TSO Crafing Preview

Gnomes.

Why did it have to be gnomes again?

Mum knew, on an intellectual level, why gnomes were involved. After all, gizmos, gadgets and things that went "Whirr, Ping!" were right up their alley.

That didn't mean she was going to trust anything they made until enough suck-, erm, eager adventurers had tested out their newest gadget.

Which was why the tiny halfling was backing away, slowly, from the flying ship thingie that the gnomes had built in the Sinking Sands. Let someone else make sure it was working right, first. Maybe a lot of someone's. Like a few hundred. Or more.

This, however, left her in a bit of dilemma, as she'd promised to help in this grand new exploration of the newly-rediscovered areas. Surely she could help somehow without getting in that ... flying thing ... just yet, couldn't she?

"Surely you're not frightened of flying, are you little one?" The smug voice came from an erudite waiting for the next flying ship to dock.

"Nae! O' course nae, tallstuff! I jus' ..." The tiny redhead paused a bit, not wanting to come right out and say how little she trusted yet another gnomish contraption. Wouldn't do to start a panic after all.

As her eyes cast about for inspiration, they settled on a Far Seas flier fluttering in a breeze. "There be sae many eager tae explore th' new land, an' I'm worried aboot th' amount o' supplies available tae th' explorers. Methinks my skills would be better used at their Mara outpost frae a bit, until th' crush settles down."

With that, she nodded firmly to emphasize her point, then turned and scampered off. Maybe in a day or three she's think of flying, but in the meantime, they really could use her help at the Far Seas Mara Outpost ... she hoped.

Of course they could!

Arriving at the docks to the Isle of Mara at last, she scampered past a crowd of folks gathered around some newly-arrived pack animals, while mentally reminding herself to check on new mounts "soon." Imp, Pony of Mischief, was getting too old to be much good for some of her more adventuresome harvesting expeditions, and it was about time to put him out to pasture.

That could wait, however, as there were some rather frantic Far Seas Supply Division folks in dire need of a crafter of her skill, especially since so many crafters and adventurers alike had run off to explore the newly rediscovered lands, leaving them rather short-handed.

Oh, was Mum ever in her element! Crafting here, gathering local resources there. It was so nice to feel needed. The rewards being offered for continued assistance weren't too shabby, either, she had to admit!

Which, of course, reminded her that she still hadn't looked into getting a replacement mount, and the supply merchant, Koros, had hinted that there were some pretty impressive pack beasts available, even for tiny halflings such as herself.

The small white one didn't look too bad, at least from the back. Thoughtfully, she started to move around the pony-sized creature, looking it over carefully while the mare had her nose buried in some sweet feed.

There was something a bit odd about it, but she couldn't quite place her fing-...

"Cornyhorn!"

She couldn't remember where she'd picked up that silly non-word for unicorns, but thankfully, the unicorn in question this time had a sense of humor.

The stableboy winced, not only at the name, but at the excited near-shriek. "Best watch out, Mum, this one may be tiny, but she's been full of mischief from the moment she arrived."

Mum more or less ignored him as she stared at the vision before her raptly. Regally, the dainty unicorn finished her last bite of food, shook her mane into place, turned her head just a bit to look at Niami, and winked.

Oh yes, they'd get along famously.

Once Mum finished a grand adventure with Jess (who definitely did suit Mum's personality to a T), to help a young Augren lad learn more about harvesting, Niami let herself be talked into helping the Far Seas folks already out in the field on the Moors of Ykesha. In theory, enough time had passed for the gnomes to work all the kinks out of their flying ship, so she wasn't nervous ... much. After all, it wasn't a brand-new invention, but rather rebuilding something they'd made in the distant past, which made it safer right from the start, or so they said.

Mum distracted herself during the trip with braiding Jess's mane. She wasn't scared, really she wasn't! Truly! She just wanted to be sure Jess looked picture-perfect when they stepped off the deck of that flying death-machine!

Once safely landed, she more or less ignored a clockwork thingamabob offering to teach her languages in return for some tasks, and made a beeline for Aymee Quickspoke.

