Chains of Eternity Expansion A Return to Content

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News

Nearly every EverQuest II expansion has included some kind of new feature, yet we tend to associate expansions with their content. Think of any EQ2 expansion and our recollections are of the continents, solo quests, group and raid zones, and level cap raises contained within each update. So what happened with Age of Discovery?

It’s no secret that the original plan was to release two expansions — Velious I and Velious II — and charge for both of them. However it must have been felt that players would react negatively to a “Velious double-dip”. So Age of Discovery was envisioned as an a la carte features bundle which would still offer the side benefit of funding continual Velious development.

Yet despite Herculean efforts by SmokeJumper to get players on board with the benefits of Features vs. Content Expansions, players remained skeptical.

So why even release Destiny of Velious and Age of Discovery in the same year?

We can only speculate, but it seems likely that SOE wanted to get back on a November/December release cycle for EverQuest II expansions. Consumers tend to spend freely in December and then go through a round of belt-tightening in January and February. We also know that Age of Discovery was planned out approximately one month before Fan Faire. There’s only so much that can get squeezed into a product you’re shipping in 4 1/2 months.

So what did we get for our money by buying Destiny of Velious? Actually quite a bit in hindsight. For $40, we get:

  • Destiny of Velious expansion (Feb 2011)
  • The “Children of War” (Drunder) update(June 2011)
  • The War of Zek update (August 2011)
  • Skyshrine guspansion with level cap raise (April 2012)
  • untitled Velious content update (February 2013)

This is not to mention Qeynos and Freeport which were both revamped.

As for Age of Discovery for a one-off features expansion, we got:

  • Beastlords
  • Mercenaries
  • Item Reforging
  • Dungeon Maker
  • Tradeskill Apprentices

So is the grand experiment of Features Expansions over? Time will tell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see individual features make an appearance on the Marketplace for $5 or $10, but the chances of another pure features expansion like Age of Discovery seem unlikely. You can argue whether Age of Discovery was a good value, but many players found more than enough enjoyment in Mercenaries, Beastlords, and Item Reforging.

EverQuest II: Chains of Eternity is expected to be released late this November 2012. And no, it won’t be free.

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Comments (11)

  • singing

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    wonder what hapepnd with western wastes or did they just cancel it

    Reply

  • Ragefighter

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    “untitled Velious content update (February 2013)”

    Probably that one. well, whats left of it. ;p

    Reply

  • Flip

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    Yea if i remember correctly kerafyrm destroyed most of WW to prevent the Claws of Veeshan from launching a counter attack on the Temple of Veeshan, kera’s current hq and one of the only things in WW still intact. So i would assume the next batch of velious will be us taking the temple back from kerafyrm

    Reply

  • bhagpuss

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    As I said at the time, Age of Discovery is my favorite EQ2 expansion and the one which I feel gave me best value for money. I now have a Level 91 Beastlord who has become one of my favorite characters, I’ve spent many, many hours both making and running Dungeon Maker dungeons and I have been able to see large amounts of content from previous expansions that was completely new to me thanks to the Mercenary system. The Tradeskill Apprentices provided me with the one and only Daily Quest system in any game that I have actively enjoyed and which I kept up on several characters without missing a day for months.

    Had these been sold separately in the SC Store I would have paid considerably more than the actual cost of the expansion to get them, so I consider it to have been extremely good value. It does, of course depend what features are being offered, but if SOE could come up with more features as useful and attractive as these, I would personally prefer them to new content, or at least to the usual kind of new content, most of which I don’t use at all at the time of release.

    No reason, of course, that they can’t offer both.

    Reply

  • Jaxyl

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    it seems likely that SOE wanted to get back on a November/December release cycle for EverQuest II expansions. Consumers tend to spend freely in December and then go through a round of belt-tightening in January and February.

    It also makes the content more relevant, if you release stuff in April, people go on summer break by June and then its much more difficult for raiders, etc..

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    I think the city revamps came along with age of discovery, because I remember the first time I walked into the new Freeport, I was given a quest to find the item reforger. It would make more sense this way anyway, because the war between Freeport and Qeynos was during the lore era known as the Age of Destiny. We should now be past that era, if the title of our last expansion pack’s name was meant to mark the beginning of a new Era. Than again it does feel like SOE has forgotten a lot of their own EQ lore these days.

    Reply

  • Karith

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    @Eschia

    According to the lore dev, and im paraphrasing, the title of the expansion doesn’t change the title for the name of our current Age of Destiny. I think this is because of the Shissar calander lore telling the prophecy of ages end, it is our destiny since the release of the game to stop this prophecy from coming true.

    Reply

  • Charn

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    Well, the city revamp (only Freeport at the time) HAPPENED at the same time as Age of Discovery, but they didn’t come WITH it . . . everyone got the city content updates, both Freeport and Qeynos, even if you didn’t buy AoD (or even DoV for that matter).

    The fact that you got the “Find the reforger” quest when you walked into the “New” Freeport was just coincidental. People that walked into the “Old” (at the time) Qeynos (which hadn’t been updated yet), still got that quest as long as they had purchased AoD.

    Both city revamps were just new game content, free for EVERYone, even people that are completely free players and only own up to Sentinel’s Fate (which comes included as free downloadable content).

    Reply

  • Green Armadillo

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    I don’t think that they ever honestly wanted to give players the option not to pay for “optional” feature expansions – see the inclusion of an AA cap increase and all of the content in Skyshrine that seems balanced around solo+merc, along with the sheer common sense of how they would make up the $40 from people who don’t want to re-roll Beastlord. The problem last year was that the release schedule precluded actually having the content portion of AOD finished before the non-negotiable launch date. Having gone this path, they had to market Skyshrine as part of DOV to avoid the impression that AOD launched as half an expansion.

    I’m open to being proven wrong if the evidence changes, but right now all of the arguments in favor of why feature expansions are good for everyone seem to have gone MIA now that they’re rolling out an expansion that happens to be ready at the same time as some new content.

    Reply

  • Glenolas

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    They are financially strapped and needed two $40 expansions in the same calendar year. Since they’d promised a long running DOV expansion (launch was half the content of other similar launches) they could not just charge again for content. Ergo they invented a new type of expac, got the extra $$, and went back to content expansions after that. The November 2011 expac wasn’t a screaming financial success and they went into 2012 still dropping payroll.

    It looks to be worse now, as so far I see no summmer’s ended rebound in attendance that we usually see by now.

    Reply

  • Mitch

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    Guild Wars 2 is out so ppl aren’t coming back to eq2 for this. Heck ppl aren’t even going back to wow for it’s new expansion.

    Reply

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