EQ2Wire Tears of Veeshan Interview: Turning the Corner on Itemization

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Expansion News, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding

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After six years attending gaming conventions, namely Fan Faire and then SOE Live, one learns to carry a healthy dose of skepticism into any keynote or panel. The Age of Discovery (2011) and Chains of Eternity (2012) panels dazzled us with glitzy new features, beautiful new zones, and tweaks to itemization and mechanics. But by and large, these nips and tucks to itemization have remained in the well-worn rut of “Stamina + Main Stat increasing on a straight line” introduced with the Destiny of Velious expansion.

In Kyle “Kander” Vallée‘s interview with EQ2Talk this spring, he candidly shared his frustrations with Stat Consolidation and his plans to bring back Player Choice and Variety in itemization. But while I had reason to be excited for the Tears of Veeshan Itemization and Mechanics panels at this year’s SOE Live, I wasn’t fully prepared for the daring long-term plan for Itemization with which we were presented. I observed a confident, unified development team laying out their vision for a future in which choice is put back into player hands, and where the complexity that has always set EQ2 apart from more “accessible” games such as WoW is embraced rather than smoothed over.

If you’ve developed tunnel vision when shopping for item upgrades, glancing only at Stamina and Main Stats (Int/Wis/Str/Agi), you’ll likely do a double take when first encountering Tears of Veeshan items.

There are some big changes in ToV to be sure, and stats vital to the success of each class no longer flow like water. In a way, items have become raw materials for getting the Stats a player wants. Potency, previously a “gimme” stat appearing automatically on every item is now scarce. In case there was any doubt, Reforging will now be a necessity for all play styles rather than the plaything of hardcore players.

With the removal of class restrictions from nearly all gear (items are now restricted only to the material type: Cloth, Leather, Chain, and Plate) an item that might’ve easily been dismissed as “chain healer only” in the past may actually be an upgrade for the eagle-eyed scout who looks past the base numbers to see the item’s potential. It wasn’t that long ago that Rangers and Assassins dabbled in Mage gear for the intelligence boost to poison damage, so it will be interesting to see just how flexible this brave new world of itemization is.

With Tears of Veeshan, players of all difficulty tiers will absolutely be able to stock up on the Stats they are familiar with, but it may take Reforging, Adorning, or looking outside the box at non-obvious items to get there.

After logging into the Tears of Veeshan beta and checking out the overwhelming array of gear options on the Beta buffer, heading to the EQ2 forums and absorbing the Itemization Magna Carta, and then cringing at the doom-and-gloom naysayers on the forums who have expressed suspicion and doubt at the need to make thoughtful choices about gear upgrades, I had a ton of questions about Itemization.

Fortunately, Akil “Lyndro” Hooper, Creative Director for EverQuest and EverQuest II, and Michael “Xelgad” Ganz, EverQuest II Mechanics Lead, were able to take a moment and share with me their intentions for gear progression in Tears of Veeshan and into the future.

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EQ2Wire: With a return to patterns and rare, desirable items, it seems like at least some of the itemization in Tears of Veeshan is going back to popular ideas in past expansions. Can you talk about this some more?

Xelgad: We’re just trying to make the itemization fun, interesting and exciting. As we said in our Itemization Magna Carta, we believe that loot should be a combination of a gift and a well deserved paycheck. Like a gift, it should be something you want, and hopefully a surprise. Like a paycheck, you should be able to feel like you earned it. So we’re making an effort to reward raiders like a ‘paycheck’ so they definitely have items they can use, while still keeping the items desirable, and fun – as seen in the way we’re using our procs and effects.

Q: Does Tears of Veeshan completely replace the existing itemization, or are there some existing zones and items which still remain relevant?

Xelgad: Certain zones from previous expansions have had their items upgraded to the new system – and those zones are included in our progression path. Such zones include The Dreadcutter: The Pirate Kings, The Fabled Djinn Master’s Prism and Siren’s Grotto: Dissension’s challenge encounters.

Xelgad also posted some information about this on the forums:

To clarify, all loot from the Siren’s Grotto [Challenge] encounters will be instantly upgraded/upgradable on ToV release. The Pirate Kings weapons will also be instantly upgraded/upgradable on ToV release. As stated above, the Djinn Master loot will be upgraded before ToV release. The avatars in Arena of the Gods will get a little more difficult after ToV release and drop new loot that fits ToV itemization. The existing Arena of the Gods loot will not be upgraded.

Q: If my friends/guild are currently geared up from running all the heroic zones from Chains of Eternity and Siren’s Grotto, what’s the difficulty curve going to be? Will we find itemization upgrades in the solo Questlines and Advanced Solo zones?

Xelgad: Yes, players who are geared from heroic content in Chains of Eternity and Siren’s Grotto will gain upgrades from the Advanced Solo content and the questlines.

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Q: What about raiders who maybe haven’t made a lot of progress into Siren’s Grotto zones? Will they be able to hit any of the targets in Veeshan? Are players progressing through Chains of Eternity and Siren’s Grotto at the expected pace, or might we see some changes in the diffculty of these mobs?

