Healing thoughts Friday, Aug 31 2012 

I suppose it goes without saying that MMO characters  function very differently in raids, small groups, and solo.  I suppose it would also go without saying that the sign of a good player is being able to get the best out your character in each of those different situations.

I have been playing my Killy girl for many a year, and like to think i know how a templars abilities work.  But the question I am wondering about is this…. How much of an innate difference between the different classes of healers is there?  Does that mean that some classes of healers can not successfully heal particular encounters?

One night last week, my beloved Pax raided Underdepths x 4.  We have been a little short of healers lately, so I was solo healing the MT group.  We did pretty well, getting through the first four or five named, and my little girl topped out at around 20k heals/sec.  I know that top raid healers would leave Kil in their smoke….but I was pretty happy with that.

Shortly after, a group of us headed to Dracur Prime for a quick run.  The zone went uneventfully until the last named Tigloth.  Try as I might, I just could not keep the group alive.  While I am certainly not a hard core raider, my girl is geared up reasonably well.   We tried to kill this guy a little over half a dozen times, I tried a number of different strategies, I positioned myself in a couple of different places, but we just could not get him down.  By this time it was late and we called it a night.

This fight is obviously a very busy one for a healer, where detrimentals must be cured as quickly as possible.  I’m definitely not a player with the fastest of reactions, but like to think I am reasonably responsive and know how and when to use certain abilities.

I have quite happily healed through all the other zones in Skyshrine, and historically have happily healed through other expansions, so is it merely the case that I am better suited to healing raids ? Or is it perhaps a limitation on the Templar class that keeps me struggling with this particular encounter?

Why am I still playing Everquest II? Tuesday, Aug 28 2012 

With the massive number of games on the market today – not a ridiculous question really. I have tried and enjoyed a number of different games, single player and multiplayer.   I have tried and enjoyed consoles.  And yet I keep returning to EQ2 time and time again.

Like many, I just don’t have the time or energy to devote to more than one game.  So why is EQ2 my game of choice? I think there are a number of reasons.

Game content: there is enough depth and variety of content to keep me amused.  Between solo and small group adventuring, raiding, crafting, and player housing. The additional content that has been added over time, and the marked differences in player classes, means that leveling alts is different each time.

Familiarity; While variety is great, i guess it is just natural to revert to a familiar interface, familiar character abilities, and a familiar setting sometimes.  Like everyone, my relax time is precious, and I want to spend it having fun.

The Community: I have said it time and time again, but my guildmates really make the game for me.  To hang out with the gang, smash through a dungeon, work on the strategy for defeating a new raid mob, or just having a giggle while we run about doing our own thing – is a wonderful thing. I have been playing EQ2 on and for about 6 or 7 years, with a few long breaks of a year or more, and it was so wonderful to be welcomed back so warmly when I returned a few months ago.  The thought of struggling to find a comparable group of  like minded players in a new game, fills me with dread.

All that said, I think EQ2 has problems.  Expensive expansions with little substantive content in the past, and long times between new content to challenge players has seen a diminishing player base.  Bugs with servers and voice chat are a source of frustration to players, and poor customer service responses at times from SOE don’t help with these frustrations.

Every player looks for different things from their leisure time, and EQ2 continues to deliver what I am looking for.   And that is why I am still playing.

Return of the Dwarf Monday, Aug 27 2012 

It is hard to believe that it has been more than two years since i last wrote on my blog.  Much excitement in real life has seriously interfered in my gaming time, and since this is the focus of my blog,  there has been a serious lack of things to write about.

After an extended hiatus of around 18 months, I recently re-activated my account and have rejoined my beloved Pax Fatalis guildmates in the world of Norrath.  In recent days I have also been feeling the urge to start writing about my adventures again.

Sadly, many guildies have drifted off to other games, or have been taken by the demands of real life.  Talking to players from different guilds and different servers, this is not a phenomenon unique to our little guild.

I have my own theories as to why this is happening.  A combination of expensive, poor quality expansions, and a long time between new content may have contributed; along with the plethora of new games entering the market.  I hope that new content to be added in the future will draw players back.

