Earlier this week I posted the first part of my agonising choice of class for the upcoming release of Project1999 Green server. Welcome to Part 2, where I do actually reach a decision. Let’s get right back into it, with the third class of the four I’m considering.
The druid is an old favourite of many current and former EQ players – and for good reason. But I’ve never played one past the early levels. There’s no specific reason why; I’ve just never really had a good go at it. Perhaps that will change this time around?
Let’s talk about what the Druid in EQ is all about – in the classic era anyway. The Druid is the caster all-rounder – in terms of combat it can do direct damage, snare (slow movement speed), root, and at early levels as a Priest class even whack on the mob a bit. It has a wide array of much-loved buffs, most prominently Spirit of Wolf (movement speed buffs), damage shields, hitpoint regeneration, and hitpoint, AC and stat buffs. Eventually Druids get a particularly powerful buff called Protection of the Glades which is highly sought after in the endgame.
But perhaps Druids are best known as the ‘taxi cabs’ of classic EQ. Along with Wizards they are able to teleport players around the world with a click of a spell, to a wide network of ‘druid rings’ scattered around Norrath. They can and do charge for this service. So, along with the ability to power-level other characters, Druids in classic have the capacity to make decent money.
In terms of how they play, druids can do well in groups until the late 30s, or later with a willing group. Druids can also solo well throughout, by charming animals or more impressively by quad kiting – killing four mobs at a time with a particular technique that uses their spells to great effect.
For years the Druid has been a commonly recommended class for someone fresh to Project1999 Blue. They are a wanted class that can make money and are relatively easy to level. Therefore on Blue Druids are a dime a dozen. Early indications seem to show that Green will be no different and in informal polling Druids are the most popular class (alongside Enchanters).
I am drawn to playing a Druid, simply because it will be an entirely different path for me. Though I am conscious that the gearing and leveling spots for druids get more limited as you gain levels, and I am concerned about over-crowding. I am also a bit warded off by the limited methods of soloing they have. The methods they do have are some of the most effective in the game, but a class like the Enchanter or Necromancer just has a lot more options, even if they are a bit less efficient/effective.
I’m so close to diving in on a Druid, but let’s discuss the Necromancer first.
The Necromancer is second only to the Enchanter in terms or raw power and soloability in the classic EQ era. Where the Necromancer has the Enchanter beat is the ease with which it achieves this power. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As with most other RPGs, the Necromancer raises the undead to fight by its side, casts spells that drain health, slows movement speed, and all in all puts a death curse on its enemies. It can draw health from mobs with lifetap spells, and has a number of useful buffs and utility spells – a useful late-game levitation spell, a corpse location spell, so-called ‘ghetto heals’, and even an expensive resurrection spells. It can also ‘feign death’ – flop to the floor with a spell cast and play dead, and avoid a potentially costly death. Finally, it can charm undead mobs, which gives it some of the power (and the risk) of the charming Enchanter.
So all in all the Necromancer has a fantastic toolbox, mainly for soloing, but when played well they can contribute a lot to a group. Unfortunately they have earned a reputation as a soloist’s class, and some groups may be reticent to bring them on board.
I have played a Necromancer to Level 21 on Blue, however this was an Iksar Necromancer that had some starter gear to help things along. Iksar Necromancers are generally recognised as the ‘best’ min/max class for EQ Necromancers. In addition they get an excellent starter zone and initial dungeon (Kurn’s Tower) which will get them to nearly Level 20 with bags full of bone chips (required for summoning skeleton pets).
Things will be a light tougher on Green given Iksars aren’t going to be available for a long time after launch. If I roll a Necromancer I am therefore likely to choose gnome as the race, partly because I’ve never played one and partly because they tend to be the least hated of the Necromancer races around Norrath.
I am drawn to the Necromancer because of the soloability, the less stressful gameplay, and the ability to step away from the PC when necessary. However, I am also happy that I would have a function in a group and have the ability to surprise people by contributing significantly to that group. The downsides? Travel can be a bit harder, though the gnome race should help with that. I think Necromancers will be a popular class, and spots for soloing will be competitive. Equally, some groups may be disinclined from taking on a Necromancer.
I am going to choose the Necromancer as my first class on Green. While I have enjoyed the Enchanter and Shaman a great deal on Blue, for the reasons I discussed I am not that interested in rolling more of those classes.
So it came down to the Druid and the Necromancer. While I was attracted to the Druid’s versatility, I was a bit turned off by the likely sheer overpopulation of druids the server will have. In addition, I was not keen on my usefulness and power dwindling as I leveled, rather than increasing.
I actually cheated a bit and started a Gnome Necromancer on the Project1999 Green Beta server and I am finding him quite fun. The Steamfont Mountains newbie zone is quite good, and I am now almost certain of my class choice.
Thanks for coming along for the ride!