EQ2: Dungeonmaker to allow us to use our own characters.

Like quite a lot of MMO players, I’m currently in SWTOR-mode, but I could not help cheer this fine bit of news from Everquest 2:

Starting in the next day or two (on Test server only) you’ll be able to play any of your characters in a player-created Dungeon Maker instance.

This doesn’t invalidate playing as an Adventurer, but you can also play as your regular characters, regardless of level. (Well, okay, you still have to be at least level 20 to play a DM instance, but you can play any characters from 20-90.)

We have still code to create, but we’re excited enough about getting this to work that we’re putting it on Test over the holidays so that we can get your feedback on this cool new addition to Dungeon Maker.

Please play a bit on Test over the holidays, if you’re so inclined. We’re eager to get your feedback when we come back for 2012 so we can tear into it and make it great for you! This is going to be awesome. The creativity of this community is unparalleled, and if you can play your own characters in those dungeons, then the sky’s the limit!

Here’s a few bits of info about the feature as it is on Test:

You still have to be level 20 to play in a Dungeon Maker dungeon, but any character that’s level 20+ can be used.
You can *also* still play as an Adventurer if desired.
For this test, player parties have to be composed entirely of either all Adventurers, or all regular player characters. Mixing of Adventurers and real characters is not currently allowed in this version.
Dungeon Mark rewards are turned off while on Test. (Until we balance the feature further, we can’t reward Dungeon Marks.)
This feature is not finalized. It’s on Test because we want your feedback on it so that we can then tune it to a finalized state after the New Year.

Enjoy! This will be coming to Live servers as soon as we can finish it up after the New Year!

The avatars we were stuck with up til now were terrible. They had 4 powers, but mostly you just used auto-attack, as they lacked the mana to use their abilities much. They were simply not fun, and I still have no idea how anyone ever thought they would be. It would have been possible to make fun and interesting avatars, but these were not them.

So it is fantastic that we’re going to be able to play as our own characters. They are, after all, the characters that we’re playing the game to be. It had previously been said that it would be too difficult to balance dungeons for normal characters, but I suspect after seeing how randomly balanced player-made dungeons are anyway, that that stopped being such an issue. I also imagine that a large drop in people using your game’s flagship new feature has the power to focus the mind, and lend a sense of urgency to the search for a solution.

Anyhows, I’m glad. I’d feared that Dungeonmaker was going to be another misjudged EQ2 feature which would be quickly abandoned when it failed to catch on, rather than taking the necessary steps to improve it. It does have the potential to be amazing, but it’s going to take a lot of dev attention to get there. If we continue to see additions and improvements, then there is hope for the long term.

Update: Today’s coming hotfix has some more jolly Dungeonmaking improvements!


  • The house and dungeon leaderboards have now been converted from the previous 5-star rating system to a new “Like” system.
  • When visiting a house or completing a dungeon maker zone you now have the option to “Like” the zone in either of the two categories.
  • The leaderboards are now based on the accumulation of likes.
  • Awards continue to work as before and are given to the players at the top of the leaderboard.


  • The amount of power that Dungeon Maker Avatars have has been significantly increased.
  • Players may now publish a base of 3 Dungeon Maker zones. More publish slots are earned as players unlock more templates.

So that’s even more of the issues that annoyed me in my last post dealt with. Huzzah!!

It’s not going to fix the core issues with the rating system and its UI, but it’s a big improvement on what we have right now.

EQ2: Dungeonmaker Frustrations!!!

I’m going to keep this brief. I am considering a proper article on EQ2’s latest expansion, Age of Discovery, but frankly every time I try to write it I become filled with ennui.

So, this picture below will have to speak for me. The situation is this: I’ve just entered a dungeon that another player has made. That underdressed lady is me, as we’re not able to use our real characters in player-made dungeons. The green swirly thing is the entrance. The pack of 12 wolves already tearing me to shreds, that’s pretty much exactly what it looks like. If you look over the top of those wolves, you’ll see the whole room is lined with them. In case you’re wondering, the next room is similar, only with slugs. Maltheas; just maybe he’d have a chance, but the pre-made avatars stand nary a ghost of one. We’re using avatars rather than our own characters because of balance concerns, you see.

EQ2's dungeonmaker is packed with tools for wasting other people's time.

