Are we witnessing the death throes of EverQuest II? Of the whole EverQuest franchise? These questions have been at the forefront of my mind lately. Today’s EverQuesting started as a guide to EQII’s expansion prelude event, but I kept coming back to these questions. (The guide will come next week!)
Yes, I know that there are folks who have cried that EQ and EQII have been dying or all-but dead for years — and Next and Online Adventures are already deceased and buried. Yet during those years we’ve still seen some life in the first two games. They have persevered!
But now, I feel like I am witnessing the franchise’s final breaths. Me, the eternal optimist; me, who subsists on hope. And I started losing that hope because Daybreak’s actions lately appear to indicate that there’s no love left for one of my all-time favorite games, EQII. Between less dev interaction, less content, less communication, and just less enthusiasm for these two titles — yet a preponderance of attention on others — it’s hard to hold onto hope. At no other time has it felt as if Daybreak was turning its back on and all but abandoning the IP that gave it life more than it does right now. The IP that still has many fervent fans. My final two straws? The lack of any exposure at PAX West and the lack of enthusiasm for this year’s expansions.
Are you sad that the original EverQuest is so neglected? If so, you are wrong. It’s not neglected at all. Even if you have zero desire to go jump on one of the game’s progression servers, the game is launching its 24th expansion in December. EverQuest: Ring of Scale will be up for pre-order and beta testing in October, so you only have a little while left before you can start seeing the latest expansion for yourself.
This expansion sends players back to Kunark for new gear, new monsters, new skills, new AA, and more new stuff. Plenty of content for players to plow through as they finish off what was started in the 23rd expansion as the Combine faces its greatest challenge yet. It’s good to see that even years later, new expansions for EverQuest still come out on a regular basis. And that’s not counting plans for more updates to the game’s time-locked progression servers, to boot.
After a summer of dwelling in beginner region bliss, EverQuest II’s newest progression server is taking a step forward into expansions for the first time.
Fallen Gate, a time-locked progression shard that requires a membership to play, opens up Desert of Flames today for everyone to explore. In addition to raising the level cap to 60, the expansion opens up the Island of Ro and the city of Maj’Dul. Desert of Flames originally launched for the MMORPG back in September 2005, so it is fortuitous that this unlock happens on the expansion’s 12th anniversary.
Next up for the Fallen Gate server is the Kingdom of Sky expansion. Players on this server can run heritage quests to earn special items to share with their characters on regular servers. Back in July of this year, Massively OP’s MJ said that she was “falling for” this server and its structure.
Probably my greatest and most constant gripe about fantasy MMORPGs is that for all of the freedom and imagination that this genre supposedly boasts, game designers keep going to the same boring well of tropes and limit themselves instead of exploring possibilities.
Nowhere do you see this more than in races. Dwarves and Elves? We’ve got bushels and barrels of them, all on sale at discount prices. There are regular humans, of course, and Slightly Bigger Humans, and Half-Sized Humans, and Blue Humans. But what about getting outside of this been-there-played-that cookie cutter design to offer some interesting playable choices?
Like fairies, perhaps?
I could never understand why we don’t see fairies more in MMOs. They are widely recognized in the fantasy genre, they seem to have popularity, and they even share some cross-over with Elves. But the poor fae have been unrepresented, so much so that it took a lot of digging to come up with a mere 10 MMOs that allow you to play as one, whether it be as a race or class. Let’s take a look!
EverQuest II Producer Lauren “Mooncast” McLemore has penned the September producer’s letter for fans of the franchise. The chief announcement? The game is getting a new expansion called Planes of Prophecy:
“This year we’ll embark on exciting adventures to the planes… and more! You’ll explore the perils and mysteries of the Plane of Magic, the Plane of Innovation, Solusek Ro’s Tower, and the Plane of Disease, just to name a few. Are you ready? The planes await! As you cross to the planes, you’ll encounter many obstacles, not the least of which is the mechanical sentinel in the Plane of Innovation, the Manaetic Behemoth!”
She’s promising more news on the expansion next month, including preorder and beta details, while heralding a Kunark Ascending 50% off sale, a prelude storyline (which is live now), and in-game bonus hoopla.
One more bridge. That’s what she kept telling me, even though I cautioned her that sooner or later our luck would run out. She would pause, then shake her head and urge us on. One more bridge.
That day, when we crossed a seemingly innocuous wooden bridge over RIFT’s gorgeous Scatherron Forest, our luck broke — as did six boards, sending us plummeting down into a gorge. As I fell, I wondered why I was taking orders from my talking mount anyway. Perhaps she knew that fall damage was a thing of the past and I could be pressured into recklessness.
After I pick myself back up and find another route onward, we’ll look at the rest of this week’s player-submitted screenshots and stories!
