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.

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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.

 

Daybreak’s Horrible Kunark Poll Decisions

ragefire-kunark-vote

I’m having a blast on Ragefire. I still play every day, and I am leveling my Magician with plans for multiple alts in the works. I’m stocking up gear for those alts and preparing a plan that could easily last me another 5+ months without Kunark.

Well, the results of the Kunark poll are in and I am not too happy with how Daybreak is handling things. You can find the entire post here, but I’ll break it down for you.

On both servers, the 6 month option got the most votes by far, meaning a very large percentage of you like things as they are and want to continue on that path. Ragefire’s second choice was to unlock Kunark ASAP, but Lockjaw’s second choice was to unlock Kunark after 3 months.

Awesome! This is how I voted. I want to extend classic as long as possible. Glad to see the 6 month option won by far.

Here’s where it gets really good.

With such a significant portion of the active players on these servers voting to keep progression slow, we will not be changing both servers. We plan to keep Lockjaw on the six month schedule that was originally voted for by the populace at large.

For the other half of players, however, we are going to decrease the wait for Ragefire to vote to unlock Kunark from 6 months to 3 months. The voting period for Kunark will thus become available on August 23rd and end on September 6th.

What the …. ? You literally, verbatim, just said that on BOTH servers the 6 month option got the most votes BY FAR. Your words! To top it off, they “investigating” server transfers… does that mean there’s a chance they won’t be possible? Even so, why would I leave the server community I chose to join and stay on since day 1.

Why are we voting? Seriously. That’s TWO polls where the players spoke and Daybreak chose to ignore it and go there own way. You combine all of the other options in a poll to say, “Oh it looks like the winning vote doesn’t win after all.” You throw out the results of your own poll while Holly Longdale puts her foot in her mouth by showing what the executive producer of EQ really thinks about the vast majority of players.

“What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.”

I’m sorry, are you then insinuating that a dozen people boxing multiple Mage accounts have more strategy? Is sitting at a spawn 17 hours a day to kill the mob in seconds a challenge? Have my 161 hours (some of that spent afk) in the first month been too casual and undeserving?  Casuals should absolutely be allowed to fight Nagafen. If instead of playing my own way I had decided to go the route of raiding, I STILL would not have been able to kill Nagafen due to how the server handles the kill, yet I would be more “hardcore” than several people who have participated — several of the mere handful of people.  Where do they find some of these people who say crap like that?

EverQuest, specifically my experience on Ragefire, is amazing. The devs, however, have proven they are disconnected from the players and are running a very amateur show. If Daybreak continues down this road I probably won’t last long. I enlisted to play on the 6 month per expansion server. I’m not interested in playing live EQ, and that’s where this server is quickly going.

Whew… that EXP loss

eq-hill-giant

MMOs can bore me. In fact, they can bore me quite easily. I get bored of MMOs all the time. What MMOs typically can not do is frustrate me or give me that moment of pure grief where I’m literally sliding to the edge of my seat clinging to my mouse for dear life.

I had such moments recently while playing EverQuest. I dinged level 37 and decided to try farming Hill Giants for some spending money. The giants conned anywhere from yellow (above my level but not more than a few levels) all the way down to blue (a few levels below me). Giants being a little stronger than most mobs are typically harder than their con. I stuck to the blues. I pulled a giant and suddenly had another giant on me. I died and de-leveled back to 36.

I decided to try my hand at this again after spending a little bit getting back to 37. I tried again and succeeded for several pulls, but died again when for whatever reason a blue giant completely wrecked my pet and outran me to the zone line. I died literally one step, less than one second, from safety. I died and de-leveled back to 36 — again.

Screw that. I’m going to Guk to get my level back and get some more exp! Sure enough I made it to level 37 again and even 12% in. I’m in the clear! Or so I thought. The cleric went AFK and we all died. Yep, I de–leveled back to 36.

While infuriating, and eliciting squeals of angst, I did not lose my desire to play EverQuest. Overcoming this two day ordeal of fluctuating levels has strengthened my resolve to keep pushing on. I’ll tell you what I’m not doing: Going back to giants. I’ll wait until level 39 when I get my next pet and I’m strong enough. I’m also going to be more careful about joining groups with certain people.

Some people may look at a scenario like I have described above and think that such an ordeal is horrible and not fun. Some may even call the game ‘bad’ because of such mechanics. When I died and lost exp that was absolutely not fun. But being able to lose exp makes the rest of the game more fun. That danger makes surviving more rewarding. There’s a level of thrill associated with success that I absolutely can not find when there is no opposition to my success. Does that make the game bad? I haven’t had this much fun in a while. If this is torture, chain me to the wall.