EverQuest Progression Server

EverQuest Progression Server

Last week’s dev Q&A hinted (or actually sorta directly stated) there will be a new EverQuest Progression Server. I’m all about the classic EverQuest experience,  and a chance to relive even an updated version of that piques my interest.

Official progression / classic servers are something I have often championed. If you have an audience begging to play your game in a state it was in decades ago, not asking for any additional development (just maintaining), and they are willing to give you money, doesn’t that sound great?

An EverQuest progression server could be great. I have a few ideas as to how I would like to see it go down. Launch could start with the original version and Kunark. Kunark added enormous value and made the core game experience nearly perfect. I’ve toyed with the idea of launching with Velious as well and think it could work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it 6 months to a year later.

Later expansions should release at least a year after launch. I am completely against servers unlocking content based upon completion of current content, especially if done only by one or two elitist guilds rushing through the content.  Even a voting system where the players vote can be annoying.

I will happily become an all-access subscriber to play on a well-done EverQuest classic era progression server that slowly ages at an appropriate rate. There’s nothing else even on the near horizon that looks good, and I’m not in the mood to play pre-early-alpha-access bs. Daybreak will need to avoid mucking it up with stupid F2P mechanics, and ensure they do not add game-breaking mechanics like RAF (recruit a friend) experience boosts.

  • I know RAF xp bonus really hurt the other progression servers. Some people got 1-50/60 in only 3 weeks of play instead of taking the months it normally takes (however I have heard reports this was people playing 12+ hours a day as well, but RAF definitely was a part of this)

    They said they will release community polls soon as everyone can vote on the server rulesets, where it should start etc.. So guess we will see. I hope it works out and would for sure play with everyone on a progression server.

    I think starting with Kunark is a good plan, it gives a lot more areas and spread the population out so its not quite as crowded. If the other progression servers are any indication then peak times will have 2k+ people only, double or even triple that of Project 1999 which already suffers from overcamping.

    I think velious launching about 6-8 months after is a good time frame as it does not increase the level cap, it only adds new zones, reputations, quests, raids etc for people to work on.

    I fear after velious population might drop though since Luclin is so unpopular but I would probably stick around and give it a whirle. However we should stay at Velious atleast a year I would say before we go past it.

  • Hoping it will be fun. I played on the last prog server but quit around level 50 because I was the only on playing. I’d like to play again and would enjoy company this time.

  • Luclin is only unpopular with a particular subset of veterans. It’s one of my favorite periods of the game. Lots of people had fun back then and I was one of them. PoP was great, too, and very popular. Now if you want to talk Gates of Discord…

  • While I love Kunark, and have called it the only good MMO expansion in the past, I couldn’t see opening with Kunark unless DBG plans to add in other factors. But they have tried that before. Remember the 51/50 servers? I do not think those were nearly as popular as the current round with Fippy Darkpaw.

    EQ is always a double edged sword. While it is great that there is a world that feels real and connected and travel matters and such, it does spread the population out all over Norrath and back. Kunark just adds to that issue. I think they can only start at classic, as that really covers several groups, from those who just want a taste of the memories of 1999 to those who long for a classic server to people who want to play through content one expansion at a time.

    But I still think the biggest problem is DGC’s commitment to such a server. The Fippy Darkpaw round was promoted by SOE for a while, but then fell by the wayside, never to be mentioned again.

  • There’s a thread on the official forums with lots of good ideas from players about how they could do progression servers. One I found particularly interesting was a suggestion that they have a series of such servers, each locked at a specific era, with players given the option of transferring toons to later-era servers (but not back to early-era servers). I doubt that’ll happen, but it does seem like an interesting model that all popular MMOs might want to take into consideration.

    I’d like to think that DGC will be far more committed to the progression server than SOE was. They’re now at a point where they’ve got to be focusing in on what their players want from them; and they’ll also be feeling some pressure to persuade players that things are going to get better, not worse, as a result of the change of ownership. So who knows, this might be a big first step in a new and better direction.

    But then again, ask me again later when I’ve taken my rose-colored glasses off. 😉

  • I think starting at classic would be fine but I think it would have to be a shorter jump because Kunark makes the base game so much better, even the leveling experience, and benefits classes greatly by adding in tons of new spells and abilities.

    Maybe classic for only 2-3 months then Kunark would work.. But I wouldnt keep it to long.

  • This could still be 2 months from launch though.. They said it will be several days until they get the polls and opinion threads going for the new server and then that would probably run 2-3 weeks and then launch maybe a few weeks after that.
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  • I most interested in seeing how fast they move on this idea. Hopefully the rule set will be established in the next 2 months with a launch another 2 months after that. So, maybe June-July? That’s about as long as I’d like to wait and any longer would likely have those people excited lose interest.

