Update 48 – An Early Review

Posted: September 4, 2008 by Kendricke in Everquest 2
Tags: , , , ,

Well, Update 48 went live in Everquest II yesterday.  Though you can certainly catch the full notes elsewhere, I’d like to analyze the patch in more detail to hopefully stir some discussion on what was good and what was not.

Generally speaking, I’m fairly positive on Veksar, the Everfrost revamp, and the removal of the access quest requirement in order to fight Godking Anuk’Asul.  I’m less glowing with regards to the Guild Points system and the bugs in general that were found within this particular release.

Veksar:

Generally speaking, it’s a decent dungeon with difficulty probably between Chelsith and Maiden’s Chamber.  The drops aren’t terrible, but anyone who’s spent any real time at level 80 hitting factions and dungeons will probably scoff at most of the gear inside.  Any real complaints in Guildchat about the ease of the dungeon were mollified when we mentioned this was only phase one of Veksar, with phase two being released closer to the Shadow Odyssey.

There were bugs noted along the way, though.  Much like early incarnations of Unrest, it seems that some players were finding that characters who left part of the way through their dungeon romp were often the same characters who had the items necessary to advance through the rest of the dungeon.  Oops!

Also, there were several complaints across Guk server of players constantly dropping through the world in many places throughout the dungeon, or of encounters which constantly reset themselves depending on the positioning of group members.

Everfrost Revamp:

One of the better revamps overall.  The general layout was handled well, with the new camps and NPC’s feeling like a natural progression of the area, as opposed to feeling plugged in or tacked on.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I actually felt pulled into the storylines about most of the quests (and I really hate saying that) as most of the quests were essentially click-through-walls-of-text-to-find-out-what-I-am-supposed-to-kill-or-harvest, but I did like the general layout and density of the questgivers themselves.

Guild Points:

Speaking of feeling “tacked on”, I felt the Guild Points system was simply too generic for the purposes it was apparently being designed for.  Keep in mind that I’ve been practically begging SOE for an in-game points system for years, but this effort simply isn’t up to even the barest standards I’d feel comfortable recommending even to an up-and-coming guildmaster.

The best thing I heard about this system was in a general server channel discussion where someone mentioned that the points tool “wouldn’t seem too horrible if you’d never seen a real [points] tracking tool”.  I think that may be summing up my own feelings as well.

The problem isn’t that the tool is “bad” per se, but that it’s lacking in so many fundamental ways as to be all but unusable to anyone who is currently running a points system – which is who I’d assume such a tool would be targeted toward in the first place.

The only tracking is a basic points history which is based around right clicking individuals in the guild from the roster.  There’s no way to run reports, track events, or determine historical attendance tracking.

Now, reports of this type could be created by savvy players if the data were made available outside of the game, but as of right now, that’s simply not an option.  There’s no way to import or export the data from the tool.  In fact, there’s no way to interact with the data outside of the game at all.

Worse yet, there’s no way to turn the system off.  If your guild opts not to use the in-game system, there’s not much you can do about it at this time, because the system automatically drops a new column into your guild roster.

This tool could have been so much better and robust, but instead it comes across feeling anemic and rushed.

Armor Graphics Update:

Generally speaking, I was pretty impressed with the changes to most of the armors.  One thing I was pretty surprised to find was that two of my characters were suddenly wearing sleeves.  It seems that while updating graphics for dozens of crafted armors, at least one of the more common “no appearance” shoulder armors was given an appearance.  Fortunately, some of the other crafted armors still maintain the invisible look some of my characters desire.

What Else?

Other changes came through in this release, including the removal of the necessity for the Eyes of Anusti’Sul quest in order to enter the Godking Anuk’Anul’s chambers to fight him.  Though some players felt this was swinging the pendulum too far toward “easy”, I have to say I’m not one of them.  I hunted eyes for three previous kills on Godking when he was more relevant.  I have no desire to go through that process again and am glad to see the access quest removed for this encounter so that new guilds can enter and see this beautiful zone (especially since it contains the only in-game art of Anusti’Sul currently in the game and she’s a major character in the upcoming expansion).

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be an Update without bugs, and two particularly nasty ones crept into this update.

The first bug only affects raiders looking to hunt in Veeshan’s Peak, but boy does it affect them!  Several of the different encounters within the Peak use a “Wing Beat” area of effect attack.  Normally, most raids are able to time the attacks and either avoid them or at least work through them due to the relatively long recast.  With Update 48, Wing Beat seems to be firing every 5-10 seconds in many encounters.

The second bug affects pretty much everyone on a server, however, and is one of the more heinous bugs to have made it into a live release in some time.  Essentially, clicking any link to one of the “patterns” you can get from Veeshan’s Peak dragons will crash your client, simply dumping you to desktop in the best of cases (or locking up your PC in worse scenarios).
Several players across the servers would then disguise links to the patterns as supposedly innocent links to other items, then paste those links into serverwide channels. Predictably, half the channel or more would suddenly go linkdead as players across the servers began clicking on links, not realizing what they were doing. Hilarious, right?

As far as the ongoing live events, I’m fairly ambivilant at this point.  I realize we’re being lead up to the Shadow Odyssey expansion and the release of Guild Halls next Update, but I’m having a very hard time finding myself drawn in by the way the live events have unfolded this time around.  The collection of notes/shreds, etc, has been a less than thrilling grind up to this point.  The way guild halls are being handled is also simply a different type of grind.

That said, I’m pretty intrigued by the the murder mystery portion of the event this time around.  Perhaps running through that quest line will turn me around.  If so, I’ll be happy to come back and report a change of heart.

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Comments
  1. ogrebears says:

    Ya after going through Veksar twice i had a similar reaction.

    This update does have quite a few bugs that have been rather annoying.

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