Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Achievements and Chronomagic

This past weekend SOE held a bonus XP weekend in EverQuest 2 in which players gained a 40% bonus to all combat, AA, and tradeskill experience. What a perfect time to explore two of the new systems introduced into the game with GU 53, achievements and chronomagic.

The first thing I gave a good look at was the achievement system. Players can check out their status with achievements by opening the new and improved quest journal and going to the achievement tab. The interface is pretty basic, with a menu of categories that you can click on to view specific achievements. Flipping through the achievements I saw that completing some of the achievements gave appearance armor or plushies to put in homes. The prizes that I saw awarded were for clearing all the heroic or raid quests in a zone.

Now, when first opening the achievements tab don’t be surprised if all of the achievements you think you have accomplished are not recorded. The obvious one is if you accomplished something before the old AA system was put in place with Kingdom of Sky or if you ever hit the AA points cap where the game stopped recording your actions. But if a player is able to accomplish something in the future, past accomplishments were ignored and the counts set to zero. For example, my ranger is also a master alchemist who not only leveled almost exclusively doing tradeskill writs but got up to 30,000 faction with both Bathezid’s Watch and Riliss by doing those factions’ tradeskill writs. Imagine my disappointment when I opened the tradeskill achievements window and found my tradeskill combine count was zero. Well, I was planning on doing the tradeskill instances again to gear up my crafters for the expansion in February. I guess I know which toon I’m going to use to do it.

The achievements tab has another benefit I was glad to see. By looking at the tab I could see which zones I still had a lot of undone quests in. That was very important to me since I started the weekend with 197 AA points and wanted to know where to go to best take advantage of the bonus XP weekend. I noticed two things right away. The first was that I had only done a handful of quests in both The Thundering Steppes and in Nek Forest. I was a little surprised at that, especially given all the time I had spent in the Thundering Steppes. The second was that I did not have the achievement for doing all the quests in Everfrost. That surprised me until I remembered that Everfrost had undergone a revamp after I out leveled the zone and I never went back to do the new content with my ranger.

With the achievement tab giving me some ideas of places to visit, I proceeded to visit the chronomagic NPCs in Qeynos Harbor. On Saturday I decided to visit Nek Forest, so I decided to turn myself into a level 30 ranger because I didn’t want to give the mobs a break. Let me say that a mentored down level 80 ranger wearing tier 2 armor and using a fabled bow makes mobs die very fast. I’d say something was wrong with mentoring but I had the same experience with green tier 8 mobs in the Fens when I was doing the Order of Rime quest line. If anything is wrong, the problem lies in the itemization in The Shadow Odyssey, not the mentoring mechanic in chronomagic. With the ability to kill things at will, I went ahead and killed named mobs and completed quests until I finished up the last 30% of the AA point I was working on. Logging out with 198 AA points was a nice way to finish up the day.

On Sunday I decided I wanted to actually accomplish an achievement so I switched my attention to Everfrost, where I only needed 8 more quests to get the Everfrost Espionage achievement. So I spent my 5 gold pieces and 100 status points to set my level to 50 and headed off to Everfrost. Once again I felt overpowered as I did the quests. That is until I stumbled into both The Brood Mother and Snowflake in the same fight. Oh my gosh, what I fight! Yes, I won, which definitely proved I was overpowered, but I was starting to worry with the length of the fight and how I kept getting adds. I wound up getting the Everfrost achievement at the same time I got my 199th AA point.

I know for those who want to get their achievements, mentoring to a high level and waltzing through a zone sounds very attractive. But something tells me I’m going to wind up playing with the various mentor levels to find a more challenging experience. While going through a zone like a god smiting green mobs makes getting achievements easier, I’d really like to find out if I could walk into an instance full of yellow mobs and come out on top.

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