I have realized that Everquest 2 is, at its heart, a complicated game about inventory management in which you occasionally fight monsters.
I will explain.
My wife has been steeping in pre-release hype and events for the forthcoming WoW expansion, and her sheer enthusiasm and unchecked excitement got me back on the MMO horse after (checks date since last FFXIV post) nine MONTHS of being clean.
Unlike FFXIV, EQ and EQ2 don’t really have stories that finish. Historically, I play them until something frustrates me and I log off for a couple of days that turns into a week and then it’s just like it was never part of my life until the next time something triggers me to jump back in. Expect a nice ranty post when I hit that point, but for now it’s back to life in Norrath like I’d never left.
Anyway, I logged in my level 95 Swashbuckler and found that they were only five levels behind the current level cap, so obviously the best plan was to go to the starting zone of whatever expansion raised the cap to 100 and start taking quests from that point. This worked out pretty well. I got to level 100 and replaced all of my gear, and then I decided to skip straight to the latest set of level 100 zones and did the quests there and replaced all of my gear AGAIN and was digging it so I logged in ANOTHER level 95 character and got THEM to 100…
…and then I realized that my bank – always a little too full, always a little bit creaking at the seams – was past the point where my old solution (“buy bigger bags!”) had any possibility of working. I had bag after bag of random bits of armor and equipment, collection pieces, cosmetic items, tradeskill books and quest items and just mountains of junk in general.
To the credit of the dev team, EQ2 has implemented some storage solutions to make the mountains more manageable. The original example was a Tradeskill Depot, basically a big box that you can put into your guild hall and put crafting components into and where any crafting done in the guild hall automatically pulls from the depot. This is a “guild amenity”, which means that you need to start a guild and then level the guild up to level 30 where you can buy a guild hall and then populate it with various amenities like a guild banker and the tradeskill box and a “reality anchor” that lets any guild member teleport back to the guild hall and so on and so on. My wife and I started guild years and years ago for the sole purpose of having a guild hall so we could share amenities, and the tradeskill box was a huge reason for this.
Since I last played, the EQ2 devs have added some new kinds of storage depots to address other needs, and getting these other depots seemed like the best way to tackle the mess. That meant leveling the guild up a bit, because ours was level 37 (more on this in a second) and needed to get to level 40 to get more amenity slots.
The problem rises when considering that guilds are not meant to be leveled by one person. They level through accumulating “status”, which is sort of a secondary reward you get from completing quests and killing certain extra-powerful enemies. So, if you have a raid force of 24 characters, and they kill a boss, the guild gets status for the boss kill from each of those characters. Say it gives ten thousand, that’s 240000 status put towards leveling the guild. If you were to kill the same boss by yourself, that’s only 10000 for the guild.
There is a loophole, of sorts, in that there are infinitely-repeatable crafting quests you can do, and each of these quests generates a little bit of status, and they also give a generous amount of crafting experience for the character you’re doing the quests on, so they’re a good way to get your crafting levels up while helping our your guild.
I’ve always held that tradeskills are the devil – but, for reasons that I won’t explore, I had three level 95 crafters. I took all three of these characters and spent maybe an hour per on leveling them using the repeatable quests. High level crafting quests give a guild 3000 status per completion, so I got surprisingly good results and the guild wound up 40% of the way into level 38.
My wife’s inactive account, while still limited to level 95, had a level 91 crafter on it, so I logged on there and did the same thing, and that was good for another 10% of 38. The next highest-level crafting character I had was level 22. I logged her in anyway, did a crafting quest, and the guild got… 160 status. This didn’t actually move the guild experience bar at all, but it DID give the character enough crafting experience to get to level 23.
I kept going.
It took ten hours to get to level 100, and the guild hit level 40 when I was just shy of level 99. I kept going because, by this point, I’d become numb to the process of getting the quest, completing the quest, turning it in and repeating, so now I have four level 100 crafters. Tradeskills are still the devil.
Then I spent another couple of hours leveling a skill called “Transmuting” on the Swashbuckler; this skill basically lets you break down unwanted armor and weapons into crafting components and is a great way of clearing out all of the extraneous quest gear and mementos you’ve been holding on to. I did a lot of this, with a bit of surprise at how emotionally attached I was to some of the old items.
So, the tl;dr version: I spent roughly sixteen hours playing a game solely to find ways to unclutter my bank and bag space. Because Everquest.