In a perfect world, we’d have the mana of EverQuest Next news raining down from the sky, enough to satiate our hunger for information about the game we’ve long looked forward to. Instead, to many of us, including me, it feels more like we’re wandering lost in the desert for 40 years while trying to squeeze water from a stone.
We know that Landmark news has always been EQN news, but I can certainly understand players wanting to see more concrete EQN-specific things; I want to see more concrete things! I’ve been asking for a little more show and tell for quite a while. Sadly, that just isn’t happening. I was momentarily excited when in June, devs announced that the Landmark team was shifting the bulk of its focus from Landmark to EverQuest Next. Oh that was music to fans’ ears! But what have we learned about the game since then? We’ve seen one screenshot of Qeynos and had a couple workshops, but there’s been very little concrete news. For now, we must assume that the previously revealed information is still valid. Here’s a recap of key points we know so far.
When it comes to a launch, rough winds are pretty much expected. But surprisingly, EverQuest II’s progression server launch on Tuesday was pretty much smooth sailing — especially compared to its older sibling’s run just a couple months prior. The server was up right when expected, players could actually log into said servers despite the load, and a lack of crippling lag made play possible. Even better than all that is the fact that folks landed on the infamous boat that started the original journey over 10 years ago. In many ways, it really is a blast from the past, albeit with a few changes.
So now that the opportunity to recreate those glory days of starting EQII for the first time is here, how does the experience measure up to personal hype?
How’s the weather over in EverQuest? Well there was a doozy of a storm that rolled through recently! I am going to admit that I was actually shocked at the response that Producer Holly Longdale’s comment about raid targets on EQ’s progression server stirred up. She originally told me,
“What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.”
I honestly thought EQ players would celebrate that sentiment as it seemed to bespeak the heart and history of the game. Apparently I was wrong. There have been some heated discussions on the topic — and not a few raging rants. In some cases players brought valid points to the discourse; in others, there was only whining, complaining, and insults.
All in all, as a casual myself, I think Longdale is right. But that doesn’t mean everything is perfect in progression land, either.
Progression servers are definitely a hot topic in the EverQuest franchise right now. EverQuest recently opened up a new one for those nostalgic for the original version of the original game (and then quickly had to open another to handle the load!), and now EverQuest II has announced that both PvE and PvP time-locked servers are in the works (beta starts July 7th). It’s definitely an exciting time for players who yearn for the simpler days, who want to travel back and experience the games before the years and years of expansions and flooded each Norrath with so much more content.
However, even positive news is not without its negatives. While there are some concrete benefits to these servers, there are also some downsides. I sat down with Producer Holly Longdale to discuss the status of the progression servers, from the things that make you go whoa to the woes that plague them.
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.
I thought I saw a dev dungeon reference. I did! I did see a dev dungeon reference! And it’s about time.
I have to admit that as much as I have been looking forward to Landmark’s future features, dungeons totally slipped my mind. I’d like to think it was because the anticipation of utilizing gamemaster tools to control AI on my claims overshadowed them, but the truth is that devs let this feature fade into obscurity. It’s been a really long time since the original vision for the game was announced, and basically nothing has been said on the dungeon subject outside of claims since, which is a shame: Of all the various incoming features, dungeons are one that might finally be able to lay that lingering “It’s only a building game” misconception to rest once and for all.
So yes, dungeons are a thing! At least they will be. And they will be both player-made on claims and out in the wilds. If only it would all come sooner rather than later.
It was just over a week ago that Landmark‘s servers went offline in preparation for a major upheaval that affected nearly every system in the game, from a total reworking of topography to a complete character wipe. Indeed, big changes were ready to burst forth! And fans sat in eager anticipation of the servers’ return so they could jump in and experience everything because while we’ve had announcements and patch notes to prepare us, knowing what changes lie ahead is never the same as living them. What’s better than expected? What leaves a little to be desired? Here are my week-one impressions of life after the wipe.
Some pretty big changes are on their way to Landmark, not the least of which is the final full character wipe and an extensive land reformation. Anticipation is certainly high for the new biomes, and to say many testers are looking forward to finally keeping character progression into the open beta phase and launch is an understatement! But that’s only a small part of the new build: The achievement, crafting, and harvesting systems are all getting their own facelifts.
