Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Fun Stops Here

I've been noticing a trend with the majority of my guild mates. Very few make it past the 30's before starting a new character. I even heard one make the remark that they lose interest in their characters when they hit 30. Looking at my own alts, I have several between 29 and 35 that I haven't played in quite awhile and actually dread logging in.

EQ2 is designed in such a way that things get a little tougher as you level. I find the starting areas to be very fun. I absolutely love Antonica and the levels there go too fast. The area is wide open and huge, with lots of quests found in various spots. From there I used to move on to Thundering Steppes, which starts to get tougher to navigate with heroic mobs placed here and there. However, these days with the Faydwer expansion, I move on to Butcherblock to draw that fun out for a little longer.

At 30 you're left with Enchanted Lands and Zek. For a soloer, Zek has a limited number of quests. The front half of Enchanted Lands has a number of quests; however the second half of the zone is nearly all heroic mobs. Except for high level harvesters, this section of the zone is usually empty. There aren't enough quests to get you through the 30's unless you group, which is rare these days, so it's time to do a bit of grinding.

At 40 the only option used to be Feerrott, since both Lavastorm and Everfrost are all heroic. In Feerrott, you only have a small portion of the zone to work with as a soloer and must do a lot of dodging to get some of these quests done. Fortunately, Steamfont is now an option. But by the time 50 rolls around, I'm just really done with this zone.

The 50's and 60's get even more cumbersome. Leveling becomes more and more of a chore as you progress.

I really have mixed feelings on this. I'm one of those who likes to stick with one character when I start a game and see it through to the end. I use that character to make money and then buff up my alts so they are not such a struggle to play. Even though it's grindy, I'm just stubborn and determined to see it through. And when you get to the end, you sort of go "Whew, I made it". In WoW, when I maxed was more like "Ok, now I'm up here with everyone else".

But how many times will people keep rolling alts that make it to the 30's before they tire of the game and move on? I don't want them to make it as easy as WoW, so the server is full of level 80's. They'd have to add new zones just to add more harvestables to accommodate. Getting some things done would become a nightmare. But I think something needs to be done from the mid 30's to 70 just to make things more fun and tolerable. I'm really hoping the expansion they're working on addresses these levels, rather than add more little used raiding zones.


Anonymous said...

I've tried EQ II two times. I stalled out in the 20s both times.

The latest expansion added a fantastic 1-20 zone, and then you sort of get set adrift. Even if you follow "solo" timelines (like the one at the EQ II wiki) you end up having to beat your head on a few zones before you settle in to one that you can actually make good progress in solo.

I always dread out leveling my current zone because I know I am in for a few totally wasted evenings until I find a new spot. When I quit, each time it was because I got to the end of the content I was working and just couldn't muster the resolve to beat my head on new zones to find the next good XP hub.

It seems like more "breadcrumb" quests are needed, and that there are some serious dead zones in the solo content that could use some work.

Aspendawn said...

Aye I agree. I rolled a new alt recently. I went through the starting zones, romped through Antonica, and then I hit 22. I had a couple quests left here but knew I had to move on. I also knew that in order to continue efficiently, I'd have to log in my tailor to make armor, my jeweler to make jewelery, and pester my husband's scholar to make me some spells for a few levels. The stuff on the broker is just too expensive. But before all that I'd have to log in someone just to gather the harvestables and hope I find the rares needed to do all that.

I just dreaded doing all that and have yet to log her in again. I think eventually they will update quest rewards post 20 so you can gear up equivalent to Timorous Deep, but that's probably a long way off.

Kanthalos said...

I have also gotten two characters to level 22 or so before I completely lost the desire to keep playing, primarily due to the fact that I didn't feel like there were enough quests in the zones that I was playing in (butcherblock and another.) I didn't enjoy the quests that I DID have to do, and there were no other places for me to go. I just never felt like the leveling process in EQ2 was smooth enough for me. I guess that could mean that it isn't fast enough, but I don't think so. I think I would just like to know where I'm supposed to go, have it be perfectly clear which quests I should be working on, and where to go next when the time comes.

Obviously, more than one option at a time is nice, but make them both interesting and worthwhile enough that no matter which choice I make, I will have a good time and level at a reasonable rate.

Aspendawn said...

That's one thing that surprised me about Vanguard. I have more quests than I can possibly do. Whenever I level, I'm deleting green quests and picking up more.

They have this riftway system for travel and there is a fellow standing next to it who highlights all the hubs within your level range that will have quests for you.

And you get some really nice stuff from the quests. With EQ2, you don't get nice armor from quests (after TD), you have to rely on crafters. So there's not as much excitement attached to the quests you're doing.

Hudson said...

I usually stop at about level 40 and go back to WoW, the game just does not flow well

Aspendawn said...

Unfortunately, I have nowhere to go back to since I don't enjoy the mmo's that are out now. EQ2 really got a lot of things right for my play style and that's what keeps me staying. Just would be nice to see it tweaked a bit.

I actually would like to see elements of Vanguard and EQ2 melded together.

dwmitch said...

Actually, not all people make alts for that reason. I started a few weeks ago and had my paladin main along with a berserker alt for PvP and a conjuror in the mix. Since then I've added a fury.

It's not done for leveling reasons, though. I just like to explore the classes. That's one thing I miss about Ultima Online (the 2D isometric version, haven't played the newer one). You get to make your own classes.

If you want to be a strict mage you can be a strict mage, but if you reach level 30 or so and decide that you'd rather be a hybrid you can develop your fighting skills without having to create an alt.

In fact, the only character I made on UO was a mage/cleric/fighter all rolled into one with equal skills in smithing and alchemy. Now you have to make new characters if you want to switch between fighter and mage and, at least in the case of EQ2, reset your trade skill level if you decide you'd rather be a weaponsmith than a scholar.