Since [sifter128’s] review was a pile, here’s what I’ve seen so far.
I was reluctant to buy Velious. I had heard that the zones were largely geared to uberguilds, and I play on test. Not in an uber guild, but at least we all work together. Still, Kunark was “ok” and I don’t know that I wanted to play a lot more Everquest. Realized I still had a cheque in a birthday card – Go grandma! I picked it up for $20CDN at an EB in the mall, and grabbed Zelda for my roomates for Xmas. They had about 30 copies there, and there were two guys looking at the box. I’m a level 51 bard, and have a regular group of friends I play with – a guild of about 16 people, plus people in other guilds. Grouping means a lot in Velious more so than back on the mainland.
I knew the departure point was North Ro, so I ran over from the Freeport bank. Sat at the dock, and questioned the gnome pirate NPC. When the boat came, he turned and called out that the boat was there. Nice touch. Hopped on and zoned into Iceclad. I waited till we got to the first island, and checked out the gnom there. Another dock on the farside, so I waited for 2 minutes, got bored and fired up the 51 travel song. Started running straight out from the dock, smacking track to check for mobs. Got a location from someone who was on the far side, and headed to them. Easily beat the boat by a good 5 minutes, and had already bought my new level 34 song. There’s a 49 song and some more, that are too high for me yet but they drop off mobs. New song is actually pretty useful. With my magic lute, it stacks with mana regen and the casters love it. The boat that I skipped is sort of impressive, in a maniacal gnome sort of way. Slow tho, and I doubt I’ll ever use it.
First off, no mobs see through my invis. Hooray! That sucked in Kunark, almost everything saw through invis. I run around just taking in the sights. The Tower of Frozen Shadow looks good, and there’s an tinny heart beat from it when you get close. I check out some giants up close, the models are great, and the skins are better. I kill a few green cougars, but don’t get this earring I’ve heard they drop. It’s better than a rare drop in mistmoore, which had been the earring of choice for melee types. I find the bridge to the next zone, it’s impresively large. I wander, and find a turtle. It’s named, and green to me. For some reason, I call out that there’s a named turtle here. Someone replies it’s an undercon – it’ll hit me twice for 300 which is about 40% of my life. I decide to leave it be. Talk to some gnolls, which is new since there’s all of 3 civil gnolls in kunark and antonica. All the named ones have quests. Decide to press on to the next zone.
I zone into the Eastern Wastes, and wander down the bridge to the bottom. There are a lot of mammoths, and these large pseudo bear things. Mammoths are the standard model, the bears are new, but nothing write home about. There are griffons with the same model, and a new paler skin. Walruses are pretty cool, and there are larger ones that walk on two legs. They look good, and are skinned well. I wander and come across the new dwarves. They’re pale little bastards, and are apprehensive to see me. I hit them with a a faction song and they like me a lot more, enough to offer some quests from the named ones, of which there are at least two in each of the 2 or 3 camps. I find some more giants, they glare which is too low for me to adjust, I’d have to kill to prove my worth, but not yet. I wander and find a Giant camp with a named dwarf prisoner, and a named giant. I keep going and find an orc camp. There are people here killing the orcs and it soon becomes apparent why. They drop new chain armor, that’s better than the rogue armor, but not as good as planar armor, or kunark stuff. Still, it looks amazing. The skin for the dark elves looks great. It even looks good on me, a half elf. They let me model some pieces, and urge me to use my guise to change shape so they can get screenshots. Drops are plentiful. They also have lots of necklaces that are so so, and earrings that are better than the cougar one I wanted. And tons of them are dropping. I wander into the camp, and invis STILL works. I wander around and come across a crystal pedestal – I know this is a zone entrance, having read about it on the web. I skip it for now. The group out front are small, and pulling slow, so I decide to kill an orc and see what I get. The first one I see is named – Firkand the Black. I pull him out and kite him for a minute or so. He’s green, and drops pretty fast. I move in to loot and am stunned. He drops gloves, AC 15 5 STR and 3 WIS – these are amazing. (A few days later, Firkand got a lot rarer.) I pocket the gloves for a friend and press on.
