Kunark: Field Report I

Posted: November 15, 2007 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, Guilds, Rise of Kunark

Kunark:  First Field Report

It’s been 48 hours since I picked up my copy of Rise of Kunark and loaded it up. 

On Tuesday, the servers were down – really down.  Expecting to see significant downtime as this is a major release, I only took a half day off of work on release day.  Even so, I still had to wait till roughly 3PM here in Minneapolis before the servers finally came up.  Luckily, we were able to patch our primary accounts in my house before Guk actually came online, so once the locks were dropped, we were in and running.

Since we’d planned ahead, my better half and I were fully mended, had plenty of open slots, and were ready to go on the Antonica docks right away.  We reminded everyone to reselect their racial traits, traditions, and class Masteries, and then made our way by boat out to Kylong Plains.

Already there were guildmates online and starting quests, so we got out there as quick as we could.  Within just 20 minutes, we had close to a dozen members of my guild working together to rush through several of the important starting quests (i.e. – Sokakar, Teren’s faction) before we started to see more guildmates logging on.  

About an hour in to the release, our first fighters started to find their way to Kylong and we started to form up Karnor’s groups.  My own group did a little exploring first, picking up Sokakar posts throughout Kylong, into the Fens of Nathsar, and even into the Jarsath Wastes.  Once we’d decided we’d spent enough time running around killing solo named as fast as we could, we made our way to Karnor’s. 

By the time we’d arrived, Karnor’s was the place to be, with 3 instances already packed with 30-50+ characters in each.  We started first around the left wall just to give everyone in the group a feel for pulls and difficulty (and it felt good to have some level of difficulty again, mind you), before we started to head in to the deeper castle. 

Unlike beta, there were groups falling all over each other trying to rush through the dungeon.  More than once we were trained (I like to think it was unintentional) and had to quickly evac/revive back in.  A few times, we simply overpulled and had to evac/revive.  At least once, we had to fight over a named.  Then, we settled in for a nice, old fashioned Everquest dungeon grind. 

All around us, we watched as guildmates still waiting for groups were levelling up and spending new achievements.  Meanwhile, the three Karnor’s groups we had began to rack up a bunch of item discoveries (mostly Adept I’s – but we did grab a nice Mystic master right away), but then we started to realize the awful reality – we were hurting ourselves by grouping. 

After a couple hours in Karnor’s, we started to break up the groups so we could start hitting the dozens of solo level quests out in Kylong and Fens.  The difference in levelling speed was noticed immediately.  It wasn’t even close.  Throughout the night, officers and veterans began telling members who came online looking for a group that the best experience was through soloing or duoing through the quests.  For the first time in as long as I can remember, we were actively discouraging members from grouping together.  It simply didn’t make sense, but the content itself dictated the mandate as far as I was concerned. 

So, there we were, 40 members online at one point – all working on their own toward solo goals.  Instead of a guild grouping together to level up together, we were now telling our members to stop working with each other – because we were slowing each other down. 

As a testimony toward that fact, at least two of our members began soloing in Jarsath Wastes and the far side of Fens of Nathsar – and not only were they piling on the achievements (as of this writing, we have a member with 109 achievements already – no collections used yet), but the item discoveries started to come in nearly as fast.  Grouping was very much slowing down our members, and once we realized this, we put out the alert.

Almost instantly, the levels and achievements started to come in.  The majority of our guild is now deep into level 71, with a significant portion already 72-73.  This morning, we’ll start to see our first level 74’s, while reports are coming in that some adventurers are already up to level 75.

Is it a race?  Yes and no.  For most of my members, levelling is just a natural consequence of our desire to explore the content.  For some, it’s a byproduct of a desire for server or even gamewide discoveries.  However, for some, it very much is a competition – a desire to get their first, both within our ranks and to show off to others. 

For myself?  I encourage all of the above playstyles within my own guild.  I don’t see levelling itself as a race per se, but I do try to make sure that within our ranks, at least the guildmaster is shown making an effort to level.  Trust me when I say that the grief I’d receive if I’m not at least trying would be considerable. 

That said, I’m already up to level 72 with 107 achievements on Kendricke, my human templar.  Virtually all of that came through soloing or duoing.  I’ve got most every Sokakar post in Kylong or Fens bound, and I’ve already spent time wandering through some of the major dungeons.  In addition, I piled on another 180,000 personal status after we ran some full writ groups through several runs in Kylong, which helped to put us about 20% closer to guild level 61.  …And we haven’t even tapped our status item stockpiles yet.  Tonight and tomorrow, we’ll start handing out the status items to help get us to level 62 and 63. 