Since my return to EQ2 I have been having a fantastic time in game.  My much loved Templar Kilanna remains my main character for grouping and raiding.  Thanks to a double xp weekend, she quickly hit maximum aa, and then level 92 with the release of Skyshrine.  I have also been having a bunch of fun with my little Pallytank.  I have tanked groups for guildies, pick up groups, and even off-tanked in raids.

I have been disappointed to see how quiet the servers have become. In days gone by we would never have had issues filling a group, and now we really struggle.  Is a server merge the answer?

In coming days I hope to become re-aquatinted with the intricacies of blogging, and begin recounting my adventures in Norrath.  Sad that I have even forgotten how to do basic things like track backs, and how to link up to twitter!!!

Bring it on! Thursday, Mar 18 2010 

At the start of the year I set myself a goal of writting more regularly and often on my blog.    Unfortunately, outside events have been consipring against me and I have been having trouble enough with getting regular EQ2 time so it feels.

We recently had a restructure / reorganisation announced at work, and so I have applied for a promotion.  At the same time, the reorganisation has also got me thinking about my future and contemplating some massive changes – changes in career, moving interstate perhaps, and changes to relationships with family and friends.   Incredibly exciting times – but busy and it will be nice as things start to crystallise and settle down over the next few months!!

All that said, I have still been managing to have some time in game,   As always I have been having a blast with my guildies checking out some of the instances and catching some pretty lewtz.   One if the things we did quite early on, was to scale up some of the TSO shard zones to level 90 and run them.   

This is the fourth expansion that I have experienced since I have been playing.    One thing I appreciate is that developers are never going to be able to be all things to all people – different players will have different expectations.    However, I have personally enjoyed this expansion MUCH more than I have enjoyd the previous two expansions.

I remember when both RoK and TSO came out, as a Templar with typically low dps (I am a healer after all!) I found questing to be just about as enjoyable as Root Canal without pain relief.  So much so, that it is only now that I have almost finished working the quest lines in the Moors of Ykesha.  

While I have heard some people comment that they think this expansion is too easy – I respectfully disagree.  I applaud the fact that instances are more forgiving.  I really like the fact that it does not take a perfectly constructed group to complete a number of instances.   Since expansion I have not seen ” group looking for bard and/or chanter – must have myth” or similar. 

Others may disagree and I dont mind if they do – but I like the fact that players have a greater ability to play their preferred character rather than playing another class because it is easier to get a group.  I like that we are seeing Necros back on the dps parse for example.  To my thinking, the changes in this expansion can only be good for the community as a whole when feels like it is easier for all classes to find a place in a group. 

So, this expansion I have also really enjoyed returning to questing.  I have probably done a couple of hundred quests since expansion and have had a blast.   Wikia has been my friend as I have worked my way through them.   Some quests are running around – yes – but that is how you get to know the geography of the zones.  It is also how to maximise that lovely discovery aa.   Despite the somewhat restricted play schedule, I was very excited this last weekend to reach a few milestones.

Firstly, Killy has now completed over 1400 quests, which is chicken feed compared to some i grant you!

Second – I dinged 210 aa and am now almost 212aa.

Finally – and am I quite excited about this – but my girl is now 90 Templar.  I was quite pleased reaching level cap some three and a bit weeks after the expansion launched.  I never felt as though I was grinding, never felt the need to panick and rush – just enjoyed following quest lines with an occasional dungeon crawl or instance group in between.

My verdict so far – this is my favourite expansion yet.  I am really looking forward to the approx 150 quests I have left in Sentinels, plus the handful of level 80+ quests still left in Moors.   In two weeks time I have some vacation planned and am looking forward to having a little bit of extra play time even though I have plenty of school work to get done.  So bring it on! :D

Hope everyone is having just as much fun!!!   Happy hunting and crafting :)

Fire in the hole!! Monday, Mar 1 2010 

Hehe I could not help but have at least one hole joke :p

Well I am continuing to really enjoy Sentinels Fate big time!!!

I have mentioned it before – but Killy had reached her 200aa even though I had barely touched the questlines in the moors.   at 84 and 85 these quests and mobs are still some blue but mostly green.  They are each giving maybe 3% xp and aa per quest – which is indeed very handy.   I am enjoying getting to know the zone that every one else knows so well – and at the same time I have little competition for the mobs I need.  

