Computer Generated Itemization?

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

At last year’s Fan Faire, I found out that work was being done on a program/script/tool to help the developers create items for EQ2. As with any game development, any number of little tools and scripts are created and passed around the office to help take some of the tedium out of certain repetitive tasks.

At the time, it was explained to me as a tool that could be used to whip out a bunch of Treasured and low level Legendary gear. Why? So that more time and attention could be spent creating unique higher level Legendary and Fabled gear with unique effects. It was hoped that we could see items with interesting procs and effects like those popular items from Shard of Hate, as well as the better raid drops from Shadow Odyssey, and even drawing some inspiration from Avatar Gear (although maybe not THAT powerful).

However with the cookie cutter, cut-and-paste itemization of Velious which seems to pigeonhole players into the 4 main archetypes with few exceptions, players are looking for answers and latched onto a post by SmokeJumper confirming the existence of said “itemization tool”.

More Mounts

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

From SmokeJumper regarding new mounts:

We have some really interesting kinds of mounts coming in the next couple of GUs that will become available to players at different levels throughout the game. Things will keep changing and we intend the fun factor of them to increase as well. But true fliers? They’re a level 86+ perk, and they’ll end up staying that way. (Consider it a lure to get to 90.

We are still hopeful that existing flying-type mounts will be usable as appearance flying mounts, such as carpets, clouds, and hover discs.

Listening to Forums (the Vocal Minority)?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DGC Wants Feedback

I hear this a lot:

Most of the people I know in game never visit the forums, and the “majority” opinions you see here rarely represent their opinions.

It’s often used as a reason to belittle, dismiss, or outright ignore player feedback on the EQ2 forums.

SmokeJumper responded:

And that’s the tricky part for developers also. The loudest voices are always here on these forums, but there are many opinions. That’s one of the reasons that I spend so much time playing the game. Talking to players within the game as I play is always interesting and educational, even moreso when they don’t know it’s me. Most of us on the dev team do this, whether anonymously or known within a guild.

We get *lots* of info about the game from the forums, but no, it’s definitely not our only source of data.

Silius: Multi Attack Clarifications

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization

From Silius on the EQ2 Forums:

Greetings All,

I want to take the time to explain the reasoning behind some of the recent multi attack adjustments. Multi attack like any other stat is meant to grow base on item tier. In the creation of these items some of them were given a generous amount of multi attack unintentionally making the progression look odd. In the process of increasing loot power we rebalanced some of these items so they would fall within the guidelines we desired.

That said there still exists some items we are ok with having a bit more multi attack. In most cases these items are sacrificing something to have a larger value of multi attack in other cases they are special items like the Coldain rings.

Thank you all who have given concise feedback in PMs and on these forums it is greatly appreciated.

Silius

Battlepriests (Melee Warden, Inquisitor, Templar) still wonder if Multiattack will come back on gear for them, or if it’s gone for good. And fighters wonder why they are having to farm instances to get more multiattack than anything on easy or hardmode raid loot. We’re still looking at yesterday’s itemization changes to see how this will play out, but there are still too few options for all but the main classical archetypes of fighter, scout, priest, and mage.

Players Checking out Revised Storm Gorge PQ

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Grouping, Live Events, Raiding

After today’s update, players have been checking out the re-structured Storm Gorge to see how the fights have changed, and how server lag has been reduced.

Players generally reported improvements in lag, and also shared their strategies on dealing with the changes in the fight, which in some cases make it more challenging and interesting.

Windslasher‘s response:

It’s great to hear that the latest lag fixes worked! With that game-breaking issue mostly solved, I can now turn more my attention to other important issues.

For example: Goredeth Maulhammer has always had the ability to heal himself while enraged. His fight is certainly not “impossible to win” but I’ll take a good hard look and see if it needs to be tweaked.

I’m also going to try and optimize performance on the Ring War a little more, and take care of some uncommon but serious glitches that many of you have reported. Thanks!

OFFICIAL SOE Restructuring Announcement

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News

From the EQ2 Forums:

Fellow Adventurers,

We wanted to share this information with you here, rather than having you read about it on another site. The EQII community is a large part of the ongoing success of SOE, and the game is in a strong position to succeed. Development continues unabated on EverQuest II, and you can look forward to a Producer’s Letter next week with more information about what lies ahead for the game’s development in 2011.

For those who wish to comment, please use THIS thread. It will remain unlocked as long as conversation remains constructive and polite. Our CMs and Mods have been asked to redirect all other related posts to this one as well.

