Heroic Characters: Insta-Level 85 for Free, for Any Player (No Previous Experience Required) — Sept 15

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

Tonight’s EverQuest II keynote here at SOE Live included the revelation that Heroic Characters are coming to EQ2. I’m not against this idea, as the writing has been on the wall for insta-level 90 or 85 to come to EQ2 sooner or later. Due to multiple gear revamps plus Mercs, I feel that EverQuest II is a solo tutorial from level 1-89, and then the ‘real’ game starts at level 90.

However the unsettling part of this announcement was that people would be able to create their FIRST character as a level 85 with full Legendary gear, spells, a chunk of AAs, and have those AAs automatically spent for them with Character Advancement Templates.

Dellmon and Aliscious have talked about insta-level characters on their EQ2Talk podcast, and there have always been some parameters placed on the idea: First, only your SECOND character could be insta-85. You’d have to naturally level at least one character first, to learn the game, join the community, etc. Second, it would be a pay item to keep it an optional convenience thing, rather than expected/typical behavior.

By making it so anyone can create an insta-85 as their FIRST character, I have serious trepidation that we’ll see people who are new to EverQuest II (or returning after years away) go for that option, try it, get sucked into a Skyshrine or other group without the foggiest idea what’s going on, and be completely unable to play their character, get bounced from the group, and leave hard feelings all around.

I started playing EQ2 in late 2007, so please believe that this is not Nostalgia talking. I think this is a sensible idea that reflects the reality of the game, but which has been turned into some kind of Winback program without all the ramifications being completely thought through. Hopefully there is still time for us to feedback this and get some changes made. I’ve been talking to some EQ2 devs and I am really pumped about tomorrow’s EQ2 panels (esp Itemization — DON’T MISS our Liveblog!). This one just threw me for a loop.

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Comments (83)

  • milliebii

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    For me this says Everquest 2 is now on life support and they hope to migrate us all to Everquest NEXT leaving only the diehards (who presumably already have max level characters) to play the game.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      For me this says Everquest 2 is now on life support and they hope to migrate us all to Everquest NEXT leaving only the diehards (who presumably already have max level characters) to play the game.

      Except that EverQuest II is huge for SOE right now. Planetside 2 was #1 for a while but EQ2 got its crown back.

      Reply

      • milliebii

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        After watching the keynote on Twitch I withdraw my comment., lots of stuff happening through to the end of 2014 and beyond.

        Reply

      • Twyxx

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        You mean EQ2 has more players? (PS2 must not be able to retain players) Or generates more revenue? (PS2 profit model flop?).

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          Interesting thing about Census is, you can accurately measure how many people are playing Planetside 2 and (to a lesser extent) how many are playing EQ2. Planetside 2 numbers are down 70% from where they were at soft launch. The game had an awesome launch, and did a lot of things right, but people are totally running out of stuff to do. There are no missions. Full stop. How do you have an FPS with no missions?

          Reply

          • Twyxx

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            That’s where I’m worried about EQN as nearly every big release in the last couple years loses a massive chunk of the initial player-base when they realize it doesn’t have anything to keep them there. And if Sony wasn’t prepared for that with PS2 then I can see them failing to avoid the pitfall with EQN as well.

            Whether it’s no challenging dungeon/raid progression, or poor itemization, or gw2 style combat…so many recent games offer something sparkly, new and innovative but don’t put the effort into the key tenets that keep players from boredom at cap.

            Reply

          • God

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            Well, it’s going to be a sandbox.

            If you’ve ever played a true sandbox game, you’ll know that the longevity of the game won’t have anything to do with dungeon/raid progression, nor will it have anything to do with itemization, it’s combat, or anything else of that ilk.

            It’s longevity will come from its freedom and openness. The ability to essentially live in another world. Where the things you do ~actually~ matter.

