“I haven’t seen that in a decade…”

Had an interesting experience in EverQuest last night. I was healing the Unrest Fireplace on my Halfling Cleric and everything was going as you might expect. We had two rangers, a rogue, a mage, a shaman and me. Obviously with no tank things can get dicey, but being EverQuest people are typically a little more careful. Bad pulls still happen like the one we had last night. Puller brought in way too many ghouls and skeletons from the top floor and we ended being being rooted all over the place with no CC.

I found myself having to take a few hits, which is typically not a problem for a plate-wearing healer, but it can only last so long. I noticed the tank (the ranger with better gear) was rooted, so I ran over to him for him to be able to peel the mobs off me. He did, we lived, and all was well. I then received quite a shock: The tank was praising me for how well the fight went saying he hasn’t seen a healer run to the tank for over 10 years, and how I managed to maintain my mana pool with no gear (my cleric’s gear sucks) was a shock to him. I received a few other praises and we continued on for a few more hours.

Nothing I did was particularly worthy of praise. I used the right heals on the right people at the right time. I knew the mobs and what they were capable of, so I wasn’t healing people who had a mob I knew they could tank on them while someone else was risking death. I moved where I needed to be to let the classes do their job. I played correctly.

Their reaction stuck with me. I think they reacted the way they did because people, for the most part, aren’t used to games where people need to think. Modern games tell us where to move (out of the red circles) and UI mods tell us what to heal — or we have infinite mana and just mass heal everyone. Most groups in most games can just AOE everything down and death is unheard of while leveling up.

Playing my class well mattered last night. I liked that feeling. The praise was nice too, but it was knowing I was good at what I did and that very fact influenced what we were capable of doing as a team. I’d like to see that matter more these days.

EverQuest Main Theme Piano Cover Arranged By My Wife

My wife has been on a roll with these video game arrangements. This time she arranged a version of my absolute all-time favorite song from any video game: EverQuest’s Main Theme.

I told her to take the original EverQuest midi theme and put her own personal twist on it. Now you have to realize, she has never played EverQuest. She knows it’s my favorite game, and she knows I certainly play a lot and tell her all about it, but she doesn’t have the same emotional ties to the game like I do. That said, I think she nailed the sense of adventure and feel behind the game. Makes me want to go play right now! ­čśÇ

Subscribe to her Musical Bri Youtube channel and let her know what you think. If you have any requests, she reads these comments and will be happy to add your game to her list. I think I’ll get her to arrange The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind theme next!

Adventure Log Update on Games I’m Playing

I’m slacking hard on blogging. Honest truth here is that I have a lot of games I’m enjoying right now. So let’s dive into an adventure log update!

Keen’s Adventure Log, stardate 2/10/2016.

Final Fantasy Explorers

I’m really drawn into FFE. Graev and I are having a good time taking out Eidolons and building up our characters. This is one of those weird situations where I know there’s no story, I know there’s not true ‘end’ to the game. Things just end when I feel like I’ve gotten the most out of making a character and I want to quit. I’m playing a Dark Knight right now, but I think I want to switch over to Red Mage. Something about chain casting and doing more magic with a balanced sword-wielding class seems fun. I’d feel more useful and less one-trick pony, though a DK’s one trick is to do a ton of damage.

A few of you asked about multiplayer. The multiplayer work where you turn on multiplayer mode in your singleplayer game. You then can choose local co-op or multiplayer co-op. You can make a room and have others join it, or join someone else’s room. These are like lobbies. You can password your room and let your friends join — that’s what we do.

Albion Online Closed Beta InviteAlbion Online

Really, really falling hard for Albion Online. Despite so much about the game being centered around GvG combat and taking territories, I find myself harvesting and crafting. What I’m worried about is the benefit of zerging. Zergs will win everything. Zergs will control the map, and despite it being huge it’ll still be that way. Zergs will feed crafters and outperform a solo crafter, or even a crafter backed by a group of friends or group of 10-15. It’s all about numbers.

The more I play, the more I realize there’s still a ton left to do to fix the balance. I think the devs know this. For example, crafting really is borked. To truly master one line of crafting would take like 2 years, but to get that far in combat takes 2 months. While needing to make crafting easier, they can’t make it something anything can just do on the side, otherwise they’ve ruined crafting. The entire game hinges upon how they balance this out. Please, PLEASE, get this right.