Xelgad: The new Alternate Advancements, new equipment from the heroic zones in Tears of Veeshan and our systems changes will help those players progress. They will have raid targets to fight in Tears of Veeshan and they should be able to make progress on the Pirate Kings, Djinn Master and the challenge encounters in Siren’s Grotto: Dissension.

Q: Could you tell us the intended gear level audience for the new zones and intended order of difficulty? (Cryptic, Arcane, Potent, Energized and Mystical)

Xelgad: Cryptic armor comes from the Advanced Solo content and can be used in the Advanced Solo content and entry-level heroic zones. Arcane items are accessible in the lower difficulty heroic zones and for use there and for breaking into the more difficult zones. Potent is a rank up from that – from and for the more difficult heroic zones and the raids. Energized and Mystical items come from the raid zones.

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The five tiers of Tears of Veeshan armor, plus gem upgrades.

Q: In the beta, players have discovered gem slots on items as well as Weapon Damage Bonus. Can you talk about these?

Xelgad: Gem slots are a new method for upgrading items. Players can use the appropriate gem on an item that can accept it and all the stats on the item will increase. As you noted, we’re itemizing Weapon Damage Bonus as an alternate way to increase your character’s damage output and to add some choice and thought.

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NOTE: In Beta testing, we discovered that each Gem boosts most of the stats on an item by 3-4%. Cryptic items with 4 gems are roughly equivalent to base Arcane items, while Potent armor with 3 green gems have a healthy gap between their stats and the gemless Energized raid set.

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Q: When players login after the expansion, I understand that there will be a one-time “Item Reset” that allows players to break off the adornments or unequip some of their items. Can you talk in more detail about this?

Lyndro: Items that have had their spell weapon stats changed are being reset. There may be other items that get reset here or there….To make this easier we altered the way that the item reset works, so you can choose which items get unadorned and unattuned instead of having all of your equipment drop into your overflow.

NOTE: Due to the sweeping changes in Reforging, this will be reset on most items when players login to EQ2 after the expansion. Each item that loses its reforging will receive one free reforge.

Q: I know the team have been working to improve Server performance and tackle lag through code optimization, as well as some design changes to Itemization that put the focus less on lots of small triggered effects to fewer, more substantial effects. Can you talk a little about what role item procs will have in the expansion? What percentage of a player’s effectiveness can they expect from procs?

Xelgad: Players should notice, especially in raids, a large portion of their player power (via items) coming from effects. With a lot of these effects, we’re trying to shift the emphasis towards everyone working together as a team. We’re doing our very best to reduce latency as high amounts of lag is the best way to ruin the fun of a game. Short answer? Effects are good and powerful on the new items and we’re trying to build them in ways that reduces the strain on both the servers and player connections.

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Q: Most players in beta have reported a tripling or quadrupling of their health. Why did the team decide to make such a large leap in these numbers vs. smaller incremental increases?

Xelgad: High amounts of potency and crit bonus granted over the last few expansions have greatly increased the amount of healing that priests can output. The new health values are a jump to return the game to a state of “Tug of War” rather than having to focus on one-shots and preventing damage. Rather than just let the problem fester further, we decided to just rip the bandaid off.

Q: At SOE Live, and also in the Itemization Manifesto posted on the forums, it seems the itemization pendulum is swinging in the direction of player choice and providing tradeoffs, rather than such a linear path as we have had in the past few years. Is there a risk of player confusion now that most classes will have 5-6 choices of gear styles?

Xelgad: We don’t think that players will get too confused with the new choices, and even if they do, there is a conversion merchant for all of the quested armor. Also, players shouldn’t be able to end up in a state where they are unable to play their character due to the choices they made with their armor.

Q: One of the big changes in the expansion is, Multi Attack is being soft-capped at 200, while DPS Mod is being uncapped and will increase the damage of each hit. Can you talk about this change?

Xelgad: This relates back to the latency issue. Multi-Attack can be very stressful on player connections to the server, and it’s not the happiest thing in the world for the server performance itself. Since Multi-Attack and Damage Per Second can be used the exact same way based on their curves, we decided to swap them – since Damage Per Second is a less stressful calculation. Also, keep in mind that Multi-Attack is actually capped at 1200 and that comes out to 1.75 extra attacks. Damage Per Second is now capped at 2300.

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Q: As a followup question, some NPCs in EQ2 have the abilities of a Brawler and thus are very good at avoiding hits. With Multiattack and Flurry, scouts and fighters had many opportunities to try to hit an enemy. With the shift to DPS Mod — which will make even a single missed attack rather devastasting — is there something that can be done to balance the change?

Lyndro: Your accuracy isn’t changing, so there shouldn’t be an appreciable change, because math.

Q: Potency is important to every class, yet in the expansion, only certain sets of armor have this stat. Under what circumstances will players choose to miss some potency in favor of another stat?

Xelgad: The items are balanced around the Weapon Damage Bonus directly contesting the Potency from other items. The damage increase will shift from “Abilities” to “Auto-Attack” if you were to use one of those items instead.

