Coming back to EQ2 I’ve found certain quests still in my log that I’m just not able to solo, group quests or normal quests that are just unusually hard – like A Spirit Key (wiki leak, spoilers ofc) from a tower in Darklight Woods. This isn’t a group quest, but I’ve tried on my poor squishy warden healer to solo it a few times and it just wasn’t possible.
EQ2′s answer to the solo difficulty problem is to have NPC mercenaries available for hire, similar to DDO and Guild Wars among other games. However unlike the generally weak companions in both the games I list, my new shadowknight companion seems to be more than capable of soloing the quests for me! Her set of expert level abilities probably has something to do with this, plus perhaps some wooliness in the gear scaling.
The quest was easily done with me barely getting a hit in other than commanding her to attack, sort of like having a higher level friend or guildmate coming to run you through the quest. My inquisitor in contrast can generally solo most stuff with his melee-oriented skills (via alternate advancement options) and automatic self-heal buff spells.
I don’t want to ruin the fun of challenging content, I really enjoy that EQ2 has normal quests that present an actual challenge (well, unless you twink your character to the max). It may give me some much needed practice at playing my warden as a healer rather than just a second rate dps class. Having a mercenary in party means I have someone to heal other than myself so I’ll get some inkling at how the threat mechanism works, playing mostly solo I’ve no idea about this at present. It’ll be interesting to experiment and hopefully I’ll make enough money through questing to afford the stiff mercenary hire fees!