Why I Harp on 1-50 (or 1-89)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Grouping

I still talk about the 1-50 (or 1-89) game in EQ2. I would be naive not to realize that once most folks reach 90, does it really matter how they got there? To a growing population — not really.

However people quit EQ2 all the time. Whether over an unpopular policy, or the draws of real life, a slow trickle of players are always leaving MMOs and they must be replenished. You need new players. All the great players of eq2 had the luxury of leveling up at a pleasant pace, playing fun content from at *least* 35-70 with KoS and EoF.

If you aren’t training up new players, then eq2 is a bucket with a steady leak and no refills (thanks to whomever coined that apropos euphemism).

The last 3 expansion have been all at endgame. I’m not saying they were great. But the focus is in the right place.

But I feel that level grind + aa grind using parlor tricks like RAF, potions, and high xp potions is a sorry introduction to an MMO for new players.

Remember all that time spent revamping named and adding achievements and quests for level 1-50 content?

Imagine if there were optional quests to unlock AA lines. Imagine quests that reward 1-2 aa points for experiencing defining content of the game. Imagine if Alternate Advancement really were an alternative means of advancing.

I know 1-50 or 1-89 is meaningless to endgame raiders. Honestly I want to blow through those levels myself. But you know what happens if you stop scouting and drafting from high school and college games? You get empty Pro teams with no players.

Of course announcing 1 week before Fan Faire that the eq2 subscription servers will be all *downside* compared to F2P servers does not instill confidence either. Nobody wants to start playing a new-to-them MMO on older servers that, by all accounts will be “teh suck”.

How Many Bites of the Apple?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

It seems inevitable that most conversations over the coming Fan Faire weekend will now somehow be tinged by Free-to-Play’s arrival in the EQ2 universe. I predict that Free-to-Play will be the elephant in the room that everyone is talking about. Even in SOE’s other active and in-development games. Even in other MMOs by other developers.

Enthusiastic players who take the future profitability of EQ2 seriously have barely had a word to say about the basic concept of Free-to-Play, but have instead focused their concerns on it’s implementation, and how SOE’s choices may very well lead to a fracturing of the community itself.

The question “Should EQ2 have Free-to-Play?” has taken a back seat to analysis of the avalanche of announcements and forum responses thus far from expert tap dancer Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson.

EQ2Wire.com Now With Refreshed Logo!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Today marks the official rename of our site to EQ2Wire.com. No more feldoncentral.com, and while we were at it, we ditched the www’s too. It’s just plain  EQ2Wire.com. This should make our site easier to remember, and result in a substantial cost savings on your next tattoo. We’ve also refreshed the logo to make sure we aren’t using any SOE art.

Did you know? EQ2Wire will have T-shirts at Fan Faire!! We’ll post more info later today.

The Last Scream of a Dying Era

Written by Starseeker on . Posted in Commentary, Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

Starseeker is another new contributor to EQ2Wire and wanted to share a viewpoint on the aftermath of EQ2′s F2P announcement.

This is my commentary on Free to Play.  I have to get it off my chest.

EverQuest 2 is an old game, 6 years, that is a long time for an MMO.  I have been playing this game since launch.  I remember the days when you would have spirit shards, and experience debt that would take away XP instead of just give you a % penalty.  I remember when your guild could lose levels, and when there was heroic content in overland zones.

Things change.  It is the way of life that nothing can stay the same forever.  EverQuest 2 is no exception. It has changed and morphed and gone through its trials and tribulations.

The rest of the article after the jump…

The SmokeJumper Tsunami

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

EQ2Wire has never had the privilege (and responsibility) of covering a game whose Senior Producer posts almost as frequently as a player. And yet that is where we find ourselves today. Traditionally, EQ2Wire has sought to highlight and quote every post by the current EQ2 Senior Producer. Posts were so rare from Brenlo and Bruce Ferguson that this made sense.

However it is impossible to get a clear picture of the storm facing SmokeJumper, the entire EQ2 team, and indeed Sony Online Entertainment, without reading each and every post by both SmokeJumper, and his lead man — Greg “Rothgar” Spence. The current volume of communication is like trying to drink out of a fire hose.