            For example:

            I imagine you’ll be able to make a guild.
            I imagine that guild will be able to pool it’s crafting materials.
            I imagine those materials can be used to create a huge guildhouse.
            I imagine that guild will have enemies.
            I imagine those enemies will attempt, and succeed, at destroying that guildhouse.
            I imagine you’ll be sad that all that time and effort was for nothing, and that revenge will be weighing upon your mind.
            I imagine your guild will rise up, form an allegiance, and strike at the heart of your aforementioned enemies.
            I imagine you’ll destroy several of their guildhouses, and cripple some of their trade routes.
            I imagine you’ll prosper thanks to your diplomatic ties.
            I imagine someone will betray you from within your guild, stealing all of your stockpiled resources.
            I imagine you’ll go hunting for the betrayer, in search of recovering your stolen supplies.
            I imagine the betrayer will look to your previous enemies for support and protection.
            I imagine your enemies will accept this offer on condition that most of the stolen materials are handed over to them.
            I imagine the betrayer will agree to this…

            That’s what makes a sandbox great. The fact that all of that can take place, and what’s more, all of that can happen without having to rely on developers to program anything other than guilds, guildhouses, trade routes, and material deposits.

            It’s the freedom that keeps people coming back. Never knowing what’s going to happen in the coming week of your virtual life, but knowing that practically ~anything~ CAN happen.

            Another thing to note is that crafting is usually one of the main parts of a sandbox game. 80% or so of the items in the game are usually created by another player. Someone would’ve harvested the raw materials. Someone would’ve refined them. Someone would’ve combined them. Someone would’ve crafted the finished product. Someone would’ve sold it to the market.

            You don’t have to repeat any content, and can play anyway you want. Be it fierce trading wars, transporting goods around, crafting items for the rest of the world to use, fighting for fun, power, dominance, reward… Stealing, scamming, conning. The list goes on really.

            Reply

  • Revekk

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    I am sure they understand Feldon’s, Dell’s, Ali’s and my opinion on this subject but think that marketing the game to keep new people coming in is more important. Easy to sell a FTP game if you throw away the grind.

    Reply

  • Daeth

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    Low levels are dead. Old players just use them to farm or power level. As long as its just optional I don’t see the drama. I know people who have been playing for years and are still useless. Lots of classes are quite dull and play nothing like end game until you get AA anyway.

    Reply

    • Eschia

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      The same fate that befell the first EQ… Low levels and old world zones are emptier than a bottomless bucket.

      Reply

  • flosch

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    I see why you’re worried. I’m a bit worried myself, though for other reasons.

    I don’t think getting sucked into a 90 group and not being able to perform even on the most basic level is a problem. The characters will start at 85, not 90, and for newer players, that’s still a bit to level, enough to figure out your character, I would assume.

    What I’m more worried about if the message behind this. It says “everything below 85 is irrelevant now, we won’t care if it rots, we won’t even fix stuff any more”. That’s a damn shame, because I fondly remember the old low-level zones and their charm. I started years behind (during SF era), and thoroughly enjoyed the “old-school” feel. I wouldn’t even be around if I didn’t get hooked on that first.

    A rule that you could only use this on characters after your first would be better, I agree. Maybe, if you’re really worried that people invited by high-level players won’t join because of the level difference, give the option on the first character, but hide it somewhere only more advanced players will find it (opt-in option in the notoriously confusing settings?), or require “championing” by a max level player. Then again, if you’re so worried you can’t play with your friends at 95, ask them for a PL…

    Reply

    • Pipsissiwa

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      I agree. The old zones were created with proper thought and effort – they are much less cookie cutter and the range and diversity of quests and stuff to do is huge. As the game has progressed I am increasingly finding the new zones quite dull after first run through, and very ‘shallow’ if that makes any sense. The immersion isn’t there so much. I have run every toon I have up through all the zones and enjoyed every minute. High level zones, not so much. Maybe it’s just me.

      Reply

      • Anaogi

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        I wonder if they’ve already thought about that–Fabled Clefts, etc? Perhaps all that old content is getting refurbished into upper-level zones (or getting high-level versions) to remain relevant…which I would totally be in favor of!

        Reply

        • flosch

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          It sounds like a good idea in theory. They’ll have to be careful though. Nobody wants to end up “cataclysm”-ed zones: zones that look the the old ones, but feel like the new ones, giving you the worst of both worlds.

          Reply

      • Bivin

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        It’s not just you. Although I have only worked up through lvl 79, and I’m still working on lvl 70ish zones (because I solo mostly ), I also find the higher zones I’ve encountered so far a little less deep, with shallower content as far as backstory, lore, etc.
        I realize some players don’t care for lore or depth, but whether they realize it or not, younger players yearn for content, for novelty.
        After the eye candy and fighting style newness wear off, what you have is the nature of the struggle, wits against the AI. Are you smarter than the AI? Can you figure out the clues and beat the boss?
        If SOE is smart, they will learn from this and again make content “King.” (properly pronounced as did Hugh Grant in “Restoration’, the “Kang”)

        Reply

      • Venomizer

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        new content is shallow because its all so meaningful.

        you dont have intricate stories about hordes of powerless insignificant npcs. commonlands does. old world has content BESIDES to speak as a dragon and the primary story arc.

        how you are lucky to get more than 1 degree of separation from story arc and a provincial issue.

