Game Update #53 (Shards of Destiny) on Test

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, DGC Wants Feedback, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding, Tradeskill

Shards of Destiny (Gu53) appeared on Test just moments before midnight last night. This update is expected to go live in late September (the initial date was September 22nd, but this was an internal target). Here are the Test Update Notes:

Test Update August / 27 / 2009

FEATURED

Achievements

The new achievement system gives players a fun new way to track their accomplishments!  Most achievements will award players with achievement points that can be used to compare their progress against other players.  Some harder to complete achievements will offer non-stat item rewards.  The basic categories are General, Quest, Exploration, Combat, Slayer, Tradeskills and Triumphs.  Triumphs are large scale achievements that combine multiple achievements into one large one.  An example of this would be to do all of the combat, quest, and exploration achievements in a specific area.

Chronomagic

A number of mysterious erudites have set up in Qeynos, Freeport, Neriak, Gorowyn, and Kelethin. Any player level 20 or higher can speak to them and for a small fee temporarily lower their adventuring level.

This works very similarly to mentoring except:

  • You do not need a mentoring target.
  • You can only choose levels in increments of 5 (10, 15, 20, etc).
  • You do not receive the bonuses granted from mentoring other players (currently you receive a very large bonus to AA gain while mentoring another player, this is not granted by the Chronomagic system).

The chronomagic will last until cancelled (right-click on your nameplate or /unmentor). Once cancelled, you must return to any Timeless Chronomage to reactivate the effect

Additionally, 37 new missions have been added that work similar to The Shadow Odyssey’s daily doubles. They task players with slaying various bosses within zones of all levels throughout Norrath  And, of course, these missions reward players with an array of exciting new items!

Chronomagic works the same on PvP servers as it does on PvE servers. However, it also has all the same restrictions as mentoring—namely that you cannot engage in PvP combat while the chronomagic effect is on your character. This makes it quite a bit more dangerous on PvP servers, so good luck and be careful!

Bosses and Events

As part of the chronomagic initiative, a pass was made through old-world overland and contested dungeons to greatly increase the frequency with which bosses and events spawned or occurred. Many placeholders and placeholder ring events were either removed or weighted much more heavily toward actual bosses spawning. Some of the notable highlights include placeholders being removed from:

(Note: These are all from forum feedback)

  • Crypt of Betrayal – Specter of Ire
  • Enchanted Lands – Chomper
  • Everfrost – Chieftain Iceburn
  • Feerrott – Screaming Mace HQ targets Agony, Hukulan, Kaxor, Xilarga, and Tzugaax. Also Bouncers Prud, Hurd, Fug, and Flerb who were also changed to no longer despawn
  • Greater Faydark – Crushbone Expedition Leader, Chef, Weaponsmith, and Planner
  • Lavastorm – Fire Toad, Magolemus
  • Nektulos – Dannian Blackleaf – removed respawn time and despawn time, should always be up now
  • Obelisk of Lost Souls – Mediums of Dyrt, Cron, Iza, Odris, Norrath, and Lysys, Soul Harvesters Kul, Na, Gron, and Zej, Avulsor
  • Old Telescopic Lens (quest starter for The Staff of Observers) drops much more frequently
  • Zek,  Orchish Wastes – Sentry Goorlux
  • Palace of the Awakened – Skylord Stormclaw, Advisor Soliddar
  • Rivervale – Willowmaw the Rotting
  • Ruins of Varsoon – Weavemaster Esh’rax, Tome of Life, Tome of Death, The Creator
  • Solusek’s Eye – Enforcer Maj’Fahd, Soulslaver Djar’veh, The Speaker of Fates, The Castigator, Lord Crana, Onyxlam
  • Steamfont – Bulka Bloodhorn, Digmaster Pechpooka, Slave Pechmooka, Scout Pechyooka
  • Thundering Steppes – Stiletto, Bloodtalon
  • Stormhold – a caveroot horror, Battlepriest Alexandria
  • Stormhold – The Scions – Archiovianix, Hephinntari, Qelinatias, Tumarinan
  • The Vestibule – The Medium of Hykor
  • Tombs of Night – The Leucous Maw

There are a large number of ring events that work similarly in the zones: Antonica, Commonlands, Everfrost, Sinking Sands, Enchanted Lands, Feerrott, Nektulos, Orcishwastes, and Thundering Steppes. They had a very high chance to spawn a placeholder, a small chance to spawn a boss, a small chance to spawn a shrine that buffs the player, and a small chance to spawn a number of different merchants. The chance to spawn a placeholder was greatly reduced and there is now a very high chance for one of the ‘events’ to occur. The merchants were all combined into the ‘rare’ merchant, who will now always spawn for that event. They also have a much larger merchantlist, and will buy, sell, and repair your gear! Contested Epic spawns in lower level zones were lowered to spawn every three days (with a large variation) instead of once a week.

A number of x2 and x3 contested mobs were downtiered because they had a 0% chance to drop fabled gear. They were lowered to triple-ups and their spawn times were adjusted accordingly. The contested epic mobs who did have fabled loot were given a 100% chance to drop at least one fabled item each time they are slain. Some of the mobs changed include:

  • Allidax the Ancient
  • Alrendi Thoughtsong
  • Broog the Banished
  • Commander Nagrat
  • Cragshell
  • Cyenadros, Lord of the Sanctum
  • Doomsquall
  • Equestrielle
  • Grimfeather
  • Haraghur the Deathless
  • Haywire Opticron (lowered to one-up and added loot)
  • Lavin Dusk
  • Mangler
  • Meathooks
  • Scytheclaw
  • Spiregazer
  • Ssilth Rageclaw
  • The Unseelie JumJum Thief
  • Vox

In general, most named mobs (with some exceptions) changed by this pass have a very high chance to drop treasured. Those with rare fabled items had their chances to drop raised significantly as well.

  • Named mobs in New Tunaria should have a 100% chance to drop legendary gear, and a much higher chance to drop Cloak of Flames pages now!
  • A new boss has found his way into Sebilis.
  • Bosses in Sebilis and Chardok should match Karnor’s Castle and spawn every 45 minutes + variation.
  • The despawn timers from all of Kylong Plains’ rare mobs have been removed.
  • The Fiery Apparition in Lavastorm should spawn once again

Note to testers:
Because of the size of Norrath, a number of placeholders may have slipped through our net. Please /feedback these with two pieces of information:  the full name of the zone and the full name of the placeholder-challenged named mob.

Shard of Love (heroic zone)

The Sisterhood of Erollisi has returned to Antonica with grave concerns! Adventurers interested in helping them should seek out a Disciple of Love in Antonica, Kelethin or Gorowyn. Those with more devious intentions should seek out Disciples of Hate within The Commonlands, Neriak or Gorowyn.

GENERAL

Illusions cast from petamorph wands will now last for two hours and persist through zoning.

Melee, defense and casting skills should now be easier and more straightforward to level up.

Swimming will now skill up faster.

You can now buy the Translocate and Druid Portal spells from the trainers.

Racial choices have changed.  As a result, your character development choices have been reset.

Adventure writs are now offered to a player’s effective level, so that mentored players can complete adventure writs at any level!

You can now convert adventure experience into the achievement pool from level 10 and higher by adjusting the slider in the achievement window.

Examining a ranged combat art will now display the ranged critical bonus properly.

Fixed an issue where items might trigger when they are restricted to a certain damage type.

The /auction channel is now server wide!

You will now receive chat feedback for dispels and cures.

Scouts will automatically disarm chests now when attempting to open them.  As a result, the disarm verb will no longer display.

Pets will no longer be hit by AoE autoattack unless they are considered in front of the attacker.  This should in turn make it easier to position pets to avoid it since the avoidance range for them is now flanking or behind instead of just behind.

Beneficial Poolburn effects will now display to the chat log.

Target locking abilities will now terminate if the locker is no longer a valid target.

Triggered Spell based effect tooltips will now update appropriately if your intelligence or strength change.

Player-written books will now be editable when transferring to another server.

Fixed a bug where when sometimes editing a very large player written book some text would be lost when closing and reopening the book.

Zoning into a new raid instance will no longer clear your raid looters.

Turning the avatar autoface option ON and the camera autoface option OFF will keep your character facing the target regardless of what direction your character is moving while autoattack is turned off. Toggle autoattack off to toggle off autoface if you just need to turn and run and toggle it back on again to make a final stand.

CHARASIS

  • Players who leave Charasis: Vault of Eternal Sleep and return later will no longer find their progression blocked.

GOROWYN

  • Players will find that Gorowyn has become a good deal easier to navigate.

MIRAGUL’S PLANAR SHARD (x4)

  • A quest has been added to assist with certain progression within Miragul’s Planar Shard!
  • Items that can assist in certain elements of the Planar Shard fights are now random drops in the Miragul’s Phylactery group TSO zones.

MUNZOK’s MATERIAL BASTION

  • Umzok and Ozyk now drop the less specialized cloaks and charms more reliably.
  • Certain items in Munzok’s Material Bastion have become slightly more desirable.

NEKTULOS

  • The Nerius pirates camping along Nektulos beach are now armed (and still) dangerous.

THUNDERING STEPPES

  • Turgen Bremhurst now offers a more interesting way for you to earn the key to the gates of Bridge Keep.

ALTERNATE ADVANCEMENT  (formerly Achievements)

  • Ooze Crawler will now benefit from Wrath of the Undead Servant

Mystic

  • Spirit of the Ancients will apply properly to Ancestral Sentry when another player is targeted.

Summoner

  • Pet Achievement Spells now have a higher priority when casting.

Warden

  • Fixed Shattered Infections to cure the correct person.

Warrior

  • Cry of the Warrior will be resisted less often now.

ITEMS

The Heirloom flag has been added to a large number of items in the game with the exception of quest items, heritage items, PvP items, and items gained from patterns (but the patterns themselves were flagged as Heirloom). This will allow players to join groups with the character that can help the group the most without the worry of not being able to gear up the character of their choice! As a side effect, items affected by this change will unattune and be sent to overflow initially upon first login.

Fixed a case where some item based triggered effects would begin to critical.

The Brethren of Night quartermaster by Soul Eater Falls in Nektulos Forest has improved the appearance of the armor and robe he sells.  (Existing armor purchased from him previously will not be affected.)  The Hand of Marr quartermaster in the nearby camp has also begun stocking a robe.

The Cudgel of Obviation’s Spirit Tap Effect is now unresistable.

Old Telescopic Lens (quest starter for The Staff of Observers) drops much more frequently.

Volcanic Knight’s Tempered Helm now has spell and heal crit chance to match its melee crit.

The ‘Deception’ effect on the Bracelet of the Trickster no longer affects fighters.

Unbound Elemental Essences from Lavastorm are now heirloom and the items that are purchased with them are now easier to obtain.

Balanced Ayr Stones may now be applied to fist weapons of any damage type.

Saita’s Glowing Gem will automatically cast on the user when activated. Amazing Presence now shows up in the Maintained Spells window.

