Sentinel’s Fate, Fan Faire Attendees, and International

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International (Pro7Sat1)

The news is coming quickly about EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate’s new Retail strategy.

Kiara brings us this:

Fan Faire attendees with accounts in good standing will receive a complimentary digital copy of the retail version.  You will have the early access and items associated with the retail version of the game.

We’re looking into Best Buy not having the listing yet.

Amazon and GameStop are shipping overseas.  I’m trying to get a list of the countries that will be shipped to.  Retail boxes ordered online and shipped, SHOULD be shipped in time to arrive on release day to allow people to take advantage of the early access.

In response to concerns that Amazon.com does not currently offer International shipping, and that Amazon.co.uk does not yet carry this expansion Kiara followed up:

This is being looked into.  The agreement is very specific that GameStop and Amazon will be shipping overseas.

Please let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater juuuuuust yet.  Also, since we won’t be shipping until February, we’ve got a little time to work this all out with our distributors.

Additionally, retail boxes **should** be shipped in time for people to have them on release day if they pre-ordered, rather than waiting a week to get it.

Street Dates

The issue is that retailers, both online and stores, are scared sh*tless about breaking Street Dates. They’ve faced huge fines and browbeatings by Microsoft, Electronic Arts, etc.

The important part here, is for CLEAR communication between SoE Marketing and the retailers that there IS NO STREET DATE and that boxes should be shipped as soon as they are ready.

EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Trailer & Screen Shots

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News

You can now watch the EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Teaser Trailer at EQ2 Zam:

and you can check out some EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate screen snapshots as well:

To find more information about EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate, you can check out EQ2Wire’s recently updated Fan Faire News Rollup with all the information about the expansion.

From watching the trailer, we’ve also learned the Sentinel’s Fate will contain:

  • 4,000 new items
  • 400 Quests
  • 5 Heritage Quests

EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate Pre-Order

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News, International (Pro7Sat1)

sentinels_fate_boxart
EverQuest II: Sentinel’s Fate

Getting a jump on the holiday season (and a full 100 days before its official launch), the EverQuest II Sentinel’s Fate expansion has been made available for pre-order!!

The most remarkable part of this announcement is the extraordinary measures being taken to get EverQuest II back onto Retail shelves and getting retailers to take the game seriously. With Sentinel’s Fate, it is now clear that the preferred version of EverQuest II will be the retail Collector’s Edition. Not only with in-box and in-game exclusive items, but the release schedule. The Retail version will be available fully 1 week before the Digital Download.

This is a ballsy move and one which will likely be greeted with some skepticism and anger. But many players have been clamoring for better retail presence of EverQuest II. Part of this is the in-box rewards, but perhaps a bigger part is that new players are more likely to come to the game if retail boxes are present. And I believe that having the digital download available on the same day as the retail version was, no doubt, a great demotivator to retailers to bother providing retail space or ordering sufficient boxes.

Now our spotlight rests squarely on the SoE Marketing Department. This is make-or-break time for them. They’ve let us down with the confusing Rise of Kunark pre-order Burynai reward, and they stumbled in providing Best Buy with the incorrect street date for The Shadow Odyssey. All eyes now rest on them to make Sentinel’s Fate a successful launch available to the widest possible audience of players in North America and worldwide.

They have a great opportunity here to surprise players and get EverQuest II back in stores and solve the availability problems we’ve faced in the past few years. Specifically, we will also be watching to see if there are any issues for International customers wishing to purchase EverQuest II as there have been in past years.

They say it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog, and I’m not ready to concede to WoW. Hopefully SoE isn’t either.


From EQ2Players.com:

Sentinel’s Fate will be available for pre-order beginning on Thursday, November 12, 2009! Sentinel’s Fate will be a compilation pack, containing the previous five expansions and three adventure packs. Sentinel’s Fate is EverQuest II’s sixth expansion, and marks the return of Odus to Norrath. New and veteran players alike will find tons of new content for all playstyles to explore.. More information about this newest addition to the EQII universe will be revealed in the months to come at EQ2Players.

All versions, both retail and digital download come with the compilation all-in-one game. This includes the following expansions: Desert of Flames, Kingdom of Sky, Echoes of Faydwer, Rise of Kunark, The Shadow Odyssey, Sentinel’s Fate; and the following Adventure Packs: The Bloodline Chronicles, The Splitpaw Saga, and Fallen Dynasty.