        Reply

  • Mentin

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    I think the reason for this would be lowering the threshold for new players to get into game. So not making it available to everyone would be meaningless.

    At 85 you still have a little bit of work to do to get to 95 where most of the action is, so hopefully new people will pick up most of the tricks during that time.

    There will still be action in the lowlevel zones by people levelling alts and by people wanting the complete experience. My guess only 20% of the lowlevel zone activity will go away by this.

    Some special appearance was mentioned, so will we be able to identify the heroic characters by look?

    Reply

  • sompet

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    My own theory: some metrics told SOE that new players are getting bored with soloing way before they get high level enough.

    IMO it’s not that bad. New players still have to do some levelling before they reach 90 to do Skyshrine groups. Levelling through solo quest lines doesn’t help learning most grouping mechanics anyway: healing, curing, taunting, positioning is generally not needed. I think the learning always starts only when start grouping.

    Bad players always will be bad players, regardless how long it takes.

    Reply

    • Rage

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      “Bad players always will be bad players, regardless how long it takes.”

      Well said!

      Reply

  • Guy

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    This is just vile, sorry.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    Yeah this is definitely something that should be reserved for alts. Dark age of Camelot has been doing this for years, and it definitely takes a lot of the boring grind out of the game. Most of us have already done the 1-90 content probably more than 10 times now. It gets boring after a while.

    Reply

  • Mod

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    It’s obviously a bit early to tell, but can you imagine jumping straight into a game at lvl 85 and suddenly having 6+ hotbars filled up with abilities?

    Even for me as someone who has been playing since 2004, if I started a new class I hadn’t played before straight at 85, it would take literally hours of standing around doing nothing but reading through each of the abilities and trying to make sense of what should be used when and in what order etc…

    Reply

    • Pipsissiwa

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      Agree completely.

      Reply

      • Foodcity

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        Well, you could choose a Beastlord. Not too many abilities there ;-)

        Reply

    • Flourchild

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      I already do that with a toon that has recently hit level 95. The reason is so that I can get a full comprehension of what each ability does, what each AA is geared towards, and whether or not I even truly need that CA/Spell. If everyone actually spent time reading what they have on their hotbars, people wouldn’t have to complain about how bad others are….Just my 2 cents. :?: ;-)

      Reply

    • Bivin

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      You are exactly right.
      A good analogy would be taking a raw recruit, fitting him out with all the equipment and gear for a full SEAL team member, lining him up with the insertion team in the plane, and pushing him out into a low altitude drop.
      Will that member contribute effectively to the team, or will he get himself and team members killed?
      Also, what does that do to team morale as they ask, “So, now one doesn’t have to *earn* the badge? What are they thinking?”

      Reply

  • Pipsissiwa

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    Someone new to the game who doesn’t go through the lower zones is missing out on some of the best content in the game – the stuff they created with love and attention at the start (despite subsequent tweakings). To plunge in new at level 85, even allowing for 5 levels plus of ‘practice’, is to miss almost all of the game imho, and will give new players a very wierd, skewed impression of what eq2 is about..

    For alts, yes, the option would be great.

    Reply

    • Guy

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      This is so disappointing.

      Reply

    • Twyxx

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      Have a feeling what will happen most often is that new players will make a toon at lvl 1 intending to experience the full game, realize around 30 that it’s just gonna be a long solo grind up and then remake the toon at 85.

      I don’t see any issue with this, really. It’s time. There’s just no low level game and no real way to bring it back. Refreshing the older zones with the fabled stuff is a way that the old zones don’t just go to waste. I think the whole thing works pretty well together.

      Reply

      • Elrique

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        As long as the option of creating both a Heroic Character and a Level 1 exist for a player this model should work, allows someone to get into part of the game where most of the actual group interaction is as well as experience the solo grind if they choose on a separate toon, sort of best of both worlds. It might keep more new players in game.

