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Monday, November 06, 2006

A Look at the Echoes of Faydwer Beta

by Anskiere

Ahh, Echoes of Faydwer. SOE’s latest EverQuest II expansion. Where to start?

Level 1 to 70!

This is our first expansion to not only include a new race, but also have content from levels 1 to 70 – let’s start with that. One of the things I enjoyed the most about the setup of this 1-70 expansion is that the zones aren’t in a linear progression like they have been so far. In Faydwer there is nothing like we saw in the original zones (City -> Antonica/Commonlands -> Thundering Steppes/Nektulos etc., etc.) Instead, you take a wrong turn with your Fae in Greater Faydark, and oops! You’re now in the Loping Plains, home of Castle Mistmoore and other nasties. I personally enjoy this kind of thing. I’m not sure if saying “It makes it seem more real” is what I mean by it, but it does at least give an interesting dynamic.

Capes!

Wait… capes? You thought they were cloaks right? So did I… until I saw them. They are, without a doubt… capes! Now my wizard can look like a SUPERHERO WIZARD! Just what I always wanted, really. Oh well, like the look or not, here they are. And they do give something to guilds – the ability to have something completely (well, for your server at least) unique for the characters in the guild. And with that, the stats on the common tailor made ones are nothing exciting... seriously. I believe people will mostly get those just to own a cloak. The rare versions (made with the appropriate rare root for that tier) are a little better. Then there are of course quested and dropped capes, too. Once you do all the quests for your deity, you receive a cape… which brings me to the next subject!

Oh My Gods!

The deity system in place is pretty good. I don’t really have any major qualms about it, nor is it –really- that exciting. Let me explain. You start off doing quests for your deity, and after the first you receive and alter to pray at (that you place in your home). At the alter you sacrifice items to gain favor with your deity. You then use the favor to “buy” blessings and miracles from your deity. You unlock the blessings and miracles by going through the quest line. Now blessings, overall, are 10 minute duration, one hour recast skills that either do something like summon a pet to help you, or augment you skills (in the case of Solusek Ro, there are blessings that made heat based spells harder to resist, adds a heat proc to hostile spells, increases damage of heat based spells, etc.). Miracles, on the other hand, are either instant (damage or something of the like) or one minute duration, one hour recast. They give greater buffs than the blessings, but of course… only last a minute at best. In the case of Solusek Ro again, there is one blessing that reduces reuse timers, casting timers, and power cost of all heat based spells by 50% for the duration. Another that will inflict 16601 heat damage on a target that is below 50% HP.

So, while they can seem awesome, you always have to keep in mind that they -are- on one hour recast timers. Oh, and you can only have one blessing and one miracle “bought” at any one time (if you try to get another, it will tell you that you will be losing your current blessing/miracle). And there is one more thing, too… you can only use a blessing/miracle twice before you have to go back to your alter and buy it again. Also, as just a note, the blessing/miracle isn’t available right after you buy it – you have to wait for it to refresh before you can use it (so an hour wait from when you purchase to when you can use it the first time).

Now TLing to Antonica, Commonlands, and GFay for donations!

That’s right, ports are back! Being a wizard, I can obviously touch base on those more than the druid stuff, but I try my best. Wizards (well, sorcerers, so warlocks too) will now have access to both group portals and single-target translocates to the Antonica spires, the Commonlands spires, and the spires in Greater Faydark. This involves a little quest, but it is easy and not time consuming. Druids also get ports, though I am not sure of the specifics. One thing I did gather, however, is that apparently not only do the druids have to have the spells from their little quest to get them, but the people who want to be ported by them apparently have to have visited the location and gotten an item. Upside is I’m pretty sure druids can port to more places. Or that could just be the rumors I heard, and it could work completely different. Oh well, it’s still good to be a wizard.

Nostalgia

For anyone who played EverQuest 1 (well, okay, to anyone who actually played when Faydwer was big[and people actually played there], before all those fancy expansions…), Echoes of Faydwer really gives you that nice kick of nostalgia. There are enough things that are new so that everyone isn’t saying “yeah, saw it all in EQ1 whoopy”, and enough things that are old that have people saying “Wow, I remember this in EQ1…”

My favorite part would have to be the first time I ran across the spires in GFay. I was following a path, rounded a corner with some weird, seemingly out of place stone, and then the music hit as I came around the corner, looked up… and just said, “wow…”. It’s no wimpy Ulteran spire, no… it is a spire from the Combine Empire, one of the originals.

New Tunaria is also nostalgic, for any who had a High Elf in the early days. But something is not quite right there…

Holy Horses Batman!

Wow. The horses got an overhaul. New looks, new animations. Yes, now your horse doesn’t just run in mid-air while it is jumping. It actually –jumps-! And remember how silly it looked when you were standing still on your horse and jumped? Now a thing of the past! When standing in place on a horse and jumping, the horse will now rear up instead. A lovely addition… and a long time coming.

Secondary Tradeskilling

Admittedly, I didn’t really touch much on tinkering and transmuting while I was playing, so I can’t really talk about any mechanics of them. What I can say, however, is that what I saw was wonderful!

Tinkered items range from things that let you breathe underwater, to hover mounts, to… a portable mender! Goodbye repair kits, hello mender in my pocket!

Transmuting is another beast. You have to transmute items to get the consumables to make adornments for armor. Sound confusing? It really isn’t. You transmute say… some master I spell and get an infusion. You transmute an adept and get some other thing… you get the picture. Then you make adornments that you can place on armor. Each kind of adornment can only go in one slot (for example, it will say in the description that this adornment can only be placed on an item that does in an earring slot). Adornments range from +stats/resists to +haste to %damage reduction on fall damage, and all the in betweens.

And, in closing…

I realize that I didn’t talk much about the actual zones or anything involved in EoF. Honestly, I would really love to leave that up to the people to explore and discover. My intention here was to only give an overview of what to expect with the new expansion. I am sure other places are out there that have more details on zones, mobs, etc. if you want them. Hopefully everyone will enjoy this expansion as much as I have enjoyed testing it out!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Scott Adams said...

Wow an EQ2 post again! I had almost given up checking here since you hadn't commented on EQ2 in a while.

I am really looking forward to the EoF launch. It's like what Kunark did for Eqlive. A whole new LARGE continent and a new player race. What's not to like !

6:33 PM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

"Wow an EQ2 post again!"

We had to beat it out of him, really.
Well, actually, he beat it out of me *shows off black eye*

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice preview, thanks for posting again!

10:20 PM  
Anonymous fergle f ferleson said...

Indeed, nice preview. I was already on-board to get the expansion, but i'm far more fired up now.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Duister said...

Nice to have you back with an EQ2 piece. Just like Scott wrote, I also had almost given up on checking your blog. I hope EQ2 has sucked you back in again with this expansion.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Aggro Me said...

Actually my good friend Anskiere wrote this post but it did fire me up to start playing again.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Scott Adams said...

Ah great to hear Agro!

I look forward to you getting back in the game and give us more of your insightful articles!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Kyote Weregard said...

You know for a moment I too thought that aggro had gotten back into the posting habit, until I got to the part about nostalgic feeling for the old EQ game.
That didnt sound like him as I could have sworn that I remembered reading one of aggros posts where he said he had missed the early days of EQ or maybe missed it entirely... sure enough I look back at the title and see where anskiere was the actual poster.
Anyhow it was nice to see a new post.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Leko said...

Nice write up. Now get back on Naggy so the Brownie Troop can gank you.

10:58 AM  

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