I’d like to zoom in a bit on one of the four (!) MMOs I have on the table right now, the one I am most likely to put the majority of my gaming time in over the next couple of weeks – EverQuest II.
A couple of patches ago, some tweaks were made to the game to speed up leveling. I had assumed without really looking into this that it only applied to the middle levels. That may or may not be the case, but leveling from 1-10 seems noticably faster. Whereas before I tended to leave the Qeynos/Freeport starter isle around level 5 or 6 after completing most of the content (I seldom bothered with the dock quests – hell, I didn’t know they were there for like ten characters,) I left with my new Defiler at level 8. In this case this is a good thing, as I typically found the Freeport city adventuring zones to be quite a bit of bother at the levels I would typically hit them. Not so with the Qeynos zones – and I prefer the launch cities over the newer ones, even though the questing content in the newer areas is speedier.
Despite this, the second character I made was an Iksar Bruiser, starting in Neriak, where I shot up to level 10 in no time flat and immediately locked combat experience. It’s been my (limited) experience that if you let your level outrun your Acheivement points by too much, you will eventually be underpowered against certain content. I did this with my previous main, and I don’t intend to let it happen again. I’m not sure if AA is capped by your level, but I will probably find out. I will probably defect to Freeport with the character at some point – which is much easier since he’s evil already.
I find myself naturally drawn to alts in EQ2 – the selection of classes, races and starting zones makes this appealing, as does the way that crafting works, and I found that as I continued to adventure on my main, I mostly kept pace in crafting with other alts, until Tier 3 when specific materials started to run dry without making dedicated harvesting runs. The very limited number of character slots (an apalling lack in a game with this level of variety,) is the biggest hindrance, so as I develop new characters on Najena I may have to start making hard decisions over on Antonia Bayle. I will try to limit my alts to one per archetype, and the only class I intend to revisit at this time is the Conjuror, who I never got all that high on the other server. It’ll be really tough to discard a level 27 Carpenter, but if I’m only playing on a different server (as is my current intention,) what’s the point in keeping him around?
And no, I’m not going to pay to transfer characters. I consider $50 to be excessive, even if we were talking about level cap characters – and we’re not; my highest-level character currently is just under half the cap.
The approach I would like to take this time around is to slow down and enjoy the content as much as I can. EQ2 has plenty of quests, and plenty of small goals to set for yourself, and the social aspects of play are something I’ve avoided for far too long. EQ2 is an ideal platform for that. It’s also probably worth pointing out that EQ2 is the game I’ve stuck with the longest at a stretch, and gotten the farthest along in a single contiguous subscription period. There are good reasons for that – EQ2’s gameplay is extremely compelling – but I’ve also got a bit more taste for PvP than I did then. Or at least I did when I was playing WAR. I think it’s fading a bit now, and there is some PvP action in EQ2 after all, if I want to take the time to poke it.