June 18 Hotfix

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

EMPEROR’S ATHENAEUM

  • The final bosses no longer ambush players.
  • Players should get experience from each location discovery within the zone, instead of just the first.
  • Drago’s Boar’s Eruption does less damage.
  • Added a clue to help decipher the floor-set vault lock.
  • Master of the Embalmers summons adds much less frequently.
  • The Curator teleports less frequently.

KURN’S TOWER

  • Ilenee’s Betrayal and Despair no longer heal after they teleport and no longer can teleport to the same room.

VOICE CHAT

  • EQ2VoiceService.exe should now run on Windows 2000.
  • Players should no longer show as talking intermittently when their push-to-talk key is not pressed.
   

June 17 Hotfix

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

GENERAL

  • Players experiencing problems customizing Wood Elf males should no longer have any issues.
  • Persistent instances should no longer boot players out when they were not committed to the previous instance.

EMPEROR’S ATHENAEUM

  • The final bosses should no longer despawn if players died next to their spawn locations.

Laryngitis

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

Any software update is going to bring bugs.

Laryngitis

I just wish SoE hadn’t tried to completely revamp the voice system on the same day as all this new content was added. Last night we spent most of time just fiddling around with voice, trying to get it clear and stable. Mostly it was choppy, stuttery, laggy, and folks had a tough time joining channels.

We also had to inform a few folks running Windows Firewall that they would need to allow Eq2VoiceService.exe. This service was spun off from the EQ2 client to allow voice chat outside the game as long as the Station Launcher is running.

Instead of running new dungeons as we originally planned, a lot of solo quests and old HQs got done instead. It’s perhaps just as well that we elected not to try the new zones.

Emperor’s Anathenum

Quests and AA

I just wanted to reiterate that our AA prayers have been answered. If you are coming up short on Achievement Experience and have had enough of grey quests, once you reach level 80 (and provided combat XP is not disabled!), your combat XP will be converted to AA XP at a significant rate. It may make sense to pick up City Writs not only to help your guild level but also for AA. :)

GU52 adds a series of solo quests regarding the Order of Rime starting on the Kylong Plains docks. Kaitheel was nice enough to enumerate the quests and their general locations:

  • Kylong Plains has 10 new quests
  • Fens of Nathsar has 31 new quests
  • Kunzar Jungle has 20 new quests
  • Jarsath Wastes has 20 new quests

Timers

timetravelling fixed a bug with all instances that would prevent certain people from zoning in. The error message these folks were receiving — You may not enter an instance created prior to when your previous instance’s minimum lockout timer has expired seems to imply time travel!

Try the Pie

If you are a diehard provisioner, who is more than willing to fling 10 plat pieces and toil for an hour in exchange for some new provisioner recipes, you might want to check out the stats on the recipe reward first. It may or may not be worth your effort. I’m not sure why such an expensive recipe wouldn’t have some main stat bonuses.

I would love to see Advanced Provisioner recipes that produce good to very good food/drink.

From the Shadows

There are several threads going on about the new GPU Shadows which have had an extended stay on Test and have finally made it to Live. The consensus? They look fantastic outdoors in full sun. Indoors? Well, let’s hope we see enough point light sources added that GPU Shadows can be enabled indoors.

More Testing

Ultimately a lot of this comes down to not enough people being on Test and Test Copy. Also if folks go over there and there are issues with zoning and timers, they quickly give up and come back to Live.

My suggestion would be rewards for testing. Perhaps a Quest is offered at a certain time on Test and Test Copy which rewards a short-term 80% mount, or a house item, or guild hall item, or some other rare item. And this time would be announced on Live either in the MoTD or in that handy Welcome box.

SOE Trademarks Possible EverQuest & EverQuest II Expansions

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News

From Curse.com.


Through a bit of internet sleuthing we’ve discovered that recently, Sony Online Entertainment decided to trademark two new titles, one each for EverQuest and EverQuest II. The trademarks in question took place on June 10th, 2009 and are EverQuest Underfoot, and EverQuest II Sentinel’s Fate. While nothing is announced yet, there’s a good chance these two titles are the names of each game’s respective expansions.

So why would SOE do this? Well, they have the annual SOE Fanfaire coming up in a week, in which they’ll no doubt continue their recent tradition of announcing expansions for their flagship MMO titles, so ensuring the trademark was in place prior to the announcement is always crucial.

EverQuest fans will no doubt recognize the Underfoot fairly quickly. It’s an area that many wished would be introduced to the game early on in its lifetime; the realm of Brell Serilis, deity whom created the dwarves. Coming off its 10th anniversary and a new server ruleset, this would be the 16th expansion for the game.