Retail Pre-order: $39.99 The retail box may be pre-ordered starting on Nov. 12th, 2009. It will include the following:

  • Seven day headstart access starting on February 16, 2009
  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-box Item: $10.00 coupon for Digital Download from the Station Store
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Reasoned
Retail Only Collector’s Edition Pre-order:$69.99 The Collector’s Edition retail box may be pre-ordered starting on Nov. 12th, 2009. It will include the following:

  • Seven day headstart access starting on February 16, 2009
  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-box Item: $10.00 coupon for Digital Download from the Station Store
  • In-box Item: Armored Highland Stalker figurine
  • In-box Item: EverCracked! The Phenomenon of EverQuest DVD Documentary
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Reasoned
  • In-game mount – Armored Highland Stalker
Digital Download:$39.99 There is no pre-order for the digital download. This will be available for purchase through the Station Store, D2D, and Steam. It will include the following:

  • 500 Station Cash
  • LoN Fall of Erudin scenario
  • 30 days free play time for new accounts
  • In-game armor piece – Guarding of the Learned

The retail pre-order may be obtained solely through North American retailers: Best Buy, GameStop and Amazon. You may pre-order through these retailers online. International players wishing to order a retail box may purchase through GameStop and Amazon and have their box shipped.

Retail Pre-Order Links:

Links from BestBuy.com are forthcoming as their website has not yet been updated.

Shader Shader Shader

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

We’ve been closely monitoring the progress on the development of Shaders 3.0. This is the graphical revamp which will improve the lighting, reflections, and other effects on 99% of the textures in the game. So far, we know that Shaders 3.0 is running very well on certain systems, but has significant performance problems on other systems. As a result, it’s not yet on Test, and may not be released until after Game Update 54.

In response some pithy comments that Shaders 3.0 has slipped to the February expansion and will now be used as a selling point of said expansion, Rothgar has chimed in with this update:

This is not the case.  In fact, we can’t really use something as a selling point for the expansion when everyone gets it for free without buying the expansion.

We’ve been doing some internal benchmarking on the Shader 3.0 implementation and we still have a few major challenges with the lighting system.  The new shader system looks great and it performs very well in certain circumstances.  However, there are still common situations that players would run into where the framerate takes a significant dip compared to Shader 1.0.  We know why and we know how to fix it.  So that’s the good news.  The bad news is that it will take a little more time to do it right.

The lesson we’ve learned here is that we shouldn’t communicate a release date on such a large project, so far from completion.  But we’ve also learned from past issues that we don’t want to release something that doesn’t meet our own expectations.  We’ll certainly keep you informed in regards to our progress.

More news as we have it.

The New Player Experience

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News

On the EQ2 Forums, some discussion has sparked about the planned push to get EQ2 in retail stores and improve the experience for new players. I authored a post that I thought might be worth repeating.

What is the Experience for New Players right now?

  1. Visit a half dozen retailers and not find any copies of EQ2 except maybe a dingy old cobwebby copy of Kunark priced $50. Let’s say you do manage to find a recent copy of EQ2 and take it home. You dutifully install 11GB of data off two DVDs. Then you fire it up and find out you have to download another 3GB of data because the DVDs are hopelessly out of date. A 1-2 hour process for most users.

OR…

  1. Thinking you’re smart, you do the DirectDrive or Station Launcher digital download. Well sonny, now you’re talking 11GB of data off the internet. A 6-12 hour download for most users.
  2. Once you’re done with that, it’s time to go to Station.com, register an account, enter credit card info, enter the product key off a sticker inside the box, and finally fire up the game and start playing right?
  3. Chances are most user’s graphic drivers need updating. So let’s do that.
  4. After 2-14 hours of frustration, you finally get to start playing EQ2.

Not exactly a great Customer Experience! And I think SoE has realized that this has to change. Especially if the expansion adds another 2 GB of data. EQ2 is not picking up new players at a rate that I think SoE would like to see.

It’s almost impossible to find EQ2 in stores, and if you decide to download it, you’re talking 6-12 hours download. And even if you do buy the retail box, it’s so hopelessly out of date that you will spend another 1-2 hours downloading updates. Not a pretty picture, and it’s a wonder EQ2 is picking up new players.

So what is the New Player Experience?

Jedi as a choice on the EQ2 character creation screen? NO!!

