There are MMOs that have been around a while, and then there is EverQuest. It’s so old school it is old enough to be out of school! Yup, EQ turned 19 years old yesterday. That’s 19 years of the iconic music, 19 years of Qeynos, and 19 years of Fippy trying to storm that gate! So much has happened in Norrath between March 16th, 1999, and March 16th, 2018 – more than one single restrospective could cover. So we’ll just look at a single year!
As is tradition, I’ve sat back and looked over the previous year, remembering the highlights and goings on of the game. How did the 19th year play out for one of the oldest MMOs? Sadly, this year was of the leaner variety; not much happened across Norrath. You wouldn’t know that by all the anniversary offerings, though! Take a stroll down the cobbled lane of memories, but don’t get lost in the nostalgia; there are oodles of anniversary quests to fill your schedule with during the celebration, going on now through Thursday, May 10th, 2018.
Dipping your toes in to test game content is for wimps; true heroes dive right in and go deep. A new event has arrived in DC Universe Online
that takes players to the bottom of the ocean to face off against Starro and unravel a mystery at Spindrift Station.
The Deluge event takes place as both a low-level activity and high-level elite raid, depending on your skills and daring-do. In this episode, players will meet more of the Aquaman family and explore a pair of new Atlantean locations under the sea.
By going through this content, players can earn underwater suits and a gearset inspired by Mera. Check out the Deluge developer livestream below!
What do you give a game that is turning 19? Massively OP’s MJ is not sure, but she’s not about to miss EverQuest’s birthday party! Whether or not she can find all the new anniversary quests is another matter, but there is always the anniversary Brasse Dwarf to hang out and drink with. Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. to join the celebration with us.
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, March 16th, 2018
This week, The Ancient Gaming Noob posted up an image of RIFT Prime, where Trion asks people to… play nice. “Just a neighborly reminder that 1-29 chat is for RIFT chat, ideally things relevant to level 1-29 gameplay,” the UI HUD reads. “Please be good to each other. We’ve muted some and shall mute again. Have a great evening!”
Meanwhile, over in Trion’s Trove, I’ve had to report-and-block dozens of fellow players just in the last few days for disgusting slurs in multiple languages, stuff the filter doesn’t catch. For a free-to-play game that’s also on console, yeah, I guess I expect no better from the playerbase. But but but RIFT Prime is subscription-based. Surely that means a strong community, where such polite warnings from developers aren’t necessary? Yeah, not so much, as anyone who played old-school MMORPGs can tell you. This is a problem even in games whose devs prioritize community and care a whole lot.
So this week, let’s talk about in-game chat. Do you use it? Do you watch it? Do you turn it off? Is it really terrible everywhere, or just in some games? Which one is the worst and the best, and what should developers do about chat specifically?
When 19 years old you turn, reason for throwing a lavish party for yourself you will have.
As of tomorrow, EverQuest will turn 19 years old, having launched on that date back in 1999. Daybreak is going all-out with the game’s celebration, rolling out new anniversary content as well as reprising previous years’ over the next two months.
There are four new anniversary missions to complete and a special mount to chase. Players will also enjoy 1.5x bonus experience for the remainder of March.
Daybreak is rolling out a new progression server to “relive the game’s earliest days.” The Coirnav server is going live on Friday, March 16th, and will function as a single-account server in a similar manner to Phinigel. Expansions will unlock every 12 weeks starting on June 6th.
Get into the spirit of EverQuest’s birthday with the original 1999 launch trailer below!
On this week’s show, Bree and Justin roll up their sleeves and take on projects left and right. It’s a look at the announcement of Project C and the imminent early access launch of Project Gorgon, among many other exciting developments this week!
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
Listen to the show right now:
The impish and mischevious Mister Mxyzptlk is up to no good in DC Universe Online
. The pint-sized villain is wreaking havok during this week’s St. Patrick’s Day event
, which is running through March 26th.
Players can tackle the Mxyleprechauns mission to see if they can get a hold of some of Mister Mxyzptlk’s riches before time runs out. New this year are a pair of feats, a “Shamrock Strike Uplink Device,” and some additional decor for player bases.
The St. Patty’s Day Event has been running annually since 2011, and you can check out the wiki for a full rundown of its offerings. Good luck catching him and saving the city at the same time!
A few months ago, we ran a Leaderboard poll asking players what kind of live studio-led events they want out of MMORPGs. By way of example, I compared the types of GM-run live events I saw in Ultima Online and EverQuest. In Ultima Online, we often saw long-running plotlines, mysterious NPCs, decorated special locations, dungeon crawls, and weddings galore. In EverQuest, I saw weddings, yes, but also GMs running around massacring newbies to get the highbies to come take them out (which wasn’t such a grand time as you lost experience on death). In Asheron’s Call, well, don’t take my word for it – just listen to Andrew talk about some of the biggest MMO events that ever took place in the genre.
