Sunday night—I proclaimed 6 pm zero hour—no disturbances for dad. I was going to take up endgame raiding with my old EQII guild once again. I sent the kids to grandma’s (not solely for gaming purposes, but it was convenient), told the wife I had computer-related commitments, poured a large glass of iced tea, and settled down for an evening in Deathtoll. After zoning in, I had plenty of time to ponder a beholder–damn things were level epic level 73 x3 mobs with an insane AoE.
I was anxious to see how much different it was raiding in EQII versus my more recent WoW endgame experiences. Since my highest ‘toon in EQII is a guardian, and hardly geared to tank such an instance, I was mostly an observer for the entire run—that was fine with me. While I have always prided myself on tanking, this was no time to learn pulls in a new instance, and I was assured my rare, crafted tier 7 armor would be about as effective as cardboard to the mobs inside the instance.
I was on about fifteen minutes before raid time—this proved to be a mistake. It was almost a full hour past the scheduled raid time when we finally pulled the first beholder. Chalk one up for my former guildmates in WoW—both endgame guilds I was in either excluded you from the raid if you were late, or docked your DKP. Other than the late start, I have no complaints with how things progressed. I really enjoyed the fights–they were fast paced and the Droags are just wicked looking (did I just date myself?) I think this one was a level 72 epic x 3.
At level 68, a number of the mobs were orange to me—coupled with the fact they were level 73 epic x3s for the most part, and it was exhilarating. I was able to pick up a few AAs to boot. Since I have just returned, I’m starting out with no real DKP in the bank, so I wasn’t expecting a part of the loot, regardless of what dropped. Besides, I am saving DKP for when both my ‘zerker and mystic are up to raiding level and I transfer them over from my casual guild to “main” status. I should have a little ceremony—I also hope to have some DKP for them.
- Rules were clear at the beginning—“guardian X is MT; this person is MA.”
- Teamspeak discipline: only the raid leader and tanks talked, unless someone had a specific, short comment about the fight itself.
- Raid leader instructions were clear and concise.
There were no debates about strategies, and if clarification was asked for, it was freely given.
- Bidding: while I did not bid on anything, the process was smooth and quick.
- Pace: the raid moved and engaged mobs nonstop which was a relief after the wait to begin. Even after wiping a few times on bosses, we were back fighting in a matter of minutes.
- EQII UI: I have barely modified my UI, but there are so many variables to manipulate in the stock UI that it is difficult to set up a raid-friendly display quickly—no titles/last names, lower graphics, etc. I am also unwilling to add a lot of custom UI stuff to my game.
- The Raid Group window—too big and clunky—in 40 man WoW raids as a healer I could have multiple groups up, some 2x and still see better.
- Length of raids—my last guild ran raids in 2 hour shifts—that was nice for a working guy like me.
- Debuffs—I liked that WoW told me when things were dispelled/buffed—I had to really look close, and that wasn’t enough sometimes, to notice when my targets had lost their buffs.
First impressions of my guild, and it is really new to me as I’ve been gone so long, and raiding in EQ2 again: the content seems more difficult, nuanced, and complex than when I left. It is also a considerably steeper learning curve than tanking in WoW. My “tryout” for one endgame guild in WoW was tanking in a team Molten Core—as a fury build. It went fine, I kept aggro, and was wearing blues. There is no way I could have replicated that in Deathtoll, no matter how good the healers. However, the elements of a successful raid, whether in WoW or another MMORG are ubiquitous. While many of the players we formed the EQ2 guild with at launch are gone, it is still a strong and talented raid force. I am so lucky to have friends that will let a game-hopper like me come back and jump into things. More pics to come as I have time!