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!!

Rothgar Talks New UI for Game Update 57

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

Although most of what we’ve been hearing from Rothgar over the last year has been closely tied to sorting out Battlegrounds, addressing Server Lag and Performance, and directing Server Upgrades, one of his big passions has been to upgrade the default EQ2 User Interface.

So far, the coolest news about Game Update 57 has been that it will include a pretty substantial polishing up of the default UI. Today, Rothgar has posted some tantalizing details of just what we can expect. And if you will be attending the SOE Block Party (if you will be at Comic-Con, there will be shuttle buses available), then you’ll be the first to see it in action.

July 22, 2010 Hotfix Notes

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Raiding

Here are your hotfix notes for July 22, 2010:

LON MOUNTS

  • Legends of Norrath mounts have all been upgraded to a standard 65% run speed.

PERAH’CELSIS’ ABOMINABLE LABORATORY

  • Arkatanthis the Destroyer: The Benthic adds that challenge group members will try to challenge players unaffected by benthic freeze wherever possible.

EQ2 Home Decorating Challenge Winners Announced

Written by Druidess on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing

On 6/30/10, EQ2 issued a challenge to the talented in game home decorators of Norrath. The contest ran from June 30th – July 14th. Contestants were given the theme of “Bedroom Sanctuary”. Submissions ranged from the New Halas homes all the way to some of the older house models of Qeynos and Freeport. Winners are going to be given an in game trophy, to be placed in the respected homes. Congratulations to the winners. All submissions can be viewed here.

Rothgar: Big UI Changes Coming with GU57

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

From SOE-Rothgar on EQ2Interface:

Rest up because you’re most likely going to have a lot of work to do when GU57 hits test server in just over a week!

I can’t go into a lot of detail right now, but we’ve made some pretty big UI changes for 57. The default UI is getting a re-skin and many windows have been modified.

We’ll post more when we can.

This was posted on July 16th, so that would put Game Update 57 onto Test as early as the end of this week.

Update Notes: July 20, 2010

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Here are your brief Update Notes for July 20th, 2010:

ITEMS

  • The Skinbreach Silk Cord should now have resists.
  • Band of the Corrupter should now also proc 75 Agility.
  • Icy Keep: Many of Vrewwx’s Drops from the Challenge Mode have been adjusted to be more in line with the Difficulty.

UNDERFOOT DEPTHS

  • Vaclaz and Vaclaz Released: Non-Priests are now given precedence when choosing who will receive keen insight in order to disrupt the roekillik energymaster adds.  A priest will only be chosen for this task if there are no other raid members available.

Incoming Guardian Love

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

Xelgad has taken another measured step towards collecting player feedback. Last month, it was a shoutout for Top End Guilds to post some of their highest parses. Today’s request appears to be some light finally being shone on guardians after nearly 2 years at the lower middle of the “fighter” pack in tanking ability.

Greetings Guardians!

First off, allow me say that we understand that the class is being outshined at the moment, and we’re working on it. It’s going to take more than just one change to get Guardians back to working as a strong class again. I’m not going into details yet, but we do have a mechanics change in the works that will at least help a bit to distinguish Guardians as a more defensive tank. Even with that, the class is currently lacking in other areas, including threat generation and utility.

It’s utility that we want to focus this thread on. We want to bring Guardian utility up to the level that the other fighters bring to a group or raid. We have three tentative changes that will be going to test soon:

  1. Got Your Back will become raidwide.
  2. Cripple will become a maintainable debuff with a damage component.
  3. Call of Shielding will also increase the health of the raid. The level 87 version at master will amount to around 1,000 hit points.

We’re looking for feedback on these ideas, and we’re open to boosting Guardian utility even a bit further, especially in heroic content. I want to emphasize that we’re not trying to turn Guardians into plate-wearing Bards or anything of the sort. However, I do want to try to focus this thread on the utility aspect of the class.

UPDATE: These changes will come after Game Update 57.

SOE Layoffs Hit EQ2 Team — Goodbye Timetravelling

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

CORRECTION: Ikik is still on the Vanguard team.

Today we learn from EQ2Flames just who was laid off from the EQ2 team. Timetravelling designed some of the more interesting raid encounters in the Sentinel’s Fate expansion, including Roehn Theer:

I wanted to pop in and thank you all for playing EQ2 for the last few years.

