Posted by: mrrx | December 5, 2007

Befuddled

OK – I’m coming back to the game after a long absence. And many of you have continued playing during the six months I’ve been off, and have different playstyles. I do understand that we’re all different but I just remain befuddled. All these posts I see talking about how bad the game / expansion is now.

Kunark, and whatever happened to change combat, is the best thing I’ve ever seen in this game.

Finally, I don’t have to group to finish quests, which as far as I’ve ever been able to tell are the perfect thing for soloers. Need to kill a triple – up ? You don’t have to spend a fortune on the broker first, only to find that in ten levels you need to earn another fortune. Or somehow convince other people to stop whatever it is that they’re doing, and talk them into grouping with you so you can knock out a quest.

You might think, ah, just find someone to group with and then help them out with what *they* are trying to accomplish. I’ve played a long time too, and mostly the people I can get to help me out are bored and don’t have anything they need help with. Leaving me in the position of feeling like a leech – “Help me out. OK, we’re done, thanks a lot !”. Talk about making me even more of a solo player. Who wants to take advantage of other people like that ?

I’ve rarely seen anything useful from a quest. See old posts regarding the need to finish heavy grouping quests when they were very grey; resulting in useless rewards. The as-designed solo quests gave stuff that worked, OK , to a point. Kunark seems to be giving useful things to soloers for once, which I tend to think is a good thing. As long as they don’t eclipse the legendary raid drops, which I don’t think they have. It’s an amazing change of pace for me to actually *get gear I can use*.

Maybe someone can enlighten me. Is there really that much enjoyment, doing a quest in a group ? I’ve never, ever seen that. The times everyone is all working on the same thing, it’s just a matter of getting it done without reading the text or getting into the spirit of things. Kill everything, get updates, run to the next thing until we’re all finished. It reminds me of nothing more than………… dungeon crawling. Which doesn’t require a quest in order to get done, just good xp and rewards.

I see a lot of talk about WOW – ifying the game. I couldn’t play WOW long enough for a thorough evaluation, but I didn’t see that in the mechanics. And the graphics – without a doubt, the idea of playing little cartoons is why I left WOW. EQ2 has excellent and realistic – looking fantasy graphics, making me feel like *I * am really in the world. Here’s hoping they don’t try to change that; I tend to doubt they could.

But the quest mechanics in WOW are much different. Every quest I got was

  1. Please do this for me.
  2. Go out and do the one thing
  3. Thanks ! Take some money.

You can argue that that’s pretty similar to EQ2, and it is. But there’s a huge amount of variety and depth in #2, in our game versus WOW. Kill ten rats, find the tiny rock somewhere in a zone, harvest things, fight some more, craft a weapon….. it just goes on and on. And never once did I see this in **the other game**.

Here’s why I started this rant. Gallenite might be leaving, everyone’s bitching about the direction they took in Kunark, all of which might give them the idea that they went the wrong direction. Which might then lose the fun parts for the obsessive achievers / questers such as myself. Because, by contrast, I don’t see anything wrong with the expansion, love the direction they’ve taken, and haven’t a single complaint other than minor quibbles about artwork.

EQ2 is not about a single style of play; there are many, many styles that they need to accomodate in walking the fine line of fun, inclusion, and commercial success. Don’t lose focus guys, find the right ways to make us all happy. Me, I want the next expansion to be just like Kunark; while still making it right for all the critics.

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Responses

  1. Wow-ified , or howeever we want to say it is not simply just the “graphical” display of the game. It’s the mechanics and gameplay. If you compare the two side-by-side, you’d see a tremendous amount of similarity compared to release. Not diversification on SOE end, but more uniform movement into the gameplay style that Blizzard associates with WOW. Graphically, of course it’s different. The graphics of EQ2 are so much cleaner and smoother and look great!! Even if SOE wanted to cartoon it up, it wouldn’t be worth it, that’s not the issue at all. But gameplay wise, it’s just another Kill 10 X now and the focus has completely switched with this expansion.

    Questing is cool, solo questing…cool no problem. Killing X of something and then having to go back and kill X more for something else and then running over and killing x more of something else and blah blah blah… It’s repetitive and tiring. And with no storyline to back it up, it’s extremely anoying and frustrating doing the same repetitive thing over and over. And the imbalance for some classes soloing ability, you take the same class with a swashy or a good solo class and compare the same quest vs a Templar, it’s horrible.

