EverQuest II cuts expansions, debuts DLCs with Rum Cellar

With everything that has happened over the last couple of months, players are understandably curious and concerned about of the future of Daybreak Games’ portfolio. What will happen with their favorite games? Today we sat down with Holly Longdale, the executive producer of EverQuest and EverQuest II, who unveiled the plans for EQII going forward. And those plans involve dropping the yearly expansion model and converting to DLC.

How soon is this change taking place? The first DLC, Rum Cellar, will be available on the beta server this Monday, April 6th, and release to live servers on April 28th. Players who want to get a peek at this content will be treated to a livestream tour hosted by Longdale on Tuesday, April 7th. But for those who don’t want to wait, we’ve got plenty of information for you right here.

The days of DLCs

Those who have been wondering about the future of EQII development finally have an answer. Longdale explained, “As we go forward, we are looking at a DLC-type mentality and philosophy.” Called campaigns, these DLCs will replace yearly expansions, and Longdale emphasized that they will add up to the same amount of content that would normally be put out in yearly expansion, but Daybreak is planning to “package it up in a variety of ways over the year.” These changes, she said, were implemented in accordance with player feedback.

Longdale also explained some of the benefits of doing DLCs, such as greater flexibility and the ability to give players what they want when they want it. As for flexibility, the campaigns will allow the team to provide various bundles aimed at different groups of players, pretty much like separating the Age of Discovery expansion into its components. This way players aren’t purchasing parts of the game they don’t personally want — for example, there might be a pack with items a decorator would want but raiders wouldn’t really care about. On top of that, there’s also the chance to make bundles of packs and offer discounts for the purchase of more than one at a time — a real benefit to players and families with multiple accounts.

Getting players their desired content in a timely manner is also more feasible with these campaign packs, Longdale argued. No matter how excited a community is for content in an upcoming expansion, the long wait could mean that interests and wants have moved on by the time it finally comes out. Longdale believes that the campaign model will be more responsive to the community’s desires. “We want to be able to react more quickly to the community, ” she said.

Another difference between the campaigns and the yearly expansion models is obviously the prices. But will campaigns really be better for players overall? Rum cellar, the debut campaign, will cost players $15; future campaigns will have varying costs depending on what is included. Longdale has revealed that the fall campaign, which will be larger in comparison, will have a larger price tag. So depending on how much content is released, a player who gets everything a la carte could conceivably spend more than just the one-time expansion cost. However, players who forego any part of the content they aren’t interested in will conceivably see some kind of savings. All-Access members will receive their customary discount on all campaign packs — and please note that campaigns can be purchased only with actual money, not Station Cash.

One casualty to this new release system is the free content updates of the previous year. Longdale said that the game upgrades, such as the class changes that are currently in beta and the cross-server dungeon finder that is slated to come out in August), as well as all holiday events will continue to be free to all players. Content, however, will be a packaged into the campaigns.

Rum Cellar

First and foremost, this first downloadable content pack is aimed at level 100 adventurers and is accessed from the Phantom Sea, an Altar of Malice zone (so yes, you do need the latest expansion to play it). Longdale emphasized that those who want to purchase the DLC but do not have the expansion will actually receive a deal on the two bundled together, though the exact prices of the deal have not yet been decided.

Content-wise, Rum Cellar is basically just that: a rum distillery. The distillery is essentially one small zone with four six different versions: solo, advanced solo, heroic, event heroic, event heroic challenge version, and raid. [Edited to add newly released info.] No contested or open zones exist for players to congregate and hang out in (so no luck on public RP events). Unlike previous versions of Advanced Solo instances, Rum Cellar’s is truly solo: no friends and no mercenaries allowed. However, those who are concerned about their combat capabilities in such a position need not fret; the solo instance is a stealthy reconnaissance-type deal instead of fights. During this solo adventure, players will, with the help of an undead parrot guide named Nibbles, infiltrate the distillery as an introduction to the storyline.

That storyline goes something like this: Players are recruited by the Brokenskull pirates to stop the Rumpocalypse because, as Longdale put it, pirates do really bad things when sober, and apparently the Far Seas Trading Company is cutting Norrath off from its rum! And while Longdale doesn’t want to give too much of the story away, she did divulge this: “As often happens as the hero, you unintentionally screw things up.”

None of the zones is required in order to do the others, but the story itself is woven throughout each consecutive version. That means that players who do not participate in the raid portion of Rum Cellar will actually miss out on some of the campaign story. Longdale said that folks will get the essence of the story in the heroics zone, and some details are unique to the raid content, including two unique boss characters (and some dude who beats you with a dismembered arm!).