At least this “Dungeonmaster” had the decency to reveal his complete idiocy right away. Often you don’t get to such deathrooms until you’ve spent quite a while battling through the dungeon.

Here is the thing. As a visitor to a dungeon, you get no rewards whatsoever unless you can get to the exit. If you leave via any other means, your entire time in there was wasted. You also cannot rate the dungeon unless you get to the exit, which means that you can do nothing to warn other people away from these deathtraps. The dungeon-maker, however, can make the exit completely inaccessible, either by putting it behind an impossible fight, or just by walling it off. Some seem to be hiding the exit in such a way that you can only use it if you know where it is, allowing them to actually get some votes from their alts and accomplices, glueing them to the top of the ratings board.

I’m largely a dungeon-maker in this system, or trying to be. It is quite frustrating to be competing with this nonsense. Because of the way the rating system works, one 10 out of 10 vote from a single alt will put the dungeon ahead of any dungeon that allows normal players to rate it, as no matter how good you are, you’re never going to have the 100% rating that single vote brings. Rating matters, as it unlocks more building slots for you. Under the current system you’re far better off making sure nobody who might not give you 10/10 ever makes it to the exit.

Right now, it’s a disheartening business whether you’re a Dungeonmaster or a dungeoneer. Using the house-decoration rating system without making any modifications for the entirely different context, was incredibly short-sighted. New game systems need to work AND BE FUN from the get-go, or people will not use them beyond the first week or so. If you launch them half-baked, you might as well not bother, unless you just really needed a feature to put on the side of the virtual expansion box. That’s how most of Age of Discovery’s features feel to me right now: Distinctly undercooked.

In which I check in with the Ark!

So, in the last couple of months since I last posted, what have I been up to?

I’ve played through both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 on Insanity difficulty. I’d been nagged to try them by pretty much every gamer friend who ever heard I’d not played them, and I’m glad I finally buckled. I’ll definitely be grabbing Mass Effect 3 when it materialises.

I have a terrible habit of insisting I play any game on the hardest possible difficulty level. It’s a tendency that bleeds over into my MMO behaviour, as Maltheas and my stable of odd DDO characters amply demonstrate. Getting through the Mass Effect saga on insanity (which involved a little shenanigans in order to get ME1 to let me even play at that difficulty on my first playthrough) has reaffirmed to myself my gamer credentials. Whether I’d still be as good at a game that does not let you pause to have a little think is another matter entirely!

From hardcore to the supposedly casual, I spent a few weeks playing Wizard 101. I found the pet breeding system somewhat fascinating, but it involves quite incredible amounts of grinding, while the rather random results can leave you with very little to show for it. Gardening too was quite fun, but you have to log in far too often to keep your plants alive. Not, to be honest, the sort of obsessive behaviour I would want to encourage in children.

I’ve been playing DDO for the last few days. I still had a bunch of Turbine points left over from the 6000 European players got when we merged Codemaster accounts into our Turbine ones. So I picked up the Artificer class. Wow, that’s a powerful class, though that might be more to do with their ability to use repeating crossbows , which any other class could do quite easily with the expenditure of a feat, than the rest of the class features. Repeating crossbows are the machine guns of the DDO world, putting out incredible amounts of ranged damage. I might be inspired to do a proper post on the Artificer, as it’s really rather fun.

Toying with making some DDO videos. Especially now that, after applying a year or so ago, Youtube has finally added me to their partner scheme, and Brell knows I could use the money. Will have to see how my energy and enthusiasm keeps up, as I’ve been having a very strange time of it recently, health-wise, with parts of me attaining never-before seen might, and other parts choosing my moment of triumph to quite literally self-destruct.

Not sure what sort of DDO videos might be most of interest, so if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them.

Oh, and I’ve pre-ordered the EQ2 expansion, Age of Discovery. I’ve not been playing EQ2 much, and didn’t even get the steam up to do the new Nights of the Dead quest with Maltheas. Largely I’m still rather annoyed about the whole stat/item revamp shenanigans, which has made everything feel a bit blander than it used to. But there’s a lot of cool new features in Age of Discovery, and I’m not going to deny myself the chance to pootle about with them!

