EQ2: Returning to the Isle of Refuge



It’s been a while since I’ve picked up EverQuest 2, and on a fluke, I updated and did some character sorting last night. Though it’s not my main MMO, it is a game that I’ve invested time (and money) into over the past 10 years.

A Little History

I first played EQ2 at launch (I remember all the zone crashes in Freeport!), and while I enjoy it in general, it’s also a game I’ve just never been able to to find my flow in.

You know what I mean, right? That flow when you’re moving through quests, from zone to zone, and enjoying the leveling process as you go. Despite the addition of the golden path a few years back, I was only able to push my main character, my Ratonga Swashbuckler Nipp, to level 55 by normal means.

I’m a soloist all the way – have never seen the inside of a dungeon in EQ2, and don’t really want to. I got stuck about that point, and just never made it beyond the mid-50s.  So when SOE was handing out free heroic upgrades, there was little debate that Nipp would be my chosen character to auto-level to 85. And I… haven’t really done anything with her beyond that. Oops! 🙁

Problem With Alts

Part of my problem with EQ2 is that there are so many options that it’s very hard for me to focus on just one thing. This is probably the one game that I have the most alts in ever (aside from my two GW1 accounts). In organizing them last night for EQ2U, I discovered I had 14 characters, and it looks something like this:

Yes, I realize I misspelled “onomatopoeia.” It’s taken on my server.  As a plus, though, “Hovering”‘s last name is “Text”.

As you can see, I have issues getting past 20-ish, for whatever reason. You can also see that I have put a lot of effort into leveling my crafters. The reason for that? I love to fly, and it’s easier for me to binge-craft on double XP weekends with all these experience potions I’ve amassed over the years and hit 85 to unlock the flying mount quest… than it is for me to adventure to 85 for the same thing. Plus it, in theory, makes adventuring easier at a low level to have a flying mount.

I have a handful of heroic-leveled characters here, too. Not sure if I got more than one free, or just had the station cash lying around and got a good deal… or something. Don’t remember.

How did I get so many characters? Good question!

A couple of them (Zento and Nipp) were copied over to Freeport when the F2P conversion launched. Later… all servers went free to play, which was kinda blah because I paid for a transfer I didn’t need in the end. But seeing that I like the Freeport server, I can’t complain too much.

Some, like Benjamin and Zemi, were day 1 Freeport server rolls. Others I picked up from working the free station cash offers when they were available – you know the ones… fill out the survey and earn station cash? I picked up several character slots and class unlocks that way.

Some I got back when you could get monthly goodies from Legends of Norrath as a free to play player. I also got a character slot from the “We’re Sorry” package back when SOE got hacked that one time. Actually, I found out last night that I have a free character slot waiting in my /claim box from some sort of promotion, and didn’t even realize it. So I guess character number 15 will be coming soon.

Isle of Refuge = Nostalgia

In the early days of EQ2, when you rolled a new character, everyone started on a tutorial island known as the Island of Refuge. From there, you moved on to either Freeport or Qeynos. When SOE reworked the new character experience later on, they opted to start characters in racial towns, and removed the Isle of Refuge. However, fans have asked for it to return to the game ever since.

Isle of Refuge
Isle of Refuge

Thanks to the Ancient Gaming Noob, I learned that with the 10th anniversary (actually the 11th year veteran reward – don’t ask about the wonky math), the Isle of Refuge has been turned into prestige housing. You can also purchase it in the cash shop if you just can’t wait for the veteran reward to roll around.

