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 subscriber 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. 😉

Phinigel Server’s First Month

We are coming up on the 30 day monthiversary of Phinigel’s launch! Time flies when you’re having fun, and I have certainly enjoyed myself while playing two characters and grouping regularly with friends.

I want to take inventory on where I’m at with my characters, some of the experiences I’ve had on the server, and detail some of the challenges I am currently facing on Phinigel.

Characters on Phinigel

Fragglemancer the Necromancer -> Level 30

I really, really enjoy the Necro class. Necro was what I played mostly back in the classic era of EverQuest, and returning to my roots has been great. This class has proven far more useful than it ever was back in 1999 due to the arsenal of spells given to the class throughout leveling. Necro DPS feels very high.

I feel welcome in groups and useful on many levels. I can charm undead to create a pet with astounding DPS, or use the charm as a form of CC. I can snare, obliterate undead with special nukes, fear, aggro wipe, and even tank far longer than most people can because I can lifetap my HP back up.

Nurtz the Cleric -> Level 10 (almost)

I always wanted a Cleric, and this has been my opportunity to dabble in that dream. I love healing. I have main’ed a healing class in many MMOs both hardcore raiding, casual grouping, and even competitive PvP. I enjoy the role of support. Clerics in EverQuest come with amazing buffs, fantastic healing (I like spike heals), and some fun support tools as well. Overall, juts a fun class that I plan to take to the max level.

Phinigel Server

The server itself has had an interesting go of things.

Community

Compared to Ragefire, this experience has been heaps better. The community is, overall, more friendly and more in-line with a community feel. I do not feel like I playing against the community whereas on Ragefire I felt like everything was a competition. Ragefire created animosity with boxers, guilds fighting for spawns, etc. Here things seem much more relaxed.

Class Balancing and Changes

One of my early gripes which has mostly been alleviating by simple acceptance is that of class balance changes. My class (necro) was nerfed on launch day. I have come to terms with this, realizing that it simply means I do not solo as much but instead focus on grouping. While I’m really perfectly fine with this, I will address later why it is my biggest frustration.

Economy

The economy is slow to start, but that’s a good thing — I think. Prices are fluctuating weirdly, but deals can be had. I see the Stein of Moggok going from 150pp early in the day, up to 350pp during primetime. Overall, Kronos are far less prevalent. Ragefire was all Krono, all the time. I see a few adverts in chat, but mostly it’s the occasional 1 krono for 1650pp. That may start to change now that the 30 day mark is upon us tomorrow. Personally, I’m wearing no items except for the Ancient Croc sleeves. I don’t plan to enter the Krono market until Kunark.

Double XP Weekends

We’ve had two great double xp weekends, and those were a welcome site for someone with my shorter play sessions. I might have 2 hours on a week day to play, but sometimes not even back to back.If you recall, XP on Phinigel is about 1/3 of what it was on Ragefire. The double exp allowed me to join groups and gain a level or even two levels and feel like I made massive accomplishments.

Instancing & Picks

Most or all of the “end-game” content can be “instanced” for the first time. This means that the guild drama and competing against each other in the community has been alleviated. I question the motives some people have when they come to the Phinigel posts on the community forum and say things like, “How’s instancequest? I’m playing the real EverQuest on X server…” It’s like they have to justify their existence. Then I see them say, “We’re “earning” our gear over here on X server.” Huh. Well, have fun with that.

Population

The server is very much alive. There are regularly 7 picks of LGuk, 4-5 of Unrest, and regularly people out exping in the less common places like SRO crocs. Chat channels regularly have 400-500 people in them each. My class channel for Necromancer is actually increasing in population over the past 2 weeks.

My Frustrations with Phinigel

Can’t Find Groups

There are thousands of people playing. There are plenty of picks and even more capable of opening for zones that fill up. Yet, for whatever reason, I am struggling in a big way to find a group during my play times. This wasn’t an issue up until this past week. I come online with 2 hours to play, start LFG tag, advertise in the appropriate channels, and nothing. Groups are there. Zones are packed. People are online. I can’t decide if it’s a lack of people with initiative to form groups, or if new picks aren’t actually opening, or what.

I see easily 10 groups worth of people LFG every time and nothing. To those who would say, “start your own group,” I have to push back and point out that starting a group would probably take most of my time leaving me with having only formed a group and never had the opportunity to play.

I know that this could all be an issue of level. I’m level 30. I’m too high for Unrest and too low for the core of LGuk. I’m in the transitionary phase between major grouping locations. I may just have to persevere.

Can’t Solo Well Either

Okay, so I’ll just solo then. Well, since Necros were nerfed that has become a bit of a challenge. Sure, I can solo blues. I’ll play for three hours and gain maybe 1/20th of what I would have gained in a group (which is already 1/3 of what I would have gained on another server). On Ragefire I would easily solo on my Mage, and watch with envy as Necros pulled off things I could only dream about doing. Not really the case here. Most of this is also due to my level. I’m level 30. Too low for Hill Giants (which are camped anyway) and too high for most of the nice soloable 20 stuff.