Of course Aymee needed help! And, of course, like most gnomes, she spoke so fast that Niami could barely get a word in edgewise, which is why Mum soon found herself agreeing to check in with the other supply liaisons around the Moors, before it really sank in that the last person who had volunteered to do the task had turned up dead.

Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to try to find all these places on foot, but rather to take Aymee up on her offer of a teleport to each of the designated locations. But first, she needed to speak to a nearby "safety conductor" at the U.J.L. "zeppelin station", whatever that was. Durn gnomes always had to be using new-fangled words for things!

Nearby, turned out to be a relative term, when there was a ginormous gaping chasm in between the two women. Naturally, the gnomes, with their typical ingenuity, had enhanced on another rediscovered gizmo to overcome the problem.

One look at it, and she was thinking almost fondly of her fear-filled trip on the flying ship.

"Nae, nae, NAE!" Mum didn't care if she sounded like a hysterical fishwife. Nor did she care about the repeated reassurances that it was "nearly perfectly safe", nor that folks before the Rending had used just such a device as transport.

"Nearly perfect safe be exactly what they told me Great Uncle Rupert afore they stuffed him in some gnomish gizmo, an' they ne'er did recover all his discombobulated bits, so, NAE, I say!"

Jess, however, took the "nae" as a signal, let out a "neigh" of her own and scrambled forward. Before Mum knew it, they were packed in an oversized cannon, while a gnome mumbled about drag coefficients from foot-fur and unicorn horns.

"NaeeeeeeeeeeeeAAAIIIYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

They landed scant centimeters from a wall of solid rock.

After that, it was almost a piece of cake, as it were, to convince her to clamber into one of the flying motorized ballooons.

Almost. Kind of sort of.

By the time Mum finally got the Far Seas Supply folks all settled in and sorted out, weeks had passed, and she was handling travel via the various contraptions with all outward signs of poise and grace.

And if the extra strands of grey in her flaming red hair told another story, most folks were too diplomatic to say so.

... except for some lass with the odd name of "Miss Clairol" who promised she had a surefire technique to hide all those grey hairs from sight.


The Shadow Odyssey Crafting Preview

The Shadow Odyssey, EverQuest 2's newest expansion, is due to be released in less than two weeks from now. (November 18). Don't be fooled by the fact that there won't be an increase in the level caps. There is a ton of content in this expansion for crafters and adventurers alike. As usual, I leave most of the adventuring details to other sites, and focus on the crafting aspect of things.

Before I dive in, however, the necessary disclaimers must be made. This information is taken from the TSO beta server. Things can/will change between now and launch. Things can/will change in the first week or so after launch as well, as issues are found and fixed. Because of this, I won't always provide exact details on everything, and even where details are provided, they are presented with the warning that this information can change suddenly. Every expansion we give such warnings, and every expansion someone has to get their knickers in a knot because something changed at the last minute and a fansite and/or SOE didn't warn them about it, costing them extra quest time, etc., etc. Imagine that. MMORPGs are by their very nature, subject to change. Who'd've thunk it? ;D

Now that we've got that out of the way, on to the preview, where various features are presented in no particular order other than redheaded whimsy!

Basic Level Info

This expansion is meant mostly for adventurers and crafters of levels 50-80. There will be a few things, such as achievement points, that lower-level folks can aspire to, but, for the most part, expect that you won't really be able to make the most of the incoming content until you have more experience under your belt. (Mind you, with all the quests and content already in place for the under-50 crowd, and the recently-improved leveling curve, this shouldn't be a problem for most folks.)

Achievement Points & Abilities

With this expansion, the overall achievement point cap is raised to 200 points, and a new Shadows category is added. This category will have both general and class-specific abilities included, and you can spend up to 60 points in this category. (The max point spread will then be 70/70/60.)

While we don't get a crafter-specific achievement tree, there is more than one abiliy in the Shadows General category that are very crafter-friendly. Not only mount speed and run speed improvements, but harvesting and crafting progress abilities, too!

