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.
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.
Use it or lose it. I may have learned that little gem in relation to skills and talents, but it applies to the world of MMOs as well. And I am not just talking on a meta people-must-play-the-game-or-it-will-shut-down level; I'm referring to features you can totally forget exist in a game, especially a long-running one like EverQuest II.
Whether you haven't logged into game for a long while or you've been playing regularly for years, there are certain features that get lost by the wayside. Many folks either don't know about them or just plain don't remember. I know it has happened to me more than once! EQII is so feature-rich, it's understandable that a few can slip our minds. That's exactly what happened with researching spell upgrades. Yet these features can really enrich our experience. So here's a reminder of five fun features you may have forgotten (or perhaps never knew existed!).
Who doesn't like free? Because I certainly do! And today is all about getting stuff for free in EverQuest II. Sadly, I don't mean from the cash shop (although that would be cool). I am talking about skill upgrades and recipes that you don't have to loot, barter for, or buy. No in-game coin or real life cash is involved in acquiring these.
Did you know you could upgrade skills for free? Not everyone does. I even have friends who didn't know this feature existed for the longest time. And it doesn't matter that I have played EQII for over decade -- this tidbit continues to slip my mind as well! How do you get these skill upgrades? By researching them. Don't worry, it's actually the easiest thing ever: no actual study is involved. All you need is time, be it online or off, and a couple mouse clicks and you have stronger, better skills. Well, you need the memory to actually do it, of course.
May I respectfully make a request to my fellow gamers? Let's lay off the hate. It's time to for us to throw down that torch (extinguished, of course!) and and stop trying to burn down the gaming industry. Let's stop trying to tear things down before they actually crumble and we lose it all.
I could very easily be talking about just any game, but today I am focused on Landmark. The formally-known-as-voxels sandbox had had a fair share of hate heaped upon it, sometimes deservedly so, sometimes not. But it has continued, and in cases this hate is to an extreme that is not only unnecessary but damaging -- to the industry, the community, and even the haters themselves.
That is not to say that we shouldn't hold studios and developers accountable. I am not saying we shouldn't express disappointment. What I am saying is there reaches a point when we need to move on, to focus instead on how the studio is making strides to improve Landmark. Sure, there may still be missteps, but the game is going in a positive direction. And that is a good thing! So let's hear more about that.
Now that you know the tips and tricks for running EverQuest II Heritage Quests in an efficient manner, it's just a matter of choosing which ones to actually run! Do you want to complete them all in order, or do you just want to pick and choose depending on the reward? Maybe you just want to see if there is one for the zone you are currently in. Regardless of how you want to go about it, you still have to know where the HQs are before you can start them. And the best way to do that is with a snazzy guide! Oh sure, you could just wander Norrath and try to find them all, but with so many quests scattered about the landscape, you are sure to miss a few. Besides, this method doesn't quite fit in with the whole "efficient" angle. So here's a list to make acquiring -- and working on -- the Heritage Quests a smoother endeavor.
Like the previous leveling and dungeon guides, this one won't be broken down and listed simply by level. Instead, certain quests that share steps will be grouped together in order to increase your efficiency. Trust me, unless you really love Nektropos Castle (and most folks don't), you'll want to know all of the HQs that need you to enter so you aren't going back again and again and again. And again!
So there's this thing right now. It's kind of a craze. Maybe you've heard of it? Pokemon Go? Yeah, I thought so. The thing is, I myself am not even slightly tempted. As much as folks are flocking to this game, I don't even have an iota of interest. I did watch the cartoons when I was younger, but the game doesn't grab me.
But the idea of this kind of gameplay technology does.
When the Pokemon Go discussion turned to using this game style for other things, my interest was piqued and my imagination took off! You might say that Pokemon Go is singularly popular because of the IP and the way it transitions so well into the real world. Well, I know (and love) another game that is seamlessly integrated into the real world: The Secret World! The thought of hunting down investigation missions or lore from TSW got me pretty excited. And what about EverQuest II? Take its collection of shinies and strew them around the world, and suddenly I'm poised to buy a new smartphone. I may not want to hunt and capture pokemon, but hunt shinies and lore? I may never be indoors enough to even play other games!
Both ideas were simultaneously so awesome, I couldn't decide which one I'd focus on first -- hence this week's mash-up of both the EverQuesting and Chaos Theory columns.