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, November 30, 2004

Crow's Feet?

Living in Castleview as I do, my innkeeper Valean asked me to look in The Down Below to see if I could spot some books stolen from him down there. I noticed a stack of books behind each vendor, which sure enough, contained some of his books, though the vendors didn't try to sell them to me.

But closer examination of the pile of books themselves revealed another quest, one to find out about a strange symbol of an eye. This quest led me to many citizens of Qeynos, most of whom were afraid to talk about some dark cabal lurking below the Down Below. Our quest led us to an undead royal deep in the sewers, and an encounter with the Undead Prince and his bodyguard. But when we were done, we found a statue that allowed us into a new area of the sewers, "Crow's End" -- also known as Crow's Final Resting Place.

From my ancestor on Norrath I had heard of a Crow's Tavern in Qeynos, which was the center of much mischief and a den of corruption. Perhaps this is related?

In all, a fine adventure with more to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On the road again

I completed the Tour of Antonica tour the other night. Boy was that fun! I did a lot of sprinting to get away from orange and red mobs. Too bad sprinting isn't a skill I can improve.

As a reward I got the Bootstrutters Adventure Pack, a 10-slot backpack. That made it all seem worthwhile, not to mention the experience you get when you visit all these places in Antonica.

The quest must be done in order, but it's good to remember what you've seen, because It goes back and forth somewhat. Also, read the book for additional clues to where places are. And make good use of the griffons, if you can. Some people seem to have gfx trouble with them, though. Jenian completely blackscreened when she mounted her griffon.

The final spot to visit is the hidden vale, which is, in fact, Surefall Glade! With lots of hostile bears, (to me anyway). That was my only death. There is a bear patrolling the entry way, but he isn't hostile.

Other than that, I won't spoil it openly, but I'd be glad to help you out in game.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Motherboard Miracle

As I posted earlier, we've been having trouble running Everquest II on our home systems.

This weekend, I decided to bite the bile duct and try a new motherboard. The ones we had used the VIA chipset to run the AGP bus (among other things). I tried out a motherboard that used the latest nVidia chipset, and the problems disappeared. I'd be the last to badmouth VIA, they have a good reputation in this part of Norrath, but apparently the nVidia cards I have are idiosyncratic in some way that the nVidia chipset can understand.

So, happy times ensued at Huxley Manor. The random crashes, reboots and freezes appear to be a thing of the past.

Friday, November 19, 2004

One enchanted evening

I finished the quest required to subclass from mage to enchanter yesterday. It was, er, charming. It really highlighted all the things that appeal to me about enchanters, I hope the other classes subclass quests are as interesting. I'm not going to spoil it for you, though.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Toldain, High Elf Enchanter, Citizen of Qeynos, Highkeep, EQII

Toldain, High Elf Enchanter, Tholuxe Paells, Everquest

Aquino, Human Monk, Tholuxe Paells, Everquest

Fahfrd, Barbarian Priest, Citizen of Freeport, EQII

Hardware Woes

Lobilya and I are having a hard time getting EQ2 to run smoothly. Well, being the scholar of the family, mostly I've been responsible for getting this to work. So we bought new motherboards with Athlon 2800+ processors. Then we got 2 Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT cards. I brought the home and installed them, and stuff didn't work very well. I ended up having to reinstall Windows.

Then I tried to install Everquest. I hadn't noticed that we had bought the DVD ediiton of EQ2! So back to the store to get a nice DVD Rom drive. Once EQ2 is installed, the first thing it does is scan all the installed files and look for updates.

So it begins the process of downloading updates. Sadly, I have a very hard time keeping the machine up for this process, which turns out to be very frustrating. Sometimes the client crashes, and sometimes my system spontaneously reboots. Persistence pays off on my machine and we get a working copy, although very unstable. Lobi's machine is much worse, we can't seem to get through the scan/download phase.

It turns out that her hard drive has many bad sectors on its disk complicating things. I managed to get her a working install by using our home LAN to push all the files to her from my system. But both systems are somewhat shaky. I noticed that just before the EQ2 client crashes or hangs, I could hear my poor hard drive going crazy, so I went out and bought a new one, duplicated the old one to it, and that seemed to improve things. I got a Hitachi drive (7200rpm, I didn't pop for the 10K rpm drive, I ain't THAT rich) because they seem to have a slightly faster seek time. It helped.

But once last night I still got a random reboot. And several client crashes. Most of the client crashes were in South Qeynos zone, so I suspect that there is some load associated with this zone or with the number of players in the zone that causes problems for the client.

I speculate that there is a fairly large amount of data associated with a character that must be published to all other clients in the same zone. All that detail about size, face, coloring, etc. doesn't come for free. When this traffic gets too high, you see problems on the client, because it can't keep up with the datastream, messages from the server get dropped on the floor and chaos ensues.

Just a wild-eyed guess from this pointy-ears.

One last word. The motherboards I got use the VIA chipset to run the AGP and PCI bus. I think this was a mistake, and I should have paid the extra money for the nVidia chipset instead. I just wasn't thinking.

Good Morning!

It's 6am, and I got up to see Lobilya off to nursing clinic. Sadly, there's an EQ2 patch this morning and the servers are down because of it. So, I took the opportunity to create this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to communicate with all my friends who enjoy MMORPG's like I do. So maybe, just maybe, we can get ourselves on the same server, or plan when we are going to be on or what we are going to do, and so on. Or maybe we can chat about developments in the game world, where the good gear is, and so on.

If you didn't know, I have worked as a game developer for a short period of time. And I expect some of the other readers of this blog to be software developers. So we will geek out from time to time.