We are currently looking at solutions, but for the time being, I suggest following the EQ2 Dev Tracker on Twitter and/or the EQ2 Dev Tracker from EQ2Flames (by adding this link to your RSS reader, you will receive just the developer posts and not replies).

EQ2Wire’s EverQuest II Extended (F2P) Survey Results!!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

So far we’ve had over 550 responses to our EQ2Wire EverQuest II Extended (F2P) Survey and we’d like to share the results with you!

We asked for your initial impressions of the new F2P service, whether you would move either a primary or secondary characters to the service, what effect you think it will have on the game, and finally whether you would recommend such a service to new players.

We now know that the 14 day Free Trial will be going away, and the Recruit-a-Friend service will be receiving some type of revamp or nerf going forward. New players will be presented with two choices: Download the new EverQuest II Extended Patcher and start on the EQ2X server, or download the EQ2 Streaming Client and start on an existing EQ2 server.

The devil in the details has been, if you don’t allow players to transfer from F2P to Live servers, how are you going to get any kind of influx of new players? It seems that keeping F2P walled off from Live servers, with regards to bidirectional character transfers, may have ironically been one deference to the wishes of customers too many.

After the jump, player reaction to the introduction of a Free-to-Play service alongside the existing EverQuest II service.

GU57: New Spell Effects Elicit Mixed Responses

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

Between the avalanche of news about Free-to-Play, the new UI, and Guardian tweaks (coming approximately one month after GU57), it’s been easy to overlook the new Spell Animations which went to Test along with GU57.

In short, all particle systems and related animations associated with casting spells and combat arts have been revamped. This means every animation such as roots or chains coming out of the ground, explosions, streaks of light, glowing colors, and pyrotechnics for all of the spells and combat arts of all 24 classes have changed.

Whose Server is it Anyway?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

There has been a lot of anger towards the new Free-to-Play service. Not the least of which has been from players currently on existing servers that continue to struggle with lag. Thus far, we’ve heard that Free-to-Play will be launching with one server initially from an existing stock of decommissioned servers, with other servers to follow, possibly old EQ2 servers as they are upgraded to new hardware. In mid August, the Antonia Bayle and Nagafen worlds will find themselves within the comfy confines of a brand new server.

Update Notes, Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Written by Dethdlr on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Live Events, Raiding, Tradeskill

Here are your update notes for Wednesday, 28 July 2010:

UNDERFOOT DEPTHS

  • Energized Taehric Construct (challenge mode): The Construct will try and cast Crippling Judgment on his main target whenever possible, rather than a random fighter.  The construct will try and cast Curse of Befuddlement on priests in separate groups, whenever possible, avoiding casting it on two priests in the same group whenever possible.

ITEMS

  • The Twisted Alloy Wristlet’s proc, Torturous Paths, has had its damage increased and its proc chance raised.
  • Many mage items within Underfoot Depths have received pet effects.

TINKERFEST

  • The Tinkerfest quest “Great Balls of Fire” cannot be completed more than 25 times.
  • The Tinkerfest titles awarded by the repeatable Tinkerfest quests can now be purchased from the Tinkerfest merchant if you have earned them but did not receive them.

Station Blog: EverQuest II Extended, Fan Faire, and Beyond

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson has followed up today’s big news with a blog post over on the Station Blog on what we can expect at Fan Faire, the future of the EverQuest II Extended (F2P) server, and some hints about what’s coming in updates surrounding the Destiny of Velious expansion. You can read his post on the Station Blog here.

EQ2Wire EverQuest II Extended (F2P) Survey!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

There will be a lot of reactions in the coming days in response to the announcement.

I’ve been surprised how many have had positive reactions to the speculation here and on EQ2Flames who think F2P on a separate server, or for levels 1-50 are a good idea to bring in new players and then convert them to a Subscription account. And no doubt there are many who feel that any opportunity for people to “buy” progress threatens the moral center of character advancement in this game.

