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Return to Everquest Part 2: Crafty Devil

Phil James Posted:
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Be sure to read Return to Everquest Part 1.

I don’t have much time.  I don’t mean right at this very moment.  Right now there’s no rush.  You can relax, take your shoes off and keep reading while I put the kettle on.  I mean that real life has got in the way of my better, shinier, virtual life and I’m left with only a few hours to play.  Anyone who plays games will know of the pain that this causes.  If you don’t play games, what are you doing here?  Get lost!  Leave and check out some ‘fail’ videos on YouTube instead.

For the rest of us I’m sure I don’t need to point out that having limited log-in time is like losing a limb, but a thousand times worse.  Doing long shifts in work to earn money is the pits compared to a rewarding 12 hour virtual grind farming plat.

So what is a guy to do?  Reading this may give you a clue that I write about MMOs.  As a rule I like to devote around 10-15 hours a week or so to knock out one of these masterpieces.  Of course being the junkie that I am means that I end up playing more than that (a lot more).  But when time is short I worry that I can’t generate enough content to write about.  Add into the mix that Everquest takes a lot of time – I know because I bought a Prima guide, and it says so right at the beginning – you can understand my dilemma.  Do I skip a week or two until things get back to normal or stick to the plan and write a piece each week?  The fact that I’ve waffled on for over 250 words must make you wise to my decision.

Ok, so I’m trying to see if Everquest, a game I played but didn’t stick with, can grab me the second time around.  The fact is that I’m going to have days and weeks when I can’t devote much of my precious time to playing games, so any mmo is going to have to offer me some fun in small amounts.  So let’s see how it goes.

This week I’ve started crafting by accident.  How this came about is due to the name of the game:  Everquest.  I mean it says it right there; questing for EVER.  This is the most misleading title since The Greatest Story Ever Told – greatest?  Really? How can it be the ‘greatest’ when it doesn’t even have robots in it? Duh! Granted Everquest does indeed contain quests, just not as many as WoW and it’s post-WoW brethren.  This is fine though, I’m not really into endless chains of quests that lack all meaning and after several hundred they all become a blur.

I decided to undertake the armour quests.  This is pretty contentious on the progression server (and not just because I come from the old world and spell armour with a ‘u’). According to many rage-quitters, these quests shouldn’t be in the game yet, the armour is too powerful and the whole thing is unbalancing the old school experience.  I however didn’t play EQ way back when so having some quests with shiny loot at the end sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

The thing I love about questing in Everquest is that nobody holds your hand.  You get given your task and after that you’d damn well better set about learning how to do it.  To use the armour quests as an example, you get given a list of items you need for each of the pieces you want to create, a list you have to write down on honest-to-goodness-real-life paper.  Everquest doesn’t want you to have an in-game checklist and waypoint arrows – too easy!  No, you do it the old-school way or not at all.  If you think I’m complaining, guess again, and look at the top of this paragraph.  I love stuff like this; it makes me feel part of a big adventure to get my shopping list out and through the help of other players and the internet find out where I harvest all this stuff from.  I also get a kick out of seeing my list being crossed off (I’m just over halfway there – yay!).

The materials I had to gather together included such things as Matted Greater Cat Pelts x20 (I already had a couple of dozen of these.  Bonus!), a Giant Scarab Brain, a Lion Mane, a Cutthroat Insignia Ring and so on in that fashion.  Most items are fairly easy to come by, however, getting a Coyote Pelt caused me no small amount of difficulty.  I was grinding away in the Desert of Ro where coyotes spawn.  Unfortunately coyotes there are as rare as a hen in a fox sanctuary and getting a pelt from them is as easy as getting a tooth from said hen.  I did see plenty of armadillos though, maybe they ate all the coyotes.  At this moment I am still sadly lacking a Coyote Pelt.  I guess some things aren’t meant to be.

Overall though, I enjoyed the questing part of my adventures, but then came the crafting.  I’m not a big on tradeskills to begin with, I’ll give it a go in any game but I don’t take a great deal of satisfaction from it.  I’m more of an explorer/adventurer.  First time around, EQ crafting was one of the things that put me off.  The actual combining of items is pretty straight forward, but the list of materials for each skill is overwhelming.  When I first played, I attempted to do a bit of tailoring.  I had bags full of skins and pelts but still needed a skinning knife.  I became less enthused when I discovered that I had to make the knife myself – what am I, a blacksmith? Bah! I lost all interest when I found that I was miles away from any vendor who could sell me a mould to make one.

What can I say?  I did tell you I wasn’t much of a crafter.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.  For those who love a bit of D.I.Y, please don’t hate me.  I’m willing to accept that the fault is all mine.

Despite the trials and tribulations of the make-and-do process, I did manage to get a few pieces done and have upgraded my stats considerably.  Fortunately, mine isn’t one of the classes whose armour quests are broken.  There are more than a few complaints about this floating about the forums.  If you’re one of these poor souls, I feel for you.  If I had tried again and again to craft my own armour with no success only to find out it was broken from the outset, I might have rage-quit.

So to compare my experience from then and now, I give the following marks...  For crafting it scores zero points back then and the same amount now.  For questing however, I wasn’t really into the lack of in game support when I first played.  I thought all quests should be scribbled down in your journal with explicit directions.  Now I’m really getting a kick out of the ‘hardcore’ mode of finding your own path so EQ scores a point.  Anyway, time to go.  Kettle has boiled and I award myself 10 out or 10 for my brilliant cups of tea.


Phil James