New EQ Progression Server (Phinigel) Coming December 9th

Phinigel Server

Daybreak is launching a NEW EverQuest Progression Server. That’s right, the rumors are true! And it’s better than I expected. Phinigel will be a “True Box” Progression Server. This means you only get ONE EverQuest account per computer, and if you want to multibox you’ll have to do it like we did back in 1999: Multiple computers.

There’s more! Large raid targets from each expansion will be INSTANCED in addition to their open-world versions with a 6.5 day lockout. Interesting. This actually seems… fair?

Content will unlock every 90 days. This means Classic – > 90 Days -> Kunark -> 90 Days -> Velious -> Luclin -> Etc. No vote drama on the player or developer side. This I can support.

I think I’ll play here. I hate that I already dumped so much time and money into Ragefire, but it’s EverQuest and I like starting over. It’s what I’ve been asking for, so I’ll try once again to see if this time we can have an actual server community that doesn’t hate each other for stealing mobs or not voting to unlock an expansion or not. A server without so many multiboxers means that content and groups will be much closer to the original experience. It really was a situation on Ragefire where a few ‘bad apples’ spoiled the bunch.

For now, this seems like a win for me. I appreciate their effort to appeal to someone like me. I’ll let you know if I uncover any nefarious details that change my mind.

Musing on the Dangers of WoW and EQ

I played both EverQuest and World of Warcraft today.  These two games have worlds which are quite disparate, but one key difference kept coming into focus: I’m not afraid of monsters or the worlds in most new(er) MMOs.

Modern MMOs do not readily create experiences that are dangerous to the point of making you think twice about going or doing something. In fact, games encourage players to give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happens really is the mantra. New MMOs will encourage you to scour every corner of the world, and in most cases protect you from dangers by giving you very clear indicators that the area you are about to enter could be tough (if they allow you in at all).

Older MMOs mixed danger right in like chocolate chips in pancake batter (can you guess what I had for dinner?). You wanted to explore. You felt like the world was tempting you to explore, but you knew that exploring really wasn’t in your best interest. You still tried, and were quickly reminded why you should hug zone walls.

While working on a quest chain in WoW today I died 3x due to some weird mechanic I didn’t pick up on. While frustrating, I ultimately brute forced my way through. I put into a situation in EQ where I almost died and it made the hair on my neck stand on end and my heart beat hastened. I was terrified and it caused me to decide not to go into this particular area to pull mobs.

In WoW I was blowing through 8 mobs at a time that were 2-3 levels above me. I was running through a group of elites to get to a quest objective I had to click on. I simply didn’t care about what was around me. Everything in the world was just in my way and I would ride my mount through and be on my way. In EQ, I’m terrified of what level mobs are and I’m always thinking about how close I am to anything.

I like both. Both work. Both provide a different experience. I tend to like the games that are a little more dynamic, though. I found that today I bored a quicker while playing WoW and opted for grouping in Kunark slaying Sarnaks in a fort.

Daybreak Does the Impossible

I’m a little grumbly tonight. Daybreak decided they could do what was originally deemed impossible because the TLP/TLE servers are pulling from the same code as the live servers: Nerf Mage pets.

View Upcoming Patch Notes

Their actions are incredibly suspect right now. When the server needed to sell subscriptions, Mage pets were overpowered and it was impossible. Works great if they want to sell 6 accounts to one person who runs a Mage army.

Now that they are past the point of needing to sell subscriptions all at once, and have entered the era of retention, they have to keep the largest number of players happy. The long-term players are settling in and want to do content. Now Mages are suddenly a threat to the ‘good of the many’ rather than representing ‘the many’ and are getting a nerf. Miraculously they suddenly know how.


So now this begs the question, can we have old Freeport and Monk H2H damaged fixed as well?

Having Fun on EverQuest 2’s Progression Server

EverQuest 2 Time-locked Expansion Server

Continuing the ride the wave, Daybreak opened up two more progression servers last week, but this time the servers are for EverQuest 2. I chose to play on the PvE version rather than subject myself to PvP, and rolled up a Gnome Necromancer.

A little bit of my EQ2 Background…

I played briefly when the game launched. Graev was much more into it, but even he only lasted a few months. About 6-8 months after launch I went back and played EQ2 for roughly a year. Fast forward a couple years later and I dabbled in Echoes of Faywder but didn’t stick. I came back for Kunark and ended up playing for about 6 months. Ultimately I ended up with a 50 Monk, 55 Shadowknight, and 50 Brigand. Back then, that wasn’t bad.

Newb again

Logging back in for the first time two days ago, you’d think I never played the game. Everything was either different or my memory is getting horrible. Eventually I figured out the UI, found the dozens of settings windows to tweak the game to be just how I want it, and set out once again into Norrath (albeit a fragmented version).

You’ve probably seen me in-game (guess my name) asking dozens of questions. Last night I was trying to figure out crafting which has radically changed from back in the day, and is still quite different from other crafting systems despite being (I think?) dumbed down from what it was in 2005 when I last crafted. I think the system now just required me to match the symbols when they pop up? Is that right?

Feels good to return to a game that I literally played more than any other MMO released in the past 10 years and feel like a newb again.  [Read more…]

Alts and Twinking

When MMOs were still in their infancy — actually, before they were even called MMOs — I used to have a serious problem making multiple characters and struggling to choose which one to play. People called this being an ‘altaholic’ or having ‘altitis’.

Being an altaholic, I was constantly swapping characters without being able to choose which was my favorite. I would play levels 1-10 or 1-20 multiple a dozen times. Eventually, I would settle on a character I enjoyed enough to take to max level or close to it. Every class was so unique and set apart from the others.

I have memories of spending countless hours trading items I accrued on one character to swap them over for items for another. In other words, I was a decked out warrior and I would swap my gear with other players to be a decked out wizard. Often I would make equal or better trades for the same gear. In fact, I think my worst case of altitis was one weekend in EQ where I ended up swapping Druid gear for Monk gear, then to Warrior gear.

I LOVE twinking. What is twinking? I forget the term is practically lost to this generation. Twinking is when you give really good items to a character that would never have been able to obtain those items naturally. In EverQuest it’s like giving a Smoldering Brand, a Short Sword of the Ykesha, Flowing Black Silk Sash, etc., to a level 1. If twinking were really a thing in WoW, it would be equivalent of giving top tier raiding gear to a level 1.

Just this weekend I spent two whole days twinking my Bard. I farmed plat on my Magician, sat in Commonlands tunnel, and auctioned to buy gear. “WTB Mistmoore Battle Drums and Lambent Armor!” I’d have a few trade macros to advertise my interest. I’m almost to the point where I just need a few more pieces for my Bard and he’ll have the best stuff he can wear outside of raiding. The result? He’s WAY more fun to play.

Let’s analyze this for a second:

  • I enjoyed so many different characters that I couldn’t decide which to play
  • My gear was shared across my alts
  • Time spent on some characters was spent to enhance or advance other characters’ gear
  • Playing through the content multiple times wasn’t a deterrent
  • I could trade almost everything

That sounds nothing like the MMOs of today. MMOs today are the antithesis of such features. Often only one class is interesting since they’re all the same, gear is bind on pickup, content is so linear and exact that playing twice is mundane, twinking is unnecessary since everything is ridiculously easy, and economies are almost non-existent.

While not something I can simply point to an say, “Do this and your MMO will be great,” it’s definitely something worth noting. Isolating what we like(d) about the past games and trying to see how those features or systems intermingled with the rest of the game’ design can really shed some light on how we’ve lost a lot of depth and meaningful gameplay in today’s MMO designs.