I find it very interesting that my views on Templar dps are changing a little bit too.   After having spent so much time playing the pally and dirge in recent times, I have been a little focused on optomising dps.   I have been able to adapt some of that thinking to how I approach playing my favourite girl – with some incredible changes noticed.  

I am the first to admit I am not the best player in the world – but I love my EQ.   I am not the best at “pimping” out my girl and have always struggled with the poor dps of the Templar.   However, I have found that in using some of the lessons learned, I have been able to almost double the dps that Killy put out.  I have not changed her gear – I have not upgraded her spells so it has acutally been surprising.    It is all about understanding how to play your character properly *blush*!!

It has been a lot of fun running through the Moors and completing some of those questlines. getting some of that valuable xp and aa.

In recent days my guildmates also invited me to come join them on an xp group through the hole.   The mobs were mostly orange – and we had a lot of giggles as we cut a bloody swathe through the mobs.   My girl got herself about half a level, and not a whole lot of aa – but it was a real hoot.

So after yet another amazingly fun weekend in game, Kilanna finds herself 87 Templar with 209aa.  I am also well on the way toward my next Adventure and aa level which is kewl, and will be starting on quests in the bottom of the moors tonight.  Killy is also well on her way to her second Jeweler level *cheers*

Sometimes I feel as though I am getting left behind – I look and see that there are so many people who have already been 90 for a week – and some are even on their second or third toon to get to 90.   But I guess that everyone has competing demands on their time and different priorities as to what they want to achieve in game.   Also, I see no point in rushing to do everything in the first two weeks of the expansion and have nothing to do for the next 11 months hehe.

Having said that – I would like to be at 90 before we start raiding again in just over a weeks time.  I am hoping that wont be too much of a stretch!!   I already have a bunch of pretty stuff to grow into when I hit level 90 too!!

As always – hope everyone is having as much fun in Norrath as I am!!  Happy hunting and crafting gamers:)

My first views on Paniel Monday, Feb 22 2010 

Well I guess the enire EQ2 community is all in a buzz

Sentinels Fate is finally live and this weekend was a fantastic opportunity to really immerse myself in the new zones and get a feel for the new lands

I didnt acutally play EQ1 so really I have nothing to compare it to.   As far as the execution of launch – I would have to say my impression was that logistically speaking it was flawless.   I logged in first thing in the morning when I woke up – there was a 15 minute patch or so – and without further incident I was logged into game.

Now I am far from an elite player – I pottter about.   But I exprienced very little lag or annoying glitches in the zones.   My overall impression for execution was highly positive.

Turning now to the content – I have also been highly impressed with what I have seen.   The quests have not been highly imaginative – but I have connected enough with it to enjoy it.   The quests are not giving fantastic xp but there is certainly a bunch of quests to be done.   it feels like I am going to run out of quests before I hit 90 though.

On the other hand – Killy is yet to complete more than about 20 quests in the Moors.  An expansion behind I grant you – but plenty of xp and aa to be had right there.   *cheers*

I am impressed with the difficulty standard of the expansion content too – and by that I mean that it is easily able to be completed solo by a healer class – albeit at a slower pace.   I had a lot of fun duo with one of our guilds friendly mages *waves to Oli*    

I even tried out a couple of instances and absolutely had a hoot!!   Back in TSO, there seemed to be a massive focus on ideal group set up in order to succeed at instance zones.   Whether you completed zones or not highly depended apon the combination of classes and their gear.    My first impression of the couple of instances that we did in Vasty Deep seemed to indicate a changed focus in this expansion.  To me, it would appear that you would not necessarily require a perfectly balanced set of classes including bard and enchanter just to complete a zone.   I applaud that direction.

As I logged off last night, Killy girl was 84 Templar, almost 81 Jeweler with 204aa.   I know that there are people who are STREAKS ahead of that.  I think it is great that this game can appeal to so many different play styles – but I am quite happy to potter along and enjoy the zones with the little dorf :p

And yes – you are not mistaken – I did heal instances in Vasty Deep at 83 – trust me Labs was NOT pretty after we got down to the library and I was trying to heal damage from mobs 10 levels higher than me and was unable to cure any detrimentals!!   We absolutely did die – but OMG it was a bunch of fun – thanks to my Pax guildies for the giggles.   Most of the stuff that dropped was scout and mage worthy – nothing really dropped that screamed healer.