I logged in yesterday just to see if maybe, maybe I had one waiting for me. I tend to be a bit behind on veteran rewards because I unsubbed for a long time, and SOE stopped counting unsubbed players for a bit. Again, don’t ask, I don’t remember and it’s all weird. I saw that I had the 10th year reward – something about mercenaries… though I honestly haven’t unlocked mercs yet, so I don’t know how that works – but not the 11th year reward, so I figured I had a year to wait for mine. Meh. 🙁

So, instead, I decided to get all my characters situated housing-wise. EQ2 has totally redone the housing system since I last looked, with a panel just for housing, which makes it easier to return to your house from certain locations. Nipp won a free Magical Manor in Halas years ago (I think from Legends of Norrath), and while I haven’t spent time decorating it as I should, I use it as the hub between all my alts, who have Trustee access to it. They all have the Lavastorm Winter Retreat, so I made sure every alt had it claimed and had portals to the Manor. One day I need to figure out what to do with that place – lava and spikes just aren’t my thing.

I went out and purchased Elaborate Tradeskill Stations for my Manor with all the status points my crafters have been sitting on for years (all of them once were members of a guild, but a roster clean has unguilded them now 🙁  ). I set it all up, along with a personal harvesting depot in the bottom room of my Manor, and have a lot of interest in working on decorating the place up with my carpenter.

My New Personal Tradeskill Area
My New Personal Tradeskill Area

I also spent time looking through all the new housing areas – some of them are very nice – with the thought that I might buy a new one if I found the one I liked. Instead, I spent a long time flying around the demo Isle of Refuge, remembering all the fun I had on that island as a newcomer to the game. I had the place memorized… and was surprised how much about it, the encounters and quests, I still do remember. I rarely left that island without making sure I had the two gathering quests completed! Oh, what a pain!

It's all mine!
It’s all mine!

Later last night, I was sorting through all the many claims I haven’t yet claimed, picking up a few things here and there, and I saw it: 11th Year Veteran Reward – Isle of Refuge pack! 

I was so stoked because I didn’t expect to see it this year, and I was holding back from buying it because I knew I’d get it free eventually! It’s only a one-character claim, but I don’t care. I have my own island now!

I just… don’t know what to do with all of it! I did find that the forest is a good place to release all my loud, wandering house pets, though. 🙂


Enjoying the sunset over my new isle.
Enjoying the sunset over my new isle.


    1. I guess I could see that for being across several servers. All of mine are clumped on one, though. It’s mostly cuz I can’t decide what class I want to be… but I think I have one of everything I want now. 🙂

  1. Welcome back! If you’re mostly going to solo you really must get yourself a mercenary. It won’t quite transform your options out of all recognition the way it does in EQ1 but it will make one heck of a difference to the range of (combat) activities you can undertake.

    You used to have to buy the whole Age of Discovery Feature Pack to get access to Mercs but I think you can now buy the right to use them as a standalone purchase in the SC store. Very much worth the cost if so – I bought the whole AoD expansion primarily to get Mercs (although it was full of stuff I wanted at the time) and I’ve always felt it was money well spent.

    With the aid of a merc you should be able to do some older dungeon content even at level, especially as a pet class (you’d be a group of three in effect) but of course if you visit the Chronomancer in Freeport or Qeynos and lower your level you should be able to solo pretty much any dungeon more than a handful of levels beneath your actual level, even without a merc. Soloing or moloing (solo+merc) old content including dungeons is a big part of the casual experience in EQ2 nowadays.

    Your Heroic 85s in the free gear they get, which is excellent, can sleepwalk through virtually all the content up to the mid-70s when chronoed down. There’s a LOT of it and a lot of it is really, really fun.

    1. Thanks for your comment and tips! I know I have access to mercs, I just haven’t unlocked them for any of my characters. I even have the 10 year vet merc to claim.

      To be honest, I just don’t know much about them. I was probably under the wrong impression they required money to use, so I balked at doing that. I’ll have to research it a bit when I decide to start leveling again.

      I’m pondering taking the one low level non-flight character I have (Monk) through the game just to try the experience/story again without the help of flying mounts. I’m odd like that, but I feel like there’s so much in this world I haven’t experienced yet. It’s a bit overwhelming, which is why I think I respond to this game by rolling yet another alt, rather than sticking to one path. That, in effect, makes my choices all the more complex, though! XD

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