        Reply

  • milliebii

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    Having just now watched the keynote address online I withdraw my earlier comment. I think Feldon you are misreading the level 85 heroic characters, they seem to be pre-rolled level 85′s that are an option to leveling your own not a replacement.

    As to the game looks like there is another couple of years of content coming down the track.

    I still fee there is some sort of merger of the game in the wind, but I now put that on a 2015 timeline.

    Reply

  • Sigtyr

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    Personally I think it is good. I am in a fairly large guild on AB and we have been actively trying to help new members with groups, equipment and occasional powerleveling when they have been in guild for some time and we know them but the retention rate is abysmal, and they quit they do not leave for another guild. The solo trek to 90 is simply to long and too boring. And the “I can level to 90 in 4 days” statement we hear so often may be true for an old experienced player who uses potions and the veteran xp bonus not for a new player.

    Secondly I am with Atan here. You do not learn anything significant about your class for grouping by soloing to 90.

    This is a good thing.

    I would say that it will be more fun and rewarding to organize a guild group of newbies and take them to Tofs or forgotten pools and similar dungeon and teach them about grouping than having to try to keep them interested in playing essentially alone for some months before you get to the “Real Game”

    Reply

  • badcat

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    So I got 2 toons leveling, yes I know folks are like but dude you got 9 level 95 characters already. What happens to those toons that are halfway grown. Do you get a button that allows you to zoom them to 85.

    I got mixed feelings about instant 85′s as in how do you learn your class that way. However I can see how it would help folks get to end game quicker.

    I don’t know part of me says its a terrible idea, and part of me is like wow the wife would love this option since she works 2 jobs and does not have time to grind new characters.

    Reply

    • Pipsissiwa

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      I have never, ever understood the rush to endgame. All everyone seems to do these days is PL to 95 ASAP, and then whine that there isn’t enough to do.

      Personally I really love the journey. I tend to get a toon to level 95, give it all the gear my main has got for them and then start a new one. Pips herself is the only one really who i run endgame stuff with. But then I like soloing, so i guess that helps.

      Reply

      • Daffodil

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        Most in our guild make a new character about every six months. At the moment we have our established 95s, our newish 95s, our 60somethings and our 30somethings. We play each group about the same amount and they’re all good fun. So what if I’ve done Crushbone and Deathfist a dozen times before? It’s still great to get in there with a few friends and do all the quests at the proper level.

        I don’t care what level options they add, as long as we’re free to keep making new characters and levelling them the old-fashioned way.

        Reply

  • amuller

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    Did she say everyone gets “At least one”? Does that mean someone could get more? Frankly, I’m not against the idea of one free 85 handed… the free AA last expansion wasn’t a killer. Is there any chance further 85s can be bought with station cash?

    Reply

  • Taivr

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    On one hand it is kind of sad that some players will likely never see the lower level content, some of which is quite good.

    On the other hand, most of my friends that I got to try out EQ2 got bored and left generally before they hit level 20, and I am certainly glad I won’t have to powerlevel guildies and my alts so much any more.

    Actually, I am very glad I won’t have to powerlevel any more, already having 8 level 95s as it is.

    Reply

  • Gash

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    I dont want to be completely negative, so i will say i saw a LOT of cool stuff i really liked in this Keynote.

    That being said, the whole “insta-85 for everyone” is a TERRIBLE idea. I think MAYBE (and its a big maybe for me) this would be okay if you were required to have a max lvl toon already. But i am very worried about ppl completely new to the game taking this option. They miss SO MUCH. Some have said you dont learn much about your class soloing to 90. Maybe thats true, but you learn a LOT about the game in general. All the little stuff that you take for granted and dont even THINK about. These ista-85 ppl brand new to the game are gonna be “lost in the sauce” like crazy.

    Reply

  • Lemilla

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    They should just make the level grind go way faster instead of letting people skip it completely. New players will just get overwhelmed even more if they start at a high level.

    Reply

  • Benj

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    I like the idea of insta-85 for alts. I have two alts that I almost never play because I have two 95 characters that I raid with instead.

    However, I don’t think I’ll use that feature on any new alts either. I need the time to learn my class through a mix of soloing and grouping. While my guild can PL me to 95 in only a few double-xp weekends, that still lets me learn each new spell as I earn it, rather than starting with 6 hotbars of new spells.

    Again, great idea for veteran players. Not so much for new players.

