Future Content: A Letter from Dave Georgeson About Weekly/Monthly Updates

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding

From Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson on the EQ2 Forums:

Hail, Fellow Norrathians!

We’d like to talk to you about how we’re delivering new adventures and new features into your worlds in both EQ and EQII.

We’ve listened to you on the forums, across social media, and face-to-face at our many events. There have been some common topics that come up about the things you like and don’t like with what we’ve been doing, and we’re using that information to customize our new direction.

Our approach so far:

  • Up until now, we’ve been focusing on major content releases all year round in both games.
    • Essentially we have planned four big updates a year, with one of those updates being super-sized as the expansion.
    • Plus, bunches of little updates scattered throughout the year.

Your reaction to that approach:

  • Mostly “meh”. The quarterly updates were high quality and cool, but not big enough to really feel expansion-ish. Plus, casual players often fell behind and felt disconnected from their friends.
  • Generally negative on the consequence[s] [this has] had on expansion sizes. Because we were releasing large chunks of content quarterly, the expansion got compressed into a shorter time schedule, which meant that its features had to fit within a shorter cycle also. We were often able to create many, many hours of gameplay in those expansions, but that didn’t really substitute for the feeling of sheer zone quantity. (And zones take a loooong time to make, so they were a natural victim of the shorter expansion schedule.)
    • NOTE: This was a “good intentions” change. Lots of content spread around the year seemed like a really good idea. It even seemed that it was at first as players got excited with the big pushes. The negatives didn’t start to show until we’d been doing it for a year or so.

So how are we fixing that?

Basically, we’ve decided to release regular improvements every week, then every month we’ll push something cool to you. Beyond that, we’re focusing the rest of our efforts into making great expansions!

Here’s a bit more detail:

  • What sorts of things will come out weekly?
    • These will be things like straight-up feature refinements, holiday events, short adventures, or pretty much anything that doesn’t merit being in the expansion or being a big monthly highlight. But something of this sort comes every week.
  • What sorts of things will you deliver monthly?
    • Each month, we’re going to do something interesting and fun, like aging a cool existing dungeon up to end-game levels and itemization, or adding a series of quests for players to find and explore. Maybe even a new zone sweeper or random world event, or that sort of thing. Something new and fun to experience with friends and guildies.
  • How will this impact the quality of the expansion?
    • We’re putting a huge emphasis on how important the expansion pack is to you. The feedback on that has been almost universal. “Make Our Expansion Matter.” So that’s what we intend to do.
  • Is SOE locked into this schedule? Do we mean EVERY week and EVERY month?
    • Answer: Yes, we mean it. We’re going to work hard to make it happen regularly and dependably.

We like this new strategy as a whole. The EQ and EQII team Producers (Thom and Holly) have created detailed schedules of how the rhythm of this stuff will play out across the coming months. And my reaction, as a player of these games, is that it all sounds pretty fantastic.

Again, this doesn’t reduce the amount of content we’re delivering to you. The EQ and EQII dev teams are robust in size and are constantly overhauling tools so that higher quality content can be created in even less time, so we can deliver even more. They work tirelessly throughout the year making our Norraths better because we (the dev teams and SOE) all love these worlds.

But what do you think? Does this sound like fun to you too?

  • Weekly and monthly improvements and adventures
  • Major focus on the annual expansion content and story

Let us know! Thanks!

Dave Georgeson
Director of Development
EverQuest Franchise

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Comments (49)

  • Rage

    |

    If they pull it off this will be great IMO!

    World events are always fun and old zones coming back to max lvl with new loot is great, had a lot of fun back in the vanilla through KoS/EoF times and would welcome a chance to relive more of those zones at lvl 95, as long as the loot or rewards are relevant.

    Plus spending more time on the expansion is always good.

    Reply

    • trulyvexed

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      Where can they take the loot from here? Tiny increments like we’ve seen between the current ToV Tiers with minor proc upgrades that don’t stack? Will that keep people happy as long as it’s from “new old” content?