I’m about to upgrade my house and add more laborers. I’ll write up on those sometime here soon.

EverQuest

Every day I come home from work, go to the gym, and then log into EverQuest. It’s my routine. I think to myself, “I’m going to get a group and play!” Then I can’t find a group for 20-30 minutes. I get frustrated. I log off. None of this changes my desire to group. I -WANT- to group. I’m playing a Cleric FFS… It must be my schedule. I’m trying to play around 5:30pm Pacific time. Am I too late? Too early? It’s becoming frustrating enough that soon I’ll come home and go straight to Albion Online or FFE.

EverQuest Upping EXP Rates for Progression Servers

everquest-phinigel-xp-rates-up

Daybreak announced the details of the upcoming February EverQUest update. Most notably, experience rates are going to improve.

So, Experience Is Better?

Yes. After this patch, the overall experience gains on Phinigel, Ragefire, and Lockjaw will be better, while making leveling up via fueling Lokar To`Biath’s alcoholism or Xelha Nevagon’s coleoptericide less effective.

Ragefire and Lockjaw experience will still be slower than live servers, but faster than Phinigel.

The references to alcoholism and coleoptericide are for quest turn-ins. People have been amassing quest turn-in items and finding it’s faster to shoot up in levels by buying your way than playing your war. Clearly not in the spirit of EverQuest, unless we’re talking about belts.

I won’t complain about the increase to exp. Although I’m definitely not among the group who feels the exp is unplayably slow, I do wish I could get a little bit more progress each night in order to make my pre-kunark goals. I know one of my friends felt less inclined to log in because of the exp rates — that’s exactly the opposite experience Daybreak wants people to have, though it does make me curious to see their profit maximization calculations for potion sales vs the┬ásubscriber curve.

My fingers are crossed that this change will make finding a group easier. That’s really all I care about.

The Effects of an Aging Player Population

The bulk of EverQuest’s current population has to be 30+. EQ originally came out in 1999, and I was 15 years old. I’m now 31 years old, and I can remember even back then that most players were older. That was back when MMOs weren’t even MMOs. That terminology didn’t even exist back when EQ first originally launched. We were still toying with what to call these online graphic DikuMUD things.

Now, 16 years later, on a niche game running niche rulesets with a specific niche holdout community, it’s not farfetched to think the average player has to be older. What does that mean for the community?

Maturity & Civility

You would think so, but really people are still immature asses. The “barrens chat” isn’t at a high school or college level; instead it’s about social security. People are still idiots. The people who would have been the offenders 16 years ago, or on a modern MMO, are the same type of people they are even when older. Camps are stolen, scams are run, intentional training runs rampant, etc. People are people.

Playtimes

Here’s an interesting one. I’ve been complaining about getting groups lately, and I didn’t stop to think about why it may be such an issue. I play at prime time when I get home from work. If everyone is my age or older, we all have full time jobs, spouses, kids, etc., in a higher concentration than most newer games. No wonder it’s difficult, right? 95% of the population all wants a group at the exact same time I do.

I’ve seen on more than one occasion people saying that the server is dead in the mornings and you can practically get whatever camp you want. Well that makes sense. I also have noticed firsthand how in the 7:30-8:00pm range that suddenly a lot of people all have to log off — bed time? Yep, that’s when I usually let my groups know I need a replacement.

Economics

EverQuest operates on the usual $15/month subscription, at least for the progression servers. However, Krono and in-game potions/boosts are common too. I keep seeing so many people uses potions and the Krono market is definitely a regular part of the economy beyond what I would have expected for a niche game. Why? Again, the average player has a job. We aren’t starving college students or teenagers begging our parents for cash anymore. Most people just buy what they want, when they want it. This absolutely plays a part in EverQuest.

Design Choices

Although pretty much nonexistent in terms of developing or designing the game since we’re just playing an old game anyway, I have to wonder if (hopefully) Daybreak games makes their decisions knowing their players are older. In H1Z1 they push hoodies and gimmicks. In EQ they push nostalgia and convenience. Why does this server exist anyway? To relive the past.

I do wonder what MMOs as a whole would be like if everyone was older and the average player’s age was closer to 40. The choices devs make to capture the 40 year old vs. the 18-24 year old would certainly make MMORPGs different. Just something to think about this Monday morning as you sit at work waiting to get home and play. ­čśë