The Bangle of the Spiteful now slightly increases spell crit bonus.

Anashti Sul and Ykesha now have a chance to drop new items for Mages.

The descriptions on Petamorph Wands and their spells now declare that they will only affect combat pets and not cosmetic pets.

MAIL

  • Going linkdead while accessing your mailbox will no longer cause your mail to be inaccessible if you log back in before your character leaves the world.
  • After sending a guild mail or ranks mail the “to” text box will no longer have a random guild member name in it.

Player vs Player (PvP)

The Priests of Discord have returned.  Reports state that they are currently teaching young adventurers the path of discord.

New Shattered Lands, Faydark, Kunark and Void Discord tokens have been created.  The Discord tokens will now replace all previously used currency.

Faction merchants have agreed to reduce their status and faction costs!  In return, their items have been enhanced to be more desirable to prospective buyers.

EoF, RoK and TSO Faction items have been enhanced to be more desirable by prospective buyers.  All previously purchased items have gained the attributes as well.

Writ givers are eager to see more adventurers in battle and are willing to ignore previous requirements for their job completion.

Spawn location near Dreg’s Landing and Teren’s Grasp have been moved to be favorable for all factions.

The Kylong Plains writ giver has moved to Teren’s Grasp from Dreg’s Landing.

The dirge epic triggered effect (Intrepid Strike) will no longer force an attack to inflict maximum damage while in PvP combat.

Hate will now age faster while you are on a server controlled mount.

You will no longer gain immunity while on balloon platforms.

Reactive should no longer trigger incorrectly.

PLAYER HOUSING

Player houses have been given an extra room! Note to testers: Currently homes in Qeynos and Freeport will be unable to customize the new room. This will be updated shortly.

Players can now save and restore their house item layouts.  Use the commands save_layout <filename> and load_layout <filename>.

House layout files can only be loaded in houses of the same type.  This also works in guild halls!

QUESTS

Creature mastery quests (Lore & Legend) now use a system of progressively increasing luck that eventually guarantees an update.

The third scout for “Connect the Dots” in Kylong Plains is now easier to find.

The quest “A Strange Gem” Has been re-introduced into Antonica.

The quest “The Final Report” from the Qeynos Claymore progression in Kingdom of Sky should now allow citizens of all evil and good aligned cities to obtain the quest.

The quest “Aelia and the Butcher” can now be completed properly in North Freeport.

The respawn time on a named needed for the Screaming Mace quest within Temple of Cazic Thule has been shortened.

The difficulty of the waves of orcs that spawn at the beginning of Bloodskull Valley has been lowered to be more in line with the difficulty intended for Return of the Light Heritage quest.

SPELLS

Cheap Shot will now last the full four seconds on single up arrow NPCs.  Higher difficulty NPCs will remain at two seconds since they are not typically used for solo encounters.

Group and self targeted buffs which do not expire will persist through death.  This does not apply to pet spells.

Deity Spells now have a two second casting time.

Ranges have been adjusted to many spells to more consistent.

Maintained spell descriptions from cast items will now look like if you examined the item directly.

Spells that are hostile and beneficial will now apply their beneficial effects to anyone in the group with an AOE avoidance spell on them.

Conjuror

  • The Earthen Avatar line will now break invisibility spells when cast.
  • Communion should inherit the proper names from Fiery Magician now and use the appropriate Hydromancer appearance.

Druid

  • Druid Portal spells have been consolidated into one spell and now work similar to the druid guild hall amenity.

Inquisitor

  • Inquisition will now overwrite existing copies of the spell properly on a target.

Paladin

  • Amends 3 has been removed from the Paladin Training choices like it was prior to GU51.

Shadowknight

  • Miss your old skeleton pet?  Then visit your local Shadowknight trainer and get your new skeleton pet today!  Scrolls are going fast so hurry up and get yours today!

Sorcerer

  • Sorcerer translocate spells have been consolidated into a single spell that works similar to the druid guild hall amenity.

Warden

  • Faerie Ally will no longer attempt to save dead people.
  • Tunare’s Watch will now scale by level since it is not upgraded at higher levels.

Wizard

  • Rays of Disintegration will no longer interrupt the group and is now only cast by the wizard.  The casting time is slightly less while doing a bit more damage now.

TRADESKILLS

The tradeskill society tutorial books now have an improved appearance.  If you do not have a copy and would like one, visit your local tradeskill society merchant.

The recipe for the Flame Tapestry found in Najena’s Forge is no longer limited in uses.

Carpenters can now provide a few essentials for those stabling their mounts in their homes.

Byproducts from tradeskilling will no longer have the crafter’s name on them.

Tradeskill level will now count for purchasing racial traditions.

USER INTERFACE

The recipe window now auto adjusts to fit very long recipe names.

Title lists on the Details tab of the Persona window are now sorted.

A new user-interface has been wrapped around the mentoring system.

Type /mentor to display the mentoring window.

You can also use the /unmentor command to cancel mentoring.

The mentoring window will be displayed when you join a group if your level is too high to allow all players to earn XP.

The Welcome screen now shows the number of unopened LoN booster packs you have.

The examine recipe window will now use multiple lines for very large recipe names.

The threat window now has an improved tooltip and will only show when it is relevant.

Timers on quests in the group quest window will now have correct times.

Double clicking an item in the Marketplace section of the welcome window will now open the Marketplace window with that item pre-selected.

You can now alter the hotkey for the zone reuse timer window in the options window.

The confirmation box for destroying a player written book with special characters in the title will no longer displayer gibberish.

EQ2Players.com

Critical damage will once again be tracked properly.

August 26 Hotfix

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

Here are your EQ2 Patch Notes for August 26th:

ACHIEVEMENTS

Fury

Enhance: Hibernation should trigger properly when falling below 15%.

ITEMS

The focus effect on the Robe of Shifting Visions will increase the damage properly now.

MISC

The Welcome Screen now lists the current Daily Double.

Rothgar reports further at the EQ2 Forums:

Also, the Welcome Screen has been updated to include information about the current Daily Mission as well as support for upcoming Hot Zones.*

My understanding is that Hot Zones will be a rotation of zones that offer extra XP, AA XP, or other rewards.

August 4 2009 Hotfix

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

ITEMS

  • The Meathook from Sinking Sands is now a piercing weapon.
  • Illusionists: The Shifting Visions 6-piece set bonus properly adds damage to Dynamism again.
  • The Stick of the Sootfoot Boomer now triggers correctly off of offensive spells.
  • The Great Horn of Drelakor can no longer be wielded by priests.
  • The Purple-Saddled Mistrunner Horse can now be turned into a house plushie.

KURN’S TOWER

  • Kurns Tower (x2) has been tuned a bit and the bosses are not so stingy.*
  • Ilenee’s Despair and Betrayal now teleport less frequently.
  • Kurn now has an additional spell to help make transitions between controllers smoother.

* Check out my previous blog post for more information on how Kurn’s Tower x2 rewards have been tweaked.

Kurn’s Tower x2 Rewards

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

Some of us who have made significant progress in Ward of Elements and have wanted to sink our teeth into some new x2 content have ventured into Kurn’s Tower x2 raid zone and found the challenges to be formidable, but the rewards not so much. Perhaps the biggest concern about the zone was that no set patterns dropped.

Timetravelling has chimed in with some big news. He has made substantial changes to the loot table including:

  • The common items from the first 3 bosses have been removed and moved to a basepop (trash) table
  • Ione can now drop up to 3 items, including rares from a brand new table
  • The first 3 bosses now drop a raid set item (the WoE set) in addition to their normal loot

I know this will go a long way to making folks more interested in this zone.

I’ve only dipped my toe in the water on this one, but found even the trash had some interesting scripts to them (the single trash mobs have an AoE on a timer, the paired trash mobs summon a burynai helper at ~30 seconds).

It’s also worth reading the thread if you have had some difficulty with the 3rd named as there are some ideas posited by devs and players alike.

Race Changes, VP Scaling, and Tokens Oh My

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Expansion News, Itemization, Raiding

Here are some less concrete things that were discussed at Fan Faire.

Race change is something a LOT of people are asking for. EQ2 devs asked for a show of hands of how many people would like this feature and half the room raised their hands. It IS being looked at. Yes, there was some resistance for lore reasons, and betrayal/alignment/quest issues are substantial, but it’s certainly possible with enough development time. The amount of money they’d make off this would more than make up for it. You can scratch “never” out of your vocabulary for this one.

Heck, they said after their database hardware upgrade which is happening right now, they may reconsider number of character slots. Each character we create takes up a massive amount of data but it’s under consideration.

Initially, I got the impression that VP would “scale”. Now, I am not so sure. I think they might still be in the conceptual stage on this. Epic and Mythical weapons will stay level 80. The unique effects of the Mythical weapon will be usable perhaps as a clickable item, charm, or mythical slot, but it will not be your primary weapon at level 90 as the green and blue stats will be scaled down 33% or more.

T9 will have a new token system similar to how void shards work to get armor. I do not think they will be doing level scaling dungeons in the new expansion like they did in TSO. It didn’t really work out as far as getting level 55-70 players to play the content — the rewards just weren’t there and the encounters too difficult. Something tells me that trying to close the grey shard farming hole has gone to the back burner. I mean really, the horse has already  left the barn on that one. With the delay of the expansion, the focus is on improving the live game, all while looking forward to the expansion. There is a lot of content still to come this year in Gu53, Gu54 (of which nothing was revealed) and Gu55 (Halas and a new EQ2 Trial).

I hope everyone realizes that none of this is set in stone. I’m not going to try to nail down developers a year from now for everything said at a Fan Faire. If you want the “facts and figures” go read my other post. ;)

Fan Faire 2009 EQ2 News Rollup

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Commentary, Expansion News, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding, Tradeskill

I present the EverQuest II Expansion & Game Update News from Fan Faire in a rollup post. This is partly based on the Fan Faire 2009 Consolidated News by Kalyyn. I started with Kalyyn’s great writeup and have built upon it, adding dozens of new details and minor corrections based on everything I observed at the 2009 Fan Faire EQ2 event in Las Vegas.