      There’s such a huge gap in gear between RoK-SF-COE-ToV, can they do that again without annoying the player base? Stat inflation has to stop at some point?

      I’m not bitching, just curious which direction people would actually like to see.

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        We’ll find out this year when the level cap goes up.

        Reply

        • Kruzzen

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          Doh, spoiler? hehe

          Reply

        • Anaogi

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          Wait, what? I thought it was just the AA cap going up…

          Reply

    • Delerius

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      I agree, it will be a treat to log in and see what they have to offer some new adventures. and new things to try. I know a lot of people complain about use the same mobs/strats/item graphics in the new content. now we all know that’s just part of everquest, But at least this way we don’t have to load another 2 gigs of new zones to the 5 gigs of useless content on my hard rive…..ill take old content revamps any day. Plus gives opportunities and purpose for new players to explore content they never did because it was obsolete. I just hope they have some Trophies for the Guild hall to add to the collections Maybe some New ones as well.

      Reply

  • Caam

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    The first thing I thought of when I read this is “Which zone is Burned Woods linked to this week?” (Google “EQ1 Burned Woods” if you don’t get it.)

    Reply

  • milliebii

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    Isnt this another way of saying:

    Sorry folks due to our financial problems we will be cancelling the next couple of Game Updates. We will try to slip some more stuff into the regular maintenance schedule each month but that is going to be recycled stuff (new zones and dungeons are just too expensive). But by mid year we hope to be back in the black and have time to do a good expansion for you for the end of the year. But if things do not go well we just might have to scale that back too.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      No.

      Reply

      • milliebii

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        …. well you are a heck of a lot closer to the folks at SOE than I am but it still reads that way to me.

        Reply

        • Feldon

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          It seems like a way to repackage the same updates we’re already going to get.

          I will admit that the updates this year will be a bit smaller than in past years, but the expansion will still be full-sized.

          Reply

          • badcat

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            Full sized, I guess I look at ROK and what came after, we not even been close. I would like to get back to full sized like ROK but honestly I think they lack the dev staff to pull that off. Maybe instead of giving us an xpac once a year they should work on something until the get it right before rolling it out. The past few expansion Sundered , dov and TOV have been getting smaller and smaller. Once they got all the pieces to DOV in place but that took 2 years.

            Reply

          • Thait

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            As a minor thing about ROK, remember that while ROK was massive in overland it was pitiful in instances. That is the problem they ran into. Those who love overlands loved ROK due to it’s sheer size but there was only a tiny handful of instance zones which left the people who like to run instance zones pretty much out of luck. I might be remembering wrong but I believe ROK launched with something like 4 instance zones.

            This is the balance they need to get right, a large overland with enough instances to keep people busy. They focused on instances way to much in TSO and launched with horridly small overland. They’ve tried to get it to the right mixture but I believe they are still lacking in overland.

            Reply

          • Delerius

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            That could have played well into Expansion Why does an Xpac have to be all about a NEW Land? in reality you could overlap upgrade additions previous places in expansions. Maybe PLan out a 3-4 Phase Progression for Each Realm. What I mean by this is is In an xpac you introduce Lore and New Lands to adventure in with questlines and dungeons to explore. Then you Have your base standard Itemizations for the tiers as done before. Then you have a Bi annual Game Update planed for a Huge interactive event with instance zones and quests. That leading into a New xpac which adds a New land but also adds in zones and relevant second phase content to the previous. By the 3rd xpac relevant content will still exist and spread out evenly over 3-4 xpacs.

            Reply

  • Carnifex

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    I like this idea, it has lots of potential. I only know about 3 people in total that seem to care about EQ next or Landmark or 3 or whatever you want to call it, so any more content for EQ sounds good to me.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      8,500 people in EQNL chat for this announcement.

      Reply

      • Snowdarc

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        I know exactly 1 person that plans to play Landmark.

