The Book Closes on Another SOE Live

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

The curtain has gone down on another Grand Banquet, and just a few panels left to go due to the extended SOE Live schedule this year, it’s hard to believe that another event has come and gone so quickly! Every year things seem to go faster, with barely time for a breath.

There are a few panels today for those folks who aren’t East coast or who are staying Sunday night) including EverQuest Next Writer‘s panel, Channeler feedback panel (naturally there will be more feedback taken in the Tears of Veeshan beta forums) and the EverQuest II Q&A panel. I imagine these panels will be lightly attended, but hopefully videos will be taken and posted! As I am on the East coast of the US these days, I’m heading out before some of those panels even get under way.

I saw so many EQ2 players this weekend, had a tremendous time talking about and answering questions about EQ2U at our Data panel, and just really enjoyed the weekend. It was fantastic to meet Aliscious of EQ2Talk, Arabel and Maergoth of Equilibrium, Striinger, Yadrizzle, Afista, Dedith of Dragon’s Armory, Chuina (Chad) and Tannlin of the new EverCast show, and so many others, as well as catching up with old friends like Leko, Dellmon, Cyliena, Atan, Jethal, and so many others that I should be remembering (Email me!) .It was also great to catch up with devs from the EQ2 and EQNext teams.

EQ2 Impressions

I’m really happy to see a lot of good decisions going forward on the EQ2 team, I liked the Mechanics and Itemization panels a lot, and really other than the Insta-85 thing (which I talked to Holly about), things are looking good for EQ2.

One thing I was blown away by with EQ2, which will be explained further when I post the Art & Animation panel video, is that the work of Alex (GermInUSA), who is a graphics programming wizard from the early console days, is now finally going to bear fruit. If you have watched past Art & Animation videos about EverQuest II, you know that building a large exterior zone takes weeks if not MONTHS. This is due to the archaic tools available which follow EQ2′s design rules. Also the tools have prevented things like blending multiple textures together to make a smooth transition from a dirt path to rocks at the side of the road, up to hardier terrain. Right now this is extremely arduous.

Demoed at the Art & Animation panel, EQ2′s new Terrain Editor allowed the creation of a large island zone in 10 HOURS. The zone was much more intricate and detailed, flora and landscape elements just looked so much better, and significantly improved pathing is built in as well. No more NPCs and characters flipping around at odd angles as non-flat surfaces are encountered. It was truly amazing and I can’t say enough about it. In the past, the Design team has had to ask the Art team for new zones 6-9 months in advance. Now, we’ll see zones rapidly prototyped and iterated so much faster that who knows, there might even be some time to goose up some older zones which are interesting lorewise but visually dull (like Thundering Steppes).

NOTE: Nobody said they are redoing any zone!! It was just given as an example of a zone built early on that could look so much more awesome.

So I’m signing off for now and will start crunching videos tomorrow! Seriously!

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Comments (43)

  • Quabi

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    That new terrain tool sounds great – hopefully they won’t need to reuse zones so much with it.

    Thanks for the info!

    Reply

  • Heroic Characters

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    Could you please talk more about your conversations in regards to the insta level 85 characters please?

    Reply

  • the perverted ninja

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    good news but how dare you talk bad about Thundering Steppes :lol:

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Steppes is one of the first zones they did. Imagine what they could do now?

      NOTE: Nobody said they are redoing any zone!! It was just given as an example of a zone built early on that could look so much more awesome.

      Reply

  • Feldon

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    Issues:
    • A new player creating their FIRST character at 85 with full gear, spells, and AA already specced out.
    • new armor sets exclusive to these Heroic characters

    I understand its a Winback program but I think in the current form will burn out existing players who have to support this wave of players with no idea how to play.

    Hopefully talk about it.

    Reply

    • Loch

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      Was there any word given on restrictions to this? Is it only one character or can you create every character from now on at 85?

      I’m just wondering if it’s worth it to continue leveling some of my lower level alts or just wait.

      Reply

    • Mermut

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      yeah.. I think there is a problem with giving people who take the short cut charcters special bonuses over those who don’t take the short cut (like gear)

      Reply

    • Tarb

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      I initially had the same thoughts on this however, I know many people that have played for years and have leveled multiple characters up from level 1 that are horrible players, I would even go as far to say if you drew a line of good and bad players there would be way more on the bad player side than good side, and keep in mind all of these poeple leveled up from level one. The reason being is players are only going to be good if they want to take the time to learn and research their class which isn’t really required anymore since EQ2 has become so easy over the years unless your in an end game raiding guild which most people are not. My point is in the end I don’t see this making much difference.

      What I want to know is what are going to happen with all the <85 zones, if we thought they were ghost towns now…….