Let's face it, by the time you've hit the upper levels in crafting, unless you buy most of your resources, you have learned a thing or three about harvesting. Now there will be an ability that reflects that, called "Ample Harvest". Imagine yourself, harvesting along, and once in a while grabbing an extra handful of resources as you go! You can spend up to 5 achievement points in this ability, which currently will grant you up to a 15% chance at an added automagic pull on the node that you're harvesting. (A happy little message scrolls by amidst your harvesting messages mentioning a bountiful harvest, and the result of the harvest is automagically dropped into your bags.)

Swift Creation will also be a boon, as, by this time, the experienced crafter feels like they know their crafting process inside and out. Now they can apply that knowledge for up to 5 ranks (up to 10%) of crafting progress increase. This should come in especially handy for those working on the group crafting missions! (More on those later.)

Let's take a closer look at a couple of the main activity hubs for crafters in this expansion, and see what they have to offer.

The Moors of Ykesha

Most "normal" folks are likely to hit this area first, then be directed over to Mara after the introductory Moors crafting quest out there, but normal isn't often a word used in association with Mum. However, for the sake of this preview, we'll present them in their proper order. :D

Introductory Quest

Once you step off the airship onto the Moors of Ykesha, you'll find a smallish landing area before you are sent out and about. (Don't forget to hit the druid rings and harvest the leaf while there!) Quest NPCs abound, and off to one side you'll find a crafting area, complete with all crafting equipment, and a lass by the name of Aymee Quickspoke.

Aymee gives a lovely introductory quest series that is custom-made for crafters to give you an overview of the new expansion and the various factions that are involved. In the process, you should also gain access to the zeppelin points that should grant you an easier way to travel around the region. (Similar to how sokokar posts work.)

In addition to giving you a quick tour of the region, you are introduced to the main factions (Grobb, Tupta and the Survival Accord), and will be given the opportunity to do some non-repeatable introductory quests for each that will grant you a solid chunk of faction with the appropriate group, plus reward you with a house item. These factions are not required, mind you, especially if you don't plan on adventuring in the areas in question as well, but they will give you access to the corresponding faction merchants. (These factions can be earned by crafters and adventurers alike, I am just covering the crafting side of things for this preview.)

Other than adventuring gear, the plan is for these merchants to offer appearance sets of armor, as well as house items. Nothing earth-shattering, but goodies that crafters tend to enjoy! A late-breaking addition (Nov. 4) to each of these three faction merchants includes a recipe book of racial-type furniture that level 65+ crafters of any crafting class can scribe/craft. We now have a beta gallery up of this crafted furniture!

Details on this quest, and the associated subquests, can now be found here.

Daily Faction Quests

Each of the three regional factions (Grobb, Tupta and the Survival Accord) offers you a daily tradeskill task that will allow you a non-adventuring way build up additional faction with that particular group. (Adventurers can earn the same factions via questing.) In the case of Grobb and Tupta, since they don't like to play nice together, these quests will gain you faction with one group, while slightly lowering your faction with the opposing group. The faction gained, however, is larger than the opposing faction's loss, allowing the determined and/or demented crafter to build up faction with both sides, if more slowly than if you just work on one or the other. As mentioned above, these factions aren't required, but they gain you access to "stuff" on faction merchants ... plus they get you out of more traditional crafting areas and out into the big, wide world!

The Isle of Mara

Of course, if you have quested for your Artisan Satchel and crafting charm, you're familiar with the Isle of Mara. If not, and you're a level 50+ crafter, you'll want to go out there and quest for those handy little items.

There is, however, much more in store for crafters in this area.

The Far Seas Trading Company Supply Division is now using the largest building on the docks of Outsider's Landing as their outpost, and they need the help of skilled Norrathian crafters with numerous things. In return, they'll give you coin, faction with their Supply Division, and a Far Seas Trading Company Token. (These tokens are needed in order to make purchases from the new Far Seas Supply faction merchant.)

Writs

Kaisha Swifteasel gives out timed rush orders for crafters from level 50 on up. These are much like the city faction rush orders, except that they give you +250 faction with the Far Seas Trading Company Supply Division. (This is a new faction with this expansion, and not to be confused with the existing Far Seas Trading Company faction.)