  • A lot of people are complaining that if this server doesn’t have RAF bonuses they will sue daybreak for contraction all violations and that daybreak is required to give them 3x xp on all servers no matter what and lowering xp gains to classic = lawsuit

  • @Bhagpuss: I fall somewhat in that category of not loving Luclin. I think it was the beginning of the end for EQ. However, it’s not a deal breaker. EQ with Luclin is still years ahead of anything released in any MMO today.

    @Damage Inc: I’m hoping they hold off releasing this until at least the end of March. That way I’m in my new place all set up and ready to game. Count me in for joining you. We should set up what classes we’re going to be to have a great team.

    @Wilhelm: Starting classic would still be fine by me. I play a lot on P99 and it’s Kunark era. The population is < 1300 at any given time, and I still feel like I see people everywhere. As far as their commitment, I agree with Amiya in that DGC has to start paying attention to what their players want. They could actually generate a fair bit of money on these progression servers. I for one would be happy to continue promoting the server if they don't screw it up. @Amiya: I personally do not like the idea of transferring characters off. It would lead to the server population have problems later on. I think DGC is absolutely in a period now where they must listen to what people want, and pay attention when even a subsection of their players are clamoring for something. It's money on the table right now, and I bet they need it. @Bartillo: I'd bet 3 months until we actually see something. If they were really on top of things, getting it up by April 1 would be a great show of faith. As for lawsuits, their lawyers surely did their job on that and left a nice loophole are wiggle room -- especially if something new comes out that did not exist at the time of that contract. @JJ Robinson: As I mentioned to Bartillo, they have to act quick. If they got it by April 1 then that'd be them telling me they can prioritize what a lot of their dedicated fans want. DGC will never be that company that generates millions of box sales. They're going to rely on raking in steady cash flow from dedicated and loyal fans of their franchises. If they wait too long then we will all be bored... then again, not much else is coming out soon so they do have time.

  • People can claim alot of nonsense, and I doubt any such case would hold much weight.

    That said, I doubt they want the new progression server to be mired in a fight over RAF.

    I personally would say no RAF bonus, but who knows.

  • Those RAF people should read the TOS sometime.

    I just can’t see how they could get it out before June or July. There is no indication that a new progression server is anything but talk between devs right now and how many people are still even working on this game?

    FYI, Fippy took 5 months announcement to launch. I’m not sure this can even count as a real announcement.

  • I’ll sadly have to agree with Krig despite my desperate wish to see it sooner. They’ll have to do something to capitalize on hype, and it’s great PR for them after the layoff debacle.

  • Would it have been better for them to keep it a “secret” and basically be close to ready to go before announcing? I suck at marketing but I feel like no one would even notice 5 months go by then BAM new server. It would be huge.

  • @Krig: This is one of those “it depends” answers. In this case it’s likely not better to keep it a secret. By trickling out the info there is already a lot of goodwill. They need to ride the wave and keep momentum even if it’s just talking about it every couple of weeks until it happens.

  • I am really interested in a new progression server. Why would it take so long for them to put it up and running in a few months? They have experience with launching new servers.!are they just debating rule sets and such?

  • @Keen:

    “I personally do not like the idea of transferring characters off. It would lead to the server population have problems later on.”

    For an old game like EQ, yes. I’m thinking it would be an interesting approach to use with popular games in their prime. Take WoW, for example; when Burning Crusade hit, they could have left maybe one server as a dedicated classic WoW server. Then when WotLK hit, they could have left one as a Burning Crusades server; and so on. Certainly the locked servers would have population problems, but then older content tends to get ignored in favor of the newer content in any case. So why not leave the old versions around, if only as an historical curiosity?

  • @Amiya
    I think the main issue against having several servers set at different point and time would be the infrastructure costs. One progression server is probably cheaper to run than a series of servers. It puts the financial break point higher and the whole idea might no longer be a good investment.

  • @maljjin:

    That’s certainly true (though with the new server and Fippy, it seems they’re going to end up with a series in any case). And the sort of thing I suggested (leaving a legacy server running after an expansion rolls around) could result in slower adoption of the expansion, hence lower initial sales figures.

    On the other hand, there could be upsides to that. If adoption of a new expansion is very slow, it could indicate that the developers are taking the game in a direction that players are reluctant to go. In the long run, this could make for a better game (just like all the folks who refused to upgrade from XP to Vista eventually prompted MS to get their act together with Win7). But I suspect that sort of logic won’t hold water in the MMO industry; game publishers will probably always want moar sales now!