Zoning into the next zone, the Great Divide, I note that my framerate has yet to take a real hit like it did in kunark. There are trees, just a lot less of them. The divide is cool. Lots of giants wander, and it’s rocky and snowy. I find a mountain, and track a wurm. I can’t find it, but it should be right on top of me. As I loop around the mountain, I see a small stream leads into a cave inside. I follow the cave in – its large – and a wurm pops on top of me. I jerk the mouse back and get ready to run, but again, invis holds! This is really really nice. I wander the caves a little, and find a room with 3 that con blue, and one sounds impressive – “Shardwurm Broodmother”. I head back out and find people killing the wurms. Apparently, they drop the level 44 spells. Two days later we came back – certain wurms drop 2-3 spells each, and offer good exp, despite them being not tough at all for us. The broodmother is a bitch – she has a ton of hp, easily as many as Nagafen or Vox, if not more. We beat her and she drops – 4 pp and 8 gp. Damn, she’s a quest mob – I went back later and she’s indifferent to me, something I hadn’t noticed. She’s got nothing to say, I leave her alone.
Up the river is a waterfall – one that uses particles and acutally looks good, quite good. In behind the waterfall is the entrance to Thurgadin, the dwarven city. Inside there’s a large bridge after a small winding passage. To the left, are about 20 murder holes, each with a dwarf. I con them as apprehensive, same as the outdoor ones. Even evil races are accepted here – everyone starts off the same, except for dwarves who are a little more accepted. I move in, and hail the first, he replies and turns to his fellow guard, who replies to me as well. Neat. I keep going, and the next room is a small room with a floor that looks to be a trap, albeit for show. Pressing on, I come across more guards – there’s a lot of them, and some are wolfmasters – a large wolf follows along behind them. The dwarf city is nice, but not mind blowing. All new textures, and some transluscent pillars of ice. I find a bank, with about 12 vendors selling loads of items. I wander, and find the paladin and clerics guilds. The paladins are wielding transparent shields that glimmer, and have an etched pattern. These are going to be sought after. A few minutes later, I zone further in, to the castle. It’s across a moat, and again, lots of guards. The first room has a large transparent hollow pillar. Looking down, there’s a cavern with a huge living stalactite that cons even to me, and a large ice golem – also an even con. I don’t want to fall down the shaft. I roam, lots of dwarves. lots of quests. I find the king. Wow, unique skin, unique armor. He looks cool, and tells me to piss off because I don’t know court etiquette. (Another dwarf teaches you this – you have to kneel, and intone a formal greeting.) Apparently he does issue a quest, but I’ve not tried it. At one point I entered a bar, and just in time for a dwarf to announce he was seeking a ban on alcohol. There was a brief pause, and three other dwarves shouted, “Over my dead body” “I think not!” and “Get him!”. The morally upright or uptight dwarf muttered an uh oh and ran for it, with 4 others on his heels. They chased him out, and up some stairs and as he got away, they returned to the bar. Ok. That was a really nice touch. There are a few of these that I’ve seen, and I know there’s a few more in spots where I haven’t spent time. One of the nice things about the dwarf city is that there are a LOT of little details.
After a few days, we’ve done some killing in Velious in a few more zones. Check out the Crystal Caves – there’s a dwarven settlement, the original velious dwarves hidden away from the orcish mine, and the abandoned temple below. I don’t see going back to antonica, for a long long time. Items here are much much better. Experience is quite good – 51 as a level isn’t a lot of fun, but the bar is moving pretty quick. It all looks good, better than the original by far, and in some places, a lot better than kunark. Framerates are good, there’s no Warslik’s woods to crush your framerate. Most loot that you can kill for can be quested for as well. For example, in the plane of growth, you can kill for new, top of the line armor. By the looks of it, you can kill giants, and quest for the same armor by dealing with the dwarves. Which is nice, because if you’re good aligned, you can do plenty of quests for the denizens of the plane of growth. There are lots of dragons, tons of them. Faction plays heavy, you pick a side and stick with it, or two sides and play off against the third. If you’re 30, there’s some stuff to do, but not a lot. If you’re 45 to 60, Velious is a real deal so far. There are stupid mistakes of course – the wrong loot on easy mobs, too much loot – the orcs drop nice earrings to the tune of 30 in 4 hours, and some mobs, and at least one entire zone not itemized. All the usual stupid mistakes that VI makes. They need to fire the QA team and hire new ones, just get it over with. But for the most part, and that’s 99% of it so far, they got velious right. Sure, in a few weeks, stupid things may come to light – but for now, it’s a great addon.
And from Gathu:
Was kinda bored, so I thought I’d post a review from the higher level viewpoint.
Today I logged on in Western Wastes (Dragonland. There are roughly 50 named dragons in the zone). I tried to solo a low blue dog. He hit for 164. He wasn’t a very nice puppy. I eventually killed him, though not before he randomly teleported into water and back a few times.
An interesting side note. Root and snare doesn’t work on about 70% of the MOBs in WW. It lands, sure…just doesn’t do anything.