        Reply

        • gwen

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          I know of no one who wants to play it let alone have plans to play

          Reply

          • Delerius

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            from the friends of mine in the gaming community I have no friends from eq1 or eq2 who are even thinking of eqnext some show curioustiy about the landmark but all of the agree on one thing….cost is ridiculous and not even close to being something they can put in RL budget.
            However I do have a lot of friends that tend to HOP from game to game but get bored after 3-4 months of playing and jump to the next. they came from wow to eq2 then went to rift for about a month now they are playing final fantasy. They have plans to try ESO (As do I because the game just looks Fantastic and a TRUE fantasy game) that will be determined once I get in beta :) eq2 has gone down the toilet slowly. though I like the idea of upgradeable gear and the ingame lore is unmatched so far, and listening to the majority of the reason People are leaving the game for other games, seems to be a lack of concern.
            complaints why people leave the game I have gotten or seen. main reason is the “exodus crowd” say its the slow movement to clone Warcraft mechanics. The second reason people tell me they are turned off by the game is the detrition of class roles, when I asked what was the biggest turn off, replied “The game seemed to be unbalanced, Mages didn’t seem Mage enough, Scouts seemed more damage based instead of being usefull as other games, (this intreaged me so I asked.) most agreed that scouts in games they like did tier3 dps but the main roll of them was to keep the mobs from hitting the tank by means of stun, Daze, more towards Weakening the mob and creating opportunities for companions to exploit. They ALL agreed one thing Mage Class do not do anywhere the damage that mages should in comparison to other classes. one thing they do agree on is Tanks and Healing Classes seem to be on par with the current content but they where the only classes that where.
            I also asked about what kinda game are they actually looking for.
            most replied. a More ADULT game (not as in dirty Content,but less Kiddy stuff in it.)

            *Most important was Defining class Role in groups and raids.
            *Second most – important was controllability (All agreed they liked eq2 control system)
            *Third was-Graphics they all agree “Fantasy” games should be more realistic and less Cartoony and Have Less ridiculous and redundant content.
            *Fourth Biggest thing mention was Progressive direction and ability to improve the game itself. This seemed a little Broad so I engaged into deeper questioning in this subject. I got different / mixed answers but the just of it was. a Game that would be able to add new game changing features without changing the way they play the characters.

            One thing discussed on side bar in chat channel, that was thrown in I did agree with-they should have upgraded The Existing Eq2 with the building features of landmark.
            Building of a new game, only creates more competition to the existing games, and that eqnext is nothing like the everquest franchise, THis itself could be the end of it. especially with Elder Scrolls a very real competitor just for its style of MMORPG.

            Reply

    • Thait

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      I don’t care about landmark but I certainly plan to try out EQ3, as does everyone I know.

      Reply

      • milliebii

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        I would love to try out EQ3.

        Unfortunately EQ Not! and EQ Not!:Landmark are what is on the horizon from SOE.

        Reply

    • Grugg

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      I personally can’t wait for EQ Next, but I haven’t played EQ2 since winning one of Feldon’s expansion giveaways awhile back. Catching up by paying US$40 for each expansion that I missed is a lot to ask.

      Reply

      • Feldon

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        Pay $40 for ToV plus $15 for Reforging and you’re caught up. And you can play without a sub, although there are perks for having a sub.

        Reply

  • Jrral

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    I’ll be happy with this. One of the reasons I took a long vacation from playing was that, starting after Drunder came out, the treadmill was just getting too fast and I was feeling too rushed. New tiers and gear increments were coming out so fast I couldn’t get my characters properly set up for one before we were starting on the next. Having the pace slow down some will be a relief.

    Reply

  • Miragain

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    So they have decided to do what GW2 has been doing since it came out? Way to play catch-up.

    Reply

    • Snowdarc

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      GW2? As in suck horribly?

