Brackish Waters

how my gaming and life coalesce.

Learning how to learn

Its often been said to me that you can learn from your own mistakes or you can learn from the mistakes of others. The wiser person chooses the latter and dares not repeat the failures of those who have come before him, but more often than not I hear about history repeating itself. Sometimes its the young showing disrespect for their elders and trying so hard by themselves to blaze their own path. Sometimes its pride that gets the best of even the most learned and blinds them from the lessons of their peers

But sometimes there are those mistakes that are completely avoidable and just happen because your wife is watching a really bad but strangely addicting movie with Gena Davis in it.

This weekend I had one of these rare mistakes in my crafting career and only when I finally got the courage to ask for help in the general crafting channel did I realize it was not my issue but that of the game design itself. There is nothing wrong with the crafting in Everquest, its simply the design of the game that SOE and unfortunately many others tend to go with.

Saturday evening I had reached the cap of level 19 in the Outfitter Profession and had figured outEQ2 Choose Profession that in order to progress I needed to speak to one of the trainers again. Pretty basic, just go up and go through the dialog and click the new specialized profession. Well wouldn’t you know it that I managed to screw this part up. I have no idea what I was doing at the time(never-mind, I do) but I clicked Weaponsmith instead of Armorsmith and sealed my fate to that of making pokey things.

After talking to a nice group in the crafting channel I found out that there was a NPC in a crafting instance in West Freeport that would allow me to change this error and begin again. What they didn’t tell me, and I don’t blame them for this, is that this decision reverts you to level 9 again!

BLARGG!!

SOE did put in enough information before I chose to revert my crafting experience, I will give them that. I sat there for about 5 minutes mulling it over before clicking accept. I wanted to kick that stupid ogre NPC smiling at me the whole damn time.

I just couldn’t bring myself to continue crafting just weapons. I knew if I could suck it up, face the music, bite the bullet and find the most motivational idiom, I would be happier about continuing crafting in Everquest 2.

So I did it.

Four crafting levels, 15 gold, and remembering that a bad worker always blames their tools, I’m back up to level 20 and certified as a Armorsmith. All in all it wasn’t a bad experience and I feel better about continuing with the crafting here. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and learn from your mistakes. I could sit here and blame SOE for limiting the player’s ability to learn multiple crafting professions, and to be honest that’s what I intended to do. I was going to write about the way games limit us by slamming us in a mold of X Adventuring class and Y Crafting Profession. Maybe that’s tomorrow’s discussion, but I’m going to track down some older articles from other bloggers before I paste some of the same ol’ vanilla opinions and suggestions.

October 8, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, Crafting, EQ2, Rants | | 2 Comments

Necromancers don’t do drugs

My adventuring this week in EQ2 has been a little slow because of some RL issues affecting everyone in the group. You could definitely classify it as guild drama if we were in a guild right now, but its more or less just the final throws of a kind gesture gone bad.

Drugs are bad, mkayyy?

Despite this rather large distraction to the group, we did manage to get together last night and finish all three of our Armor Quests.

I first saw the Beserker Armor set the other night in Fallen Gate on another tankBeserker Armor and after a quick /inspect, I found out about the quest line. Its a good looking set of armor and I’ve seen some models similar to it around the city in different colors, so it must not change much between classes. The Inquisitor in our group finished the set last night as well, but I have yet to see it as she likes to wear a dress over everything. She does look damn good though.

During the fourth part of the quest, we stumbled upon an outpost on the northeastern edge of Nektulos. Turns out we needed a NPC there for the update before heading back to Freeport. What was interesting, was that there was a small cellar door next to her labeled Lair of the Necromancer. Turns out the place is a small instance for level 24 and above and has a quick boss battle at the end of the tunnels. One guess on what it was.

We were a bit overpowered for the entire instance, but the boss battle was interesting enough to keep us on out toes. He dropped a pair of slippers that nobody could use but hopefully I will be able to transmute as soon as I get that skill high enough.

Quick little side note:
I’m going to try out this new slide show system that WordPress recommends thats called Rock You. Its kind of nice that it links to my gmail account, but because its all flash based I can’t save what I created to my PC. Meh, its free and has a lot available to customize the images. I would recommend it so far.

