MMOs like EverQuest II can’t help but include a loot chase. While EQ2 offers many different styles of gameplay from crafting to decorating to soloing, those players who elect to group or raid find themselves on the loot treadmill and want to be able to point to forward progress. In recent years, the EQ2 team have scattered a few best-in-slot items throughout the content so that crafters and soloers get some “Whoa!” items. Still, most Progression items come from extremely difficult content that requires substantial coordination. There’ll always be that one ridiculously difficult heroic zone. There’s always that Wing 3 of raid content. With Terrors of Thalumbra as well as Altar of Malice (after some post-launch tuning), the heroic content has been made accessible so that more people get to enjoy it. But as with any organized sport, the tolerances between success and failure shrink the higher you go into more challenging fare.
I don’t envy game developers who are forced to create enough content to last a year. What has concerned me about Ethereal runes, Ethereal weapons, Mythicals, and Ancients is that they are acquired almost entirely based on the luck of the dice roll, not player skill or effort. It saps the sense of accomplishment when you say “This item took me 374 heroic runs!” after the person next to you says “I got it the first time through. Now what?”
I like checklists. I like setting goals for myself like I can with a long Epic Weapon quest, a set of Gemmed Armor that has a specific number of gem slots, an item that requires multiple runs through a Public Quest to upgrade, or a Jewelry Set that has pieces scattered throughout different zones. Heck at this point I’d celebrate a new Prestige AA tree that requires a lengthy quest to unlock with lots of artificial timesinks in it like contested names on long spawn timers. Those are things I used to abhor, but at this point I’d be thrilled to look ahead and see a roadmap for myself based on sticktuitiveness rather than luck.
When a designer sets an item at 1/150 chance, the averages dictate that the player will receive it after 75 runs. That’s a logical, reasonable rate of progression. But as we all know about Random Number theory, either something will happen or it won’t. You might get it on the 1st try or fail to get it 150 times. And again, with the RNG, a player cannot look ahead and see where they will be in 3 months or 6 months. They can’t tell their raid leader when they expect to be “ready” for the harder content because they don’t know. Most EQ2 and MMO players probably don’t plan the future of their characters and just go where the road takes them. But for a self-selected group of players, it’s nice to know what’s coming up on the horizon.
Ethereal Runes and Weapons, especially [eq2u]Ire-Dread, the Undead Devourer[/eq2u] are so powerful that someone just getting into grouping who acquires one is instantly catapulted to the same power level as someone who has been playing for a decade. An experienced player who has one can carry the weight of 2 players who don’t. This has caused friction and hard feelings within even the most forgiving raid guilds for obvious reasons. Until you get these items, your character is dragging the rest of your teammates down.
It is with a great sense of relief that I’m able to report that with this summer’s Ethereal event which will not be weapons, players will be able to acquire Ethereal Coins that, should fortune fail to shine on you and you’re on your zillionth dungeon run, now you can go to a vendor and buy said items.
From Kander on the EQ2 Forums:
We are currently discussing alternative ways for people to earn the Ethereal Runes. Something like this, starting with the new Ethereal drops here in two weeks.
- New Ethereal drops in heroic content this summer.
- New Ethereal Coins for running heroic Missions
- Ability to either get on heroic drops or purchase new Ethereal Drops
- Ability to get on heroic drops or purchase Ethereal runes this summer.
Feel free to discuss this constructively. Feel free to offer feedback, constructively.
When asked if the team have an idea on how many dungeon runs it will take to earn an Ethereal…
Yes. We have a goal post. Its still in discussion.
Loot will be on mission crates.
Here’s that quote about this summer’s Ethereal event…
Ethereal’s will not be weapons this year.
Very exciting news indeed.
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