Listening to a recent EQ2-Daily.com podcast (I think it was 38), the hosts made mention of the disparity between SOE’s recommended level range for zones, and the actual level where people are able to adventure in said zone. I believe the discussion centered on the new zone of Unrest—Tipa snapped some nice screen shots of both the original EQ1 zone and the new haunted castle that are worth a look, by the way. To further emphasize their point, the hosts of the podcast went on to mention despite SOE’s assertion that The Desert of Flames expansion was intended for high-level 40s and upwards, in fact you could adventure there much earlier. For the record, when I hit 50 I am going to ward my ‘zerker and make that run to the Unrest fountain. I hope this isn’t construed as cheating.
This discussion added another dimension to my impressions with leveling and content difficulty since returning to Everquest II. Until quite recently, I attributed the accelerated pace at which my ‘toons leveled to a variety of factors. First, my original main was a guardian, and without AAs damage was the last thing on his list of strengths, no pun intended. Further, the mystic/berserker combination I have been using of late works well together and lends a good degree of flexibility during fights. I also assumed since I could afford to make rare armor, better weapons, and am generally able to “twink” my ‘toons gear and abilities each tier, coupled with my experience in the game itself, that I was generally maximizing in-game time for questing and grinding progression.
Is this true? Or could it be that some experience tables have been adjusted? Is there some other tangible factor I have missed? Is it the revamp of combat systems and class abilities? I do expect to level faster with each alt I roll—that is a given, although the current duo stuck mostly to new zones for the first 25 levels or so. I can’t put a date on it, or a Live Update for that matter, but I do recall some adjustments that were made relative to mob experience given and difficulty level during the first year. However, Wilhelm’s recent comparison between World of Warcraft and Everquest II leveling times was surprising to say the least. Despite his example’s singularity, I think it still can be taken as general indicator of the current leveling rates in both games for the solo player. One of the big selling points in WoW, at least for experienced gamers, is the ability to solo your way from level 1 to 70. You can play the game and progress at an appreciable rate without help from others. Will you miss out on a large amount of content? Certainly.
The first time around for me in Everquest II, it was a much longer haul to the benchmarks of progression, which is only natural. I recall making it to this fight, the access for the Enchanted Lands, after over a month of gaming. I was probably level 27 or so at the time.
By April of the following year, I finally achieved that awesome milestone of level fifty around five months after launch.
Could I have moved faster the first time around? Certainly—I did a lot of quests, and a lot of tradeskilling, including starting a tailor/troubadour. However, my current pace towards level fifty with both the berserker and the mystic is considerably quicker, in comparison. I’m at ten play days on the berserker, and he is level 45—I have also moved him to a comparable level as a carpenter. I am curious if anyone else feels the game has slid towards a more solo-friendly climb, or if my impressions are just that—impressions of something I can’t quantify. I am aware that SOE has made an effort to increase small group experience, which may explain my duo’s quick rise up the ranks. If, as Wilhelm’s study suggests, the leveling rate in EQII is comparable to WoW, I think this is a strength and shows that prospective subscribers are in fact choosing between other factors besides pace when selecting a game to play, and not as many critics have labeled it, Evergrind.