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You may not bother to group with other players in your early levels, but eventually you will probably join with others to accomplish things that are impossible alone. This guide discusses some aspects of grouping in EQ2.
The Group Window
Groups in EQ2 contain up to six people. When you're grouped, the Group Window shows you each group member's Health, Power, and afflictions. You can target your group friends by pressing the F-keys, F2 through F6. (F1 targets yourself.) Or you can click their name in the Group Window to target them.
Who Can I Group With?
If two players are too far apart in levels, then the lower level player will not get experience from combat. The lower level player will receive a message stating this, when they first join a group with the higher level player. The solution is to use the mentoring system, described below.
How far apart is too far apart? Here's a simple guideline. Imagine the lower level player is a monster:
- If the lower level player would con green (or higher) to the higher level player, then they can gain experience together.
- If the lower level player would con gray to the higher level player, then they cannot gain experience together.
Notice that players' names are always displayed as green or higher in EQ2, so you need to understand at what level a monster turns gray to you, in order to understand at what level a player can earn experience with you.
In either case, the higher level player can choose to mentor the lower level player instead. See the section below for details.
Finding a Group
Open the Looking-For-Group (LFG) Tool by clicking on the "!" icon in your Group Window. In here, you can specify what group roles you're willing to fulfill, and what level of characters you want to group with. You can include a short comment. You can then browse the groups that match you, check out the composition of each one, and communicate with the group's leader.
If you decide to take initiative and create a group yourself, you can advertise for more group members using the same tool. The second tab allows you to specify the group roles that are available to be filled. Then you can retrieve a list of players who are currently LFG, and see which ones match your needs.
The classes of EQ2 have been divided into four archetypes: Warrior, Priest, Mage, and Scout. An effective group is formed by having each of the four archetypes present. There is no single "must-have" archetype like in some other games; any two of them are effective together, and any three of them are effective together.
The most important group roles have been divided between the four archetypes in a balanced manner. Each class has enough essential tools to fulfill its archetype's group role. Furthermore, each class generally has enough tools that they can perform a secondary role, when two end up in the same group.
- Scouts can evacuate the group to safety, guide the party by tracking or sneaking, and produce the best group Heroic Opportunities.
- Warriors can taunt their enemies to control who is attacked, and can contribute their defense to others.
- Mages have the best damage output, provide the greatest utility, and can buff the group's offensive output. Most can provide a pet.
- Priests can heal and cure group members, revive those who have died, and can buff the group's defenses.
Assisting Your Friends
Assisting is the term that we use when you allow someone else to choose your target for you.
- In EQ2, you can continuously target one of your friends, and you'll automatically use their target for your attacks. When they change targets, your attacks will follow.
- Conversely, when you target one of your enemies, your beneficial spells will automatically land on the player that is being attacked. When your enemy changes targets, your beneficial spells will follow.
This is called implied targeting, and it's a valuable tool when you want to work together with your group friends. It's quite common for a group to select a single person to be the "main assist", who selects the target for everyone's attacks. You'll get accustomed to using the Implied Target for most of your activities when you're in a group.
- Main Article: Threat
Threat is the method that EQ2 uses to determine which player or pet gets targetted by each enemy. Almost every action in combat, besides running around, builds up threat in your enemies. Attacking, healing, casting buffs or debuffs - all increase threat.
Each enemy has its own threat meter that is tracked separately, so enemies can attack different targets depending on the status of their own threat meters. The player with the highest threat will probably be targeted by that enemy, and will be attacked until someone else passes the threat of that target (or until death).
Some spells and combat arts are specifically designed to raise or lower threat levels. When in a group, you can use these abilities to try to influence the monster's choice of target. Certain types of monsters also have these abilities, and will occasionally force you to change targets to protect their friends from death.
Threat control is the basic method a group uses to control monsters, and is a large advantage of being in a group versus being alone. Managing threat in a group is a good way towards victory, because if monsters attack people who have strong defensive abilities, then all aspects of the fight become simpler.