Such GM events – the good ones, at least – are the subject of Saga of Lucimia’s weekly dev blog, which ought to make the majority of you who voted for plot, roleplaying, and activities other than endless murder in your event happy.
“Over the years, that type of interaction faded away as it became too ‘cost prohibitive’ for companies to maintain the type of staff required to create such unique events, and these days you are hard-pressed to find a GM logged into any game, much less get customer support to answer your emails in a timely fashion,” Lucimia Creative Director Tim “Renfail” Anderson maintains. “Cash shops and loot boxes are the name of the game these days. Game masters? What are those?”
In an earlier Daily Grind on peripherals, I mentioned how I used to fold up a piece of paper into a triangular prism, write down my keybinds, and prop it up on my keyboard in old school Ultima Online. That was because the game really didn’t have much of an interface. Things like healthbars and paperdolls and bags and spells were ad hoc; you could pull them out and drag them around your screen (that was ahead of its time!), but there wasn’t even a trace of the rudimentary hotbar that EverQuest would later introduce to the genre. You set your macros in options and that was that.
Since then, UO has come a really long way in the UI department thanks to multiple client upgrades. The current top-shelf UI for the game is in the “enhanced client” that about half the playerbase reportedly uses, and it’s much more like the sort of UI modern players are used to, complete with endless hotbars, API support, and on-the-fly configuration. If I dropped that UI onto a screenshot for a different game, I bet most of you wouldn’t bat an eyelash. (I was going to do that for this post, but I decided to use the brand-new F2P login screen instead – does that take you back, vets, or what?)
Anyway, that’s just one example of an MMO with a vastly improved UI. Which MMORPG do you think has most improved its UI over the years?
This week in Massively Overthinking, I want to talk about something out on the fringes of our genre: battle royale games. We’ve been watching BR take off, first with H1Z1, then the explosion of PUBG last summer and fall, and now Fortnite has taken the crown, becoming even more popular and raking in even more money, at least on console and potentially overall. And yet less than a year ago, we were embracing Fortnite as a PvE building game – see how blazingly fast Epic pivoted to catch this trend? I remember when PUBG started to plateau in the west even as it continued it climb in China, and I wondered then whether anything could ever dethrone it – and I have to say, I didn’t think it would be Fortnite.
So let’s talk about battle royale. Is it bleeding an online subgenre – MMOs, shooters, MOBAs, or survival sandboxes, or is it just something everyone’s tacked on top of existing gameplay? How will mobile keep up? And most importantly, is it a fad that’s destined to eventually fade away, or is it here to stay?
A festival dedicated to getting sloshed? No, this isn’t college life — it’s EverQuest II’s Brewday! Every year near St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration dedicated to libations runs throughout Norrath. There are drunken quests to do, pink elephants and talking cabbages to collect, tons of themed crafts to make, and plenty of drinks to partake of. This year’s festival runs from March 6th at 3:00 a.m. EST to March 20th at 2:59 a.m. EDT.
While it is disappointing that Daybreak has not added any new content to the festival for 2018, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. And there are a couple new items to acquire — namely a spiffy griffon mount and the next crafting recipe book. Here’s a guide to get you through the weeks of revelry. You can also get a visual walkthrough of some tasks by watching The Stream Team festival escapades from 2015, 2016, and 2018.
The grandly named but modestly sized Game Update 80 has rolled out for DC Universe Online players this week. Daybreak says it’s tweaked inventory stack sizes for specific items, upped armory and amenity caps for bases, rebelanced NPCs for artifacts (that’s a buff for lowbies and a bigger challenge for highbies), and bugfixes several powers and powersets.
Starved for space? The update doubled the total number of inventory, bank, and shared bank rows that players can buy in the cash shop; it’s now 24, 16, and 4, respectively.
The patch also preps the game for the St Patrick’s day festivities expected to launch on March 12th. Last year, the iconic Mister Mxyzptlk got a base overhaul, a new pet leprechaun, and a new quest for a satchel. We’ll have to wait a few more days to see what we’re getting this round!
Remember way back in the long, long ago, before H1Z1 hit early access, split, reconstituted, renamed, didn’t launch, aborted a console port, and all those shenanigans? You know, back when the game was planned as a free-to-play title, but it didn’t happen?
Now it’s happened.
Following the official launch of H1Z1 (the battle royale half) last week, Daybreak has formally announced that it’s going free-to-play. Today. There are brand-new buyable packs on Steam running up to 100 bucks, but they are at least technically optional.
Readers will recall that the game has appeared to be struggling on Steam over the past half year as other battle royale games picked up players; as of February, the game had apparently lost 90% of its playerbase since last summer, presumable to the likes of PUBG and Fortnite, the latter of which launched free.
The zombie sandbox half of the game, Just Survive, hasn’t made any free-to-play announcement yet.