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On any given Saturday night, there’s a very good chance that Angela will be playing EQ2, and a pretty good chance she’ll be doing some quest with a bunch of old and dear friends of mine. Folks I played Ultima Online with, just to give an idea of how far back we go.

EQ2 never really ‘sticks’ with me but between a desire to reconnect with these old chums, and curiosity about the New Halas starting area, I re-subbed. Paradoxically I created a new character (since that bunch is all level-capped so the only way for me to join up with them is to get a character to cap, too). I chose a Barbarian Fury, which I’m told is a kind of offensive healer.

So, between about 11 pm Saturday night and 11 pm Sunday night, I managed 18 levels in New Halas. This is without any kind of ‘experience buffing’ and I’m not talking 24 hours of game play. A couple hours Saturday night, a couple Sunday morning, then a few more Sunday evening. That felt crazy fast to me!!

So far I have mixed feelings about New Halas. There’s still an awful lot of travel back and forth and quest hubs so far have lasted too long. I get pretty bored with an area before I’m sent on to the next. I do like the theme; early on you’re helping pilgrims ready themselves for the trip to New Halas, then later you’re involved in an epic and eternal struggle between blue dwarves (Coldain??) and orcs. Fun stuff, in that noob-ish way.

But don’t you hate it when you get sent to an area to kill level 10 mobs and see some level 12 mobs standing around, or an object that stands out, and you just KNOW that as soon as you go back to turn in a quest, you’ll be sent back to the same spot to fight those level 12 mobs or interact with that unusual object? That happens over and over again in New Halas.

As for the Fury, had I designed the class I would’ve turned its progression on its head. At level 18 I still have 2 direct damage spells and 1 debuff. I have plenty of buffs, and a vast array of heals that I never have reason to use. Angela tells me Furies get a lot more attack spells later on.

Since most new characters don’t bother (or need) to party, and early quests don’t require much (or any) healing thanks to constant ‘mini-dings’ it seems like an odd decision to front load the class with healing, cure, and resurrection spells. Honestly by Sunday night I was pretty damned bored of Heroic Opportunity/Deadly Swarm/Tempest over and over again. (Just to be clear, I’ve gotten upgrades, so really it’s something liked Deadly Swarm III/Tempest II, but as I swap these in, the key strokes don’t change.) Give us the attack spells early, and add healing spells when we’re high enough level to require healing and/or grouping!

I also still have not hit the city. I have had access to venders and a bank, but I have 3-4 collections that need turning in and a bunch of house items I’ve earned that I’d love to put in a house. I know I *could* just go to New Halas but I’m kind of playing it deliberately ignorant and just going where the quest chains aim me.

For all this grumping, I’m happy enough to be back playing. One thing about EQ2 is that returning to it is always very easy for me. I’ll have to re-acquaint myself with what all the skills/spells do, sure, but the mechanics are as familiar as an old shoe.

I’ll probably finish out New Halas then jump back over to my level 50-ish Berserker and see what I can do about getting him somewhere towards level cap. Unless the Fury gets a bit more Furious. Don’t get me wrong, the class isn’t weak, it just feels like every combat has me doing the exact same keystrokes. That isn’t true with the ‘zerker, but of course he has over twice the levels worth of skills.

We’ll see how long I last this time around. Maybe I’ll buy one of those $25 mounts just to drive @Longasc crazy. :)



Comments:
9
  • Amusing. I also chose a Fury, and am slightly bored as well. But, I also have played “fast paced” games previously (WAR, AoC, Divinity 2, The Witcher)…that getting back to the “slow mo” style of almost turn based combat seems blasé.
    For my wife, it is a different story. The whole “shinies” collectibles and crafting really grab her, and the fast paced gaming has not always been her style (and PvP, while fun for a bit, just did not seem to suit her), so EQ2 speed is just right for her.
    Well, I will watch how you progress and see if you are in the same boat as me, and EQ2 may not be how we remember…

  • Hahahaha. I was thinking the same thing about the New Halas area, with all the running back and forth. It’s a standard MMO tactic, but for some reason, seemed more pronounced in this area then in any other. Maybe it’s the wide-open-ness of the place…

  • I also got v bored with the Fury when I tried it and never made it past 20. There’s probably something worth saying about designing fun class progression .. or something. WoW, on the other hand, gives you charge at level 4.

  • I have had a lot of fun with my Fury, but granted that was probably based on my level 30+ experience with her. She got some wicked AE spells in her 50s, which are really just “kill everything” buttons. :D

  • I wish EQ2 came with some kind of “start at level 20″ button for veterans. You can’t really tell the difference between classes before that level, and it takes just long enough to get there that you don’t want to delete your character. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the game limits you to 7 character slots for trying out 24 classes.

    And yes, tanks, healers, and buff/debuff classes tend to get off to a slow start in EQ2 because their early level skill updates are aimed at future grouping. My first EQ2 character attempt was a Fury, and it would have been my last if I had been undecided on whether to give the game an extended chance. I didn’t realize that Heroic Opportunities could be used solo, so I was left with the DOT, the small nuke, a root that does not work when you obtain it because your subjugation skill is in the hole somewhere around 5/30 at the time, and an autoattack. Somehow, it seems sad that they’re spending effort on a newbie zone but leaving these flaws untouched.

  • Healer progression is borked in most MMOs and it really boggles my mind. For instance in WoW it’s incredibly painful to get a Priest through the level 20-30 levels and then suddenly they get a lot more damage spells and become more viable to solo with. I never really understood why developers are so determined to flood healers with healing spells at low levels that they really don’t need to use.

    I didn’t play many healers in EQ2 but I did try an Inquisitor on my PvP server. I went for the melee AA spec and I have to say that it was very, very cool, especially against other players who weren’t expecting to get walloped ;) One thing I always liked about EQ2 was that AA was linked to quests and exploration rather than just a straight forward system of 1 point per level. It mean that a player could disable normal exp and accrue a ton of AA points at low levels (very useful on a FFA PVP server).

  • Are you still playing EVE?

  • @Grid – No, I had to quit EVE; it just requires far too much time if you want to make any kind of headway. When my sub ran out I was managing 2-3 hours/week in-game; it just wasn’t worth it. It took me a month to just get through the tutorial agents!

  • […] Turns out I’m not the only one who’s frustrated by this and it’s actually one of the reasons that I don’t play healer classes very often. My Cleric in Everquest was a toothache to level, my Inquisitor in EQ2 wasn’t much better and my experiences with the Priest class in WoW (I’m onto my second one now) are about as pleasant as a prostate exam. Funnily enough though, just as I was planning to write this article today, I saw the overhaul that the Priest talents are getting with Cataclysm and I gotta say, I’m impressed. […]