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Author Topic: AEQ 1-51: A Review  (Read 1458 times)

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Elizuth

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AEQ 1-51: A Review
« on: February 11, 2019, 04:20:50 pm »
Hey guys, I managed to hit 51 yesterday and start on custom content, so I thought it would be a good time to post a quick "review" of the leveling game (the pregame?) of this server, both to get my opinions out there and for any assistance it may provide the GMs with how a full user experience turned out.
 
Upon initially reading server discussions, and feeling a bit nostalgic for my very first EQ main, a paladin, I decided to roll an Ogre Paladin, and paired him with a Troll Shaman. I figured this would let me cover as many bases as possible, role-wise, with 2 characters, only really losing out on DPS.
 
Nostalgia factor- 10.

 This server is set to classic EQ and as a result, you cover a lot of familiar ground. Also, fwiw, the slightly lower experience gain on this server in comparison to other "solo plus" servers means you spend a bit more TIME in the grind game, but it was time well spent. I always felt like there was something to do, another goal to hit, something to aim for other than the next DING. During my grind I spent time leveling practically everywhere- Feerrott, Upper Guk, Oasis, Lavastorm, Crushbone, Unrest, SolA, Lower Guk, SolB, and LOTS and LOTS of Mistmoore (more on that later) as well as the Hole. There was a specific reason to be in each and every one of these zones when I was there, so I always felt like I was killing at least two birds with one stone and the constant change of scenery kept me from getting bored.

Complaints- None

Quality of Life- 7

Though this server is set to classic EQ, there’s enough quality of life improvement to keep things moving smoother than actual classic. Exp rates are improved, but not so much that you blow through content. Mobs feel a bit easier than live, and I didn’t feel that my shammy box was really “Necessary” at any point in the game, just helped keep this running smooth and let me take down important quest mobs a bit earlier than normal. Getting around is much easier here, though not so much easier that druids and wizards become useless- it’s a nice balance. Between the Gfay cloak and the travel NPC’s, as well as a somewhat reduced cast time on the Origin AA, even a melee character can easily hit their Bind Point, Gfay, EC, Qeynos Hills, and Rathe Mountains, which means no zone ever feels TOO far away. I think I only had to hoof it across the Karanas once, and that was to get my Qeynos Hills shard. Also, the death exp penalty is small enough that even ranger gating as a means of travel is not the worst. All in all, you can get around fairly easily, but will still do a bit of running enough that it feels classic-ish. Bring a SOW class or prepare to cry!

It’s also worth mentioning that this server takes a lot of the sting out of being Evil by giving you a good-race illusion item that can essentially be “bought” in highkeep for 50 plat. This can be exchanged down the line for an evil-race illusion item as well, so no individual city or quest is ever off limits. In addition to that, once you hit mid-level, there is a quest line that nets you an invis clicky and a levitate clicky, so the bottom line is a non-invis and non-porting class is going to have a decent time still.

My first real gripe, however,  is with spell distribution. Not all cities carry all spells for the classes that come from there, so I found myself having to make a froglok newbie to buy spells in Gukta as I leveled, as Gukta seems to be the city that actually has everything.

My second gripe is with drops, most especially when it comes to rare or uncommon spawn mobs. Due to the nature of this server, questing mid-level gear is a must for some classes, usually your melees. However, a lot of these quests require drops from mobs that may have placeholders, may be roomers in zones like *groan* South Karana, or may have their item drop uncommonly or any combination of the three. This led me to some points of frustration, like having to find 3 roaming Nightfall Giants in West Commons before I found my Head needed for Greaves of Ro. To balance this out, it appears SOME items have been purchasable from merchants, such as Fairy Dust from the brownie town and Melatite from the Gnomes in solA, but some drops are weird.

Some loot-bearing mobs don’t drop ANYTHING sometimes. As an example, the Hooded Black Cloak has a clicky damage shield, so I tracked down the cloaked dhampyre and camped him. I understand it’s a rare drop from a mob with a placeholder, and accepted a few “Blood of the Dhampyre” drops to my chagrin knowing that’s just part of the game, but every time I killed him and saw absolutely nothing in the loot window it stung just a bit. I got all 3 Xicotl hilts I needed without the cloak dropping, and then resigned myself to parking the shaman in the fountain area while I ran the paladin around doing errands. I get placeholders, and rare drops, but in my opinion, a named should ALWAYS drop at least one of their loots, even if true classic wasn’t like that.

