EQ Progression Server is… Progressing

The EverQuest Progression Server FAQ was updated back on the 15th. If you follow our forums at all you’ll see that we keep the EverQuest news updated regularly; if not you’ll just have to wait until times like now when I catch up and get it on the blog. Pretty big changes worth mentioning this time around. Let’s discuss a couple of them.

Zone Versions
This is pretty much to be expected, and one of the biggest reasons why P99 is likely allowed to remain open. Many of the zones are not going to be in their proper era-specific state and will have to be altered to a version that Daybreak apparently still has in a database. Freeport, for example, will be in its “revamped” (read: sad) state. Other zones like Splitpaw, CT, some Planes, etc., will be in a loot revamp state but will transition to their newer state over the progression.

None of these changes truly bother me.

Game Function
Here’s a tough one. Several of the newer game functions will be in at the launch of the progression server. The map (booo hiss), AA’s (hrmm) and even [rumored] starter gear quests (bleh). There’s no winning here, and nothing will change what we’re getting. This is another reason why P99 is allowed to stay afloat because they offer something Daybreak can’t or won’t.  Regardless, nothing here is TRULY going to ruin my fun, but it’ll dampen it a bit… namely maps. Why? Part of the fun is people getting lost, not knowing where to go, asking the zone for directions, etc. These things contribute to the social structures of EverQuest.

Instancing the first few level 1-15 zones for Population Control
Here’s the one I’m struggling with the most. I don’t like instancing newbie zones. I don’t like the lobby system. I don’t like when players populations are truncated. I think the true experience is to see 50 newbies in a zone and have there be no mobs. This forces people to spread out quicker. It’s the way the game was meant to be played. Is it annoying? Yes. Is it even impossible to level sometimes? Yes.

I know I’m in the minority here. Wilhelm over at Ancient Gaming Noob thinks even more zones should be instanced. I know that most people think they should have a monster in front of them ready to be killed the minute they want one, but that’s not EverQuest — that’s not a true MMORPG.

Not Instancing Raid Encounters
They deserve a pat on the back for this one.

[Technical mumbo jumbo]… “Besides all of that, creating instanced versions of raid encounters wouldn’t be true to the original experience of EverQuest. This playerbase formed raid rotations or other rules on its own before, and we would like to believe that it is capable of doing so again.”

Developers believing in the players? Thinking we can implement social structure and a community?! It feels almost like 1999.

Anyway, check out the polls. Vote on them. I’m fine with Maximum Nostalgia or whatever keeps us in the Kunark era the longest. Whatever it takes to prolong the time until Luclin or PoP which is actually several of them. Very few ways to lose in these polls.

Project 1999 Velious Announcement

P99 Velious Announcement

Velious launches May 30! That’s the big news announced in yesterdays streaming bonanza. Let me back up just a bit. Project 1999 is a private EverQuest server set in the ‘classic’ EverQuest era. The server launched in 2009 when the founder had finished playing Vanguard and decided he missed the original EverQuest experience. To this date, Project 1999 remains the best way to legally play the original EverQuest experience.

Project 1999 (P99 for short) has been in Kunark since around this time in 2011. Albeit the best expansion in EverQuest history, that’s a really long time to be in the Kunark expansion. Nevertheless, the population and community have thrived. I have played P99 on and off since about 2010, loving the go-to nostalgia rush and enjoyment I can find in the Norrath that I remember so fondly.

Okay, back to last night.

Last night there was this big live stream even with the founders of P99 and some of the top brass. Although listening to the stream was… trying (to say the least) on my patience… they finally got to the point of announcing that Velious launches May 30th on P99 Blue (Red is the open-pvp server).

Velious announcement

During the announcement it was revealed that server population records were broken in real time on the server. I was on the server along with 3 other Keen and Graev Community members: Bartillo, Damage, and Yotor. We were all in East Commonlands and North Desert of Ro during the event and let me tell you there were indeed a lot of people there. Funny enough we all thought it was coming out tonight (for whatever reason) so we packed ourselves on the dock in NRo.

Several other big announcements were made. Namely…

  • Velious content will be released on the regular Velious timeline. This includes removing the hybrid class exp penalty 2 months into launch of Velious.
  • P99 will go no further than Velious. There will never be cats on the moon.
  • CUSTOM CONTENT will be released in the future after Velious runs its course. This includes new NPCs, items, quests, zones, etc. They want to create a never-ending classic EQ experience even if that means moving forward custom.
  • Team PvP server (Tallos Zek back in the day) will come eventually

Some of the biggest and best news of the night: PROGRESSION SERVERS!

After Velious has been out for a while, they plan to launch a new server that will progress at the rate of live EverQuest meaning that EQ will launch, a year later Kunark, 6 months later Velious, etc. When Velious is out for a while they will then fold that server back into the main P99 server and start over again. I was incredibly excited to hear this news — it’s exactly what I’ve blogged about several times over the past month!

I’m thrilled about all of the news. My EQ itch is back stronger than ever. I’ll continue to level my Enchanter, and I may even start a Bard alt. Seeing so many people care about the game brought back lots of memories. Good times then, and good times to come.