On the other hand, what Sentinel’s Fate will bring is questionable. Will this be the much-anticipated Velious expansion for EverQuest II, related to the dragons of the continent? Or will it continue the story laid out by The Shadow Odyssey?

Regardless, I think it’s safe to say we’ll hear these new expansions announced at the SOE Fanfaire during John Smedley’s Community Address on Friday, June 26th at 7PM PDT. Stay tuned next week as we’ll no doubt have more information not only on EverQuest and EverQuest II, but other titles shown at the Fanfaire as well!

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 Screen Shots

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

For your viewing pleasure if you have not yet been able to make it over to the Test Servers, look what washed up on the northern shores of Fens of Nathsar not 500 yards from our old friend the Tangrin…

It is unexpected to see humans, halflings, giants, and ratonga working so closely together. What could their mission be?

Note also that this is not just a temporary event, but that it will persist into the next expansion. Whether we should read further into that is a question that I just don’t have enough information to know the answer to. Some have suggested that this is confirmation that Velious is on the way. Others have suggested that this may be the beginning of the reviled ‘Discord’ expansion (primarily because it signaled an increase in the difficulty of group and raid content beyond what even most hardcore raiders would find reasonable).

Hopefully I’ll know for certain in exactly one month, when the EQ2 expansion is revealed at Fan Faire 2009. Yes, I’ll be there. ;)

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.

GU52 now on Test — Update Notes

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

Here are the notes for GU52 which has now appeared on Test. It is unknown exactly when these changes will go live.

FEATURED

Charasis: Emperor’s Athenaeum

  • The Order of Rime has managed to re-open this ancient vault of Venril Sathir’s. What secrets lie within? What terrible guardians? Venture in with a single group of adventurers to find out what awaits!

Kunark Overland Quests

  • A mysterious army has appeared upon the shores of Kunark and begun pillaging the land and slaughtering those that oppose them. Citizens of Dreg’s Landing in Kylong Plains, Riliss in Fens of Nathsar, the City of Jinisk in Kunzar Jungle and Danak in Jarsath Wastes are looking for your help in learning about the invaders and defeating them.

Kurn’s Tower

  • After Najena’s magic revealed the void tear slowly consuming the tower, the Bellywhumpers have frantically dug a passage into Kurn’s Tower once again! Delve into your choice of the x2 raid or the single group instance, and attempt to solve the mysteries within!

Research Assistants

  • Research Assistants have moved into many cities in Norrath.  These hardworking men and women will do the research to upgrade a spell or combat art from journeyman to adept or from expert to master.  They will only assist one character per account at a time and only help those level 20 or higher.  Research Assistants can be found in each of the six hoods and villages of Freeport and Qeynos, Neriak, Haven, Gorowyn and Kelethin.  You can ask any guard in those areas to point you in the direction of a Research Assistant if you can’t find them.

GPU Shadow System

  • A new shadow system has been implemented for the game.  This new system uses your graphics card to build the shadows rather than your CPU and it comes with a few extras as well.  Using the shadow mapping technique and 3.0 Shaders we’re now able to cast softer shadows, fade shadows, and cast dynamic shadows from trees, plants, feathers, and more!  The new system fixes a few shadowing glitches found in certain armor sets and self-shadowing and depending on your computer’s settings may also significantly improve performance.

User Books

  • Players can now leave their permanent mark in the world of Norrath by authoring their own books. Empty books are now available from sages.  Once you edit the content of an empty book you become the author and from that point forward you are the only one who can edit the book content.  Player-written books are tradable so you can give them to your friends or even sell them on the broker.

