Monday, November 3, 2008

EQ2 - The Shadow Odyssey

It's been about a week since the NDA was lifted for EQ2's upcoming expansion. I thought I'd hear more buzz about it as I had for prior expansions, but things have been pretty quiet, except for complaining on the forums.

I was in the beta for this expansion and personally was extremely disappointed. First, there is the overland solo zone, Moors of Ykesha. You access this zone from an airship in Sinking Sands, which was actually pretty cool the first time I saw one. The zone itself I didn't find particularly attractive and was confusing to nagivate. It's sort of like Sinking Sands but with rocks instead of sand. The mobs start at level 76 and will serve as a way for level 80's to obtain achievement experience so they have points to spend in the new achievement lines.

Some classes will gain some nice damage increases from the new achievements. For my mystic, they were a bit uninspiring...2% more to this buff or this heal, etc. And to get to that point, I have to spend a lot of prior points on unnecessary things. The one nice ability though was the achievement granting the chance to gain additional harvests while out harvesting.

There are 20 new dungeons. You gain a shard for completing the dungeon and accumulate shards to purchase legendary gear. We were given fabled gear to test the dungeons so difficulty was adjusted according to fabled testers. I'm not sure what the logic there was. Anyone who has fabled won't need the legendary except for some filler pieces here and there. Those who would want the legendary gear are in mastercrafted/treasured, but the dungeons will be difficult to complete in that gear. I was a huge fan of LDoN in EQ1. This is no LDoN where you could complete one with three people or an all beastlord group (now that was fun). These are full group difficult dungeons requiring all the necessary classes to succeed. In beta one piece of armor required about 10 shards; however, we were told the requirement would be doubled or tripled for the expansion. So expect to do 20 to 30 dungeons to acquire one piece.

The expansion seems to me to be an overreaction to the complaints about last year's expansion being too solo oriented. We do plan to attempt them with our guild to try to gear us up. So we'll just have to wait and see if we can actually complete any. Once people have a few pieces and have done them 50 times though, I think it will be difficult finding full groups to do them. The one or two that are determined to be easier than others will still get some traffic for awhile, while 10+ dungeons will sit empty, much like most Kunark dungeons are empty.

I think anyone who enjoyed the KoS expansion will probably enjoy this one. I'm not a fan of KoS and never go there. My favorite expansion so far has been EoF. There was content from 1-70, a new starting area, and the zones were beautiful. I pretty much do all my leveling exclusively in these zones. With so many expressing disappointment with this expansion, there's lots of talk on what the next expansion might bring instead. Looking at what zones from EQ1 are still missing in EQ2, there's some speculation that maybe it would be the continent of Odus with Paineel and Erudin as new starting areas. At least that's how I hope they would offer those cities, instead of what they've done to poor Kaladim, Ak'Anon and Felwithe.

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