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.
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.
Do you want a little something different in your EverQuest or EverQuest II’s experience? You’re in luck: New specialty servers are coming to a Norrath near you this summer! Yes, EQII did just consolidate a bunch of servers last fall (it even dissolved the PvP progression server), but these new ones come with a twist. Holly Longdale announced via her producer’s letters that each game would launch a limited-time event server, and EQII will also add a permanent “free trade” live server.
On EQ’s Quarm, players will race to defeat Mata Muram on an Omens of War-era server that starts players at level 51 with 50 AA and gear. Items can also be freely traded here, as on Firiona Vie, and the server will be True Box. EQII’s Event Server: Race to Trakanon will be — you guessed it — a race to kill Trakanon. Both servers will have special rewards and items to earn that players can claim on any server. Additionally, both servers require All-access membership. Once Trakenon is defeated, the server will close and a new event one will begin.
EverQuest Producer Holly Longdale is officially sounding the party horn for the start of the game’s 17th anniversary festivities. In a new producer’s letter, Longdale rattles off a list of upcoming events, some of which start this month.
Wednesday, March 16th marks EverQuest’s 17th birthday, and on that date the game will be hosting a drunken Gnome race at 6:00 p.m. EST. This is for everyone, but to participate you’ll need to create a new Gnome in Ak’Anon. Raiders can also tackle a huge Legacy of Ykesha dungeon on that date as well.
Longdale hinted at more goodness to come, including the game’s next expansion: “Heading into summer, we have some big and fun plans in the works. We are still finalizing the details before we make any grand statements — and there should be a grand statement as we inch closer. The expansion for this year is well under way and looking incredible on the art front as well as design.”
Development on EverQuest II has been very quiet all through January and most of February, but that’s just from our perspective. A new letter from producer Holly Longdale reveals that the developers have been working hard behind the scenes to deliver a big update in the spring, with a preview stream coming on March 15th at 2:00 p.m. EST for those who just can’t wait to find out what’s next for the game.
Among the features promised for the update are new stories, new quests, new dungeons, and new key chests. There will also be new stuff added to the major holidays this year, which serves as further good news. European players can also expect to see server merges later this year, much like what happened for US servers a few months ago. The important part is that fans of EverQuest II have plenty to look forward to over the next year.
When it comes to the EverQuest franchise, looking back at 2015 is a much different experience than looking back at 2014 was. That previous year ended on such a high note of hope and anticipation; players (including me) were excited about what was to come. This year, however, is closing out with an air of melancholy, apprehension, and — for some — resignation.
That’s not to say that everything has been all bad. Despite what some may have you believe, the titles haven’t been careening non-stop down the slippery slope of doom. In fact, EverQuest and EverQuest II might even be ending the year on an upswing thanks to their unexpected expansions. Unfortunately, the two newest children of the family, Landmark, and EverQuest Next, enjoy no such buoyancy in the final quarter. They have sadly faded into the shadows.
How to sum up 2015? Concern, controversy, and content come to mind.
One of the oldest online shooters could be facing a resurrection in the near future. On an EverQuest II stream last week, Daybreak mentioned that it was working on a “new Tanarus server” now that some legal hurdles have been overcome, but devs declined to release any further details until the studio had more to show for it. Tanarus was a multiplayer tank game developed by Verant and published by SOE in 1997; it ran until 2010.
Update: Alas, chalk this one up to just a miscommunication. Daybreak says what it was hinting at was the fact that the “evolved” version of the classic Tanarus server is now a “handcrafted Daybreak-branded kegerator” destined for the dining and entertainment lounge at the studio’s new headquarters. No tanks for you!
EverQuest fans excited for the game’s next expansion should mark Wednesday, November 19th down on their calendars — that’s the day The Broken Mirror launches. Announced during a special reveal livestream, this 22nd expansion revolves around the goddess Anashti Sul (who has been split into her two most dominant aspects of life and decay) and her hunger to return to power and rule. Unfortunately for Norrathians, she plans to unleash plenty of chaos and war throughout the planes in order to achieve her goal. Fortunately for players, this means all new zones, new dungeons, and plenty of new items!
