•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You’re reading the title right. Last night Smed semi announced EqNext. Kinda, sorta. We were treated to a concept art slide, then an in-game screenshot. The screenshot reminded me of WoW, and was of a swamp area.

Evidently there will be EqNext feedback panels, where we’ll get to see a little more behind the curtain. Stay tuned.


Destiny of Velious

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Last night Sony officially announced Destiny of Velious, the next EQ2 expansion, projected for a February 2011 release. The expansion will feature flying mounts. Yup, flying mounts in every zone but the starter zones. Also, no mention of a level cap increase. More details to come at the panel.

Vegas baby!

•August 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So this year I finally decided to go to Fan Faire.  I’ve never been, but from all accounts it’s a pretty good time, which is easy to imagine since it is in Las Vegas.  I should be arriving tonight, and then kickin it the rest of the weekend with a handful of my RnH guildmates.  I’ll also try and make some posts from Fan Faire as I can, but we’ll see how that goes.  And for those of you that care, you’ll be able to follow my exploits via my twitter account, http://twitter.com/echounderground.

And for those of you heading to Fan Faire as well, hit me up, we’ll knock down a few glasses of scotch and kill it hangover style.


•July 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t written in a while; just over two months to be more accurate.  To be honest, I haven’t really had the time to blog of late.  I’ve been swamped with work, and the majority of free time I’ve had, has been divided between EQ2 and riding my bike.  One of the major changes for me the last few months in EQ2 has been the betrayal of Maesyn from Wood Elf Ranger to an Assassin of Neriak.  It wasn’t an easy decision, and even once I had decided to make the jump, I wondered had I made the right choice.

In the end, I’m glad I betrayed.  I’ve firmly planted myself in the T1 dps for our guild, consistently 2nd on the parse for most raid encounters, and at times on top (if Philly happens to be slacking).  As a Ranger, I felt I had reached a point where I just couldn’t get any more out of the class, and hated the lack of utility I brought to raids.  As a sin, I’ve worked my way into the MT group with my ability to hate xfer combined with my high damage output.  And one of my absolute highlights happened the other night when we reached Sara Greenheart in Labs.

We usually run with a Zerker, SK, and Monk most nights, but unfortunately for the night we were down to only SKs. Not normally an issue, but one of Sara’s main mechanics is forcing two tanks to constantly switch.  Instead of stopping for the night, or moving on to another instance, we took the advice of one of our tanks (Fidgets).  He runs as an Assassin with Ancient Legacy on our server for late night raids, and had successfully tanked Sara.  Evidently her spell which forces tanks to switch only affects fighters, not scouts.  So we decided to give it a try.

I slapped on all the crit mit jewelry I had, and with the addition of a Warden in the group, brought myself up to nearly 80% (still don’t have raid chest, shoulders or legs yet).  I popped into defensive stance and pulled Sara into the corner and went to town for the next 10 minutes.  Surprisingly I managed to be 2nd on the parse, and had a fun as hell time tanking.  This was just another in a series of moments where I’ve realized my decision to betray was a great one.  Other times were when I broke 30k dps for the first time, something I never came close to as a Ranger.

As far as my guild goes, RnH has been making great progress in SF content.  We’ve cleared all normal mode encounters except for Rohen Theer and Perah Celsis.  Currently we’re working on Pcel, which has been a frustrating encounter to say the least.  I’m really not a fan of encounters that can either go horribly wrong, or be a wipe simply because of the RNG.  We seem to do fine, unless the MT gets charmed.  At that point, our Zerker just wrecks everyone.  Even if our second tank is able to grab Pcel for a bit, it’s extremely difficult to recover.  We’ve also made great progress in VFDx2, even though we’ve scaled back to about 2 hours a week, sometimes not at all.  We’ve managed to down all the nameds in VFDx2 except for the final two.

I’m also going to be at Fan Faire this year in Vegas.  Three weeks can’t come soon enough as far as I’m concerned.

The Vigilant: Final Destruction

•May 14, 2010 • 2 Comments

Just this past week my guild finally started running The Vigilant: Final Detruction (x2) raid instance on a regular basis.  And so far, the instance has by no means been a pushover.  Most of our struggles have come with the second encounter in the zone (the 3 dogs), which we finally downed this past Thursday.  Currently our progression is up to High Marus Alaric, and we hope to have him down in the near future.