For new players who want to get a taste of EQ2, the new Streaming Client currently being tested and  expecting to be officially launched in the next few weeks allows new players to start playing EQ2 in as little as 15 minutes. The Streaming Client has a list of prioritized downloads. It starts with the basic character models and armor, then the starting zones, then works its way through the content the user is most likely to see, in order of likely priority. If the player tries to jump straight to a zone that’s not loaded, it takes a couple of minutes to download and then they can proceed.

Also, for existing players, let’s say Game Update 55 has come out. But you don’t want to wait for Halas or any of the other new content to download. Let’s say you’re late for the raid and just want to get logged in. You’ll be able to just do the brief update and stream the rest of the updates in the background. Game Updates should no longer mean a mandatory 30-45 minute download.

And the second prong of the New Player Experience is deals with retailers to get them to carry EQ2 and to have it in stores on expansion day. It’s no secret that the retail strategy so far with EQ2 has pretty much been a fiasco, with players scrambling to find boxes just to get the in-game pet or in-game mount, and coming up short because retailers just plain didn’t get the message.

The first step in all this is the EQ2 Complete Collection in stores now for $20 which has everything up to TSO. I expect more announcements in the run up to the expansion.

City Festivals on Test

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Game Updates & Maintenance, Live Events, SOE Wants Feedback

Understandably, some players are taking a look at Game Update 54 (aka the Great Bug Stomp) and not seeing a lot of new content. Part of the issue is, normally, we would be just 2 weeks away from an entirely new expansion at this point. However Sentinel’s Fate won’t hit until February. Also, it is now unclear just when we can expect Shaders 3.0, although I’m hopeful that we’ll get it as an early Christmas present.

Of course, we have Frostfell 2009 to look forward to this December. If this year has proven anything, it is that live events get bigger and bigger, with significant new content each year (next year, I figure it will take all 20 days just to complete all the old and new content of Nights of the Dead!!). Seasonal and recurring live events (eg. Moonlight Enchantments) have been extremely popular, so a lot of attention is being focused on them.

And now it turns out that in response to many complaints that Guild Halls and other game design decisions have “emptied” the home cities, a new recurring event is being introduced in Norrath: City Festivals.

From Kaitheel‘s announcement:

The Far Seas Trading Company is proud to introduce a traveling festival for all to participate in! When this event goes live, a different city will be chosen to host a week long event, once each month. Gorowyn, Neriak, Kelethin and Freeport will each get their chance to host their version of the event. On Test and Test Copy the great city of Qeynos is the first to find the traveling caravan outside it’s gates in Antonica. Adventurers will find new quests, collections and rewards, many of which are city specific! And for those of us that don’t want to wait for the festival to reach our city’s gates, we don’t have to. City Tokens are now being given as further reward for completing city writs!

This event should now be available on Test and Test Copy and we’ll report back soon with the details.

Remember, the Spires event is still in-game and some of the rewards from that event may not re-appear in EQ2 for a long time. In addition to the variety of house items, there are some unique items like the Magic Mouth house/guild hall item which can be set up to make announcements to passers-by. And don’t forget in-home teleporters. You buy them in pairs, right-click to name each one, and then you can port between them.

Knapsacks and Wrecked Cities

One perhaps overlooked feature of Game Update 54 is larger Backpacks. The largest size using a rare component (Mahogany) is now a 40 slot backpack with 20% weight reduction. You can read more about these here.

And finally, if you have been on test and wandered through West Freeport, you may have been shocked at what you saw. Norrath is changing in the leadup to Sentinel’s Fate…

Game Update 54 “Will of a Tyrant” Test Notes

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

We know what’s in Game Update 55, which will coincide with the launch of Sentinel’s Fate in February. It’s the new good starting city of New Halas.

What is Game Update 54?

Game Update 54 (slated for release the first week of December) addresses the most annoying of beasts in EQ2: the bug. That random inconsistency in a item description. That bizarre issue in a quest that makes it impossible to complete. The unexpected roadblock in a zone. The mob that just doesn’t work right.

Game Update 54 contains a gob-smacking 304 BUG FIXES covering both recent and long-standing issues throughout the game. EQ2 developers have addressed hundreds of bugs, large and small, throughout the world of Norrath.

Game Update 54 also officially marks the availability of the EQ2 Streaming Launcher. As we’ve been talking about here on EQ2Wire, this launcher will allow new players to jump into Norrath in as little as 10-15 minutes instead of the current 6-10 hour download.