Daily Group Crafting Missions

Once per day you can obtain group crafting missions from Madria Varas. These missions, which send you to various special instances, should take from 30-60 minutes to complete if you have a group of 6 different crafting classes They can be done with less, or even soloed, mind you, with a ton of time and patience on your hands, but since that means many more of the crafting combines will be using out-of-class skills, expect it to take a lot more time.

On top of the money, crafting xp and faction rewards, these instances also drop a chest at the end of the event, containing some nice crafter goodies - up to and including things like pieces of crafting set gear ... or maybe even a rolling pin ...

Further details on these quests will be linked in later this week, once I've formatted a quick quest writeup.

Weekly Solo Quests

Not everyone wants to group, or is always able to find a group of willing crafters. Once per week you will be able to obtain one of several special solo crafting quests. (Currently there are three to choose from, and more may be added at some future date.) These quests will award you with money, the new Supply faction, and a Far Seas Trading Company Token. You will only be able to obtain one of these quests per week. (Remember the "multiplayer" part of an MMORPG. They aren't going to force you to group, but they're going to strongly encourage you to be a bit more social now and then, not "just" run solo quests! :D)

Further details on these quests will be linked in later in the week, once I've formatted a quick quest writeup. (Edit: all right, it wasn't a "quick" quest writeup, but here's the details on Far Seas Supply quests.

Faction Merchant

Koros Splinterlimb, who is enjoying a well-deserved(?) drink or three while the ladies are hard at work upstairs in the Mara crafting quest area, will sell you a lovely variety of items, for a price.

You will need some basic Far Seas Trading Company Supply faction, Far Seas Trading Company Tokens (earned from the above quests), and, of course, cold, hard, cash. Items for sale currently include several crafter-specific mounts (including the above-mentioned unicorn), appearance armor sets, two recipes for every crafting class, and crafter set gear for every crafting class. (These sets will be a little different from the sets that will drop in the group crafting instances with regards to stats and bonuses.) Additional details can be found here.

Waitasec - Recipes?

These are fresh additions (late on Nov. 6) to the Far Seas Supply faction vendor. It will take time before we have full details.

Here is what we do know so far:

Standard beta disclaimers and such go here. When I know more, it will go into the pile of information I need to write up.

Signature Quest

For the first time ever, there is a signature quest line that is for adventurers or crafters! This quest is for level 70+ adventurers or crafters, and will require quite a bit of harvesting, and running, and harvesting, and running, and ... you get the idea. Reward is a lovely Cloak of the Harvester, which, on top of looking pretty doggone snazzy, unsurprisingly grants harvesting bonuses.

You can find further details on this quest here.

Also Incoming

There are also several other items of crafter instance that are coming out at the same time as the expansion, but that are not part of the expansion. While this distinction is only important for those who don't purchase the expansion, as well as Project Management types who track what time is spent on normal game development vs expansion development, the distinction is there, nonetheless.

Red Glowies!

Two more red glowie collections will be added for those who have obtained their Earring of the Solstice. These collections will be found in Faydwer. Here's a lovely teaser, and larger versions are now available for viewing on the red glowie collection page.

More Cloth Style!

More vest graphics are being added to the various crafted cloth armor sets, plus tranquil dragon's breath is getting a re-tint. Kaisha went to a lot of w*rk to get the images all shot, fancied up, pre-approved for publication, etc., and you can find them in the crafted cloth fashion gallery here.

Altars in Guildhalls

Recipes for appearance-only house item altars, called shrines, that can be placed in guildhalls will also be released at the same time as the expansion. This will get around the "must be owner to use altar" issue, while allowing guild halls access to altars for decoration purposes. Recipes will be in a new book on the Deity Historian NPCs, called "Decorative Deity Shrines". You must be a level 65 carpenter to scribe the recipes, and, like the other two altar recipe books, it is a no-trade book. The recipe will be 4 rough lumbered rosewood, 2 adamantine clusters, 1 horned leather, 10 acrylia sandpaper.

In addition, recipes for altars the two newest deities, Anashti Sul and Rodcet Nife will be automagically added to the appropriate books for the common and imbued altars. (If you've already scribed the current altar recipe books, you'll automagically receive the recipes for these two new deity altars.)