~Linda “Brasse” Carlson

Director, Global Community Relations

Following is the official notice that you may see on other sites:

As part of a strategic decision to reduce costs and streamline its global workforce, SOE announced today that it will eliminate 205 positions and close its Denver, Seattle and Tucson studios.  As part of this restructuring, SOE is discontinuing production of The Agency so it can focus development resources on delivering two new MMOs based on its renowned PlanetSide and EverQuest properties, while also maintaining its current portfolio of online games.  All possible steps are being taken to ensure team members affected by the transition are treated with appropriate concern.

This strategic decision will have no impact on SOE’s current portfolio of live games; additionally SOE will transition development efforts for the Denver and Tucson studios’ suite of products to its San Diego headquarters.  This strategic alignment of development resources better positions SOE to remain a global leader in online gaming and deliver on its promise of creating entertaining games for players of all ages, and servicing the 20 million players that visited SOE servers in just the past year.

March 31, 2011 Update Notes

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

Today’s Update Notes for March 31, 2011 bring those Itemization changes we’ve been hearing about, a redesign of the Storm Gorge Public Quest, and the Aether Races flying event has now been folded into City Festivals, starting with Antonica. From SmokeJumper:

There will be a new track for each city until we start looping around again. Each city’s track will only be available during the City Festival and you can earn festival coins and titles when you race.

We might trot them all out at once at Tinkerfest or something, but they’ll usually be linked individually to the City Festivals now.

The full update notes after the jump…

Raid Lag Fixes Now and Incoming

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

Raid Zone Lag can add randomness to an already challenging fight. There are many causes such as how an encounter is designed, unintended interactions in the zone code itself, etc. This issue is of particular importance in Velious because the Tower of Frozen Shadow x2 raid zone drops a Clicky item which is required to take on most of the Velious x4 raid content. Players receive an item which must be clicked by certain classes at certain times in certain named fights in Velious hard mode raid zones in order to make them defeatable.

Although some guilds have been unable to progress due to lag specific to certain zones/encounters, compounding a consistent level of lag already present on their server (Unrest, etc.) I have received word that guilds on every server have managed to get these items, albeit with a lot of extra runs and some luck.

That said, while we wait for new server hardware, Rothgar and his team have been working on fixing specific issues within the raid zones to reduce lag:

All Velious raid zones should be running much better from now on. We’ve also found a few other performance improvements today that should hopefully make it out next week.

We are focusing very hard on performance along with the features for GU60.

added another quote:

Please do try the zones again and let us know how its working for you. We do have plans in place to resolve issues like these and we were able to make some changes last night without taking the servers down that should have helped tremendously.

We have additional plans in place to improve server performance even more over the next few weeks and months.

Why The Big Fuss Over Itemization?

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

So, you’ve heard all the hullabaloo about Itemization changes. Well ‘big deal’ you think to yourself. There will always be adjustments and shuffling around of things missed in Beta. The last 2 years have seen big changes to itemization after the expansion comes out. Why is this news?

Well never mind the confusion and inconvenience for players, but there’s the feeling that players have wasted their time defeating a much more difficult mob only to receive an item that is only a minor upgrade or in many cases with Velious, a downgrade in quality. Quite a few players have told me that they now bank ALL of their gear for the first 60 days after an expansion, just in case we see sweeping changes.

However, with Velious’ astounding dependence upon Adornments to provide any uniqueness whatsoever to gear from the Othmir quest gear all the way up to Hardmode Raid gear, Adornments matter now more than ever.

Hope Cometh in the Morning?

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

If you thought the Itemization threads on the EQ2 Forums have been harsh, they really took a turn for the worse after players took Silius‘ advice and checked out the changes on Test and Test Copy, only to find that several items had lost upwards of 75% of their MultiAttack, 4.0 weapons received additional boosts (leaving out 6.0 weapons), and most of the ‘boosts’ were upwards of 0.6% increases on just a handful of stats.

SmokeJumper came to Silius‘ defense:

Silius has made huge strides into setting things up so that the completely haphazard systems of yore, where half a dozen designers just made stuff up on their own without checking anything against each other, is eliminated. Systems have been created, and like with any new systems, there were hitches in a few assumptions here.

We’re fixing those assumptions (thanks in large part to some of the feedback provided here) and the systems will keep improving. We hope to avoid the typical “expansion item debacle” in the future by providing reasoned methods to make items in the future.

So yes, there were a few glitches here, but it’s all in the interest of progress.

Silius is doing an excellent job. If you think he’s doing his job in a vacuum, then you’re incorrect. Half the design team is working with him to make things better. Please feel free to continue to hate him, because that’s your prerogative, but he’s not going anywhere.