Q: What has the Beta feedback been like so far?

Xelgad: We’ve been getting a lot of constructive feedback, of which we are quite appreciative.

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EQ2Wire Commentary

I have conspicuously avoided the topic of this summer’s SOE Layoffs, however I felt I must make a few points here that readers hopefully glean some comprehension of what the EQ2 team has gone through in the last 2 months to get this expansion out the door. At SOE Live, the EQ2 team unveiled an ambitious programme of new solo, group, and raid content, as well as a complete rethinking of itemization. Four weeks later, they found out that they’d have to deliver those promises with a dramatically downsized team.

I’ve met quite a few folks who work at SOE, from the EQ2 team, to Community, to folks in Platform (for Census). I’ve chatted with EQ2 folks on beta tours, in-game, and on the forums, and I’ve bought them drinks at SOE Live. I’ve had an opportunity to get to know them and their unique contributions to Norrath, so to me, they’re not strangers on a computer screen — they’re friends. So when the layoff hammer fell after SOE Live, the bottom dropped out of my stomach.

After countless 90+ hour weeks, a team just 1/3 the size of the one that delivered Rise of Kunark has managed to hit every goal and deliver every zone they’d announced in Las Vegas just over two months ago. So I wanted to take a moment to recognize that, and give the team a pat on the back for giving us Tears of Veeshan.

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Comments (77)

  • Kinya

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    Great writeup Feldon. Thank you.

    Thank you for explaining solo, heroic, raid gear and gems.

    Do you know by any chance progression in Solo and Heroic zones from easiest to hardest?

    Reply

  • Lemilla

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    At least for solo zones, the intended difficulty order is (based on dev posts:
    - The Nexus Core
    - The Fractured Hive
    - Pickclaw
    - High Keep
    - Chamber of Statis
    - Stratum of the Protectors
    - Temple of Veeshan: Laboratory of Mutation
    - Temple of Veeshan: Halls of the Betrayer

    Reply

    • Kinya

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      Thx, Looks like I’ve missed this post :)

      Reply

    • Feldon

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      Also the 3 Temple of Vershan heroic zones drop the tier 2 heroic gear – Potent which takes green gems. The third ToV heroic zone is very challenging. Like Palace of Ferzul was in TSO.

      Reply

  • Krozana

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    For those of us who haven’t tested beta yet (I dont have the time, the little bit of time i get to play I prefer to play on live), I’ve heard mention of these gems, I am guessing that we have armor drops and some gem drops that can be added to the armor (much like adornments) is that the case? Or where does one get these ‘gems’ if not?

    Reply

      • Feldon

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        Fantastic writeup!

        Reply

        • Kinya

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          Thx. You can copy it and post here if you want :)

          Reply

    • Feldon

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      I will have this in my Tuesday ToV FAQ but heroic gems are bought with Etmya, the expansion’s tokens. Crafters can make gems for fewer Etmya. Raid gems are dropped.

      Reply

    • Cleve

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      The Development team intentionally made it difficult to upgrade armor via gems to slow gear progression.

      Reply

  • JonnyJJJ

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    Looking forward to a lot more choice.

    Reply

  • Pantherfoot

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    These Upgrade gems, how are their obtained? (and drop rate)
    And if you decide to swap out gear can you “pop” the gems off and move them to your new equipment ?

    Reply

  • arieste

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    Great article, but the use of Cryptic Forearms in the screenshot is extremely misleading for those that don’t understand the new itemization. Forearms are the one slot that is extremely underpowered in relation to others. Looking at forearms alone, a person may (rightly) conclude that they’re still better off in HM CoE armor than in Cryptic. This is absolutely NOT the case for all other slots. I suggest you replace the forearm screenies with any other slot.

    Reply

  • Barx Atthemoon

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    Thanks for the article, I’m glad to see the progression will be like in the graphic (each tier being above the one below it, regardless of # of gems used) rather than overlapping and resulting in potential drop-offs.

    Showing the different tiers of item examines as a comparison doesn’t quite work well when you mix armor slots; stats are not evenly split between different armor slots so comparisons have to be within a slot (e.g., 5 different boots, or 5 different shoulders). Similarly they should (if possible) be all the same variety, e.g., all be potency+cast speed set or all be AE+DPS set. Doing that would help in better making the point / showing the difference between the tiers.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Unfortunately these were the items I had access to. Maybe I can get some item links of all the same things.

      Reply

  • Gash

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    Am I the only one who wonders why they didnt go Green-Blue-Yellow-Red-Purple for the gems instead? lol
    It would have been a lot more consistent with pretty much the whole rest of the game.

    Great write-up, thanks

    Reply

  • din

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    I’m one of those who liked the AS having a small chance of dropped a fable – DC being one that I like to farm.

    will the new AS zone continue this feature ?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      I believe Advanced Solo zones can drop rare fabled.

      Reply

  • Zizz

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    This actually has me excited to play EQ2 again!