I’ve archived the individual news posts I submitted over the weekend. If you still want to read them, they’re [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

And now, without further ado, my writeup of EQ2′s future in 2009 and 2010. UPDATED AS OF JANUARY 29, 2010:


EverQuest II Expansion: Sentinel’s Fate

  • EQ2: Sentinel’s Fate will be released on February 16, 2010.
  • SF will be based around the EQ1 continent of Odus and will cover Erudin, Paineel, and Ratonga lore. The void storyline will be ending with this expansion.
  • Adventure, Tradeskill, and Guild Level caps all increase to 90.
  • 2 large overland zones (Stonebrunt Mountains)
  • The Hole – a large level 82+ contested zone (similar to Sanctum of Scaleborn) with 3 wings, you spawn in the middle
  • 12 New Group Instances
  • Some existing TSO group instances will also be available in a T9 (level 80-90) version.
  • Guild Level increases to 90. New Guild Hall Amenities and Amenity Slots.
  • No new deities with expansion, nor will there be T9 solo deity quests.
  • Deity miracles may be reconsidered.
  • Group and raid zones will scale in difficulty (not adventure level). A choice will have to be made when pulling or fighting certain mobs that will set the encounter difficulty to easy, normal, or hard. The difficulty level will be set by the manner in which you start the encounter (i.e a boss may have a narrative, depending on your choice, you may get ‘easy mode’ where he sends his minions and escapes, or hard mode where you fight the boss himself)
  • AA cap to 250. New abilities are going to be added to the bottom of the Class (KoS)  and Subclass (EoF) AA Trees, below what is now the end abilities. Some of these endline abilities will be passive, triggering based on specific chains of other abilities being cast.
  • Mythical weapons will not be the ‘Number 1′ weapon, but will have another, important, use. It will be usable as a clicky item to get the unique class-defining abilities.
  • Grouping, Soloing, and Questing will all be viable leveling options.

Artwork-by-Mail, and StationCash

  • HP will be offering — through StationCash — high quality EQ2-related artwork (paintings of Antonia Bayle, Lucan, etc.) prints and eventually in-game items and prints of your character sent directly to your door. One being considered it a hardback book containing pictures of all of your guildmates.
  • The plan is to make it possible, in the future, to purchase expansion packs and new game keys through station cash.

Game Update 55 — Halas and Streaming Launcher

NOTE: Halas has slipped to Game Update 56 and the Streaming Launcher was made available in November.

Halas is being added as a good starting city in Gu55 to coincide with the release of the new expansion, Sentinel’s Fate. Gu55 will be a free download whether you choose to purchase the expansion or not.

The starting race has not been confirmed, but in EQ1 Halas was the home of the Barbarians.

Incidentially, this new area will be considerably streamlined and will be built out as the new EQ2 Trial. The existing EQ2 Trial is a massive download and really not that great a tool at recruiting new players. The new EQ2 Trial will be optimized for download size, will have streaming download, and will really act as a marketing tool for new players.

Extremely preliminary zone art was shown of the new Halas.

Who Gives a Crit

Critical damage stats including Spell, Melee, Ranged, and Heal are being merged into a single ‘Crit’ statistic. Each class will have a critical coefficient. So the same item will offer taunt and melee crit to a fighter, ranged crit to a ranger, and heal crit to a healer.

Double Attack and Ranged Double Attack are being combined into DA, with an appropriate coefficient as RDA is c0nsidered more powerful to a ranger than DA is to other scouts.

Resistance types are being streamlined down to just Noxious, Elemental, Arcane and Physical. Naming on items will not change for variety/lore reasons.

Gear Scaling

NOTE: Gear Scaling has been canceled.

Once considered for the Rise of Kunark, items will now scale down in effectiveness starting at Level 60, eventually “greying out” when the item is 10 levels below your adventure level. The effectiveness of such items will be reduced by 33% at 10 levels.

Legends of Norrath

Set 7 of the LoN cards, Storm Break, goes live on July 9th. This will be the final part of the void series. New loot cards include a cloak with a, once-per-day, clicky effect that completely repairs your gear.

Buffs

The number of buffs and casting time of buffs is being considered, especially for support and healer classes. Certain classes always use the same self-buffs and these may be consolidated.

Class Balance (Bards, Enchanters, Summoners)

Typical raid lineups currently include 3-4 illusionists, 1 coercer, 3-4 dirges, and a troubador. Yet they often do not offer ANY slot to summoners or druids.

Some Enchanter and Bard buffs will become raidwide or applicable to one person in each of the 4 groups. The example given was an illusionist giving Time Compression to one member of all 4 groups. Other buffs could go raidwide. This will be done in such way so that having 4 illusionists will not be a significant advantage over having 1 or 2.

Currently, Brigand “Dispatched” and other debuffs are crucial for raiding and some group situations. Meanwhile, Summoners are finding they rarely get a seat at the table. As a result, Rogue debuffs are being refocused to work on melee, while Summoners step into a new role of debuffing spell abilities.

Also, with regards to Rogues, Brigands and Swashbucklers each have irreplaceable abilities such that most raids have 1 of each. Some of these abilities will become common between the two classes so that any Rogue can be effective in raid situations.

Summoner pet survivability is going to be looked into. Dumbfire pets will now act like a spell with appropriate graphics, rather than being affected by AoEs. These pets will also do spell debuffs in line with Summoner’s new role as spell debuffers.

Class Balance (Druids)

It has been recognised that Heal-over-Time spells come way behind wards and reactives when dealing with large spike damage (mainly in a raid and the hardest heroic settings).

A new component is going to be added to Heal-Over-Time spells for Druids which will save up the heal after each tick if the target is at full health, and further, any leftover heal will transfer to the group member with the lowest health on expiration.

Tradeskill

Over 2000 new recipes for Tier 9.

No Rare Loams in Tier 9. Instead, Ore and Gems will be used to make Expert (Adept III) spells. Ore nodes will always respawn as ore nodes, gem nodes as gem nodes.

Would like to completely revamp Adornment system, but at the very least, new adornment recipes will be Transmuter-crafted only.

Players will be able to be a Tinkerer and Transmuter.

Shaders 3.0

NOTE: Shaders 3.0 will likely slip to Game Update 56.

EQ2 is getting a graphical facelift!

Shaders are small pieces of code which take the textures and apply an effect to them, providing  metallic appearances, glows, bump mapping, caustics (rust, decay), lighting effects, etc.

These are being upgraded from the ancient Shaders 1.0 to Shaders 3.0. Nearly any graphics card since GeForce 3 will be able to handle the new GPU Shaders. At higher resolutions, preliminary tests have shown that framerates stay largely the same. At lower resolutions, framerates of GPU shaders seem significantly improved.

This will not be a substantial download. Each shader is just a few kilobytes. So far, 3,000 shaders have been upgraded.

Nek Forest looks awesome now. The whole idea of a torch in the darkness, lighting up trees, rocks, and enemy mobs looks head-and-shoulders above the current “flat” pea soup grey haze and flat colors on everything.

When the EQ2 developers saw the first screenshots, they thought it was another game.

In addition, Flora Displacement which moved to the GPU last year will still get further performance tweaks (known issue on nVidia cards).

Finally, he’d like to move particles to the GPU but due to some  design decisions, some particles are tied to animations. Will have to go back and separate them out.

There is developer interest in a torch slot, so this is being considered.  Devs would also like to do High Dynamic Range (HDR) in a future update, but nothing is immediately planned.

Mob Designs

Expect several new mob designs with more robust animations. Some seriously funny, cool, and creative new mob designs and revamped appearances to some existing mobs.

* fighting pandas
* displacer beasts
* two headed giants
* stalagmites
* scarecrows

EQ2 Potpourri

It is known that emergency “Stun-and-Heal” is a real detriment to healers and is required for too many encounters. Will be reconsidered.

Rangers — Stream of Arrows will be changed to an AoE. Originally intended as a fill in between auto attacks, but auto attacks are so large now that using it reduces DPS output.

Although it is higher than intended, there are no immediate plans to adjust Auto Attack damage.

Bruisers/Coercers – Drag, thought snap are so overpowered we have to disable them or mobs are trivialized

Conjuror Mythical Pet – This pet is class-defining for Conjurors. However with the current mechanic, that pet would stop leveling at low-to-mid 80′s. Will look at this going forward.

Certain raid encounters will benefit from crowd control, giving enchanters another job besides power regen and buffs.

Will void shards have value in T9? No. A different token system is being used for T9 armor.

Guild Rally Flag - Can we have some means to find out where the guild rally flag is located? Some coding has already been done for this. Putting it in guild window would be somewhat wasteful for those guilds that don’t have this amenity (one of the most expensive amenities FYI), so considering hailing the strategist.

Illusions Driving You Crazy? – A change was made in GU52 that racial illusions pick a random appearance each time they are displayed. This applies to guild hall NPCs as well. Even the devs are annoyed at this change, so are investigating a Magic Mirror house item to set your illusion appearances, and a similar mechanism for guild hall NPCs. Also, some folks make frequent use of different illusions. Look for an Illusion Manager window.

NOTE: Game Update 54 added this Magic Mirror ability.

Smart Loot is being implemented over time. Lock boxes in Mistmyr already have mini-smart loot for each person that loots.

Harvester NPCs could auto-deposit in Harvest supply depot in the future.

More new Armor Appearances in EQ2:SF are coming than are currently in the game. Substantial new choices for mage appearances other than robes, such as tops, pants, etc.

Devs would like to add more mannequin types such as Ratonga mannequin.

Current tier upgrades are coming for Bone Clasped Girdle. Not so much for the bloodthirsty choker.

Out-of-Control Curing

It is recognized that Curing is perhaps getting out-of-control. Casting time of individual cure potions may be considered. In addition, certain detriments are getting different effects on them such that curing that detriment can be worse than leaving it, or may cause another detriment to trigger. The intention was never to stare at the Profit Cure bar the entire fight.


EverQuest II Game Updates & Features

These are features and updates announced at Fan Faire which are now present in EQ2:

  • AAXP Slider, when earning xp, you will be able to set a ratio that is earned as AA instead.
  • Automated Server Transfers will be available on the Station Marketplace for $25.
  • Buffs - Certain persistent buffs now persist through death.
  • Wizard “Rays of Disintegration” has been changed to single-cast spell, instead of causing all mages in the wizard’s group to stop all casting to cast this spell. Rays of Disintegration was very disruptive for Enchanters who must maintain a certain casting order and rhythm to do their jobs.
  • Quest Window received facelift. Namely side-by-side quest list and quest details.
  • Revamped Player Inspect window shows regular and appearance slots  and many more stats.
  • Daily Double and new Hot Zones are now shown in the Welcome Panel.
  • ACT Parsing – Gravitas, Chimes of Blades, and Cures (some healers spend their entire time curing but don’t show up on the heal parse) are now parsed in ACT.
  • The Lavastorm Elevator to WoE was fixed to continue to it’s destination.
  • Kelethin houses received a transparent window. The most expensive Maj’dul house received additional rooms and a skylight.  Kelethin, Neriak, Freeport, and Qeynos houses gained an additional room.
  • Auto-mentoring

Hail an NPC in one of the home cities and you will be able to mentor down in 5 level increments (20, 25, 30, 35, etc.) and complete quests, kill named encounters, etc. at the appropriate level. This does not require mentoring another person and will not offer the extra bonuses given to folks who naturally mentor one of their friends.

To prepare for this feature, a list of named mobs on long spawns in existing zones has already been assembled to have their timers tweaked. Also, low level contested zones will instance themselves (Sinking Sands 1, 2, 3, etc.) in case of large populations.

