Saturday, 5 December 2009

EQ2: Fresh features

Alternative advancement slider

I downloaded the EQ2 trial yesterday and discovered that they have addressed the issue of people who like to level slowly in a rather creative way.

In your alternate advancement window there is now a slider bar:

Amount of adventure experience to convert to alternate enhancement experience

I set it to 75% and carried on playing. My character is now level 11.44 with 7.25 points worth of AA progression.

For people who haven't played EQ2 recently alternate advancement is like a talent point system that you level up separately. It's based on advancement experience which is earned in a different way from regular adventure experience with more of an emphasis on rewarding exploring.

It starts at level 10 so with 75% of my adventure experience going towards it I've earned 7 and a bit levels of AA progression and one and a half levels of adventuring levels since the system became active.

Now what's so nice for me as a slow leveller is that not only can I set my levelling speed to slow but the game is rewarding me for doing so. Having these extra AA points makes me a more powerful character for my level than I would be had I not touched the slider bar.

So I can explore several different 11-20 areas and progress without my quests and AA objectives turning grey and ceasing to reward me.

The ingenious thing about the system is it doesn't stop people powering to max level. If you never touch the slider bar you will hit max level in the usual way then experience after max level will be converted to AA (in other words you'll collect these quasi talents as if you set the bar to 100%).

Not only does it suit slow leveller explorer types but it also helps keep people who want to play together at the same stage. I was recently playing DDO with a friend but I couldn't keep up with him and he got further and further ahead until we could no longer operate together without penalty. With this system he could still progress his character while not out-levelling me.

Achievements notification

I don't remember EQ2 having achievements last time I played but it may have been there. What is new however is you get pop-ups now telling you you've completed an achievement.

They aren't as ubiquitous as they are in WoW, I think I've completed about 4 or 5 so far.

The pop-up looks really elegant and combined with the fact you don't get spammed with them I found it a much less overpowering system than the WoW one.

Revised racial abilities

They've re-done the racials.

Most notably there are no longer the same amount of racial choices as a max level character gets picks. So more choice and you don't have to grab all of them as you max your character out including completely useless ones.

They seem a bit less powerful than I remember. I've only seen the Sarnak ones and they were pretty strong before. No more dragon breath at level 10.

So it's a flatter curve, less oh my god that's utterly broken abilities and less meh I suppose I may as well take it even if it's useless to me choices.


Last time I downloaded EQ2 it took all night, I think about 15 hours or something. This time it took about 40 minutes.

The difference is that I haven't downloaded the entire client. There's a little dinosaur now who pops up from time to time in the corner of the screen and starts walking. That means you're downloading a little bit of the client.

Generally these systems slow your game down when they stream but so far I've noticed very little of that. The dinosaurs appears and does his little walk but you can play on as normal.

It's noticeably smoother than the DDO streamed client and the Warhammer Online stream client.

Item shop

You start with 300 points worth of cash. I don't remember getting any free last time I played.

This is similar to DDO and is certainly a good idea. One of the key elements to cash shops is to get people to begin spending.

I'll probably buy an experience potion if I can, haven't figured it out yet.


I can /claim an absolute ton of rewards. Most of them are decorative but there's a few exp potions (the principle being it's good to give prospective customers free crack), a pretty powerful looking ring for level 29, a +25% move speed cloak and a 12 slot bag.

This was on a new account. I believe that if you activate an older account it will give you a lot more stuff. However my older account is not eligible for the 14 day trial, I think you can only do that once ever.


  1. Don't forget mentoring! You could always mentor down to someone else, but now you can visit some NPCs and mentor *yourself* down (for a smallish fee) to whatever multiple of 5 level you want. I like that, since it means content never needs to go grey if you don't want it to.

    Also, where are you playing? There's a bunch of us on various servers... :D (I'm on Lucan D'Lere with a bunch of other bloggers and all-round fine people!)

  2. @Ysharros

    I hadn't realised that and it seems very elegant. I'll look forward to doing content I wouldn't otherwise be able to find a group for.

    As a European I'm playing on one of the EU servers, Splitpaw. I may pop over and make a character of Lucan D'Lere once I've found my feet a little and once I re-subscribe. If I do I'll contact you, thanks very much for being so welcoming.

    It would be quite nice to play with others, I'm kind of expecting to have to level to max (80?) before getting much company.

    @ Joshua

    Well I honestly think it's the smoothest streaming of any MMO (although I haven't tried WoW - theirs is probably pretty good). It certainly behaves much smoother than DDO which I tried in September and Warhammer which I tried about 3 weeks ago. You and your team can be very satisfied with a job well done.

  3. "It would be quite nice to play with others, I'm kind of expecting to have to level to max (80?) before getting much company."

    That's certainly not the case in the guild I'm in, which while small has some really excellent people in it. I'm a non-adventuring, crafting/harvesting junkie, but several of the others aren't like that at all. :D Also, because of the mentoring, anyone can play down to anyone else and (in our guild anyway) frequently does. I would imagine that if you find a good group of people on Splitpaw you should see that too.

  4. Wow, sounds like some really nice additions to the game. I am almost tempted to give EQ2 a try to see some of the new stuff.

  5. It's certainly a very painless free trial. The only catch is that I believe you can't do another free trial on an account you've already tried or played EQ2 on so I made a new account.

    But no credit card details, 40 min download, and the gorgeous Timorous Deep starter area make it very worth spending a few hours in to see if you want to play again.

    The community on Splitpaw seems quite active - I even saw a lfm for Wailing Caves which surprised me. Quite encouraging.

    What I haven't figured out yet is the total cost. I have a copy of the original game but the deal where you digital download the game and all the expansion packs will almost certainly be better. There's also a recruit a friend scheme, it would be nice to give someone a free month or however it works when I re-subscribe. There's also an expansion pack out sometime soon called Sentinel's Fate. I'd rather not get the expansions bundle then discover that a week later I could have got a new bundle which includes the Sentinel's Fate expansion. (I'm so cheap, I know ^^).

    Anyway once I figure out how the resubscribing options work I'll post here.

  6. When the expansion comes out it will include ALL the previous expansions, so you're probably better off waiting and buying stuff then. It's due out in... Feb, I think?