Complaints- Spell merchant distribution is a bit wonky. Looting a named with nothing on him feels really bad.

Gear improvements- 7

Currently a hot topic on this forum, but I’ll throw in my 2 cents. Some of the gear on this server has been buffed to make it more desirable. The newbie armor and weapon quests are excellent, and I was pleased to discover a follow-up quest available to my paladin by turning in both the paladin and SK newbie weapons to an NPC in Sol Ro Temple. Ghoulbane received a huge overhaul, making it a must-have and I finished my quested one at around 29 because it was a MUST. The Armor of Ro quests yielded amazing upgrades to my newbie armor, though I still can’t find that damned plague shark in Eruds Crossing. Either way, for the class with the most pain-in-the-ass Quest armor, the reward felt completely worth it. Some items have received SUPER buffs, making them must-haves. IGS, Hero Bracers, Hooded Black Cloak just to name a few. Loot in Blackburrow and Crushbone we’re both significantly overhauled and it was nice to have something to shoot for in my teens.

The flip side, mostly due to server infancy i’d imagine, is that some items are untouched, or still need more love. Totemic Armor as a whole is still unchanged from live, which posed a serious disappointment when I finally handed in my stuff. Glowing Wooden Crook was somewhat upgraded from live but still didn’t compare to newbie weapon plus shield. Marr’s Promise is insane, but it’s cousins Woe and Envy are anything but. Polished Granite Tomahawk has an illusion effect but no other changes. Some items feel changed in weird ways and there is an argument to be made for other items being buffed so much that there’s no point in seeking anything else in that slot. Especially if a wiki starts up and people can look up the gear ahead of time.

Gripes- some gear untouched, others improved but still not relevant. GMs seem to be fairly good at addressing these concerns as they pop up in forums. Some gear OP and making other gear at or above it’s difficulty level irrelevant.

Custom content- 10.

I have to hand it to Eld here. There is custom content interweaved with the classic content so seamlessly that you would have never known it was custom if you hadn’t played original EQ. I thoroughly enjoyed the Lucky the Beggar quests start to finish, and loved the GFay cloak quest, lavastorm earrings, and Mistmoore earring quests. I’m currently working on the Skyfall Seeker which isn’t custom per se but was given a very desirable effect, and the Timmothy quest line also yielded lots of fun and useful gear. I’ve just gotten my feet wet in Lavaspinner’s and the Hatchery, but so far custom zones feel as they should- more challenging but with greater rewards. Epic 0.5’s are being pushed out too and they sound exciting, as I understand those are completely custom quests as well.

Also the changes to Paladins were MUCH appreciated. At higher levels, having Nuke-stuns didn’t feel overpowered, but at mid and low levels, having some form of additional DPS was SO nice. The class feels much better to play while still feeling comparable, not better than, the SK.

The only gripe I could have is that there’s still undiscovered content and I have no idea what it is, but that’s half the fun of playing a new server!

All in all I have really enjoyed the grind to 51, and wanted to leave some feedback in case it helps the devs in any way, and maybe helps any newbies get a picture of how this server runs and decide if it’s right for them.

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Eldarian

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2019, 07:00:03 pm »
it was a team effort, i didnt do it all, but the team sure did it all.

Reaver

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 10:29:39 pm »
Thank you SO much for the post and the feedback.  It is very refreshing to read honest feedback, to help us identify places we can improve as well as point out the things we got perfectly right.  I'll admit that I didn't expect such a positive overall response as I was starting to read, but found myself feeling elated that you enjoyed so much of the leveling experience.

We would absolutely love it if you felt inclined to post this in the EMU community for all to read, and maybe help them understand what it is we are trying to accomplish here.

One small correction I feel obligated to point out though, is regarding epics.  While there are custom changes to all of them, they are not all completely custom and brand-spanking-new to our server (though some are, for sure).  Some will be intertwined with the original epic stories, but all will have varying degrees of differences from the Live quests for the original epics.  I'd hate for someone to come join us because of the comment regarding epics and find it to not be the case.  Also note that each epic stats/effects/graphic will likely not be identical to its Live counterpart -- this is definitely something that we are striving to make feel different from Live.  The quests should *feel* epic when doing them, and the rewards should *look* epic, when compared with other items available.

GM-Bubbles

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2019, 08:43:09 am »
Elizuth,
WOW! I read your post twice just to be sure I grasped everything, and I expect I will refer back to frequently. The time and effort you spent to provide us with such a practical and constructive perspective is so very valuable and appreciated so very much.