  • EQ2 Achievements

Similar to XBox Live, EQ2 is getting an Achievements system. The expansion will launch with 500-700 achievements. This will merge the old Slayer titles (kill 5,000 Orcs), plus adventurer titles (complete 20 Heritage Quests), and introduce new titles. For example, number of level 80 characters you have. Whether you defeated a dungeon/raid on the hardest difficulty, Going back and completing old zones while mentored, etc.

The Alternative Achievement system in EQ2 (currently 200 points) is officially being renamed to Alternate Advancement to avoid confusion.

  • Shard of Love & Miragul’s Planar Shard

In GU53 is Miragul’s Planar Shard, a raid zone which will use the new mechanic of difficulty scaling on certain bosses.

The Shard of Love — a casual group zone. The storyline for this zone will relate to Erolissi Marr.


There will be more commentary to come, but those are the salient points about the rest of 2009 as the EQ2 team takes some extra time balancing the live game before plunging into the expansion in February.

More Links!

Been a While

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Itemization, Live Events, Tradeskill

A week without news, some of you might be getting jittery. :)

GU52 is still on Test, getting nipped, tucked, and tested out. I believe they are on track to get it onto live servers perhaps as early as June 16th (my estimate, arrived using my advanced degree in EQ2ology). I know they really wanted it to be on Live before Fan Faire.

I’ve already documented the broad strokes of Gu52 in my earlier posts. If you haven’t seen a preview of player made Books, upgraded Hex Dolls and Ranged Weapons, or new furniture coming to EQ2, check out the EQTraders.com preview.

Many folks have been asking for more Live Events to be added to EQ2 especially during the summer doldrums. Due to changes in how server updates can be handled, it is possible to roll out Live Events a lot more easily. You can look forward to:

  • Tinkerfest — Tinkerfest is the great annual gnomish festival of tinkering and all things tinkered. It’s that time in the year when gnomes spend time with family and friends, exchange tinkered gifts, and celebrate the gnomish life.

Further, you can expect a recurring event which will likely be available only one day per month (perhaps when the moon is full!):

  • Enchanted Grottos of Norrath — Enchanted Mushroom Rings have sprung up in the forests of Norrath. These lead to instances which contain purple shiny collections, not to mention quests which award Elemental Tokens. Both the collections and the Elemental Tokens reward fantastic furniture and house items.

These two live events are discussed further on the EQ2 Forums, as well as links and pictures to some of the awesome rewards.

It wouldn’t be an EQ2Wire post without a hairball or two…

If you are a bard and your Drum of the Ethernaut  Chronicler is starting to sound a little flat, you’re not alone. A change on Test will make this item (which Fatuus wisely observed is more difficult to acquire than the Dirge/Troubador epic weapons) practically useless. Risk vs. Reward? Discuss it.

She’s got Skills

Adventurers in EQ2 go out of their way to be the best they can be, learning their class, tweaking their AA setups, adjusting casting orders, getting their skills up, and of course getting the best gear. I can assure you that EQ2 Tradeskillers are just as passionate about bettering themselves.

Tradeskillers acquire every recipe available to them, run the Tradeskill group instances added in TSO (some run them solo — oy vey!), earn faction to get access to more items, furniture, clothes, and recipes, work with adventurers to bring home more recipes, etc.

So when a scientific analysis of harvesting revealed that having significantly higher Harvest/Mining/Gathering/Trapping/Fishing skill had such an minimal effect on getting a rare as to be statistically insignificant, I had to dig deeper.

It is possible by donning the harvesting cloak (A Gathering Obsession), tradeskill epic earring (Proof in the Pudding), tradeskill jewelry, diety quest rewards, etc. to increase ones harvesting abilities to 540. This is 59% increase in this skill over what is required for T8 nodes (340). To put this in other terms, to naturally get a harvesting skill of 540, you would have to be a level 108 player.

Now, do I expect a 59% increase in the likelihood of harvesting rares? No. I’m well aware that this would unbalance the game and make rares too common. EQ2 operates on a diminishing returns curve. However nothing prepared me for the revelation that increasing Harvesting skill by 59% only increased the chance of harvesting a rare by .369%.

I know some folks would like to protect their lucrative market for rares (especially silicate loams), but a less than half of one percent increase? Instead of taking roughly 90 minutes to harvest one silicate loam, it will take 89 minutes and 27 seconds.

I love Domino to death, and she has always been above board, telling us exactly what we can expect, what she is looking for input on and what has already been decided. You know where you stand with her. But I will be making the point at Fan Faire — in the politest, most respectful way possible — that some of us expect Skills on items to actually do something. :)

GU52 — Learn to Love Set Bonuses Again

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

One of the biggest complaints about the otherwise fantastic Ward of Elements x2 raid zone is that by upgrading a few pieces of armor to T3, fighters and mages lost huge 5-piece bonuses from their T2 armor.

An undocumented fix in GU52 is that these bonuses are now distributed over the set bonuses in such a way that 3 pieces of T2 and 3 pieces of T3 will yield a similar bonus to having 5 pieces of T2.

This is fantastic news, as it seemed this would be a long-term fix based on the Zam devchat. Glad they could squeeze this fix in sooner rather than later!

Although it’s not really posted in the right forum, I’m going to link to the thread which has the first information about this fix that I’ve seen.

GU52 Comments

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

That’s a lot of notes to read, so I will distill some of the key points.

Procs

If you read Bruce Ferguson’s parting comments, and you generate a good potion of your DPS from gear with effects like Goblin Bane, Void Bane, or Vampire Bane, or if you are an Assassin wearing Soul Lancer armor, you might want to read the relevant section again:

We’ve discovered that with the items that we released with The Shadow Odyssey, that proc additional damage, the amount of damage being caused has grown considerably, and we need to adjust it. So, in the next game update, we’re going to be adjusting to the way triggered procs on items work.

We’re removing critical damage from the item’s base proc.

Procs can no longer be modified, with a few notable exception.

Generic bonuses will no longer apply to triggered damage generated from items

Predators will see a change to Toxic Expertise. We are refocusing affected combat arts back to improved poison damage, rather than spell crit damage. Spell Crit is going away as a benefit to Rangers and Assassins.

and the relevant lines from the Test Update notes:

Item based triggered effects can no longer critical or have their damage components modified unless done directly through something like an achievement or set bonus.

We were told that Soul Lancer’s days of generating massive dps for Assassins would come to a close, and this confirms it.

Of course GU52 also brings 2 new dungeons including Charasis 3 and Kurn’s Tower, 80 new quests, an overall improvement in Achievement Experience earned, Research Assistants, Player-made Books, etc. but I wanted to highlight these points.

I’ve made my points on Research Assistants elsewhere. I do believe it will kill the market for Masters if every month, everyone can get one for free without any questing or effort. I think other measures such as producing T8 upgrades for all non-upgraded spells would have been a great idea. Also adding more mobs that have these rare masters on their loot tables would have worked. Hailing an NPC twice 30 days apart and rewarding people for NOT playing the game seems very odd to me. But we shall see…

I really do encourage everyone to head over to the Test Server and try out GU52, check out the Test Server FAQ.

Smart Loot Masters?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization

Posted by Kander:

So there are two percentages that are set on master drops. There is the drop percentage, which means monster X has an X% chance to drop a master spell.

Then there is the smartloot percentage, which means aside from the drop rate, if a master drops what percentage chance is it that someone will need it.

So a boss mob that has a 10% chance to drop a master and it has 33% smartloot, means that when it drops, there is a 33% chance that its a spell someone in your group needs.

If you think about it, with there being currently eventy-billion spells and abilities on a given tier, 33% that its something you need is light years better then the alternative.

I see how people see the smartloot as not so smartloot, I hope that helps.

EQ2 Dev Chat at Zam

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Grouping, Itemization, Raiding, Tradeskill

On May 14th, there was an EQ2 Dev Chat hosted by Zam.

  • Bruce (Froech) – Producer
  • Jennifer (Kirstie) – Mechanics Supervisor
  • Ryan Favale (ImagoQuem) – Graphics
  • Roger (patherpanchali) – Raid content
  • Nick (GlipSOE) – Associate Producer
  • Brett (timetravelling) – Associate Game Designer
  • Greg (Rothgar) – Sr. Programmer
  • Emily (Domino) – Tradeskills
  • Chris (Aeralik) – Class Balance/Combat
  • Jason (Fyreflyte) – Itemisation
  • Nathan (Kaitheel) – Events and Quests

Complete chat logs of that event can be found at EQ2.Zam.com, however some people might like to get the highlights that I think my readers might be most interested in…

My question about Set Bonuses:

Ward of Elements is fun and challenging. One issue with the zone however is set bonuses. Equipping more than one piece of T3 armor breaks up the T2 set bonus. For tanks this means losing 7% mitigation. Going forward when armor sets are added, can one of the items in the NEXT tier include the set bonus of the PREVIOUS tier?

Fyreflyte responded in the live chat with:

We’ve run up against this issue in a number of places recently, and have certainly been giving it a lot of thought. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as allowing the next set to count toward a current set’s bonuses.

You end up with some issues with double bonuses, and we’d need some new code support for it. We have a few plans for our next round of sets that should help avoid the problem, however. No specifics yet, as we’re still testing them =)

Fyreflyte provided additional details in the free-for-all chat afterwards:

The problem with upgrading set bonuses was compounded this expansion due to the way players upgrade their shard sets. It’s an issue we hadn’t run into much before. One idea I’ve had to help alleviate it would be to drop set pieces in WoE that were inferior to the actual shard armor, but helped complete the set for classes that absolutely needed their set bonuses.

This takes a bit of new code that allows for larger, slightly more dynamic sets, but may present an option to avoid this same problem in the future. It’s still just in the idea phase, but is an example of the types of solutions we’re looking at. For future gear, I’m definitely going to be careful about using such powerful bonuses high up in the set, as that by itself will reduce this issue a lot.

Camphor wanted to know what to expect, difficulty-wise, in the two new group zones coming in GU52. timetravelling gave some insight:

The two new group zones will certainly be challenging, but not extremely difficult. There will be some really fun scripted encounters, but they shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as somewhere like Palace of Ferzhul or Guk Stronghold.

One of my questions got a surprising response:

Will anything be done to keep Veeshan’s Peak a viable zone in the next expansion? Assuming the level cap is raised to 90, acquiring Mythicals will be incredibly trivial.  Has SoE considered scaling the zone to 90 and providing a quested item that dings the player to level 90 similar to the Munzok’s item?

timetravelling replied with:

Yes, actually we do have plans to keep older, low-level content much more relevant! And not just Veeshan’s Peak! But I can’t tell you what those plans are, yet =D

Cayanetta asked a question which was on the minds of several vocal forum posters:

Why did you choose to revisit Kunark with GU 52 instead of expanding on TSO content?

timetravelling had this to say:

There are always a number of reasons for those sorts of decisions, but a huge part of this one was the lore. The story we’re telling with the update revolves around quite a bit of stuff specifically in Kunark. Just wait til y’all get the chance to dive into the huge # of awesome quests Kaitheel is making =)

Fyreflyte about Itemisation:

Shield progression got a bit messed up last expansion, and it was hard to correct it without a level cap increase.