You helped make it an absolute joy of a job, and I’m sorry to be moving on, but I suppose that thems the breaks.

Please keep on keepin’ on, having fun, and kicking the crap out of all of the encounters us poor Content designers create for you.

Hopefully y’all enjoyed some of everything I’ve worked on over the last few years as much as I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to create it for you.

And good luck with Roehn Theer…Slackers! =)

Brett – Timetravelling

Also, Saavedra, EQ2 designer from 2004-2008 and who had been working on other SOE projects also posted:

Guess I can post on flames now eh? Yeah, I am currently LFW

Vanguard

Also, if you have had any optimism for the future of Vanguard, they lost Wigin, as well as their Community Manager Raijinn. “On life support” would be a charitable way to describe the situation at this point.

Marketing?

Sources tell us that Marketing lost 2 team members during this layoff.

I guess now we know how SOE paid for those new Oracle 11G servers for EQ2.

The Temptation to Exploit

Written by Aidis Darvidas on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

The most difficult part of a raid encounter can be managing the Adds or additional enemies that come at predefined moments during the fight. EQ2 has a storied history of people trying different methods to manage, crowd control, confuse, or completely reset Adds during challenging fights. Clearly, the desire to beat more difficult enemies is a powerful temptation to cheat.

Manipulating the outcome of a fight through timely brawler death feigns or leashing certain mobs by fighting at a distance are tactics which have existed in EQ2 from the very beginning. Such exploits were very publicly documented in Veeshan’s Peak. But while it is one thing to participate in such tactics in a private instance. It is quite another to do so in a contested environment with plenty of witnesses!

EQ2Wire is not in the habit of pointing out particular guilds or players, but the controversy will likely be brewing until this exploit in the Klaaktuus Unbound fight can be closed.

With the recent attention to exploitation and penalizing players for various BattleGrounds exploits; the publicity of this event leaves one unanswered question, “Will SOE penalize guilds for exploiting a contested encounter, preventing others from enjoying its content legitimately?”

For those players interested in the exact details, the full transcription can be found on EQ2Flames from pages 124 to 129 (and continuing) (NOTE: Coarse language).

Flash of Intuition — Not so bright

Written by Aidis Darvidas on . Posted in Itemization

Procs. We’ve all seen them.

“On a successful healing spell.”

“On a successful attack.”

“On a successful melee attack.” (this one makes Rangers cry)

But how often do they really trigger? How big a part do they play in actual healing, spell damage, combat art damage?

Aidis, newly minted EQ2Wire contributor has crunched the numbers and found that one such special effect — Flash of Intuition — isn’t so special:

After a review of several healing procs, and how important base is for healers, many items that proc a temporary increase to base [for the players next ward or heal] have been sought after. However, there is a problem with Flash of Intuition. It effects other heal procs before main healing abilities.

After one test of 500 casts, Flash of Intuition activated 32 times. Out of those 32 activations only 3 were used by a main healing ability, as the rest were used up by other heal and ward procs. This is counter productive some say, and have tossed these items to their backpacks in hope of some fix to these procs effecting procs issues, while others continue to gamble on luck.

The Importance of Crit Mit in Sentinel’s Fate Raiding

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization, Raiding

Hirofortis has posted a thought-provoking thread on the EQ2 Forums regarding Critical Mitigation on raid gear and pondering just how much Crit Mit is needed to proceed in raiding. Just looking at the Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 raid gear available in-game, a player can acquire critical mitigation amounts of 110%, 127.8%, and 141% respectively, not including any critical mitigation achieved by having high numbers in the necessary stats.

Critical Mitigation from Raid Armor Sets
T1 T2 T3
Head 10.00% 12.00% 15.00%
Chest 20.00% 20.00% 20.00%
Shoulders 10.00% 12.00% 15.00%
Forearms 5.00% 9.60% 12.00%
Hands 5.00% 9.60% 12.00%
Legs 20.00% 20.00% 20.00%
Feet 5.00% 9.60% 12.00%
Sum 75.00% 92.80% 106.00%
Max from Gear and Adorns 110.00% 127.80% 141.00%
Max with Gear and Stats 120.00% 137.80% 151.00%
Increase Critical Mitigation (Red Adornments)
Head 5%
Chest 5%
Gloves 5%
Boots 5%
Shoulders 5%
Bracers 5%
Leg 5%
Total Crit Mit 35%
Critical Mitigation from Intelligence/Agility
AGI/INT 500 5%
AGI/INT 1000 10%

Critical Mitigation is a measurement of how much your armor (plus a small amount of innate protection from Agility (for scouts/fighters) or Intelligence (for mages/priests) reduces the Critical damage abilities of the enemies you are fighting.