Let me be perfectly clear that the automagic part is for the common and imbued altars. The hall-placeable shrines are in a new book that you will have to purchase once the expansion is launched.

The altar furniture guide has been updated with images of these new offerings.

Harvesting Depot Enhancement

A brand-new change on the beta server to harvesting depots! You will soon be able to sort the contents of the depot by item name or level!

Crafting Channel Changes

While the crafters of many servers got tired of a good and evil crafting channels, and set up a player-made global crafting channel of some type, those channels can soon go the way of the dodo. On all non-PvP servers, Good_Crafting and Evil_Crafting will merge into a new Channel called "Crafting". (You will need to leave the old channel and join the new one, once the change goes into effect.) Similarly Good_Traders and Evil_Traders will become "Traders". Again, this is for the servers that are not PvP servers (i.e., the PvE servers).

Wantia Recipes!

We've been asking for some of the Wantia furniture to be craftable for quite a long time. 11 recipes are incoming for carpenters!

Bonus XP?

A system is being put in place where your lower-level adventurers will earn bonus xp if you have one or more xp-capped adventurers. After all, if you have done all that grinding once, or twice, or thrice, and still have alt-fever, sometimes you "just" want the lower levels to be over with.

But what if you're a crafter, working on your 7th crafting alt? Fear not, there is also a tradeskill xp bonus, for those with xp-capped crafters!

Your bonus xp status will display on character select as a happy yellow "Experience Bonus" message. (Mouse over it and it will tell you how much xp bonus you are earning on your non-maxxed characters.)

Return to Owner

Found a no trade house item in your house that someone else placed that you want sent back to the proper owner? Tired of having just the "delete" option on it (that is sometimes used just to figure out who really owns the durn thing!), want it gone, and can't seem to get them to come and pick it up? There will be a new option to allow you to send the item back to the owner.

Surprise - More Tapestries!

On top of a lot of lovely house items that will be available for the scrounging in some of the adventuring dungeons, there will be two more craftable tapestries.

One of them, the Tapestry of the Steam Lord (left), is a tapestry version of a cloak that drops in Najena. It will automagically appear in the Advanced Carpenter Volume 79 book and will require a mantrap root.

The other tapestry, the Flame Tapestry (right), will be from a 5-charge recipe that is found in the Najena: Deep Forge adventuring dungeon from a book or page in the "room with the mages in it".

Let this serve to remind folks that there can be little extras here and there that are not covered in detail in this preview. Keep your eyes peeled!

Additional Eye-Candy!

What would a Mum preview be like without extra eye-candy? Larger versions of these images can be found here.

Bazzul
Befallen
Befallen
Lower Guk
Lower Guk
Kor-Sha


Still To Come

Domino, and the rest of the team, are still hard at w*rk, polishing this, refining that, adding an item here and there, and so on. (For example, after my first writing of this yesterday, but before I had it ready for linking on my page this m*rning, Moor faction vendors had a recipe book added.)

As new details are uncovered, I will update this section of the article. (Information may be added to the upper sections as appropriate, but the information will be echoed down here so that it is easier to find.)

Update tracking:

Credit Where Credit is Due

Of course, major kudos have to go out to all the hard-working folks at SOE for putting together another fabulous expansion! On top of that, extra kudos and much chocolate love go out to Domino for all that she does for crafters and crafting, Mortalus (the intro Moors crafting quest), as well as Kiara and Babs for some extra images specifically gathered for this preview.

Furthermore, while the text content of this preview is mine, massive, nay, GINORMOUS kudos have to go out to Kaisha Triol, our very own EQ2TC graphical goddess. Not only did she do most of the legwork on the various quests and offerings, and put together fabulous quest/expansion details for me to work from, but she did a metric ton of images for the site, several of which are displayed above, but many of which will be in various guides and galleries that are linked in during the coming week or so. ... and she did it all while dealing with pneumonia! Thanks ever so much!

~Christy Bell (aka Niami DenMother)

The Shadow Odyssey expansion, which will be released on November 18, 2008, is currently available for pre-order. Check out the details here

Created: 2008-11-03 11:12:52          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2008-11-23 10:08:59          


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