Group Heroic Opportunities
- Main Article: Heroic_Opportunities
When a group of players use their spells together to perform a complicated Heroic Opportunity, the bonus effect can be quite significant. As you discover various bonus effects (or read up on them here at EQ2i), you may start choosing certain ones over others. However, it takes coordination to complete a Heroic Opportunity in a group.
Here are some guidelines about the bonus effects from group Heroic Opportunities:
- You get more dramatic effects when one class uses its starter ability, and then another class advances the starter chain.
- The Rogue starter leads to the most complicated Heroic Opportunities, as well as the best effects.
- Getting the best bonus effects requires the participation of all archetypes.
Group members need to be made aware when the group is attempting to complete Heroic Opportunities. Not all groups are interested in paying attention to Heroic Opportunities.
- The Starter Chain can be ruined by a poorly chosen or poorly timed spell. An inattentive group member is an impediment to Heroic Opportunities.
- The Combat Wheel cannot be ruined by casting the wrong spell, but it will expire if a group member neglects to cast his matching spells.
- Sometimes the circumstances will force you to ignore a Heroic Opportunity and cast a crucial spell immediately.
Dividing the Loot
The leader of the group can set the loot options for the group. He does so by clicking the "key" icon in the Group Window to access the Group Options. The loot options available in EQ2 are set as follows:
- Lotto: when an item is looted, each person gets to choose whether they want the item or decline it. The item is given randomly to one of the group members who did not decline.
- Need or Greed: when an item is looted, each member gets to choose between "Need", "Greed", or "Decline". The item is given randomly to one of the group members who chose "Need". If nobody chose this option, then the item is given randomly to one of the group members who chose "Greed".
- Round Robin: when an item is looted, it is automatically offered to the next person in the rotation.
- Free for All: the loot item looks identical to the one seen when you're not in a group. Every group member sees the same loot window, and the first one to click "Loot" gets the item.
Players are given one minute to respond to the loot window in each case. If the minute times out, then they are assumed to have declined the item.
Browsing Your Friends' Journals
When you're grouped with others, your Quest Journal has an additional tab, called "Group". In the Group tab, you can view all of your groupmates' in-progress quests. A separate category shows you which quests are in common between the members of the group. You can use this feature when deciding how best to help each other with quests.
Quests that have no prerequisites can usually be shared with others. When you share a quest with another person, you're saving that person the trouble of traveling to the NPC who offers the quest. The recipient has to begin the quest from the first step, regardless of how far you've progressed on the quest (and regardless of whether you've completed it or not).
To share a quest, just find the quest in your Quest Journal (in the Quests tab or the Completed tab), highlight it and and click the "Share" button. It'll automatically be offered to every member of your group that doesn't have the quest already.
- Main Article: Mentoring
The mentoring system allows lower-level players to group with higher-level players, regardless of level differences. Mentoring also lets players go back and experience battles or zones they may have missed as they leveled up.
When you right click a lower-level group member, you will see an option to Mentor them. Selecting "Mentor" will make you appear and perform as if you were the same level as your Apprentice. It will be as if you were that level with a full bar of XP, and had all of the abilities that a person with a full experience bar of that level would have. Your equipment icons are tinted purple, to indicate that they have been scaled down in effectiveness to match the Apprentice's level. Your spells are also scaled down automatically.
The Apprentice will receive an experience bonus while under the guidance of a Mentor. Up to 5 other players can act as a Mentor for a single player at the same time. Each subsequent person Mentoring an Apprentice adds to the bonus experience that the Apprentice receives. A single Apprentice can be mentored by up to five other people. The Mentors and Apprentice will receive experience, loot, and quest credit as if the Mentor were the same level as the Apprentice. Mentors do receive some experience toward their actual level while mentoring, though at a reduced rate.
A Mentor can right click their Apprentice and select "Stop Mentoring" when they wish to stop acting as a Mentor. If the Mentor or Apprentice leaves the group, the Mentor will go back to their original level.
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