    Reply

  • Zizzu

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    Still looks like a muddle mess. This is probably the 4th go around with itemization and it still not fixed. Capping certain stats/effects just bottlenecks players. Instead of increasing the numbers to stupid high figures, SoE should just make certain items much rarer to get and just reset all numbers back to a reasonable condition. This “was” SoE chance to actually reset the entire itemization system.

    This is no fix. Instead, it’s just same crap with a “gem” tier.

    I do hope EQ Next has a different itemization system than this garbage.

    Reply

    • milliebii

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      Zizz, positive comment but short.
      Zizzu, negative comment slightly longer 5 minutes later, trips my ‘troll warning’ alarm but let that pass.

      The previous iterations with itemization were to implement, and then fix the problems with stat consolidation. Now I think SOE (Georgeson) made a mistake doing that at all but there is no unscrambling that egg now.

      This pass looks interesting but we will have to jump in and get our feet dirty to find out.

      EQ Not! (Next) is an entirely different can of worms, other than SOE branding it as an Everquest game it has little if anything to do with EQ2 or EQ. As the game has no levels and even more stringent caps on stats you are going to be very disappointed if you wanted an “uncapped” system.

      Reply

      • Zizz

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        That is quite the coincidence but I can assure you we are different people. I don’t know who Zizzu is. :)

        Reply

        • Zizzu

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          I’ve been Zizzu for quite a long time and played EQ2 since it’s beta days. I’ve longed retired from EQ2 several years ago, but some folks still remember from EQ2 Flames.

          Reply

          • Zizz

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            Zizz was my Enchanter on Tallon Zek day #1 so I think I’ve got you beat ;)

            These days she is my Bruiser on Nagafen.. Although I’m not playing EQ2 right now!

            Reply

      • Zizzu

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        The previous iterations with itemization were to implement, and then fix the problems with stat consolidation. Now I think SOE (Georgeson) made a mistake doing that at all but there is no unscrambling that egg now.

        The egg has been so scrambled up even before Georgeson. With that said, itemization just got so convoluted afterward.

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          The DoV itemization flatline came from Rich Waters, who is no longer at SOE.

          Reply

          • Zizzu

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            The DoV itemization flatline came from Rich Waters, who is no longer at SOE.

            It flatline even before that.

            I do miss the EoF/RoK days. /sigh

            Reply

          • Feldon

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            I thought people liked the SF itemization, even if it took too many shards to get what we wanted.

            Reply

    • Feldon

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      When the EQ2 team had 12 designers, they tried a re-do of itemization through a computer program and then lots of hand-tweaking. It was still a complete mess. You want EQ2′s current team which has just 6 designers to do the same thing (but better)…how?

      This is no fix. Instead, it’s just same crap with a “gem” tier.

      Clearly you have a reading comprehension problem.

      If you actually look at the gear and the options being given, it’s going back to earlier expansions like EoF and Kunark where items drop that have a cool stat or feature on them, but you have to sacrifice in other places. Players will now have to juggle stats, instead of the old boring flat line projection we’ve had. The purpose of the gems is so, if you do get an item you really like, you don’t have to throw it away to upgrade it.

      I do hope EQ Next has a different itemization system than this garbage.

      Everything about Next is looking to be ultra-simplified and “accessible”. It’s already been announced that as you collect Classes (you can collect all 40 of them on 1 character) you can have 4 abilities mixed and matched from those classes at once. Then your weapon gives you 4 abilities. You really think that with 8 total combat buttons in EQNext, the itemization is going to be complex and nuanced?

      You’re living in a fantasy land and I don’t mean Norrath.

      Reply

      • Zizzu

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        Clearly you have a reading comprehension problem.

        If you actually look at the gear and the options being given, it’s going back to earlier expansions like EoF and Kunark where items drop that have a cool stat or feature on them, but you have to sacrifice in other places. Players will now have to juggle stats, instead of the old boring flat line projection we’ve had. The purpose of the gems is so, if you do get an item you really like, you don’t have to throw it away to upgrade it.

        No reading problem here. The itemization still looks like a mess. And I’m seeing it from a objective view unlike you. Stats are now so overblown now. With a multitude of multifaceted stats, you need a catalog to keep up.

        You are telling me the items are going back to EoF/RoK days, but from what you are showing me I am not seeing that. Weapon damage, spell weapon damage, AE Auto attack, ability reuse, etc… are everywhere now. Back in the day, those amazing abilities was super stupid rare. So, please tell me that what you have posted is incorrect (item photos above) and that the game has really in fact gone back to EoF/RoK days.

        Reply

        • Zizzu

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          Everything about Next is looking to be ultra-simplified and “accessible”. It’s already been announced that as you collect Classes (you can collect all 40 of them on 1 character) you can have 4 abilities mixed and matched from those classes at once. Then your weapon gives you 4 abilities. You really think that with 8 total combat buttons in EQNext, the itemization is going to be complex and nuanced?

          You’re living in a fantasy land and I don’t mean Norrath.

          Sorry to say that i do not have the full details of how combat is going to look like or how the game will play out. So, thanks for the insight. As for simple itemization, I sure hope EQNext has it since it is starting out from scratch. I’m critical because we have allot of the same designers who killed EQ2 on this game. Behoove me to be….wary.

