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Discovering the Venues of Norrath

In retrospect and to Grimwell and Gallente's credit, I realized that some favorable revision has taken place when it comes to my bonechillingly inflated pet peeve in regards to having to sit around and wait for spawns of common monsters in order to complete a quest. For example, once I was required to take down 15 animated scarecrows in Thundering Steppes, and now I think that same quest is down to 5. So, while the problem is not solved, the EQ2 team has demonstrated a willingness to quell that issue once and for all.

Today, I find myself frustrated and dispossessed, but this isn't EQ2's fault so much as blow over from real life sources of frustration. So it is that I'm more surly than usual when confronted with a quest log and wondering, "What next?" My goal is to purge myself of the Qeynos and Freeport poison. While heavy revisions have occurred to each, both cities' masochistic quests have been as tenacious as roaches versus the valiant efforts to quash them, so I am considering the alternate venues. Places I can go with minimal launch content:

Echoes of Faydwer - The most recent expansion, this is the newest and shiniest part of the game, and suitable for all levels. Unfortunately, it's easier to start a new character here than it is to take an existing character from outside and try to figure out where your level-appropriate content is, and I'm all alted out. Simple solution? Cheat: use some EQ2 site to look up the quest givers of that level here.

Kingdom of Sky - The second major expansion for EverQuest 2 this suitable for levels 55-70. Too rich for my heroes right now. Although, even lowbies can appreciate how the portals provide a nice shortcut between zones.

Desert of Flames - The oldest of EverQuest 2 expansions and one intended for levels 45-60. It could also be debated as the most innovative, as it introduced features such as climbing sheer faces, customized avatar cosmetic features, and even a multi-factional city that switches allegiances based off of players' actions. Considering its age, I'm hoping there's still players playing it when I get there.

Rise of Kunark currently has a target date in November. This expansion will cover levels 1-20 and levels 65-80. With level 30ish characters, it seems I'm SoL... but I've a few months to get to 65. In November it'll be the place to be (until everybody gets bored of exploiting the newly released nooks and crannies).

There's also the option of Adventure Packs. The Splitpaw Saga Adventure Pack (20-50), The Bloodline Chronicles Adventure Pack (30-45), and The Fallen Dynasty Adventure Pack (55-70). These are mostly instanced storyline-based experiences, and thus much more intimate than the expansions, but they're mostly just short diversions.

Well, it looks like the path is actually fairly clear: Echoes of Faydwer is the place to be. At 45, I've the option to go Desert of Flames. At 55, Kingdom of Sky. At 65, Rise of Kunark. I suspect that those level ranges are not coincidental.

It's remarkable, really, that here I am an old hand around EverQuest 2 (I've had an account since the game was released) and that I've invested hundreds of hours into the game (mostly scattered across a plethora of alts) but I'm still a relative newbie. Of all the expansions and adventure packs outlined above, I've only really played the original release and a little bit of Echoes of Faydwer. I've yet to do anything significant with the Transmuting and Gadgetry secondary trade skills, either. My only excuse is that the bigger these games get the harder it becomes to put all the parts into perspective. EverQuest 2, to both its glory and lament, is huge.

I also had a chance to play with Legends of Norrath today. I'm not sure how intensive the beta NDA lockdown is right now, so I'll keep that under wraps. All I will say about it for now is that it seems like it is satisfyingly deep and it can be handily minimized at any time to get back to tending matters in Norrath proper. I actually received a group invite when playing it today and I could see it being a handy way to handle downtime if you're looking for group. (However, I wasn't looking for group, and eventually ended up /ignoring the persistent spaz who was bothering me.)

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