We’ve got a survey here on EQ2Wire that you may like to fill out. But before you fill out this survey, we would REALLY prefer if you read the EverQuest II Extended FAQ. It answers dozens of questions about this new service, exactly what form it will take, what you get for your money, and when it will start testing.

THERE ARE NO CHANGES COMING TO SUBSCRIPTION SERVERS

So now that you’ve read all that, check out the survey…


What is your initial feeling about the new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service?




What effect do you think the new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service will have on EQ2?





Do you plan to use the new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service for your main account or character?



Do you plan to use the new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service for an alternate account or character?



Are you considering coming back to EQ2 because of this new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service?




Are you considering quitting EQ2 because of this new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service?




Would you recommend the new EverQuest II Extended Free-to-Play service to a friend?






Independent Free-to-Play Service comes to EQ2

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

Where there’s smoke, sometimes there really is a fire.

During a Stratics E3 interview in June, Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson, then-new Senior Producer for EverQuest II was asked point blank: Will EverQuest II would be transitioning to a F2P setup as Lord of the Rings Online did in June? His response has been thoroughly dissected and analyzed:

The current subscription model isn’t going to change. The people that are playing the game as it stands right now really like the way it is. They don’t want us to sell items for power in the marketplace. They want to be able to earn their way through and achieve things on their own. They don’t really want people to be able to get ahead with their wallet. So the existing business that we have right now is not going to change. If we were to do something outside of it, it would be completely separate.

Most pundits in the MMO industry interpreted this as a flat denial, but not EQ2Wire!

At first glance, this seemed to shut the door on F2P in EverQuest II in the future. However, careful consideration of the words “current subscription model“, “existing business…is not going to change” and “do something outside of it…would be completely separate” seemed to leave a crack open for the possibility of completely isolated servers being established for F2P on the same model as Bazaar and Vox.

Today we’ve learned that SOE will, in fact, be introducing a standalone EverQuest II Free-to-Play service.

Today’s Announcement

There is a lot of information to digest in today’s announcement, but if you take nothing else from today’s news, remember these two key points:

NO CHANGES are being made to EverQuest II Subscription servers or services.

The NEW EverQuest II Free-to-Play Server(s) are a completely independent service which will have their own Forums, Support site, Launcher, and Marketplace.

SOE Launches EverQuest II Extended Free to Play (F2P) Service

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Free-to-Play (EQ2X)

Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson, EQ2′s Senior Producer, has brought us a surprising announcement that EverQuest II is adding a totally separate Free-to-Play service.

Hi there, Norrathians,

As they say, the one thing that’s always true about the world is that it changes. That’s true of the world in general, the game industry, and it’s always been true with “EverQuest II”.

The very nature of an MMO is change. We listen, we adapt, and the game grows in features, content, and fun factor as the months and years pass. Now, the expectations of gamers and the industry itself are changing around us, and it’s time for “EverQuest II” to spring forward so it can continue to expand and be successful.

Many of you are aware of the free-to-play model that’s being embraced by many of the big game developers out there. We’re not the first folks to entertain the idea for an MMO, but we do have the biggest and best virtual world to offer in such a model and we firmly believe that we can expose thousands and thousands of new players to the world of Norrath if we embrace that concept.

However, before going any further, I’d like to stop and say that we’re tied into what you, the community of EQII players, have said about selling items with stats and how they affect a game where you traditionally earn your way forward. We completely understand there’s a solid core of you that want nothing at all to do with that. We respect your wishes and, as I’ve personally stated previously, we’re not planning any changes to the current subscription worlds at all. Those servers, that subscription service and that gameplay will continue as normal. We’ll continue to support the existing Live service with content, expansions, features, and events…just as we’ve always done. In fact, we’re upping the ante by providing subscription rewards packages for active users that buy multi-month subscriptions, giving them rewards like cool, unique, exclusive items and Station Cash.

But the free-to-play concept is a strong way to expose the world of Norrath to hordes of new players. Think of it as a huge new way to run a “free trial” like we’ve always done, but without the “14-day” limit, and with a lot more content available to try before you decide whether you want to commit to the game or not. We’ve had over eight years to grow this game, its content and its features, and there’s simply nothing else like it out there.