[rockyou id=86269695&w=324&h=243]

October 5, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2, RL | | 5 Comments

Of deities and self discovery

If there is one thing great about playing a game that has been around for at least three years itsSundown Antonica that there is no shortage of information available. There are wikis, guild websites, blogs, and forums devoted exclusively to the game and its content. Kendricke over at Clockwork Gamer has made some posts recently about the deity system of EQ2 and it looks as if he will be going into the different alignments and the benefits of each. Rather than wait for him to post his section about the Malevolent and Neutral gods of the realm, I went ahead and did some research on my own and jumped in this weekend after making my decision.

Its funny. After going through the list of gods and reading over the different Miracles and Blessings that were available from each, I had a weird sort of revelation about myself. In life, I am an empathetic person. I often find myself being the bridge between people in a conversation or, in the case of an argument, the one who works to alleviate differences. An intermidary of sorts. People don’t ask me to be, its just something I find myself doing from time to time. Now, I may have the definitions behind alignments all screwy here, but maybe its because of this predisposition in life that led me make the decision to go with Brell Serilis.

I spent about two hours on Friday going through the lore and also reading a really good section of the EQ2.wikia.com site about the Tome of Destiny. If you have never taken the chance to read this and are either a fan of EQ2 or just like the game lore in general, then give it a go. Its not a long section and there are only 10 pages or so to it. It basically covers what I understand to be the time between Everquest 1 and Everquest 2 from a lore perspective. I may be completely off base here but, as I said before, I never played the original Everquest and only have what I hear from others  and what I have read in passing to rely on. The Tome details the events around The Shattering of the moon of Luclin and seeing how this was a playable area in EQ, it seems logical that we are in a time-line of somewhere in the future.

When I read the first section of the Tome, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Quellious and the way she handled the discussion during the council, but as it turns out, she is of the Benevolent faction and unavailable to me as a human who started in Freeport. Sorry Quell, you wouldn’t work for me as a Beserker anyway.  Also, something about choosing a child goddess doesn’t sit well with me.

EQ2 Fallen GateBrell seems like a good choice and I finally finished the first part of proving my worth to him last night. I had to travel to 4 different dungeon areas, 2 in the Commonlands and 2 on Antonica. If you are level 25 or higher, you can walk through the entire content for three of these dungeons. The last, Fallen Gate, needs at least a 4 person group in order to reach the area you will need.

While you are in there, be sure to stop by for some Gnomish Stew, its the best!

Before I take off, here is a tip for other new players that I discovered last night:

Looking for a way to see what quests you and other players in your groupEQ2 Group Journal share? Well, you can, and its been in all along, it just doesn’t become available until you join a group. Logical enough. In your journal (J), you will find another tab labeled Group. This page has a list of everyone in your group and also a complete section titles Shared for the lists of quests you all share. I missed this function in LotRO and I strongly feel its needed in every game that has as many quests as our current crop does. Please take note.

October 1, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2 | , , | 3 Comments

It doesn’t matter if you feel good

In the most recent podcast over at EQ2 Daily, they discuss the implementation of the new Appearance tab to the character equipment window. After hitting level 20 just over the weekend and reaching 19 as a Metalsmith, I finally get to take advantage of this new and very cool toy.

I was a little disappointed when I first started crafting because I didn’t actually start until I had reached Freeport and was well into the early teens. Even now with my crafting level almost equal to that of my adventuring level, I find I still don’t want to use anything that I can create. I’m looking into the Transmuting and armor add-ons that I can make now, but even with those included it still doesn’t seem a good trade off for the gear I get when doing quests.

The problem with the quested gear is that if you travel around and do various quests, you begin to look like a motley equipped fool. The Appearance tab fixes all of this and I love it.

You be the judge.

EQ2 Appearance tab EQ2 Appearance tab 2
Before                After

The Appearance tab is an awesome addition to the game and I think SOE did it right by adding this. I hope to see this function in more games to come as I have thrown out hundreds of great looking items in other games that I would have loved to wear and show off to other people. Developers who make great models should get their chance to show off their stuff instead of being tossed in with the NPC vendor trash.

Recently, I have passed a lot of people in the city who just look cool. Not because they raided hours and hours for the gear they are showing, but because they took the time and put together some great combinations of outfits. Antonia Bayle could probably win the best looking server award.  I wonder if there is a Miss Norrath pageant I don’t know about.

