EverQuest II Oawluuf Journal

2,378 words.

So I had planned to just upload some videos as I stumbled and bumbled around in EverQuest II and forget about it, because it’s super easy, barely an inconvenience for me to do so, but it turns out that EverQuest II is, well, not a very good video subject.

So since all the update comments I left on my last post are just a jumble, I thought I’d try to write down a more coherent narrative of my attempts to find some meaningful gameplay with my lost Level 100 Ogre Coercer. I did find a level 100 story to follow, but it took a while.

Before I started playing Monday, I did some hard research by looking into my screenshot folder. I found that my Level 100 Coercer had originally started in the Plane of Magic, standing right next to a quest giver. I was sitting on a flying horse and there was some sort of companion standing next to me, looking up at me for guidance. (Possibly a “mercenary?”)

Oawluuf in his Level 100 starting location in the Plane of Magic, in all his super contrasty and overexposed glowing glory.

To my surprise, the screenshots told me that the game had even helpfully showed me a Help page telling me what I was supposed to do to start out. Luckily I took these screenshots because I never would have remembered it or even thought to look for it again. So the game does sometimes give you a hint about what to do next. Some of the steps were, well, dead wrong, but let’s not quibble about the small stuff.

My general goal when I set out was to try to make my way back to the Plane of Magic, the starting point where I had taken those first screenshots in 2018. There I assumed I would find a way to start a level 100 story, and Wilhelm sort of confirmed that in a comment. (There was even a quest-given in the 2018 screenshots right next to me.)

To make a long story short, I haven’t made it back to the Plane of Magic yet. But I did find a moderately compelling level 100 story hook involving a missing woman with an unpronounceable name, dead dragons, and a Tear of Veeshan. I don’t yet know if it’s a tear or a tear though. It seemed pretty obvious at first it was a tear but then some of the quest text context made me think it might be a tear instead.

On Day One (Monday), I started out reading a lot of help pages and tool tips in my inventory. I discovered a pack in my inventory that I hadn’t unpacked before (the stuff described here). It contained another mount, a familiar, and some other stuff. I managed to summon the familiar, which is some kind of big cat in armor. It looks neat, and apparently has some passive buffs, but otherwise I don’t know what function it serves.

I also re-discovered how to summon the Pegasus horse that was in my first screenshots, and I tried out the second mount I was given, which is a neat-looking Nether Harbinger beast with a very swishy tail that is never still.

I rode through Freeport to find my super basic, empty inn room, because the game gave me a quest as soon as I walked into the city to check out the new inn rooms. I cleared out some furniture taking up space in my inventory by dumping it randomly on the floor-the only real purpose of housing in MMOs, as far as I’m concerned-and left. Then I found the Harbor Exchange, where a Voyage Through Norrath teleport thingy lived, the very thing I had been looking for. I expected I would be able to teleport to the Plane of Magic.

No such luck. Instead, as an experiment, I teleported to one of the highest-level areas I could find, which was a place called Cobalt Scar, which was marked as level 95-100. (It does actually tell you the level range of zones if you look at the tool tips.) There were some other 95-100 zones, but “Cobalt Scar” sounded coolest. I arrived in a fort called Scarstone. There were no quest givers in this fort, just a lot of passive Combine NPCs not saying much of anything. (My quest log was still completely empty, by the way.)

While digging through my inventory I found a weapon in my inventory called “Hate’s Vengeance.” I tried to equip it. It said I “must be a Member” to equip the item. Items that require a subscription to use? Well, that’s annoying but oh well. They’ve got to make money somewhere I guess. I also found an item to summon a Mercenary, which I thought might have been the guy who was standing next to me in those first screenshots I took. I couldn’t tell if it was a one-time use item or not, so I left it alone. (One-time use items in MMOs are the same as zero-time use items, because they must always be saved for some future important time that never comes.) And I found some tokens to level my Ascension Class to 100, whatever that is. Probably something that’s too complicated for me to mess with in the first two hours.

I got tired of reading tool tips so I left Scarstone to fly around for a while and check out the scenery in Cobalt Scar. It’s not a place I would consider vacationing in. I stumbled on a camp, where an NPC named Vishra called out to me unprompted! (Later I discovered Vishra was also standing at a table in Scarstone. Weird.) He said he’d been waiting for me. It was the first time the game reached out to me, the player, and tried to engage with me.

Why I had to go out into the wilderness and stumble on a camp to find the first breadcrumb, instead of it being right there in the fort where I teleported in, is anybody’s guess. Although later I would get the feeling I wasn’t supposed to just teleport in like I did.

Vishra wanted me to help with “the Awakend Legion,” but first he wanted me to find out what was up with a meditating otter named Osh. Osh stayed behind while his friends were ambushed by walrusmen. These quests were only level 96, but I thought they might make a good warmup, considering I hadn’t fought a single enemy with this character yet, so I had a bit of fun talking to Osh and his otter friends, and killing walrusmen. (I have a free Level 95 Necromancer character as well, so perhaps this would make a good quest chain for him to start with sometime down the road.)

Osh the meditating otter.

Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that I could kill every walrusman enemy with a single hit from any of my Level 100 abilities. It wasn’t much of a warmup, so I decided to leave the otters and walrusmen of the Cobalt Scar and return to my search for the Plane of Magic. I flew back to the Scarstone fort and the Voyage Through Norrath teleport thing that I had arrived next to.

