Listen to this while reading:
All on Hodstock, I mainly focused on the mana battery class of a bard. Personally, I liked being able to find a group and also being necessary to the speed of grinding. Bard meant no down time. I was one of the people who was constantly casting the insane power booms. I actually ended up with two bards.
My real life friend had 60s in a druid, necro, and rogue. Since I had access to his account, I got pretty regular experience with those, as well.
Looking back on the experience, mage and shaman were the classes that got the least attention from my account. I found it incredible difficult to level these classes after 15. The enchanter I had was only leveled using the AFK ability that Sony so easily looked over. Whether they did this to keep people paying or simply a programming error, AFKing was a double-edged sword to the game.
People loved being able to gain XP by just leaving their PS2 on. However, this was a contributing factor to the death of EQOA. Not AFKing directly but rather the option to AFK because the game was so dull from a story standpoint. Everyone marked their character’s calenders for the 17, 20, 23, 25, 28… etc. quests. That’s when the game had true potential to be entertaining to those who wanted a story. Unlike World of Warcraft, which until recently is very quest based, EQOA didn’t offer much more than grinding.
Grinding in itself was kind of fun. The bad part was finding the group. Of course, the LFG system was introduced in 2003 and it helped as long as there were subscribers. As we all know, they were all jumping ship to WoW and FFXI.
But grinding for hours for the level or the CM became boring given the lack of new content. Thus, people began AFKing leading to a huge increase in the necro population. Since necros could not only AFK but also insta-heal, they were raid ready in a few weeks. I’m not sure what EQOA looks like now, but during the AFK-era, they easily made up 50% of the entire server population.
Who remembers going on LFG and seeing 8 necros, a warrior, and a wizard? Never enough to make a full group.