The results are in! During the big expansion reveal livestream yesterday, EverQuest II’s Executive Producer Holly Longdale announced the outcome of the most recent vote on the Time-Locked Expansion servers. While players on both the PvP server Deathtoll and the PvE sever Stormhold previously said no to unlocking game’s first expansion, they appear ready for it now; both populations voted yes to open up Desert of Flames. The expansion will become available for play next Thursday, October 8th. Anyone hoping to participate in the various holiday events on the TLE servers, however, are out of luck; devs explained that the events will break all the things pretty significantly (remember, the holidays have grown and changed significantly over the years), and will take a huge amount of resources to address. So for the foreseeable future, holiday events will not be turned on.
In other news, the first server merge is expected to come next week, combining Crushbone, Butcherblock, and Oasis into the new Maj’ Dul server. Then there will be a break as Daybreak moves offices. After all three server merges are completed and everything is stable, Longdale said free character transfers will become available (and will include moves to Antonia Bayle ).
Is it just me, or is Daybreak actively trying to make me dislike it? To force me abandon all hope when I enter? Because I like the games (what’s left of them, anyway) and many of the people (well, ditto), so it takes some dedicated effort to make me wince and begin to question my support. But that is exactly what these latest expansion announcements for EverQuest and EverQuest II do.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I don’t like expansions. I love them. And I am excited to get one! I am still pretty heavily invested in the EQ franchise; as with SWG, I’d always felt I would never fully leave EQII until that Norrath shuts down for good. The number of times Daybreak has announced one thing and then done the polar opposite is what’s causing the issue here. That is just not a good practice to be known for — and I am coming to expect it. Therein lies the problem.
Daybreak‘s Holly “Windstalker” Longdale has just announced that EverQuest II’s next major content will be a true expansion.
Our next expansion release is right around the corner! Yes, you heard me right – expansion! The team has been churning away and when we looked at the amount of content we created, we decided to call our next release an expansion rather than a campaign or the much-loved term, “campansion.”
Longdale promises that the expansion — EQII’s 12th to date — will include “a sprawling overland and loads of content with quests, advanced solo and heroic dungeons, and a healthy number of raids,” as well as an updated deity system, new tradeskill goodies, and level-agnostic renditions of all the new dungeons.
The full reveal is planned for October 1st.
Huh. That sentiment pretty well sums up those days when despite thinking you’ve heard or seen it all, something pops up that takes you by surprise, something you never would have expected. EverQuest II just recently pulled that off with its latest announcement of a separate prison server for all the marauding miscreants. The news has actually been quite thought-provoking; I personally am still not quite sure what to think about this development. Upon first hearing about it, my opinion didn’t immediately polarize one way or the other. Instead, I’ve been pondering it from various angles. Is the idea the best thing since sliced bread or the heralding of the apocalypse? Is it even possible to pull off? Can paid prisons keep problem EQII players in their place and out of the hair of the rest of the population?
Producer Holly Longdale called this little endeavor an experiment, so time will tell what the actual results will be. But while we wait, we can analyze and attempt to prognosticate on this fascinating idea!
EverQuest II producer Holly Longdale has posted an update on the TLE/progression server unlocks on the game’s official forums. The Stormhold and Deathtoll servers will be getting the Splitpaw and Bloodline Chronicles adventure packs prior to the first expansion release thanks to an overwhelming voter majority of 80 percent. Both packs are releasing today.
As for that first expansion — which is Desert of Flames, if you’ve forgotten your early EQII history — its vote will begin on August 21st and will run through August 28th. A “yes” vote will cause DoF to release on September 3rd. A “no” vote will result in a second yes/no vote on September 21.
Players of any level may vote yes or no, though only the first vote cast by a given account will be counted. It takes a 2/3 majority to unlock the expansion.