    Reply

  • Caela

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    This would be awesome for me. I have a few classes I want to play – coercer, ranger, defiler – but have zero desire to start completely over (In fact I have, and they are all in their low 20′s). But I have 4 lvl 95′s, and a few others of various levels under 70. I don’t have the time or desire to grind out levels all by myself (I play MMO’s to play with other people).

    But I do think you should have at least one max level toon before you are allowed to have an insta-85.

    Reply

  • Jrel

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    I don’t mind getting one. I sure could use one now.

    Reply

  • Yadrizzle

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    I dont think that insta level 85 makes the lower levels not mean anything. Chronoleveling is still a thing, they should really add more to it and give it token rewards.

    Reply

  • Eric Poling

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    I am concerned about what this will do to the population of the game. Having new people join and play is great… Having a bunch of immature kids who don’t know the difference between a well-thought out level 85 character and one that is just handed to them is not good. I see servers full of ill-mannered little kids who think they know it all without having learned a thing .

    Reply

  • Zzzz'z

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    Will this include tradeskill levels?

    Reply

  • Zictor

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    After the announcement, The 3-4 seconds of deafening silence in the room provided an accurate reaction. I think it was immediately realized. Many adjustments incoming

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

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    I see this as a good thing. For as long as I can remember, there’s been a issue with new players. New players have two primary choices:

    1. Play the character through the starting area, then solo your way up to level cap. While they are doing this, they’re not interacting with hardly anyone because the low level content is mostly solo and has been for a long time.

    2. Get somebody to power level you up to level cap. If you do this, you’re pretty much just being dragged along, pushing a button here and there but not really learning the class.

    Neither of these is much fun for a new player in the world of Norath. Being able to start at level 85, fairly quickly jump into groups with friends, and learn how to play the character from that level with a decent AA spec already figured out for you sounds like a lot more fun way to start your Norath days. Then you can start an alt at level 1 and play that character up in your spare time to get the low level experience if you want.

    The way things are now though, even if you convince a friend to try the game, there’s plenty of not so fun things that they have to go through before they reach the level where the real fun begins.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Why did I know you’d disagree with me?

      Reply

      • Dethdlr

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        Because you are wise beyond your years. :)

        Reply

      • Nork

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        But he is right though.

        I heard that EQ:Next was going to be sand-boxy. That made me actually watch the unveiling in the hope of seeing even a little bit of fresh air in the genre and I was blown away.

        I played EQ1 on launch, and Norrath has a special place in my heart. I badly want to return home to Norrath in EQ:Next. However, that game is in the future.

        I *personally* found EQ2 to be an inferior product at launch and went with WoW. I can’t speak to what kind of a product it is now, but nostalgia is calling enough to be on the fence about giving it a second look.

        However, I am SICK of playing D&D. The idea of level grinding yet another character makes me want to vomit. Yet I still enjoy Dance Dance Revolution Synchronized Swim raiding and dungeon runs well enough. So maybe I can stomach just a little bit of grinding levels. Yet again. For the uncounted iteration of MMO character leveling… but 1 to cap isn’t going to happen.

        I know how to tank/heal/dps on a lot of different classes and specs, and I’ve been doing it for years and years across different games. I can read the buttons, read the guides, practice it and get up to speed yet one more time.

        Reply

  • Maelani

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    Unless you got the info somewhere else, she never said in the keynote that it would be available as a first character. Her words, as I remember them, were “These will be available to EVERYONE, for free!” (she didn’t get applause then, so she repeated the same thing and then got a smattering of applause).

    Reply

    • Dethdlr

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      I guess it depends on how you interpret “EVERYONE”. I figured that if I had never played the game before and never had any characters before that I would still be included in the group known as “EVERYONE”.

      Perhaps you are using some definition of that word that I was previously unaware of. :)

      But it’s also possible that she was emphasizing “EVERYONE” that we wouldn’t have to buy it with station cash and that it gets unlocked once you work your way up to 85 on your own. I guess time will tell. :)

      Reply

      • Maelani

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        I took it to mean it will be available even to Bronze and Silver players… available. The qualifications for availability weren’t mentioned. I wonder if she’ll be talking about it at one of the panels today, I’d love to hear more info.

        My interpretation of Heroic characters is based on WOW’s Hero class, which allows you to roll the hero class (death knight) starting at level 55 rather than 1.

        Reply

    • Feldon

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      EVERYONE meaning new accounts, meaning people with no characters. Pretty cut-and-dried.

