Yup, it's true. It was a sad day when Emily Taylor confirmed that she was indeed leaving Daybreak. When John Smedley's tweet popped up outing Taylor's move to Canada, I was in the middle of chatting with friends and fellow EverQuest II players. We were stunned. We know that the industry can be fickle, but Taylor had been a staple on the EQII scene. Known as "Domino," she'd been in integral part of the Norrath crafting scene; she was responsible for penning many of the crafting signature quest lines as well as developing other parts of crafting, events, and housing. She was also well admired and appreciated by the community. Her loss would really be felt.
When we first read that tweet, our thoughts went to, oh no, what happened? followed very quickly by what's going to happen? After the rough time Daybreak has had since the split from Sony (multiple layoffs, game closures galore, and clandestine management changes along with staff resignations), we understandably wondered if we were witnessing a step toward impeding disaster -- a sentiment shared by other fans of the franchise. The uncertainty of the news was laid to rest when Taylor herself announced that yes, she was leaving. She informed players that her move was of a personal nature (she wants to shovel more snow?!) instead of any thing related to the studio. She also assured us that there were plenty of devs at Daybreak still working on the games -- moreso, in fact, than when the name changed.
A long time ago, in a spring far, far away (2016 feels that way already), I noted that there is simply too much to do in EverQuest II. So much so, in fact, that it took more than one EverQuesting to try and list them! It's mind-blowing the amount of stuff you can get involved in, from collections to crafting, decorating to dungeoning. And that fact is exactly what has placed me in my current conundrum.
You see, there are many things I still want to do in EQII. So many things. Normally I just play whatever I feel like playing in games, but that doesn't seem to work in this case. I have to admit that when I log into Norrath I sometimes shut down when faced with the sheer volume of what I want to/can delve into. It is honestly too much for me at times. For that reason, I've decided to break with my usual traditions and try a new one: goals. Like with The Secret World, I think that setting some concrete goals will actually help me negate if not avoid the paralysis I often feel when I log in. And by writing them down, I have a handy place to reference them! I think that will be extra useful when I sit staring at my screen unsure of where to start. Even better, I can hopefully finally cross some accomplishments off my to-do list. As the clock ticks down 2017, I'll be working on these goals.
T minus 11 days and counting. That's all the time Landmark has left. That's not a lot of time. If you haven't built all your intricate ideas yet, chances are you won't be able to bring them to completion in such a short span. I've resigned myself to never seeing some of mine come to life. And if you want to try to visit and experience all the great creations out there, you're going to be hard-pressed to pull that off. There just isn't enough time; it is all going away much too soon.
You may not want to do anything at all as the sunset creeps closer. Perhaps you feel you have done all you can do in the game, and you feel secure with closing this final chapter. Perhaps it just pains you too much to log in knowing it will all be gone in less than a fortnight. I know some folks that have even uninstalled the game already. Me? Thanks to a video card fire, I am actually installing it now! I am getting it on my new laptop so I can enjoy every last minute I can squeeze out of my favorite building game because even if I can't do all I want to do as far as creations, there are still things to do.
What are they? I'll tell you: Here are 10 things you really should experience in Landmark before it's gone. And if you have already done these, do them again to relive the experience -- because once those servers shut off, it's lights out for good.
January 14th, 2016. On that date, I said we'd get to look back in a year and see just how many of my EverQuesting predictions were accurate. Well, it's been a year... and man, it's been a year. So of all those things I anticipated happening, that I wanted to happen, and that I thought needed to happen in 2016 for Daybreak and the EverQuest franchise, what actually happened? How many hopes survived the 12 months? When you tally it all, there were some fails, some near misses, and some right on the nose. Which game -- EverQuest, EverQuest II, EverQuest Next, or Landmark -- had the most accurate predictions, and which had the most misses? Let's take a look at the 2016 predictions before we even think about creating some 2017 ones.
