everquest II

Official Site: EverQuest II
Studio: SOE, now Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: November 9, 2004
Genre: Fantasy Hybrid Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Optional Sub, Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

One Shots: Bagpipes in the woods

I can’t say that I’m the biggest fan of bagpipe music, although I do harbor a certain fascination for any musical instrument that looks like the innards of a monster. Still, how often do you see bagpipes in MMOs? I’ve spied them only in Lord of the Rings Online, and there only rarely.

Reader Ratstew took this photogenic shot of his character bleating out a jam in the middle of the woods: “This is one of my LOTRO favorites, though of course I have hundreds more I could fill your mailbox with. It’s like potato chips — can’t take just one!”

Will you be able to look at only one picture after the break? I doubt it!

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The MMO industry mourns the passing of Christopher Lee

If you haven’t heard the news already, then we’re sorry to report that Star Wars and Lord of the Rings actor Christopher Lee has died at age 93. He was certainly a mesmerizing personality on screen, particularly as a villain.

One of Lee’s roles was doing the voice work for EverQuest II faction leader Lucan D’Lere. Former EQII lead Scott Hartsman mentioned this in his condolences on Twitter: “Very sad. An amazing talent. We were lucky to have him voice a main character in EQ2. Added a ton of class.”

Lord of the Rings Online posted a picture of Lee as Saruman from the films, saying, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Christopher Lee today. He will be missed.”

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The Stream Team: EverQuest II’s Rum Cellar housing tour

Just because you can’t get to EverQuest II’s Rum Cellar content yet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the atmosphere of that pirate-y cove. MassivelyOP’s MJ takes a break from decorating and organizing her inventories to show off the new Rumrunner prestige house and matching decor that is available. Will the new digs be cool enough to seduce her into buying yet another home to decorate? Join us live at 9:00 p.m. to see for yourself (and maybe help her resist the sweet siren call of new housing).

What: EverQuest II
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 9:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

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EverQuesting: Why I cheered when EQ’s progression server crashed

When EverQuest’s newest progression server Ragefire came online then took an immediate nosedive, I sprang from my chair cheering.

Hey now, don’t aim those eye daggers at me! Hear me out. My revelry was not because I wanted the server to fail and die. Quite the opposite, in fact: The reception it received, and the fact that so many were interested in this throw back to the olden days, was what was making me dance in the aisle and pump my fist with glee. It is a heartening blip on the radar of current game development, development that more often than not moves ever further down the instant-gratification road. It means people are not just paying lip service to the ideal of how things used to be; they are acting on it, even speaking with their wallets. More than anything it says old school is not dead.

And man, that is worth cheering about.

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EverQuest II is getting time-locked PvE and PvP servers

Holly Longdale’s recent producer’s letter for EverQuest II offered a slew of news, including the announcement that time-locked PvE and PvP servers are coming to the game this year. Unlike the progression servers of its elder sibling, which combine time and progress restrictions, EQII’s could just lock content at a point of time in the game’s history.

But that’s up to the community: Daybreak is asking for feedback in order to make the servers what the players really want. Another notable factoid Longdale let loose was that the design is moving toward less handholding and more allowing players to figure things out because the devs “want EQII to be a thinker’s and strategist’s game.”

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One Shots: Nothing to see here, move along

Do you ever stop to realize just how much weirdness we see and dismiss every day as MMO gamers? If a fraction of the sights we witness in-game happened in real life, we’d be YouTubing and tweeting that crap in hopes to get it viral.

Take our first player screenshot this week as an example. Here’s a confluence of bizarre sights that nobody’s going to even pause to gawk at in EverQuest II. Reader Becca puts together a string of ridiculous words to describe what we’re seeing: “Here is Dark Elf leprechaun and Brewday fan Riaak tipping his hat while his raptor looks a bit embarrassed to be caught with such a weird passenger. You can’t see it, but he also has a giant spoon on his back.”

Because spoon, that’s why. Don’t worry about the rest of this column; there’s nothing to see here, so move along! Trust me.

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Massively Overthinking: What would persuade you to play a classic MMO?

For this edition of Massively Overthinking, Kickstarter donor Sargon wants us think back to 1997, when Ultima Online launched and parted MMOs from graphical MUDs forever. Now think forward to 2015 again. UO’s still here! And Sargon wants to know why it’s not getting more play.

What would persuade you to return to Ultima Online? If you are a former player, what would it take for you to go back? If you never played before, could Broadsword do anything to inspire you to try it?

This question needn’t even be specific to UO. We all know that older games struggle with making inroads into modern markets. Let’s tackle the conundrum: I posed Sargon’s question to our own MMO die-hards.

