EverQuesting: Digging into EverQuest’s 18th birthday and chatting with Daybreak
Holy smokes! EverQuest is old enough to vote! The world of Norrath just turned 18 years old on March 16th. In the US, that is old enough to cast a ballot in elections, and in some countries it is old enough to legally start bar hopping. Of course, in Norrath, age doesn’t matter when it comes to a good pub crawl, but level can; players can participate in the 16th anniversary Pub Crawl only if level 75.
Of course, as you might expect when a major birthday comes around, there is plenty of partying to be had. EverQuest has a number of events to help players celebrate as well as gifts to procure. One of the highlights this year is a free level 85 heroic character for everyone who has ever played EQ! This character has to be claimed by the end of the month (before 2:59 a.m EDT on Saturday, April 1st to be exact). It will come in handy for participating in anniversary events that are level locked at 75.
Speaking of anniversary events, this year boasts both new and returning quests for folks to take part in until all the way until May 11th at 2 am EDT. Additionally, bonus XP is available from now until the end of the March (so jump on that fast if you want to take part!).
Read on for all the details on that and our chat with Executive Producer Holly Longdale and Producer Lauren McLemore!
That whole thing about a free heroic character isn’t something to be ignored. For one, it is a great way for players who are returning to the game to get in on the newer content and expansions. Starting out at the beginning is also great (I am doing it myself), but you run into a few hitches if you want to participate in some things — like the anniversary events! The first year I started playing it was incredibly disappointing that I couldn’t participate in any of them. So when the first Heroic Character was offered, I bumped my little Froglok Shadowknight up to 85. This way I could participate in special events and maybe even show off newer content. It was great to be able to do the anniversary Pub Crawl finally (even if the experience itself ended up a week bit frustrating).
A few really important things about this free level 85. One, it expires this week! To claim it you need to log in before the end of Friday the 31st. You won’t actually see the free Heroic on your character page until you actually log a character into the world and then log back to the character page again. [Edit: Roshen clarified on forums that the Heroic Character slot is permanent and can be made at any time after the promotion ends.]
Now here’s a really vital point: The free Heroic Character is only if you have ever had an EQ account in the past. You could have made the account 18 years ago and never played more than 10 minutes, but you do have to have already been a player. New free accounts do not count. There is, however, a way for new accounts to take advantage of a Heroic Character that is a much better deal than just outright buying it in the shop. For the same time period — meaning it ends Friday — any new accounts that subscribe for a month will get the free Heroic Character too. I say this is a better deal because it is cheaper than buying the level 85 separately, and you also get all the bonuses associated with a 30-day membership on top of that, like in-game bonuses and membership access in the studio’s other titles (except H1Z1). The Heroic Character costs 3,500 DBC ($35.00) and a month of All-Access only costs $15.00. If you are really, really wanting to get in and check the game with higher level friends, (or maybe are wanting a second account), this is a decent deal.
Players may be excited to know that the anniversary events from the past are returning. All of the content from the 14th through the 17th anniversaries are live now on normal servers, and the content from the 5th through the 13th anniversaries will start on April 12th, at 3:01 am EDT. All events — including the new ones for 2017 — will continue until May 11th at 2:00 a.m. EDT (so effectively ending on Wednesday night the 10th).
Did that say new quests for this year’s celebration? Yes, yes it did. The new content includes two player-designed missions: Folks can experience Fippy’s Further Revenge and Delving into Frostcrypt thanks to player collaboration with devs way back at SOE Live 2014. The official 2017 anniversary quest is called Tsaph’s Day Off and involves exploring Norrath. The benefit of completing this quest is a special teleport item that will take players to Dreadlands, Great Divide, Nektulos, North Ro, Skyfire, or Stonebriunt.
How do you know which quests the various progression servers can participate in? It all depends on what content has been unlocked thus far. Here’s the server breakdown, courtesy of the Fanra wiki:
- All anniversary events from 5th–13th anniversaries, such as fabled, the scavenger hunts, tasks, and raids will be available if Veil of Alaris unlocked on server.
- All Player Designed Missions from the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 18th anniversary will be available if Rain of Fear unlocked on server.
- Plane of War Mission “War Games” from 15th anniversary will be available if Call of the Forsaken unlocked on server.
- Hate’s Fury Raid from the 17th anniversary will be available if The Broken Mirror unlocked on server.
- 18th anniversary content will be available if Empires of Kunark unlocked on server.
The ever popular drunken Gnome race is the one exception as it is available on all servers. So make yourself a new Gnome and have at it (though we do recommend going with friends as it is a pretty dangerous endeavor). Winners of the races will get to choose a piece of Tipset Gnomework Hero’s Forge Ornaments. For a chance at winning, be sure you are in the starting spot before the start of teh race or you could be left in the dust. Race times are as follows (all times are EDT):
- Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun: 6:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 12:00 a.m. (midnight)
- Tue/Thur/Sat: 3:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m, 3:00 p.m., and 9:00 p.m.