So far the encounters aren’t too technical.  However, anyone expecting to use this x2 raid as a progression path similar to Ward of Elements in TSO will be in for a rude awakening.  Many of the mobs hit like trucks, even with most of our members geared in T3/T4 TSO and SF raid gear.  I would imagine without T3/T4 TSO gear, or a hefty amount of SF raid gear, this instance will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many.  Decent amounts of crit mit and resistances are needed, especially for the 3 dogs, one of the most challenging encounters in the zone.

Below are the strategies we’ve been using for the first four named encounters within the zone.


Thanaraax is the irst named encounter in the zone, and is pretty easy.  Thanaraax should be pulled down from his platform and tanked in the corner of the lower platform, near one of the ramps.  He does have an AE, but doesn’t seem to do a lot of damage.  He will randomly teleport folks away, including the tank.  Overall the teleport is easy to deal with, and usually it will only happen to the tank once during the fight.

Tartan, Raamum, and Cadducian:

These skeletal Cerberus are really one of the hardest encounters in here.  Tartan is basically the tank, and hits like a truck, on par with very hard hitting x4 mobs, and has an extremely nasty AE.  Cadducian is the scout, hits fast, for moderate damage.  Raamum is the healer, and he has some nasty detriments.

The strat that we found that worked for us was to pull all three and tank them in the corner next to the door where you first enter the room.  This keeps the tank from getting smacked around and helps people avoid falling off the airship when getting knocked back.  Depending on how geared your MT and healers are, you can either have the MT take all three dogs, or split them up.  Regardless of how you tank them, this fight will take a while, and power regen is absolutely needed in both groups.  Certain detriments placed on the raid by the dogs will cause folks to not only burn through power, but damage themselves at the same time.

The first dog that needs to go down is Raamum, the healer.  He applies a curse on the raid that increases casting time considerably.  He will also periodically heal for a considerable amount of health.  Your DPS needs to be high enough to stay ahead of the healing.  Priority for curing curses is tanks first, then healers; don’t worry about getting it off DPS.  Because of the nasty AEs and detriments while all three dogs are up, attempt to stay at max range as much as possible. 

Once Raamum is down, curses are no longer going off which will make the fight much easier.  Understand the damage will still be intense, but compared to 3 dogs, 2 dogs is much easier.  The next target should be Cadducian, who should drop fast without heals.  Keep in mind that folks should still joust the heavy AE coming from Tartan (unless they have high resists and crit mit).  Finish off Cadducian and then move to Tartan, who is still hitting like a truck.  At this point the detriments are gone, so the only thing to keep an eye on is the high damage the tank will still be taking and Tartan’s AE.

As far as resistances go, Arcane is huge for this fight.  General rule, get your Arcane jewelry set on, and get as much crit mit as possible.


Melagrognan is pretty easy compared to the 3 dogs.  He really only has two abilities to worry about.  First is a noxious AE that is curable.  It will tick for quite a bit, so it needs cured immediately.  Second is a mem wipe.  We pulled him from the upper floor and tanked him against a stack of crates to avoid his knockback.  He seems to mem wipe around the knockback, so have both tanks fighting for aggro to keep him from eating the raid.  The mem wipe only seemed to happen once or twice.  Other than that, the encounter is a simple tank and spank.

The Golden Path Project

•May 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

SoE has been making quite a big deal about what they call “The Golden Path”.  So just what is the Golden Path?  It’s a combination of zone revamps and additional content designed to smooth and streamline the leveling process from 1-80.  Along with zone revamps, The Legend of Roger Goldie questline was added as a way to direct players from one revamped zone to the next.  In the near future with GU 56, the Golden Path will be closer to completion with the release of Halas and its accompanying starter zone.

When I initially leveled Maesyn I avoided the newer starter zones of Neriak, Greater Faydark and Timorous Deep in favor the Queen’s Colony and Antonica.  Considering that SoE is removing access to start characters on the old Isle of Refuge (Queen’s Colony, Outpost of the Overlord) with GU 56, I’m glad I got the chance to experience it one last time.  And while I’ve enjoyed playing and raiding on Maesyn, I’ve also gotten the itch to try out other classes offered by EQ2.

