EQ Progression Server is… Progressing

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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.

  • It isn’t that I think there should be a monster in front of me at all times, it is that last time around the zone was crowded to the point that all the camps were double booked. People will turn away after the initial enthusiasm if things follow the usual course, no need to push it by make the next zone in the progression crowded to the point that people just log off.

    Also, on the Qeynos side, you graduate to West Karana pretty quickly, while on the Freeport side you hang in The Commonlands a lot longer. Just more anti-Qeynos bias!

  • @Wilhelm: Those two sentences were closer than i meant them to be and as a result it looked like I was trying to say you were among those who want a monster in front of them. That’s more of the generation who never played EQ, or played EQ and have since moved on to a different mindset of entitlement. While I know you’re not among them, soooo many people are.

    Qeynosians will have it rough, especially if you’re choosing the route of Blackburrow. BB is a pain in the arse even on P99 right now when there’s only a handful of people there.

    While I agree that it shouldn’t be so crowded that people just log off in frustration, I still think there’s something to be said for forcing people to spread out. I remember back in the old days when a zone was too crowded — like NRO — we made a 30 minute run to Misty Thicket. We moved around, found out of the way areas, and made it work. That was the way of things. When the argument comes around that people today do not put up with that — those are the people I’m referring to.

  • I read the FAQ but didn’t see where they said they plan to keep the newbie quest armors? I know people expect them to be left in since they were left in on Fippy, but with a beta server, it should be easier to prune those “out-of-era” quests.

  • @Skai: I’m going based on what most people are saying on that one. Fippy and Vulak had them. I’d be shocked if they weren’t on this new server.

  • I can’t see the problem with the map. I had the whole EQAtlas portfolio printed off in a ringbinder (which I still have) and I never played without it beside me. All the in-game map does is put that on the screen.

    For that matter, I had (and again still have) almost the entirety of Allakhazam’s quest guides in a ringbinder. The absence of things like maps and quest journals in-game doesn’t seem to me to have been a positive design decision as much as something they weren’t able to add to the game immediately but which, had they had the means, would have been there from the start. Certainly the playerbase set out almost immediately to create their own versions.

    Similarly, when you say that having vastly overcrowded newbie zones was “the way the game was meant to be played” I don’t believe that can be true. It was just a by-product (fortunate or otherwise depending on your personal tastes) of the limited technology available at the time. I don’t see any particular benefit in slavishly recreating what were almost certainly unintended technological shortcomings, funny though it was, for the first few minutes at least, to see a dozen halflings try to club every rat as it spawned in Misty Thicket.

  • @bhagpusss: I always enjoy reading your perspective, and sometimes aspire to match it, but I really disagree with you about this:

    “I had the whole EQAtlas portfolio printed off in a ringbinder (which I still have) and I never played without it beside me. All the in-game map does is put that on the screen.”

    well, the last sentence I disagree with. I have no issue with the first!

    The difference is that an in game map (almost always) shows you exactly where you are on the map. It doesn’t have to, and forgive me if I’m wrong but I think the EQ maps have the GPS locator on them as well. I really enjoy navigating with maps. But the challenge of navigating with a map is figuring out where you are in relation to where you want to be. You can’t be lost if you always know exactly where you are. You can’t figure out how to get somewhere new if you already know exactly where it is and precisely how to get there. These things are what make a journey adventurous and engaging rather than simply time-consuming.

    With EQ you could argue that everyone already knows where everything is and how to get there and you’d probably be reasonably correct. EQ also had that /loc system even back in the day, which you could technically use to find your exact location on a paper map that was accurate enough. I never liked the /loc system either though, it really took me out of the world navigating like that. But as a general concept, I think in-game GPS maps create a very different experience.

    anyway, maps are a big one for me and I always feel compelled to chime in with my opinion. we all like these games for different reasons but I value sense of adventure highly and GPS maps take part of that away from me.

  • Filch is spot on. If it’s a non-GPS map then I’m fine. That would, in a sense, be taking the same map you’re using to navigate and just making it in-game in the UI.

  • I’d like to know how AA’s will work, given they were not introduced until Luclin, and I believe more and more were added with each expansion?

    AA’s were not included until Luclin on Fippy so why are they now?

  • Couple things: First, AA’s don’t matter that much at launch. You only have level 50, or 60 depending on what expansion is opened up at release. It’s not like everyone is going to be able to max out their AA’s before Velious. Second, newbie armor is in, it was in at Fippy. If you remember my post when I played Fippy, I was wearing my newbie armor. https://www.keenandgraev.com/forums/index.php/topic,3677.0.html

    Finally, you have no idea what EQ is like with hundreds of people in the starting zones. If they do not instance it, it will take you hours to level because there just AREN’T any mobs for you to hit. It literally took me 3-4 hours to get to level 3 because you spent most of your time just running around trying to find a mob. Instancing is mandatory.

    What we really want is a game that we can group up in and that’s what EQ is offering.

  • Let’s be serious. Nobody who will join this will need a map. I agree with your point generally about maps but this group probably won’t even look at it.

    I’m surprised about instancing newbie zones. It feels very anti EQ and…icky. There were HUNDREDS of people in the newb zones when I started and it worked just fine. “Fine” meaning it took forever to level and everything was camped. That’s the way it is supposed to freaking work. Sigh.

  • @JJ Robinson
    I believe that what is meant here is that while AAs will go in with the Luclin expansion, it will be in their “Live” state. So Origin free to everyone, Defensive AAs under a single name rather than thirty, 4th tier for Spell Casting Mastery, etc…

  • @Damage: Well, I DO know what EQ zones are like with thousands of people. I played EQ at launch and I played several of their new servers at launch including the deity pvp. Again, the key is forcing people to spread out and use the world. Instancing ISN’T mandatory. It just means you can’t all EXP in the Field of Bone and reach level 5 in one day.

    If they remove the instancing once it’s no longer needed, I’m cool with that. Again, none of this is a deal breaker for me at all. Not even in the slightest. This version of EQ is still infinitely more fun for me than any other MMO out there. But I don’t want there to be 6 version of Butcher Block and have to figure out which one the Druid ported me into 6 months later.