GENERAL

  • Indus Surion should no longer sell “The Freeport’s Guide to Opportunity – 2nd Edition”.
  • Navarius Orvalis should no longer sell “Welcome to Qeynos, Citizen! – 2nd Edition”.
  • Class Trainers will now only sell Entertainment spells and not Apprentice II spells.
  • By popular demand, the Gigglegibber Gamblin’ Lotto game has expanded onto the Lavastorm docks (void where prohibited by Norrathian law).
  • After a disturbing number of Koada’Dal disappeared while speaking with him, Vindain Greenfaith has moved slightly away from the entrance to The Down Below in Castleview Hamlet.
  • Daily faction missions in Tupta, Grobb, and Firmroot Moot now award more faction.
  • Killing NPCs will now accumulate achievement experience faster.
  • Missions now grant slightly higher achievement experience.
  • Merchants who formerly made a living selling Apprentice II spells are experiencing an economic downturn and have either found new employment or departed the city to seek fortune elsewhere.
  • Menders based in Kunark will now assist you even though they may be apprehensive.  Bankers and brokers are also willing to deal with you once they consider you indifferently.  Fens of Nathsar now has a mender, banker, and fence.
  • Mounts will now persist through death.
  • Most Baubles that apply illusions will show the illusion in the dressing room when Ctrl+Left Clicked.
  • Beneficial spells will no longer fail to cast if you have an object such as a harvest node or non-attackable npc targeted.
  • Cosmetic pets will no longer be killed by AOE from monsters.
  • Castable items will no longer trigger proc spells.
  • 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.
  • You can now cancel a maintained spell by using /cancel_maintained spell name.
  • Fixed a case where some triggered spells would cause reactive damage triggers to go off.
  • Power draining dots will no longer trigger reactive damage once applied.
  • The elusive Schizophylum Spore in upper and lower Guk instances can now be found!

ACHIEVEMENTS

General

  • Castable Achievement abilities have been moved to the Combat Art or Spells tab depending on the class and the ability type.

Bard

  • Heroic Storytelling will now apply properly to damage and heals.

Druid

  • Reduced the recast of Rebirth to 5 minutes.

Predator

  • Toxic Expertise will now improve the damage of poisons instead of increasing spell critical chance.

Shadowknight

  • The Shadowknight will now be healed properly from Malevolent Protection.

Summoner

  • Reanimate pet will properly apply TSO pet modifiers now.

AUTOFOLLOW

  • Improved auto follow to avoid having the follower sometimes run large circles around the character they are following.
  • Auto follow now works when following someone who starts climbing down a cliff.
  • Autofollow while climbing used to only go up or down, now it also goes left or right.

CODING

  • EverQuest II now supports the Philips amBX experience.  With the amBX system, you can experience dynamic lighting, wind and rumble effects. See http://www.ambx.com/ for more information.

GUILDS

  • Players now get the message “GuildLeader has kicked YourAltName from the guild” if you are online and one of your alts is kicked (the message used to read “GuildLeader has kicked YOU from the guild”).
  • Changed the guild hall teleport pop up window to reuse the existing window rather than spawn multiples of the existing window.
  • Fixed a bug that sometimes causes a guild rally banner to deactivate before the two hour time limit.
  • Guilds are able to hire a research assistant hireling for their guild hall.
  • Fixed a bug causing level 79 guilds to only get 25 amenities instead of 29.
  • The slayer sign guild hall amenity no longer uses an amenity slot.
  • The guild hall amenity limit is no longer constrained by the size of the guild hall.  The number of amenities allowed is now only based on your guild’s level.

ITEMS

  • Upgraded the appearances on Aiden’s cloaks from Ward of Elements.
  • The Ground Granite Helm should now match the coloration of the rest of its set.
  • Adept and Master spell scrolls for Unyielding Will are no longer no-trade.
  • Bite of the Wolf will now trigger properly and apply to the warden.

LAVASTORM

  • “Efforts Repaid” has had the number of kills required reduced.
  • “Snuff the Flare Reapers” has had the number of kills required reduced and now all flare men count as quest targets.
  • “Colossal Lava Rocks” now includes hardened colossi as quest targets.
  • There is no longer a group of goblin ritualists that cause the Fiery Apparition to attempt to attack from across the zone.
  • There should no longer be any heroic encounters in the Temple of Sol Ro.
  • There should no longer be the occasional mob that can see invis in the Temple of Sol Ro.
  • Teleporters in Lavastorm can no longer be used while engaged in PvP combat.

MISTMYR MANOR

  • The Stewardess should no longer occasionally reset.
  • The 3 reward chests no longer have an unintentional 1-hour time limit before they despawn.
  • The Primogens teleport less frequently.
  • The Primogens should be a little less reluctant to give up certain items.
  • The Curator has slightly fewer hitpoints.

PLAYER HOUSING

  • The front door of a player house now always leads back to the city.

QUESTS

  • Kunzar Jungle: Any players who have completed the quest “Slice Your Way Up the Ladder” will now be able to get “Do Unto Havik” regardless of the order in which they did the Swifttails quests.
  • Characters that feign death or run away from the grave watchers for “Gathering Feathers” can now return and try again.
  • Gerun Pontian in the Commonlands will now update “Speckled Rattler Venom” for non-Freeport aligned citizens.
  • Kregnok Legbreaker in the Commonlands is not quite as good at breaking legs anymore.
  • The Clefts of Rujark – Players that have already completed “The Key of Coins” quest no longer need “a fancy steel key” in their inventory to access the Rujark treasure chamber.
  • Citizens of Gorowyn should be able to complete the Qeynos Claymore quest now.