      Reply

      • Flatley

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        GW2 actually doesn’t suck at all. When I left EQ2 it was the game I took up and I’ve been there ever since.

        EQ2 doesn’t suck either but I left for other reasons than thinking the game was bad.

        Reply

  • Gorraman

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    Weekly updates? Bad idea and not sustainable. It reeks of desperation. You will burn out the dev’s creativity. I would rather see good monthly updates with exciting content (even heroic versions of existing zones). Annual expansion with really good content would also be desirable. If you do too much too often, it becomes monotonous and you will just burn out the devs and the players.

    Reply

  • Dims

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    I remember them selling the very opposite idea a couple of years ago: think the same person said like “it’s absolutely wrong. we hv one huge expansion and small updates – but players say ‘meh’ coz they finish the expansion (a year-long team work) in a couple of weeks – and they hv nothing to do the other 10 months and the leave to WOW. So as players ask us we go for quarterly big LU’s that are free, content rich and blah-blah-blah”

    Reply

  • Lemilla

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    Sounds more like they are going back to te frequent smaller updates they had before they decided that 3-monthly updates would be better for the game as it would give more time for bugtesting and such. Glad they finally figured out that wasn’t an improvement.

    Reply

  • Melanore

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    Great news!

    Reply

  • Pipsissiwa

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    I like the sound of this a lot.

    Just hope that the smaller stuff they add doesn’t suddenly start costing SC to use, like the much awaited merc ‘slots’ turned out to.

    Reply

  • badcat

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    Quite frankly I am glad they are going to focus on giving us a big expansion. Part of this current problem was they lacked the staff to finish DOV and kept on rolling out parts as they completed it. Weekly updates, I will believe it when I see it. They got to stop making their player base mad, and start focusing on fixing things instead of adding more broke things on top of other broke things.

    Reply

  • Armageddoux

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    … if it could be true !

    I want to believe …

    Reply

  • Hellteron

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    It‘s always good to see a dev team trying to become better and getting closer to the community needs. Personally, I would love to have monthly events, separated from the main eq2 story. Having some GMs controling some npcs and doing things. Mayong Mistmoore should walk The Loping Plains mind controling players in the zone,directing them to his castle and then dedicating them a fearful speech of some kind!! Those things make Norrath more alive.

    I agree with the huge, important and full developed expansion every year, if possible. It‘s great to have meaningfull content.

    I‘m happy ingeneral with the game and I applaud how it‘s being managed.

    Reply

  • Rylaar

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    There is a lot of negativity here. How about we give them the benefit of the doubt and see if they deliver before we all pile on? I’m off to play some EQ2! =)

    Reply

  • Benj

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    I will reserve judgement on this until I see what kinds of things they roll out for their weekly updates. I will add a few cents of my own though.

    I only play the game once a week or so. Updates that are this rapid could easily overwhelm me. I agree that content came really fast after Drunder. My guild was rather slow at catching up. I think a monthly update would be better, or even the 3-month plan they’ve been using. I started to get bored with ToV just as this last game update hit, adding more zones.

    Reply

  • Oakmiser

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    Yup what feldon said. Right now I’m playing without a sub and I’m a pretty great heroic instance tank. I just earn tokens slower than others, that’s the biggest complaint.

    Reply

  • Melanore

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    I don’t understand people complaining about more stuff and content being added.

    Because new content launches doesn’t mean you need to jump on it immediately.

    I’m just happy to know there’s more and more to do and to explore, I don’t care if I can do it right now, I keep it for later …

    There’s mainly one thing they really need to understand.

    You need to offer your players more zones to explore, because this is one the most thing that keep the player playing the game: exploring it.

    New races, new starting areas, new cities … all things that give the world a feeling to be alive. EoF and Kunark are real good examples of this.

    An extension should not offer only one overland zone and some dungeons (like ToV did). It feel too small for being considered as a great Xpac

    Reply

    • Miragain

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      The only draw back to this is that as soon as a new set of stuff comes out the older stuff (even if just barely older) is abandoned wholesale. Look at the current situation.

