I’m just thirteen days away from having my cancelled EverQuest II account run out of remaining play time. I haven’t logged in to the game in about two weeks now, and the last time I did, it couldn’t hold my interest for more than ten minutes. My time away from EQII has allowed me to enjoy other games, like Oblivion and Company of Heroes, both of which are fantastic. So why is it that I’m entertaining the thought of renewing my account? What follows is a bit of self-therapy; I’ll list something that is pulling me back towards the game, and follow it up with why it’s also pushing me away.
The fact that I’ve played EQII exclusively for three years is most likely the biggest pull. You spend that much time (and money) with one thing and it’s bound to be tough to leave it cold turkey, although I think I would very likely cry to know what my cumulative /played time is. For so long now, every bit of time spent at my computer was spent in EQII. Now, I don’t have that kind of time. Once my “real life” duties are finished for the day, I usually only have about an hour and a half of free time before I head off to sleepy land, and if I’m going to spend that time gaming, I’ve found it more rewarding to spend it having fun skirmishing in Company of Heroes or knocking off a quest in Oblivion. I’ve tried popping in to EQII for short periods of time but I don’t get the same feeling of reward, in fact, it feels more like work. I know others had a different experience, but I found the post-70 content to be a repetitive, boring, grind. I found it very tough, not in difficulty, but in motivation, to get to level 74 and I just can’t fathom continuing that grind for six more levels.
So Much to See, So Much to Do
I’ve barely scratched the surface of Rise of Kunark. I’ve been finished with Timorous Deep for a while, and have seen most of Fens, but aside from brief forays into Kunzar Jungle and Jarsath Wastes, I haven’t seen much else. I’ve heard how cool some of the instances are, and the raids that I’ve read about also sound impressive. Unfortunately, this one comes back to the whole “time” thing. My understanding is that at 74, I’m still a tad too low for most of the instances. I did get into a Karnor’s Castle group a couple weeks ago, but I was the only one not level 80. My guild is making great progress on the raids, and in fact has become a fairly popular guild, attracting several new members. The focus of the guild has shifted slightly towards a more dedicated raiding guild (not quite hard-core, but approaching there) and as a result the raid spots are occupied for those that can raid more often, which I can’t do. As a healer, I could probably get a raid spot easier than others (provided I was 80), but I wouldn’t feel right being a casual raider in this guild. In addition to the zones and instances I haven’t seen, there’s some content I’ll regret never finishing. The Claymore line is first and foremost there. Yep, I never finished my Claymore. There are lots of reasons for it, but the short version is that by the time I got around to it, everyone else had moved on and no one ever wanted to go back to Sanctum of the Scaleborn. Now, I’m sure I could whip through most of the quests fairly quickly, but would probably have a hard time finding people doing the raids at the end of the quest line. For the same reasons I’ll never be able to finish the Sword of Destiny line. Finally, there’s no way I could even fathom spending the time needed to get my epic weapon. Obviously, EverQuest II, much like any other MMO, just isn’t designed for those people without a lot of free time on their hands.
When I look back at my time in the game, the most fun I’ve had was when I was in a group with my wife and friends. It didn’t really matter what we were doing, because the group made it fun, and I think that’s what I’ll miss most of all. I found those moments started disappearing for me as soon as raiding became our focus. We no longer grouped for fun, or to check out instance so and so, rather it all became about getting this or that gear so that I can improve my dps by .05% to hopefully start showing up on the parse. Rise of Kunark essentially killed grouping with its focus on solo quests, and finding a group for older zones became next to impossible mostly because everyone was focused on leveling in RoK, or because the old zones didn’t give “good enough loot”. As a result, the past few times I’ve logged in, I’ve ended up working on the solo quests in Fens, which, quite frankly, gets wicked boring very quick. I was able to tolerate doing those quests when my wife played along with me, but she left the game a while ago and I don’t have the same kind of fun without her.
This blog wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for EQII. While I honestly never anticipated having an audience, the server stats show that I do get visitors (not a lot, but more than I ever anticipated). EQII certainly provides a lot of material for a blogger, and I’ve thought about the impact on this blog if I stopped playing. However, as you may have noticed, I’ve just started blogging about the games I am playing, and while my traffic has dipped a smidge, there’s still people coming, and who knows, I may even get a new audience. Ultimately though, I don’t do this necessarily for an audience, rather, I do it because I enjoy it, and I’d probably keep it up even if the stats showed no one was reading. That said, I have invited my friend who plays EQII a lot still to contribute to the blog, although he has yet to do so. He begged and pleaded with me to give him access for so long, and now that he has it, he’s got cold feet or something. Hey Joe… brawk, braaaawwwwkk!
So that’s it in a nutshell. I’ve had too much fun over the years to just dismiss the game, so it’s not easy to watch my subscription expire. At the same time, I’ve already found several things I enjoy doing that wouldn’t have seen the light of day with EQII still in the picture. I’m sure I’ll have even more second thoughts as that final day of play time approaches, but for right now, I’m still content with my decision to cancel the account. I may be back, I may not, I don’t know at this point. I’ll definitely play another MMO at some point; I’m currently looking forward to seeing how Warhammer Online turns out, and there’s always World of Warcraft too, which keeps tugging at me for some strange reason. Who knows… we’ll see.