Okay, a couple hours pass while I read a book waiting for friends to log on. Okay, there’s me, the 60th rogue, and 55th wizard. And there’s that dog that hits for 160 that aggro’d through the cieling, and the wurm that hits for 239. Both blue to the 55 wizard.
It really makes you wonder. Why the hell is something that hits for 239 blue at 55? Froglok reets in sebilis hit for 149, and are even at 55. I guess it’s balanced out by the fact that the frogs have 13k hp, and this wyrm only had 30k.
No, wait…forget it, my brain hurts. That fight took us 20 minutes.
Great, we have 6 high levels, let’s kill that drake that drops spells! Oh, darn, the server crashed.
20 minutes later we’re ready to try again! Oh, wow, that’s a lot of monsters hitting our cleric through the cieling. Run, cleric! Dang. He didn’t run fast enough. 10 more minutes pass, along with about 5 more deaths.
Okay, so we decide that tunnel is evil, and we move in deeper. I go linkdead while invis, nothing aggros on me. I come back dead. I go to get my corpse. A see invis roamer spawns on me. I die again. We go deeper in towards some nesting dragons, and begin to res the 5 other corpses lying around.
Oh, darn, that roamer just aggro’d our cleric. No, wait, now it aggro’d me. Much running around in circles trying to get room to cast gate insues, while the cleric relogs to clear aggro. I gate, zone into Siren’s Grotto, get totally owned by a couple uber walrii, zone back into WW with 50 hp (out of 3200). Okay, next time I avoid the walrii. Oh, look, the servers crashed again. Crash, servers, crash!
25 minutes later I log back on dead. Woot. But what’s this! A disgustingly large number of guides all shouting for people who died in the crashes to shout their names for summons/resses.
Some wood elf in Ethereal Mist then ressed my corpses, and upon learning that the cleric had just blown a peridot on me, tossed me Aegolism and Focus of the Spirit. Yay, Mr. Wood Elven Cleric!
We then ported over to Cobalt Scars to kill some sea dragon. We got 18 people together. It was really anticlimatic. Turgur’s landed on my first cast, and we really could’ve done it with 6. He dropped two haste cloaks, and a Monsoon clone, so who am I to complain though? Also a couple spells and quest components.
We then went back to Western Wastes. Then I died again. I really forget how, I just remember sheepishly asking for a res. Around this point, I was quite grateful that all of our clerics had their epics.
Okay, we have 18 people. That drake is going DOWN! And so it did, and we got a lot of druid pets and ranger spells. Then we killed another. More druid pets. Then we killed Tantor. Poor Tantor. He killed lots of us, and didn’t drop any loot. We felt really bad about killing him afterwards though.
Oh, there’s that little bitch of a dragon that we fought yesterday that gated across the entire zone and summoned us one by one! I had the satisfaction of landing the killing nuke just in time to prevent it from gating. Yay shaman DD!
We moved deeper in to pull dragons easier. But we didn’t mean to pull THAT many dragons. Oops.
40 minutes of CR insues.
Okay, let’s try again. We kill a gigantic leech, and it drops some wierd monk bp. Leeches shouldn’t con yellow at 60 though. There’s something wrong with that.
Oh look. That leech has friends. Two of them. One is quadding me for 540. Ow. Wow, look at all of those people who got gravity fluxed and fell for 10k. Haha, you died! Oh damn, that dragon is still quadding me? Loading, please wait.
90 minutes of CR insues.
Okay, no more dragons. The dragons are evil. Very evil. Let’s kill more drakes. But first, I need to go AFK to grab some food.
Back! Hey, why did that person just say, ‘4 people in group LD.’ What’s up with my lag meter? Awww man.
When the server came back up, like 15 of us were left, and we killed the drake. Tantor came back though! He killed our enchanter and cleric really good. Silly enchanter tried to mez him. Red con mammoths…wierd.
That time he dropped some necro spell, some cleric thing, Burnout IV, and Bearform. Yay bearform! He also dropped about 10 of us. I think around this point our cleric’s resstick had started to fuse into some sort of molten mass.
All in all, this took like 12 hours. Velious has some serious issues. If you want to know what’s REALLY sad, though…?
Western Wastes has far more reasonable MOB power than most zones. Siren’s Grotto (affectionately termed Ghetto) has level 56ish mobs that are immune to magic, have 50kish hp, and hit for 300. They never drop anything.
I think I’ll try Plane of Growth soon. My death tally isn’t impressive enough yet (55 times in the past 3 days).
Gathu the Tactician, Troll Oracle.