That’s when I learned that I couldn’t use it to leave Cobalt Scar. The game let me teleport to a place I couldn’t leave. According to some Googling, you’re supposed to finish the quests in the zone before you can unlock the Scarstone teleport, or something like that. Very inconvenient.

Luckily, I remembered that most MMORPGs have a mechanism to return you to your “home base.” In EverQuest II, there’s an ability in the Knowledge screen called Call To Home. It didn’t tell me where my home was, but I activated it anyway, hoping for the best. It took me back to the gates of Freeport, near those cows again.

Somewhat grumpy that I was (quite literally) no closer to the Plane of Magic after an hour and a half, I recalled that I had received a number of mails. One of them came from The Duality, and I happened to stumble upon the NPC I was supposed to meet at the Freeport docks. He had a purple glowing feather over his head instead of a blue one, and the text was outlined in a fancier border, which told me this was a really important quest, possibly the world-changing, over-arching story kind I had been looking to find in the Plane of Magic. Maybe this would be an acceptable substitute.

I followed the breadcrumbs and spoke to The Duality himself, an erudite named Dartain. He told me we had lost the “Tear of Veeshan,” a Very Important Macguffin, apparently, in the chaotic events of the Cobalt Scar. I was tasked with getting some information from a dead dragon in the Ethernere. (Amusingly enough, he told me that Vishra had died in Cobalt Scar. He looked fine when I left him. Both of him.) The best part is that it was a level 101 quest! Not 100, but surely I was on the right track, finally?

It all sounded like great fun, and the start of a grand adventure, except for one tiny little detail: I couldn’t find any way to get to this Ethernere. I was supposed to go to Obol Plains and use an item to transport from the druid rings. But, you guessed it, the Obol Plains is not available as a destination from the Voyage Through Norrath teleport thingy over by the docks. And so my fun was shut down once again, and I logged off for the night.

But wait! The story doesn’t end there, because I went back to try again on Day Two (Tuesday). There were a few more things I wanted to try before I gave up completely. There were a few more mails I could try to chase down, and I wanted to try going to the Celestial Enchanted Lands as Wilhelm suggested, to see if I could get anywhere from there.

I also stumbled upon the explanation for why this character spent the last several years standing outside the gate of Freeport next to some cows, when, according to my screenshots, he started out in the Plane of Magic. I looked up the page on the Seeds of Vengeance promotion from which I’d gotten this character back in 2018. It turns out that access to the “Planes of Prophecy” zones was only temporary. When I logged back in after the promotion had ended, my character had probably been automatically moved out of the expansion zones, back to Freeport. Mystery solved.

My first discovery on Day Two was the button in the upper left of the map called Fast Travel. I groaned, because I thought I had been overlooking a really easy way to go anywhere I wanted whenever I wanted. Indeed it appeared to let me travel directly to the Vesspyr Isles to find that dead dragon with a single mouse click, but it costs a fairly significant amount of Station Cash every time you use it. I went back to ignoring it, this time on purpose. It reminded me of the Mithril Coin fast travel in Lord of the Rings Online.

Incidentally, it was odd that the terms Ethernere and Vesspyr Isles both seem to refer to the same place. It’s Ethernere in the quest text, but it’s Vesspyr Isles on the map. Kind of confusing.

Anyway, I used the regular old plebeian Norrath Voyage teleport thingy (does it even have a name?) to go to the Celestial Isles. Wilhelm mentioned heading East, so after looking around a bit, I found a “spire portal” on the map. This is apparently a totally different teleport network from the other teleport network, because this one let me teleport to the Vesspyr Isles and even the very Obol Plains I needed to advance my dead dragon quest.

To make a long story short, I made it to the Obol Plains and found the druid ring where I used the item that teleported me to the Vesspyr Isles to find the dead dragon. The dead dragon was very much alive and we had a long conversation, where he tasked me with helping a bunch of other nearby drakes (which may or may not be dead, I’m not sure, but they are at least alive enough to talk and hand out quests) with their problems before he would then help me find the Tear of Veeshan. He has to think about it for a while first. Pretty standard “you have to arbitrarily wait here so you have an excuse to explore this zone before moving on with the story” MMO questing logic.

A dead dragon who is very much alive and talking.

In the Vesspyr Isles, I expected to have a little more trouble with combat, but it turns out that my Level 100 Ogre Coercer character can basically one-shot every Level 101 mob on that island. In fact I have a melee attack that instantly destroys anybody within range of me, whether it’s one, two, or a dozen of them. It was kind of funny. Roughly three hours into my journey with the Ogre Coercer I have yet to make even the slightest effort to try to understand what my character’s abilities are. I just hit any of the ten abilities that it put on my hot bars for me and everything dies instantly. That is definitely one way to circumvent EverQuest II’s general problem of having too many abilities to learn.

The Vesspyr Isles zone is quite a bit more attractive than Freeport, I’ll give it that. It’s really small, though. Perhaps that’s how they’re able to get more polygons and textures in there.

Incidentally, on all of these adventures, I think I saw a grand total of about five other players. Even Freeport, which I kind of thought was one of the main cities in the game, was completely deserted. This game has basically no population whatsoever outside the level cap, at least on the server I was on. Seems like they could save some resources on their end by simply disabling all the content below level 100.

This page is a static archival copy of what was originally a WordPress post. It was converted from HTML to Markdown format before being built by Hugo. There may be formatting problems that I haven't addressed yet. There may be problems with missing or mangled images that I haven't fixed yet. There may have been comments on the original post, which I have archived, but I haven't quite worked out how to show them on the new site.

Note: Comments are disabled on older posts.