  • @amiya

    you could do that but you would need 1 client on your computer to play vanilla, 1 different client to play burning, 1 different client to play lich king, etc…because those servers wouldn’t get the updates that we get on normal servers.

  • 2-3 months? That would be pretty cool but I just do not see that happening with all of their cuts. That sounds like a lot of work in a short amount of time.

    I loved Luclin and PoP. Gates of Discord was the start of the end for me. Anyway, I would be interested in this but I am not sure I have the free time to invest in something like this again. The xp rate of the original game is probably too slow for the amount of time I have.

  • I doubt if it will be 2-4 months, more like 5-6 so I wouldn’t look for this server until at least September.

  • I just don’t see them starting a new progression server until they fold Fippy and Vulak into Live. I sincerely doubt we’ll see it in 2015. Other than that, I’m down. Nothing quite like that “new server” smell.

  • @krig I dont want to play ff14 until after the expansion.. I hate all of the current classes, Machinist. Astrologian and Dark Knight looks awesome though. And I will for sure re roll the new dragon rice

  • If SWGEmu ends up actually launching — yes. I’m all over that. Otherwise I will most likely play P99 or non-mmos until Camelot Unchained alpha.

  • Well they said public 7 coming soon will finish off droid engineer just like they finished creature handler last publish.

    All that will be left is Jedi then

  • I fired up P99 last night. Had some fun messing around in crushbone. The leveling is real and I’ll likely not get anywhere near cap before the progression server launches, but it will refresh me with all the gear and class mechanics.

  • @Zeppy:

    It looks like an interesting game, but its F2P “SP” monetization system worries me.

    “SPs are used by the live storytelling team as one of our indicators for how “into” the game a player is. That matters because those players that are most into the game are the ones most likely to be directly affected by the gods. No, it doesn’t mean that players with high SP will always be at the center of the world’s events, but it does mean that chances are they’ll be there when those big events happen, playing important roles.”

    “That’s because most SP transactions call upon the world’s deities in the form of blessings. Think of blessings as something akin to long-duration buffs. You might call upon a deity to protect you from the deprevations of bandits, for example, asking for temporary PVP immunity. Perhaps what you want is protection from inglorious failures as you craft… a god might take SP to grant you temporary luck in that specific sphere.”

    “Protection is another example of an SP transaction in game. Let us say, for example, that you are a mining magnate with an operation that extracts tons of valuable copper ore and smelts it into ingots for sale in one of the world’s many markets. Prices aren’t the same everywhere and to make the most money you’ll want to sell them where they’re wanted most, but that means shipping them by caravans and caravans are fat targets for players and bandits alike. Sure, you will hire sellswords of one type or another to guard your caravan, but for added safety you might also want to purchase protection so that the value of that copper is refunded to you, should it be stolen. How much you’re reimbursed and the terms of the protection depend on the amount of SP or gold spent.”

    …it sounds a lot like using real money to alleviate “fun pain”.

    https://www.revivalgame.com/philosophy/monetization

  • @Zeppy: Never heard of it. Interesting, but this has my brow furrowed:

    https://www.revivalgame.com/philosophy/monetization

    Their “Gold Servers” subscription plan sounds very appealing, assuming they can pull it off. There are issues involved in this sort of thing (such as GM favoritism) which will need to be dealt with; I’d like to think they’re aware of them. Assuming they are, then it strikes me as a good way of giving added value for a subscription fee.

    Much better than selling hotbars, anyway.

    But I’m not sure about the other aspects of their monetization scheme. The article hasn’t done enough to persuade me that Standing Points isn’t another word for P2W. I’ll need to see more details before I grok what they’re trying to say.

    Good catch, Zeppy. If this isn’t in the Upcoming Games forum yet, it should be!

  • @Gankatron:

    You beat me to the link. Seems great mind think alike.

    You’re right, that whole Status Point business sounds like a fancy way of saying: “Our MMO is going to include paywalls.” I’d like to think that’s wrong, but that’s what I take away from it.

  • That’s an interesting approach. Inject pay-to-win lore directly into the story as if it’s a natural part of the game world.

  • 😉

    This is the problem with a F2P system; can it be a balanced non-P2W system, in theory yes, but it requires strict dev self-policing, which where money is concerned is far too tempting a proposition for most.

  • Right. They tell us now that playing the game will be a better source of SP. But it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves a bit short of cash, and decide to sell SP in huge discount packs. Somewhere along the way, the balance will tip.

  • Good point.