Thirteen years after initially launching to EverQuest’s playerbase, the Omens of War expansion is getting another opportunity for a big splash.
Yesterday, EverQuest’s Phinigel progression server unlocked Omens of War for all of the subscribers advancing through the game’s content on that shard. The expansion originally launched in September 2004, bringing with it a level cap increase to 70 and the new land of Kuua.
Phinigel is a relatively younger EverQuest progression server and differentiates itself from the other five servers with a slower rate of leveling and a rollout of new expansions every two to three months.
Destiny 2’s recent PC beta certainly brought out curious players in droves, and MMO bloggers couldn’t help but share their opinions on this next evolution of the sci-fi shooter franchise — even if those opinions weren’t too positive.
“It proved to be a deeply disappointing experience,” Superior Realities said. “Not because of anything wrong with the game, but because the beta offered such a small sliver of it as to be entirely pointless.”
Endgame Viable just doesn’t get it: “I know I’m going to regret this, but: What’s all the hype about? I didn’t hate it, but Destiny 2 looked and played like every other shooter.”
How would you respond to those observations? While you think about it, let’s look past D2: The Mighty Space Ducks to more essays on Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest II, and the dinosaurs of ARK: Survival Evolved.
It has been a while since the dust settled on late, lamentable EverQuest Next, and even longer since the sandbox MMORPG acquired and then ditched Storybricks for one of its core game systems. Recently, Storybricks CEO Rodolfo Rosini rediscovered a couple of early documents of his company’s work on EverQuest Next, and as these were produced in 2012 before an NDA was signed, he decided that they were fair game to share with the internet at large.
“The first document is the initial pitch after we were told the scope of the game that is now public and it wasn’t clear how many features we would have to develop for the final product,” Rosini said. “As you can see magic was a huge influence on the prototyping stage. The second document was our proposal for a demo of the AI combat system, and that was what helped us advance the discussion for our involvement in EQN.”
It’s certainly interesting to get a glimpse into the fabled MMORPG’s development from Storybricks’ perspective and to once again tantalize our minds with the thought of “what if it had happened this way.” The documents talk about Storybricks creating the “illusion of life” with its flexible scripting program, especially in combat, and how it would be used to adapt and counter players’ fighting styles.
On this week’s show, MJ arrives to give her report on PAX West and how much swag she smuggled back on the plane. Bree and Justin touch base with the major news stories of the week, including Destiny 2’s launch, ArcheAge’s mergers, and WildStar’s housing happiness.
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:
If you’ve been even remotely active online about EverQuest II over the past nine years, you probably know EQ2Wire. It’s been a long-running and well-maintained fan site for that whole time, and it’s even occasionally had nice things to say about us. However, it’s over now; site maintainer Feldon announced on Friday that the site is calling it quits after its long run.
Why the change? Feldon cites both a number of other projects going on in his life (perfectly understandable) and a deteriorating relationship with Daybreak Games regarding the title. He also states that he no longer even plays the game, which means that his incentive to keep working on it is rather diminished. We’d like to thank Feldon for his long dedication to the title and wish him the best of luck in the future.
If you were hoping that another title would pick up the idea of a voxel world and run with it, you’re getting your wish. I met with Jean-Christophe Baillie, the president and founder of NovaQuark, at PAX West. He showed off the pre-alpha build of his company’s voxel sandbox, Dual Universe. After zooming across the planet, building a ship, terraforming, and then blasting off to the moon to do it all again, I believe this subscription-based game (which begins its pre-alpha for backers on September 30th) may very well be the home that players who’ve been wishing for a voxel-based world have waited for.
Baillie defines Dual Universe: “We give more creativity freedom to the players: They can build the ships they want, the environment they want, the houses they want. It’s about freedon to create anything you like.”
Did you hear about EverQuest II multi-month Days of Summer reward event? If so, lucky you! Here is an event that was launched with so little fanfare that even though I am playing every week. it completely slipped out of my mind — even after I learned about it the first week! It’s also an event that rewards players with some pretty snazzy rewards if they complete each of the weekly quests, so missing out entirely will make you lose out on a familiar, level 100 gear, housing decorations, a prestige house, and more. So many goodies! That may be because this summer event is akin to prelude events before expansions as it is aimed at helping people gear up for the upcoming expansion. Now don’t you wish you knew more about it? Well here you go.
The good news is that even if you hadn’t heard a word about it until now, it’s not too late to start; the event runs from August 2nd, 3:01 a.m. EDT, all the way until October 3rd at 2:59 a.m. EDT. The even better news is that players need not have completed the quest in the week it was first offered. You just have to complete them in order. I proved this by starting the event during this week’s week five quest. The bad news is that not only do you have to be level 100 to be able to see all of the rewards on the event vendor, you also need to own Kunark Ascending to complete some of the quests. The even worse news is that only those who have paid for membership can access the quests at all.