With so many modifications incoming, players may not be too surprised to learn that the big wipe will happen later than anticipated; instead of April 29th, the wipe is postponed until the week after. At least that gives everyone a bit more time to digest all of the information, including these new details we’ve gathered from our talk with Senior Producer Terry Michaels and Lead Designer Darrin McPherson.
It’s no secret that EverQuest II has a plethora of quests. The moniker surely fits: There are so many quests that it’s impossible to do everything in a zone before out-leveling it. But you could just as well call it EverDungeon! Unlike many games that have a dungeon or two per zone or level range, EQII has an abundance of them; a player of literally any level has a selection to choose from when preparing to go for a dive. There are many different types to cater to different whims, be it open public dungeons, instanced group dungeons, raids, mini zones, and even two-man solo instances. There are even small instances within other dungeons! Now top it all with the ability to mentor or chronomentor (which opens up all the dungeons you’ve already leveled past) and the repurposing of lower-level dungeons to level 95+ Fabled Dungeons and there’s a seemingly endless supply of them to do.
With so many, how do you know where to go? If you are looking for a certain type, level, or just want to make sure you don’t miss a single one, this guide is for you — it lists out the available dungeons to help you decide where you want your next trip to be.
With everything that has happened over the last couple of months, players are understandably curious and concerned about of the future of Daybreak Games’ portfolio. What will happen with their favorite games? Today we sat down with Holly Longdale, the executive producer of EverQuest and EverQuest II, who unveiled the plans for EQII going forward. And those plans involve dropping the yearly expansion model and converting to DLC.
How soon is this change taking place? The first DLC, Rum Cellar, will be available on the beta server this Monday, April 6th, and release to live servers on April 28th. Players who want to get a peek at this content will be treated to a livestream tour hosted by Longdale on Tuesday, April 7th. But for those who don’t want to wait, we’ve got plenty of information for you right here.
Happy birthday, sweet sixteen! That’s the song going through the air this week as EverQuest celebrates its latest claim to fame: membership in an exclusive club of MMORPGs old enough to get a license in the US. And while some might argue that 16 actually indicates old age in gaming, EQ bounded through the year with the zest and confidence of a young whippersnapper, showing no intention of slowing down. Even the infamous SOE changes didn’t completely derail the momentum, as evidenced by a hearty multi-month party schedule to celebrate the occasion.
This past year has certainly had its ups and downs. Will EQ be able to keep up the momentum throughout this next year in light of recent events? That’s the million-dollar question, and many are eagerly awaiting the answer! While time will certainly supply it, let’s take this moment to look back and then enjoy the party going on right now.
You know me: I’ve been quite the supporter of EverQuest Next and Landmark for a good long while. Even before writing about EQN these past few years, I was following its development, and I got to be one of the first ever to find out about and actually get my hands on Landmark. I’ve been at the SOE Live reveals, I’ve talked with the devs on numerous occasions, and I’ve seen their great passion and dedication to the games — and I’ve been relaying all that info to you. It’s no secret that I believe in this franchise. So when I say that all these recent developments give me pause, you can understand the gravity of my feelings. I certainly don’t make this statement lightly.
Is EverQuest Next in trouble? I think it is. At the same time, cries of doom and gloom are unwarranted.
It’s been quite a week! And not just for Massively Overpowered. Right as our original site was sunsetting, SOE announced that it was bought out and would be doing business under the new moniker Daybreak Games Company. Talk about shaking things up! Breaking free of Sony and going under the umbrella of an investment firm is just a wee bit of a change, and it is one that understandably had players nervous about future of the studio’s games. What will happen to the older titles like EverQuest and PlanetSide? What about those in development like EverQuest Next and H1Z1? CEO John Smedley assured players via Twitter that all the games will continue on. Time will tell. However, there was one immediate casualty in this whole changeover: SOE Live. And then in a huge punch to the fan gut came many more casualties in the form of multiple dev layoffs.
What will this all mean for players? As far as the convention side of things, a group of fans refuse to let 2015 go by without an annual gathering of
SOE Daybreak Games players and is organizing a summer get-together. But will we even have games to celebrate come summer?