So, we’re about to launch a bold new service named “EverQuest II Extended” (EQ2X). This is a completely separate service from the standard EQII Live subscription service (EQII). It’s aims are simply to attract new players to the world of “EverQuest II” and let them try it out before deciding if and how they want to pay for it.

“EverQuest II Extended” shares all the content and features of Live EQII. It plays the same. It looks the same. It *is* the same, with two obvious exceptions: a) it’s free-to-play, and b) it has a more robust marketplace.

What does “free-to-play” mean? It means that you can download the game and play all of it (except the most recent expansion) all the way up to level 90. Your character is restricted in a bunch of different ways (limited class selection, limited races, limited coin, etc.) and to unlock those features fully, you’ll need to subscribe to Gold level membership. Which, coincidentally, is $15/month. Sound familiar?

What is a “robust marketplace”? It’s exactly the same marketplace that you see on the EQII service, but it also adds lots of “convenience” items. Can’t find a good shield in-game? We sell one appropriate to your level and class. Want a healing potion to use in a pinch? Need an emergency buff? Want to shortcut your research time? Items like that are all available in the marketplace. Do we sell the very best items and equipment? Nope. Legendary and Fabled gear are better than what you can buy in the marketplace. Has the game been rebalanced so that you *need* to buy these “convenience” items? Nope. EQ2X is exactly the same game that you’re playing currently on the EQII servers. Those items are just there if you want them. They are true “convenience” items.

There’s lots more details about all of this (and you can find the FAQ at http://eq2players.station.sony.com/…ay/extended_faq ), but remember…this only affects you if you want it to affect you. If you ignore EQ2X completely, then your existing subscription, game, and support are unchanged.

If you’re a current subscriber, and you’d like to take a peek at “EverQuest II Extended” on its new Test server, you can jump into the game at the Free membership level by clicking here and streaming down the game client you’ll need. ( http://launch.soe.com/eq2x/ ) This is the Alpha version of the service and its currently only available to existing subscribers so you can see it for yourselves before the public sees it later. The beta launch of the EQ2X service will occur in mid-August.

Whether you check out the new stuff as a Live subscription player, or as an Extended player, you’ll see examples of how we upgrade the content simultaneously across both services. We’ve significantly improved the UI, skill progressions, new user quest content, tutorials, created the “Regions of Interest” system so you can see where your quests are located, and much more.

Enjoy.

– Dave (Smokejumper) Georgeson.

Gold Membership?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Game Updates & Maintenance

Early birds trying out Game Update 57 on the Test and Test Copy servers have encountered an intriguing error message when they try to purchase something from the Broker. (don’t be alarmed by my ProfitUI broker window, it’s the message in the lower right that is worth a second look):

You must upgrade to at least a Gold membership in order to purchase items from the broker.

Getting Copied to Test Copy Quicker

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DBG Wants Feedback

Zoltaroth has made some changes to the automated Test Copy scripts so that characters will copy within hours rather than being on a 24-48 hour cycle as they are now. To copy a character to Test Copy, type /testcopy add on any live server. You will then need to choose to login to the Test server when starting up EQ2 with your choice of launcher.

Game Update 57 Update Notes for Test/Test Copy

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, DBG Wants Feedback, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, PvP/Battlegrounds, Raiding, Tradeskill

Game Update 57 is now up on  the Test and Test Copy Servers and we’ve got the Update Notes. We’ve already taken some new screen shots of the new default interface including the new pictorial tutorials for new players.