September 26, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2 | | 4 Comments

Everquest 2 and my crafting introduction

I had told myself that I needed a break from crafting after a recent stint in another MMO, but when I decided to give Everquest 2 a try so did I decide to go back to the world of crafting. I had heard that I could craft a lot of different items early in the game and that the system itself was complicated enough to keep you interested but not overwhelming. A big thanks to my son here for getting sick and keeping me home from work last week as I am now a level 18 Outfitter.

I am choosing to truncate this post because I have a feeling its going to be fairly large and I don’t want it wallpapering the front page of the blog. More available after the link.
Continue reading

September 24, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, Crafting, EQ2 | , , | 4 Comments

The woeful cry of the Unsubscribe button

For the past three weeks I have been playing LotRO and EQ2 in tandem and on Sunday I was forced to make a decision between the two. My month long trial of Everquest 2 had come to an end and my recurring bill to Turbine was set to post to my account on Monday morning. A tough decision indeed and one that has come up much to often over the last year.

It was clear to me that our group was losing interest in Middle Earth over a week ago, but I really didn’t want to confront it as I had invested a large amount of time into my character there and still had a lot to do in terms of the story-line quests. We are all in our mid to high 40’s and have experienced a majority of the content and have also had a boatload of fun doing it. Yes, there are still areas like Carn Dum and the rest of Helegrod to explore, but maybe its because the horizon is so clear on what to expect that we have lost the will to continue. The feeling of “more of the same” is a contagious sentiment and in an effort to prevent it from spreading among us, we almost subconsciously stopped playing together for about a week.

When I make a decision to unsubscribe from a MMO its always about the money. Its really never about the game, because if I was either financially independent or the game itself had no recurring fee I would continue to keep the game on my hard-drive. Even some games that are in the perceived worst of state when released can change, and I really wish I could support them while they go through that evolution.

One of the largest of such changes is that of Everquest 2. While I have no prior experience to judge this progression, there is the consistent din that travels the internet always referring to EQ2 as an example of what SOE can do and may possibly do again with Vanguard. I have written a small amount about my travels so far in this world and I plan on doing more as I have I have not only chosen to continue playing in EQ2, but I also managedEQ2_HolyTrinity to drag along the rest of the holy trinity.

So, my goals have changed a little as of now in EQ2. What was once a singular expedition into the lore of Faydwer and beyond, has evolved into something similar to that of Troy’s podcast – EQual Perspectives. My two companions are big Everquest 1 veterans and I am now the noob under their wing. I still have yet to realize what I have got myself into by convincing them to return to the EQ world, but I believe I got a nice taste of it last night. The two of them went on about some zone-chasing-thingamabob that murdered 200 children and had them up for two weeks while they waited in line for a chance to camp it and retrieve the Boots of Shit Kicking. Something along those lines, I don’t know.

When those Everquest 1 people start reminiscing, I have found it best to just let em get it all out and then offer cocoa after they have finished. Better results with the kind that has marshmallows too.

I still plan on returning to LotRO (famous last words) as my wife was still having a good time there and so are a couple of my friends. I was in a great guild, so if you play on the Firefoot server and are looking for a nice group, be sure to check them out. There are alsoHI_1 atleast two more articles I have written that I have been putting off, one being our last run on Sunday through Haudh Iarchith.

I have enjoyed my time there, and in retrospect, I am not too upset about leaving. I had a lot of fun and did more quests than I can imagine. I was a bit burnt out on the Lord of the Rings lore even before I bought the game and yet they did a remarkable job in dragging me back in and making me feel like this was the Middle Earth that Tolkien had described. I say, “Well done!” to Turbine.

Tempt me, and I may be back sooner than you think.

September 19, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2, LOTRO, Rants, Vanguard | 2 Comments

Everquest 2 – Ding 18!

I’ve been adventuring in the Greater Fayedark since I started my character and I amEQ- Ding 18 happy to say that the content has subsisted through every level. At no point have I felt overwhelmed with the amount of things I needed to accomplish or disappointed by the lack of goals. This is one of the areas that EQ2 has definitely managed to get its hooks in me.

