EQ2: heroic characters – some finer details

I missed a couple of days ago the release of a FAQ detailing some more the forthcoming heroic characters in Everquest 2. When I first heard of this from the Sony Live announcement I was unaware of a couple of key points:

  • It can be used to level up an existing character to level 85 OR to create a brand new level 85 character
  • You can try a level 85 character for one level (85 to 86) before it locks, if you want to continue playing it you need to pay
  • You can pay 3500 Station Cash to either unlock a trial character (see above) or to buy outright an unlocked level 85 character without the trial restrictions
  • Heroic characters will be available from October 1st

So this is going to be available sooner than I had anticipated. It’s also possible to upgrade an existing character rather than starting from scratch.

That’s a major potential plus for me. I love playing my inquisitor so I had mixed feelings about replacing him with a new level 85 ‘main’. Admittedly I’ll skip a ton of content, but it will be boosting a character I’ve already played to level 54 so I’m pretty familiar with a lot of the class features and a basic combat rotation already. That said perhaps I should be leveling up a new or very low level character just to get the best ‘value’ out of this boost?

In any case the cost is ok since I have quite a pile of Station Cash banked at the moment. One character will get me much closer to taking part in regular guild activities, and besides I’ll still be able to return to alts to experience the rest of the lower-level content.

On a completely unrelated note I finished crafting my first appearance armour set from the Sootfoot template. I’m probably not going to do the helmet as I prefer to see my character properly rather than an anonymous suit of walking plate armour!


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8 Responses to EQ2: heroic characters – some finer details

  1. kaozz says:

    For two weeks they are free. One per household. After that you pay, eq2 wire has a good post clearing up the confusion. I’m looking forward to making an alt too!

    • Telwyn says:

      Hmm, the comments confuse things rather. I’ll create one and see what happens – I’ll be away from the 9th to 18th (and very busy until the 9th) anyway so may not even have time to level from 85 to 86 before I’m back. The big question is what to make now…

  2. A Voice says:

    Heroic characters seem to me to be a real problem and should be a real concern, despite appearing to have a very obvious and positive point.

    On the one hand, it’s certainly a boost to newer players who want to be able to have a wealth of content immediately accessible and will see new blood injected into the game. On the other hand, boosting a character to 85 or creating a character at that level screws with learning class mechanics and seems to really denigrate the content up to that level.

    Ultimately my worry is a combination of the two issues and it seems to me to be a sensible worry. The overwhelming majority of people that play mmorpgs don’t want to play mmorpgs, they really want to play an arpg but don’t seem to know enough about video games to know that is what they want. We’ve seen the effect of this large body of players ultimately water down what were once virtual worlds to mere quest hubs where quest text is rarely read, where the narrative and the world aren’t truly experienced. Heroic characters will bring new players in but it won’t help them to appreciate the ‘quest’ part of EverQuest II. They won’t see a Chronomage to experience what some zones were like at-level, they won’t run through fantastic instances like Nektropos Castle (even over-leveled, just for the joy of the story) and they won’t complete heritage quests like Saving Soles. Heroic characters seem to me to project that the wealth of content in Norrath isn’t worth experiencing or even necessary.

    This projection is part of why the entire mmorpg genre is suffering a dearth of creativity. The games in the genre became bloated by people who really didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to play those games, where the adventure didn’t begin until level-cap because the rest was treated as arbitrary. This is what I see when I look at heroic characters, something I’m positive SOE didn’t intended but something that is an undeniable side-effect. Sure, people may have scoffed at plenty of earlier ideas but nothing, nothing, projected the idea that whole swaths of content didn’t matter.

    • Telwyn says:

      It’s an understandable argument but in such an old game I think it’s a mostly mute point. You’re condemning newer players to soloing for weeks (or longer) unless they really can grind like crazy. EQ2 seems even more extreme than other games in just how little people play together before the endgame, and how surely you’ll be told to ‘hire a merc and molo’ if you dare call out for low level groups in chat. I play very slowly as it’s not my only game but I would play more if I could play with my guildmates regularly. The mentoring system doesn’t really help this situation as AA’s make mentored characters crazily overpowered.
      The time to level is the same issue in WoW, LOTRO and many other games. Multiple expansions mean a very long leveling curve and this can be frustrating – and there’s the danger that players will give up before they even reach the sacred endgame. It pains me to skip so much story but at the moment, for EQ2 specifically, I want to be at the endgame yesterday already. The game has some good storylines but it can be patchy and I’ve done solo leveling in several other, similar games before – it can get old.
      If devs didn’t place so much emphasis on endgame in new content it wouldn’t be so bad, but in most games they do.