      Reply

  • Klyptix

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    Thankfully sites like EQ2 Wire are around to bring together information about EQ2. Sony relies heavily on community sites, and thankfully they have opened up the API to enable people like Feldon to do great things, but SOE needs to do more. The Wiki is fading, detailed information about content, particularly new content, is far too sparse. There are so many great things in EQ2 that the vast majority don’t know about; Mostly because, as Miragain said, when new stuff comes out, old stuff is “abandoned wholesale.”

    Without community, I don’t care how much content SOE adds, EQ2 will just be a multiplayer game. The community defines the MMO. When I played EQ1, top end players would stand in The Commonlands, and later in PoK, to show off their gear. There were no appearance items. When you saw someone with an epic, and later epic 2.0, you stopped and checked it out; it was rare.

    Now people hide in guild halls, I mean why not, other than reforging there is no reason to leave. If not for General chat, we wouldn’t know anyone on the server. Bring the community together. rebuild the LFG tool and fix it so it works. Put in events that bring people back to old quests that already exist, such as the prismatic quest line. Your developers put so much time into this content, educate people about it, make them aware. Leverage the enormous treasure of existing lore. It’s there, just use it. I missed the Split Paw pack and only recently was brought back to it by a friend from long ago. I had no idea it was such a great adventure pack.

    While you’re at it, open up more API’s to the game data so that more sites can use it to help players.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      SOE did the right thing by putting nearly all the vendors you might have in a guild hall in the Vesspyr Isles zone in 1 hub, so you can do everything without going to your guild hall.

      We are in the brainstorming stage on Quests and I hope to present them in a much clearer way than current sites do. I am not sure if we will go the route of Wiki due to the amount of effort involved in policing user submissions. Good editors are absolutely crucial and I already have plenty on my plate.

      As for more data and social features, absolutely. I want to do an EQ2 mobile app but we just don’t have enough meat and potatoes to build one with. We need in-game chat, friends lists, etc.

      Reply

      • Anaogi

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        Unfortunately, I tend to avoid using the Vesspyr hub after losing etymas in one of the still-too-frequent zone crashes. I have to subtract major points for Crashspyr’s lack of stability…

        Reply

      • Klyptix

        |

        Will there ever be a way to identify loot tables from mobs? Even if we don’t have percentages, just a guide to where things are obtained. Even if its not the mob itself, just the zone or items legendary+

        Maybe SOE can release the item drop location after at least 1 person has discoed the item on each server?

        In response to Feldon. Your site is amazing, and I can’t thank you enough. You guys take on huge responsibility; only gathering what little you can from perfectly placed advertisements. (I applaud you or that, they are not intrusive.)

        Reply

        • Jrral

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          I thought there already was a table like this… right, two pages, search “tov gear” on EQ2i and the first two results are “ToV Gear” and “Tov Fabled Sets” which outline what instance and named each slot drops from. There’s some overland nameds, but I think they all share a single loot table.

          Reply

          • Klyptix

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            Those are generic statements about armor pieces. I’m saying a site like lootdb with a reliable source of information.

            Reply

          • Feldon

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            We continue to await loot data.

            Reply

      • Hoot

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        Sounds like a good idea. One thing EQ2 wikia and EQ2 Zam have problems with is that they tend to have a lot of obsolete articles especially on quests. Years upon years of submissions eventually makes it look like a mess.

        Reply

  • Hoot

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    I really don’t want to see anymore “Fabled” content. I’m aware people get nostalgic over old content, but it seriously becomes stale after a while. I mean, do people really want to spend more time in Sanctum of the Scaleborn? I think 06-07 was nothing BUT that when it came to grinding…

    SoE’s heavily aware that their fanbase has a large amount of people who dwell over nostalgia. They know they can get away with completely recycling previous content and not questioned as being lazy or understaffed.

    Reply

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