I am still kind of aggravated by the interface’s lack of ability to allow me to track more than one quest at a time. I’m sure there is a UI mod out there for this, but I just haven’t managed to go out there and look for it. I’d really rather not “change” the game as much as experience it in the way it is being presented. Some of the lore and collection goals have been with me for 15 levels or more and its a nice bonus when I find the last item to complete those sets. So, in this aspect, maybe SOE has it right by encouraging me to stay focused on one objective at a time and to let the rest come as they may.

My initial goal of learning the lore of EQ2 has been moving along at a steady pace. One of the strangest things I ran into the other day was the /time command. The date, month, and year came back as nothing I had ever seen before. The year itself is numbered somewhere in the three-thousandths and the name of the month (if thats what it is) has no resemblance to that of any I have learned. I wish I had wrote down the information, as I would have liked to cross-check this against this excellent article over at The Athenaeum. I have a feeling this site will be very handy in the days ahead.

The Crushbone Orcs have been a focal point for a majority of the lore so far. This is understandable as they have a major presence in the valley and seem to be the source of a lot of the area’s strife.  I am slowly being funneled through a large cave in the back of one of their forward camps and into a more hostile encounter.  I did see a keep or garrison at the end but I didn’t have the time to investigate more.

The only other lore I have been able to find has been at the start of a chain of quests that began with a Dwarf near the broker in Kelethin. It looks to be an interesting line and I hope to detail my thoughts on it later as I progress further along the chain.

I’m coming pretty close to the end of my trial and I can honestly say that SOE has done a good job with creating a game that can appeal to the adventuring and exploration aspirations of a traditional player. I am not quite sure how much it will cost me to continue playing as there is no way I will continue unless I have the EoF content. It is in these areas alone that I have found the best level of immersion and integration into the world for a new player such as myself.

September 10, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2 | 2 Comments

She could steal your heart

I love Labor Day.  I ate way more than I should have, drank a bit more than usual, and played some great games of Seafarers of Catan. Then, somehow in all the debauchery, I managed to get my Burglar in Lord of the Rings to level 47.  I have been waiting for this level for a long time.

This, by far, has been the most grueling level to gain.  This had nothing to do with the game play itself, it still has produced plenty of quests to do solo and the option to grind out mobs in Angmar is all the more appealing.  No, this was because of the loot I had waiting in my bank since I was level 44.  Hawt Burglar

The leggings and the chest piece were sitting in my vault for more than a level, taunting me with their red outline, barring me from use. (Thanks Celemdir!) The swords I managed to pickup last week for a measly 500 silver a piece add a nice damage specialization that should help with the wraiths in Haudh Iarchith.  Overall, I am one hawt Burglar right now.

You may have wondered before why I said that grinding out mobs was somewhat appealing to me.  Without getting into the grinding debate, I will say that LotRO does offer the ability to level up at a decent rate, solely by grinding out mobs.  Let me give an example.

At level 45, all classes gain access to a series of quests that allow them to get some great armor and weapons.  These are one of the few class quests you get in LotRO and by far the most time intensive.  If I can recommend any one thing to +40 level players, its to hold on to every purple colored item you get.  Place them in the bank or send them to an alt, or better yet, check on a good site to see if you may need this for these coming quests.

These quests (as a burglar, you begin with two at a time) compel you to gather largeRam Duath numbers of rare and unique items from level +45 areas.  At level 46, I was soloing white(equal level) and yellow (+1 level) mobs for anywhere between 300 and 400 experience per kill.  Considering that the quests I currently had were only netting around 3,000 exp on average, I found it much more worthwhile not only to camp the mobs I needed for my class quest, but also to grind out the remaining experience for level 47.  On top of getting the items and great experience, I also filled out two deeds for a nice trait.

I should explain that the experience above includes the rest experience modifier.  I can’t remember how much that is at the moment, but if you find you have run out of rest experience, you can purchase more by using your destiny points.  There is a small symbol on the top right of the mini-map that allows you to toggle the destiny point display.  Click this and then press the “Spend Destiny” button.  In here you can find a variety of short term buffs, none of which I have found more worthwhile than the rest experience.

I usually play with a small group of friends and find it better to do quests rather than camping an area because it keepsDrink to 47 us going.  If we had no goal in mind, I’m afraid we would sit around a NPC village talking all night in chat.  As it was, I was forced to celebrate alone with the Butterbur in Bree.  Thanks for the drinks Barlimur.   Hopefully tonight we can meet up and head back into Haudh Iarchith and find out what lies beyond those wraiths at the end.

