I am currently struggling to decide which class I will roll for my foray back into the timeline-accurate classic fun of Project1999 Green. It’s not a bad problem to have – liking multiple classes – but I thought it’d be worthy of a post.
I have been devouring countless posts on the official forums and elsewhere of people asking the exact question: which class should I play? I have narrowed my selection down to four classes – Enchanter, Shaman, Druid and Necromancer. Two I have played to Level 40+, one I have only played to 20+, and one I’ve barely played at all. Join me in my musings, and I’ll give you a bit of a snapshot into these classes for the EQ-uninitiated.
The Enchanter in the classic era was a beast. Few classes in MMOs before or since have come close to the power and freedom a well-played Enchanter possesses. Strictly speaking, the EQ Enchanter is a ‘crowd control’ class. But it also does so much more. It has mesmerise and stunning spells, which allows it to control the action in a variety of ways. The Enchanter has mana regen buffs , which are all too important in the age of MMOs before downtime between fights was non-existent. It can increase attack speed, it can slow down attack speed, it can cast illusions and improve faction (or how much NPCs like you), it can cast invisibility, the list goes on. Last but not least, the EQ Enchanter can charm almost any mob in the game and make that mob a pet.
The combination of all of these abilities, but especially charm, makes the Enchanter a soloing and grouping powerhouse that gives it the potential to take on nearly anything Norrath has to throw at them.
But there are downsides. It also has a fairly high skill ceiling (not strictly a downside). While the power an Enchanter holds is great, their capacity to make mistakes is equally great. Given the Enchanter is a relatively physically weak caster-type, a mistake can be very costly. So playing an Enchanter at high levels, and doing challenging things solo, can be quite a stressful experience. It is difficult to take quick AFK breaks, and the play itself requires a fair bit of attention as you can go from healthy to splat very quickly.
The Enchanter is attractive to me because I have the most experience playing it. However just recently on Project1999 Blue I started a Shaman because I found I wasn’t able to log into my Enchanter, relax and play stress-free. I was at a level that required a lot of risk to progress and it was fun when I won, but losing was very costly. So there is a strong draw to this class – it is a good soloer, and has a lot of potential, and doesn’t need a lot of gear to be successful. But there is a bit of ‘been there, done that’, and I may find myself back where I was with my Enchanter on the shelf.
The Shaman is also a mighty class, though arguably it needs much more gear/spells to reach the levels an Enchanter can do virtually naked. The Shaman in EQ is sort of like its well-known WoW cousin, in that they occupy the ‘battle priest’ slot . However the EQ Shaman is much more about buffing, slowing and casting DoT spells than the Shaman in WoW. As the EQ Shaman increases in levels it is far less likely to go toe to toe with a mob than simply sit back, send it a wolf pet, and watch the debuffed mob’s life ebb away.
I recently started a Shaman on Blue, and got him to the low 40s. I really enjoyed the class, but I have to remind myself that it felt far easier because I was able to purchase myself some good starting equipment with the wealth my Enchanter had collected. I soloed a lot of the time and it was efficient and very effective.
But in the ‘by your own bootstraps’ model that will be everyone’s experience on Green, the Shaman is going to be a big slog to level until the mid-30s at least. Rather than being known as a solid soloing option, Shamans will be more a firm favourite in a group lineup. They can heal until Level 40ish at a pinch, can cast a range of buffs that can make up for a lack of Enchanter, root, and even smack a mob around a bit. As I am planning to probably split my time soloing to grouping at a rate of 60/40, the Shaman may not be the best option.
There is also the issue of power potential. Shamans are gods at later levels when they have the right spells and the right gear. Many of these do not come out until Kunark, and they will be extremely contested (and are still very contested on the ten-year old Blue server). While I crave the interconnection that EQ and Norrath provide, I must have the ability to be somewhat self-sufficient at times too, and requiring extremely rare items to make my class work well just isn’t on the menu.
So I’m halfway through my exploration of four potential Project1999 Green classes. After putting my thoughts down, I’m fairly sure I won’t be rolling an Enchanter or a Shaman. Incidentally, based on posts and polls, these will be some of the most popular classes and there is likely to be an overabundance of both.
In the next installment, I’ll discuss the Druid and Necromancer, and hopefully end up with a class choice!