If you have been following the increasingly train-wrecky Legends of Norrath Affects Gameplay topic on EQ2 Forums, you know that the Legends of Norrath card game is on the cusp of making powerful items available within the EverQuest 2 universe.
Already, by purchasing booster packs of cards (at $2.99/ea) and/or playing the LoN card game, one can acquire cloaks, mounts, appearance items, potions, and other items within the EQ2 world. So far these items have drawn the line at being comparable to dungeon/raid drops.
Many have argued that EQ2’s $15/month subscription + $50/year expansion cost should be more than adequate for Sony Online Entertainment to cover their costs. The latest subscriber estimate is 250,000 players. Considering 6 months a year and 25% expansion buyin, that’s $26 million revenue per year.
Yet increasingly, in-game items have been made available through StationCash (funded with a credit card, items have a fixed price) and Legends of Norrath (player must purchase an unknown number of card packs until they find the loot card they desire, trade with others, or buy such cards at an extreme markup on such sites as LoNLoot.com).
Today marks the launch of the 8th expansion: Legends of Norrath:Travelers. It was announced 2 weeks ago including this controversial passage:
Incredible loot cards, including exclusive new quests in EverQuest® and EverQuest® II that open all new chambers and rewards of loot and XP!
Starting today, players can acquire a Legends of Norrath loot card “Legends of Norrath: A Mysterious Key” ( \aITEM -691738313 583949373:Legends of Norrath: A Mysterious Key\/a )
- This key will unlock a unique level 80 combat instance for the holder and his/her group. One use only.
Examining the key offers the quest Repulsing Repuuli.
- After receiving a location of an up and coming threat to all of Norrath, you are sent to destroy Repuuli the Destroyer within the Moors of Ykesha.
- Find and enter the Destruction Chamber near the Obelisk of Ahkzul in the Moors of Ykesha.
EQ2Wire went on safari to The Moors of Ykesha to get the facts. Upon entering the portal (which is a short distance from the Obelisk entrance), the surroundings immediately seemed familiar.
Indeed, I was greeted with the sight of the last room of Obelisk of Ahkzul.
After defeating four roaming 80^^ void beasts, Repuuli the Destroyer (82^^^) became interested in my presence. Defeated as easily as Executor Vark in the Obelisk, it is then that the true nature of this Legends of Norrath tryst was revealed. Although housed in an unassuming Ornate chest, the rewards found within were anything but ordinary.
Inside the Ornate chest is an item container called A Void Cube. One player per zone visit gets to loot this container.
The recipient must then choose between 7 items. Make no mistake folks, these items are comparable to Ward of Elements x2 raid drops:
- Portal Bracer of the Void Warrior ( \aITEM 1363089210 -1153524204:[Portal Bracer of the Void Warrior]\/a )
- Portal Clasp of the Void Invoker ( \aITEM -29585155 -1544401326:[Portal Clasp of the Void Invoker]\/a )
- Portal Wrap of the Void Assassin ( \aITEM -932311402 966076848:[Portal Wrap of the Void Assassin]\/a )
- Portal Bangle of the Void Knight( \aITEM -1348074215 2070418077:[Portal Bangle of the Void Knight]\/a )
- Portal Binding of the Voidcaller ( \aITEM 935669575 190604106:[Portal Binding of the Voidcaller]\/a )
- Portal Brace of the Void Warder ( \aITEM 552342734 -2044085964:[Portal Brace of the Void Warder]\/a )
- Portal Bracelet of the Void Priest ( \aITEM -1900203042 2008289082:[Portal Bracelet of the Void Priest]\/a )
How Does Legends of Norrath Affect Me?
Legends of Norrath is a game I was never interested in, that I’m forced periodically to wait for it to download updates. It has never appealed to me. So far I’ve been able to ignore it other than checking to see if I get any loot cards. I’ve gotten a few cloaks. I got the heal potion.
