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.