Musings on Rise of Kunark

Rise of KunarkThe EverQuest II expansion Rise of Kunark has been live for a week now, and I must say, there’s nothing quite like a new expansion to breathe new life into an MMO.  Truthfully, I have been toying with the idea of finally getting into Vanguard for the past little while, but this expansion will have me sticking around for a while yet.  (Quick side note: every single post on Journeys with Jaye pulls me closer to Vanguard).  Anyway, it would appear as though the new zones are quite popular, judging by the number of instances of Kylong Plains that exist any given night.  I’ve had a little bit of time to check out the new zones, both in the beta and since they’ve gone live, and indeed they are very nice.  The hype surrounding the size of the zones was justified, they’re definitely big, but they’re well done in the sense that they don’t feel big just for the sake of being big.  Every part of the zones that I’ve seen have flowed together very well.

Obviously it’s still too early to write any sort of in-depth review.  I haven’t actually played much of the expansion, aside from the majority of quests in Kylong Plains, most of my time has been spent exploring the new zones, doing all I can to avoid being killed.  From what I’ve seen of all the zones, I can’t stress enough how impressed I am with the work the level designers and artists have done.  As far as the quests I have done, I have to say I enjoy them on the whole, but as other bloggers have commented, they do seem a little too solo player oriented.  That, and they also give you a lot of stuff.  I’ve never had such problems with my inventory slots before.

Rise of KunarkThere’s been an uglier side to the expansion, more a result of the actions of certain players.  Obviously with a level cap increase, there are going to be many players doing whatever they can to level up as quickly as possible.  Personally, I think they’re missing out on the content of the game, but if that’s what they want to do, then I have no issue with that.  The first player to hit level 80 on my server did so in about two days, possibly sooner.  My first thought, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, was “seriously dude, turn off the computer, go outside and see the sun.”  I was quite literally shocked.  Not necessarily surprised, but I really didn’t expect to see someone hit level cap that quickly.  As it turns out, this particular player, along with a few others apparently, took advantage of an exploit in the game which allowed them to complete a repeatable quest very quickly.  They have since had their characters rolled back, losing any experience and levels they gained from doing the quest.  I can’t believe they thought they’d get away with it.  You’ve got to believe that the GMs were watching the servers closely to see how fast people were leveling, and that they’d catch something as obvious as the exploit.  I don’t know much about the exploit, or even which quest it is, but from what I understand, it was obvious by the steps you had to take that you were exploiting.  I think it says something that the majority of those that used the exploit were from the uber guilds, that quite often make no bones about pointing out to the rest of the server that they’re “so much better than everyone else”.  Well, congratulations!

I do need to make it clear that any information I’ve got on the above exploit and those that took advantage of it, is solely from what I’ve read in both out of character chat and on forums.  I don’t work at SOE so obviously I don’t have any hard and true facts, just what I’ve observed.  I guess I just don’t understand why you’d be in such a rush to get to max level.  Take your time and enjoy the content that’s been created for you, because from what I’ve seen so far, there’s some great stuff.  I intend on making it last.

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