to the expansion’s zone, Moors of Ykesha. That includes all things Guk. And as luck would have it, Daybreak has focused its newest content update on just that! The just-released GU107 Return to Guk is meant to entice players back to The Shadow Odyssey content. So guess who is going to be checking this out?

Perhaps I am more excited to dive back into Guk because I have never experienced it before, but I am sure I am not the only player who hasn’t seen it. If, like me, you missed out previously, you might also be eager for your max-level characters to Return to Guk… for the very first time. Fair warning, however: Guk refers only to a set of dungeons. Dungeons you access from the Plane of Magic in the newest expansion, Planes of Prophecy. So if you’re hoping for a hook to return you to the Moors of Ykesha, you’ll be disappointed. As much as I am interested in revisiting older content, I think Daybreak missed quite an opportunity here.

Revisiting is rewarding

Especially in a game like EQII that has been running for so long and has so much content, I really like this idea of revisiting zones. Although some may call it lazy developing and shout for all-new environments only, I appreciate the effort to highlight previous content. There are so many great stories and experiences out there in Norrath, it is a shame to miss them! But miss them we do. There are just too many reasons why folks would have not seen content from years ago, or perhaps just forget it. After all, we are talking almost 14 years of stuff now.

Some players could have missed this particular expansion as I did and find ways to level that didn’t include it; with so many zone options, it is easy to out-level one and skip one, then subsequently forget it even exists. Maybe folks started the game with heroic characters, thereby missing everything below the newest expansions. Chronomentoring or making an alt is one way to go experience stuff, but what better way to entice them to go see it all than making high-level content involving it? It doesn’t have to be much. The Fabled Dungeons are definitely one way. I’ve loved how EQII has brought relevance back to the dungeons and their stories. But I believe a bit more could be done.

Missed opportunity

I am going to admit that I feel let down and a bit misled. Granted, there wasn’t really much in the way of hype about GU107, but the wording/presentation initially led me to think there was more to it than there was. It ended up being some ado about not much. When I first heard the Return to Guk title, I had the impression of returning to a place in game, to a people and their home. I knew Guk had to do with Frogloks, but that was about it. Since it involved The Shadow Odyssey, which I’d recently been wondering about what I had been missing from there, I became excited to do something relevant with Moors of Ykesha.

After reading through the sparse announcements, I traveled to the Moors after launch of GU107 and started searching out where Guk was and excitedly traveled to it by hot air balloon. (Amusingly I discovered I had actually been there previously when I accidentally dropped off on that exact drop point while trying to do recent live events and festivals.)

Upon arrival, however, all I found were entrances to various dungeons. One was hidden behind vines, which was pretty cool! I was a bit confused not really finding any level-appropriate new stuff. After finally watching the Facebook livestream it was confirmed: Guk only meant dungeons, and you didn’t even need to go to Moors to run them. So the zone was not something to revisit. Yeah, that deflated my enthusiasm.

I personally think that Daybreak missed an opportunity to really revisit the zone. Instead of including just one set of dungeons (and perhaps the least popular ones of the whole expansion), why not add in a new NPC and quest line or two that actually takes players to the zone itself? Give them reasons to explore! It doesn’t have to be major, but it would be an excuse for high levels to return. I was hoping for a relevant reason to explore the Moors of Ykesha, and maybe it would entice me to do the other content there that I had missed. I also want to learn more about the Froglocks. As it is, there isn’t a reason to return to the Moors, especially since most will likely enter the dungeons from the Plane of Magic.

After learning about all the different dungeons associated with TSO, I wondered, Why Guk? Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of experiencing these ones that I don’t know, but I think a number of other fun dungeons would be also nice to add to the Fabled mix. Lead Designer Kyle Vallee might have answered just that in the G107 Facebook livestream, saying it was his favorite set of dungeons. I can’t discount the thought that since it was not a favorite of players, it also make sense to highlight Guk as it will likely feel like new content to a higher percentage of players.

Going to Guk

That said, I am still interested in going to Guk even if it is just in dungeon form. Vallee, who implemented the dungeons originally, described his intentions for the original Guk dungeons in the Facebook livestream: “What I was shooting for with these was to try to make it feel like the Guk in EverQuest.” My interest piqued more when he noted how the areas are all about having secrets and hidden things like passageways. Sadly, we also learned that the ultimate idea was to link all the small dungeons together with hidden waterways and such into one super large contested dungeon, but that never happened. What a bummer.

While I will possibly visit the original dungeons first just to see them (and so I can discover any differences), I am looking forward to heading into Fabled Lower Corridors, Halls of the Fallen, Ykesha’s Outer Stronghold, and Zraxth’s Unseen Arcanum. There are some unique aspects to these Fabled versions not available in the originals. One, players can access the first, Lower Corridors, on normal mode. Once they complete that (meaning kill all of the bosses), they unlock both the expert version of that dungeon as well as the normal version of the next dungeon in the chain. After you complete the expert versions, you can move into frenzied. No, that doesn’t sound challenging at all! Once all four heroic dungeons on normal are unlocked, players can access the raid, Fabled Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold, which has only the single difficulty. (Note: Only one person with access is needed to bring the rest of the group through the dungeon or raid.) Other than for a better challenge, why would players delve into the progressively higher tiers of these heroic fabled dungeons? Why, for better loot, of course! The rewards improve as the challenge increases. (Note: The solo version of each does not have different difficulty tiers.) On top of that, all three versions have their own collection rewards. Devs also noted that the clickable housing item to keep for each dungeon is available in all of the Fabled ones.

Tradeskillers are likewise not left out of his update. There is also a tradeskill version of Halls of the Fallen. According to Vallee, this version takes about 15-20 minutes to complete. Like the solo versions of these fabled dungeons and the raid, the tradeskill version does not have multiple difficulty tiers.

If you want to catch a glimpse of these various dungeons (and who doesn’t want to see zombie and skeleton Frogloks?!) or maybe even join me in them, keep an eye out for OPTV streams, as we’ll be bringing you some EverQuest Two-sday adventures featuring Guk, starting August 7th, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

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