SmokeJumper: We Know Kael Drakkel is Empty

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

Players have expressed concerns that the changes in the difficulty of dungeons this week will make Kael Drakkel far too easy. However SmokeJumper seems to be backing up the designers on wanting to keep the contested Kael Drakkel sufficiently difficult:

(Making the zone super easy is) not our intent at all. And I’m glad that your group is able to play through those areas. But it must have been verrry lonely in Kael, because we know how many people were playing it…and it’s not many.

Does EQ2 Have a Long-Term Plan?

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

SmokeJumper has assured players in a thread “Where did my adventure go?!” that not only does EQ2 have a long-term plan besides the standard game updates and expansions, but that much will be revealed soon. If you have taken for granted that next year’s expansion will be Velious Part 2, raising the level cap to 100, you may want to read on!

Watch this space. I’ll be posting stuff soon to describe this year’s slate. Probably next week sometime, maybe the week after. We’re going to be doing some VERY cool stuff this year and I think you’ll start to see more and more of the kinds of things you mention here.

We’re already one of the best. Now it’s time to get unique.

and:

We’ll be posting next year’s slate of coming attractions soon.

Considering the extremely tight leash that Marketing and PR have kept the EQ2 team on in the recent past, it just seems unlikely that all the permissions have been acquired to tell us what’s coming more than a few months out. We’ve never gotten information that far in advance (except Fan Faire), so consider us skeptical.

Feedback: PvP to PvE Server Transfer Poll on the EQ2 Forums

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DGC Wants Feedback, PvP/Battlegrounds

There have been many reasons in the past not to allow PvP to PvE or PvE to PvP server transfers. Over the years, with itemization changes and server merges, some of those reasons have become less important. From Rothgar on the EQ2 Forums:

We’ve created a poll and asked for feedback related to PvP and PvE transfers over in the PvP forums. Since many players may not watch that forum, I wanted to make a post here because this decision can impact PvE servers as well.

Please feel free to vote and post your feedback/opinions in this thread.

PvP to PvE Server Transfer PLAYER POLL

The question: How do you feel about allowing Marketplace transfers to/from PvP and PvE servers?

Feedback: Crash Fix and Public Quest Performance

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

SOE is looking for your feedback on two recent changes that went in on Tuesday. From Rothgar on the EQ2 Forums:

Today’s hotfix introduced a couple of fixes and I’d be interested to hear how it has affected you.

First, we’ve made some changes to improve the performance for public quests. We still expect them to contribute towards a higher level of lag than other types of content due to the sheer number of people that participate, and we are working to make them even better. However, you should hopefully notice an improvement after today’s hotfix.

Velious Ranged Items Cough Up Adornments

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

Players logged in yesterday morning to find that their Ranged items, including bows and thrown weapons, had rejected their adornments. Those adornments ended up back in the Overflow slot.

Rothgar responded:

This appears to be a bug related to some item changes.  Our QA department is working on it now and we will have the items fixes asap.

Itemization Changes on Test

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DGC Wants Feedback, Itemization

If you just can’t wait for Thursday to see what (if any) changes you’ll see to your gear, you may be interested in these additional Test Update Notes (beyond the notes already posted on Tuesday):

ITEMS

  • Dungeon dropped loot has had its power increased.
  • Dungeon shard armor has had its power increased.
  • Raid items have had their power increased.
  • The gap in power between easy and challenge mode raid items has been increased.
  • The power of a few War Runes has been increased.

Silius brought this to our attention:

Just a heads up that test server should have the biggest chunk of the item increase on it now. If you want to test copy and check it out your feedback is appreciated.

After Promise of Gear Boosts (and No Nerfs), Nerfs!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Grouping, Itemization

After posting a promising thread on Friday entitled “Upcoming Itemization Changes (No Nerfs)“, it seems SmokeJumper has gotten egg on his face today. Players logged in after today’s Tuesday Game Update to find sweeping nerfs and huge reductions in the effectiveness of Velious gear across the line, especially Fighter items.

In a cantankerous discussion on the EQ2 forums, players linked numerous items which underwent substantial losses in stats and desirability. SmokeJumper initially tried to defend the changes with:

Please go back and take a look at my original post. I did say that we were being “intentionally conservative” with these changes and that this we’re likely to do a second pass after judging the impact of the first changes. Hang in there.

When cornered about why today’s update included all nerfs and no buffs:

I’m the wrong guy to try to answer your questions, but I’ve forwarded this thread to those in charge of itemization and they’ll write a response soon. There weren’t supposed to be nerfs, so I’m trying to find out why that occurred.