SPELLS

General

  • Fighter avoidance buffs will once again persist through zoning.
  • Persistent spells should apply modification data properly upon zoning now.
  • Interpose effects will no longer trigger reactive procs while intercepting damage from another player.

Assassin

  • The Death Mark line will now use melee effect modifiers instead of spell modifiers.

Defiler

  • Spiritual Circle will once again apply to raid members.

Dirge

  • Cacophany of Blades will now make a melee attack instead of using a spell attack.

Enchanter

  • Mesmerize spells will no longer trigger additional spells.

Summoners

  • Some pet appearances have changed to match the new spell names.

Swashbuckler

  • The Inspired Daring line will now use melee effect modifiers instead of spell modifiers.

TRADESKILLS

  • Magmatic Bronze armor from Najena’s Forge now requires fewer components to create.
  • Tailors across Norrath have been experimenting and have discovered a way to improve the utility of crafted hex dolls.  Already existing pristine quality hex dolls will automatically improve.
  • Meledi Augren in the Village of Shin is looking for assistance from an experienced Sage.
  • Scholar recipes have been modified to reflect the spell naming changes.
  • Woodworkers and tailors have upgraded their recipes and can now make improved versions of tradeskilled ranged weapons (bows, satchels, bandoliers, pouches, and sheaths).  Old ranged weapons that already exist will not be affected, only new ones created henceforth.
  • Carpenters may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the Estate of Unrest a little more closely.
  • Provisioners may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the arena in Charasis West Wing.
  • Harvests are now more plentiful in the Palace of the Ancient One tradeskill instance.
  • Sages are now able to craft the level 34 Illusionist spell “Manatap,” formerly known as “Devitalizing Gaze.”
  • Alchemists among the Far Seas Supply Division have found new uses for Reflective Smoldering Shards.

USER INTERFACE

  • Statistic labels on the persona window now display the same tooltip as their values.
  • Updated the heading on the compass tool tip to be in line with the direction the compass is pointing.
  • Updated the deposit window to take eight digits rather than just seven.
  • Changed tool tips to auto widen if there are very long lines.
  • The friends list on the welcome screen will now ignore offline friends if that option is enabled on the community window.
  • Items that are appearance-only will now show APPEARANCE-ONLY in the examine window and on the tool tips of those items.
  • Fixed a bug causing hidden quests in players’ quest journal to become unhidden after zoning.
  • You can now specify the text format of your hotbars from the Hotkey Settings window.
  • You can now use the macro window to equip weapons in appearance slots.
  • You can now modify the key setting for toggling your point-of-view (F9) under Options->Controls->View Keys.
  • Fixed a bug where when a player would complete the last quest in the journal there would still be information from the completed quest showing in the details window in the journal and in the active quest window.
  • Textboxes now support selecting all text by pressing CTRL-A.

WARD OF ELEMENTS

  • Najena should no longer occasionally be floating up above the tower after Aiden has been slain.
  • Dayakara summons her imp minions slightly less frequently.

GU52 Preview Delayed

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

We’re hearing from EQ2′s new Senior Producer Brenlo that GU52 (Kurn’s Tower BTV, Kurn’s Tower x2, and CEA) will not hit Test and Test Copy until at least Tuesday, May 26th. It is unknown if this will push back the internal estimates of seeing GU52 on Live ‘several weeks’ before Fan Faire.

EQ2 Senior Producer Bruce Ferguson steps down, Make room for Brenlo

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

A bit of a bombshell for some of you. Bruce Ferguson has stepped down as Senior Producer of EQ2 (his announcement):

Just like any evolving game, things change. Since release, we’ve had an ongoing and heavy interest in game balance. Much of the critical implementation work in the last several years for EverQuest II has been on the shoulders of Aeralik, but the discussion and decisions are shared across the entire team, as we review information that you provide us in various ways. Data comes from the many reports we run against our log files, from the posts you make in the EQII forums, and even from external forums. Once we gather that data, we process it so that we can see the underlying issue it reveals.

