Great Weekend in EQ + Some Good Grouping Lessons

My weekend was filled with great gaming. I played Assassin’s Creed Unity and Splatoon with my wife, then spent a good deal of time leveling up my characters in EverQuest. I’ll write more on the other two later because I really want to write about a few of my EQ highlights from this weekend.

Keen the Bard progressed a little bit. My bard is the character I most want to play later on in levels, but I’m keeping him part of the guild static group we have going.  For a group around our level(levels 17-21 at the time) it’s sometimes tough to find a spot in Unrest given how crowded it can be. Three of us decided to take our group and head over to Upper Guk to check out the leveling scene. We build a lower sewers team that ended up bringing in about a level and a half before we decided to call it for the night.

My Mage is where I spent the bulk of my time this weekend. I’m having an absolute blast leveling him up! Twice this weekend I found myself in stellar groups pulling constant streams of mobs in Unrest. I was the main DPS in both groups which, in EQ speak, means it was my job to burn something down very quickly if we got a bad pull and also my job to make sure things generally do not stay alive for too long and drain the healer’s mana. That leads me to a couple of important lessons I encountered this weekend: (1) Know your role, and (2) When you get a good group you need to socialize.

Know Your Role

This might be one of the best things about EverQuest. Even in a state where things are generally easier, roles are clearly defined. As I mentioned before, I am a Mage and that makes me the DPS. I’m not the puller. I’m not the tank. I’m the guy who blows things up. The puller’s job is to make sure we have a steady stream of mobs — without him the EXP is slow. The tank is responsible for tagging what the puller brings in and keeping it (generally) off everyone else. The Healer is responsible for managing their mana and ensuring no one dies (notice I didn’t say at full health). I could go on and highlight more specialized roles like CC and other support, but that’ll suffice.

I ran into a few people this weekend who seemed to either forget their role, or never learned what it was to begin with. When roles are played properly everything is amazing and smooth, but the opposite is true. We had an enchanter who never used Mez. I don’t know if he thought we didn’t need it, or simply was lazy, but he was nuking constantly. As a result, our healer’s mana was always low. That meant I had to nuke more to keep the mobs from killing people. The dominos kept falling from there.

Having clear roles makes everything more fun for me. So much more dynamic than everyone being DPS and having a healer and tank loosely filling their role while DPSing as much as possible.

Get to Know Your Group

Last night I was in a group at the Fireplace in Unrest. Awesome spot to EXP in. I went from level 20-22.5 in like an hour and a half. We had a few hiccups getting started, but quickly found our rhythm. We started chatting and having a good conversation as time went on. I learned about their past experiences with EQ. I learned what alts people were playing. Loot was dropping and we would congratulate each other and try to pull named mobs to get the other guy who wanted the tunic a chance at the drop.

The genuine consensus was that everyone was hoping everyone else was going to stick around a good long time, and generally we all did. At the end of the night when it was time for me to log (curse getting up at 5am for work) several people said they added me to their friends list. I used a line I hadn’t used in over a decade: “If you guys are ever looking for another and need a Mage to blow things up, definitely give me a shout!”

I know from experience that I WILL get a /tell from one of these people in the future. They will be in a group or leading a group one day and they’ll see me on the LFG tool and say, “Hey guys invite him, he’s a great Mage!”  Seriously, even if I wasn’t the best Mage ever they’ll still vouch for me because I know my role, I perform it well, and I was personable.

  • Keen those are the types of things I’m looking for in a game and I’m glad to hear that they still exist. I signed up for an account and started a wizard (since i like casters but I didn’t want to play a mage since there are so many of them). He’s level 4 right now. Just for the hell of it, I ran from the gnome starting zone to greater faydark. Not far I know but it gave me that great feeling of a giant world to navigate and explore. Pretty happy so far

    Tl;Dr: got an account and having fun so far

  • @Danzig: That’s awesome 🙂 I’m glad you’re having fun! If you want to join our small guild of adventurers just enjoying grouping and chatting and having fun in Norrath let me know.