          Reply

          • Feldon

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            Rich Waters, who dreamed up Stat Consolidation and asked “How does WoW do this?” in every design meeting, is no longer with SOE.

            Reply

        • Feldon

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          You’re not going to see a 10 year old MMO like EQ2 go back to having just 3-4 stats to chase per archetype.

          Reply

          • Zizzu

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            You’re not going to see a 10 year old MMO like EQ2 go back to having just 3-4 stats to chase per archetype.

            I never said just have basic stats and that’s it. What I’m trying to say is dumb down the stats to more basic core numbers and make “over the top” stats super rare. Having “tier” gem slots as the difference between top end raid and casual raider/player is just plain dull.

            There are other ways to enhance items also. Making weapons hit slightly faster, or harder, or both, etc. Making certain armors have unique effects without going over the top like: multi reflect damage, vampiric damage, etc… Naturally, these items should be super rare and not the normal drop.

            Just tired of seeing the bloated stats on every item.

            Reply

  • snowdarc

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    Please tell me the “etyma” doesn’t drop like obols. As in,1 every 5 zones

    Reply

    • Malade

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      Never saw one drop in beta, but only killed 500 or so things in the new zone.

      Reply

  • milliebii

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    I really dislike the look of that power curve.

    IMHO Yellow +4 should = Blue (perhaps +1)
    Blue +4 should > Green
    Green +3 should = Red

    and purple should be where Red +2 would be if there was a +2 gems not at Red +2.5 where it seems to be.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Green +4 = Red

      Reply

      • ratfink

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        Green+4 > Red+1

        Reply

  • Mysticalluna

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    I wish people would quit being obsessed about gear vertical statistic progression, and I agree with milliebii above…

    Why are there gaps in between gear tiers? Gem adornments should help cover gaps and reduce overlap, with the choice between player styles of if they want to solo grind, dungeon group for faster drop rates, or raid for the challenge of it.

    Raiders shouldn’t be raiding for top tier end-game best equipment, it should be a lifestyle choice of enjoying the challenge, a lot of people are just addicted to shiny statistics on loot, and aren’t even true raiders. That’s why so many people just buy raid loot with platinum, because many people couldn’t care less about the challenge, just want the best loot in game… Whatever happened to fun?

    We all need to move on past statistics and concentrate on making the gameplay more fun… Solo zones having fabled loot wasn’t a problem, it was meant to be rare and grindy, dungeon zones should have had different cosmetics and faster drops than solo zones, and raid zones should have had pretty particle procs that were interesting like in Sentinel’s Fate (instead of the boring ones that we had) .

    However, the statistics shouldn’t be so overpowered on raid gear, there should just be minor differences in adornment gem slots, instead of this straight power curve being shot up to raiders. Raiding usually isn’t a challenge, its usually grinding like solo zones, only with more people for insanely overpowered loot. Most people after all, aren’t seeing these hard-mode end-game raid zones or killing Avatars, yet, their low tier raid gear is better than anything found in dungeons or soloing?

    Shouldn’t raids below ultra Avatar hard-mode level be equal to hard challenging dungeons ? There should be extremely challenging solo content, not the boring easy mode solo content we get…. Adv solo zones need to drop entertaining fun gear, do they? Or is it a waste of time , when raiding and dungeons drop better?

    All play styles should have difficulty scaling of easy to hard, not only raiding…. Will raiders have any reason to care about dungeons? Once they all start raiding?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Why are there gaps in between gear tiers? Gem adornments should help cover gaps and reduce overlap, with the choice between player styles of if they want to solo grind, dungeon group for faster drop rates, or raid for the challenge of it.

      The chart exaggerates the gaps between the tiers, and I may should go back and adjust the chart to be more accurate. Also on Beta, there was a 4th green gem on the Tier 2 heroic gear which put that gear equal to the entry-level raid gear. Who knows this might come back down the road.

      Raiders shouldn’t be raiding for top tier end-game best equipment

      Unless you are in a casual raid guild (which is what I’ve always been in), top-tier raiding is about gearing up the raid force so you can progress on gear-check fights. Top-tier equipment may be “shiny” but in the end, it’s a tool that allows the raid force to survive and succeed in the harder content.

      We all need to move on past statistics and concentrate on making the gameplay more fun… Solo zones having fabled loot wasn’t a problem, it was meant to be rare and grindy, dungeon zones should have had different cosmetics and faster drops than solo zones, and raid zones should have had pretty particle procs that were interesting like in Sentinel’s Fate (instead of the boring ones that we had) .

      However, the statistics shouldn’t be so overpowered on raid gear, there should just be minor differences in adornment gem slots, instead of this straight power curve being shot up to raiders. Raiding usually isn’t a challenge, its usually grinding like solo zones, only with more people for insanely overpowered loot. Most people after all, aren’t seeing these hard-mode end-game raid zones or killing Avatars, yet, their low tier raid gear is better than anything found in dungeons or soloing?