Fairly often the data confirms something that one of you has pointed out in a post, or in feedback, or a ticket with Customer Service, and we start looking at ways that we can correct whatever that issue is. There is not a one of us who enjoys putting something into the game that eventually needs to be “nerfed”, but at times changes get in that end up doing something completely unexpected, despite our testing. Even the most innocuous item or change can make a significant difference in a game with the complexity of an MMO, especially with the size and scope of EQII.

This is the situation we’ve run into now. 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.

The first change of note is that we’re removing critical damage from the item’s base proc. This will help us even out damage from the items we’ve already released, and also assist us in maintaining a standard going forward.

The next thing you’ll see in this update is that the values of the procs can no longer be modified, with a few notable exceptions like achievements or item set enhancements. Generic bonuses will no longer apply to triggered damage generated from items. This will allow us to move forward with creating items that can have higher damage item procs in the future.

Predators will see a change to Toxic Expertise, The spell will now improve the base damage of poisons. We’re also making adjustments to the Death Mark and Inspired Daring spell lines so that they trigger melee attacks instead of spell based attacks. This is to refocus the combat art back to improved poison damage, rather than the spell crit damage it has been doing.

We recognize that these are substantial changes. We wouldn’t be making them if we didn’t feel that things were currently unbalanced, and becoming more so as the game continues to grow. These changes will bring the item procs and spells back to a reasonable standard.

What about the rest of the content in this game update? Well, there are a bunch of additional changes you’ll be seeing, beyond the spell rename that we’ve been talking about on the boards for a while now; you can expect to see a brand new x2 raid, two single group instances, lots of overland solo content, player created books, a whole new and more efficient shadow system, and research assistants to help you study up for your next spell upgrade.

We’re expecting to have most of this rolled out to the test server sometime during the week of May 18th, and then out to the live servers in June, around Fan Faire. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if dates change.
We hope to see your feedback on all of these matters and hope that you’ll join us on the Test server once we update. Until then, please give us your feedback in the Official Forums.

Finally, this will be my final Producer’s letter to you all. I’m moving on within SOE to another position, but wanted to thank each of you for your continued comments, concerns, and discussion. Between the team and the players, it’s been a most enjoyable experience for me again, and I will certainly miss you all – without being too far away. Fortunately, I’m leaving you in good hands, and I think the future of EverQuest II will continue to shine.

I’ll see you in game!

Bruce A. Ferguson

Today brings the announcement that Alan “Brenlo” Crosby is taking this position (his announcement):

You know, the most awkward part of writing one of these is the introduction; it almost always comes across as cliché.

So, now that we have that out of the way….

I am extremely pleased to join the creative and passionate EQII team as the Senior Producer.  Bruce has always been wonderful to work with and leaves me some rather large shoes to fill (speaking of clichés; they are actually about the same size as my own).  Bruce has been a strong shepherd for the team and the game and we all wish him well as he moves into his new role here at SOE.  I know he will do well, as he carries the dedication he shows in all things with him.

As far as Community Relations, I am leaving the team in very capable hands.  Richard “Greeblen” Schmelter will be giving that team the love they need now, and I know he will shine.  Why the change for me?  Well, first you should understand that it is not as different a career as you might think.  A producer is a manager, just like a director.  So, many of the skills are the same.  Just different processes, more people, more assets.  More, more, more.  And of course, now I have these large looming deadlines.  What was I thinking?  I love games, especially MMO’s.  EQ was my first love and brought me to SOE, but it was EQII that held me longer than any other.  I love the game and when the opportunity arose to work with this team, I could not pass it up.

This team is amazing!  I have spent the last two days in meetings as they talk about their work and their passion for this product; I am excited, as I could not be blessed with a better group to help me make this transition into Production.  Coders, Designers and Artists are all working very hard to make sure EQII stays the quality game it is today.  Over the next few weeks you will see some of their plans come to fruition as we publish Monument and Might (GU 52) to Test and then Live servers sometime in June (possibly before Fan Faire).

But that ain’t all we have in store for you.  As we sat together and went over the plans for GU 53 and beyond, the player in me was piqued.  I wanted this new stuff NOW.  I wanted to play with the new zones, items, and dungeons.  I smiled and laughed as I saw new creatures and their animations (complete with sound effects provided by Tom Tobey, one of our Senior Artists), and I know that you will love them too.

We also have some not so much fun stuff to get to, maintenance to the game to allow us to continue to develop content, expansions, and items for years to come.  Some of those pills will be tough to swallow (cliché).  The team and I will work hard to make certain you understand why we’re making these changes, why they are necessary.  We will discuss them with you and listen to your feedback.  While that doesn’t mean we can always go the way some players feel is correct, it does mean we want you to know the WHY of our decisions.  I used the word “shepherd” for Bruce and it is fitting, as that is what a producer does.  They make sure the game is headed in the right direction, away from cliffs and pitfalls so that it stays around, competitive, and most importantly fun, for a good long time.