Daybreak did it again. Boy, that phrase has come to mean a great many different things over the years. However, in this case it refers to the art of dropping some bombshell that makes me toss aside whatever I was working on for the week and focus on that explosion -- and the resulting fallout. Sometimes it's good. And sometimes it's not. This time around we fell dead center into the "not" category. We are losing Landmark.
Remember when I said Daybreak needed a win this year? This is the opposite of that. This is Daybreak choking the last bit of hope and goodwill out of players like Vader faced with a lackey's lack of faith. Disturbing, I know. Well, gee folks, Happy New Year? Forget about breaking games; I can't help but agree that a more befitting moniker would be Sunset Games.
Sometimes there's news that just makes you go, "Huh?" At times it happens because said information makes no sense whatsoever; other times it surprises you so thoroughly you have no words as you look around wondering where on earth it came from. Last week we got smacked with the latter. Turbine’s
announcement that Lord of the Rings Online
and Dungeons & Dragons Online
were breaking off under a new independent studio
wasn't so far-fetched, especially with Turbine's professed focus on turning into a mobile studio. I heard that and didn't really bat an eye, I just nodded my head and thought, sure, that makes sense
. What was a jaw-dropping surprise was the announcement that Daybreak
would be the new publisher. Who ever would have envisioned Norrath and Middle-earth (and Eberron!) becoming family, romping together in the same backyard and sharing a swingset? You never thought they would actually meet. No, we certainly didn't see that
But once I had a moment to digest the news and think about it (and after we finished with a few jokes, like Justin's query on whether we should combine our columns to make EverLording), it made sense. And I can see it as a good thing for both parties. (Talking about the pairing of companies, not the columns!) Standing Stone Games and Daybreak both stand to benefit here, meaning their games benefit. Thankfully I don't see any cross-pollination between the IPs, but I do see two studios growing and see two games continuing on instead of being shut down.
Oh the real life outside is frightful
But Frostfell is so delightful
So who needs to work today?
Let us play, let us play, let us play!
There's holiday treats and questin'
And Glug's got some gifts he's givin'
It's here for just 30 days
Let us play, let us play, let us play!
The best kind of winter wonderland is an EverQuest II Frostfell Wonderland! Not only is the Frostfell Wonderland Village the home to the king of Norrath's holiday festivals, it possibly ranks at the very top of all-time favorite zones in EQII. It's full of the beauty of the season -- with ice and snow to frolic in -- without the worry of any actual cold or shoveling chores. And slipping on the ice here is an amusing antic you aim for as opposed to the painful accident you'd rather avoid in real life. Then there's the music. Some tunes are so iconic that they transport players to memories within just a few notes, and the Frostfell theme is one of them. Just try to listen to it without having images of McScroogle and goblins in Santa hats dancing in your head.
When I first spoke about preparing for EverQuest II’s latest expansion, Kunark Ascending, I pretty much focused only on leveling. That's because you can't really participate in the expansion content unless you are level 100. You can still travel to and tour the zone -- and die in it -- if you are lower level, as I totally demonstrated on launch day, but you can't really dig into the content. And who wants to hang out in an expansion if you can't do anything? Well, unless you are like me. Unfortunately, if all you focus on is your level, you might still be pretty disappointed when you enter; you may not even be able to converse with any of the inhabitants to participate in the story or do quests! I found that out just trying to chat with a nice Sokakar trainer.
Beyond reaching the level cap, there's plenty more you need to do before you can take advantage of Kunark Ascending. You may have completed many of these prerequisites already, or perhaps next to none (a very possible scenario if your current character just speed leveled like my Arasi Fury did). This guide that will help you cross everything off that checklist so you can experience all that the expansion has to offer.
Who doesn't like a dozen? A dozen donuts. A dozen cupcakes. A dozen pizzas. (What, that's not a thing? That should totally be a thing!) And a dozen years of EverQuest II. Oh yes, that is some sweet goodness. The sequel to the original Norrath now has 12 years under its belt, having celebrated its anniversary this week. And luckily for all of us fans, it wasn't as tumultuous a year as the one before! Sure there were negatives as well as positives, but those lows definitely didn't dip as low as 2015.