      Reply

      • Maelani

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        Available doesn’t mean there aren’t restrictions. Fabled gear is available to everyone, but Bronze and Silver need to buy unlockers to equip them.

        Reply

  • bhagpuss

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    I recently began playing my Guardian, who had been level 9 forever and was camped on the Isle of Refuge. When I found out the IoR had finally been closed I petitioned to have him moved and he ended up in Freeport.

    He’s now level 28 and I’ve played him in Commonlands, Antonica and now Butcherblock. It’s true I didn’t see too many people in the first two, although I certainly saw some, but I saw plenty of people in Butcherblock, to the point that I was frequently competing for spawns for many of the quests. It was a s busy as it always has been, which is pretty busy. This was on Everfrost during UK evenings, too, so not even server prime-time.

    I have more characters over 85 already than can remember – double figures for sure, and I may well add a few freebie 85s to that count, but it certainly won’t stop me leveling up the normal way as well. I bet there will still be plenty of people doing the same.

    Reply

    • a_shrubbery

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      I remember in Oct 2011 which I think is at least a year after DoV came out, people already told me “grouping is dead at low levels” “nobody wants to run old zones” and yet I managed to fill groups and run through ton of older content all the way from ~40 to 80, even a few x2 zones like Laboratory of Lord Vyemm.

      No doubt it’s a little harder this day but there’s always people that have strong opinion about grouping and pugs while never actually participating in those or initating those. Heh.

      Reply

  • badcat

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    now that I just spent the last 4.4 hours at the doctors office, I had time to think about this.

    Maybe this should be floated up to soe while you guys are over there. Decrease the xp grind for level 80-95, in fact make leveling a lot easier until you go to like level 85 or 90.

    I think that should be done in conjunction with giving us insta characters.

    Reply

  • Leanne

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    I noticed when this was announced the only thing you initially heard in the audience were “crickets” lol. I think this should only be implemented if you already have one max level character. Or let the ability to make a heroic character be a quest reward after a long HQ. (at lvl 95)

    Reply

  • a_shrubbery

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    I think this is great atfer all there is SO much content and things to do even when you raid. With older zones being updated as “fabled” version at current level, this makes sense.

    Although personally I just can’t see myself making new characters anymore. I like the achievements as it motivates me to explore older zones and complete things I didn’t do, at least exploration and raid achievements. AFAIK these are not account wide and this is a big bummer for me. A new character to me feels like an empty shell because for me the character is not just his gear but the quests he’s done, the places he’s seen and so on. While account wide achievements are not the same at least I would have a sense of continuity between “alts”.

    Reply

  • a_shrubbery

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    By making it so anyone can create an insta-85 as their FIRST character, I have serious trepidation that we’ll see people who are new to EverQuest II (or returning after years away) go for that option, (…)

    It’s definitely an issue. I returned to EQ2 about 1.5 month ago. My last stint was in late 2011 when there was still a lot of DoV pugs and public raids.

    So after just 1.5 year break the game felt so weird to me. Grouping seemed like everything was on steroids and extremely fast. But maybe I had just gotten used to the really slow pace of story telling and combat in LotRO.

    With that I re-familiarized with all my skill descriptions, had to redo my UI since I lost my backups, kinda refresh on so many aspects including the AA which I felt overwhelmed with at first… that in the end it’s not much different from a new player.

    Also, I’m not sure all players will make the choice to start 85. I bet many people new to EQ2 will start at level 1 to take it slowly and then maybe when they hit a wall, be it lack of grouping, or the class they’re not too fond of, or maybe joining a raiding guild… at that point they may be familiar enough to handle a level 85 character.

    Honestly the game is not that hard. Truth to be told, much of the “skill” is to absorb the overwhelming amount of data that you have to deal with, so that you know what to use when.

    Reply

  • a_shrubbery

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    Also I don’t know if you got this from the keynote, but I think Holly Longdale also briefly mentioned an updated Iceclad (?) zone with quests for Heroic Characters to go through.

    So a new EQ 2 player with a level 85 character isn’t thrown into a “xp grind” group at once, they presumably will get to do quests and have a little warming up to their skills and how the game works.

    Reply

  • Marty Runyon

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    This will be a good thing for me. I’ve tried to play EQ2 several times, but I always burn out in the mid-levels. I think the Highest I ever reached was level 50. Having a character that can experience content that is less than 5 years old sounds awesome.