Missing Danonia and Arisha still – hope they come back soon!!

Other than a fun weekend in Odus, work and starting back at school part time is keeping me out of mischief …..

Happy hunting and crafting to all in Norrath :)

And baby Shadowknight makes four? Tuesday, Feb 16 2010 

This past weekend was a wonderful chance to kick back and relax with a glass of Champagne and my EQ :)

After taking care of the chores and what not – I tried to avoid the heat and relax in front of the fan.

I had been pottering about progressing the dirges Epic and was quite excited, because I am up to the last steps to get her fabled.   I need to kill some mobs in Chelsith and Maidens Chamber, and visit the top level of Poets Palace.

While I was chatting with various in game friends on Saturday afternoon, I decided to make myself a character to relax and chill out with on my second account.   Something that when it is levelled could kill stuff for Killy.    I tried various dps classes, but none of them really captured my imagination.

I then thought about leveling another tank to team up with my Templar girl.   I was thinking about a warrior, but just could not seem to “click” with a zerker.    I rolled a bruiser – but just couldnt get into her either *sigh*.    I know I have a Paladin at max level already – but thought meh – why the heck not consider another crusader.

I had rolled an SK some time ago, and she remain parked on about level 12 or 13.    The lady Yyavdra – an elegant Dark Elf from Neriak was resurrected.    

Perhaps it is familiarity with the Crusader, but <3.    I had an absolutely fun fun time scooting around Darklight Woods and Gorowyn.    I logged her off last night at level 19SK with 25aa.     Already this little one has done a little over 100 quests and counting.   I have rediscovered my passion for questing, and she does indeed look the part in her shiny armours.

I adore the fact that it is so easy to move the slider between Combat and aa XP – Sometimes I have had her Combat XP up full, sometimes full aa, and somtimes 50/50.   I have used it to slow her levelling down when she was getting close to out leveling her quests.

At level 19, I have put her xp fully into aa for a bit – and I am heading out into the Commonlands & Antonica, and  *giggles* I wonder how many aa I can get her to before she heads into Butcherblock, Thundering steppes and Nek Forest.   Just nice to have a girl to potter around on.

So expansion time is here – servers will be down tonight for my normal play time.    Thank goodness for MarioKart Wii tonight :p   but I am really getting excited about what the expansion might bring.

A personal view – and I wonder if anyone else feels the same – but I would really like to see this expansion give us a good place to start out on good aligned characters.   I think Darklight Woods and Gorowyn are fantastic places to start.  There is atmosphere, and oodles of quests.  the zones are easy to navigate around (well except inside Gorowyn itself hehe).

When I was trying out the zerker – i really didnt like the quest lines in Greater Faydark so much.   Greater Fay is aesthetically beautiful, but sometimes feels like a pain in the ass to find your way around.    Maybe it might be worth recreating the zerker and making her in Gorowyn????  *giggles* a little Ratongan Bezerker.

Killy is, and always will be my main.  But one thing I just adore about this game is that there are SOOOO many options for approaching the content differently and there is so much to see and do.    Do I spread myself to thin?  Perhaps – but that is the beauty – that this game can be enjoyed on so many different levels, and satisfy many different playstyles.

Happy hunting and crafting to all :)

And then there were three…. Friday, Feb 12 2010 

I am far from an uber player – I am not one who has to pimp out my girls with all the very bestest of gear.

Many months ago now I rolled the cutest little Iksar dirge – and fell in love with the class.   She has mostly solo’d her way through the levels – with a little help from her “cousin” Nanytank occasionally.   Last week she was sitting at level 77 and a bit .. and I thought I should make the push to have her to 80 prior to expansion.   I enjoy questing, so it was not difficult for me to check out the quest journal and start things ticking over again for her.

Firstly there were some quests in Kunzar jungle to complete.   I have become so used to the resiliance of plate wearers (both Killy and Nanytank), that I was finding the dirge a little squishy.   Very quickly Nanytank came to the rescue, and quests were being completed in short order.

