Did you get it? Did you go back? Did you reinstate an old character or create a totally new one?

What?! You don’t know?!

Starting on October first, Everquest II players started getting right into the action with the big dogs by creating a level 85 Heroic Character! Yep, you read that right! It’s Sony’s way of saying, “Come back to Norrath!” With their “Hero’s Call” promotion for current and returning players; beef up one character to level 85 instantly for FREE when you log in! Now you can feel that power, can’t you? This promo is only good until October 15 and there are some other limitations, so you better get moving on it. This feature is just in time to get used to your new-uber-self before the planned expansion Tears of Veeshan¬†goes beta (expected in November).

But think about this for a moment. Is getting all that power at once really worth it? Recently, I returned to World of Warcraft after almost a decade of doing other things and honestly, I was utterly lost. It took a bit to reclaim the account, but with a couple of calls to Blizzard, I got my access back. Oh, as a bonus my main character (my only character) was bumped up to level 80 from 7, given all sorts of armor, resources, even a super duper griffon mount! WOW! But I was so out of touch with the game, the perks, the places to go and what to do. All of my WoW friends have moved on to other games, and I was alone in Azeroth. A level 80 paladin noob. Its taken me almost six months to realize there really is a way to get to Ogrimmar from Stormwind without swimming (not that the game will allow you to, but I really did try). All of the scenarios I missed, all of the awesome cities I didn’t die in – err – discover and explore. I fly over the continents on my griffon and wonder, what did I miss down there? Slowly, I am exploring Azeroth, but it is a lonely journey and rather boring for all of the quest chains and events are really, too easy.

EQ2 Dark Rider

So now EQ2 has joined other MMOs like World of Warcraft and Ultima Online allowing players to skip the grind of leveling to a high ranking status, at a price. If you are too late for the promotion, you can get your Heroic Character for $35.00 [USD], each. Yes, you can have as many HCs as you want on a single account. Many a player who spent hours (even years) toiling over the keyboard to reach the coveted level finds this insulting to their skill. Others have embraced the surge of noobified badasses – especially those of who enjoy the PvP action. In any case, the cries of “Pay to Win” have echoed deep into the official forums of EQ – so much so a FAQ dedicated only to this topic has been seeing some major traffic on the EQ2 site. For those returning after a long hiatus, I strongly recommend you check if any of your friends are still around, you will want the guidance! For others wanting to check out Everquest II for the first time, might I suggest starting out from scratch at the low levels? Otherwise you will miss what has made this game one of the longest running to date – the world of Norrath.