“I’m Not Sure If I’ll Chosooth to Continue My Training at This Time.”

Written by Wiouxev on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

The backbone of any MMO is defined by character progression. That character is you, and that character reflects your hard work. Like any MMO that has been around as long as EQ2 has, you need to be creative, and come up with more ways to improve and increase potential with your character. Whether that means all or some of: new gear, new levels, alternative “systems” to increase power (AA’s), abilities, and then of course new areas to explore and quests to complete.  These things keep people engaged, something to work on with their character, and most importantly, playing the game.

EQ2′s latest expansion Kunark Ascending is no different.  Developer’s took a very creative and unique approach in the latest expansion instead of simply increasing the [Adventure] level cap (which was the de-facto standard set from EQ1 as well as previous EQ2 expansions); they introduced a “secondary” class, Ascension classes. These classes can be trained and used by any existing EQ2 class, and the ability to switch between all 4 if you’d like. These classes work and are synergistic with each other, as well as your existing class (such as a Bard & Geomancer).

So, what’s the verdict?

The new Ascension classes brought new strategies, new ways of combat, and new ways of playing the game. They also brought immense power. In many cases, you can find that if you picked the “wrong” first ascension class, or you are behind on upgraded versions of the skills you obtain within, you are behind everyone else in effectiveness. This has furthered the gap in power potential for a lot of players. Being able to purchase upgrades with DBC/real life cash (also with the in-game upgrade scrolls being extremely rare) has also been a point of contention from the player base. Not to mention there are [currently] raid strategies in place that require certain levels/ranks of specific Ascension skills to be defeated.  Ascension classes are so powerful, in fact, that in many cases your characters are more defined by your Ascension Class than your Actual Class in terms of effectiveness.

Experience gain is also different with Ascension Classes. In addition to going out in current content and obtaining experience by slaying mobs ad-naseum, or completing quests, there is an added component of time-gated experience. You accrue a small amount of Ascension XP over time, as well as through scrolls, which are once a week claimable items that give you a chunk of “gainable” experience per day. In a semi-recent patch, they bumped it up to adding 5 extra bonus scrolls per week. Experience increases by 50% each time you reach an ascension class to level 10, which exponentially catches you up to the remaining 3 ascension classes. Unfortunately, this only adds to the pile of overflowing required tasks to do in Kunark Ascending to keep you competitive. Clutch your alts tightly, people. Keep them warm.

Final thoughts?

While it is a ton of fun to have a smörgåsbord of new abilities; hit for insane amounts of damage, become completely immune to status effects, or burn all your mana for a large attack you’ll want to put on your fridge and show mom, there are components to the new Ascension Class system that leave some things to be desired.    I do like this system, but having an easier way to obtain in-game scrolls needed to upgrade Ascension skills (and not feel obligated to pay for them with RL cash) would be truly appreciated. Without easier-to-obtain in-game options to increase effectiveness of a new system so vital to your characters effectiveness it can feel like a cash grab to some players.

I also feel like classes are quickly losing their identity with this system, which in my mind is threatening one of EverQuest 2′s biggest strengths.  There are talks of huge class balance and shifting in the new upcoming expansion (as well as level 110), so there is definitely things to be hopeful for.   I for one still enjoy the game, but its nice to stop and discuss these things. With any game, there is always going to be a constant shift and balance of game direction, and constructive criticism is always an important piece.

 

Sohami | Halls of Fate

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Comments (26)

  • Necromancer

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    I think what should concern people is EQ2′s population which even on the two big servers (AB and Maj’Dul) is starting to be noticeably shrinking. It seems the last two expansions has pushed people away from the game (myself included for the most part). So, I wonder will the next expansion bring people back or will it continue to push people away?

    Reply

    • Bhagpuss

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      I thought that the server merges had already made AB the smallest server by some margin? Did it grow then shrink again after that?

      Reply

      • Treat

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        No, AB is a shadow of it’s former self.

        Reply

        • Mizgamer62

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          Yeppers. :sad:

          Reply

    • Griffonlady

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      Just needs cross server travel.
      I know one cares about the people that leave after mergers due to lost names or the more concentrated troll population, but they are still people that could have still been playing.
      Also a positive change like that makes news, and publicity always brings people back or a few new players in. Not to mention making positive changes shows an optimistic and player oriented attitude, business wise.

      Reply

  • Carnifex

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    If the level cap increase is seen as any way as a cash grab for spells/ascension abilities, you will see lots more people leave. That you can bank on.

    Reply

    • Mizgamer62

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      Exactly.

      Reply

    • Wiouxev

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      I would like to see the Epic 2.0 spell upgrade system exist going forward but only for Grandmaster and Ancient ranks of spells (and keeping in existing system to obtain them through dropped scrolls)

      Reply

    • Occam

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      “Cash grab” is the new “sky is falling”.

      Yes, I see some p2w stuff in the game that bothers me (upgrading ascension spells), but including a level increase as part of an expansion is NOT one.

      Reply

      • Wiouxev

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        I think you missed his point. If they do spell upgrades for level 100-110 spells/abilities the same way they did for Ascension and Epic abilities, a lot of players would see that as a cash grab.

        Reply

      • Griffonlady

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        You COULD call it that, if the sky fell every other year since the begining of the “world” (game world). =P

        A 12 year old game that has a cap increase every other year… how is a cap increase not expected?
        Some of us LIKE a cap increase every other year. Every other year feels like a fair compromise.