EverQuest DLC

eq2 rum cellar dlc zepplin mount

EverQuest 2 is officially leaving the expansion model behind. Content will now be released more often than ‘yearly’ in the form of “campaigns” with the first being The Rum Cellar Campaign. Yep, even Daybreak Games says it’s pretty much DLC. Given EQ2’s F2P model, DLC wasn’t a big leap. Actually, if you played EQ2 back when I did you’ll remember the Adventure packs like Splitpaw Saga, Bloodline Chronicles, and Fallen Dynasty. These adventure packs were, as far as I can tell, pretty much what EQ2 is going to be doing now.

I can see the pros and cons of a system like this. EQ2 is an old game now, and that means the community is smaller and players are likely wanting more things todo at a faster rate. Releasing content yearly can seem like a really long wait for someone who has played EQ2 for 5-10 years. Having snack size content might be nice for the people still sticking it out.

However, and here’s the downside, it means people are going to be paying more and getting less. That’s right, despite whatever the marketing spin tells you, the DLC packs will be less content than a yearly expansion and end up costing the players much, much more on the balance. At $15 for The Rum Cellar and an already revealed ‘higher price’ for the Fall Campaign, players aren’t going to be saving anything unless they forego a pack they aren’t interested in.

The dev team at Daybreak Games was cut back not too long ago after their acquisition and transition from SOE to DBG. Is this a response to a smaller team? It’s much, much easier to make snack size content packs that stand alone rather than releasing a huge expansion with a level cap raise.

In the end I suppose all that matters is quality. If these DLC packs add great content that’s really fun, allows players in an older game to continually have something new to do, who’s to say that’s not a good thing for them? DLC in general isn’t a ‘good thing’, but as long as this isn’t a copout and a cash grab, I think there’s a chance this can be good for EQ2.

Maximum Nostalgia!

 

eq-expansion-montage

I was very pleased to see the news of Daybreak’s progress on the up and coming EverQuest progression server. Friday they announced that the “Slower Progression” option won the poll. If you recall from my previous EQ progression server post, this option wasn’t the my ideal choice but a close second. I would have preferred a locked progression, but given their latest bit of news a slow progression server might not be so bad.

  1. Maximum Nostalgia: 6 month unlocks until Gates of Discord; 3 months afterward. This ruleset would take six and a half years to reach where live servers are now.
    1. Kunark: 6 months
    2. Velious: 6 months
    3. Luclin: 6 months
    4. Planes of Power: 6 months
      1. Legacy of Ykesha: 2 weeks after PoP
      2. LDoN: 4 weeks after PoP
    5. Gates: 6 months (after PoP)
    6. Omens and later: 3 months

That’s not bad! Several years of EverQuest? Yep, I’m okay with that. They’re also talking about whether or not voting would be implemented or if the expansions would simply unlock at the predetermined time. I hope voting comes into play so that we can delay PoP.

A few of us in our forum community are already planning to start a group on the server. Let’s hope they keep moving at this pace.

The Support Role

Some of my fondest MMORPG memories came from playing a support role. Today’s MMO’ers can’t fully appreciate what it actually means to be a support class — most probably think it means healing. Today’s MMOs focus squarely on everyone being a DPS class. Even the “holy trinity” is being done away with, and by “holy trinity” I mean the modern version which did away with the original true Tank, Heals, and Crowd Control trinity. Everyone just smacks the mob until it dies and rolls out of the way of telescoping red lines and calls it a ‘group’.

Support classes usually had one role in the group: Make everyone else better. This wasn’t the easiest role to take on for many reasons. It’s difficult to be the class that doesn’t actively do something like do the most damage or ensure no one else gets hit. Often the support role is under-appreciated by ignorant players, and it can be a thankless job — even more so than healing.

Some of my fondest memories are playing an Aug Shaman in Dark Age of Camelot. My buffs were so dang good that people wanted me in their group and were willing to have me take up a slot just to give those buffs and very little else. I felt extremely important, especially when downtime used to be a real thing. What’s downtime? Perhaps that’s best left for a post unto itself, but suffice it to say downtime was when the group had to wait and do nothing to regain mana, stamina, or health.

Support roles could also be a little more dynamic, but that often meant being a ‘jack of all trades’ and doing lots of things decently but nothing good or great. I’m thinking back to my year playing a full-time Druid in EverQuest. They could heal and dps along with others (not great but helpful) but they could also root, snare, debuff, pull decently, and buff.

I’ll even go as far as including the EQ Enchanter as a support role. Although capable of incredible DPS when played by an expert in the right situation, the Enchanter was best known for two things: Crack and Mez. Again, probably meaningless to the modern generation. Crack was a buff called Clarity that would greatly enhance mana regeneration. Mez was a spell that rendered enemies incapable of moving or attacking as long as they were not damaged — essentially allowing your group to fight multiple monsters at once while only technically having one enemy active.

Support roles were done away with over the years because specialization has been done away with and seen as a weakness. Players used to pick a class that was really good at one thing, and that one thing wasn’t just  broad “DPS” or “tanking”.  Classes used to be very, very specific and known for anything from being the class that can mez to the class that can pull (I realize even “pulling” is now a foreign concept).

Now everyone needs to be able to DPS, take a hit, do some sort of self-healing, have a buff that falls into a category of buffs, and wear bitchin’ gear. There’s this idea out there that ‘If I can’t do it all then I’m being gypped and robbed of my fun!’ Lots of entitlement running rampant.