Ragefire Server Launch Delay & Debacle

Ragefire’s launch didn’t go so well yesterday. In fact, I think I called it rather nicely.

I’m not going to be overly negative. The entire thing was a debacle. If you’re looking for the facts, here you go:

  • Ragefire came up 30 minutes early with no warning
  • The moment the server came up people were logging in level 50 with gear and spells
  • People proceeded to buff and power level their alts/friends
  • Daybreak locked the server, but did not remove the thousands of people online abusing the bug
  • Daybreak insisted “No one benefited unfairly.” See below:

More of the insistence.

  • Server was brought down completely at this point
  • Daybreak brought the server back up after over an hour of downtime
  • Annnnnd this:

Needless to say, server came back down. And guess what? A few more hours later, they wiped. 

After a few hours of testing by allowing only a few people on at a time, they finally let people on and at 9:30pm pacific (ish) level 50s started appearing again. They announced that Ragefire would launch (hopefully) around Noon pacific today on May 21.

I’m disappointed about not getting a Wednesday launch. Wednesday was perfect for me, and Thursday (today) sucks because it’s my busy day where I’m stuck at work. But, hey, that’s how these things go. Welcome back to 1999. I remember the server being offline for like a week and all we had was that archaic chat room you could access from the patcher. Remember that?

Every time this happens, people (including me, I can’t help it) will rattle off the “Dey Break Games” stuff. I pity their marketing department. The name really should have been vetted a bit more. But calling a spade a spade here, this wasn’t handled great. The minute you had 100 level 50’s appearing within minutes of launch it should have been brought down. Not locked. Not looked into. Shut down, wiped clean, and brought back up for testing.

We’re paying customers now, not a free-to-play crowd, and we’re paying for a progression server. When level 50s are able to get in there and buff people up and boost other people that affects how the server progresses. Ultimately, I think that’s why they wiped and will hopefully handle this with a little more finesse moving forward.

Less than 24 hours until Ragefire! (Maybe)

Tomorrow is the big day! Ragefire, the newest EverQuest progression server, will launch and usher in a new era of EverQuest excitement. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that big of a deal. I’m still really excited.

I have the whole day planned out. I’ll come home early from work, sit at my computer, realize the servers aren’t up and probably won’t be up for hours, sit there refreshing like crazy, then finally get in and realize even though the newbie zones are instanced the mobs are still being blown up the second they spawn. Just lost old times…

All joking seriousness aside, I’m excited to be playing a MMORPG again; even if it’s just an EverQuest progression server. This feels like a new MMO to me. I haven’t played an MMO since the launch of WildStar, and I already know this one won’t let me down.

I’m rolling a Wood Elf Bard. I plan to play in Gfay from 1-8’ish, maybe hit up some Crushbone, then meet up with guildies in Butcher Block for some goblins. Where we go from there I haven’t a clue. I will definitely be posting some detailed adventure logs and screenshots of the adventure. If nothing else, I want to catalog these memories. I don’t have any of my old EQ screenshots — Not making that mistake again.

The Keen and Graev Community is coming back in full force after a hiatus from MMOs. We’ll be forming a guild with one goal in mind: Have fun. We’re not raiders or looking for hardcore people intending on six boxing. We aren’t for the people looking for a super structured environment.  We’re resurrecting the “family guild” approach and introducing a whole new way to get involved in our community. Want a group of like-minded fun people to play with? Join us.

Will you be playing on Ragefire?

Need vs. Greed

Need vs. Greed

Mind if I roll need?

You’re in a dungeon group camping the epic sash of awesomeness. This sash is one of the best you can get for your melee abilities. You realize you are the only melee DPS in the group, and the only one who can use the sash. It drops! YES! But wait… why is everyone rolling ‘need’ on the epic sash of awesomeness? You ask, “Hey, why are you all rolling need?,” to which they respond, “I need money bro.”

Need vs. Greed is one of those glorious debates that sorta fizzled out over the years. I don’t know whether it’s because loot has become so individualized, or everyone just rolls need on everything because they no longer care. I for one have an opinion.

Only those present who can use the item as an upgrade are entitled to a chance at obtaining the item. I believe that the warrior filling the warrior role should get the warrior drops, and a wizard filling the wizard role should get the wizard drops. No, it doesn’t matter if you have a warrior alt! I don’t group to feed your alts. Greed rolls, or FFA rolls, are for items that no one can use as a direct upgrade.

There’s a school of thought out there which supports the ridiculous idea that any item is up for grabs by anyone if that item can provide any use — whether that use be liquidating it for cash or being used by an alt. These brilliant people seem to completely ignore the ‘greed’ side and lump everything into a need.

Some games have a built-in system to protect players. Warrior items can only be rolled on by warriors, etc. Some systems are more loose where you can roll if you can pass the check of simply being able to equip the item. While better than nothing, you’ll still lose items to the guy who wants to fund his other melee character when that awesome melee gear drops that he already owns.

Advanced Loot Window

EverQuest’s Advanced Loot Window

Some games do not have any of these systems at all. EverQuest is a prime example, and the source for my recent thoughts on the subject. I know that the advanced looting system was added and will be present on the progression server. This introduces a rolling system like WoW has/had where players can roll need and greed, etc. I fear this system may induce idiot loot

How to protect yourself against idiot looters:

  • Start your own groups and use master-looter
  • Decide on the rules upfront when forming a group
  • Know the rules of the group you’re joining before you join

As I alluded to before, this debate over the years has given rise to the clamoring for individualized loot. Such an idea isn’t completely out of the question for me, as I have often championed this very thing be present in all raid environments. However, something about forming a group to go into a dungeon and camp an item makes it more real if that item has a tangible presence for everyone. I think it all boils down to the world feeling connected and shared between everyone, and no part of the game being instanced — even the loot.