        Reply

  • Mathafern

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    The time-gating creates a serious issue for players who returned late for this expansion, or are considering returning now. I’m not sure there needs to be a speed-me-up on that for players who have been gathering ascension all along, but for those who are just starting there should be something that identifies that they have fallen behind and helps them to catch up.

    The level increase is another way to help people catch up- because it is much easier to get a few more levels than it is to gather all of the laurels associated with the older level needed to stay current. We’ve been 100 so long that reaching 100 just means you’re ready to grind something else. Hopefully reaching 110 will be pretty much caught up, minus the edge that top end gear gives and the ascension issues.

    Going back and getting epic 2.0 at level 110 will likely be much easier (running heroics for instance) for returning players that it would be for players returning today.

    Reply

  • madrat

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    The Ascension classes stopped me dead in my tracks. I only get maybe 1-2 hours per day to play. You can not group like that, nobody wants to group with somebody that far behind.

    So I quit playing my alts and stuck with one toon. Not good enough.

    Now we come up with adding more levels. Well I can grind out 10 levels in no time, but what about my alts. Oh yea I forgot I don’t play them any more.

    In fact I only logged in once in the last 3 weeks to play. Once.

    Right after the announcement I canceled my account. It ends it the later part of may. I am done, over, gone. They lost me. There is no coming back now, I am already behind so why even bother.

    I went back and swtor and in less than a week I was level 70, max level. Guess what you pay a monthly fee and you get all the xpacs.

    I am sorry but Kunark Ascension classes did it for me, and nothing I mean nothing about the new upcoming xpac or whatever it is has my attention.

    Most of it looked like a cash grab for those who have tons of money to buy all the spells and stuff needed. That is how I fell.

    Reply

    • Mizgamer62

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      Ditto.

      Reply

    • Mathafern

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      If your playtime is limited you have to accept a slower rate of advancement no matter what game you are playing.

      In some ways the ascension system is perfect for someone who can log in once a day for a little while- grab scrolls, run solos, run key quests, do a PQ, power up and eventually get some decent gear as well. Then you’ll be more ready for grouping.

      The time gating I’m seeing is how many weeks have to pass to level up ascension, not the amount of time per day.

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        No the Ascension time-gating was to allow the EQ2 devs 3 more months after the release of Kunark Ascending to finish writing and testing the Epic Weapon 2.0 quests. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

        Reply

        • Mizgamer62

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          Right as usual Feldon :cool: .

          Reply

    • Pipsissiwa

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      Same here. I can’t put in hours and hours a day or even a week, and now I feel like they are muddying the water too much – too many things to repetitively grind for and not enough fun any more. I was already fed up when they started all the daily grinding ages back, and when they made new dungeons only reward anything at the end. I can’t play enough to make meaningful progress on my ascension classes in any useful time frame – I confidently expect to be grossly under-powered for the next expac, which won’t be much fun at all. I may well not bother. Which saddens me.

      Reply

  • Mathafern

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    MMMM, Kool-Aid, with just a hint of almond flavoring. You won’t drink anything else once you try it!

    I agree epics factor into the time-gating, but there is also an aspect of borrowing what works for other games (like Eve or Skyforge, which both do gating rather well). Not all bad, but an unfortunate barrier to re-entry.

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    I more worry that the way things are currently, a returning player will have virtually no chance to be able to catch up after the expansion comes out./ lvl 110 and grinding ascensions. omg, what a nightmare.

    Reply

    • Mizgamer62

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      Their tactics defy logic in my opinion. Even after all of the polls and the game constantly bleeding out players, they still don’t get it. Blah! :sad:

      Reply

  • Griffonlady

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    Remember when Sentinel’s Fate came out and there were people hitting max level in less than 2 hours?

    Reply

    • Miragian

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      That was largely due to a bug in the hole where you could grind the ring event indefinitely. (If I remember right)

      Reply

  • EQ3orGoAway

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    They made several huge mistakes with this expansion.

    1. Over the years content has changed and class dependency requirements changed with it. We met the challenge and powerleveled, geared, quested and raided those much needed classes. To be told that our current main needs hundreds of hours of factions and old content quests (that we have already done on what are now alts) complete in order to finish the Epic 2.0 effected all of us that met that challenge and continued to support EQ2. This was too much. A bauble should have been added that allowed us to utilize our alts hard work.

    2. Ascension abilities were poorly implemented. There is no excuse.

    3. Deity points are player defining, not class defiing. Too much so. As they’ve indicated in recent notes, the gap of players with and without deity points is overpowering.

    4. Scout Ethereal adornments. This was one of the worst items ever put into any MMO I’ve ever played. To make them not obtainable after the damage was done should have led to someone being fired. This kind of mistake is for itemization newbs and should never have been allowed to get past Windstalker. Shame on the entire EQ2 dev team for what they did here. It made you all look like rookies.

    Reply

    • EQ3orGoAway

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      I want to add two more things.

      5. Any player missed any part of this expansion going forward will be at a major disadvantage if they return. Raid guilds will see poor performance and kick them.

      6. Having a summer ethereal event item that relates to the poorly designed Epic 2.0 is yet another reason to keep their customers from ever returning. The gem itself is so powerful that any class without it will never compete in end game content and will be made fun of and mocked for low damage. This is starting to turn into a pattern with this dev team. They are pros at backing their customers into a corner with itemization. Too many better games out there to take this gamble.

      Reply

  • Daalilama

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    TBH Gatekeeping Ascending I mean Kunark Ascending is not very alt friendly atm though it may become slightly more so least on the faction grind for epic 2.0 come may 2 but this article spotlights one of the main issues…ascension spell scrolls are few and far between….so its either spend time researching or DBC…..

    Reply

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