From the test server update notes for February 25:
- Act as a Mentor for your lower level friends with the new Mentoring system!
- When you right click a lower level group member, you will see an option to Mentor them.
- Selecting "Mentor" will set your level to that of your lower level friend, and you will operate at the same effective level as your groupmate.
- The Mentor and Apprentice will receive experience, loot, and quest credit as if the Mentor were the same level as the Apprentice. Mentors, be sure to revisit any of those quests or locations that you may have missed along the way!
- The Apprentice will receive an experience bonus while under the guidance of a Mentor. Up to 5 other players can act as a Mentor for a single player at the same time (each increasing the experience bonus).
- Mentors receive viable amounts of experience and advance toward their actual level while mentoring, though at a slightly reduced xp rate.
- All of your gear will scale with you. You don't have to go out and get different gear to mentor friends of different levels.
- While you are mentoring, you can use any of your abilities that you would normally have at that level.
- You can select "Stop Mentoring" if you wish to stop acting as a Mentor to your ally. If the Mentor or Apprentice leaves the group, the Mentor will go back to their original level.
This new feature has the potential to solve many nagging frustrations with the game. For example, We did a low-level guild raid last weekend. We knew that a level 24 would gray out some of the mobs in that raid, but thought that a level 23 would not. I turned off experience 90 percent of the way to 24 so that I could participate. But when the day came, it turned out that 23 would gray the lesser bosses in the zone, too. The other level 23 and I disbanded to allow an atttempt on one of the mobs with color, but that was unsuccessful.
One of the basic issues that all players face is that people level at different rates. With focus, levels can come pretty fast in EQ2. Just going on a two week vacation can make it impossible to group with the characters that once were your peers. The positive side of powerleveling was that someone was willing to make the commitment to giving up experience rewards for the sake of leveling up someone else, so that they could in time play together as peers.
Mentoring changes all that. There appears to be no limit to the level difference that can be bridged, although characters below level 10 cannot be mentored.
By mentoring someone, you effectively become that level, with a full bar of experience. Your gear is prorated, and presumably your Health and Power are too. You are considered to have a full bar of experience, e.g., you are 99% of the way to the next level, for purposes of calculating which skills are available to you. Some classes gain the ability to wear new kinds of armor at level 20, presumably this armor will continue to be effective at a reduced rate should the wearer mentor down below level 20.
Because of the derating, the mentor shares the same risk as the apprentice, and so, can reap the reward. Since experience gain is lessened for the mentor and increased for the apprentice, the apprentice should be able to catch up. Since we don't have numbers, we don't know how fast, though. One question: Up to 5 mentors may mentor the same apprentice, does the apprentice get a boost to experience for each one? Does the bonus add?
Some quests and writs have a level cap. You can't get the writ if you are over a certain level. Does mentoring someone of the appropriate level mean that you CAN get the writ?
The low-level guild raids will become more interesting, since everyone in the guild can come, as long as we have one player that is of the appropriate level.
Finally, it is now possible to go back and experience content that you had outleveled. Experience gain is pretty fast, and there's a lot of content in the game. With mentoring and a lower-level friend, this content can be experienced at the appropriate risk. After all, risk is what makes it fun.
A difference of a few levels means a lot in Everquest 2. Thus the restrictions on grouping together. And there's nothing more frustrating to a low-level player than watching a high-level come in and farm the mobs that the low level needs for experience. Thus the trivial loot code. However, these features ended up making it harder to form a group, and harder to group with people that you had met and liked. Mentoring seems to solve that. Bring it on!