Not part of today’s Test Update, but soon, we’ll also see the updated Frostfell festivities on Test. I’m looking forward to new quests, new loots, and more things to do.

Shaders?

You’ve probably noticed something conspicuously absent from these Test Update Notes. What I know so far is that Shaders are “done and working” on Ryan’s development box. If only we all had Ryan’s development box, we could have Shaders tomorrow. However, Shaders has to work on all sorts of different configurations. From what I hear, Shaders are still undergoing Performance tuning and I hope to bring you some news soon about the results of this tuning.

Because the list of fixes in Game Update 54 is extensive, please click the Read More link below to view the notes.

Do a Little Dance, Run a Couple Quests

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

EQ2 Producer Brenlo has Twittered a couple of interesting sneak peaks into the future of EQ2.

New Dance Moves

First up, if you’ve been thinking that what Barbarians really need is some new dance moves, you might enjoy this new video. No word on when we can expect Guitar Hero: EverQuest edition. :)

New Barbarian dance on YouTube

You can safely infer that since this dance is specific to male Barbarians, that EQ2 is getting a bunch of new dances unique to male and female members of each race. I wonder if they will all be pop culture references. :)

Quest Helper

And if you have been longing for the Quest Helper window that other MMOs have been enjoying, you’ll be thrilled to know that a Quest Helper is now coming to EQ2 as well. Check out all those stacked up quests on the right side.

quest_helper

It is unknown if this will be part of Game Update 54 or Game Update 55/Sentinel’s Fate in February.

Speaking of Game Update 54, it should be going on Test Server soon enough, and we’ll have those notes for you as soon as possible.

The FreeRealms Experiment

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

moneybag-freerealms

Note: No EverQuest II content.

When FreeRealms was launched in April 29, 2009, Sony Online Entertainment pondered the question: Can a Massively Multiplayer Online game produced and sold in America support itself with Real Money Transactions (RMT)?

On November 2nd we found out the answer:

Effective November 2nd, the free-to-play classes available to NEW players of FreeRealms will shrink from Ninja, Chef, Postman, Kart Driver, Demo Derby Driver, Brawler, Adventurer, Card Duelist and Miner to just Adventurer and Card Duelist. Starting November 2nd, all players will be able to sample all character classes up to Level 5. Existing free-to-play characters of those original classes are not affected at this time.

Not For Lack of Trying

I don’t think there is any question that Sony is putting their weight behind FreeRealms. If you read the FreeRealms Blog, you know a lot of new content is coming this year. Player Housing, new Pets, more Holiday events, Daily in-game events, a streamlined User Interface, a unified Coin Market (instead of visiting vendors around the world), Item Dyes, new Combat system, more Minigames, etc.

SOE has dumped a ton of money into promoting FreeRealms with various tie-ins, TV commercials, and getting FreeRealms-branded StationCash cards into major retailers. They went after an audience that were traditionally not MMO players. They launched the GIRL (Gamers In Real Life) program. But it’s clear that most of those 5 million players that FreeRealms managed to attract weren’t buying much.

Eastern Philosophy

So why didn’t the FreeRealms model work?

Was it something SOE did? Was the balance too much on the Subscription and not enough on “must have” RMT items? Was it the name? FreeRealms always implied to me that someone could play a good chunk of the game for Free, and that RMT and Subscription were optional. Perhaps a lot of other people felt the same way. Incidentally, the Free in FreeRealms, according to SOE, has always meant “free to do what you want”, not an implication that the game was free of charge.

Is it a cultural difference? Free-to-Play with RMT games are widespread and wildly popular in Asia. Microtransactions are just accepted. Americans in contrast are somewhat sensitive to being “nickle-and-dimed”. I received a link to an interesting article about the differences in Game Design between Asia and North America. It’s worth a read: Game Designers – Everything You Know is Wrong

A Transition

I see FreeRealms undergoing a transition. While nobody is being booted from the game (you can still keep your friends, play the game, travel the world, and still play a fair amount of content), the direction of the game is now clearly steering towards a “velvet rope” model. What was previously viewed as a “free” game becomes a generous Free Trial which lets you sample every class in the game and decide if you want to subscribe. Everything after that requires a Subscription. I’ve been told it’s similar to Toon Town and Club Penguin although I don’t know those games.

Frankly, the FreeRealms subscription is really not expensive. And it can be paid for with cards purchased at major retailers. For $4.99 a month, you get  some nice benefits, like additional Jobs, 3 Character slots vs. 1, and 400 more Items and Quests. It is unknown whether Housing and the other content will require a subscription, but I think it’s a safe assumption.