EQ2: The Item Revamp Continues and Continues

My crafted gear continues to have changed every time I check it. This picture gets ever more difficult to read, so you’ll need to click it, then hit the little expand arrow to get a good look. Ignore the yellow numbers and the difference in procs, as they’re just from adornments I plugged in. It’s the green and blue numbers that are of interest. In the latest instalment the shield got better, while the other two pieces got worse.:

EQ2 Crafted Item Revamp Continued 1st September 2 600x638

My gear continues to mutate

You can’t plan when everything keeps changing like this, and the chaos seems set to continue.

We’ve had a hotfix today:


Djinn Bracelet of the Sky can once again be placed in your mount tab.
The Sublime Staff of Deathdealing should now be classified as a staff and do crushing damage.
Items with the effect “Dragonslayer’s Fury” should now correctly proc.
Many charms that were missed in the update should now be updated.
Elements of War hard mode items have been bumped up in power (Known issue about resists not showing. This is being looked at.)

Updated the following zones that were missed in GU61 launch:

  • Shard of Hate
  • Icy Keep: Retribution
  • Tomb of the Mad Crusader
  • Palace of the Ancient One
  • Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold
  • Zarrakon’s Abyssal Chamber
  • Odus North Raid Mobs
  • Odus South Raid Mobs

I’m not well placed to know what was wrought upon those zones, though I am told that existing gear was restatted, rather than creating all-new stuff. That’s a good thing in my book.

Charms also got updated. The only change I’ve noticed personally is that Jin’tu’s Gift, a high level crafter reward, has become godly. It used to be a charm wearable by any 80+ crafter who gained it during their Hua Mein questline. It had 50 wisdom on it, so it was pretty great for a priest. Thus it was that I wore it with pride. This is what it has become:

Jintus Gift Item Revamp EQ2

And no, I'm not taking it off.

OK, it lost some wisdom, but I’ll take that :D. It’s all a horrible mistake of course, and it is only due to the fact I was already wearing it that I can still use it, as you now have to be a level 80 adventurer to put it on. I *could* take it off, but I would not be able to put it back on, and if I can’t have my old Jin’tu’s Gift, I’m going to keep on wearing this one til they pry it from my cold crafting ratonga claws. Jin’tu’s Gift is one of many items that should never have been allowed anywhere near the stat generating script. I honestly don’t believe that whoever is behind all this has much of an understanding of EQ2.

Is there hope? Maybe, but I’m not holding my breath. These following announcements sound all well and good, but if they’re still relying on scripts and people who don’t know enough about the game to not assign adventurer stats to crafter gear, or remove class stats from Heritage rewards, it could just as easily make things worse.

Anyhows, the following statements are from Smokejumper:

Additionally, we’ve been combing all /bug and /feedback reports made since Tuesday’s update to comb out other issues and many of those are being fixed tomorrow also.

In the continuing raid vs heroic discussion, here is new info:

a) We agree with many of you that the bandwidth of item progression is too compressed between the heroic PoW options and the intended normal and challenge modes of the raid. Therefore, we’re not going to release the “normal” mode of the PoW raid and instead release only the challenge mode. The logical progression of content within PoW then becomes normal mode Heroic, challenge mode Heroic, and then challenge mode Raid, however raiders that have been plundering challenge mode Drunder x4 will be well-equipped and can move directly to challenge mode raid of PoW, if desired. See below for details.

b) Normal mode, Heroic content, Plane of War : Items are balanced to be normal mode raid tier 1 items (similar to items dropped in Temple, Throne, and Kraytok’s).

c) Challenge mode, Heroic content, Plane of War : Items are balanced to rest between hard mode raid tiers 1 & 2. (Between Kraytoc/Kael x4 HM and Drunder x4 HM.)

Future near-term updates (not all-inclusive, just a couple notes of interest):

  • Kunark overlands are being fixed and items will drop there again soon.
  • Heritage Quest rewards are also being increased in power and will be updated soon, as well.


There are a number of things that we’re going to revisit on items:

a) The green stats matter. Progression of green stats will be attended to in the new pass.

b) There will be more variability between the value of stats on items. This was removed erroneously at the last minute. It will be returned. (Getting rid of the “all items have +29 STR on them in the same zone” effect.) There will be more “min/max-ability” on the items.

c) The dev team will be playing a lot over the weekend to assess item strength in the earlier zones. (Complaints we see are that low-leveled items are now overpowered.) Those zones had such outdated itemization previously that players are now seeing a huge increase in power in drops…we *think* at least partially because the items have been changed to be actually useful now. However, we’ll be assessing this over the weekend and then meeting first thing next week to discuss what will be done, if it’s out of adjustment.

