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EverQuest Next: Epic Quests for Epic Weapons

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SOE Live is barely a week away and with it, the unveiling of EverQuest Next. One thing that I’m desperately hoping we all see a return of is the epic weapon and the quests that went along with it. For old timers, even the phrase “epic weapon” brings sighs of awe. Some people got them and some didn’t. One thing is for certain though – those who did earned an instant amount of respect when they walked by with one because it took nothing less than a herculean effort to get one.

Today, there are awesome weapons in games, and some that even require the player to do extreme grinding, whether in terms of faction, items to be gathered, or just simple time involved. When the original epic weapon quests were introduced to the game (now referred to as 1.0 epics), they were insanely brutal and incredibly convoluted. Despite the amount of bitching they caused at the time, everyone wanted one and the hunt was on.

The druid epic, affectionately know as the leaf blower.

To give you an idea of what it took to get one of these items of legend, IÂ’ll use the NecromancerÂ’s 1.0 epic weapon, the Scythe of the Shadowed Soul (such a kickass name). From start to finish, it took over 20 quests, scattered across more than 10 zones, required the gathering of almost 20 items, and involved killing nearly two dozen different mobs.

That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? What if I told you quite a number of those mobs were rare spawns? I don’t mean rare as in, “Aw, shucks, I’ve got to wait an hour or two for it to spawn”, I mean spawns on multiple day timers. Assuming you were the one to catch that elusive mob you’d been camping for days without some asshat wandering by at just the wrong time and tagging the mob first (whoever hit a mob first owned it and the loot), there was still no guarantee the mob had the loot item you needed. That’s right folks, not only did you need to kill a rare spawn, it had a rare loot table.

OkÂ… thatÂ’s pretty rough. Sounds like quite a bit to go through, but at least it was worth it. Ho ho ho, my precious little students. WeÂ’re not done yet. You had to go through this process for multiple mobs. And sometimes (in fact for at least 3 of the items I can think of off the top of my head), you had to do it with a raid. A full 40-man raid to be exact.

I know, I knowÂ… the shock of this is hard to comprehend, but letÂ’s spit it out in short form so we can really understand what people had to go through. For multiple pieces needed in a massive string of quests, players would, on more than one occasion, need to get a raid of 40 players together to kill a raid boss that may or may not have the item piece they need. When they werenÂ’t trying to get a raid together for a quest item, they were camping rare spawns for days for even more rare loot.

It was hell to go through. I played EverQuest with a pretty active guild for years. After 2 years of growth, we eventually reached the point to get some of the guild members their epic weapon. And by some of the guild members, I mean three. IÂ’m not kidding.

I myself never received my beloved duck stick, but I clearly remember the awe I felt on those extremely rare occasions I would see a fellow Necromancer with one. Just by seeing a player walk by with one of these weapons, you instantly knew that they put an insane amount of time and effort into getting it. The solo/group time was astounding, let alone the raid time.

So now that IÂ’ve scared the pants off of any gamer unfortunate enough to not have seen EverQuest at its peak, let me assure you I donÂ’t think we need to go quite so far for any epic weapons in EverQuest Next. The concept of getting a 40 man raid together to kill a raid boss and hope for that rare piece of loot that will let you get your epic weapon is cool and all, but even I think itÂ’s going a little too far.

What IÂ’d like to see is the same item being able to be gathered by more than one method. For example, if a quest item is needed off of a 40 man raid boss, let it exist in the normal hunting areas of the world as well. Sound too easy? Hear me out.

Quack!

For those items on the raid boss, give it something along the lines of a 10%-20% chance to drop (IÂ’m not a designer, so IÂ’m just pulling numbers out of my ass, but follow along). For the person who wants to go about it the hard way instead, the item they need should be able to drop off of any mob in the game, as long as the player in question would actually gain experience off of it.

For example, letÂ’s say IÂ’m playing a Necromancer (wowÂ… thatÂ’s really a stretch) and I need 27 different quest items to complete my epic. From the tender character level of 10, every time I kill a mob, a check should be made. If the mob gives me experience, a loot roll should be made completely separate from the normal loot table and of course, completely behind the scene like all others. This roll is like a slot machine in which I need to come up with three jokers to hit the jackpot and receive one item off of my epic quest list. Once the item is received, it gets scratched off the list (if you manage to destroy or lose it, you can just reclaim it like veteran rewards).

The odds of me getting 27 jackpots over the course of anything under a couple of years worth of gameplay seem pretty astronomical to me, so I donÂ’t think itÂ’s an unreasonable request. This would allow epic weapons to still be extremely rare, but would satisfy the crying over people unable to raid still having a chance to get them. Even so, itÂ’s time for players to accept the fact that not everything works as planned 100% of the time in neither life nor games. Everyone could do with a little fizzle in their livesÂ… but of course, thatÂ’s a topic for next week!

While you wait for next weekÂ’s piece, catch up on any previous EverQuest Next articles you may have missed! If youÂ’ve got questions, old-school aspects youÂ’d like me to cover, or anything in between, shoot me an email or hit me up on Twitter!

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