My adventures in Everquest 2 have continued apace the last few weeks, and I've finally hit truly new content (to me at least). I'm onto the stuff that was released after I last quit playing two years ago, namely the Chains of Eternity expansion content.
Along the way I've managed to run through Velious and have now really got a handle on my character again. I've completely respecced my AA trees and now have AA builds for solo/group play, raid play, and a full heal spec. You can check them out on EQ2U here. It seems to have done the trick as my dps has gone up massively and I don't seem to have lost any healing potency. Ensuring all my abilities are all up to at least Expert level has also helped.
I've been able to craft all my Expert abilities as I managed to get to level 95 Sage by running through the Velious crafting timeline. It's really nice to see an MMO that devotes as much time to developing crafting content as it does to PvE content. There are huge questlines through each area you can do that purely reward crafting experience. You can even do them at lower adventuring levels if you are careful as they don't require any combat (though they do lead you into areas with lots of aggro mobs at times you need to avoid). Running through the crafting timeline got me a new pack pony and my first flying mount as well.
So over the last week I've finally got round to starting the Chains of Eternity content, which you have to be level 92 to begin. It's become quickly apparent that SOE have really stepped up their game as far as the quests and storyline go. Coming back to EQ2 after playing games like The Old Republic and The Secret World I was sure I wouldn't be able to sit and read through NPC quest text again, but the CoE storyline has really dragged me in.
It helps that it starts with the shock death of Firiona Vie, High Elf leader, Tunare's representative on Norrath, and "face of EQ2". After that and helping the Duality open up a rift in space-time it was off to the Ethernere, EQ2s land of the dead, where dead souls go before moving on to their final destination. There is something sinister going on in the Ethernere and I'm having lots of fun investigating what, why and who is behind it all.
I've been playing through the new content with my old comrade in arms Adurj, now playing his ranger Ghengiz. It's good to see so many familiar faces still in the Acolytes of Valor guild and I've been running through the story and instances with a group of friends I've been online with for over 20 years now, which always makes things more fun.
The group content in recent EQ2 updates is amongst the best I've played (with the possible exception of The Secret World), and I like that as well as the many instanced dungeons SOE are sticking with large contested dungeons to run as well. None of the content so far is particularly difficult, though I hear the ToV stuff actually offers a challenge.
Here are a few screenshots I've taken during my time in the Ethernere.