    Reply

    • Gash

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      If its new to YOU, i dont understand why it matters if its 5 years old.

      Reply

    • Twyxx

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      I think this is likely gobbling up a lot of new players and they’re just never getting to end game, quitting early. I understand the fear that they’re not gonna know how to play their toon as well as someone who experienced the game leveling up, but I don’t think you learn much until you group anyway…and that’s not gonna happen at low levels. Plus, the heroic content is so easy with the last expansion it allows you to be terrible and learn on the fly.

      I honestly can’t imagine trying to start out in this game now solo and go all the way up to cap on your own. I know there are some guilds out there willing to help out and group with new players, but the vast majority of the population only plays at end-game now.

      Reply

  • Kendayar

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    Who actually cares that people get free 85s with AAs and legendary gear?

    They’re still 85 with a couple AAs and legendary gear in a game that’s a couple xpacs in on a lv95 cap AKA <>.

    At least I don’t have to go through yet another alt for the 40th time to actually play it at cap like I wanted to.

    Reply

  • Liftik

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    Wonder if you’ll be able to make a Heroic Channeller /shudder

    Reply

  • skippydippy

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    Oh really who cares,let the people have an 85 ive been saying it for years if you want one thats fine no issue from me on this.

    Reply

  • Trueflight

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    I agree with some of the other posters here. This is a good idea for secondary characters and alts, but I think it sucks for new players. The low level content is much better and well designed compared to the new stuff. Leveling up and unlocking new abilities is part of the fun as well as having the time to learn what each one does and figure out your class along the way. Hopping right into the game at high level not only eliminates the need to run through some of the most interesting and well written storylines in the game, it gives new players no chance to learn anything about the class or its abilities.

    I agree that the grind to high level does get old after a while though. Maybe offer new players a chance to jump to high level after level 50 or something. In the days where players can get power leveled to 90 in a day or two, I don’t see where it would hurt anything to put some sort of limits on this.

    Reply

  • Darlock

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    I’d agree with some of the previous posters.
    It’s a good idea for alt character, but absolutely horrible thing for new players.

    After you create your first character you will either spend couple hours trying to understand all abilities and then quit in frustration or jump into action and be useless and quit.
    This and new class is also screaming of “we can’t balance old content, so we decided to drop it completely”

    Reply

  • Ratchet

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    I just watched the video – Holly’s line at 47:00:

    “Every single person can play a Heroic character for free.”

    http://www.twitch.tv/soe/b/439515694

    That leaves a lot of wiggle room. I suspect you’ll need at least one max level character before this option is unlocked. I also suspect that you’ll get one free Heroic character and you’ll need to buy any additional. Perhaps with Loyalty tokens or Station Cash.

    Reply

  • Sandain

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    Anyone know if this “insta-85″ thing is strictly for new characters or will existing characters be able to be bumped up to 85?

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

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    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as though a lot of people believe that because someone hasn’t played EQ2 or hasn’t played EQ2 in a while, they must be new to computers, new to gaming, new to MMOs, and are completely incapable of understanding how the game works if they are thrown in at level 85.

    I disagree. As others have said before, crap players will be crap players regardless of what level they start at. Same goes for good players.

    IMO, the primary reason for this even being considered is for new players coming into the game. Today, if a new player starts, they either get power leveled or ignored while they watch others go do things in groups. This doesn’t exactly give you a very good first impression of the game. Saying that this is OK for alts once you have leveled up the honest way is basically saying “I had to do it the hard way so you should have to do it too whether it’s any fun or not”. Either that or you’re saying “people are too stupid to figure out how to play this complex game if you start them out at level 85″ which is kind of funny when contrasted against all the comments recently about EQ2 getting easier and easier to play. Pick one. Is it too complicated or too easy?

    Insta-85 is a move to get new players into the game and actually keep them here vs. starting and quitting before ever reaching level cap. I’m sure SOE has numbers of what ratio of new players quit before ever reaching level cap and I’m sure they’re not pretty. If you make Insta-85 only available to existing players, you’re missing the whole purpose of adding them.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      It’s a Winback program. Confirmed from the horse’s mouth.