NOTE: The items a, b, and c above will not affect the discussion of the balance of power between raids and the new heroic content. (Although “a” will have some affect on that.) That’s a separate discussion mostly.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: These items will go to Test first. They are likely to be on Test before the end of the week (possibly even tomorrow). We *will* be listening to comments about them on the “In Testing” forum and responding to comments. Please *do* post if you test on that server.

EQ2: The Item Revamp Continues

The native tribes of the Chaos Wastes live in a land so weird and changing that they assume that anything they are not looking at right this moment has ceased to exist.

This is how I feel about itemisation in EQ2 right now. My crafted gear was quite lovely on Thursday after the item revamp, perfect for a templar who likes getting stuck in with his hammer, but I just had another look at it and it has changed again! Apparently priests don’t get to have useful melee blue stats on their gear… (You can click the picture below for a full size version.)

EQ2 Crafted Item Revamp Continued 600x848

OK, my dismay that it is becoming much harder for a priest to choose to play in a melee way aside, we need some consistency. I need to know that I’m going to wake up in the same gear I went to bed in. I do not understand, for the life of me, why the item revamp was allowed to go live. It was entirely known by all involved that things were not as they should be.

(Update to the above paragraph: It turns out that some other parts of the ebon armour set do have good melee bonuses. Or at least they do right this minute. I don’t think I’m going to risk buying any until I know it’ll stay that way!)

I wonder what my equipment will do tomorrow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it does not transmogrify into something squamous while I’m logged off, and crawl away.

On a happier note, a lot of the looted and quested gear in the world has improved dramatically, and Maltheas has been having a lovely time running around finding it all for the first time!

Some useful info from Smokejumper:

Some other info for you so that you know what areas have NOT yet been updated (and we’re working to update now):

Updating zones that are not yet reiteimzed:

Icy Keep: Retribution
Shard of Hate
TSO raid zones

Item categories that are not yet reitemized:

TSO raid armor sets
Legendary armor sets
Power differences in SF raid items (easy mode and hard mode differences)
Bugs from feedback in regards to items being changed to a class that did not make sense

These changes will get into the game ASAP.

And that’s my biggest problem with how this has been done. An item revamp like this needs to be done all at once, or else you can’t make any sensible decisions as to what equipment to keep, and what to throw away. The Raiders, who are affected by small changes in gear far more than the likes of Maltheas, are going quite insane trying to figure out what is going on. Like those Chaos Waste folks, we are still in a land of flux, where Lord Everling’s signet ring can suddenly turn into a non-functional slashing weapon, equipment becomes invisible or changes appearance, and your favourite priest necklace lost all its wisdom.

Let’s hope sanity returns to this land of confusion quickly.

Update, with a picture I want to use on the forum. This picture illustrates the absolute soullessness of the new gear. Give me the level, archetype, quality, and slot, and I can tell you exactly what the stats of the item will be.
EQ2 New Itemisation

Everquest 2: GU61 Item Revamp Preview

EQ2’s Game Update 61 (scheduled for Tuesday 23rd of August Update: and delayed til Thursday 25th!) brings with it an item revamp for level 20-90. Intrigued, Maltheas stepped into Zoltoon’s patented Chronobarrel, to see what would be in store. For future events such as these will effect us in the future.

EQ2’s itemisation has been amiss ever since the Stat Revamp rendered all but two stats useless for every class. There has also been a gradual inflation in item power that has left items from launch areas desperately poor compared with items of the same level from newer areas. So then, the Item Revamp is badly needed, and I rejoice in its arrival. If it is done right, that is!

The Item Revamp is a work in progress on the test servers right now, but as I always say, we can only look at what is, not at what might be later, so lets have at it!

Many existing items appear unchanged, while others have been updated with new stats, sometimes even leaping from treasured to legendary. I don’t mind too much either way, as some of the fun will be exploring and finding wondrous new gear. Part of me does suddenly have buyer’s remorse about quest rewards which can never now be re-attained, especially as Maltheas has largely done any quests with rewards he’ll be able to use any time soon. Even if the items were being updated, it would not help matters, as they’d have been transmuted for being rubbish a long time ago! It’s hard to see how this effect could have been avoided, so Maltheas shall bear it bravely and seek out fine new equipment!