Coin is coming in quickly and consistently, but that will likely settle down in a few weeks once we start to see supply and demand stabilize.  I’m certainly not complaining about my current in-game income, but even I’m nowhere close to the amount of platinum some of our more enterprising members have been making so far. 

We’ll continue to organize collection and redistribution of Adept I’s, but as was noted during Beta, it seems a lot of the new spells aren’t really upgrades.  For many of our members, the old Adept III’s and Master I’s are still better options than the new Apprentice IV’s and Adept I’s.  In some cases, it’s simply not a comparison so we’re likely to continue using the old spells till we eventually get a minor upgrade through a new Adept III or Master I. 

It’s an odd mix of pleasure and pain in the new Kunark.  We’re most certainly enjoying it, warts and all, but my real concern is over the long haul.  I’ve got a guild to keep together, and already I’ve been put in a position of telling members that they’re slowing each other down if they try to work together.  For a tight knit guild like ours, that’s a tough pill to swallow.  But the numbers don’t lie – and if you’re trying to level up with limited time online, the best path toward that goal is currently on your own.  Groups will most certainly slow you down right now.

For the time being, my members seem to be enjoying themselves.  We’re having a good time hunting and questing.  We had a blast when several of us took some time yesterday to form up writ groups for an hour or so.  The banter in guild chat has been priceless. 

I just can’t help but wish that we could still pull in close to the same experience and achievements through grouping up together.  I look forward to seeing my guildmates.  I’ve known most of them for years now.  I’ve met at least half of them in the real world. 

In game, we work well together and we’ve become accustomed to grouping together a lot.  But for the time being, at least, we’ve taken down the LFG flags, because we don’t want to slow each other down or hold each other back.  It’s an odd problem, but according to the forums, at least I realize we’re not the only guild feeling this way. 

It’s a fun expansion so far.  I just wish it were a bit more fun for grouping right away.  Oh well, there’s always Chardok and Sebillis right around the corner.  Once we get a few of our fighters up to 73, you can expect to find us living in one or the other.

  1. […] over at Clockwork Gamer has also noted that the experience in Karnor’s Castle is seriously out of whack, even going so far as to […]

  2. darrenl says:

    Glad to hear White Rose is having a good time with the expansion. Our little group is having fun so far with the new race/zone.

    Sucks about the grouping at the higher level areas….that should be looked into.

  3. Jaaissa says:

    Did you complete Karnor’s? Maybe there is great loot at the end that makes up for the lack of immediate gain. In any case its a little early for gloom and doom.

  4. Kendricke says:

    It’s not the loot that’s the issue here, though. Right now, we’re not really worried about loot. The big word of the day is experience. We’re all out trying to gain experience now. It’s been well over a year and a half since any of us have seen our experience bars move, so as you might imagine, we’re just a bit excited about being able to gain experience again.

    The problem is that grouping doesn’t provide anything close to the amount of experience soloing does right now.

    I’m sure there’s nice loot in Karnor’s. I’m also sure there’s nice loot in Droga, Charassis, Chardok, and all the other dungeons. The problem is that to get to the loot, you effectively have to remove levelling.

    Not enough heroic quests. Not enough experience for grouping. It’s not doom and gloom, since we’re still enjoying ourselves. We’re just enjoying ourselves …apart from one another.

  5. […] for long time EQ2 players seems to be loot drops, experience in areas like Karnor’s Castle and group experience rewards…not the fact that they pulled the epic weapon quest […]

  6. tipa says:

    @Jaaissa — Karnor’s is an open zone, not a linear, single group instance like Halls of Fate that you work through. I’ve talked with other people and there has been loot from there, just not much loot. The experience is dreadful and I’ve been everywhere in the zone, up to (and inside) the raid instance at the very bottom.

    It’s just not done nearly as well as other open zones, like Kaladim, Klak’anon or the Sanctum of the Scaleborn. It’s the first dungeon people will see in Kunark, but it’s very small for such an inevitably popular dungeon, and is bound to be a disappointing experience for people who remember better days in open dungeons like Runnyeye or the Ruins of Varsoon, where both experience *and* loot was common.

  7. […] certainly would never take time off work for the first day of a release. (*cough* Kendricke *cough*)  I learned that lesson back when Gemstone went live on GEnie back in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s