  2. You didn’t link to me, probably because I don’t believe I ever claimed that the game should not allow you to solo and get good stuff by doing so. I’m pissed they made GROUP play so unattractive as a means to leveling.

    I just don’t see why it has to be one or the other. Until RoK, both were valid means to level.

  3. Again, I side with Tipa here. It’s not that there’s solo content that I’m upset about. But it’s ALL solo content. Even I, who spends 90% of my time in game solo, can only handle so much.

    And again I agree with Average Joe, it’s not that the graphics are in any means the same as WoW, but line up the two games side by side and EQ2 is very fastly slipping towards the WoW method of doing things.

    RoK made grouping up a thing of the past, there’s no doubt about it. That’s what I dislike. Instead of having the solo chain of quests like EoF and then progressing into heroic chains, they’re just all solo quests. I’ve seen 10 heroic quests and 400+ solo quests. With legendary rewards and 0 risk, that just clone each other.

    It may just be because you’re thankful there are ways for you to just solo quest your way to 80, which is a play style in itself. But why is it the only one now.

  4. I attempted to say two things :

    1) It shouldn’t be one or the other
    2) Kunark is an absolute blast for me.

    I think we’re all together on 1), the thing I wanted to get out there was a pro-Kunark viewpoint which……. I haven’t yet seen. Instead it’s been all criticism, some deserved, some not.

    I mean, I waited for years for Pirates of the Burning Sea. I’m not going to buy it because I enjoy the expansion that much.

  5. I agree there should be more group content in RoK. But it’s not like they have removed it at all from the game. I don’t know about you folks, but I have done SoS a hundred times plus, but…if the group is good I still enjoy it. Now I gotta ask myself how many times I have done Unrest… a huge load…do I still enjoy the company of a good group there?..you betcha.

    I guess that’s the thing..for me the groupage isn’t about ‘new content’ I got that part satisfied with RoK exploration. Groupage for me is about the experience with your friends. Not the loot (nice if stuff drops, but not essential), not the challenge of defeating new bosses (quite like figuring out puzzles tho)…it’s about the group itself. Spending time with those who’s company we enjoy. And I can do that, at any level. Solo quests in RoK..try doing them with a group of friends. Xp good? from Mob slaughter..no way..from the quests? yeah still good xp, bored being alone? Nope..I had my buddies with me having a right laugh. Just because grouping made the content easier (as the quests are solo), the important factor was still there. The group. Having a laugh. Groupage fun satisfied in RoK? you bet! Did I get decked out in loads of heroic gear? Absolutely no way..am I bothered? Nope. Why? Because I had fun..it matters not how..it was enjoyable..and that’s all I can ask for from a game..

    Problem is, most aren’t like me. They want amazing up to date content that satisfies all areas, heroics and instances and soloing and good raiding, specific group quests. Is that wrong..of course not. Should it be expected that SoE would provide that for us..yes of course, we pay their wages to some degree…are we surprised that yet another expansion has failed to please everyone? Nah, of course not. Difference is, it’s usually the pure solo players who suffer..not this time though..I bet they are well chuffed they have been considered at last.

    I guess at the end of the day, the answer is simple. Try to see if you can get along with the expansion. If not, then that’s a real shame. Why not see if the old worlds are enough to keep you interested. If the answer is no, then there really is only one answer..stop paying SoE to do something you don’t enjoy. When you are paying to do something you don’t like..then who are the fools, SoE, or us?

  6. Revenants: I’m in the expansion every day. I’m working with it and harvesting so I can power-writ my two crafts up. I’m doing the instances and leveling. I don’t think there’s a part of the game I am not using (well, except for raiding which is on hold, but I’ll get to that eventually). And yes, it took me far longer to get from 60-70 than I expect it will take to get from 70-80.

    Why is that, if the xp in DoF/KoS was so much better?

    Because I had *plenty to do*. I was working on my Hooloh hat, my Mark of the Awakened, the first stages of my Claymore quest, half a dozen other heritage quests and stuff, and I was so focused on this largely group content that the last three levels or so didn’t matter to me because I was just having so much fun.

    Right now, though, there’s pretty much nothing to do EXCEPT level. There’s no long quests leading you through the zones, no plot aside from that involved in faction building, the instances are purely there for loot farming with no plot pulling you through them.