Resources

If you would like to read a more “Just the Facts” type of posting about the changes coming to FreeRealms, check out this posting. Also, there is a public discussion on the FreeRealms forums about the changes as well.

A Cautionary Tale

Normally I would have a witty conclusion to such news. However I don’t. FreeRealms has to do what makes sense for their business model. It was never advertised as a game where an incredible amount of hard work was required to receive certain rare, powerful items, followed by those items becoming available with RMT.

It was built from the ground up as a casual, fun, RMT game designed for the largest possible audience with a large variety of playstyles. I think there are a lot of folks having fun out there playing FreeRealms, and enough of those folks will upgrade to the subscription to make the game self-sufficient. I don’t see a lot of folks quitting, since nothing currently changes for those “free” players.

However, I do want to close this posting with a warning:

RMT clearly wasn’t enough to cover the costs on FreeRealms. This revelation should strongly guide the decision-making on how items are added to SOE’s existing subscription-based games like EverQuest and EverQuest II. Never assume that RMT will be able to keep a subscription-turned-RMT game alive, if it couldn’t keep a game built from the ground up for RMT afloat.

Oct 28 and Nov 3 Hotfixes

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

EQ2Wire is back in town and brings you some Hotfix notes.

October 28 Hotfix

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • New Achievements have been added! Test your skill with three new types of Achievements: Flawless Victory, Sense of Urgency and Shorthanded Victory achievements have been added to Rise of Kunark and The Shadow Odyssey zones.

ITEMS

  • Equipment with pet buffs should no longer experience stacking issues which cause the cancellation of multiple pet buffs when removing a single piece of armor.
  • Jewelry items purchased from Lavastorm and the Moors of Ykesha are now heirloom attuneable.
  • Jewelry items acquired with Void Shards is now Heirloom.
  • The “Blanket of Fog” should now be placed as a red puzzle cube then after placed should retain its fog effects.
  • The “Blanket of Fog” should now change into a red puzzle box when turned off by the defogifier.
  • The Necklace of the Plague has been increased to 12% base damage.
  • Hallow’s Gallows now grants ranged crit.
  • Frostburn and Mutagenic Burst now give larger gains when stacked.
  • The appearance of the Ceremonial Robe of the Brethren has been corrected.

MIRAGUL’S PLANAR SHARD

  • Miragul Encounter (Hard mode) : Miragul’s Arcane impairment now only affects spells. Miragul’s Physical Impairment now only affects auto attack and combat arts.

USER INTERFACE

  • The placeholder detriment icons were removed from the raid window.
  • The raid window’s font-size was decreased and the overall window is a little more compact.

November 3 Hotfix

ITEMS

  • The Collar of Ice is now Heirloom.

Butcherblock/Lucan D’Lere Downtime

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

“1:10PM SYSTEM MESSAGE: Greetings Norrath! The server will be coming down in 30 minutes for brief maintenance. Please plan accordingly to be logged out during this time. Thank you!”

“1:25PM SYSTEM MESSAGE: Greetings Norrath! The server will be coming down in 10 minutes for a brief maintenance. Please get to a safe location and camp out as soon as possible. Thank you!”

“1:26PM SYSTEM MESSAGE: Sorry Norrath! That’s 15 minutes, not 10. But, please get to a safe location and camp out as soon as possible. Thank you!”

No idea yet the duration or cause of this downtime. No other servers are going down to my knowledge.

EQ2Wire On the Road

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

EQ2Wire is on the road this week, so updates will be a bit less frequent.

Nagafen/Venekor Server Merge

The Nagafen/Venekor Server Merge was completed Friday night. We’d certainly like to hear comments from folks on what the new 64-bit server experience is like (I know Butcherblock is a lot snappier with the new hardware), as well as having more folks to kill. :)

Issues with using the Broker, Banker, and World Chat channels were all related to the last stages of this merge, and should long have since been resolved.

New Shaders 3.0 Snapshots

Imago-Quem (Ryan) surprised us over the weekend with the news that Shaders 3.0 is getting very close to completion now. He also posted some new screen shots. Hopefully there will be enough time to get Shaders 3.0 onto the Test server and for everyone to test them out before Game Update 54 now slated for early December.