      Reply

    • Dethdlr

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      IMO there are two games here: solo and group (this includes group and raids).

      If you come to EQ2 as a new player looking for the solo game, starting at level 1 is great. You should have a great time leveling up and stick around for quite a while trying to finish all the solo content.

      If you come to EQ2 as a new player looking for the group game, perhaps because it’s a freakin MMO, it’s going to be a while before you get to group. You either get people mentored down grouping with you which means no challenge at all, or you get people power leveling you which means being dragged around hitting a button now and then, or you get to solo your way up. None of which is what you came to the game looking for.

      Giving new players a level 85 toon lets them fairly quickly get into grouping. If they are friends with existing players, those players can group with them right off the bat in some of the lower level instances. Then they can roll a level 1 alt and play though the low level content when nobody is available to group.

      I’ve lost count of how many people, both real life friends and total strangers, that have joined my guild as a low level first character, didn’t want to be power leveled (which I wouldn’t want to be either), played for a while, then quit the game. What’s the point of playing an MMO when all you do is solo? There are better solo games out there. This allows the best of both worlds. Create two characters, one at 85 and one at 1. Level up the level 1 character the normal way and group with the level 85.

      Reply

      • Heroic Characters

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        I understand what you are saying Deth but there are a couple issues here. If your new guild members / friends didnt want to be PL’ed then why would they want an instant 85? Its not like PL’ing takes a long time. Also, you mention that people mentoring down for group play at early levels creates no challenge, which is true. But then you mention as a positive for the free 85 character as being able to group with their max level friends in dungeons that would be very easy for anyone also not level 85. Not sure what you were getting at there.

        Reply

        • Dethdlr

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          To me, power leveling is basically saying all this stuff at the beginning of the game is a waste of time that you don’t want to bother with so lets just drag you along instead until you get up to a more reasonable level. If that’s the case, just start at that level.

          I see what you mean about the difference between mentoring down to group and grouping with level 85 characters. I guess the way I see it, if you mentor down and go hit any early zone, you can pretty much pull the whole zone and practically one shot it. On the other hand, I think you could still have some fun bringing your level 85 friend into zones like The Temple of Rallos Zek.

          Reply

    • Murfalad

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      I’m not completely against the idea, but it does feel like they jump in too close to the end content.

      Maybe they should have made new players hit level 20 and then get this level up to play with others (which requires a friend to award the token that boosts them – therefore making it more a system to get new players with friends then new players to skip a lot of the game).

      Its all a cheap solution though imo, the game was designed to be 50 levels, ideally I would like to see a radical relevelling of the content with each expansion being the last 10 levels a player needs to hit max level. That would take a lot of time and resources to implement though, but could be easier to mantain.

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        Except that 1-35 is much more polished content than 35-70. 35-70 is the least guided, most open-ended of Eq2′s content.

        Of course I remember when that was a good thing. :(

        Reply

    • Dedith

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      I believe that folks will get dropped into the new content (they are redoing Iceclad questing/drops/etc for this) and, if enough new player tutorial/help is available they can pick up the game fairly fast.

      I feel 85 is a good level for this as they won’t be able to group the current content immediately. They’ll have to level a bit and learn as they do.

      My concern is with quest rewards/drops being legendary, and this was brought up and they acknowledged. A new person gets in on a free acount to play around with the game and nothing they loot or are rewarded can be used without unlockers.

      Reply

  • taka

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    yea!! no they can do twilight sea, the grey, echo caverns, ssra temple etc etc etc… dern i loved the luclin expansion..

    very excited at the.. pure convenience and tool set improvements behind the scenes goes a long long way.. to giving the players what they want!

    Reply

  • meitsme

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    new players will probably be shocked with all the hotbars and will quit b4 they even starting to group

    Reply

  • Abyss

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    As always thanks for keeping us ever up to date, safe travels home Feldon.

    Reply

  • Betony

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    Thanks, Feldon, for your excellent coverage. You always manage an extra 6-7 miles for us ) I echo the safe travels home.

    Reply

  • Catharz

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    While I think the 1-85 thing will be good for people who want to level up their tenth toon fast, I think it’s a bad idea for new players. If they’re going to do something like this, they should base it on the number of max level characters you have.

    e.g.
    1 max level character = 1-10 free.
    2 max level characters = 1-20 free.
    etc (but capping out at 85).

    That would give experienced players a leg up on their newest alt, but allow others to learn more before doing so. Knowing how challenging it is to play a beastlord well (compared to other classes), I’m not looking forward to having a chaneller join my group that has NFI about the basics of combat.

    Reply

    • Snowdarc

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      Knowing how challenging it is to play a beastlord well (compared to other classes),

      Not sure what you’re basing that on.I will wager that we see 100′s of challengers at 85 on launch tho.

