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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Don’t fret that your summer’s slipping away; revel in the final days of August here, as EverQuest II delivered a new game update yesterday to keep players busy and happy.
Game Update 104 built upon the foundation that GU103 laid, adding more features such as familiars, proving grounds, and expert raids. The team added 30 additional pets with the patch, some of which can be found in-game while others are only available for purchase through the store.
Another notable change was a big class balance pass: “With GU 104, there [is] a rather large balance pass which adjusts the outgoing damage across most classes, focusing primarily on Assassin, Wizard, and the Warlock class but most classes will experience some increase. Further updates have also been made to abilities for some of the support classes. This is by no means the final balance pass, and there will be lots of changes and improvements coming with the expansion.”
How is World of Warcraft like the wild west of American history and legend? Something about Barrens chat might come to mind, but blog Coffee Cakes and Crits has another view on the connection between the two.
“One of the ‘codes’ of the Old West was that you did not have to tell where you came from or why you were in the West,” he writes. “This code is exactly the same in the World of Warcraft. You don’t have to say what you do for a living or your military background or level of education. You don’t even have to claim a gender. It is what you do in the game that matters and you can go as far as you dare to try and, hopefully, try again. This is a very good thing.”
Continuing on with our tour of the MMO blogosphere this week, we’ll see a gut reaction to the Secret World TV series announcement, impressions from the Path of Fire preview weekend, and more!
It seems like the entire MMO blogosphere wanted to chip in thoughts on the Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire
announcement, whether or not each writer was playing the game. So what did they all think?
“Finally, something other than dragons to fight!” enthused Occasional Hero. “I love mounts. And I love leaping and jumping mounts,” wrote Aywren Sojourner. “BUT. We all know what else a mount system introduces — cash shop opportunities!”
GamingSF ran down the features, saying that he’s on the fence as to whether or not to come back: “The best way to know that, I suspect, is to play some of the game in the time between now and the 22nd of September.”
Not everyone is on board with the expansion. “The announcement did not in any way overcome my healthy skepticism of the ‘horizontal progression’ philosophy of the game,” chimed in Endgame Viable. And In An Age seems like he’d wants to play, but admits that the business model puts him in a “mental bind” regarding both expansions.
In the pantheon of SOE’s (now Daybreak) flagship EverQuest franchise, there used to be a whole family of MMOs gathered around the table every evening. There was Papa EverQuest, looking a little wrinkled and worn but also radiating fame and authority. Next to him was Mama EverQuest II, a powerful matron of entertainment. And EverQuest Next used to be a twinkle in their eyes before it was extinguished.
Then, in the next room over was a cabinet. The cabinet was locked. Inside that cabinet used to be a weird abnormality that certainly looks like a member of the family, but one that hadn’t seen the light of day in quite some time. This member subsisted on the scraps of an aging console and the fading loyalty of fans, hoping against odds that one day he’d be allowed out for a stroll or something. His name was EverQuest Online Adventures, the EverQuest MMO nobody mentions.
EQOA was a strange abnormality in SOE’s lineup. While it was one of the very first console MMOs and heir to the EverQuest name, it was quickly eclipsed in both areas by other games and left alone. Yet, against all odds, it continued to operate on the PlayStation 2 for the better part of a decade before its lights were turned off. Today, let’s look at this interesting experiment and the small cult following it created.