All 416 zones and 29,000+ objects have been converted over with a very small set of exceptions, those I am working on and those that will stay 1.0.  There’s about 1% left in the game that is still shader 1.0.  Right now I’m working on remaining bugs and optimizations for better performance.

EQ2_000398 EQ2_000403 EQ2_000411

EQ2_000414 EQ2_000417 EQ2_000423

EQ2_000425 EQ2_000426 EQ2_000430

EQ2_000434 EQ2_000438

When can we expect to see Shaders 3.0?

The plan is to have it out on Test first thing November and on Live with GU54 on December 1.

I’m working my very hardest to get all the major bugs out right now.  I’ll continue working on bugs and performance over the next month or so.

EQ2 Streaming Client

Testing continues on the EQ2 Streaming Client. This, along with the EQ2 Complete Collection ($19.95) now in stores, are our best opportunities to get new players into EQ2. The Streaming Client will allow new players to get into EQ2, create a character, and get started in the newbie area with as little as 10-15 minutes of downloading. Compare this to the current digital download option, which is a 6-10 hour download.

What Bugs You Most 2009

Players continue to post their ideas in the What Bugs You Most 2009 Edition thread. What is interesting is that unlike the What Bugs You Most thread from Feb 2008, the vast majority of the issues being brought up are not User Interface fixes (which Rothgar is a champ at) but long-term design changes. It’s not known just how many of the issues being brought up will be possible to address between now and the expansion.

Silverwing

Speaking of bugs… Some folks are having trouble with Silverwing in Veeshan’s Peak since Game Update 53. Some workarounds to prevent his massive healing while the issue is addressed have been posted in this Silverwing Issues thread.

October 21 Hotfix

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

Here are your Hotfix Notes for October 21, 2009:

GENERAL

  • Nu’roga now has plunderable loot!
  • Malicious Thoughts and Icicle Explosion now trigger on ranged and melee attacks.
  • Frostburn and Mutagenic Burst now correctly modify each other’s damage.
  • Purifying Persistence should properly modify the caster’s heals rather than the targets.

LoN

  • The Cloak of Crystal Shards, Assassin Master’s Cloak and Cloak of Runes returned from Collector Rattelis are now Heirloom.

ITEMS

  • Icy Prison now has 3 shield effectiveness to match its deflection chance.
  • Charm of Solusek Ro once again triggers multiple times on AE casts, however its effect is now limited to 5 targets.

Miragul’s: Crucible

  • The Master’s spell reflect percentage has been greatly reduced.

Miragul’s Planar Shard

  • In the final hard mode fight with Miragul, his Brilliant Adepts will no longer stun/mez players within a second of initially spawning, but will wait 3-6 secs after spawning to start casting.
  • The Miragul encounter (Hard mode): Miragul will now cast Curse of Confusion on up to 2 players per cycle, rather than 3.

MISTMOORE’S INNER SANCTUM

  • The Vampiric Protectors that spawn during the Mayong encounter will now respawn in the center of the room if they break, rather than rapidly spawning and despawning near the point where the encounter broke.

MUNZOK’S MATERIAL BASTION

  • Certain items that drop from Munzok have become slightly more powerful.
  • Overlapping unstable void protrusions should provide protection from Munzok’s edict as expected, and no longer conflict with one another.  Additionally void protrusion protection now more closely matches the sphere’s size.
  • Munzok’s max health has been reduced.

NIGHTS OF THE DEAD

  • Altius Volfban in the Hollow Hedge should be much easier for mage classes to handle.
  • The Headless Horseman now spawns somewhere near his tree instead of just in the same spot every time. He also requires someone offer him the necklace instead of simply taking the necklace near him to activate. His respawn has also been lengthened slightly.
  • The Nightmarish Ceremonial Armor has gotten a slight change to color.
  • The Nightmarish Ceremonial armor should now all have an equal chance of dropping.
  • Altius Volfban now has a chance to drop a piece of the Nightmarish armor when killed.
  • The Blanket of Fog now comes with a remote so you can turn them on and off. In the off state it should be much easier to tell where they are!

USER INTERFACE

  • The option to always show the threat window has been moved from Game Features to Options->User Interface->Game Windows.

Nagafen-Venekor Merger On Track, Hotfix for Wed Oct 21

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Rothgar, who has been up for how many hours now? brings us this update…

The upgrade is looking good and we should have the servers up soon.  The QA department is just doing their final pass.

