So last time I wrote, I was fresh off an exhilarating week of TSO exploring and dungeon crawling. I particularly loved Miragul’s Menagery: Scion of Ice, and couldn’t wait to go back.
So I did! The next night, I grabbed a bunch of guildies and charged into the instance. A second guild group was also made, including a couple of people from the previous night’s group.
45 minutes later, and about 5 group wipes on the very first named, I was left scratching my head. The night before, the named was so easy, that I didn’t even notice a couple of tricks that the crystal named does. I was having one of those Southwestern moments (want to get away?), when I hear in officer chat that the other group is going through the exact same thing – death after death after death.
The only glaring difference between our failing groups and the successful one from the night before was that we both were missing a mezzer. And based on what I learned about the fight, I really think that was the difference. A guild group went back later on, with mezzer, and cruised through, helping to back up that theory.
So I finished the night wondering why one, single class should have that much of a role on whether a group crawl is easy or not. I had the same feeling after a rough going in Befallen’s Cavern of the Afflicted. Our single target dps was great based on our group makeup, but this dungeon was so AE based, at least early on, that we had to leave because we could not keep up with respawn. No warlock? Buckle up!
Don’t get me wrong though – I love challenge, and I can’t really call this an official complaint until I see much more of the TSO content. In fact, I feel like this expansion is possibly one of the best, and most interesting, expansions I’ve ever played.What strikes me so far about this expansion is that it’s not at all like the standard expansion faire. Prior to launch, it was tabbed an “LDON style” expansion, with replayable missions. But the missions from TSO are about as different from LDON as fish and bicycles. The vanilla of LDON is non-existant in TSO, and I really don’t feel they cater to the casual crowd. You almost need a raid mindset to tackle these encounters (at least for now, I’m sure in a year there will be enough spoilers out there that have discovered numerous ways to gimp stuff). And that’s the second thing that struck me – this is an expansion that is tailored to EQ2′s longtime playerbase, which seems to be very guild centric and raid heavy. On the Guk server, it seems like the vast majority of high level players carry the tag of a well-recognized guild, and of those, most are grouping up and raiding high end content. This expansion is perfect for those players. Of course, there is still high level content for the solo/small group crowd, in the form of Kunark-style quest timelines in the Moors of Ykesha (which is a huger than huge overland zone), and many of the TSO missions scale down to go as far as level 50, but the meat of the expansion is clearly the group content.
Lastly, there should be trumpets sounding and a waaaagh-like battle cheer for EQ2′s group-oriented tradeskilling. I’m not aware of any other game that has content designed for tradeskillers to group up and combine their efforts to succeed in crafting instances. While I’m not a tradeskiller, I think this is a really amazing concept, and one that’s long overdue to the tradeskilling MMO community. It’s quiet innovation that deserves a lot of attention.