Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How I Learned to Love Solusek's Eye

So what's a high elf with fabulous slightly-reddish tinted hair doing in a wretched hive a scum and villainy like Mos Eisley Freeport? I like the dungeons here, that's why. And I guess I just like slumming.

I leveled to about level 20 in Najena. The first real group I got was by the pool, surrounded by goblins and a few "skeletons" that were deep red to me. But my group, many of which were red to me, could handle them, and they liked the fact that I could breeze them. No mezzing was necessary to this group. That was around level 16 or so, though I had started lower than that. I had one group where there were two enchanters, the other had charmed a minotaur as a pet and was using it to dps. This worked surprisingly well in a group setting. I did buffing, dps, and the occasional mez when needed. This got me through level 20 or so, and stuff started turning mostly green and light blue. Time to move on.

So I moved over to Solusek's Eye, or Sol A, as it's known. Groups can be slow to get in to, but when I get them, I've zoomed. I've had a camp in the Foreman's room (#11 on the linked map), near the Efreeti and Kindle (South of #3), and in the Bar(#15). Each of these camps has netted me two dings, in the course of 3 or so hours of play.

Waits for groups can be long and frustrating, because the usual modus operandi of all groups in Sol A (and Najena, too) seems to be: be slightly overpowered, and pull widely. That cuts down the number of groups that the ecology can support. And apparently as I level up, it will be even more difficult, since the available camps/mobs becomes less when playing classic.

And so I spend the time trying to get better at fighting with a charmed pet. I'm still something of a noob at this, but I'm managing to actually make some progress now. The first time around in EQ, I never was able to master this, I usually ended up dying when the charm broke and now 2 mobs were trying to eat me.

That of course happens, but probably the crucial issue is management of my HP and mana. You must keep yourself set up to deal with, erm, contingencies, because they happen. Boy do they happen. I've decided that the best thing to do when you've just regained control of the situation with about 5% hit points left is to gate out, heal, and try again. Especially when you've run out of bandages.

But eventually I would get a group, which I strongly prefer. In these groups I got to engage in classic Everquest enchanter gameplay: Breeze, Haste, mez, mez, mez, and mez some more. All while managing text chat conversations with a group of people who were strangers an hour before. Four of my Efreeti group were returning players who said similar things, that they hungered for the old-school EQ gameplay. However, the level of play seems, in general, to be much better now than it was back then. Well, mostly.

Last nights camp, in the Bar, went really well at first. Our tank, a barbie warrior and I were on the same page, and he let me control extra spawns, focusing on burning down the targeted mob and controlling it. When the bar itself started to respawn, things could get hairy. But that's when I get busy. Since it's indoors, I can't use an overhead view to speed up targeting for mez, (A technique I learned from my heroine, Karaya). So I move around a lot, and I've been known to stand on tables. No dancing as yet though.

There were a couple moments when the pops happened right as I was rebuffing, and so, I my routine looked like this:

Mez. Sit for enough mana. Mez another. Sit for enough mana. Mez another. Resist! Sit for enough mana. Mez.

However, no one died. Well, the puller once got rooted and killed, very quickly, before we had a chance to help him. But not on the big respawns or pulls. I love this. No other game has this gameplay. Interestingly, many others in the group felt the same way. The more chaotic situations that the dungeon designs provide for mean that defensive skills matter. Rooting, snaring to prevent adds when the mob runs, etc.

Many of the other MMO's I've played reduce to DPS and healing. Maybe the stickiness of the tank matters, but often the mobs die so fast that it doesn't really. In EQ, everyone has to be thinking and aware of what the others are doing.

As an example, here's how my last group ended. The warrior left, having dinged. (And he was getting sleepy, I think.) So we had a ranger pulling, and another one dpsing. He wasn't as sticky as warrior was, and more squishy, but we had both a shammy and a druid, so it wasn't a big deal. What was a big deal was his inclination to run off and pull more stuff when there were still mezzed mobs standing around our camp. A second druid joined our camp, and he had the inclination to put dots on a mob that I had just mezzed. Both he and the other ranger, it seemed, had forgotten about the whole "make an assist button" thing.

But still we coped with that. Then the second (dpsing) druid started afk-ing for phone calls. This was at 11pm PDT, mind you. Who is calling him at that hour? And multiple times, too? The second (halfling) ranger then afk'ed. We picked up a second shammy, who wanted to melee, but our first shammy moved into a corner behind the bar, and seemed to not be doing anything, the pulling ranger went to pull while I had the bartender mezzed, and so there we were: I had no mana, the shammy was trying to melee down a goblin, one ranger was MIA and the other was staring at a wall, the other shammy was sitting in a corner. Oh yes, and the newcomer druid was on a phone call. When I read the words "Evac incoming" from druid, I nearly woke up the rest of my household with a cheer.

I sent her a tell: "good call" She replied, "Yeah, that was getting stupid." And she kindly ported me to Commonlands, where I went and sold stuff.

I think maybe everyone was getting tired. Or something. The good news: I'm now level 27, and Clarity-enabled. (And yes, I did bring that spell with me into the dungeon.) And my cash situation is pretty good. I didn't get any of the good sellable gear drops, but there was lots of reasonably nice trash drops, selling for multiple plats. But I can probably afford a few upgrades from the sellers in the Commonlands, scum and villains though they are. I'm probably going to stay in Sol A for at least another 5 levels. After that, I'm not sure what's next. Maybe Sol B, if it works, or maybe even Lower Guk.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved the spirit of old EQ... Drive by buffing, complete strangers giving you stuff just to help you out... That spirit was, in my experience, completely missing from EQ2.

6:20 AM  
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