Worth a trip: Permafrost

If there’s one thing that impressed me in our guild tour of Everquest 2, it’s the dungeon design. Sure, Everquest 2 offers a wide range of activities, but as a group, we haven’t explored them much. We went for Dungeons, though. We’ve been to Stormhold, Crushbone Keep and Kaladim before we made a detour to the Riverlands to get some heroic progression quests going. Friday, we went for Icespire Summit and Permafrost in Everfrost.

Icespire Summit

The Icespire Summit is short enough- we cleared it in about 10 to 15 minutes. But it contains at least one enemy worth fighting- a X2 heroic mob (X2 would mean it has originally been designed for 2 groups, but i think this isn’t really accurate anymore), and a trap!

Pretty obvious trap- i went in, nonetheless
Pretty obvious trap- i went in, nonetheless

It’s nice, short and somewhat beautiful if you don’t mind the age of the game. There’s not much to explore and, besides the ice-cold beauty of it, there’s not really a reason to visit. We went there because i estimated we wouldn’t be ready for Permafrost with two of us in their very early 40s and me being level 44.

Permafrost

It turned out i was somewhat correct in this, but also incorrect- Permafrost turned out to be tough, but not impossible on the whole. And here, in Permafrost, you can see many reasons for why EQ2 dungeon design is great.

It’s open

Not all dungeons are instanced in EQ2 and Permafrost isn’t, either. While there is a door and a loading screen, there is the possibility of other groups joining in- and that might be a good thing from time to time, i’ll get to that in a minute.

Permafrost is easier to find than the Icespire Summit
Permafrost is easier to find than the Icespire Summit

It’s huge

The estimated time to “complete” Permafrost is one hour. This might be true if you go in with level 50 or something, but if you’re entering it being level 45, you won’t be so quick. And there’ll be obstacles.

This guy's level 55 heroic (X4)
This guy’s level 55 heroic (X4)

In the mid-40s, you won’t be able to fight the dragon. It might be possible to circumvent it- there was a way through the dungeon that put us on his right side, after all, but when we accidentally pulled it, it basically one-shotted us.

And that’s another reason why other groups could be good- not that you’ll ever meet other groups in this level range on the german server- maybe you’re in the mid-40s, but another group is in their mid-50s; maybe you’ll join forces and kill this dragon. Or the other group does and you can get past this room while it hasn’t respawned yet.

Permafrost has 4 levels- they aren’t of the same size and the basement, for instance, doesn’t take long.

It spans a whole level range

While you can repeat dungeons in other MMORPGs just fine, there’s not much of a reason to do so (except if you’re looking for that boss to drop just this weapon). In EQ2, dungeons cover a level range, in the case of Permafrost, there’ll be mobs from level 45 to level 55, so you can go there to level your level 45 character, slowly exploring the dungeon and advancing the character. You’ll see mobs you can’t attack then, but you can of course come back later.

There be giants
There be giants

And i have to say- i really want to tackle this dragon. Unfortunately, our trip to EQ2 is almost at an end, so we won’t be able to kill it this time, but maybe we’ll do it later.

We haven’t looked for or accepted any quests not directly related to the dungeons we went to since level 20 or something- with the exception of mount quests and some quests over in the Riverlands, “grinding” mobs in Everquest 2 is a viable route to go in a group- but more than that, i’ve found exploring the dungeons very worthwhile and satisfying- they aren’t linear, in some of them you can get lost, especially since often, there are no maps (in game), you can revisit them and spend a lot of time in them.

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5 thoughts on “Worth a trip: Permafrost

    1. Thanks for the link, but no, i don’t use it. I might, if i’d venture in these things alone or with a different group- but we’re kind of having fun exploring on our own pace and direction.

  1. Of the few I’ve done, I enjoyed EQII’s dungeons a lot. I hope future MMOs strike a better balance. I think having group-oriented open world “dungeons” is a classic element of the genre that has gone un-loved. Similarly, I love a good instance especially for their shorter length, but they shouldn’t be the only dungeons in town.

    WE NEED BOTH DESIGNERS!

    1. In a “virtual world” MMO (Themepark or Sandbox doesn’t matter), i agree- there should be both. Open World PvE is not something devs have iterated on very much, unfortunately. I think GW2 has some of that, as well as Final Fantasy XIV (with Fates and Hunts).

      On the other hand, sometimes i wonder why there aren’t more MMOs that just ditch the virtual world aspect in favour of a lobby/adventure zone design- think “MOBA for PvE players”.

      Along the lines of Guild Wars 1, Neverwinter and the coming Skyforge, perhaps. Done well, i think there is a good amount of MMO players that would like something like that and it would be much easier and cheaper to produce.

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