EQ2: when a step backwards is a step forwards

Everquest 2 can be a complex MMO to dive into as a latecomer. Questing on my newish insta-level 85 shadowknight I’d been dithering around in the Great Divide zone for many play sessions and leveling pretty slowly. He’s just recently gained level 88 but progress is pretty glacial. I’d noticed that once I’d dealt with some Gnolls and Othmir all the quests he was encountering were level 90, like the whole zone was aimed towards that level. It seemed strange to have so many quests above my level to do, yet the difficulty wasn’t that much harder so I ploughed on regardless.

Coming back to play after quite a break I started thinking about his slow progress again and suddenly wondered if there wasn’t some issue behind this. Do characters gain reduced experience if the quest is higher level than them? Is it just the case he’s progressing slower in the zone due to being a bit under-level for the content? Inspired by the desire for vistas new I checked out the wiki guide for zones by level and found I needed to head to Stonebrunt Highlands as the previous zone level-wise.


The gear differential is shocking, I’m doing quests on-level and finding random gear drops at or about my level but the armour I have received for quests in the Great Divide far exceeds the earlier zone’s spoils. Creatures likewise may be of a similar level but my character can slaughter them at an astonishing rate. This allows him to blitz through quests much faster and given that he’s started this zone at level 88 instead of level 85 there’s plenty of content to get him to 90.

A side benefit is that he can gather in this zone despite his gathering skills being pretty low (approx 100), all the sessions he’s been in Velious he’s not been able to gather anything at all.


It’s a bit confusing to step into an expansion’s story part way like this – earlier zones form part of the same expansion. I’m deliberately not getting to deep into the lore of the highlands as my inquisitor will eventually be leveling through this zone so I’d like some secrets left untouched for him to discover. Regardless it’s an interesting zone as a change from the frozen extremes of Velious.

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3 Responses to EQ2: when a step backwards is a step forwards

  1. bhagpuss says:

    There’s so much to unpick in your experience there. Firstly, in common with Everquest and very possibly all SOE MMOs, xp gain is affected by numerous factors, many of which are not visible to the player. In EQ all zones have a specific percentage adjustment called a Zone Experience Modifier (ZEM), which can increase xp per kill significantly or, in some cases, reduce it substantially. These ZEMs aren’t openly displayed and they can be altered without notice. EQ2 appears to work the same way although unlike EQ, where a list was once leaked, I don’t believe a list of the modifiers has ever been made publicly available.

    On top of that, in EQ2 certain expansions appear to have used different formulas for calculating xp, an effect which is compounded by various expansions having used different “difficulty settings” for the mobs they introduced. The amount of xp granted from questing also seems inconsistent expansion by expansion although it has to be said that questing is almost always the slowest way to gain xp in EQ2 by some margin.

    For a solo player, questing at level in the most recent expansion you can handle is one of the best ways to get good gear but it’s possibly the slowest way to gain xp. It’s massively more efficient (and indeed more fun) to go back to previous content to level up and then go forward to newer content for gear than the other way round.

    At 88, if you really want to level fast, go to the Chronomage in Freeport or Qeynos, set your level to 80 and go to one of the large Kunark dungeons – preferably Sebilis in Kunzar Jungle or Chardok in Kylong Plains. I spent two hours in Sebilis on Saturday taking my Beastlord from 93.5 to 94.5 on the double xp weekend. To do that by questing outdoors on normal xp rates would probably take 15-20 hours I would guess.

    At 90 the entire xp system changes anyway. You start earning Prestige Points as well as/instead of AAs . You get a PP at every 20% of a level and that is supposed to take as long as doing a full level below ninety – so effectively 90-95 should feel like doing 25-30 levels. In my opinion it feels more like 50-100!

    There’s a LOT more to it than that though. So many weirdnesses. As for Velious, I found most of Great Divide and Eastern Wastes pretty tedious. They’re graphically bland and the questing is so-so storywise. I haven’t finished EW. The final part, Withered Lands, which you need to be 90 for really, is excellent though. Great story, great scenery, really fun.

  2. Pingback: EQ2: dungeon delving | GamingSF

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