We’ll be paying good attention to it in the future though =) I’ve got more help with itemization now, which gives me more time to provide oversight, rather than just scrambling to pump out items.

What would a Game Update be without some tradeskill content. Domino reports in with:

Level 50+ Sages will soon be able to make a set of notebooks, which can hold user-created content (user-written books).

Carpenters may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the Estate of Unrest a little more closely.

Tailors will see some changes to their hex dolls, which include a much reduced casting time, stat increase, and a set bonus for the mastercrafted ones.

Woodworkers and tailors will see their ranged weapons (bows, satchels, bandoliers, etc.) get a stat upgrade also!

Adventurers may find some small goodies in the new Charasis West wing, including perhaps a couple small goodies for provisioners.

I’ve made a few minor changes to the void tradeskill instance that folks have been asking for… including a slightly more satisfying ending, and more harvests per click.

Oh, and lots more I don’t really have room to talk about…

So no … nothin’ really. ;)  Sorry!

Aeralik confirmed what he had posted on the forums about the combat XP to achievement XP conversion rate being upped substantally, although did not give hard numbers:

Currently the adventure xp to achievement xp is really small.  So to better match the current level scaling this had been adjusted for gu52.  Completing a dungeon should net you a good amount of achievement xp now.

Also in gu52 there are 80+ quests which will net you a good chunk of achievement experience.

It seems people ask all the time about why EQ2 does not allow Armor Dyes. Those folks always keeping their eyes peeled for any details about this may be interested in these quotes from Fyreflyte:

(Expect more) set jewelry from instances/raids. I’ve had some plans for some extra shard gear too for awhile, but have had zero time in which to implement it.

I’m not a big fan of armor dyes. We actually have some technical issues with them as well, since a LOT of our armor isn’t tintable.

All of the new sets that have been coming out, I’ve had to ask artists for specific colors of when I need them. When they use a fresnel shader, they become difficult to tint.

Much more at EQ2.Zam.com.

GU52: Return to Kunark

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

Ok, actually it’s Game Update 52: Monument and Might.

GAME FEATURES

  • Player-written books
  • Research Assistants
  • Spell Naming ConventionsAs spells upgrade through tiers rather than entirely new names, each subsequent spell will have a roman numeral increment afterwards. For instance Ice Comet and Ice Comet II. Rather than Apprentice I, II, IV, Adept I, Adept III, and Master I, Master II, spells will progress such as Apprentice, Journeyman, Adept, Master, Grandmaster, etc.
  • The end result of this will be spell names such as Ice Comet II (Adept).
  • Level 80 characters currently have their Combat XP converted into Achievement Experience at an extremely, almost immeasurably small rate. This rate will be adjusted upwards in Game Update 52.

NEW ZONES

  • Charasis: Emperor’s Athenaeum — a new group instance in Jarsath Wastes
  • Kurn’s Tower: Breaching the Void — a new group instance in the Fens of Nathsar
  • Kurn’s Tower — an extremely challenging new x2 raid zone

NEW QUESTS

  • We’re also adding more than 80 new quests to the overland zones of RoK. There will be all new adventures to be had in the Fens of Nasthar, Jarsath Wastes, and Kylong Plains.

These changes will appear on the Test Server sometime the week of May 18th.

May 12 Hotfix

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

ITEMS

  • The Bane Warding line can no longer be stacked by wearing three pieces of two different sets. All Bane Warding spells now deal less damage and cannot trigger more than once per second in PvP combat.
  • The Combat Art damage displayed on the Assassin’s Thirst abilities now matches the bonuses they give.


MUNZOK’S MATERIAL BASTION

  • Yzlak Encounter – The clone adds of player priests now have reduced health.
  • Yzlak Encounter – The clones themselves will remain longer before becoming a Yzlak Presence.
  • Yzlak Encounter – Yzlak Presence adds can now be affected by all classes, not just the ones that match their archetype.
  • Yzlak Encounter – Infuriating Madness now only affects three players rather than five, the one targeted and the two closest to that player.
  • Ozyk Encounter – The void sappers have less health and hit players for far less damage.
  • Ozyk Encounter – Void sappers will not explode as quickly after they spawn, and the timed explosive charges looted by players are now stackable and instant cast, with a very short recast time.

QUESTS

  • A Cleansing This Temple Needs (Shard of the Day Quest) – Players who are not on the quest and not in Void Stalker form can no longer assist with killing the void-touched invaders.

Undocumented Fixes:

  • The T3 (Ward of Elements) Conjuror head piece proc effect now applies to the target encounter just like the Necromancer T3 headpiece. It previously only affected the conjuror’s target (single). See this thread.

Research Assistants IV

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization

This is my 4th posting on Research Assistants. If you have not read all 64 pages of the marathon topic, you may have missed some info.

SoE wants to add Research Assistants to EQ2. These will be NPCs which will take one of your existing spells and upgrade its tier after a specified amount of time. That time varies by the tier of the spell. If you have an Adept III version of a Tier 8 spell, then the Master version of that spell might take a month or more to research.

What is known about these Research Assistants so far:

  • Each account (not character) can be researching one spell at a time.
  • The spell is immediately scribed when you receive it. There is no physical scroll that you receive from the Research Assistant, which means there will be no way to transfer, sell, or transmute the spells once they’re finished being researched.
  • Research Assistants won’t be part of Station Marketplace.  Research Assistants are definitely part of the base game.
  • We are leaning towards making this a house item, not a guild hall ammenity.
  • If you manage to acquire a spell through tradeskill/drop that you are currently researching, you will be able to stop the research and apply that progress (time) to another another spell.
  • Research Assistants are attainable after level 20.
  • Time to research at lower levels will be scaled based on the amount of time we see people spending in those level ranges.
  • There is no quest line, no additional component because if we wanted to award something via quest, then we would do it via quest. Quests are extrordinarily time intensive to do on the content side. We do a lot of quests. We will continue to do a lot of quests, but this isn’t the right setting for them.
  • This doesn’t encourage people to log out. Much like vitality accrues while you’re online or offline, researchers will continue to work regardless of whether you’re online or off.

There has been a TON of feedback in the thread. Different viewpoints include:

  • If there are spells which do not get upgraded after T6 (each class has at least one important spell that does not get upgraded after levels 52-55 or so), then T8 versions should be added.
  • Why not just go back and fix the mechanics of the game so that Masters are Smart Loot from levels 1-60. Then grouping and raiding Kingdom of Sky and Desert of Flames would yield enough of these Masters for group/raid members to resolve the issue.
  • Researched Masters should have a platinum, status, or void shard cost, or at the very least require a lengthy quest or rare material. The void shard cost in particular would keep Master spells in the realm of spells acquired by grouping and raiding. Solo and casual players do not need master spells.
  • Use a system similar to PvP master transcription. You have a master you can’t use, you can trade it in and transcribe it to another master.
  • Use a system similar to deity altars. Sacrifice items until you have gained enough faction to get your master.
  • Make it so if you want a Master, you have to give the researcher a different Master to draw the power from. This would have the effect of boosting the value of worthless master spells like Ranger Hawk Dive and Stream of Arrows and lower the astronomical cost of masters like Summoner/Enchanter pets and Fighter Taunts.
  • Alternately, make it so you need a Crystallized Mana (produced from transmuting Fabled items including Masters) to get a Master.
  • Making Master spells available with no cost will damage the game economy. Already, there is very little to spend Platinum on. Collectible rares, Master spells, Void Shards (eliminated for sale in GU51), NO TRADE Armor (via selling looting rights), and Mythical Updates are some of the few items that folks with stockpiled platinum pieces can spend them on. Platinum has become so devalued partly because of the proliferation of instanced raid and group zones in TSO. 98% of the desirible loot in TSO is NO TRADE.
  • Some people feel that these Researched Masters should come from Tradeskillers completing a complex questline and requiring very rare materials.

From dreamshadow:

On PvP servers we have transcribers that can transcribe a Master spell of the opposite alignment into one of your own alignment, or even neutral alignment. This has a significant cost associated with it and requires that you have in your possesion a Master level spell (not ad3 or w/e)

Implementing something like this seems MUCH easier and its already been in the game long enough to prove it does not cause any kind of imbalance. People on PvP already buy masters off the broker and “flip” them with alts on the other side until they get a master they can use or get stuck with a neutral spell they can no longer flip.

Kendricke made the point about platinum inflation even better:

An average run through Veeshan’s Peak can net a raid force more than 250pp per run.  An average run through Protector’s Realm can bring in more than 120pp.  Even though my guild only raids three or four nights a week, we bring in roughly 1300-1500pp a month just through raid drops and sales – and we don’t sell Mythical spots or no trade drops, either.  If we did, we could easily bring in double the coin we’re already making.

What, then, should all of those raiders spend all of that coin on?  Seriously.  There haven’t been any real tradeable raid drops since Kingdom of Sky with the exception of Masters.  Do you think Masters are overpriced at 200-300pp?  I personally have around 700pp on my main account right now.  I know raiders who have ten times what I have.  I know raid guilds which have tens of thousands of platinum.  What do they spend that coin on?

When you remove rare Masters as something to save coin for, what do you think happens to the prices on the rest of the Masters up for sale?  What do you think happens to collectibles?  What do you think happens to the few worthwhile rare drops?  Gage is dead on here – the prices will rise.

and a perspective post by Kendricke:

“I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY SINGLE YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?”  -Mike McDermott, Rounders.

How do the same players on each of the servers come to have so many masters with each expansion?  What, are they the luckiest players on their server?  As Gage indicates, there is much more to gaining masters than just dumb luck.  You think the average player even knows the zones which have smart loot enabled?  Do you think they understand which targets are even capable of dropping a level 65 master – named or not?  Do you think the average player knows which masters are being undervalued on the broker?  Do you think the average player knows how much to price a master on the broker for if there are no current copies of that spell available?  Do you think the average player knows how incredibly easy it is to make coin in this game…without ever stepping foot into a heroic or epic level dungeon?

In an MMO, skill is defined as much more than just the ability to punch buttons in the right order.  The knowledge behind the game’s mechanics is as much a part of the concept of “skill” as anything else we have to contend with.  It’s that same skill which enables better players to earn masters.

Sure, there’s some level of luck involved.  Just as somebody and bumble their way through a poker tournament, so too can someone luck out and find themselves in the right place at the right time and watch a lotto roll go the right way so they can pick up a master that they were around.  Of course, what we fail to acknowledge is that they were actually out in that right place at that right time in the first place…probably trying to “earn” more experience, achievements, or (wait for it)…gear or spell upgrades.

and further from Kendricke:

I have little problem with the concept of guaranteed paths to specific rewards.  I wholly embrace the void shard system.  I love the concept of tradeskill advancement through experience as opposed to advancement through skill-up chances.  I very much enjoy quests which provide multiple awards to choose from.  I favor faction merchants.