      Sorry, but I do not agree with you one bit about raiding. Not only does raiding require the extra effort of showing up at specific times to play every week, spending the plat and time to research the correct adornments, reforging, and item upgrades, but often, raid guilds can spend an entire night just trying to kill a new mob and not actually get any gear in the process. I don’t know any raider who would go through all that for “pretty particle procs”.

      Shouldn’t raids below ultra Avatar hard-mode level be equal to hard challenging dungeons ? There should be extremely challenging solo content, not the boring easy mode solo content we get…. Adv solo zones need to drop entertaining fun gear, do they? Or is it a waste of time , when raiding and dungeons drop better?

      First, they put in extremely challenging solo content. And then thousands of players scream for it to be made easier. Your comment is really puzzling. You seem to think that raiding is a walk in the park grind (it’s not — it’s got a lot of strategizing and problem solving), while solo zones should be punishing. Most folks who play solo have expressed a strong displeasure for ‘fast-twitch’ and challenging content with failure conditions.

      Will raiders have any reason to care about dungeons? Once they all start raiding?

      There are rare drops in the dungeons, but who are we to force raiders to do group zones? They have chosen a play style.

      Reply

      • Zizzu

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        Unless you are in a casual raid guild (which is what I’ve always been in), top-tier raiding is about gearing up the raid force so you can progress on gear-check fights. Top-tier equipment may be “shiny” but in the end, it’s a tool that allows the raid force to survive and succeed in the harder content.

        I’m not a fan of gear-checked fights. Sure, there is a purpose of having certain gear for a certain “tiered” named, but Devs should rethink this process. Instead of “working” for gear (or a particular stat like “Hit” (Rift reference), Devs should force raiders to acquire a certain key for the dungeon for example. Or progress through a series of “bosses” before reaching a certain next “tier”. These are just examples and I’m sure there are more.

        It just gets old when the next expansion rolls out and that your gear you have is just not going to last. The progression from one expansion to another should be small in terms of itemization. Sure, stats will go up, but it shouldn’t be where one is required to achieve a certain amount of “points”.

        Reply

  • Enrico

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    Cryptic Arcane Potent Energized Mystical – “cap ‘em”
    as in – you want to cap all your stats (them).

    Reply

  • Moose

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    I actually found Bolgin to be the hardest name in all the zones.

    I think his swarm script would have been more fitting than the scripts used on the named in TOV zones.

    I actually am getting excited to play tomorrow when it launches. “At work during the main portion of it so I won’t be missing anything”

    I just need to snag a few of the adornment dislodgers for my upgrades tomorrow.

    Reply

  • badcat

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    honestly they made the solo zones so difficult that you need a real healer with you and not a merc. I bet not many folks will be running the solo zones.

    You are supposed to make the game fun, wile giving you something to work at, but they made the solo zones not fun at all.

    Healer mercs are totally broken, and yet despite numerous threads and discussions about the solo zone and difficulty and healer mercs being broken those discussions fell on deaf ears.

    I am not impressed.

    Reply

    • Kruzzen

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      I was able to solo/muo the AS zones with no problem. Of course my toons are fairly well geared from this xpac, but it can be done.

      Reply

      • Dragulas

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        Kruzzen….My hero!

        Reply

  • Vykar

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    I remember talk of changing the returns for ability casting speed to doublecast. Has anyone noticed anything?

    Reply

  • Benj

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    Looking back at the re-itemized DMP ([eq2u]Superior Djinn Bracelet of the Sky[/eq2u]), it has a primary stat just short of the Potent item shown above. While I know I shouldn’t be looking just at primary stat and stamina, this makes DMP roughly equivalent to all Potent gear.

    Am I correct in assuming that all old but relevant content will be equivalent to high-end heroic gear? Or will the even tougher mobs (SG Challlenge) be equivalent to low-end raid gear?

    Reply

  • Moose

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    In regards to the final named dropping fabled in the zones it will be a crap shoot at best. The final in high keep and I want to say nexus core have a fabled neck. Irc the other zones didn’t show any thing on the loot table they show when the chest opens. I know the named can drop fabled purple adornments as I got the one that added 18k hp to me.

    This is my experience with the adv solo zones.

    Reply

    • din

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      its been ‘many’ years since I studied french (year 7 if I remember correctly), so is there an english version ?

      Reply

    • Kalmaraa

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      Is there a page or something there that can post it in english, for us?

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        I’ll have a FAQ today.

        Reply

  • Malade

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    So mages need something besides int/sta now?

    Reply

  • Atan

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    So if I wasn’t killing SG CM, I now have the choice of having a raid force gear in heroics or go back to SG (a zone universally hated by everyone I know).

    Great options.