  • User Interface - One of the touted features of Game Update 57 is the revamped User Interface. The Persona and Inventory windows have been merged into a Character window. The XP bar has become a sort of “dock” at the bottom of your screen. All buttons and window corners have been rounded off. And for the most part, everything that was blue is now red! No doubt UI modders will come out with a classic re-skin to turn everything back to blue. We will be posting a preview of the GU57 Interface Changes soon. Discussed Here
  • Map Points of Interest – Many points of interest have been added to the default map, including quest locations. This will provide some of the functionality of EQ2Maps.
  • Additional Travel Revamp – There have been additional revamps to Travel. With path linking, you can now choose the ultimate destinations of any inter-zone travel and it will “connect the dots” to get you there. All transport pads in Kingdom of Sky connect to all others, and travel between the three Kingdom of Sky zones is much easier.
  • Character Creation & More Neutrals - The Character Creation screens have been revamped, and several more classes have become neutral, including Assassin, Ranger, Templar, Inquisitor, Coercer, Illusionist, Monk and Bruiser.
  • Extraneous Spells/CAs Removed from Levels 1-15 – Many spells and combat arts that new players generally did not use at level 1-20, such as Taunts, De-Agros, Agro-reduction, etc. have been postponed until level 15+ to decrease the number of new spells/CAs that players are exposed to in the increasingly brief sprint from level 1-20. First Discussed Here
  • Spell Effects Visual Revamp which was rumored for GU55 is now on Test. This is an update/revamp of the animation which plays for each beneficial and hostile effect cast by characters.
  • Lucan D’Lere has returned!
  • Additional Tradeskill Quests have been added at level 20 and 30.
  • Starting Zone Conflicts – Frostfang Sea (New Halas) and Greater Fay starting zones are now under attack by invaders, adding an additional level of interest to these zones. In addition, Gorowyn has received yet another architectural revamp to hopefully improve navigation.
  • General – You can also expect the usual array of tweaks and bugfixes to raid zones, battlegrounds, AA lines, Quests, and Items. Most classes got some kind of benefit here.

As this is all on Test and Test Copy, the EQ2 team are really looking for bug reports, feedback, and comments on everything that’s been added.

Complete Game Update 57 Notes after the jump…

Breaking: Server Transfers off PvP?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/Battlegrounds

Some very interesting comments on the EQ2 Forums regarding players wanting to transfer off PvP servers from Rothgar:

We’ve been discussing our server transfer policies over the past couple of weeks but don’t have anything to announce yet.  We’ve commented on this subject in the past and are aware of the desires for people to have more open transfer policies between PvP/PvE and LG/Standard servers.  As soon as we have something to tell you, it will be announced.  But for now, understand that your voices are heard.

This may also have some ramifications for LiveGamer <-> Standard servers, but obviously there will be more discussion and feedback before such a change is considered. The discussion started regarding transfers off Nagafen and Vox.

Breaking: Big Announcement on Tuesday, More from SOE Block Party

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/Battlegrounds, Tradeskill

Breaking News from the SOE Block Party. Reporting by Serianna.

  • a big hint about larger item limit in houses, possibly from being able to use a 2nd expander.
  • new zone is going to be a guk zone.
  • possibly going to see a differentation in the lower guild halls (halas to look more like the halas housing etc) but still in way early stages on that. not green lighted but devs pushing for it.
  • new crafting quests in mid teirs.
  • some big announcement coming tuesday from smokejumper.
  • also talk about making BGs more dynamic. traps, levers, movable objects etc. with different ways to get points besides just kills and holding stuff and the like

Non-EQ2: First-Timer’s Guide to Fan Faire, DC Universe Trailer & Beta, Monkey Island 2, FreeRealms Lifetime $29

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

I am really keeping these non-EQ2 posts to a minimum as per the request of readers during the spring Survey. But there’s a lot of news around the industry and in related games, and since Comic-Con is going on, well, we’re going to step out of EQ2 for a second for a few updates…

First-Timer’s Guide to Fan Faire

First up, Minerva, Community Relationships Manager for SOE Denver, has posted A First-Timer’s Guide to Fan Faire. It’s really an accounting of her experiences at last year’s Fan Faire event. A travel diary if you will, which may give you some ideas of what to expect, what to avoid, and how to have the best possible weekend.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s so easy to miss the chance to talk to more people, or focus too much attention on one thing and miss out on something else. I myself and struggling with the insane panel schedule this year trying to figure out how to catch everything I want to. There is one block where there are FOUR separate panels I wish I could be in. Aaarrghhhh!!

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