I welcome your thoughts.

EQ Ragefire Launches May 20

EQ Classic Ragefire Server

Ragefire, the new EQ progression server, is launching May 20th! That turnaround is incredible, and pretty much what I expected when Daybreak started hinting at a new progression server. Ragefire has only been in “beta testing” for a couple of days, but things seem to be smooth enough for Daybreak to flip the switch in just over a week.

I decided to play in the beta to test out what was different from true classic, figure out what class I was sure to play, and honestly get my feet wet with a version of EverQuest I haven’t played. My time in EverQuest was 1999-2003’ish, then on and off again for a little bit. I never got to see much of the major changes to the game, as my era was classic and dabbling a little bit beyond. Spending so much time in Project 1999, coming to this new version of EverQuest was quite a bit of a change.

The class I’ve decided on is a Wood Elf Bard. Something about the Bard class has always appealed to me. I think it’s the unmatched support role this class can play by providing all sorts of stat and combat increases, lull, mez, run speed, mana regen, etc. Bard is the class to play if you want to be useful, and feel like your group members can’t live without you.

Thus far in the beta I have reached level 8. I quickly realized that this version of EverQuest is a little bit easier than P99. Mobs do not seem to hit as hard — something in the math must be different. Experience is definitely faster too. I killed a bunch of blue to yellow con mobs around Kelethin until level 4 then went into Crushbone until around level 5. Turning in a bunch of bone chips and Crushbone belts to the NPCs in Kaladim brought me up to level 7 where I just started camping mobs with a friend until level 8. It all went very smooth.

Many quality of life improvements exist in this version of EQ. Things like auto loot (advanced loot) have taken a little getting used to, but I think I’m starting to like how this loot management will help make looting go smoother for me and a group. Death still means losing experience and having to get your body for a res, but at least you won’t lose your gear. Stuff like that makes playing a little less stressful, but still close enough to the original EQ experience to enjoy.

Playing on Ragefire will require All Access Membership – $14.99/m with the typical discounts for buying more time upfront. Kronos are EQ’s version of the in-game item that grants game-time. Basically they can be bought for $18 and traded in-game for anything. I think they are a bit stupid. Kronos stimulate hardcore farming for people to pay for their multiboxing. Farming was already the name of the game in EQ, and further enticing people to lockdown camps should make things interesting.

I’m going into this with a realistic view. I will never be a raider in EverQuest. You probably won’t be either. The raids will be locked down by the hardcore elites who never stopped playing. (In case you didn’t know, raids aren’t instanced. If a boss spawns, only one group gets it.) The camps for the super rare items will also be locked down. End-game will not be a fantastic experience for the 99%, so I’m going into this not expecting to participate. If it happens, that’s just super; if not then I will enjoy having leveled up and participated once again in a huge rush of nostalgia. You see, EverQuest has always been about the journey for me. I’m going to take it slow, group with friends, and adventure in Norrath.

I’ll keep you all updated with regular adventure logs, screenshots, and feedback on my EQ Ragefire experience. If you want to join in on the fun with a few of us, visit our EverQuest forum. We’re always happy to meet friendly new people.

Multiboxing

EverQuest Multiboxing

The issue of multiboxing finally made its way back into my gaming life. I’m playing on Ragefire beta right now, the new EverQuest progression server, and it’s already apparent that lots and lots of people will be playing multiple characters at once.

I used to multibox in Dark Age of Camelot. I did so after Graev quit and I took over his account. I used the account to follow me around and help heal/buff my Savage. This is how I became personally familiar with how game-breaking and community-breaking such a practice can be.

Multiboxing can reduce the need for real players fulfilling a role. If I really wanted to play the role of a buffer, teleporter, healer, etc., but people have so many secondary characters that they make just to fill these roles then there isn’t a need for me to do those things.

Multiboxing removes the grouping feature. No that’s not a good thing. If someone doesn’t need to group then they artificially advance up further through the game without having to participate in the established social structure. It dilutes the system for everyone when people no longer need to rely on each other.

Multiboxing makes finding camps harder. If people are allowed to multibox then more camps are occupied by less people. One person running three account could technically camp 3 rare spawns at once. The world is big, but it’s not big that big.

Multiboxing leads to MacroQuest. In EverQuest, macroing became a big issue when people crossed the line and started to automate (through the use of macros) their gameplay. Entire raids could be handled by just a few players.

Not everyone does it to abuse the rules or ruin the fun of others. I know that some people are cool and would drop a box to fill a spot with a real person. There are people who would let a real person have the camp if they had multiple camps occupied. But for every one of those nice people there are thousands of people who use the system to get ahead in a virtual world, and those people ruin it for everyone.

This is one area where P99 will always outshine Daybreak’s TLP server. P99 actively works hard to ban multiboxers. It’s a big rule for them to preserve the integrity of the game’s design — a design that is thrashed when people multibox. I would be a fool to think Daybreak would even consider implementing this rule; one person paying for multiple accounts seems great on paper.