Almost level 79 and it was time to continue to work the faction quests in Jarsath working towards the port hammer.  Nanytya and Katyya were then joined by a guildmate who was also questing in JW.  Both my girls and also our guildmate Assassin were just starting the repeatables from the Dwarf just outside the shipyards – Killy always thought he was rather handsome!

It was absolutely incredible to see.   We were just three … but we absolutely ripped through those poor mobs between Danak and the Howling Stones.  We basically followed the road killing what we affectionately called Chickens, Tigers and Rhinos as we made our way to the scorpions.   Each set of these quests was giving sensational AA and GP for all three of our adventurers.  And in absolutely no time at all *DING* Katyya dinged 80 Dirge *cheers*

So now I have three girls at level 80.

The next order of the day was to start looking at Katyyas Epic.    I can never say it often enough, but I love my guildies.     I was talking to our guild leader about the dirge epic – his main is a dirge.    In five minutes there was a group of Pax running my girl down into Sebilis for her Epic starter.   One of our other guildmates had an absolutely terrible time camping mobs to get the starter to drop – but it took my girl less than half an hour before it dropped for her luckily.  

So between raiding this week and some work commitments, I have managed to advance the dirge through a significant part of her epic.   Speaking to various people, and killing various mobs to get pieces for her flute.   And now she needs to kill a bunch of bad guys in Chelsith and Maidens Chamber along with a few other lesser (solo) bits and pieces.  At that time, Lamentation of the Intrepid will be hers :)   I am sure she can get that done this weekend – so she will have her Fabled Epic just in time for expansion.  

She took the run to Leviathan when she was just 78 – so she has VP access already:)  The mobs she will need for her Mythical are then Pawbuster, Mayong Mistmoore and Xygoz.  Xygoz is soooo my favourite encounter in VP hehe.

Expansion is just a week away now – and I really am excited about it.   NDA is lifted and all the things I am hearing are capturing my interest.  It is going to be so great to see new places and new quests.  From what I hear there is a really good mix of Solo content and group content.

Time this weekend then to clear out Killys bank & backpacks, and make room in her quest journal to prepare.   In guild we are prioritising who is leveling which crafters – My first to be leveled will be my Killy girl of course.   There has been so much crafter content added in this last expansion that all of my girls are yet to do – so leveling them will not be a massive grind at all.

There really is so much variety in this game – there is enough to satisfy so many playstyles.  There is content to push the high end raider types – and the chronomages now mean that someone who plays mostly solo will still get to experience content and quests as they were intended (ie not grey)   It caters for the questers, the grinders, the crafters, casual players or dedicated hard core players.   This is why it always pulls me back in.   Bravo SoE.

MMO’s and Guilds Friday, Feb 5 2010 

Well – here we are in February.  2 months since my last post – and my how that has flown!   I have given thanks for a fantastic 2009, and am looking forward to an even BETTER 2010 :)

Here in Australia it has been the height of our summer holidays.  There has been time with family, and time with special friends – all in all a wonderful couple of months.  Combine all the fun and festivities with a feeling that we are languishing at an inbetween while we wait for expansion – and this has meant I have not really been playing very consistently.   Our guild has however just recommenced raiding ….. so that has been a lot of fun :)

Over this last couple of weeks, I have managed to FINALLY get Kilanna to that magical 200aa.   Otherwise I have just been messing about, collecting items for transmuting on my Paladin, a little bit of work on the dirge, and pottering about on various other low level insignificant alts.  That is the gift of a game like EQ2 – so many options of things to do.

I was reading one of Stargraces posts over at MMOQuests today, and was starting to write a response.  Instead, I thought I would dedicate a part of my posting to explore her topic of Guilds, and talk about what my mmo and guild means to me.

Almost three years ago now, I moved Killy into Pax Fatalis.    I categorically state that my guild has made my MMO experience a much more rich and diverse experience than it otherwise would have been.   I have experienced content that I would not have without them, and I have achieved goals in game that I would not have without them.