      Reply

  • Greygore

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    I’d rather PL myself to 85 and have my Epic weapon and ER given to me ;)

    Reply

  • EQ2: heroic characters | GamingSF

    |

    [...] Everquest 2 announcement last Friday was that the next expansion will herald the introduction of heroic characters, i.e. characters that start at level 85 (with AAs and a set of legendary gear). This isn’t [...]

    Reply

  • Alethus

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    Feldon, Zoltroth indicated that the insta 85 would not be free at the dev brunch.. do you have other sources that say it is free? (other than the keynote speech…

    Reply

  • Griffon Lady

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    Jeebus! 0.0 thanks for the description of how sandbox games are. I’m officially not going to waste my money on EQn if people are going to be destroying my creations and betraying me. o.0

    I semi-like the idea of instant lvl 85s since I’d imagine a lot of new players are turned off by the lack of groups from 1-90, but yah, 5 levels to get into the more populated stuff will wind up in clueless people running around… buuut that was what release was like for a lot of us. XD Back in 2004 that was the more fun part of the game, all of us learning together, seeing new places, getting to know each other while farming or camping things.
    I know not many sentimental people play, but I’m worried more of the original game will be deleted like the colony island or “revamped” like the suburbs. I know they weren’t really usefull, but there were always other people there when i went to buy from a house or disco the landmark on a new toon. Will the devs decide that with every one popping in at lvl 85 that Commonlands, Antonica, Thundering Steppes, Nektulos… all those are obsolete and make them disappear? :\

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      I’m officially not going to waste my money on EQn if people are going to be destroying my creations and betraying me.

      You will have the same, or better, set of house permissions that you have now in EQ2. Trustee, Friend, and Guest.

      Reply

  • Lunara

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    I have a just-turned 81 level character I’ve been playing as my main off and on since 2005 lol…. I’m obviously in no rush to level or to leave eq2 for eqNext. We’re not all at max level (though granted I’m sure most old timers are). I was max level once, a few level caps ago. I don’t have any interest in raiding so end game is a bore to me.

    This is a seriously lame move on SOE’s part, but it’s not surprising. So many people clamor that the real game is end game and whine that it takes SO long to get there. The only way it takes a long time to get there is to play like I do, intentionally slowing it down to enjoy the journey. Otherwise? Level 1-85 in a matter of weeks.

    But, they listen to the whiners, so there ya go. I already avoid PUGs. Now I’ll know I’m not just being anti-social but a self-preservationist as well.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      It has nothing to do with whining. A Massively Multiplayer Online RPG was designed for, you know, multiplayer gaming! There is no multiplayer gaming in EQ2 from level 1-85. It’s an entirely solo adventure. People buy and start playing this game because — shock — they want to play with other people, and that rarely happens at levels 1-85. Now, I think there are any number of things they could do to fix this problem, but in lieu of all that, making it so people can roll level 85 characters at least lets people start playing EQ2 with friends and other new players.

      If you have no interest in grouping or raiding, especially PUGging which is an opportunity to meet new players, then this does not affect you at all and you can go right on being a “self-preservationist”.

      Reply

    • Saerroe

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      Totally off subject, but is this the Lunara from Null in the original EQ? And incidentally I agree with you, PUG’s usually are a nightmare and hurry up and level was never fun for me. IMO giving people level 85 toons from the start is going to attract those who are less serious about playing, and creating an even worse environment for play *sigh*

      Reply

  • Bivin

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    In this thread, I keep hearing the following”
    1. The lower zones are too empty for beginners to find a group or experience community.
    2. It takes too long to grind up.
    3. The lower levels aren’t fun anymore.

    To which I would anwer:
    All three of these objections could be solved by drawing higher level playes back into the lower zones with the proper incentives to mentor lower level players.
    There are several ways to do this:
    1. Seriously ramp up the AA awarded to higher level players to mentor. If you build in the AA, they will come.
    2. Award for high level mentors (say lvl 70 and above ) special titles, special loot, maybe some rare harvests in with the loot, serious status points for their guild.

    In a nutshell, if you remember what motivates higher level players (AA, loot, guild status, etc,.) and then incorporate those into the lower level zones ( or maybe into special instances of the lower zones, if tweaking the lower levels is too difficult for the developers ), they will mentor those lower level players, this will greatly reduce the leveling time up of the newer players AND give them a sense of the community spirit of EQ2. That’s what has kept me playing for five plus years.
    SOE should step back and really think hard about handing out SEAL badges so quickly. Really, not a good idea.

    Reply

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