    In a sub model game if the money stream diminishes they are likely to try to increase appeal of the game, whereas in a F2P game they are likely to try to increase the appeal of the cash shop.

  • I really wish F2P would go the way of the Dodo already.

    I want Subscription to come back so that these cheesy kinds of thing don’t happen.

    But I’m a realist too, I know making and running an MMO costs boatloads of cash. So I am willing to veer from the old standby of $15.00/month up to something like $30.00/month. For quality, that is. I won’t pay for bunk.

    But I think of it like my other enter-tility bills. (totally coined that, entertainment-utility) I pay a premium for cable-internet services to have fun every month. I’d pay a premium to have fun in a game every month.

    Reason I bring this up is Revival “sounds” cool, but then you see that dreaded “Hehehehe its Free to play for all!” and its like being hit in the gut. Nothing good can come of F2P. It does not foster the ever-present, all-encompassing, life-experience MMO that we are looking for. In fact it directly inhibits it.

    I have money, Devs of the world. I wish to spend it on superior product. Stop letting me down. Stop letting both of us down 🙁

  • FTP isn’t going away because it makes them more money than monthly subs.

    Seriously, there just isn’t a decent MMO coming out any time soon. It went from making great games to making games that people will spend lots of money on.

    Thank god for emu servers.

  • “FTP isn’t going away because it makes them more money than monthly subs.”

    I have assumed that also because the model is so prevalent whether straight out of the gate or after the decline of a sub model, but that certainly has been a contentious subject on this blog. 😉

  • I haven’t seen any proof that F2P outperforms subscriptions. We can formulate conjectures that because lots of companies do it it must be the most profitable. But then those companies close, games fail, no one plays them, etc. Is there a longterm or short-term record anywhere? Maybe F2P as an initial launch gets a spike but then dies out whereas a subscription game generates a much larger revenue stream longterm.

    WoW is subscription based and has been for ten years. That should tell you a lot.

  • I believe F2P is indeed the short-term grab-cash method.

    A subscription system is more of a long-term approach.

    But I don’t think a sub system can survive with a pricing model started in the previous century. Bump the subs up from $15/mo. Hell, they can even bump “box” prices up for games too. ****As long as that bump coincides with an increase in product quality**** And that doesn’t mean “graphics” quality. Although that is always nice.

  • Do keep in mind that sub-based games also close and moreover they frequently switch to F2P to survive, but I don’t think any of us on this blog can prove which model is more likely to outperform the other long-term. Conjectures can be formulated on both sides of the argument, but without hard numbers to support either side they remain conjectures.

    It would be interesting to have a few developers with actual marketing experience weigh in and provide data to support these arguments.

    The financial success and longevity of a game is multifactorial and cannot offhandedly be assumed to be primarily dependant upon the monetization model.

    WoW has been around for ten years tells me it is a popular game, and not that its subscription model is a primary reason for its popularity. It has succeeded in the face of the “failure” of numerous subscription and F2P based MMO’s.

    WoW is an anomaly and I wouldn’t believe that it would quickly tank if tomorrow they adopted a F2P model; moreover I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually went F2P, but that is purely speculation on my part. 😉

    We cannot in any way draw the conclusion that WoW’s success is primarily dependant upon a subscription monetization scheme.

  • @Rawblin:

    I would be curious if an MMORPG could make it with a higher monthly sub and perhaps box price, especially in the day of STEAM lowering the price expectation of games in general.

    If it did work I would expect it to be a more exclusive and dedicated audience, which might just be what old-school gamers are hoping for.

    I would have to believe that the gaming experience would be far superior to recent games, and definitely to WoW, as I refuse to pay even $15/month for what it is now.

    Now a game that adopted many of the ideas we have discussed over the last few threads might just be worth it, especially if there were GM directed events reminiscent of old D&D sessions.

    It would be pretty cool if every so often an NPC was actually played by someone on their end, as just a bit of surprise!

  • @Keen

    You know, you don’t have to play a MMO. I know scary thought, but I’ve been doing this for several months and I’m still alive. 😉 Bonus : my huge pile of unplayed Steam/PS3 games is coming down nicely.

  • I never played Everquest. I started my MMOs with Vanilla wow. I would love to play a game with an epic leveling adventure again, even if this is a project of older game. But how it will be? If it is f2p with cash shop then I am not interested. I want a game that we all start again from first moment and all be equal.

  • I havent played everquest in 11 years but im itching to play again. I want the old experience and none of these new rpqs where in having to watch more of my powerup combos and crap. Hopefully they choose to do a progression server because ill be all in….loved the days of exp taking forever and walking from place to place a days event.

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