As is customary, I'm taking a few moments to reflect on the past dozen months before we get all wrapped up in next week's expansion, Kunark Ascending.
Last year when EverQuest II had a prelude event before the launch of its expansion, it was a two-parter. And thanks to logistics at the time, I ended up missing participating in the first half, a fact that bugged me all year. And still does honestly! I hate missing EQII events, especially one-off live events that will never return. So I was prepared and ready to go for this year's pre-expansion event. I was excited to dive into these public quests that popped up over a variety of zones; I was going to fully participate this time around and not miss out on any of the things. Besides doing something that is new, you know it's about collecting all the things! And I wanted All. The. Things.
It was fun... at the start. Sadly, after a short time the excitement ebbed away. Worse, it was replaced with disappointment. On the plus side it hasn't morphed into apathy for me, and I haven't written the entire event off yet. But many have. So what happened? This was meant to be a build up for Kunark Ascending. Was it a bad event, or was it just executed poorly? Did it perhaps just lack a special something to keep players invested and engaged? Or is it that players simply expect too much? What went wrong, and how can future events do better?
With the constant clamoring from fans for Daybreak (or someone) to create an honest-to-goodness next-gen sequel to the EverQuest franchise, you'd hope that it would actually happen someday. Obviously EverQuest Next itself didn't pan out -- not that everyone considered that title a sequel or even deserving of the EQ name. But it was impossible not to find a glimmer of hope at the news that Daybreak was hiring for positions involving a new game.
And then even that tiny flame of hope was snuffed out. The upcoming unannounced title is apparently a first-person shooter, a multi-platform FPS. That doesn't sound very compatible with the Norrath people want. But that doesn't mean it won't be the Norrath people get!
Now before you hyperventilate: This is just speculation. I know EQIII the FPS is a longshot. If it has any ties to Daybreak's existing portfolio at all, the new game is much more likely to be related to PlanetSide 2. Chances are it is just a brand-new game and concept. But that doesn't make the speculation any less entertaining. How would you envision a Norrathian FPS? These are a few of my thoughts.
Note: While mainly focused on the franchise that started it all, EverQuesting delves into the other Daybreak news and titles as well.
I can't help it. Every time Daybreak goes silent on Landmark news again, I get antsy. No, I don't camp with the crowd that decries that the game shuttering is imminent. But we have already experienced long droughts of information and I'd rather not go through that again. I've been much happier with the more frequent communication and updates. However, the sandvox's last update was clear at the beginning of the month. And even knowing that a big update was coming, we had no details on what it would be. At times it almost seemed as if they devs didn't even know. Granted, sometimes they may not know exactly what will be ready in time for the update, but an idea of what they are aiming for and working on would still be great. Maybe that's actually what all the hush hush was about -- trying to ensure that this system was ready for reintroduction into the game. Regardless, that's all in the past because the update and its patch notes are now live!
If only it all worked.
I love fall. Fall is the best season. It has the best holiday, changing leaves, and awesome weather. Fall also means that EverQuest II's next expansion is right around the corner! Throughout the summer I was contemplating where on earth a new expansion could take us in this Norrath. We've discovered new landmasses and rediscovered old islands. We've gone to the sky, and we've gone underground. So what is next? I'd considered another plane of existence, like where the gods reside. It turns out we are revisiting a current zone: Kunark.
The 13th expansion is called Kunark Ascending, and it will release -- as you'd expect -- in November. We don't yet have too many details; the majority of what we know is from Holly Longdale’s September Producer's Letter and the subsequent discussion thread. However, more information is expected in October. But who wants to wait so long! We have a few tidbits to share, as well as news on a current Terrors of Thalumbra sale and prelude event as well as an impending Gear Up, Level Up event that will start prior to Kunark Ascending's launch.