    Reply

  • striinger

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    Zizzu, have you PLAYED EQ2?! I understand if Rift rooted your brain, but I can ask remember the toons of flagged/locked content and it went over like crap. With players being so fickle about bouncing between games it would be rare that a large group of people would ever do anything but back flag.
    Most people don’t raid for the epeen factor of saying you killed a mob first, or even the sense of satisfaction from killing a foe. We are all, to varying degree, coin operated. We do the ‘job’ for the pay day. If that were not the case then guilds would stay on the same progression long after the lot is trivial. Some guilds might; I don’t know any, personally.
    Raids are up to 24 cats being herded by volunteers that deal with the content, but also with conflicting personalities, personal dramas, and usually their own jobs/rl. To get that many people to work for free (plat won’t buy groceries) for 15+ hours per week takes a decent incentive. Being able to solo content that smears the majority of non-raiders seems to be about what it takes.

    Reply

    • milliebii

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      While I agree with what you say, particularly the bit about 24 cats to herded by volunteers, why is it that way?

      Doing the ‘job’ for pay day seems to me to be just that a job, doing that in a virtual world has, for a long time now, seemed to me to be the wrong thing to be doing in a game.

      “If you are not having fun you are doing it wrong.”

      For me at least that means that the current approach to raiding and raid design is wrong. Maybe abandoning the ‘raid gear is best’ standard is the way to break the current raid paradigm and bring some creativity to bear which will lead to fun large group content.

      Reply

  • Dragulas

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    As a player that usually dreads expansions (working hard on raid bosses for uber gear then being knocked down the food chain a bunch) I’m actually looking forward to this expansion. Seems we will be through a few sets of gear to be able to get to end-game content which keeps it both interesting and challenging. I also like the ability to mix and match gear for the best results, it will no longer be a copy and paste cookie cutter version of the game but a thinking man’s game, (which raiding most certainly is already). I have spent a fortune re-forging my gear for the best results and this seems to add yet another dimension to the mix. It’s not just about “Shiny” new gear, it’s about being the best at your class you can be, add 23 other like minded people and you have countless hours of fun….frustration….anger…. then Victory!

    Reply

  • Wookin

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    Gear checks are second only to Drunderesque keep-it-broke in stupid raid progression checks. That being said, I’m not a fan of flagging either though maybe it’s the lesser of two evils – especially when apps and new raiders can get flagged via group content or sig quests because then you aren’t wasting raid time.

    Here’s a novel idea: challenging raid scripts that import a natural time check. Or tiered releases.

    Reply

    • Argond

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      You don’t like the concept of gear-checks in a game that is almost entirely about mechanical, item-based progression? What’s the point of improving your gear if there aren’t any encounters that require better gear?

      Flagging, and other artificial content gating mechanics, exist to separate and stratify the playerbase. This is only a good thing when access to content is treated as a reward to motivate players. Historically, in most cases, such mechanics tend to act more as a deterrent against expanding the raid force, which is the opposite of the intended goal.

      It’s all about player attitudes and perceptions. When a person comes up against a MOB that’s too strong for them to defeat at that time, it gives them a goal to achieve. They can quantify their advancement in the game by how much easier those encounters become, until they eventually trivialize them–providing a satisfying sense of completion.

      Flags and other artificial content gates don’t care how powerful you are, and don’t grant that satisfaction. It feels less like overcoming a challenge, and more like jumping through hoops setup by the developers. They do not incentivize cooperative, social gameplay, and should be avoided whenever possible.

      Reply

      • Wookin

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        There is a difference between improving the effectiveness of your character through gear and OMG-you-need-680-crit.

        Reply

  • Argond

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    “Your accuracy isn’t changing, so there shouldn’t be an appreciable change, because math.”

    While this is true in terms of averages, it will create a lot more variance in discreet encounters. Average isn’t particularly predictive in most practical situations, since encounters don’t last for a long enough duration to create a sample size large enough to account for deviations. We’re going to need significantly larger sample sizes to get a reliable measurement of our auto-attack DPS under the new paradigm, which will make quantifying the differences in characters builds more difficult.

    People already tend to make assumptions based on statistically insignificant sample sizes as it is (“this one raid parse proves [class/ability] is [under/over]powered!”). While it probably won’t be an issue that will require altering MOB parameters, it will make gear optimization more time-consuming and prone to error.

    Reply

  • Kalmaraa

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    I noted how a raid allance is planning on just jumping right in to the raids there once the update is complete. This article here matches what I have seen on the Beta not to mention it’s nice to see it confirms what I been thinking. That the obol stuff even some PoW stuff will not be suited for raiding right off the bat in these new zones.

    I advised the one raiding alliance I try to help out about this, but I’ll be honest I think it will likely be ignored, as they ignored my advice in the past, and wonder why they have a hard time getting past the boar in PoW at times.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      LOL yeah all but the top raid guilds should cut their teeth on the heroic stuff, especially the Temple of Veeshan T2 heroic gear. If they are worth their salt, then they can run those zones a few times and gear up to start breaking into the raids. Unless they are already making inroads into Siren’s Grotto, they’re gonna have a bad time in ToV raids.

      Reply

  • Lethlian

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    Its hard for me to be excited about this expansion tbh.

    We’ve replaced Crit Mit with Stamina and Crit Chance essentially. Gear scores that are TOO specified like that are horrible for a game. I thought SOE learned there lesson with that back in DOV but I guess not, seeing its be rehashed with just different stats.

