everquest

Official Site: EverQuest
Studio: SOE, now Daybreak Game Company
Launch Date: March 16, 1999
Genre: Fantasy Themepark
Business Model: Hybrid F2P (Cash Shop, Optional Sub)
Platform: PC

The MMO Book Club votes between Guild Wars 2, Secret World Legends, DCUO, EverQuest, RuneScape, ArcheAge, and WoW

Hey, remember the MMO Book Club? That’s the Reddit-and-Discord group that allows members to vote on a game to play, then organizes a guild and events inside that game over the allotted time period, ensuring that folks who want to try out an MMORPG have a ready-made community of likeminded casual people who aren’t going to immediately scamper off to greener pastures. You scamperers, you.

To date, the Club has dipped into Lord of the Rings Online (which we streamed!), WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, and TERA, the reigning champ. As the group enters its second half-year, it’s opened the voting once again; that takes place in Discord to avoid brigading.

“The shortlist of games you can vote on to play with the Bookclub now are: Guild Wars 2, Secret World Legends, DC Universe Online, EverQuest, RuneScape, ArcheAge, World of Warcraft and TERA.” (Voting for TERA extends the current cycle another month instead of moving the crew to a new game.)

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EverQuest II stops making older expansions free, while EverQuest hands out skeletons

Daybreak has quietly shifted one of the aspects of its free-to-play business model for EverQuest II. In response to a query as to when the studio would be making any previous expansions free as it has done in the past, Daybreak said that it “will not be adding anything further to the F2P lineup.” This means that free players can no longer hold out hoping that they will one day get to enjoy the newer expansions (unless, of course, they pony up for them individually).

While there is a new expansion to anticipate, this particular move doesn’t seem to be in the community’s favor. Massively OP’s MJ recently pontificated on the question of whether or not EverQuest II was in a downward spiral.

Over at EverQuest, things look a little brighter, especially if you’re a subscriber. Daybreak announced that it is handing out free Sarnak skeleton illusions to all members who log into the game between now and October 15th.

Source: EverQuest II, EverQuest. Thanks Bilbobaggins and Katriana!

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The Daily Grind: Should MMOs get rid of levels?

I would like to say that when I was a kid playing my first MMORPGs, I was impervious to the grind, that I embraced taking many months to level a skill or hit a level cap. But that would be a lie. I stuck a rock on my keyboard to AFK macro overnight in Ultima Online, and a friend of mine would log into my EverQuest account sometimes while I slept to catch me up in levels. I hated it. I have always hated it. Oh, I’d spend hours per day in those early games, but I wanted to chill with friends, make stuff, run dungeons with people without worrying about level discrepancies and gear and all the obnoxious mechanics designed so transparently to slow me down and make me pay to grind. And I’ve felt this way for 20 years.

This is why a recent tweet of Raph Koster’s, quoting Elder Scrolls Online’s Matt Firor, resonated with me:

“Removing levels as a gameplay factor was the best decision for retention ever made in Elder Scrolls Online.” -Matt Firor

It’s affirmation that I’m not alone: A huge portion of the MMORPG playerbase will pay for content that pushes us together by invalidating level grinds rather than keeps us apart. Is it not time? Can we just be done with the old canard that people “need” leveling make-work to feel achievement or investment in a game, when metrics prove otherwise? Should MMOs get rid of levels?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPGs will make to to 20 years?

Unless it mysteriously shutters between now and Monday, Ultima Online is turning 20 next week. Our Game Archaeologist will surely object to an assertion that UO is the first MMORPG to turn 20, but even if you do count pre-MMORPG titles as MMOs or include non-continuous or non-graphical games, UO is still among the very few MMOs to get there alive.

I’ve started thinking about numbers like that in light of Black Desert studio Pearl Abyss’ assertion a few weeks back that online PC games and MMOs have “an extremely long life cycle” on average between 10 and 11 years, implying that PA intends to support its games with those lifespans in mind.

There are a few MMOs coming up on 20 years now other than UO, including classic EverQuest. Alas, others, like Asheron’s Call, were sunsetted before they got close. Consider the MMOs you’re playing now: Which of those MMORPGs have a hope of making it to 20 years?

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EverQuesting: Is EverQuest II in a downward spiral?

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.

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Classic EverQuest’s 24th expansion, Ring of Scale, is set to launch in December

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.

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EverQuest II’s newest progression server enters the Desert of Flames while production servers prepare for the Planes of Prophecy expansion

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.

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Perfect Ten: 10 MMORPGs with playable fairies

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!

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EverQuest II announces 14th expansion, Planes of Prophecy, accompanied by name purge

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.

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One Shots: A bridge too far

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!

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EverQuest’s Phinigel progression server moves forward

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.

Source: EverQuest

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Global Chat: Not that impressed by Destiny 2

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.

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Storybricks CEO shares early EverQuest Next proposal documents

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.

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