Addressing concerns that the content pack would be blown through quickly, Longdale said that the Rum Cellar has quite a bit of replayability. She noted that the solo zone has hidden things for players to discover and that the raid zone has nine different events in it as well as a one-shot boss. And while the heroic zone could take players 30 minutes to an hour to complete (depending on skills), each run awards players special coins to spend at the Rum Cellar merchant.

New zones always bring new loot, and Rum Cellar is no exception. A special merchant will be stationed inside to offer loot exclusive to this zone, such as a giant blue blimp mount that sports a pirate ship base (cannon included!). Additionally, there is plenty of new loot to be had as drops, including a different rare version of the blimp-mobile with stats as well as a Drunken Monk elite mercenary. Remember the aforementioned dismembered arm that you can be beaten with? That is also available to players in this content. Of course, there are new collectable items and new achievements as you’d also expect to find in new content.

2015 forecast

So what’s in the forecast for EQII? Longdale said progression is still very important but that for the immediate future players will be remaining at level 100; progression will be spread out laterally instead. This lateral movement includes this fall’s upcoming revision to the deity system, which will offer players even more abilities on top of the Alternate Advancement system.

With the loss of SOE Live, we also asked about any plans involving this summer’s Fan Faire that is currently being put together. The team is definitely supportive, and it is anticipated that some staff members will be attendees to the event.

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uohaloran
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uohaloran

Content walls are headaches.

Jalek
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Jalek

I recall when the adventure packs went in.  LFG for Bloodlines.  If you didn’t have the DLC, nevermind.
Raid scheduled but you haven’t paid the $5 on top of your subscription?  Too bad.
Obstacles to groups is exactly what an MMO with anemic populations on most servers needs.

singularitybound
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singularitybound

First thing im going to do when I get access to real personal AI is ask it to rebuild all of EQ and with photorealistic grhapics and have the NPCs be as real as people and the mobd semi stupid as I would never survive 2 sec…
If I live that long.
God the love and hate SoE has created over the years.
Best times of my life Eq>PS>SWG>EQ2 (rip)

singularitybound
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singularitybound

agemyth Denice J Cook Norlamin Lets be real.. they cut key (critical) people (especially in the new games coming) in spots you dont just shuffle around in the middle of development. Something will happen…or not rather.

They probably think atm it costs to much to develop. SoE was in serious trouble.
With that said I was assuming they would go into nickle n dime’n the old stuff and completly focus on the new stuff. They hype being worth it to them to purchase..
But I dunno.. So far they have showed they dont know w t h they are doing.
Even repeating things SoE did LOL. As in things that damaged them. Its like They think just because they are new people will fall for it?

singularitybound
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singularitybound

Shermanx ..right but you still had access as subs, and you had xpacks to look forward to lol.

singularitybound
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singularitybound

Aywren Thing is the last ones were sorta small lol.
Sooo say splitting something like that up would tech be even smaller.
And you will lose your playerbases interest even faster the ever before..
People have no issue waiting around for packs; its a big deal to most fans.
This is like a trail of peanuts that last for 5 seconds tho. No one will wait around. Waiting for an xpack is part of the fuel needed to keep going love of the game will only take you so far. This content will be consumed in a day if not days; and have zero replay unless they somehow force a grind out of it.

This is a horrible idea.

singularitybound
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singularitybound

Elenire paid for on top of paying for sub if you are one lol..

singularitybound
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singularitybound

dirtyklingon not really.. At least until the last 2 or AoM at least.

singularitybound
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singularitybound

Grimfargo Wow so you cant use SC as a Sub. Sorry they are nickle n dime’n us now then.
We have been here before.. So they think because they are new suddenly all is forgotten?
The standard out there is Subs dont pay for DLC.. At he very least they get it WHILE subbed. Even then those games still promise xpacks  and free content lol.

This is bull… A Dscount of like what $1-2? Lol.
I will love you forever Eq2!!! RiP.

singularitybound
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singularitybound

MJ Guthrie Jay_Bird Its not as good as it sounds either…
I will probably be something most will do in a day if not days lol. Then you’re board faster then ever before. I hope they at least continue the old pace of dropping content throughout the year w/o nickle and dime’n you. Otherwise what is the point of being a sub anymore..
As realistic as this sounds because of the business sound; it comes across as crock for me; none of it it for our benefit. I really does mean less for more imo.

singularitybound
Guest
singularitybound

Now you see.. here is the thing. Although sure were in DBs hands now;
this is all new bla bla bla, its not… EQ wasted a lot of its
potential pick up during the awkward f2p phase. Which finally was
improved after a long time. In a way this skirts back into that
territory. That in a way is stupid; only because I smell more then just
this coming.