      • A Voice says:

        Unlike a lot of mmorpgs, EverQuest II has a wealth of content at all levels. Newer players simply don’t want to experience that content because they want to play at the ‘end-game’, which means that players essentially want (1) a very small, particular amount of content and (2) a vast open world. These two ideas existing at the same time are incoherent, they are directly opposed to one another. This is why I have said for years now that the vast majority of people playing mmorpgs don’t want to play them, they want to play an arpg but just don’t know it.

        A mmorpg was and should be about a virtual world and, as such, all of the content the world offers. SOE has done a really fantastic job with EverQuest II but, truth be told, they simply cannot function well in a climate where so many people just don’t understand what a mmorpg is truly supposed to be. Players are expecting something quite different and have been pushing developers to mould things to suit their needs, something that has driven out a large section of what used to be the core player-base.

        Playing a mmorpg takes time and it should, it’s a virtual world. This doesn’t mean that bullshit grind it acceptable to ‘give them something to do’ or anything like that, it’s nowhere close to acceptable, however players were and should be expected to immerse themselves in the game. If players don’t have the time or desire to see the content the game and likely the genre simply isn’t for them, they should accept that and that it’s totally fine.

        This is all that I will say on the issue and I genuinely hope you enjoy your adventures in Norrath. It’s a great place to be.

  3. Jonny 5iVe says:

    I can’t stress how much I disagree with A Voice.

    “so many people just don’t understand what a mmorpg is truly supposed to be.”

    Is also probably the most patronising thing I’ve ever read. You’re complaining that the developers aren’t putting enough emphasis on what an MMORPG should supposedly be. You’re complaining that the majority of the playerbase are playing MMORPG’s supposedly incorrectly… It sounds to me that you’re the one who doesn’t understand what an MMORPG is meant to be.

    It’s a game. A huge multiplayer game. With freedom, to enjoy whatever it is you enjoy doing. Plain and simple.

    Telling people that “the vast majority of people playing mmorpgs don’t want to play them, they want to play an arpg but just don’t know it.” is totally mis-informed, and infers that you believe everyone who doesn’t play MMORPG’s for the same reasons as you is an idiot, and wrong.

    In the EVE community this type of view is known as “bitter vet disorder”. It’s cause is spending too long immersed in said virtual world. It’s symptoms include arrogance, as well as a strong sense of ownership over the given virtual world. The only treatment that’s currently known is a holiday from the immersion.

    Either way, the majority, the vast vast majority, play free-to-play MMORPG’s extremely casually. When they do, they’ll play for a huge array of reasons. Some like to explore. Some like to get deep into the story and lore. Some like to socialise. Some like cull the boar population to near extinction. I find it offensive that you believe only a select few of these are valid, and anyone else shouldn’t be existing in ~your~ virtual world.

    I think this is a great move. Sure, people won’t know their class mechanics, they would’ve skipped 84 levels of learning curve after all… But they’ll learn, and probably pretty quickly too. Those that are willing to dump real world money on it would have a vested interest to get better after all.

    As for degenerating appeal for “old world” content, it depends how you look at it. It’s not like it’s going anywhere. If you ~want~ to take a gander, see the story, explore, get stuck into the lore, you still can. If you don’t ~want~ to bother with all of that; perhaps your playtime is limited to a couple of hours a week, maybe all your friends/guild is doing high level content, and you want to join in, or maybe, just maybe, you don’t want to endure 84 levels of content, when all you’re really after is the MMO bit of an MMORPG, and get raiding and partaking in content that’s actually challenging (if that’s your thing).

    Either way, it’s bound to inject some new blood into the game, which is rarely a bad thing. Both for the general populous, as well as SOE… Everybody wins.

    • Telwyn says:

      I agree with this view, in particular in EQ2’s case since you can chrono-mentor down to enjoy old content if you’re farming rep or items or just plain exploring. However leveling is a very lonely process (like in most MMOs) because the majority of the playerbase are at or near the cap now and I want to join in on the fun there!

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