Monday, November 23, 2009

EQ2 Sentinel's Fate: The Return of Odus...err Otis?

Snatched from the EQ2 Forums, I thought this was cute and had to share:

EverQuest®II Sentinel's Fate(tm) - His origins revealed.. His destiny fulfilled. At last we discover the truth!

The sixth expansion of the groundbreaking franchise, EverQuest II Sentinel's Fate is an all-in-one compilation pack which transports players into the universe of Mayberry, with the iconic legends of long past. The fabled home of Otis, filled with epic adventures, magnificient jail cells and limitless content provide the ultimate MMO experience for new players and seasonsed veterans alike. Sentinel's Fate presents the next chapter of the EverQuest II legacy which will allow players to find out the mysterious origins of Otis and uncover his ultimate destiny and how they tie in with it.

* Achieve your greatest potential with a level cap increase to 90
* Discover two expansive new overland zones, the Town Center and the Fishing Hole
* Battle through 12 epic dungeon additions including the town Jail, Floyd's Barber Shop and more
* Experience the origins and fate of Otis through 400 new quests
* Conquer five new Heritage quests with valuable new loot such as the Sheriffs Badge and the Deputys One Shot Crossbow
* Equip over 2,000 new weapons and pieces of armor and special items such as Floyd's Razor, Goobers Wrench and much more.
* Add all new alternate advancement abilities to your arsenal of powers
* Defeat hundreds of new dangerous and cunning creatures
* Includes Legends of Norrath(tm) strategic online trading card game and the Drunkards Walk scenario

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Open Beta and "The Big Patch"

Last week Alganon went into open beta and released a large patch a few hours prior. I was hoping this might be "the" patch that would really polish some things up. But unfortunately most of the patch consisted fluff additions such as emotes and mail icons. Any actual fixes really wouldn't be evident to anyone just starting the beta.

What many perceived as a nerf to the healer class, was supposedly a fix. The fix was to add pushback so spells would be interrupted when you are hit. So instead of nuking, I am having to rely on my wand and hit them to death. It's not an impossible feat unless there are multiple mobs, but it certainly isn't very fun. The magus class was difficult to play already since all their abilities are not yet functional. Now they are fairly impossible to play.

So I shelved my healer for a bit and decided to try a class unaffected by pushback -- the soldier. And I got to view things from the perspective of those just entering beta. Back when I started, two out of the first ten quests I received weren't functional. And I learned they still aren't functional. There's an issue with any quest that involves harvesting or picking up a specific item. The item never respawns if someone else has done the quest. And you have to wait for a server reset for it to spawn again and hope someone else hasn't picked it up.

As a healer, I was pulling with nukes and never really had much difficulty engaging mobs. As a soldier, I didn't have a ranged item yet, so was having to run up and hit the mob. And the mobs were ignoring me and walking away. I'd chase and hit an attack. Nothing. It was taking me several attempts to actually engage the mob. So for those just coming into beta, their frustration is really understandable. This kind of stuff should have been more a priority than adding emotes. I hate to be gloomy about a game I actually do like in many ways, but based on open beta numbers, I'm not sure they'll have enough subscribers to function.

In other news, Turbine has tempted me once again with their continual emails. They offered a deal where if I subscribed for three months at the $9/month rate, they'd give me the next expansion free. So both of us loaded LotRO up once again. And much like Keen, I'm a bit at a loss on how to play. For some reason I always have trouble relearning my class when I come back to LotRO. I've got hotbars full of so many darn abilities. It really takes me a long time to get back in the swing of things. And unfortunately, the game still doesn't like the SB X-Fi soundcard. Both hubby and I are still getting the blue screens of death we had previously and have to play with sounds completely off. We're not playing often but we'll see how long we last this go around.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Alganon - Digging Deeper

With the launch delayed for a month, I thought I'd take some time to do a bit more crafting and exploring.

Unfortunately, the more I got into crafting, the less I liked it and decided I'll be strictly gathering on release. For anyone that played EQ2 on launch, remember that crafting interdependency they initially had? You know...the one where you needed products from other crafters to make items? It caused much frustration for many crafters and high prices for adventurers, and eventually was done away with. Well it's seeing the light of day again in Alganon. While on paper it may seem like a neat idea to form a lovely crafting community where we all work together, most hardcore crafters just end up creating alts to get the job done more efficiently, cheaply, and quickly. The casual crafters give up in frustration.

But the crafting frustration doesn't end there. Using EQ2 again as a reference point, now imagine that in order to make mastercrafted items, you will need transmuted components. So you will either have to take up transmuting as well, or buy those transmuted items from the broker. Only instead of transmuting, they call it salvaging here. And it's nearly every bit as painful and expensive to level as EQ2's transmuting. Fortunately though, the quest rewards and dropped armor I've received so far seem to get the job done well enough, that I won't be too concerned with not having crafting in my future.

So on to adventuring. I decided to backtrack through some lower level zones to completely open up my maps and see if I might have missed some things. I love finding those off the beaten track places and there were many. There were many places that quests just never lead me to, but that had perhaps some special item to click on. For example I found an altar-type structure hidden in the side of a hill. On the altar was a book, and I was to share my findings with a certain npc. I love large, open worlds like this, just waiting to be explored. In this regard, it reminds me more of Vanguard and LotRO. And it's this sort of exploration that is lacking in more recent games.

Rather than starting at the bottom of some map and quests taking you northward up the same road from quest hub to quest hub, quest hubs are more randomly placed and you're not always lead directly there. Some places I only learned about from city npc's while I was visiting to do some banking. And it pays to revisit the towns you've moved on from on occasion, as I've been given higher level quests from there sometimes as well. And with the study system, I've had even more quests open up to me.

The game keeps growing on me as I continue to level, but unfortunately, there are still bugs. On November 11, they are going into completely open beta. That's just a couple days away and although it's come a long way, there's still work to be done. So for anyone that wants to give it a try then, I'd suggest giving it more than a couple days try. And do expect there to be some bugs and crashes.