I will be available on the forums occasionally, on Twitter often (handle is Brenlo) and in game when I can log in to chat with you.  I look forward to hearing from you.  I look forward to playing with you.   I look forward to being a shepherd for this game and development team.  Leading them, shaping their plans and guiding their passion.  A passion you, I and the team share.

See you in Norrath.
Alan “Brenlo” Crosby
Senior Producer – EQII-

Discuss the news.

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.

May 19 Hotfix

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

ITEMS

  • Death Chimes will now work correctly.
  • Ill Will now properly applies the heal to the owner of the item.

PALACE OF THE ANCIENT ONE

  • Pets should now be able to attack the Void Annihilator.

QUESTS

  • Boss mobs should now drop multiple keys for early progression in Veksar: The Invasion.
  • Innate spells used by much of the population in Veksar: The Invasion can no longer be used towards other creatures within the zone.

YKESHA’S INNER STRONGHOLD

  • The Archmagus now banishes players less frequently than before.  Field General Uktap’s Sappers now take longer to set explosive charges, and do not spawn as often.
  • Field General Uktap now drops legging patterns.
  • Ykesha now only drops chest patterns instead of both chest and legging patterns.

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.

Guild Hall Guards going on a Diet

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Game Updates & Maintenance

This will be good news for those of you with large guild halls and want to use more of the available guild hall amenities, but not without losing your Hall Guards.

In GU52, Hall Guards will no longer take up Amenity slots. Already, mailboxes do not take up amenity slots.

Also, as some guilds have used these Hall Guards for other purposes than guarding (indeed they don’t actually have any function and will not ‘defend’ the hall if invaders come in, nor are they agroable), in GU52, they will lose the “Hall Guard” flag under their name.

More Info

AA Curve to be Tuned

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

On May 6th, we were all reassured that the “AA problem” is a figment of our imaginations:

In EQII, we allow you to gain achievement experience at a fast rate by questing, discovering new locations, killing named creatures and even by getting certain items without this impacting your adventure leveling.  We feel that this ends up being a good overall compromise so players level up in both systems together pretty quickly.

So you can imagine my surprise when Aeralik popped  into one of dozens of threads discussing the AA Grind with this less than clear comment:

Or maybe someone can just adjust the adventure xp to achievement xp conversion so that you don’t have rely solely on quests.  Sounds like a good idea to me now if only someone would do that

I chipped in with:

Fantastic News, Aeralik. When are you going to do it? Cause right now it’s .0001% AA per kill.

and the surprising response was that we should expect changes in the conversion ratio from combat XP to achievement XP in GU52 (expected to appear on Test on or about May 18th and go live around the first of June).

Of course there was outcry from those folks who through a lucky set of circumstances (started playing EQ2 after KoS, didn’t reach 100 AAs before reaching level 70, didn’t do any quests beyond 100 AAs in EoF, and didn’t do any quests beyond 140 AAs in Kunark, so that all those quests are still available to earn AA) and through dogged determination grinding hundreds of grey quests have managed to reach 200 AAs. In response, Aeralik had this to say:

I would disagree that this is making the game easymode.  People are going through all sorts of strange methods to get to 200aa that we never intended.  The progression from achievement experiences hasn’t changed since it’s introduction with KoS and the initial curve.  As a result of that, level 199 to 200 is almost like doing 79-80 twice by grinding.  We wanted some difficulty in going to 200 so that we didnt repeat RoK where you got to 80 the same time you got to 140 but this is on the excessive side.  Changing it so that someone who runs a dungeon real quick gets 10-15% aa plus a mission bonus just lets you use the current content properly as a source of advancement. You can still go do those gray quests in old zones if you choose but having the option to advance through the current content should be the preferred method.

I’m sure some of those “strange methods” he is talking about was the Icy Keep mission at Frostfell where some folks gained 10-15 AA points just from doing mentored 5 minute runs through Icy Keep.

My opinion on all this can best be summed up by this quote from Gage:

This is a fix that is long overdue.  As long as the conversion % is scaled up enough it will make doing missions, doing instances and actually playing the game AT THE CURRENT TIER a meaningful way to earn AA experience.