The Future of Phinigel

I’m going strong. The frustrations can all be alleviated by a few well-timed good groups. We have a good group or 4 (if we can all manage to play together). I like my class(es). The server ruleset is right where I want it to be. I just have to hold on for two more months when Kunark comes and the options blow wide open.

While Kunark is a bright spot in my future, I still have goals for the next two months:

  • Reach level 50 on my Necro and level 30 on my Cleric
  • Obtain decent gear on my Necro without buying Krono (things like Harvest, Stein, a Robe of Ishva or better, etc)
  • Find a way to earn plat (which would help with obtaining the gear)

Having a MMORPG to play where these goals feel like they are hefty and will take effort is nice; a nice change from the past year.

The Best Games of 2015

Unlike most years, 2015 was jam-packed with amazing games. In fact, there were simply too many amazing games for the average gamer to play them all. What a marvelous problem to have after so many years of needing to come up with a reason to like more than one or two games. I could simply list off the big releases and call it a day — for that check out our 2015 Holiday Buyer’s Guide for Gamers — but instead I’m going to cite a few of the games that made my own personal gaming time special in 2015. These are my most memorable games. So let’s call this a list of ‘the best games of 2015 for ME.’

ac syndicate

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate

The AC franchise hit a home run this year with Syndicate. So many quality-of-life improvements went into refining the experience of traversing the world, and the beginnings of customization system that makes sense are starting to emerge. The story was intriguing and the side missions worth doing — overall not a dull moment. My wife, who doesn’t normally go for the violent games at all, was very interested in the presentation and setting, along with the interesting story points. Playing together was a ton of fun as we completed nearly everything there was to do in the game.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Sets

Disney Infinity 3.0

The toys-to-life genre exploded in 2015. I could have easily put Skylanders on this list, and perhaps LEGO Dimension will be once I get to playing it (see the end of this post) but I decided to go with Disney Infinity 3.0 because of how much the presentation and stories captured my interest. Being able to play through the familiar Star Wars settings was a blast, and I like how each one has a slightly different take or another angle to go along with the main story we all know. I enjoyed making a little youtube series following my progress through the first playset (Twilight of the Republic). I have plans to do the same here very soon for Rise Against the Empire and the brand new Force Awakens playsets that just released.

splatoon-combat

Splatoon

Nintendo’s first real foray into online shooters did not disappoint. Splatoon was a breath of innovative fresh air. The inking system, weapons, and presentation were all very enjoyable. Nintendo’s constant stream of updates, especially in the first two months, made each week exciting to see what new maps, weapons, and outfits were added. Nintendo captures the spirit of gaming in Splatoon, and honestly that can be said for the other great games they released this year like Mario Maker.

EQ Classic Ragefire Server

EverQuest

Why is this on my list you ask? Why do I keep bringing up a game that is nearly 20 years old? Because I put over 280 hours into the game in 2015, and gave the company who made it almost as much money as I gave to Disney and Nintendo.  Both Ragefire and now Phinigel have given me more MMORPG enjoyment than I’ve had in years. People used to love to sling the “if you love it so much why don’t you go back and play it” line at me. Well, I did. And guess what? It’s awesome. Still going strong on Phinigel.

The Backlog is Real

Now I should note here that I still have a backlog I’m working through, and several games on my Christmas List. Here are just a FEW of the games I still need to play, which could have easily been on this list had I been able to get to them.

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X – Wii U
  • LEGO Dimensions
  • Just Cause 3
  • Legacy of the Void
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Witcher 3 (potentially, though I haven’t played 1 or 2)
  • Fallout 4 (Have to finish it)

Did I forget any games I should have mentioned in my backlog that you haven’t seen me cover before? Should I be adding more to my backlog? Let me know what you think were the best games of 2015.

Double XP Weekend on Phinigel

We had a really fun weekend on the Phinigel EverQuest “True Box” Progression Server this weekend. Daybreak turned on double experience, even on progression servers, allowing us to propel ourselves forward at a little more reasonable rate. If you recall, experience on Phinigel is 66% slower than Ragefire and Lockjaw servers. Doubling the exp brought things a little closer to what they were on the other servers which is crazy since this weekend it felt like exp was absolutely flying. Discussions of experience gain always throw me into a catch-22.

EverQuest, for me, is entirely about the journey. I could not care any less about the end-game or raiding or my end-game gear, etc. I enjoy grouping, gaining experience, the challenges, and the world. All of that resonates with me in ways no other game can. Then double XP comes along and I’m loving how it accelerates the leveling process.  Wait, aren’t those two things on opposing ends of my enjoyment? I know, hence my catch-22. I think I like how it allows me to push characters has a rut or into new areas. People in general seem to be a little more focused on working together to take advantage of the XP gains, so groups are aplenty.

I ended up getting my Necromancer to level 19, and my Cleric was able to reach level 6 (almost 7) thanks to a few crushbone belts from my friend. So despite the fact that some people have already killed the dragons on this server (yes, it has been up for just over a week) and are decked out in amazing gear, I’m enjoying myself in the Estate of Unrest killing the undead while leveling up at a now snails pace thanks for having to work on the last day of the XP bonus.

There are about 10 weeks until Kunark comes out. I think that should be enough time to get 50, or close to it.