It happens that I have been able to play a good deal more this week than I’d thought, thanks to the details of the move and transfer of internet service. The biggest part of the work is scheduled for tomorrow, and I need to paint in the new place tonight, so I foresee that I will not get any playing time until Saturday night at the earliest, although I may post something here tomorrow during the day. It appears that I will be back in the full swing of things by Monday night at the latest. What I have been able to play this week has been almost entirely in EverQuest II.
A few months ago I posted to a message board I frequent, explaining that I was disgruntled with Vanguard (due to frequent crashes,) but had another week or so on my StationPass, and that I’d tried EQ2 already and hadn’t really liked it. I asked folks to give me reasons to try it again before my subscription expired. They did, and I did, and around the time I got a character out of Queen’s Colony and into the Qeynos suburbs, the game started to sing for me. I’ve been subscribed ever since, and while I took a couple of weeks off to play some pretty hardcore Vanguard during the long holiday break, I’ve been playing regularly – and quite a lot this week.
The thread I started is still going strong over two months later and now boasts many hundreds of posts of detailed discussion about questions both basic and arcane. It’s been responsible for about half a dozen new people from that forum trying, and then subscribing to, EQ2, and they’re fired up enough that they formed a dedicated guild that’s now up to fifteen members (not characters – accounts.) I was asked to be the second-in-command. The wonderful thing is that virtually all of the members are in the same basic level range – the teens and twenties – and getting groups together has been wonderfully easy.
On the guild’s second night of existence, I suggested that we might want to look into doing Heritage Quests, and a group was formed on the spot, including myself, and we went off to Greater Faydark to run the Dwarven Ringmail quest. This was great fun, and reminded me of how wonderful the experience of questing in a group with like minds and a goal is. We’d been killing trash mobs for an hour or so in a very disorganized rabble when we unfortunately pulled a 20+3 Heroic Orc in Crushbone Keep along with his three goons, and everything just came together almost perfectly (aside from the accidental pull itself.) Despite very little experience playing in a group in EQ2 and none whatsoever with the game’s pretty broad selection of aggro management tools, I managed to tank successfully and hold the big guy’s attention and the friendly neighborhood Inquisitor managed to keep me non-dead while the rest of the guys DPSed the goons, and then the big guy, to death. Now, this wasn’t a raid boss level guy by any means, but it was an encounter I’d have had trouble with alone at my regular level (26 at the time – I was mentored down to 21 for the quest,) and it was right at the end of a long quest. That and the turn-in that got the party a ton of status and the guild all the way to level 4 in one blow felt pretty good, and a feeling of accomplishment is something that keeps me coming back to games.
My main, Friyja, is on the Antonia Bayle server and is a Barbarian, currently a level 27 Berserker/23 Armorer. She’s been running the Armor Quests, which are a lot of fun; the armor is pretty nice too, and might last me through Tier 4, I figure. She’s on the second-to-last one right now, in the Crypt of Betrayal far below Qeynos. I am very happy with the character and the progress she’s made so far, even though I feel I have a ton left to learn and experience in EQ2, and have by no means exhausted the possibilities of even the levels I’ve made it through so far.
Speaking of that, I mentioned some time back that Ardwulf was my most-progressed character in any MMO based on some arcane calculation I was making. That turns out not to be correct, so it’s time to explain how I arrive at these numbers. I figure it as a percentage of the level cap, so Ardwulf at 20 is at 40% of cap (50 in Vanguard,) while Friyja at 27 is at 33.75% of the EQ2 cap of 80. This makes both characters less progressed than my highest-level World of Warcraft character, an Orc Hunter who’s at 29, and thus at 41.43% of the cap.
Now, WoW is a fine game that’s mostly fun, but it’s fundamentally unappealing to me for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into. (Today. Much.) I am not currently subscribed to it and have no plans to go back, but I’m not inclined to rule out the possibility that it’ll happen some day. The upcoming Wrath of the Lich King won’t do it, since it’s only for cap-level characters and none of mine are anywhere near that. Both EQ2 and Vanguard are fun for characters who aren’t at the level cap, not just for 12 year old jobless, 6th grade school-flunking twinks who ground their characters up to 70 in three weeks and who are now terrorizing players with lives in the PvP arenas in their full set of Black Temple gear.
Anyway, one (admittedly abstract) goal I have is that my most-progressed character be in a game I actually like. For Ardwulf, just getting to level 21 would surpass anything I have in WoW. But for Friyja, in a game with a much higher level cap, I’d have to get her to 34. Then I’ll be satisfied that I’ve accomplished more in a better class of games.