The common denominator is that each of the above systems relies upon effort and achievement to earn rewards.  The proposed research assistant, as currently explained, does not.  It has no coin cost and no apparent pre-requisites save for levelling to 20.

Add in a significant coin cost/status cost/guild level requirements to acquire the researcher and then a per-use cost which is not insignificant to the value of the spells being requested and you’d see a great many of the current complaints simply evaporate.

I promise Kendricke is not paying for my usage of all his quotes, he just has a good overall perspective on all this. ;)

From Kirstie:

I wanted to say that the feedback has been great, especially all the suggestions we’ve been getting.

We’ve been reading all the feedback on this, both the possitive and the negative and we’ll be thinking about it as we go forward.

So please, keep the ideas coming.  How would you want to see this in the game to interact with?  How do you want to acquire the Research Assistant?  If you could help him or her out to research just a little faster what would you think it would be fun to do? Would you want to see this feature expanded beyond just spells in the future?

and further from Kirstie

A researcher for armor or quests isn’t something we are persuing.

But I wanted to point out that this idea isn’t quite as totally ground breaking as some might think.  Consider some of these ideas:

  • What if instead of having to find people to buy your items, you just gave it to an NPC and they brokered it for you (and maybe they could charge a small markup fee for their services).
  • What if you could just stick items into a mailbox and they’d appear in your friends mail instead of having to go and meet up with that friend at a pre-defined location.
  • Imagine if we added an NPC that just went out and harvested stuff for you!
  • What if every hour you gained a vitality bonus that let you level a little bit faster for a while.

Each one of these ideas and many others were a brand new concept in the EverQuest universe at some point after EverQuest 1 launched.  So while each new idea can be a bit scary at first, most don’t run down a path that is the worst case scenario.

That being said, the feedback on what you don’t want to see a research assistant to be is just as valuable as what you would like to have as a feature, so keep it coming!

From Kirstie:

Hi All,

I wanted to thank you all for your feedback. The issues brought up here have led to some really interesting and at times passionate discussions within the dev team on the role of spells and spell upgrades in EQII as we discussed the feedback to the intial post.

We’ve also learned a lot about what type of information we need to present when first talking about a new feature in the game, and we’ll be working on that as we move ahead with new features for EQII in the upcoming year.

We don’t have a solid date for when you’ll see the first iteration of the research assistants on the test server, but when we do I hope that you’ll take the time to try them out and see what we’ve come up with.

Again, I appreciate everyone’s participation and the time taken to give feedback on this idea.

- Kirstie

I had to laugh at this suggestion from Foolsfolly:

What if it was a gigglegibber researcher? Hand him an adept3 spell and 5 plat, and roll the dice.

20% chance the spell being destroyed.

20% chance of the plat being destroyed.

20% chance of both being destroyed.

20% chance of getting back both of your items.

20% chance of getting your master.

You can only roll once per week, so odds are you’ll be able to get 1 master every 5 weeks…and lose some plat in the process.

From Gage:

Most people only “need” 6 to 8 masters.  Maybe even less.  Your big heals, your big buffs, your big nukes, your marquee spell.  Once you have those, you can purchase the remaining “crappy” spells from the broker rather than waiting on the Research Assistant and then… Woops you’re fully mastered in under a year.

When primarily raiders had fabled/masters you didn’t see solo/heroic content scaled to their level of gear. What you should be concerned with is the obvious: As soloers get closer and closer to raid quality gear, solo content and everything else will become closer and closer to raid difficulty. Scripts, AEs, control effects on solo and heroic mobs.

You used to be able to do heroic content in full mastercrafted, some treasured, adept 1′s and your best abilities adept 3.

As soon as they made plat, fabled and masters available to soloers/duoers at a much faster rate than any expansion previous they had to, of course, scale the difficulty of the mobs. You complain about altering your playstyle to be capable, well that is because SOE has rewarded soloers above and beyond their means. If you can solo and attain fabled gear/masters then obviously soloing will be geared to that level of progression.

People already complain about hard content is, yet they clamor and beg for items that will undoubtedly lead to future content being made even more difficult. This will just make content in the next expansion substantially harder.

Like I said previously, be careful what you wish for.


I hate to make a very very long post even longer, but now Clockwork Gamer has chimed in:

An Attempt at Economic Stimulus in EverQuest II by Clockwork Gamer:

…and now SOE wants to increase the standard to Master I. Oh, they’re not saying they want to increase the standard to Master I. However, what other possible message could we possibly take from this new concept. If everyone has access to free Master I spells, the standard over time will inevitably once again raise the minimum standard. The average spell quality will continue to raise from Adept III to Master I across the board – not just for raiders and 40 hour a week players, but for everyone. After all, there’s no cost being referenced by the SOE proposition thus far, and without any cost save for time, there’s no real cost at all.

The short term gains would be outstripped by the long term difficulty standards. Players who feel the game is too difficult today – the ones who seem most attracted to the idea of “free masters” would be the same ones upset in a year or two that the game is suddenly even harder than before. Those players who today feel the game is very challenging with all Adept III’s can at least increase their spells to Master I quality over time, through effort and coin gain. In a world where the Master I is itself the standard, there is no way to improve upon the spell quality – casual players will have no additional upgrade path in that regard.

Think research assistants are far off in the future? Guess again.
Lodrelhai unearthed eq2ui_mainhud_researcher.xml which looks like this:

Update Notes: Tuesday, April 21

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

Posted by Kiara:

GENERAL

  • The friends list on the welcome screen will now ignore offline friends if that option is enabled on the community window.

ITEMS

  • The 4-piece bonuses on the Paladin, Monk, Berserker, and Defiler Shadow Odyssey raid sets have been improved.
  • The Lycanthrope Bracelet’s effects in PVP combat have been slightly lowered.

QUESTS

  • One of the lists of names for the Task “Hidden Agenda” could appear in an unreachable spot on a bookshelf. This has been fixed.

WARD OF ELEMENTS

  • Elemental bosses in Ward of Elements now drop non-stacking encrusted gems. The encrusted gems can be unpacked to yield stackable elemental gems. This change allows the gems to be split between players when dropped.

Update Notes: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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

GENERAL

  • Players will now see a new Welcome Screen upon login.
  • The Welcome Screen can be disabled by adding cl_show_welcome_screen_on_startup 0 (that’s a zero) to your eq2.ini.
  • You can now ctrl+left click the armor crates in the Station Marketplace window to see all of the armor pieces in the dressing room at once!

MUNZOK’S MATERIAL BASTION

  • A mysterious and powerful void entity has made its presence known on Norrath.  Although its motives aren’t clear, its powerful presence has sent shivers through even the most powerful denizens of the realm.  This zone represents its stronghold and should prove a challenge for even the most experienced raiders.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Bruiser

  • Enhance: Ignore Bruises will work properly

Priest

  • Litany of Combat will no longer affect combat arts

Templar

  • Focused Prayers will now increase hostile spell casting time instead of reducing it.

Crusader

  • Cavalier’s Call will now work correctly.

ITEMS

  • The Harbinger of Malcontent and the Virtue’s Guard are now kite shields with higher protection.
  • Raiders who defeat The Leviathan can now collect their trophy from its corpse.
  • Many raid drops have had +crushing skill added to them where appropriate.
  • The Bruiser epic weapons will once again proc properly.

PVP

  • The Earthen Robe should now cost the same as other chest slot set items

QUESTS

  • Spells used by the Void Stalker on the daily shard quest have been made to cast faster and refresh faster to speed up combat.

WARD OF ELEMENTS

  • The mystery ogre that has been attacking adventurers at the entrance of the Ward of Elements has been removed.
  • The Tempest within Ward of Elements should be far less likely to leash within its own room.
  • During Aiden’s encounter, Smoldering Updraft now grants players in-combat runspeed and slowfall in addition to glide.
  • Aiden’s adds are now tier 8 instead of 9.

Spell Naming III

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

There have been concerns about having spells with a roman numeral and then spell qualities within a tier having roman numbers (App I, App IV, Adept I, Adept III, Master I, and Master II) as far as difficulties with Broker searching or confusion among new players who have to deal with a spell named, for instance Shadow Leap II (Apprentice II).

Careful reading of Aeralik’s posts had led many people to believe that this spell renaming was just the first step in a bigger process. Naysayers, looks like you just got served. ;) We got our hint on what that process will be with this post from Aeralik:

We are acually only going to have one roman numeral in the end.  You will have Ice Comet, Ice Comet II, etc.  Instead of App 1, 2, and 4 we will instead have a slightly different naming structure.  That way the tier of each spell flows better and doesnt have the odd gaps like app 2 to app4 and adept 1 to adept 3 or people wondering why there is no adept 4 to match the apprentice 4.

Since it’s impossible to craft App III anymore, and Adept II and Adept IV only existing from AA spells which have 8 points that can be spent, I can certainly see wanting to change this.

It’s interesting that just 3 posts earlier, Snowdonia predicted this:

Apprentice I > Beginner
Apprentice II > Apprentice
Apprentice IV > Journeyman
Adept I > Adept
Adept III > Expert
Master I > Master
Master II > Grandmaster

And in response to Snowdonia’s post, Aeralik had this further to say:

Yeah we will probably do something like this with the tier designations.  We haven’t finalized the names yet but I was proposing something similar

Read More

April 7 Hotfix

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

GENERAL

  • An issue that was causing UI icons or elements to look blurry and low-quality has been resolved.
  • An issue that was causing low-quality textures on player characters after switching from third person to first person view has been resolved.

EVERNIGHT ABBEY

  • Marcus Thex should turn aggro now once all five clan leaders have been slain.

ITEMS

  • The Dancing Satyr has learned how to dance and is anxious to show off his new moves.
  • Bite of the Wolf will now trigger properly and apply to the warden.
  • Restitution Master 1 should no longer drop from spell tables.
  • The Signet of the Flame Disciple has been changed from +3 spell critical bonus to +3 spell critical to be more inline with the other quest rewards.
  • Vampire and Void Bane proc stacking has been fixed such that additional pieces of gear will increase the damage and proc rate, but will not add additional procs. This is the originally intended functionality.
  • The Stone Tower void shard jewelry set now has Deflection Chance as its 3-piece bonus instead of deflection skill. The block and deflection bonuses should now be roughly equivalent.
  • Corruption of the Elements should now proc on offensive spell casts.

MYSTMYR MANOR

  • Rhul’maldis should no longer occasionally never respond to the volatile liquid.

PvP

  • An issue that might cause no infamy gain when multiple players are attacking a single target has been fixed.

SPELLS

  • Tortoise Shell will once again work properly on group members
  • An issue that would cause Surging Tempest to get into an unusable state has been resolved.

TRADESKILLS

  • The Advanced Armorer Service quest now requires the new improved version of fulginate kite shields.
  • Scholars’ volume 12 books now once again contain recipes for idols, symbols, tomes, and orbs.
  • Jeweler Far Seas writs now correctly accept the new secondary items.
  • An issue where Adornments would disappear when upgrading or imbuing items through tradeskills has been fixed.