  • I installed the game and probably give this a go tomorrow afternoon (UK time here)

    Is there any class or races I should avoid or have problems with if I would want to group up with you guys in the future.

    Seem to remember the starting zones where a lifetime apart at lower levels

  • @Phoxx: Right now in the classic era there are a few classes which underperform until very well-geared or after a couple of expansions. If you play a Ranger or a Rogue you are going to find yourself playing a one-trick auto-attack character that doesn’t even come close to the DPS output of a caster. Later on, however, Rogues become some of the best sustainable DPS. If you enjoy the class, as some people do very much, then stick it out and you’ll be rewarded. If you ever want to group with me, I won’t turn away anyone because of their class choice.

  • Race choice is entirely open. There are a few min/max early pick options like Ogres being the best “tanky” characters since they start out with so much stamina (hp) and strength (melee damage/carry capacity for that heavy armor), but in the mid-long run this choice does not matter. In terms of performance, pick what you think looks coolest.

    For starting areas, it’s really nowhere near as bad as it was in 1999. Yes, if you play a Barbarian and you want to go to Freeport you are still going to have to make that long run. However, why do that when you can simply play around the Qeynos area and burst up in levels in Blackburrow? EXP is so quick in the lower levels now that in 5 hours you’ll easily travel and people will happily give you a run speed buff.

    I’ve spent most of my time so far in Faydwer. This is where the Dwarves, Gnomes, High Elves, and Wood Elves start. I like Unrest, as most people do, and find I can stay there on a character from 14-30.

    TLDR; Race is a choice that matters for only some classes in classic but not at all later on. Pick what you think looks cool and matches your style (I like Gnomes). Traveling should be the least of your concerns.

  • I also want to add that your deity choice may affect some quests or cities you can go into safely. If you play an Ogre you’ll have a slightly tougher time selling on the continent of Faydwer. That would bug me far more than traveling to meet up with people. 🙂 Still, the benefits of an ogre tank early on vs. the downside of selling stuff early on… that’ll be up to you. I might tank the benefits, but then again I’m the silly person who makes a Gnome tank. 😛

  • DK is a strong tank choice.

    Wizard is a strong caster choice with the ability to port around and great DPS later in levels. Early on the Mage will put you to shame because of the pet, but you’ll be a great addition to any group.

    The Druid is great utility. Can port around, heals, dps, etc. Good choice all-around.

  • I seem to play and enjoy the Jack of all trades classes in MMO’s.

    Druid in Ye Oldie Wow comes to mind. Leveled a Mage to 60 next day made a Druid to help a newbie and never touched the Mage again. Something nice about always being useful some way.

    That being said in old EQ I was a bit of a toon-a-holic and never getting high up in the levels. Think my main chars where a Iskar Shaman, Mage and a brief flutter with a Wizard.

    Like I said never got too far up and was always dazed and confused about what was going on. Only really got my head around MMO’s when DAoC came out. (funny enough was a hybrid on that too Friar)

  • Sorry if you already mentioned this but should of asked before.

    I’m guessing its just download the game and pay for a sub then pick Ragefire server?

    or am I missing a step?

  • @Phoxx: Yeah that’s right. The sub is basically the all access pass that gives you the premium options for playing all the Daybreak games, which includes access to Ragefire for EQ. You also get some daybreak cash to spend in game.

  • I recommend using Steam to download the client, or grab it on their website. It’s free.

    You then subscribe to DGC All Access.

    Once subscribed, log in to EverQuest and pick Ragefire. 🙂 Let me know if you’d like to join our community. We have a small guild but love to help each other out and hang out.

  • Will do on both 🙂

    Cheers for the help and hopefully see you guys in game

    Sorry about all the spam on your page

  • Definitely not spam! We’re discussing the game I posted about here. I love it.

    I hope you enjoy EverQuest. Good luck in Norrath!