As I read through “Quality of Life”, I was delighted that you captured (what I thought to be) some of the more subtle enhancements, as well as how we can make life better. The points made here are all actionable and EXACTLY the types of things we need/want to know. We will continue to do our best on keeping it fun and interesting. I have enjoyed playing as well and having those feelings you described well in the “Nostalgia” section. And I feel the same pain regarding spells and merchants! We also have a lot of work to do on the tradeskill merchants as well as on the tradeskill recipes.

I think one of our biggest challenges is to push out more quality content so it is ready before our players are looking for where to go / or what to do next. We are working on all sorts of things now. There is also a constant focus on player feedback, fixes, and on class balance. The “work” here is absolutely one of the most fun and rewarding game stuff I have ever participated in.

Finally, we are all passionate about what we are working to accomplish here, which makes your review instrumental as we continue to fix, develop, and adjust.

Thank you so very much for your insight and feedback.
Work like you don't need the money
Love like you've never been hurt
Dance like nobody's watching

Make every day count

Elizuth

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2019, 11:49:22 am »
Thanks for the kudos guys, I'm glad my feedback is helping. I went ahead and posted this (edited a bit) on the EQEmu forums as requested :)

Dev-Mirage

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2019, 01:18:51 am »
Hey, I'm a bit late to the party, but I wanted to say thank you, as well.
Seeing people enjoying the work that each of us put into the server is really what makes what we do worthwhile!
It's really great and insightful to see how spread your analysis of the custom content was in particular.
The things that you've mentioned covered work that all of us have done pretty equally, and that says a great deal to me about how closely we've been able to adhere to Eldarian's vision for the server, to keep things cohesive, while having the freedom to bring our own creativity to it. I take the positive bits of your post as a complement to the teamwork that we've done thus far, and hope that we can continue to move in the right direction in the future.

I completely agree with what you've said about the vendors. Aside from spell vendors being spread out a bit too much, there's also the issue of the spells being alphabetized, rather than being ordered by their respective level requirements. We've talked about moving the spells across multiple vendors so as only to have one level set of spells each, as we have time. I don't know that I can give any estimation on how soon that will be completed, since there will be quite a great deal of ground to cover, but it will definitely happen. With that said, I really do appreciate your feedback regarding rare drops and spell acquisition. Any time that we see something being done wrong, it gives us a chance to improve the server for everyone that comes next.

With regard to what you've said about the rare spawns with rare drops, that's exactly what I had in mind when I started my work on Delvea (which still isn't entirely finished, by the way). I liked the idea that time spent could directly translate into a reward (and a reward of one's choosing, rather than a random drop that may not be useful). Of course, I think it's good to have a balance between luck and guarantee, but hopefully in such a way so as to make the randomness more about fun "surprises" than unfair grinding for some and undeserved windfalls for others.

At the risk of bloviating too much, I'll say that your post came at a great time for me. I've only recently been able to start developing for the server again, after about a month-long sabbatical owing to some hardware failure and subsequent rebuilding(and RMAing some defective parts for this new computer that I'm now using).
I've been working on some applications that will help with the developmental process outside of the game itself in the last couple of weeks, but there are things in game to which I'll be returning and new things that I'll be starting as I have time. Anyway, I guess I just mean to say that this was a nice thing to read shortly after my ability to return. It's motivating to see the success of what has been accomplished so far, along with some new things upon which to improve for everyone's enjoyment. I'm optimistic for the future of the server.

Thank you, again!
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Joan

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2019, 11:43:26 pm »
I'm interested in the hinted-at "GFay cloak quest", there doesn't seem to be any information on it yet on the forums. Does anyone have hints as to which NPC I'm looking for to start it?

bufferofnewbies

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2019, 02:16:48 am »
While in G Fay, zone into L Fay and talk to the guy with wings. Ya can't miss him. :)

Joan

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2019, 06:51:28 pm »
Ah! I thought I had tried talking to the dragon and didn't get a response, turns out I just needed to get closer to hail it. Gotta figure out where the ghoul boss lives, I guess I'll run into it eventually.  : )
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bufferofnewbies

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Re: AEQ 1-51: A Review
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2019, 10:26:50 pm »
While you are hunting for the beast on two legs, be careful of the one with four. They roam past him.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can follow them...

 

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