We have a 30 minute downtime scheduled tomorrow morning to roll out a hotfix for all servers.  Since we had to skip our normal hotfix window this morning due to the database migration, we are doing it tomorrow instead.

We’re still planning on going forward with the PvP server merge Wednesday night at midnight PST.  Initially only Venekor will be brought down to backup the database and export all of the data.  When the export is complete, Nagafen will be brought down for us to merge the data.  After the merge takes place, we have some other background tasks that could take a few hours.  This includes cleaning up universal-chat, merging shared banks and updating player names and guild names that had conflicts.  Be prepared for as much as a 24-hour downtime for Venekor players.  Nagafen players will experience around 12 hours of downtime depending on how fast the processes go.

We’re hoping that the newer hardware will help the process go faster than our test runs.

Thanks for enduring the downtime this week.  We know it’s never at a good time but the final outcome will be worth it.

Tomorrow’s hotfix is expected to include some changes to the Headless Horseman x2 encounter.

Servers Could Be Up as soon as 7pm PDT

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

From Rothgar on the EQ2 Forums:

All 3 servers are currently up and locked while our QA department goes through the normal testing process to confirm everything looks good after the upgrade.  We are specifically testing characters and guild halls on each of the three servers that had problems copying over last time.  So far those are loading fine so everything is looking great.

I’m hoping that we will be ready to bring the servers up within the hour.

and Glip the Gnome:

Hey all! We are smoketesting the servers right now before we open them back up. Right now it looks as though we’ll have them up around 7:00pm PDT. We’ll let you know if that changes.

Butcherblock, Nagafen, Lucan D’Lere down until 10PM

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

The latest news

Update:

The downtime for Nagafen, Butcherblock, and LDL has been extended to around 10pm PDT this evening.

We apologize for the extended downtime.  As a result of this, the team has already extended the Moonlight Enchantments event an extra day to make up for all the time that these servers will be missing.

Thank you again for your continued patience.

This makes 22 hours estimated downtime.

Server Confusion – ALL west coast servers to be rebooted

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Due to two mistakes in how the Server Downtime scripts were triggered last night, ALL servers must be rebooted. This will happen in a few minutes. The issue:

  • All West Coast servers, not just Butcherblock, Lucan D’Lere, Nagafen, were set to stop allowing instances (dungeons) from being created starting at noon today.

Announcement by Rothgar:

I just wanted to take a moment to explain some of the broadcasts you may have seen and what is happening with the servers.

Last night, prior to the maintenance for Butcherblock, Nagafen and Lucan D’lere, we scheduled the downtime which is responsible for notifying the worlds via broadcast and also safely shutdown and lock persistent instances until the worlds come down.

There were two mistakes made.  This notice was scheduled for all west coast servers, not just the three that needed it.  We also mistakenly set the time for today at noon instead of last night at midnight.  This is why BB, LDL and Nagafen didn’t get the notice last night.

Unfortunately once the servers have gone into maintenance mode and the instances become locked, there is no way to reset it unless we reboot them.

So we are planning on taking all of the west-coast servers down in 5-10 minutes for a reboot.  This will clear them so you’ll be able to create instances once again.

The reboot shouldn’t take long, maybe 10-20 minutes at most.  We apologize for this confusion.  Unfortunately some processes still require human interaction and occasionally we can make a mistake like this.

We hope to have all servers except for BB, LDL and Nagafen back up very shortly.  The DB migration is going well.  Nagafen is the only remaining DB to be copied and we’re hoping that it will complete in a few hours.  After the DB has been moved, we will need some additional time for QA to verify the migration.  Once we have the green light from QA, the remaining 3 servers will come back up.

Thanks for your patience!

Server Downtimes — Now looking at 4pm PDT

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

The latest news on those 64-bit Upgrades:

Things are still going well, however it is looking like it’s going to take a bit longer than we had originally anticipated.

We’re now looking at an uptime of around 4pm PDT.  If we need to adjust the time again, we will be sure to update this thread.

Thank you again for your patience.

Rothgar is posting updates regarding the downtime to a discussion thread on EQ2 Forums.

I apologize that the server downtime was not made more clear.  We discussed it a few times in other threads while the maintenance was still tentative.

We weren’t able to make a decision on the maintenance until our DB tests passed with our QA department which happened late on Monday.