Additional anniversary goods include a Teir’Dal crate in the marketplace for 799 Daybreak Cash (you can try for a full set of Dark Elf Hero’s Forge armor or a special Fourth Gate Guardian illusion). If you want to spend only in-game coin, there’s also an assortment of new rewards on the jubilant merchants that players can purchase with commemorative coins earned during the anniversary. Enjoy the party!
We also sat down with Executive Producer Holly Longdale and Producer Lauren McLemore to chat a bit about the celebration and the plans for EverQuest’s future.
Massively OP: Happy anniversary! Eighteen years is an impressive accomplishment, especially factoring in regular expansions — 23 so far. Of all the game’s accomplishments over the years, what would be your favorite? And what would be your favorite for this past year?
Holly Longdale: Of all the game’s accomplishments? Geez…there’s just buckets of them. We have over 20 years of development, which is an accomplishment in and of itself! Not only that, we’ve implemented features that have become the standard now in other MMOs and games. It’s unbelievable really. In the last year, though, my favorite was returning to Kunark overall. That era holds a special place in many of our hearts.
Speaking of expansions, do you have a favorite one?
Longdale: Selfishly, it’s probably the first one I ever worked on – Lost Dungeons of Norrath. That was my first year moving from a player to a dev. It was crazy and we were jazzed to be doing something really innovative at the time as far as building dynamic dungeons. We were so energetic and proud, and it’s great to see the team is still just as energetic and proud 18+ years in! Making a game as a fan is hugely satisfying and why I love working here!
Last November we returned to the lands of Kunark and discovered whole new areas with Empires of Kunark. How has the expansion been received? Is it less or more popular than previous expansions? Can you note if any particular feature or area is the favorite of players?
Longdale: We all really embraced returning to Kunark with our last expansion and exploring our history further. The bulk of us on the team were playing EQ when Kunark launched, so we have the same nostalgic familiarity as our players. We really enjoyed it.
EQ is its own animal, for sure. And our players are entirely unique and incredible. I say that because this game has been not only holding steady, but is still seeing growth. We got a big jump with our progression servers, and saw a lot of players come back and play with Empires of Kunark, too. This game continues to be unique and sticky with its own special sauce. Pure magic. Truly.
New content is always greatly anticipated. Are you able to share any hints on where this fall’s expansion might be heading to, or any hints on ideas/themes/features that are being explored to be added?
Lauren McLemore: We are really excited for this next expansion and we think our players will be too. But, we don’t want to spoil anything yet! Keep an eye out though, as we’ll be sharing more about what’s upcoming in the future!
Of course, plenty of things happen throughout the year before expansions roll out at the end. Can you tell us the plans for EQ over the course of 2017? What can players expect to see next? Are there any highly requested features that are in development?
McLemore: I’m really excited about what we have planned this year! One of our next releases will be Agnarr, a new time-locked progression server that should launch around early summer. Agnarr will have its own unique rule set, and will start from base game and eventually lock at Planes of Power. Eventually, it will also include Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath, but you are likely to hear us call it “PoP-locked.” We’re also working on an in-game calendar to help players keep track of what’s going on! And while I can’t say anything yet, we’re always listening to what players are asking for and we definitely have some great features slated for this year!
If you could share one thing (or 10!) with players to get them excited for the future of EverQuest, what would it be?
McLemore: We’ve got so much in the works for our players. I’m personally really excited about the new achievements we’re implementing for the base game and other early expansions. Even while we’re working on new game content, the team is always looking for ways to improve the overall EverQuest experience. I’m relatively new to this team, but the passion everyone brings to EverQuest in its entirety is really what makes me so excited for what’s on the horizon!
Players already know the charms of EQ, but there are plenty of folks who have never (or barely) experienced the game and who are looking for something to play. What would you say to prospective players to entice them to give an 18 year old game a go?
McLemore: I feel like there are so many things I could say, but one idea that wraps it all up… 18 years of content! I’m not sure how many other games out there can offer anything even close to that. Not only is the sheer quantity of game content amazing, but the depth of story and thought put into the game is incredible. It feels like I’m never going to run out of things to experience in EQ!
An anniversary is a great time for folks to hop in and enjoy the game. Where would you suggest new players — or newly returned players who have been gone a long time — start?
Longdale: I would say if it’s been a while, start fresh. Even try a progression server, or test out a Heroic Character if you want to skip the early game and try your skills in the later part of the game. I always refer to EQ as a gamer’s game. It’s not for the faint of heart who want big easy buttons to do their gaming for them, it’s a skill and learning game where you’re always “better together.” You build relationships in EQ often because you have to in order to succeed. You make friends. And you conquer! Or craft…get married…play the market…or whatever you want to do…
Thanks so much for your time!