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Perfect Ten: Ten MMOs still going after ten years

It struck me, very recently, that a decade is a long time for MMOs.

If we’re going to count Ultima Online as the first proper MMO as we think of them – and I am – we’re almost 18 years out. Most games have not seen all of those years, and I’m not just talking about the games that launched more recently. It’s rare to find a game that’s been going for a decade, and even rarer to find one that’s been going for a decade and is still getting updates rather than just being stuck in maintenance mode.

So here’s a Perfect Ten celebrating 10 titles that have made it past that mark, even if they’ve just squeaked over the border. Sure, they’re no longer the fresh-faced darlings of the industry, but when you look at all of the great titles that have either shut down or slipped into quiet maintenance over the years, “still going” is often a pretty huge boost by itself.

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The Daily Grind: Should more MMOs include advanced classes?

One of the very first RPGs that I played was Final Fantasy for the NES. I remember pouring over the manual at my friend’s house and becoming fixated on the concept of how characters would transition from their starting class to an advanced one when they “grew up” in the game a bit.

Classes that evolve or change into entirely new ones is something that MMOs have dabbled in from time to time, including the old version of EverQuest II and the upcoming Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns. It seems a tricky line to walk with established characters, because while a new build can be refreshing, it can also disrupt the satisfaction and stability that the class used to deliver.

Do you like the idea of advanced classes? Should more MMOs add them?

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MMO Week in Review: The future of EverQuest Next [May 3, 2015]

Were you too busy gaming this week to pay attention to MMO news? Get caught up every Sunday evening with Massively Overpowered’s Week in Review!

You know what scared me the most about Daybreak’s ongoing drama earlier this year? John Smedley stopped saying wild things in interviews and social media. But don’t worry, guys; the Smed is back. This week he told a mainstream gaming publication all about the company’s enthusiasm for “chang[ing] with the times” to embrace console, mobile, VR, and abbreviated play sessions in a modern world where “the days of the WoW-style MMO are over.”

This, of course, terrified players of Daybreak’s current stable of MMORPGs as well as those awaiting the arrival of someday-sandbox EverQuest Next. Smed assured the throngs on Reddit that Daybreak “plan[s] on continuing to support EQ and EQ2 for the very long haul” and clarified that while EverQuest Next will have raids, they won’t be grueling, eight-hour affairs.

Of course, almost no one does those in WoW anymore either, and I never did meet a WoW raid that wasn’t eclipsed by the fall-asleep-at-your-keyboard marathons invented by classic EverQuest, but who’s counting?

Read on for the very best of this week’s MMO news and opinions.

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EverQuest II adds mercenary lockboxes

Even EverQuest II isn’t immune to the money siren’s call of lockboxes. The latest entry into the pseudo-gambling purchases came this past week with the new mercenary crates, which can be purchased for 799 Daybreak Cash (approximately $8) and contain random Inquisitor and Monk mercenaries. The most rare drop from these crates is Katastra Vilehex, who has a slim chance of appearing in both types of crates.

Many players have picked up on the fact that these mercs are “no trade” instead of “heirloom.” Daybreak said that if you don’t get the mercenary you want, you can trade it in for bonus status.

[Source: Dev diary. Thanks, Kinya.]

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Smedley: We will support EQ and EQII ‘for the very long haul’

“I firmly believe the days of the WoW-style MMO are over,” Daybreak’s John Smedley told GI.biz earlier this week. Apparently that ruffled a few feathers in Norrath, since Smedley felt compelled to clarify the remark on Reddit this afternoon.

“Don’t mistake that comment for me not believing in raiding or knowing that there are a ton of people that play MMOs that still absolutely love to do it! We also plan on continuing to support EQ, and EQ2 for the very long haul and providing exactly the kind of cool content our players have expected. None of that is changing.

However, when we’re choosing what new games to make we’re focused on games with shorter average session lengths. Why? Because that’s the way the gaming world has evolved and we need to adapt.”

[Source: Reddit; thanks Kinya!]

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Perfect Ten: How to find the right MMO for you

A common question that I see posited around forums and Reddit is, “What MMO should I play?” If there is a more loaded question than that in this community, I haven’t heard it. What is usually being asked, by both newcomers and long-time players, is, “What MMO is right for me that I haven’t played yet?”

While I hear you and have been there, the truth is that there is no one universal answer to that question. There are just hundreds if not thousands of MMOs, big and small, out on the market, each with its own personality, feature set, and setting. Those have to be compared and matched up with the millions of people who all have their own unique preferences. It’s what makes recommending an MMO a difficult proposition.

I’m game for difficult! Today’s list won’t be “10 MMOs that I think you should play” but a rundown of how to sort through the important categories that are out there in the hopes of finding the game that’s right for you.

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