WARD OF ELEMENTS

  • Najena should respawn when players watch the flythrough then leave the instance and return.
  • Aiden’s banishes have been re-timed to be closer to the beginning of a land phase, giving players more time to get back to the tower.
  • Aiden’s adds have been linked into sizable groups instead of all in separate encounters.
  • Digg should no longer chain-kill players that die and are rezzed during his fight.

Spell Naming Redux

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

As expected, the “Spell Naming Convention” thread is getting a lot of attention.

Currently,  Summoner (Conjuror / Necromancer) pets have distinctive names. I can see where folks are coming from when they say that having just one name for all of them would be a step backwards.

Also, some of the spell names are pretty good through the tiers. If only the less imaginative spells were renamed that would make more sense.

Finally, there have been folks suggesting either an Adjective system where all the spells have the same name, but a new adjective is added to the front or back of the spell name for each tier. Others have suggested that each tier has a prefix for all spells.

I have no problem with certain spells like the aforementioned Shadow Leap and Ice Comet just using the same name and having roman numerals after them. I would say go through the spells unless there are really good names for all the tiers, to go with the roman numerals.

Hopefully the EQ2 database is set up in such a way that this whole process only requires changing these spell names in 2-3 places: In the effects on 2, 4, 6, and 7 set bonuses on Fabled armor, on the spells/CAs themselves, and in the TS recipe books.

Spell Naming

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

I admit it. I can sometimes be pretty nostalgic.

I grew up on Final Fantasy II for the SNES (which was actually Final Fantasy IV in Japan). I loved the game. The storyline, the gameplay. I was really excited when Final Fantasy III came out (actually Final Fantasy VI in Japan), and I made it about halfway through and then things came up in life. But I really enjoyed the Final Fantasy series.

Years later, I bought a Playstation (the original) on the strength of Castlevania Symphony of the Night and Final Fantasy VII. I didn’t get very far in FF7 (I didn’t connect with the teeny-bopper whiny characters in FF7 as much as I did with the adult characters in FF4 and to a lesser extent in FF6). I beat Castlevania with 200.6% completed not once but twice. ;)

So it was interesting that last week that before I headed out to L.A. to attend to the 20th Anniversary Quantum Leap convention (link, and my blog), I grabbed a Nintendo DS Lite, the new Castlevania, and Final Fantasy IV which I have read about several times over the last year. I’m about 10 hours into Final Fantasy IV and loving it just as much as I did 15 years ago. Maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe the story does hold up that well after all this time. The CGI cutscenes, occasional voiceover, and 3d-ificiation of all the graphics certainly can’t hurt. Also, the more faithful, less watered-down translation and less censorship of certain story points is much appreciated.

So what does this have to do with EQ2?

When I started playing EQ2, I was somewhat annoyed at how spells got completely different names at each tier. The ranger stealthed backstab attack for instance has 6 different names: Shadow Leap, Shadow Lunge, Crippling Blade, Dire Blade, Ranger’s Blade, and Kunark Blade. The complexity of spell upgrades has led to folks having to consult Wiki every time they buy a spell.

Final Fantasy, as any fan of the series knows, gives each spell just one name. Then each upgrade gets a roman numeral after it. In the case of the ranger stealthed backstab above, it would be Shadow Leap, Shadow Leap II, Shadow Leap III, Shadow Leap IV, Shadow Leap V, and Shadow Leap VI. So I got very used to having Blizzard, Blizzard II, or Cure, Cure II, etc. from playing the FF games.

At this point, EQ2 devs are looking at going to the idea of each spell having one name, and then tier upgrades add a roman numeral afterwards.

I can certainly understand why this issue is coming up now. No doubt they are starting to tackle the level 81-90 spell upgrades and are dreading yet another tier of tedious  variations on the existing spell names, some of which already have 6 variations already.

I am coming out in support of the idea of renaming EQ2 spells to have just one proper name for each spell, and then roman numerals afterwards.

I am sure there are some out there who will say this is a dumbing down of the game, but I have always felt that the spell naming conventions in EQ2 were a little awkward. And some of the spell names in Tier 71-80 certainly reeked of desparation. How many Level 70-80 spells had Kunark in the name of the spell itself? Not to mention more and more spells having the same name in one class at one tier, as that of another class at another tier. Very expensive mistakes have been made buying masters for the wrong class/tier this way.

Agree? Disagree? Toss your opinion into the ring here:

Spell Naming Conventions (on EQ2 forums)

Mentoring for Void Shards VERBOTEN!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Grouping, Itemization

Editor’s Note: This was later declared to NOT be an exploit and that no further action would be taken.

In a shocking about-face, after 4 1/2 months of tolerance, EQ2 devs have reversed course and now consider mentored Void Shard runs to be an exploit and intend to patch the game so shards cannot be acquired in this manner.

Presumably with the addition of daily solo shard quest, EQ2 devs now intend to close this loophole.

From Kiara:

This is an exploit and we are currently working on a fix for it.

I’d suggest not doing it.

Whilst you won’t have the shards you’ve gotten via this method removed, it is something we are actively working on removing from the game.

Kiara posted the comment here and then closed the thread.

Game Update #51

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Live Events, Raiding, Tradeskill

GAME UPDATE 51

March / 31 / 2009

FEATURED

  • Weapon Appearance Slots
  • Players now have access to primary, secondary and ranged appearance slots. The wield style (one-handed, two-handed, shield) of the weapons must match the weapons that are currently equipped.
  • Bristlebane’s Day
  • (3/31/2009 – 4/8/2009) Jesters, thieves, bards and fans of mischief are invited to enjoy the festivities that surround Bristlebane’s Day! You never know what laughs and pranks are to be found, during this enjoyable time of year. Celebrators are present in every home city, and the oddest of objects have been spotted in Antonica, The Commonlands, Darklight Wood, Timorous Deep and Greater Faydark! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for special events occurring only on the highest of silly days, 4/1/2009!
  • Lavastorm Revamp
  • Lots of brand new content has been added in this classic zone. Almost all of the population has been re-tiered for solo players, with a new level 45 to 55 adventure quest line with the industrious–but rather insane Sootfoot goblins, and a new level 40-45 tradeskill quest line. Brand new void invaded areas also feature new level 80 solo quests. Additionally, a solo-able daily shard quest has been added as well as flying horse paths and additional teleporters to make traversing the zone much easier!
  • T3 Shard Armor
  • A new set of shard armor is now available from merchants. This requires Molds that drop from the new x2 raid zone, your T2 void shard armor piece, and additional void shards.
  • Threat Meter
  • Players can now see how much aggro they have generated towards NPC’s in combat. A new UI element will display players’ aggro percentage for their current target or implied target.
  • Players with the most hate will also see the hate value for the player below them.
  • Players’ aggro value will also appear above an NPC’s head, just below their remaining power. The aggro value displayed above an NPC’s head may be toggled off under Options -> User Interface -> Name and Chat Bubble
  • Ward of Elements
  • A brand new level 80 two-group (x2) raid instance has been added! This zone is balanced for players without a proliferation of raid gear, and should provide an exciting challenge to any group of 12! The first six bosses can be tackled in any order, and provide fantastic fabled loot with brand new armor sets upgraded from the tier 2 void shard sets, complete with new appearances! They also drop Molds which are necessary to create T3 Void Shard Armor.
  • You can find the Ward of Elements in Lavastorm by taking the elevator down to Hollow Tower (in front of Deep Forge) to its lowest level.

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Cleric
  • Sacrifice is now instant cast and recovery but will no longer be absorbed by wards.
  • Allied Prayers will trigger properly if the Cleric is casting.

ATREBE’S LABORATORY

  • Many NPC spells within Atrebe’s Laboratory: The Fabled City of Kor-sha will no longer target other NPCs.

GAMEPLAY

  • Xebnok and other charming mobs should no longer cause clients to crash.
  • Picking character advancement and training spells (i.e. Master II spells) will now attempt to add the spells to your hotbar and indicate where they are with spinning arrows.
  • Group members can now use the /invite command to request that the group leader invite a player to the group. Just type /invite <playername>
  • The entire group will no longer be zoned out of Scion of Ice when 1 person leaves.
  • Chests looted with NBG or Lotto looting options will now give the group 120 seconds to make their decisions.
  • Players that have completed the access quest to Trakanon’s Lair will now be able to zone directly to Trakanon without clearing Veeshan’s Peak.
  • Sarnak teleporter technology in Gorowyn has expedited transport from the base of the main lift to the residential area.
  • Gnomeland security R&D have created a tinkered banker prototype, which is now available for use. No warranty applies, use at own risk, no refunds, gnomeland security accepts no liability for injuries or loss incurred due to malfunction or spontaneous combustion.

GUILD HALLS

  • The guild hall mender will now correctly remember the new coverage setting after it is changed.
  • Paying upkeep on a house or guild hall now requires confirmation.
  • The “Call to Guild Hall” spell to has been modified to have less of an impact on server performance when many players use it at once.
  • Amenities will now move with players when moving to a new guild hall.
  • Any amenities that are not allowed in the new guild hall will continue to be refunded to players’ escrow accounts. If the move results in having more amenities than allowed, players will not be able to move items until some amenities are removed.
  • Permissions for the Harvest Supply Depot amenity have been changed as follows:
  • Any player with access to the guild hall may deposit items into the depot.
  • Only players with Trustee access to the hall may withdraw items directly from the depot.
  • The ability to craft using items in the depot is defined using the permission level on the amenity tab.

ITEMS

  • Forgotten Ring of Souls had a higher bonus on it than was intended. It has been changed to 2 base spell damage and 2 spell crit.
  • The Paladin Voidbeam set’s 4-piece bonus has been changed.
  • The Ranger Flightrift set’s 2-piece bonus now lowers the reuse time of Focus Aim.
  • The Zealot’s Steel armor set is no longer sunshine yellow.
  • The Shadow Odyssey dirge set armor has had its chest and 2-piece set bonus swapped.
  • The Void Shard merchant in the Moors of Ykesha now offers weapons suitable for Brawlers.
  • Items collected from the ‘old’ Ethernaut Relics collection now apply to the ‘new’ Ethernaut Relics collection.  The ‘old’ Ethernaut Relics collection has been deleted.
  • Set bonuses for Shadow Odyssey raid gear and some “T4″ shard-purchased gear have been modified and improved.
  • Flightrift Leggings now have a ranged crit bonus instead of melee crit.
  • The High-Pressure Forged Breastplate awarded by Tertiary Gurowyn Riz’Din in the Timorous Deep can now be equipped by crusaders as well as warriors.
  • The delayed shipment Nagafen statues have finally arrived. Anyone who had /claimed their Nagafen at Rest item should now have a statue in place of the delivery crate.
  • The Thex Mallet can now be purchased from Shady Swashbuckler if you have completed the heritage quest.
  • Darkened Rapidity now adds +10 Deflection Chance to the fighter version of the Dark Mail Gauntlets.
  • The effect from the Talisman of the Ethernauts should now stack with similar effects, like Frenzy of the Dead and Adrenaline Rage.
  • The Tainted Ring of Anashti Sul should now proc Deflection Chance similar to its Shield Effectiveness.
  • The Signet of Vampiric Kind should now also proc Barrier on a successful deflection.
  • Many quest items in Moors of Ykesha have been fixed to no longer trigger procs.
  • Quest items for the Befallen missions will no longer trigger procs.
  • The Wantia Artisan’s satchel and meager harvesting bag no longer hold non-harvested raw items such as wolf fangs. Only items that are actually harvested can be placed in them.