The full explanation, and our commentary about EQ2 Itemization after the jump…

Bristlebane Day and Red Shinies

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Live Events, Tradeskill

If you are a level 80+ Master Crafter who has completed the Tradeskill Epic, this post by Domino may interest you:

Epic crafters, you might want to visit the tradeskill society in your home town while Bristlebane Day is with us. The grand jester has been having some fun with red collectibles for the season…

Players immediately noticed that every red shiny was dropping just one item. It seems there’s something else you have to do to get the others.

DoV Dungeons Getting Tune-Up: Less Crawl More Haul

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

From SmokeJumper on the EQ2 Forums:

We’re making some changes to make dungeons more attractive to players in DoV. We’re adjusting base pop and boss health so that the dungeons take less time to complete so they’re more fun for folks, as well as to allow more frequent chances at boss loot drops on revisits. We’re also making a few changes so that bosses don’t wipe parties so easily since they seem to be a bit tougher than we’d originally planned.

We’re approaching these changes conservatively so that we don’t overshoot the mark. If these changes don’t do the trick, we’ll probably do another round of small changes later. But the overall goal is to make the dungeons more attractive for everyone.

P.S., These are not the only fixes we’re making for tomorrow’s hot fixes, but we wanted to call these changes out specially because those of you that gave up on dungeons because they were too challenging for the payoffs you were getting may want to give it another go now.

In Brief: Client Crashes, EQ2 Still Runs Oracle, Chairspotting

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Client Crashes FIX!

If you have had your fill of “EverQuest2.com has stopped responding” errors, Rothgar seems to have finally gotten to the bottom of this one:

We think we’ve finally tracked down a bug that has been happening for awhile and leading to client crashes and the “EQ2 has stopped responding” problem. I can’t guarantee that this fixes EVERY problem out there, but it certainly fixes the most common crash we’ve been seeing lately.

This should get pushed out with next week’s hotfix along with some performance improvements to public quests!

GU60: PvP Changes

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

EQ2 PvP Guru Olihin has given PvPers a taste of Game Update 60:

GU60 will bring lots of changes to PvP.

  • Fame is being reworked
  • Fame and title gains will now have their own EXP BAR, no more trying to figure out how long or why you gain/lost a title
  • New armor and adornments
  • Ongoing balance changes (this will never stop and will never be perfect in any realistic way)
  • New Battleground
  • Enhancements to the Matchmaker for Battlegrounds
  • Cross faction communication

There will be more details as we get closer to GU60.

Splitpaw, Unrest Top New Hardware Reqs, Freeport (EQ2X) Now Largest Server

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

When prodded about upgrading the graphics engine of EQ2, if not to improve the graphics, at least to address the spate of flickering graphics and shadows which seem to have plagued the game for some players (including me) since the launch of Velious.

SmokeJumper addressed this concern and others including graphical glitches and performance slowdowns in Public Quests:

We redirected our efforts yesterday to trying to resolve some of the PQ issues. We fixed one issue last night, and although I had been getting similar behavior to what you describe on my home rig, I couldn’t make that duplicate last night, so I’m hoping the improvement we made was a good one. (Admittedly, I was still turning my graphics down to High Performance when multi-raid groups were in the PQ area.) We’re not done yet and there will be more improvements next week.

Engine improvements are also on our list for this year. Those definitely take time to accomplish but there are some obvious things we should do to bring the engine up to par with other modern engines.

Server upgrades are something we want to complete also. In the last six months, we’ve upgraded Antonia Bayle, Crushbone, Nagafen, and Freeport because they were the most highly populated servers. Since the merges, it’s obvious that Splitpaw and Unrest (at least) need upgrades also, and we would like to just go ahead and upgrade all of the remaining worlds. Budget requests have been made.

Stay hopeful.

Upcoming Itemization Changes (Not Nerfs!)

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

If you have run a few Destiny of Velious dungeons (and raids), compared the loot/gear to Public Quests, and said aloud “no me comprende”, this should be a good week.

From SmokeJumper on the EQ2 Forums:

We are bumping up the power of Velious dungeon and raid items. We’re doing this to make those items more competitive when compared with Public Quest items, because instances are tougher than the PQs and deserve better rewards. This does include shard armors.

We are also going to bump up the power of hard-mode raid loot so hard modes are even more rewarding, as they require significant time and effort to beat. NOTE: This doesn’t include war runes since they are already quite powerful.

The net result of these changes makes dungeons and raids a bit more rewarding and also balances things out so that people with a full public quest set will be able to find solid item upgrades in dungeons.

These changes will occur next week sometime. If they happen sooner than that, we’ll let you know.

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