So I decided a little while back to roll a Paladin and check out the Golden Path to determine just how much the revamped content would help streamline the leveling process.  To that end, I’ve dubbed this project The Golden Path Project.  My goal is to level up a series of classes to the level cap using only the Golden Path as a guide.

The first character I’m leveling up under the Golden Path Project is Aeradin, a Human Paladin.  I initially started Aeradin in the Greater Faydark.  I found the starter zone to be visually impressive, but was somewhat underwhelmed by the quest content and amount of running required within the zone.  I have many fond memories of leveling quite a few characters in EQ1 through GFay, so that probably has something to do with my disdain for the EQ2 version.  In the end, I was happy to finally leave the large canopied forest for the rocky landscape of the Butcherblock Mountains around level 22.

The Butcherblock Mountains seem to be a much more refined zone compared to Greater Faydark, although there are places where I found content a little lacking, and by the time Aeradin hit 32 I was running out of things to do.  One thing I am glad to see is that Kaladim was revamped and tuned towards a group of adventurers in their 30’s, although I never really found that many players interested in exploring it’s depths outside of fellow guildmates.

Upon hitting 32 and receiving direction from the Legend of Roger Goldie questline, I headed over to the Steamfont Mountains.  To my surprise, upon reaching the center of the zone and collecting the initial quests from the Gnomeland Security outpost, the mobs and quests were several levels higher than 32.  Considering the intent of the Legend of Roger Goldie questline is to direct new players to the appropriate zone for their level, I’m not sure why it would direct players to a zone several levels above their own.  Regardless, the content wasn’t too difficult to tackle, and I’m probably about 3/4 of the way through the zone and Aeradin is currently level 40.  I’m finding Steamfont Mountains to be a much more enjoyable zone, and it seems a much better alternative to Zek and the Enchanted Lands.

Gear Progression in Sentinel’s Fate

•May 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Gear progression within Sentinel’s Fate has been somewhat of a mess this time around for EQ2.  The problem is that the progression path for gear is not clearly identified for players.  In TSO, SoE adopted the badge/emblem concept from WoW and introduced the Void Shard system.  Void Shards, earned by running dungeons and raids, were used to purchase set gear, weapons and jewelry. 

Even with the T1 and T2 versions of Void Shard gear available for players, the resistances and critical mitigation required to raid the x4 instances were initially difficult to obtain.  To smooth out the transition from group instances to raids, SoE introduced Ward of Elements, a x2 raid instance.  Ward of Elements made a third tier of gear available with dropped patterns that could be used to upgrade T2 Void Shard armor.

Fast forward to Sentinel’s Fate, where we now have two separate shard systems.  The first is Marks of Manaar, which like Void Shards, are earned by running single group instances.  But this time, instead of being able to purchase full sets of gear, weapons and jewelry from the marks vendors, players are only able to upgrade particular slots.  The devs indicate that they intend players to upgrade the rest of their gear from instance drops.  The second set is the Seals of Arad, which are dropped in raid instances and can be used to purchase red adorns (SoE’s failed fix for gear set bonuses), and a few weapons, gear and jewelry items.

Personally I think the Marks of Manaar system is broke.  Only rewarding players a few items of gear, weapons and jewelry for marks, and then expecting them to figure out that the rest must be gained through instances, which themselves have varied tiers of difficulty, is confusing at best.  Instead, they could have made two sets of gear available, one designed for the easier pre-90 instances, and a second designed to smooth progression from single group instances to x4 raids. 

Now, the next step would be to make these sets available to players so they understand how they are obtained.  The first option would be to stick with the system put in place in TSO, and make both T1 and T2 sets available for purchase with Marks of Manaar.  It’s familiar to players, but does run into the problem that itemizing instances can be difficult to provide incentive to run them outside of the need for Marks.

What I’d rather see would be a return to the way things were done in RoK and EoF, where gear was dropped in instances.  But I also understand the reason badge systems were introduced into MMOs like EQ2 and WoW.  They were a reaction to player frustration over RNG when running instances.  People were annoyed that they could run instances over and over without seeing gear needed for progression. 

So, with that in mind, I think an improved hybrid system could be used.  SoE could put T1 gear in the pre-90 instances, and then make T2 gear available for purchase with Marks of Manaar.  This would allow players to still have incentive to run a variety of instances, earning gear that would help them progress into the harder single group instances, but still guarantee rewards by allowing them to purchase the T2 gear necessary to progress into x4 raids.