Two quick Everquest 2 mini-posts for the price of one!
1) Launcher bug?
Some players seem to be having problems launching EQ2, I certainly did last night. According to this thread on the support forums you can avoid the game attempting to re-install all 15 GB by not using the launcher. So find the folder where the game is installed and run the Everquest2.exe program directly. Be sure to double-click the game application and not the launcher; you can tell the difference by the file size, the actual game is approx 17,000 KB (17 MB) the launcher a more modest 123 KB.
This will launch the game but you may have to provide some extra info, my game asked for my password (username was pre-filled correctly), the character name and server name. All was free-text entry boxes, not drop down menus. So you’ll need to remember how to spell the first name of your chosen character and check the spelling of the server name as well. Once in game on a character you can camp to character select as normal to swap characters more easily; perhaps the character name and server are optional?
Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon, having to re-download/install that much content would be far too painful even with a broadband connection…
2) Crafting upgrades
Everquest 2 has a wonderful old-school feeling to many of its mechanics. Unlike other games (e.g. WoW or Rift) you still have different levels of spells or abilities that are not automatically received when you level-up (scroll down to the linked multi-coloured table under Improving Spells heading of the wiki page). But unlike other games that do retain manual skill training, these upgrades aren’t just a simple coin-sink at some trainer NPC. In EQ2, like with so many aspects of the game, you either make the upgrade as a function of your chosen crafting professions or you buy them from another player who can make them for you. There is also a slim chance that you’ll find one as a random treasure drop out in the wilds. But the way to beat the RNG is to craft them or have them crafted.
The only downside to this as a relatively new player is that these recipes require rare harvesting materials to make them and I don’t have massive stockpiles waiting to be used. I see it as a positive aspect to my gaming sessions though, it encourages me to set aside some time for harvesting. This in turn means I’ll have enough basic materials to level my crafting professions to keep in step with my adventuring progress.