MOORS OF YKESHA

  • Many parts of the solo population within Moors of Ykesha have been reduced in difficulty.

PALACE OF THE ANCIENT ONE

  • Multiple occurrences of Abstalius should no longer spawn in Palace of the Ancient One.

Player vs Player

  • Players can no longer revive while their group is still engaged in PVP based combat.
  • The infamy system has been adjusted.&nbsp; Players no longer lose infamy when they die. However, their infamy will slowly decay over time. Also, a new title has been added.

QUESTS

  • Lord Byron and his cohorts should be much more accessible for updating quests in Stormhold.
  • You can now assist with Qho Augren’s harvesting obsession as you level up, starting at level 5 (adventurer or tradeskill).
  • City writs that previously sent adventurers into Lavastorm have been adjusted due to the changes to the Lavastorm population.
  • Some of the collection items that were previously only available through the Kunark Burynai have been made available again in certain zones.

RAIDS

  • All Shadow Odyssey Expansion raid bosses now have a chance at dropping master spells.
  • Some raid bosses in each zone now drop void shards! (2 per instance, except Zarrakon)
  • A void shard now drops from the final boss of Obelisk of Ahkzul, two from the final boss of the Anchor of Bazzul, and three are present within the Palace of Ferzhul!

RUINS OF GUK

  • The Ruins of Guk: Halls of the Fallen, The Ruins of Guk: the Lower Corridors and Atrebe’s Laboratory: Fabled City of Kor-sha all have had some changes made. Most of the more undesirable spells have been removed from NPC’s and or are now dispellable.

SPELLS

  • Strike of the Ethernauts and similar type effects should now all stack with each other.

TRADESKILLS

  • The Far Seas Supply Division has learned of another mission where a group of talented tradeskillers may be sorely needed.  Madria Varas will have details of the new mission once they are available.
  • Representative Purrla from the Far Seas Trading Company is seeking help from the cities’ tradeskill societies! Tradeskillers level 40+ may wish to assist.
  • Armorers, woodworkers, and jewelers have improved their recipes, and can now make improved versions of tradeskilled shields and secondary items. Old shields and secondary items that already exist will not be affected, only new ones created henceforth.
  • Tradeskillers with their epic earrings may soon find more red collectibles if they look in the right areas–
  • The “Tunare’s Gifts” volumes 1 through 5 and “Bartending for Sadists” recipe books are no longer limited in number of uses.
  • All armorer reaction events in the level 50 range should now result in a success round if successfully countered.

USER INTERFACE

  • Players can now drag equipment from their appearance slots to the macro window.
  • Fixed a bug where damage reduction info was not displayed correctly in the mitigation tooltip.
  • The raid window has a new “Advanced’ mode that will display effect icons for all members of the raid. To switch views, right-click the raid window.
  • A bug in the raid window sometimes causing users to not be drag-able has been fixed.
  • The carat in text boxes will no longer render if the EQII client doesn’t have focus.
  • UI Settings files are now stored in a new XML format.  Existing INI files will be converted the first time a character is logged in.
  • Tooltips of icons in the collection window now look like regular item tooltips.
  • The quest journal can now be sorted by quest name.
  • Players may now specify key bindings for all 10 hotbars in the Options window under Controls -> Hotbar Keys. Right-click a hotbar and choose “Hotbar Setting” to assign a key mapping.
  • The group window now displays a health bar for your group members’ pets.

ADVANCED USER INTERFACE

The following modifications were made to UIScripting / UI Builder and are mainly of interest to the modding community:

  • UIScript now supports the following functions: int(), abs(), floor(), ceil()
  • Results of math operations in UIScript now only return the required precision instead of always forcing 3 decimal places.
  • Fixed a bug parsing negative floating-point numbers.
  • New Scripting events added: OnMove, OnSize, OnTextChanged.
  • The BackgroundEmpty image of a UIProgressbar will no longer render unless the progress value is zero.
  • Support has been added for a new UIColorStyle object.&nbsp; Any object property that accepts a color will now accept a reference to a UIColorStyle object.
  • Players can now press F2 to edit the name of an object in the TreeView
  • Players can press Enter or Escape while editing an object name to commit or cancel editing.

YKESHA’S INNER STRONGHOLD

  • Ykeshan Footsoldiers in the Field General Uktap encounter in Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold now drop warbeads.

ZARRAKON’S ABYSSAL LAIR

  • The mark of attack spell associated with the Mystmerian Wraiths in Zarrakon’s lair no longer persist through death, but the wraiths recast it on newly resurrected opponents within 3 seconds, allowing them to resume fighting with their group.

T3 Void Shard Armor Screen Shots

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

Here is the new Tier 3 Void Shard Armor.

NEWLY REVISED FOR 3/4/09 — T3 Set Bonuses have been adjusted.

Note: Just in case it’s not clear, I have Photoshopped out the Set Bonuses from all but 1 item in each screen shot. Every T3 Void Shard Armor set has set bonuses for having (2), (3), (5), and (7) pieces from the set.

bard2 enchanter2 predator2
Bard, Enchanter, Predator

druid2 rogue2 cleric2
Druid, Rogue, Cleric

summoner2 sorcerer2 shaman2 mystic_female
Summoner, Sorcerer, Shaman*

* You know those whacky Shamans… always running around buck naked wearing just twigs and funny hats. :) Actual screen shots BTW.

crusader2 brawler2 warrior2
Crusader, Brawler, Warrior

shamanbard2 crusaderwarriorcleric2 [placeholder] Bard/Shaman, Crusader/Warrior/Cleric, Brawler/Druid

I realized today that I do not have the T3 upgrade for Wilderness Warrior up.  I will work on getting this up today.

NOTE 1: For those folks with TSO x4 Raid Gear looking at these items and having a heart attack, stroke, or other blood flow stoppage, login to Test and look at your gear again. The TSO x4 raid gear from ToMC/PoAO/etc. (which people are starting to call T4) has been upgraded substantially to make room for these new T3 items.

NOTE 2: Bracers which are boss drops in the new x2 raid zone. These make the 7th piece in each set.

NOTE 3: For those resourceful Assassins out there who have been juggling 3 pieces each of Soul Lancer and Ravagers, the T3 upgrade for Soul Lancer is not usable by Predators. Fortunately Fyreflyte is making a code change to the T3 Void Shard Merchant to accept T2 Soul Lancer pieces to upgrade to the T3 Ravager pieces.

This is being discussed on the EQ2 Forums.

The T3 Void Shard Armor Equation

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

Ok, I hopped over to Test and got the scoop on how the T3 Void Shard Armor seems to work.

There are two NPCs:

  • Assilus Poisonbolt <Elemental Pattern Quartermaster>
  • Borden Chargehammer <Elite Void Shard Armor Quartermaster>

As you run the new x2 Raid Zone “The Ward of Elements”, one or more Molds will drop from raid bosses. To buy your T3 Void Shard Armor Pattern from Assilus, you must have the necessary Mold and the requisite number of Void Shards.

Borden will take your Pattern and the requisite T2 Void Shard Armor piece and turn it into a T3 Void Shard Armor piece.

For instance, I run the x2 Raid Zone and I get my Boot Mold. I give the Boot Mold and 5 Void Shards to Assilus and he gives me a Boot Pattern in exchange. Then I turn to Borden and I turn in my T2 Boots and the Boot Pattern and he gives me my brand spanking new T3 Boots. I do see how this could confuse people. The simplest way to explain it is with this chart:

T3 Void Shard Armor

8 Void Shards + Head Mold + T2 Head -> T3 Head
10 Void Shards + Chest Mold + T2 Chest -> T3 Chest
12 Void Shards + Shoulder Mold + T2 Shoulder -> T3 Shoulder
5 Void Shards + Gloves Mold + T2 Gloves -> T3 Gloves
8 Void Shards + Legs Mold + T2 Legs -> T3 Legs
5 Void Shards + Boots Mold + T2 Boots -> T3 Boots

But we’re not done yet. All of the T3 Void Shard Armor Sets have a 7 piece bonus, meaning you’ll have to get the Bracers somewhere. Note that some armor sets have multiple items of the same slot listed in the “set”. Coercer and Illusionist for instance have 2 headpieces they can choose from.

Research Assistants! — for those hard-to-find Masters

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

Originally posted by Kirstie at EQ2 Forums:

We have some exciting new features in the works for EQII! One of the first we’ll be talking about is Research Assistants.

These hardworking researchers will help you acquire upgrades to your spells and combat arts while you’re off adventuring in the deepest darkest dungeon or asleep in your own warm cozy bed. Even though they’re hardworking, they’re not a speedy service and they are limited in how much they’ll help you. Because this kind of research is complicated, they’ll only be able to work on one spell or combat art for one character per server.

All research requires a base amount of information to work with. In the case of the Research Assistants, this manifests in that they require you to have the previous tier of the spell being upgraded before they can begin work for you. So, in order to research that Master I, you’ll need to first know the Adept III version, though it doesn’t matter whether that Adept III version came from researching or from your friendly neighborhood sage, jeweler or alchemist. The time required to research a spell increase will vary based on the level and tier of the spell. A level 20 Adept I may only take an hour, while a level 80 master will likely take a month or longer.

We’re still working out the details of how these assistants will work in Norrath and we want to hear your feedback. Do you have a preference on how these researchers would look or how you interact with them?

There have been many requests over the last couple of years for SoE to provide a way for people to acquire hard-to-find masters such as level 53-58 masters which do not get upgraded beyond that level. Rangers have a level 53 buff which does not get upgraded for instance.

I think it’s a good idea. If you have characters on 3 different servers, then you can have ONE character per server researching a spell upgrade.

Considering the time investment (2-5 weeks) for ONE spell, this meets a need that many people have been begging for. There are level 50′s Masters that do not get upgraded. Also, Illusionist and Conjuror master pet spells routinely go for 200-300 plat.

This allows people to choose WHICH spell they want to upgrade rather than having to continue grinding old dungeons or old raid zones to get a master which might or might not be on various loot tables.

I think most people WILL NOT use them to get Adept I’s but I suppose ubercasual players who only play once in a while and don’t want to drop the 4 plat on a silicate loam might upgrade 1 spell a month this way.

I think this is a good idea.

Personally, I would also like to see a device that strips the NO TRADE tag off ONE item per month.

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