    RoK is beautiful, but as an expansion, all the story and plot ended once you leave the Sarnak newbie experience, which had all these things. Where did the Drachnid come from? Why are they hanging around? Who are the Drolvarg? Are they related to gnolls? Why are they in Karnor’s Castle? The Sokokar quest hinted that the mountain giants and the people of Teren’s Grasp may be working on an alliance behind the scenes. How come there are no Drolvarg or Drachnids in KJ or the Fens?

    I *know* a lot of these things were revealed in EQ1, but should the fact a previous game explained the lore mean EQ2 doesn’t have to bother?

    I still have KJ to finish and JW to do, so maybe there’s more long chain quests and lore-heavy quests to come, but I haven’t heard of any.

  7. Tipa has it right about the long quest. The hooloh hate quest mark of awakened, claymore quest, and the other heroic quest gave us something differnet to do, something that took time and had good rewards.

    Maybe when epics come out there will be something but that just one quest line.

  8. Yeah, the long quests are great…well, the mid length quests. I found Claymore a bit too long winded. From what I heard, like Ogrebears said the Epics that are coming are looking like the only ones that will be lengthy in RoK.

    I agree that’s not good at all. In fact I pretty much agree with all of the above posts in one way or another…I guess I was saying (in a boring long winded way) was that I think I must be one of the lucky ones who is still having fun, bad content or not and that fun means I don’t find myself getting jaded. If I wasn’t, I would give it a time to see if it’s a phase..if not, then I’d stop giving SoE my money.

  9. Personally, I like my quest timelines to be either solo or heroic. I find it really frustrating when a quest line starts solo and eventually leads to an epic conclusion. So I prefer that they keep such quest lines to a minimum.

    I think the negative reaction to RoK has been blown out of proportion. This was aggravated by the fact that KC sucks and the solo quest in KP leaves your bags full of quest update stuff.

    If you follow the quest in the proper order, KP quest are very nice because they lead you all over the zone with clusters of quest at each point. Fens seemed to be a bit more disjointed. Kunzar Jungle starts giving you heroic quest and has some interesting quest lore. There are some KJ quest where you will actually want to read the quest lore and stuff. Jarsath Waste has a clear quest progression that takes you all over the zone too but towards the end the solo quest got tough enough that you will want to bring friends.

    If you look at the 4 overland zones you’ll see that they all have the same general idea of having a lot of solo quest but each has a different flavor. I think this maybe due to the fact that a different group did each overland zone. Each of the 4 zones have a varying degree of polish and unfortunately the first two zones people encounter have some glaring annoyances. So, by the time people get to see the cool stuff their opinions have already been poisoned.

  10. I’ve noted that most people who love the expansion’s current philosophy tend to either be non-guilded or in a guild that essentially encourages self sufficiency. It’s obviously not an all encompassing rule, but more of an observable guideline.

    For example, most raiders love the expansion so far (except for the fact that most raid zones seem to be too easy/too short). Many primary soloers love the expansion so far.

    Who isn’t liking it? Seems to be the middle of the road casual guild players – the folks who live for grouping with their long time guildmates. Suddenly they’re getting bored. They’re getting frustrated. They’re getting flustered.

    This expansion wasn’t built to encourage group play. Even one of the comments here points that out indirectly by suggesting that Faydwer dungeons are still the place to go for grouping. What a compliment for Kunark dungeon design, eh?

    Sure, the higher level instances are there for groups. The problem is that unlike the itemization we saw in Faydwer (if you wanted set boots – you went to Obelisk of Blight; if you wanted set forearms – you went to Crypt of Valdoon; etc.,), the drops in Kunark dungeons seem haphazard and random. There’s umpteen sets for every class/archetype/subclass/what-have-you, and they all seem to drop from pretty much anything you kill. You don’t even have to leave Crypt of Agony to acquire set pieces, it seems. Worse than that, it doesn’t appear that the items are dropping with any real regularity so who knows how many trips you’ll have to make to acquire a full set to begin with.

    So, from a levelling standpoint, the only real viable path is through solo quest grinding (honestly, had anyone even used the term “quest grind” previous to this expansion?). Grouping for quests or just straight kill experience simply aren’t even comparable options – and in fact, in the case of heroic questing, isn’t an actual option at all. You couldn’t get to level 71 running only Heroic quests!

    What Kunark does well, it does really, really well. However, don’t ignore the wrinkles and pitfalls other players are seeing just because you’re enjoying the gameplay personally. It’s not only short sighted, but such comments may even come back to haunt you later on once you’ve exhausted the solo quest lines or reached level 80. Because at some point, you too will want to group up. Hopefully the members of your group have some actual experience doing so…


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