I have made lifelong friends as some of my guildmates have become part of my everyday life.  Many of my guildmates live geographically close, so we get together socially on a fairly regular basis,  our last gathering had around 20 of us.   Some of my guildmates have been to my home and I have been to some of their homes.   I grant you this is not typical, but my family have met some of my guildmates and I have also met some of their family and friends.

Our guild has seen one couple celebrate the birth of their son, and they will soon enough celebrate their wedding.  We have also sadly seen the passing of one of our dearest members after he battled illness for 6 months.   Many people have come and gone, but the core of the guild have moved from EQ to EQ2, and have played together for many years.   We are far from a top end guild – but we have worked hard and achieved quite a bit this last year which is a source of pride, and brings a sense of family and community.

In this context then I say that I will never forget some of the experiences and friendships I have shared over the last few years.   They have absolutely changed my life.    Parts of the last few years have been among the most personally difficult I think I will ever experience in my life after my marriage ended.   It was a blessing to find a place to escape from some of that, and to have a sense that those closest to me were looking out for me.  To be able to log on at night, laugh with friends and have some sort of sense of belonging, with no pressure and no questions asked.  It is even my intention to travel overseas later this year to meet two of the most special brothers that have been a part of this journey.

The friendships, acceptance and support of some of my guildmates has been invaluable in helping me to come through the last couple of years to a point where my whole life is now flourishing.    It has been a long time since I have had such a strong sense of self and what I want from the future.  My career is flourishing, I am preparing to go back to school part time, I have the joy of watching my little baby nephew grow with my family, I have a bunch of amazing and varied friends, and have found a beautiful and comfortable apartment that I call home.

My point with this whole diatribe – I am not ashamed to say that my guild and guildmates are an incredibly important part of my life.  I accept that people may not understand that fully.  Such is life.

And then there is a very special lady that I met one night almost three years ago.  I had been reading her blog, and sheepishly started talking to her about raiding and healing.   We soon became firm friends and shared many confidences.   She metaphorically held my hand and cried tears with me as I dealt with some demons and found my inner strength.   We have never played together and dont even live on the same continent.  Our lives have gone somewhat seperate ways more recently, but I will always be honoured to call her friend.  I am not quite sure that this is what she had in mind when she wrote her own blog post but there you have it!

Who would have thought a computer game could change your life this much!

Silly season is DEFINITELY apon us Friday, Dec 4 2009 

I cant believe it is a month since I posted last time.

I guess like EVERYONE else this time of year, things have been totally crazy.   Work has been mad, lots and lots of social events, family commitments.   All absolutely fun of course – but hopefully things will quiet down soon.

As far as game time goes, the guild has definitely been winding down at the end of the year.   We have already cancelled our regular scheduled raids over the festive season (which is also our summer break), but this has not stopped some of our members from arranging some fun expeditions. 

Prior to the end of our regular raids though, we had two very exciting milestones reached.  

The first milestone was our first kill of Thet-em-aua.  Sadly I was at  work function and missed the raid, but logged in just in time to celebrate with those who were there.

The second, was our first kill of Aiden :)   It was completely amazing how straitforward it seems when someone who has beaten the encounter shows you how it is done.   We had an alliance colleague help with showing us about the blocking of the portals.   On the first pull we had hiddeous luck, and both Killy and the other MT healer were ported at the same time when we had him down to less than 10% health :(   However, second pull and it all went like clockwork *cheers*

In the last week, we have run Thuuga, Leviathan, and VP to get Myth updates for various new guildmates and Alts.  This includes my very own Nanytank the Pallytank :)    While it isnt just as exciting as when Killy got her Myth, I was still a very happy camper and there were lots of smiles when she finally got her Truth of Marr.

With festive season so close, I hesitate to make any plans for what will happen over the next few weeks.   It really feels like we have run out of steam so to speak this last couple of weeks.   I think that is a combination of festive season and everyones desire for the new game content in the expansion.   Is anyone else finding this too? 

Not sure what this weekend will bring – hopefully some fun and games in Norrath will be a part of it!  Even though we do still get together from time to time, I really miss hanging out with the boys and having a giggle as often as we used to.  Hopefully all will be back to normal after silly season in time to prepare for the expansion.

Happy hunting and crafting all :)

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