The only option would have been to make an announcement and hold the DB upgrade for a couple of days to make sure everyone had ample time to plan for the maintenance.  Unfortunately this would have pushed the server merge back to next week and we wanted to avoid that since it has already moved back several times.  We’re still trying to get the database upgraded and server merge completed in as timely a manner as possible.  The compromise to this accelerated schedule is a little less notice on the maintenance.

Should the database upgrade happen successfully, we are still planning on performing the merge on Thursday of this week.  We also have a 12-hour maintenance window for the merge so please plan accordingly.

All 3 servers are definitely getting the database upgrade.

Stay tuned…

12 hour downtime for Nagafen, Butcherblock, and Lucan D’Lere

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

Sorry for the late post on this but Butcherblock, Nagafen, and Lucan D’Lere servers are currently down to complete the maintenance which was attempted last week. Note that ALL 3 servers are being upgraded at this time. Hopefully at noonish Pacific time, we’ll be running 64-bit and see some significant improvements to zoning time, zone lag, etc.

The announcements on the EQ2 Forums:

Greetings all!

This is to let you know that Nagafen, Butcherblock, and Lucan D’Lere will be down from Midnight PDT tonight (October 19th) until Noon PDT Tuesday October 20th, while the team migrates Nagafen (only!) [all 3 servers] to the new DB structure.

As you all know from last week, the migration process did a little wonkiness with some of the longer character files.  In order to prevent this from happening again, Nagafen [the 3 servers] will be migrated by hand.

During this downtime, bonus exp will be enabled on Venekor and our Nagafen players are encouraged to make alts over there to take advantage of the exp boost.  We’ll also look into having the mushroom rings extended on the affected servers so that no one misses out.

The plan is then for the server merge between Nagafen and Venekor to take place on Thursday (more details on that will be forthcoming).

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience!

and the followup:

Good news all!  We look to be on schedule for noon and from what I understand everything is going as planned.  Butcherblock and Lucan are being migrated as well, now, as things are going so smoothly.  So that means shiny new databases for all three servers SMILEY

As previously mentioned, the Moonlight Enchantment event will be extended for these servers (and others as well because gnomes got into the works!).

Thank you again for your patience while we migrate the databases for these servers and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Note that other servers besides those affected by this upgrade are spitting out various announcements indicating that their server will be shutting down. These can be ignored. Glip the Gnome posted:

Hey all! Between now and 12:30pm PDT today (October 20th) folks across most servers may notice broadcasts saying that the server will be shutting down or restarting — you can ignore these. The only servers that will be affected and be down are Nagafen, Butcherblock and Lucan D’lere and they are still scheduled to be up again at roughly 12:00pm PDT.

So once again, players can ignore the server restart broadcasts and we apologize for any confusion it may cause.

Thanks!

In other news, Moonlight Enchantments got a late start today, so my understanding is it will be active for another full day on all servers.

A Cure For Curing

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

After reprinting the excellent Letter to SoE written by Shianne (Spritelady), we here at EQ2Wire weren’t expecting much of a response. So today’s detailed feedback from timetravelling was a real eye-opener. As he says, there is a fine line between challenging and frustrating. Some fights in TSO are just plain annoying with the unbelievable amount of curing they require. Nobody is asking for easier fights, just ones that are not hair-pulling annoying, fights that healers are quitting over.

Here’s the refreshing quote from EQ2 Forums:

A good thread with some excellent feedback!

From the population side, we are definitely always trying to improve the ‘fun’ of fights going forward. It’s a very thin line between challenging and frustrating, but we are always looking for ways to improve y’all’s experience. As a couple of people mentioned, Miragul’s Planar Shard was a step in this direction, and one we plan to continue with Sentinel’s Fate. We would like for many guilds to be able to have the satisfaction of clearing an entire zone while preserving the very difficult fights for players to really test their limits!

You have been heard on the curing side of things. We’ve begun to move away from it already, but we’ll make sure and look at each fight to hopefully ensure that the curing required is part of the fight, or plays an important role but does not devolve into ‘spam’ curing an excessive number of debuffs.

I spoke with our lead raid designer today and we’re going to look into perhaps removing as many ‘non-essential’ debuffs from the TSO raids as we can. A number of the fights had varying amounts of spells and effects that were not necessarily an integral part of the difficulty or flow of the encounter and we’re going to re-evaluate whether or not they need to be there. The goal of this proposed change (for the devil’s advocates out there) is to reduce the # of cures required while not affecting the difficulty of the fight in any significant way.

Thanks again for all the feedback, and good luck!

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