For one this game was really pricy to get back
into… Which they eventually fixed. (They were bleeding players and
losing potential in many different ways.)

Its kind
of the standard now of the still premium feel games that have gone f2p
mode to give the subs DLC for free… At the very LEAST “while” they are
subbed.. So this feels kind of weird in that sense. Yeah if we can use
CS money then maybe its ok I guess…

The other
thing is they did the DLC thing way back lol. It was not helpful in the
long run. OF coarse I get the whole trade off from Xpack to DLC; that
can go either way tho. :/ As well as it might sound like a great
strategy its also a harbinger of time running out. Like a lot have said
in forums the day of getting nice chunks of content might be over. 
DLC
will not seem as great as it might sound over the year. It could lead
to getting bored even faster as its completed super fast; very small
compared to an xpack, etc. Its good for a smaller team though, that is
for sure.
So I guess if comes down to are they going to continue
to develop outside DLC; this is VERY important. Will we see nice chunks
of updates and content as we have before between xpacks. If not its RiP
and wtf is the point of being a sub anyway then etc.

Atm
it seems more like DB is trying to progress best they can forward on
fumes as far as EQ2… I get the reality probably warrants that.
But
at the same time you should be appealing to new players; I would think
that would be your priority. We are already sitting post xpack entering
the lull.
They should be trying to pull people in. I swear the old
f2m really left a huge taste in peoples mouths and it spread by word of
mouth.

Had people come back and seen how it works now I
think numbers would go way up. EQ always has people coming back or new;
you see them all day in chat.
But then that’s just because im on 1 of the 2 only high pop servers.

I
don’t like you DB no matter what.. You cant just buy a company that’s
already pissing people off then use the very methods they used and think
because you are new it fixes something. H1 is a perfect example; with
what recently happened.

Sorry to rant on, its just I
think things are so bad they are probably in damage control on PS2
console and the EQs coming. That would be their gold mind focuses see we
get tossed on the burner. I mean it had to come :/ EQs are just so good
I never want them to go away :/
The new stuff is a joke..
I mean come on in reality here the equation is your paying MORE for less lol…
I fell jipped as a sub with this news; people who have been subbed for a long time should too.
The
excuse of dropping xpacks for the convenience of upfront cost is a
joke; an illusion. Crock.. Its damage control for team size and profit.
(reality, I get it.) But you will be paying more over time lol;
especially as sub.
If the CS covers them then ill shut up. 
But were still getting less and probably less after that while paying more.
ITs DLC (Small DLC) The pop is going to suffer even more overall imo.

Jeeshman
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Jeeshman

RingofVoid I agree–this news item made my personal Stress-o-meter drop; the fact that they’re working on new content means they don’t intend to close the whole thing down any time soon.  They wouldn’t waste the resources!

Jeeshman
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Jeeshman

EvilDIE I don’t think she meant that you won’t get content from previous expansions for free.  Although it may depend on the DLC in question.  Back when the game first came out, there were “Adventure Packs” (Splitpaw Saga, Village of Shin) that cost about $10.  They weren’t included in the following expansion.  But it was always the case that a new expansion included the previous expansions.  It may be that the larger Campaign released in November will include previous expacs.  Even if it doesn’t, history suggests that eventually they’ll change the pricing scheme as the content gets old.  After a while, the original Adventure Packs were sharply discounted.  The Age of Discovery “expansion” was eventually split up so you could purchase the parts you wanted cheaply.

As for additional free content throughout the year, they haven’t been doing much of that for the past 3 expansions anyway.  The last significant free content release was Withered Lands/Skyshrine, and that came out in April of 2012!

Radfist
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Radfist

MJ Guthrie Grimfargo  They are so clueless about marketing and market value that it isn’t even a joke anymore, it’s just sad. The decline of Everquest and SoE over the past few years has just been incredibly painful to watch.

Radfist
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Radfist

If they want to swap to DLC, its probably time to do so properly.  Ditch the expansion requirement.  Realistically they should be taking the DCUO approach, where subscribers get access to DLC while subscribed or they can buy it bit by bit as a “free” player.

Sargonnax
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Sargonnax

RingofVoid Hmm, I just realized when you said DBG Stress-O-Meter that it very much looks like the D-Bag Stress-O-Meter, which could also be very true when talking about Daybreak Games

Lord Zorvan
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Lord Zorvan

“These changes, she said, were implemented in accordance with player feedback.”
Translation: one person asked for it and D-BaG jumped on it.

amkosh
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amkosh

dirtyklingon WandaClamshuckr amkosh Do you think things like that matter to the fund group which owns SOE now?  If you do, then I think you’re naive.

amkosh
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amkosh

WandaClamshuckr amkosh From the business perspective, the same demographic that goes for EQN will go for EQ2 or EQ1.  And if that person subs for one they take resources from the other.  This is the same reason why UO2 never released, and why Blizzard abandoned Titan. 