    It just feels like they tried to over-reach to far with this expansion as far as everything goes. (on the flip side, the best thing they did do was the MA/DPS mechanic change, but really that’s about it)

    To me its not a good idea when a majority of players parses are going to be proc dependent. Takes skill or any kind of thinking out of the game….

    I honestly don’t feel like this expansion is going to draw in more players, but instead have the opposite effect, because of the far reaching scope of change that is being implemented…

    Another problem with this expac is that SOE completely failed /dropped the ball with the PVP community in this one. PVP is going to be completely broken with the release of this expac.

    I understand that there has to be gear difference between solo players and raiders, but judging from the gear progression chart, that gap is going to be so huge, that the only players who will actually have a chance to see all the content (be able to play it) is raiders. Plus the amount of content in this expac is pretty small and the fact that SOE just trivialized everything that isn’t Tears of Veshann, means content is even smaller now again.

    I’m not trying to be negative or be like “the sky is falling” but I can tell you as a player that was with eq2 for the past several years, this was the expansion that made me quit my sub and not pre-order. I’m not impressed with the astronomical numbers of the game, and while some of the mechanic changes aren’t bad, its just too much all at once. Not to mention its annoying as heck that this game still plays like crap in medium graphic settings with a higher end computer.

    Hope EQnext is good lol.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Another problem with this expac is that SOE completely failed /dropped the ball with the PVP community in this one. PVP is going to be completely broken with the release of this expac.

      The EQ2 team have spent months trying to fix PVP over the last 3 years. At various times they’ve gotten it really balanced. Result? How many players are there are on Nagafen? It’s a ghost town! So at this point, with the team they have, does it make any sense for SOE to spend more time trying to appeal to the needs of 1 server?

      Reply

    • Deannan

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      The problem with PvP in EQ2 is that EQ2 should never have had PvP in the first place. It was an after thought that, like most new EQ2 features, was implemented and forgotten about. If you are going to have PvP in your game, you better design it from the ground up alongside the PvE creation. Not tack it on in a game update so that you can say your game has PvP.

      I agree with Feldon that the small dev team we have left should be focusing on the larger picture/population with hopefully just one update this year focused on some PvP balance.

      Reply

  • Sinreaper

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    With the removal of class restrictions from nearly all gear (items are now restricted only to the material type: Cloth, Leather, Chain, and Plate) an item that might’ve easily been dismissed as “chain healer only” in the past may actually be an upgrade for the eagle-eyed scout who looks past the base numbers to see the item’s potential. It wasn’t that long ago that Rangers and Assassins dabbled in Mage gear for the intelligence boost to poison damage, so it will be interesting to see just how flexible this brave new world of itemization is.

    That was years ago , ever sins they removed the crit on posions they ahve been more or less useless and lets face it they should be looked at agein in the beta they did increse the dmg output a bid but its still totaly useless and should be looked at agein

    Reply

    • Lethlian

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      This has to be literally the worst expansion in this games history. PVE is broken and PVP is broken. Players are mad and SOE is keeping there mouth shut.

      WTF happened to this game?

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        Could you please be less specific about what problem you are having in EQ2?

        Reply

  • Petunia

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    Great expansion! Yes I’m pretty confused atm, but I confuse easily. So far the quests have been fun, the gear changes are interesting, and unlike COE when 4 of us stuck our noses into a couple of the heroic zones we got smacked immediately. Way it should be – we just need to get better!

    Reply

  • Bloodstormz

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    You need to edit those bar scales a little bit, Fel,. The T4 Arcane is actually a little better than the T1 Potent. same with Cryptic 4 gems is better than the arcane with no gems….just need to slide the groupings back just a little bit where the no gem pieces sit just below the tier befores topped out pieces.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      I’ve revised the chart a bit. I can adjust it some more as you’re suggesting that I need to make the T4 Arcane overlap the Potent a bit.

      Reply

  • Delerius

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    Hmm any Programers out there That might be a bit bored, might consider building a Itemization Program for Gear?

    If I had the talent and skill I would definatly would.
    How I would go about it would be to have a Section at the top where you would enter in the Stats your trying to achieve.
    The program would then Look for the first item with the most number of stats matching the requested stats, then at the bottom would process the gear needed first stat first then the next, also would take into consideration Reforgable stats and conversion ratio ( if =>) then compare the item with raw stat and List the best option first with the Reforged stat in brackets to show reforgability.
    If Plain Raw stats are Better would show that item in slot with highlighted Reforgeable stats (to show they can be used for over soft caps). if not needed for the initial input request.
    Also another Option Tab at the top I would have another section where you can load your current gear and Hit a Reforge Button and will analyse your gear to give you a list at the bottom of what items need to be reforged to get the stats needed, Also Showing equal Tier Pieces (arcane,Potent,…ect) to give you Closer to goal reforge options.

    The Purpose is Mainly to help out everyone that has Multiple
    Characters and Multiple accounts speed up the headache Process and get groups rolling quicker and more efficiently.

    Reply

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