And I bought some StationCash when it was half price. I’d probably use it for appearance gear or name changes. Maybe even a vitality potion to level a 5th tradeskiller to 80.
So I’m not like “Mr Furious” about RMT/SC/LoN. But I know others are, so LoN affects my gameplay if others want to quit EQ2 because of LON getting further and further entrenched in the game.
How does one level from 1-80 in EQ2 these days?
How does one get geared up in EQ2 these days?
Right now, I think a lot of folks solo quest from 1-80, missing the entire content of this game. Then they transfer plat and HEIRLOOM gear from their main to twink out their alt. They might even run a few Mentored (grey) Shard Runs to gear up their alt.
Without having ever stepped in a 1-80 dungeon, people feel they need to gear up alts just to have a chance — just to get a group. Imagine if you are a level 80 character these days and go LFG (Looking for Group) and show up in mastercrafted/quest gear and adept 1 spells? You will be laughed out of the building (and dropped from the group). When I started playing EQ2, grouping from 1-70 was prevalent. I feel sorry for the players now who will never know this content.
I am lucky that I was level 80 when The Shadow Odyssey was released. I already had the best Kunark group gear available to me, and started the first night earning as many void shards as possible. It’s just expected now to get a group you have full T1, possibly T2 gear, fabled weapon, etc.
Hand Me Downs
It’s easy to earn plat in this game. So easy that the plat farmers aren’t doing as well as they used to. With a few hundred plat, you can gear up with some significant jewelry and even T4 bracer/boot pattern to a toon that’s never fought in a dungeon let alone a raid zone. If you are raiding 4 nights a week and getting all kinds of patterns that everyone already has, then your alts are going to be built to the hilt.
When my Dirge dings 80, he will have full Tier 2 Void Shard Armor, with Tier 3 (Ward of Elements) boots, and pretty substantial jewelry. Who knows, he might even have Tier 4 FABLED bracers by then.
If some idiot really wanted to pay a few hundred bucks to acquire a few thousand platinum pieces and spend it on T4 raid patterns (The T4 chestpieces go for 1200-2000p on BB right now), they could. They could even pay for group updates on their Fabled epic, and then pay more for VP updates for their Mythical. In short, with a few waves of the credit card, I can build a toon in full Tier 4 FABLED gear, jewelry, and Mythical having hardly ever DONE the content.
People gear up alts with plat (earned or bought) and shards (earned or greyed out). Enough people view this as shady that there is still some sense of dignity maintained. Some folks still take pride that they built their characters without the aid of a powerful main character supplying them shards, gear, and plat.
I am NOT advocating stopping loot rights. It’s just a somewhat dysfunctional reality that I too have benefited from (I got the Ethernauts Roundshield of Ranger Pwnage for 120p). I think grey shards screwed them up and should have been stopped it.
So I think by putting FABLED-like gear into Legends of Norrath, SoE are legitimizing this process. It is a signal to a lot of players that SoE does not care how you build your toon. In combination with all gear getting the HEIRLOOM tag, it sends a message that rules can be bent and/or broken. You can build up your toon however you want, either by playing the game or swiping your credit card.
So I stand on principle and say that I will not use my credit card to get Legendary or Fabled gear and build out my character. I will not buy Legends of Norrath cards to get access to some significant loot. Already, so many barriers have been broken down in how characters are geared up in such a short time, I wonder how it will affect the future of the game. I think it will inevitably kill it. The thrill of the chase, the actual PLAYING of the game is diminished. Why learn the encounters and play the game when you can just put in a few bucks and get to the same destination?
When Legends of Norrath was launched, several promises were made by John Smedley, president of Sony Online Entertainment. It seems the expression “Time changes everything” is never more true here.
How Good Is the Loot?
The following diagram compares the LoN rewards with equivalent or similar items elsewhere in Norrath. It is disturbing to me that some of the rewards are similar to Ward of Elements x2 raid drops:
LoN Item Comparison
The truth, as they say, is out there.