      Reply

      • Catharz

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        I’m basing that on leveling two beastlords to max level (1 on each account I own). Most other classes (except healers) are a bit more whack-a-mole in comparison.

        While you could put most BL abilities in 1 long macro with /clearabilityqueue at the end, it’s not going to work as well when you break out spiritual stance and need to start switching between buffs and heals. In some ways, playing a BL in spiritual stance (well) is closer to playing a bard in EQ1 than playing either of the bard classes in EQ2.

        Reply

  • miragian

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    I don’t know how much grouping your average new person does to learn anything as it is, so I don’t know that restrictions will really prevent the issue.

    Reply

  • Possessive

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    Great job as always, Feldon. I was sad to have missed FanFaire (forever) this year and am that much more appreciative of your efforts.

    Reply

  • Snowdarc

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    Thank you,as always,for the coverage Feldon. You are the man!

    Reply

  • Drumstix42

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    Create new level 85 character. Realize you only have 1 hotbar open. Open up 3 more and realize they are all filled with abilities.

    Realize this game uses hotbars to the excess in various abitlies that mostly do the same thing.

    Realize there’s still no one grouping at level 85. Either start pressing buttons like a champ, or get overwhelmed by tons of abilities and AAs. And then most likely quit just the same as you would have at level 10-20, because the content is mostly cookie cutter :/

    Reply

    • Dedith

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      Then you, as an experienced player, could help and/or group with new folks.

      btw, does Twilight Avengers in EQ1 ring any bells with you? Was a Drumstix there as well.. always meant to ask.

      Reply

  • Krozana

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    Thanks for all the hard work Feldon, I really appreciated the live bloggings you were able to do, and sent you a $25 donation to cover the cost of the live blogging for the EQNext debut, wished you had been able to do more but definately understand the costs.

    Look forward to seeing your coverage over the next few days!

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Thank you so much for the donation! I got another donation as well. They sure take the sting out of the whole thing.

      Working on my EQN impressions article. I’m going to have to break it up into part 1 and 2 already. ;)

      Reply

      • Gqwild

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        Looking forward to the EQN articles.

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          As I was deathly afraid of, I’ve got more than enough to do just covering EQ2.

          Reply

  • PK

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    All I really want to see from Sony is rolling AOD into the new expansion pack or drastically reducing the price of AOD. I haven’t played EQ2 since mid-DoV and have had the itch recently but paying $80 + gold membership (to access all the characters I had) just for the standard editions of AoD and ToV is a little too much.

    Reply

    • Dedith

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      AoD was asked about. Holly then mentioned that they intend to break AoD into components and sell those instead. No further details were mentioned.

      Reply

  • striinger

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    I remember several comments from devs that the community can help people get up to speed (in game and on the forums).

    I remain a little skeptical that new players coming to the game without friends who already play will get enough help. How many new players do we get that aren’t by referral?

    FYI, no instant 85 for channelers.

    Reply

  • Rylaar

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    I think they should restrict it to only being able to create an instant 85 to only accounts that have at least 1 level 85 already on it.

    Reply

  • Kruzzen

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    Hmm, did they say when the expansion would be launched? Seemed like they skipped out on some details in all the EQN stuff.

    Reply

    • Dedith

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      Oct 18th or something around there.

      Reply

    • Feldon

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      EverQuest II: Tears of Veeshan

      • Beta: September 15th
      • Launch: October 15th

      Reply

  • arabel

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    Oct 15 for expansion with one month beta. The date actually got glossed over and only mentioned later. I personally think heroic characters are a good thing, but I’ll comment more when I’m not sitting in an airport.

    Reply

  • arabel

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    Deth stop responding to comments that aren’t approved yet!

    Reply

  • a_shrubbery

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    So I’m signing off for now and will start crunching videos tomorrow! Seriously!

    I was just ranting on the SOE forums before I read this. Whew.

    It’s beyond belief that they wouldn’t record themselves and make their panels available to the 99% of their player base who can”t afford to go to SOE Live.

    They talk about their game, upcoming udates and expansion, and we have to hunt down and pray someone recorded the panels for a little bit of exciting news about the game?

    Just…. ugh…. this company doesn’t deserve to go mainstream with their next MMO. They really don’t. And they won’t. How could they?

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      Last year they recorded and posted some videos. They cameras used and resulting quality was no bueno.

      Reply

      • a_shrubbery

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        Sorry about the negativity btw. I realized after posting this it was only monday! :oops: But still… searched for a while and can’t find any info about the panels coming to YouTube. It does look like they didn’t plan to make them available to watch online.

        Reply

  • Charn

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    Level 85 . . . just high enough for players to start buying flying mounts from the marketplace (without having to do the week-long quest).

    Coincidence?

    Reply

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