The same thing that happened with AC2 and AC probably happened to SOE, but since SOE was part of the same part of Sony which had the PS, it was masked.  Now that SOE is under a fund group, it will have to be profitable, and it will have to maximize the profit.  I know Smedley said it wasn’t but he is either an idiot or fooling himself if he thinks he’ll really have control.  The fund will want to shop SOE off after a certain amount of time and profit increase.

EvilDIE
Guest
EvilDIE

The only thing that worries me and hasn’t been mentioned by any other comments yet: “One casualty to this new release system is the free content updates of the previous year.Longdale said that the game upgrades, such as the class changes that are currently in beta and the cross-server dungeon finder that is slated to come out in August), as well as all holiday events will continue to be free to all players. Content, however, will be a packaged into the campaigns.”

Don’t get me wrong I’m /NOT/ a scrub! I’m All Access and bought the CE of AoM, tons of SC stuff including 5 or so Heroic toons and tons of mounts, ETC… In just 6 short months I’ve already spent well over $300 I’m pretty sure. But this news of no more free content being released into campaigns is the last straw for me I’m afraid.

IMO if you’re patient enough, you should be able to get at the very least some content from previous expansions/Campaigns for free. But it sounds like only bug fixes will be free…not cool. After the rest of my 6 months is up, I’m probably going to unsub and no longer buy anything from SC.

pudgybunnybry
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pudgybunnybry

I really want this new system to work out well. If there is one thing I don’t like in my MMO, it is paying for the content I won’t use. Right now I have a headache specifically because of this news. We will see.

agemyth
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agemyth

Denice J Cook Norlamin Everything we hear about Landmark is something related to EQN. There is no “General Discussion” forum for EQN because at the moment that all belongs in the Landmark forums.

BloodEagle
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BloodEagle

MJ Guthrie Jay_Bird I think what DBG are hoping is the F2P cash shop effect. It has been shown, time and time again, that without thinking the average MMO consumer will spend more money in a F2P cash shop on small items priced $1-$5 dollars over the coarse of a month than they would for a $15 subscription.

Perhaps DBG hopes that people will consume these “DLC” bites and over the coarse of a year not realize they are spending more than they would have for a $30 -$50 expansion.

softwarekiller
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softwarekiller

For all the complaints I’ve heard about SoE in the past.. Day Break will easily surpass them all.

EndGameTactics
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EndGameTactics

MJ Guthrie EndGameTactics As did I. Even back then, people weren’t found of having to pay extra for new content + a future expansion as well.

EndGameTactics
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EndGameTactics

MJ Guthrie Jay_Bird When I think of DLC, I immediately think of Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty. Last game I’d think that would fall under this category would be EQ2.. lol

Armsman
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Armsman

agemyth IMO – not really back in EQ’s heyday, (well post big expansions like RoK, SoV, and Pop) the announcement of a new EQ expansion was usually:
Announcer: “SOE announced a new Expansion for EQ….”
Playerbase: “What? Has it been two months already?”
And said new expansion had some nice QoL feature that you ony got if you purchased it, so that was one way they had at the time of maintaining decent sell through.
Honestly, it just appears they’re taking EQII down the same oath they took old EQ back in the days when that game was sub based.

Gylnne
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Gylnne

Denice J Cook not sure how this won’t fragment at least a bit

Stalvos
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Stalvos

This will set them up for doing the same thing in Everquest Next.  Free to play!  But at what cost…  at what cost…

MJ Guthrie
Guest
MJ Guthrie

Grimfargo Trust me, this question was asked point blank, and as it says in the article, no, you can’t.

MJ Guthrie
Guest
MJ Guthrie

Jay_Bird The hype of an expansion and diving into a giant pile of new content — yah, DLCs can’t quite capture that

chriskovo
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chriskovo

Translation you will pay more for less content! Enjoy!!!!   Is like everyone game they have self destructing or what?   They cant have a few days without something bad coming out from daybreak games.

jeremy2020
Guest
jeremy2020

Hey, another day and more news that SOE is dead and it’s corpse is being plowed for a cash grab before they get relegated to the status of the those Asian MMO developers that push out crap games and make what money they can before making another one.