September 4, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, LOTRO, RL | 1 Comment

The Girth of Middle Earth

Last night I reached level 46 with my Burglar and I think tonight could be my first experience with the Reputation Barrows LotRO raid experience. This is good times in Lord of the Rings Online! I have yet to reach the plateau that many speak about, but that may be because of the group of friends I play with almost every night. We are the epitome of the holy trinity. We have been able to defeat almost every encounter we have come across and persevered through some of the longest battles I have ever participated in.

Last night, it was different and we never saw it coming.

I logged in to see my friends already grouped and in the instance called Haudh Iarchith. This is one of the new instances that had been added in Book 10 and houses a lot of undead. The denizens here drop a certain item that can be turned in for the Bree-land faction quests, and for once, the dungeon was fairly empty.

We started exploring the eastern branch and killed a number of spiders and one signature that had some decent loot for once. Somehow in our discovery we ended up back at the main chamber and this time we decided to head straight in and take on the 7k morale (hit point) skeletons.

This branch was a bit harder than the first and we frequently found ourselves facing 6 mobs at once. We made it to a large columned hall that held a small stairway in the back. It was loosely guarded and extremely inviting. We fought our way over and headed up the stairs as quick as we could. Even though we could face multiple mobs at once, the respawn rate here was a bit fast. This is probably running high due to the large numbers of players who usually farm this new area.

We found two skeletons and two wraiths at the top of the stairs, nothing unusual. What we didn’t realize was that the wraiths had a protection on them that negated almost all of our damage dealing! It turns out that this protection could not be broken by any fellowship maneuver we performed and common damage weapons were completely useless. The songs used by our Minstrel could hit for full damage but little good that was doing as her attention was needed to heal the two of us. Beleriand and Dwarven damage were hitting for less than half and the regeneration of the wraith more than made up for this. In the end, we retreated.

This was probably one of our greater defeats as we had never encountered a mob that could resist our dps or endurance so completely. It may be a week before we return there and exact our revenge but the weapons are being created and the auctions are being scoured. Every advantage we can get to bring the trinity back to its nice streak will be found and we will be made whole.

Atleast until I get us killed again.

Smokie SmokieDev oopsie!

On a lighter note, here are a couple screenshots of the interesting tile work in an area called the Lone Lands.

Thats no fossil.

– 10/01/07 edit-

For those of you who may be interested in learning about the rewards of Bree from working in Haudh Iarchith, you may want to check this thread in the official forums.

If you are interested in finding a map to this location, you can try MEHQ’s map of Bree and look to the left of the “S” in Barrow Downs, you should see the white dot for the POI at LOC: 35.2S 55.2W.

Hope this helps some of you!

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, LOTRO | 5 Comments

Everquest 2 and my 1-12 experience

 

I have had a hard time this week choosing which game to log into. I just hit level 45 in Lord of the Rings Online and the Book 10 update is full of things that I really want to see. While I feel I’m in a rush to get to 50 in LotRO and check out the raid dungeons and the PvP zone, I feel much more relaxed when I click on my little EQII icon instead.

It has been a while since I played a MMO by myself and I’m surprised at the enjoyment I am still getting out of it. I play MMOs specifically because I love to meet and group with other people and explore content together. This is the first time I set out in a game to just learn about the world and let the grouping and community take a backseat. As of last night, I have only grouped with one other person and kept my conversations in the chat channels to a minimum. What I am trying to avoid is those jaded few who feel compelled to drop snipes about the game intermingled with their weak recommendations to new players. A time will come when I will need to join a guild to experience some of the larger content but I am in no rush to get there. For now, I am enjoying my lackadaisical approach to discovery.

I will try not to let this journal become an Everquest 2 review. That is not my intention here. I would merely like to track how I see this world that a lot of people have come to love and interpret it in its current state through the eyes of an Everquest newbie. The lore here is obviously rich and I have a lot to explore and learn about, but I hope my experience with other MMOs will help me navigate through the world and bring me atleast a fraction of the fun that I have heard this world can provide.

Continue reading

August 22, 2007 Posted by | Adventure Journal, EQ2 | 2 Comments