The Mandate Detrimental

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

A substantial (and undocumented) change which was made to all of the “key mobs” in TSO dungeons was clearly intended to prevent Monks, Bruisers, and Shadowknights from acquiring Void Shards (and Plat in some dungeons).

But it now looks like this detrimental effect, called Mandate, may affect groups attempting to clear TSO dungeons. Here’s a thread discussing it. I’ve even got art… Thanks Merriestar:


One can assume this is the first half of SoE closing the “Void Shard loopholes” first identified in TSO beta but which got no official attention until just a few weeks ago.

May 5 Tuesday “Hotfix”

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

Posted by Kiara:

GENERAL

  • Overpaying shard chests in Guk Upper, Guk Lower, Guk Stronghold, Nu’Roga, Veksar and Korsha have had their platinum payouts decreased to be inline with the other zones.

ATREBE’S LABORATORY

  • Sannik the Unfinished in Atrebe’s Laboratory has had his damage significantly lowered.

PALACE OF THE ANCIENT ONE

  • Players in combat should now be able to harvest energized crystals within Anashti Sul’s room in Palace of the Ancient One.
  • The Void Handlers associated with Pentaclypse and Ultaclypse in Palace of the Ancient One now do slightly less damage.

YKESHA’S INNER STRONGHOLD

  • The unstable minions that spawn in Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold during the Tyrannus encounter will no longer target priests or mages.

ZARRAKON’S ABYSSAL CHAMBER

  • The Mystmerian Wraiths associated with Zarrakon will not spawn quite as quickly now.

I wonder if anyone will ever run Nu’roga again? Without a 30 plat chest waiting at the end of that 3 hour dungeon crawl (unless you are full fabled/mythical), why would anyone visit this zone again?

And as for the changes that DIDN’T make it into the notes…

The “key mobs” in each of the 20 TSO dungeons have been substantially buffed so that they can no longer be soloed by Shadowknights, Monks, and Bruisers. As with all EQ2 changes, this buff is a complete overreaction and will probably wipe many groups. Each of these key mobs has been buffed to ^^^ with two ^^ adds and now has an effect called Mandate:

  • Forces Target to clear their selected targetPrevents target from changing targets

    Interrupts target

    Disarms Primary, Secondary and Ranged slots of target

    When target begins casting a spell this spell will cast interruption on target

    Inflicts 227-530 magic damage on target

    Interrupts target

    Throws target back

    When target uses a combat art this spell will cast shock on target. Lasts for 9 seconds

    Stuns target

    Interrrupts target

    Epic targets gain immunity to stun effects of 27 seconds and duration is reduced to 3 seconds

File this under “Why don’t you worry about how YOU play the game and quit worrying about how OTHER PEOPLE play the game.”

New x2 Raid Zone

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

Lest ye think that the Ward of Elements zone is the only x2 raid zone we will be seeing for a while, Kander has given us an update.

Timetraveling and I have no plans to make this zone any easier, we feel that the challenge vs reward is about right. If there is anything you feel that is a flat out bug and needs to be fixed, please feel free to PM either him or me and we’ll look into it ASAP.

In other news, we have another x2 coming soon, that will be a tad more… challenging.

The Ward of Elements, introduced in the GU51 Lavastorm Revamp, has gotten a lot of positive feedback from casual and established raiders on its difficulty and rewards. Yes, there are some folks out there who are totally overwhelmed by the difficulty of the zone. But SoE made clear the requirements of the zone before it went live — it was tailored for folks with full Adept 3, Epic Weapon, decent Jewelry, and T2 Void Shard Armor.

Folks who feel comfortable running most of the heroic dungeons in TSO should have no trouble with at least the first 3-4 names in Ward of Elements, and then via internal progression, once several raid members have acquired their T3 armor in the WoE, should be able to start progressing to the last 4 names in the zone.

I know our guild has already got the first 3 named on farm status and we made a valiant attempt at Digg and are going to work on our placement issues. It sure would be nice if those bridges were solid instead of floating rocks that you can slip between and fall to your death.

The immediate supposition has been that the new x2 raid zone will be Kurn’s Tower. We’ll give you more details as soon as we have them.

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:

Spell Naming IV

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Bravo to those of you who have managed to keep up with the 39 page topic on Spell Naming. That’s almost as remarkable as those who have managed to read every single post in the 64 page Research Assistants thread!

For the rest of you who just do not have that kind of time, I present some highlights, which offer some insight into just what direction the game is heading. In particular, Aeralik points out how there are some game mechanics which are complex or only really understood by folks who have an in-depth knowledge of how the game works.