Crafted gear has all been retroactively boosted. Test-Malth’s crafted armour upgraded quite nicely, in fact! The yellow number is from the adornments he has plugged in, rather than being part of the item. Original is on the left, and revamped is on the right.

EQ2 Crafted Item Revamp

Everquest 2 - Crafted Gear in the Item Revamp


To check out how loot has changed, I swang over to Runnyeye, via the Enchanted Lands.

While in the Enchanted Lands, I took the opportunity to knock off a few nameds that I expected would be up on such a quiet server. Chomper, The Sludge Creep, and the Essence of Darkness fell to Rodcet’s light. The results were interesting:

EQ2 Enchanted Lands Named Loot Item Revamp

Some Loot from the Enchanted Lands Named Monsters

Each dropped at least a legendary piece. It has a very obvious feel of having been algorithmically generated, lacking some of the flavour of the old drops. The Essence of Darkness did drop the Wicked Cutthroats chain Leggings of Pure Darkness, but I’m not sure if the name was pure coincidence or not.

The druid-only plate bracers from Chomper were rather disturbing. Nothing, be it algorithm or designer, should have created such a monstrosity. I hope there’s not too much gear like that.

Do they all have their own loot tables still, or is it shared across the zone, or even tier? Only one way to find out, with another round of beating up the same beasties. Just as soon as they get around to respawning. Research! That’s how we roll around here!

Aha! The Sludge Creep dropped the Fiendish Fateseer’s Spaulders of Acumen again. This is good, as bosses should have some degree of predictability in what they drop. I hope he does have a few more drops, and I just happened to get lucky there. The Essence of Darkness drops some Unyielding Veteran’s Legplates of the Stalwart, so I’m reckoning that the darkness in the name of his last drop was sheer synchronicity. Chomper drops some legendary cloth wrists, Spellbound Prodigy’s Cuff’s of Focus, this time usable by all classes.

Anyhows, that was a small sample of overland heroic bosses. I have a whole lot of Legendary drops. Seems adorners may well find getting their higher end ingredients a little more easy going forward.

Delving into Runnyeye, I rejoiced to see that the Clay Insurgent still dropped the Clay Band of Subterfuge, in a new updated form,and no longer restricted to scouts, not that anyone else would really wear it. This is far more how I hoped things would work out.

Mudslinger, however, was only carrying an Adept book, which did not seem right at all. Perhaps his drops got missed in all of this. As only the second Runnyeye named I slew, that was a little bit worrying.

On a second slaying, Mudslinger was a bit more generous and gave up the legendary Muddite Limb of Beating, which also seemed to be an up to date item. So, from this small sample it seems that Runnyeye’s boss drops have kept their flavour. Hopefully that applies to all other dungeons too.

EQ2 Runnyeye Names Loot Item Revamp

Mudslinger and the Clay Insurgent are generous hosts.

Brief Thought: The simple + Ability Modifier seems to have been phased out for new gear, with Potency in its stead. Do they stack, and is Potency capped? Might be worth keeping keeping some +Ability gear around, just in case.

Overall, I think the Item Revamp will be beneficial. It’s long overdue, and might lead to a little more action in some of the excellent older content. I’m not too comfortable with the generic feel of much of the gear though. It would be good to know if there are still items with interestingly unique properties and procs out there.

Something that does make me bitterly unhappy is that Heritage Quest rewards have not been improved. I spoke about how badly they had been left behind in a previous post, but with the new competition, they are so bad that it is almost funny. Heritage Quests are supposed to be some of the most epic and meaningful quests in the game, and it is desperately important that the rewards are brought up to scratch (and purchasable from Shady Swashbuckler, as usual for Heritage rewards).

The other thing I thought needed updating in that post were the Qeynos and Freeport T3 armour quests. Doesn’t look like that gear has been updated either.

There’s still some time before this is due to go live at the end of August, so perhaps they may yet feel the magical touch of GU 61’s Item Revamp!

Tune in next time, when I weep bitter tears over what the AA Revamp is going to do to poor Maltheas!

EQ2 Videopost: Kelethin Aether Racing

It’s Kelethin’s turn to host EQ2’s City Festival this month. Maltheas decided to head along, and go for a spin on the all new Aether Racing track!

It’ll only be around until the 7th of August. The title for this race is “Bixie Barnstormer”, and it looks like you need a time of 95 seconds or better. Fly with luck, and watch out for the bixies!!