Jay_Bird
Guest
Jay_Bird

I understand the shift from expansions to DLCfrom a business standpoint I guess, but as a player I still think there is something really exciting about getting expansions to my favorite MMOs that smaller DLC doesn’t quite capture.
My problem with this particular shift is that I’m concerned that Daybreak is going to stretch the concept of what DLC actually is. I mean, this is there first DLC and essentially players are getting a dungeon (yes, I know, different difficulties, yadda yadda). I guess it depends on how they price these DLCs, but asking players to pay $15 for a new dungeon is setting a dangerous precedent in my opinion.

Grimfargo
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Grimfargo

I wonder if this DLC can be bought with the SC that you get via monthly subscription. If so I think its fair to subscribers, if not welcome there is going to be a massive sub cancelation IMO.
With every news from DBG I am comfirmed it was the right decision to cancel All Access.

BKone
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BKone

dirtyklingon Yep, every company is trying to find a substitute word for expansion. It’s hard to keep up with Blizzard lol.

Dorkish
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Dorkish

and I thought EA’s DLC’s where bad now Daybreak want’s you to sub and pay for DLC’s at the same time such a deal:)

Dnote
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Dnote

So, DBG is rolling out their content approach for DCUO to EQ2.

Not surprised, however the content described in the article sounds awful.

MJ Guthrie
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MJ Guthrie

Greaterdivinity MJ Guthrie I certainly can’t fault anyone for being skeptical.  I, myself, am skeptical. That’s why I expressly asked about the possibility of DLCs adding up to more than an expansion and clarified that some story was indeed going to be missed if you didn’t raid.  Both those points make me uneasy. On the other hand, I loved the adventure packs of old.  We can only wait and see.  (And danggit I do not feel like being patient right now!)

MJ Guthrie
Guest
MJ Guthrie

EndGameTactics When the adventure packs released they did cost — for quite a while. I bought them. They didn’t become a free part of teh content for a long, long while.

agemyth
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agemyth

dirtyklingon I would say in volume of the content the expansions were much more noteworthy than what we usually get today as “DLC”. The volume of “quality” content in each expansion is debatable, but they always checked the boxes for expansion sized update in the last four or five releases since I started paying attention again.

Budukahn
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Budukahn

Isn’t it funny how consumer feedback always seems to indicate we want to pay more money for less stuff with reduced quality?  Fascinating.  Someone should to a study.

agemyth
Guest
agemyth

Elenire I have struggled for two years to play through any of the boring GW2 story missions. If the “living story” seasons are comparable to the story content that launched with the game, I would say that content isn’t even worth spending the time it takes to progress through it.
Hopefully the EQ2 DLC will be a bit more interesting, and I would say the Rum Cellar sounds like it could be. Whether it is worth $15 is to be determined.

agemyth
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agemyth

BabaGraPL If you cite where you read/heard they promised a year’s worth of post-release content, I might be willing to back you on that.
Every expansion kinda comes with the implicit assumption that there will be smaller free content updates in between expansions, but the whole “they promised!” thing I am not sure about. They have had minor content updates since the expansion, but maybe not anything to do with additional level 100 stuff.

Elenire
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Elenire

This is very much like GW2s living story content updates only it’s paid for and it’s not updated every 2 weeks.

Denice J Cook
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Denice J Cook

Norlamin 
The scariest thing about EQNext to me is that we have heard nothing whatsoever about it for so long.  Well, that and the fact that Daybreak completely shut down EQNext’s General Discussion forums recently.  ;)

Denice J Cook
Guest
Denice J Cook

It sounds like Daybreak wants more income at various points during the year instead of one annual expenditure from its largely-silver F2P player base.

Aywren
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Aywren

“Longdale emphasized that they will add up to the same amount of content that would normally be put out in yearly expansion, but Daybreak is planning to “package it up in a variety of ways over the year.””

Sounds a lot like what GW2 tried to do with the Living Story. And after that experiment, they went back to releasing an expansion after swearing we were getting the same amount of content in the bi-weekly releases. 

We’ll see how well this works out.

BalsBigBrother
Guest
BalsBigBrother

MJ Guthrie BalsBigBrother That was all before I really got into EQ2 so that stuff was all rolled into my content already and all I have really know is the expac route while I have played it in earnest.  I am still willing to be won over by the DLC and I just hope recent events don’t force their hands so that they over price them or underestimate the content sizes people are willing to accept for what they do charge.
People are already wary of Daybreak and they can’t really afford to make any more mistakes at this point in time. They really need a run of good news and I hope this will be one step in that direction :-)

breetoplay
Guest
breetoplay

ogged451 MJ Guthrie That makes sense! In the states, Easter is more of a Friday/Sunday thing.

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