Aeralik posted in the Spell Naming thread:

I just want to reiterate that this change has nothing to do with creating new spell names.  Some members of the mechanics team were in meetings discussing balance and why certain aspects were overly complex while giving little gain for that complexity. We outlined several tasks going forward and this is just one of the areas we wanted to adjust going forward.

Take for example mitigation.  Some of you know that a level 70 bp with 500 mitigation is far worse than a level 80 bp with 500 mitigation even though both are plate.    On the broker they look the same but when you put on the level 70 one you probably notice the persona window tells you the bp you bought actually isnt all that good for your level. Unless you are an avid veteran of the boards here, you probably would not have known that and purely by the examination they should have been the same but they arent due to the level difference between you and the level 70 bp.  That is an example of something we are looking to make more obvious going forward and an idea of what we have redefined our goals to be.  Other aspects are things like why not have a common double attack instead of 2 double attacks and needing to make special items with ranged double attack from rangers.  Or why double up on deflection chance and shield effectivness when we can make common fighter items that increase block and deflection.

Back on topic though, Spell renaming just happened to be one of the simpler and more straightforward changes.  We decided to start off with that first while investigating how to handle some of our other concerns like the ones stated above. As a veteran player myself, I understand the players desire to not change spell names.  We have all been through several expansions and level cap raises.  We understand the spell progression and even take it for granted at this point.  If we don’t know when exactly we get the next spell or what its name is, we know what resources to use to figure it out.  Put yourself in a complete newbies shoes though and say you are a wizard.  You get your level 1 spell that you use for a few levels and then suddenly at 6 you get a new version of that with a new name.  You then get an upgrade to this at 12, 20 and 29 before going to the 14 level pattern.   That is a pretty strange pattern to be honest and with varying name structures I can see where some people might get confused.

I’ve seen several comments from people in this thread and others, where the different names have caused confusion.  If there are several here in this thread that means there are probably many more in game.  So if we can make a small change which helps keep some newer players in game then I think that ends up as an overall positive thing going forward.

Edit: Also the current format I am working with is Ice Comet II ( Journeyman ) which is pretty close to what we have today.

I know as a Ranger I would certainly have preferred if the merging of Double Attack and Ranged Double Attack he speaks of had happened prior to TSO launching. Before TSO, except for raid gear, RDA was a very rare stat. Now it’s on everything. And I wonder exactly what this will mean as Aeralik has frequently added less RDA to items than DA with the explanation that RDA = more damage per point than DA. Does this mean that Rangers are going to see a net 10-15% DPS loss on existing itemization when this change goes through? Inquiring minds want to know.

As of April 20th, the Spell Naming polls located in the class forums have been closed and tallying of scores begun. Again from Aeralik:

Thanks to everyone who has voted on spell names so far.  We will be closing down the polls today and beginning the conversion with the winners. I don’t have an exact estimate of when you will be seeing this go to test but it should be within the next few weeks.

No word on whether Conjurors and Necromancers dodged the spell renaming bullet. I have no problem with the spell renaming, but I feel that Conjuror and Necromancer pets should be exempted as they are completely different pets in each tier.

And on April 28th, Aeralik gave us an update:

Just wanted to update everyone that internally this is pretty much done and awaiting our internal testing.  I don’t have an eta as to when it will go to test but probablly not until sometime in early May.  When you view your spell book it will say Ice Comet, Ice Comet II, etc.  Tooltips and spellscrolls will use the same basic format followed by Apprentice, Journeyman, Adept, Expert, Master or Grandmaster.  The old apprentice 2 spells have been removed because the Norrathian Merchant association decided they were not selling enough in the economic downturn.

Any scrolls, recipes or writs you have should automatically convert to the new system.  Also fighter Taunt and Kick have been removed and replaced with the appropriate line instead of a generic all archetype spell.  Priests also had some common class heals which are now replaced by a new spell of the appropriate line name.  Summoners also had their heart and shard spells condensed into one spell for each class.  The new version replaces existing hearts and shards and scales to the level of the caster.

Any old Apprentice II and Apprentice III spells will scribe as Apprentice, I believe.

P.S. Throughout the Spell Naming thread, numerous suggestions have been thrown out about spells being given at low levels and “scaling up” all the way to level 80. However this would eliminate the need for 3 tradeskill classes, eliminate the source of dusts which are used to make mastercrafted poisons and cures, and also eliminate the idea of Masters in high level dungeons.

Consider the suggestion of auto-scaling spells to be about as likely as Beastlords being added to EQ2.

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.
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