Return to Norrath: A Quick Look at Heroic Characters

Those of you who know me probably have some idea as to my reaction to Heroic Characters in EQ2. I had no intention at all of getting one. Well, that’s not entirely true – since I get a free one, I figured I might as well use it, and was planning on putting it onto the very first character I ever made in the game, years ago when the game launched. A character that I never play, but haven’t been able to bring myself to delete due to nostalgia. There’s something poetic in that, but perhaps that’s just me. Anyway, the point being, I hadn’t planned on actually playing a Heroic Character.

Then someone asked me what they were like.

Then someone else asked me what they were like.

Then someone else asked me… so…. here is my answer. I spent yesterday messing around with Heroic Characters, and today’s Return to Norrath is all about them! (Or at least, as all about them as I was able to glean in the short amount of time I gave them. But there’s no drama to saying that in a brief exclammed sentence.)

For my very first try, I used the Try Before You Buy option and made Sikke, the Arasai ranger. You can see her up at the top there, as I was just about to finish character generation. The Arasai are terribly cute, aren’t they? I futzed around a bit, and eventually entered Norrath, immediately dinging to level 85. Huzzah! What a speedy journey! Unfortunately I didn’t think about the UI prior to doing this, so I have no idea what the intro hotbar to ease you into the experience is like – I am using UI addons so my hotbars all popped up fully loaded and placed across my screen just where I like them.

Holy tons of abilities, batman. Overwhelming. I spent a little bit of time reading all of them, before deciding that the best way to learn them was to go out there and use them – I presumed by looking at them that the first hotbar was the intended introduction. So off I went to actually look at the game instead of my UI.

I popped into existence on a dock in what looked like Halas to me – ice and snow everywhere. But hey, I had a cool flying horse! There’s something weird about a winged fairy riding a pegasus, but I did have fun zooming around for a few minutes before settling back down to look at the quest in front of me. I’m sorry to say, this quest bored me to tears with the first two lines, and immediately zapped me into instaclick without reading mode. Destined One. Seriously? Destined One. I’ve never seen that before. (Sadly there’s no sarcasm tags in html.)

Ok, so I’m an amazing Destined One, with a hired assassin on my trail, and the Overlord Lucan himself is sending guys to save me. Right. So … ignoring that for the moment, I just took off into the blue. I don’t like quests anyway, so figured exploring would be fun. I found a little quest camp, and decided to check it out. On my main I’ve actually been doing an interesting questline lately earlier in the game (a later Return to Norrath will go into that), so I’ll admit a part of me was hoping to find something interesting. I failed, but figured I’d at least let it guide me a bit. So off I went to kill gnolls and evil spirits for some reason or another.

And I’ve got to say, I was bored out of my mind. I was one shot insta-killing everything. After several fights, I still didn’t know what any of my abilities did, because all of my abilities killed everything in an instant. At one point I alt-tabbed out to write something, flipped back in to discover some mobs had popped and I had – literally – 102hp left, and I still managed to kill them before they took me out. That’s some serious firepower. And not only that, but I was getting language and legend lore drops with every kill. I logged out of the game, and wandered off to bitch to a friend of mine about how ridiculous it was. He stared at me for a moment, then said, Um, Phere, you made a dps class. You like healing. Of course everything is dying fast – you’re dps, it’s supposed to. And don’t forget we all hate you for your drop luck.

Ok, ok, fair point. So bye, bye ranger! Hello, wood elf defiler! Good thing I was using Try Before You Buy!

Here is my second Destined One being greeted:

Yet another several minutes were lost as I examined a new set of skills. Huzzah, lots of buffs! Yay, healing! Why didn’t I do this the first time? So off I went once again, this time determining to actually read the quest text – and once again failing as the Destined One greetings caused my eyes to glaze over. Oh well, I guess I’ll never know why there was an assassin after me, or why Lucan himself was concerned about me.

I learned several things this time around. Defilers are cool, they can turn into purple blobs of mist. High level mobs drop lots of money. Quests are boring. Finding the right character class to play can make a big difference – ok, ok, the only thing I learned there was that defilers are cool and can turn into purple blobs. Look, I’m a purple smear killing a gnoll with fire, a wand and a spear!

My ultimate conclusion about Heroic Characters is that it’s not for me. I like the journey too much to short cut it. And I’ve found a great guild, so am not hurting for grouping and general chatter. But if you’re wanting to jump directly into the end game, where indeed most of the players are, then now is the perfect time to give EQ2 a try (or a new look if you’ve played it before). Until the 15th, a level 85 character is free. You can test one out, peek around at the game, give multiple classes a whirl to see how they play late game, and hopefully have some fun. And there is something to be said for being able to experiment with a class to see how it plays at later levels, I know there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve leveled a class only to discover that I didn’t like what it evolved into.

So why not join me and give it a shot?

About Pherephassa 213 Articles
Pherephassa has been creeping around the etherspace long enough to have remorted so often that not even she can recall her original form. She loves sandboxes, challenges, chain mail bikinis and dungeons so large they take weeks, months or even years to fully explore. Currently seeking an MMO home, she can often be found on the side of the road, begging game designers for death penalties and slow leveling curves.