There is a lot of useful information in this thread already — it’s worth a read.

The Intangibility of the Test Copy Server

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DBG Wants Feedback

Test Copy has always been a temporary server, subject to complete wipes of all characters and guilds. In fact, the Test Copy server started out as a PvP Test server, and while it has been a PvE server for over 2 years now, the PvP switch has been “flipped” a few times for testing of Battlegrounds and PvP content leading up to Sentinel’s Fate.

Despite all cautions to the contrary, some players have built up characters and guilds on Test Copy, so they may be interested to know that another wipe is happening. Test Copy is currently down (we’re a bit late on the news) and when it comes back, we are hearing that it will be in a fresh state for testing, with no characters or guilds.

From Bunji on the EQ2 Forums:

Just a heads up that Test Copy is being brought offline (as early as today) and its database is being wiped.

We’re going to try and get Test Copy back up sometime tomorrow (7/13).

Notable Norrathians Challenge Winners Announced

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing

The second opportunity for players to submit their own artwork to be turned into in-game EQ2 paintings has come and gone, and the results have been announced!

From EQ2Players:

Greetings, Norrathians! We are thrilled to make the highly-anticipated announcement of the winners of our Notable Norrathians Forum Challenege!

It was not easy to choose just ten out of the amazing entries we received. The talent and creativty displayed were truly wonderful and there’s a certiain very-jealous dark elf in the office right now!

We’d like to thank everyone who submitted an entry (the dark elf made note that she’s saving a few for her own desktop wallpaper) and we invite everyone who didn’t win this time to resubmit the next time we have a similar challenge.

….

Discuss the Notable Norrathians Winners (EQ2 Forums)

It is our understanding that the Art Dept. judged and selected the 10 winners of this contest and we’re looking forward to seeing them added as in-game paintings. We’re hopeful that there will be as few time, status, and guild restrictions on the in-game items as possible.

We’ve been following the Notable Norrathians Challenge and there were some fantastic entries posted during the contest. Hopefully in a future contest, some that didn’t win this time can be included.

Split Personality: The War on Easy XP

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DBG Wants Feedback, Grouping

So we just had a Double XP weekend over the July 4th holiday. It was heavily promoted, and featured in an e-mail and on the forums. EQ2 Senior Producer SmokeJumper posted about spending almost the entire weekend playing and how quickly he earned levels, AAs, and how many groups he got.

Now, apparently, it’s time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

Yesterday’s Test Server Update Notes include the following details which will eventually make it to Live servers:

GENERAL

Many instances from Deserts of Flame and Kingdom of Sky are now persistent.  This includes Ancient’s Table, Cazel’s Mesa, Scornfeather Roost, The Halls of Fate, The Blackscale Sepulcher, The Den of the Devourer, The Vaults of El’Arad, and The Nest of the Great Egg.

It will be impossible to repeatedly zone into and out of these zones, killing all the mobs inside multiple times.

Last Chance to Register for SOE Fan Faire 2010

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

There are just two weeks left to register for Fan Faire and the number of Gold and Silver passes available is limited! Platinum passes have been sold out for some time now.

You can read more at EQ2Players.

Plane ticket prices are already rebounding fast, so if you are on the fence, either buy your tickets now, or roll the dice and wait another week. That’s not a bet I’d take!

As we have for the last 2 years, EQ2Wire will be providing Continuing Live Coverage of EverQuest II and Fan Faire.

World of Warcraft Grasps Third Rail; Nerfs Online Anonymity

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

UPDATE: Blizzard has cancelled their plans to require real names to post on their forums.

Unable to handle the avalanche of trolls overloading their community support forums (with 11.5 million players and over $20 billion in revenue after 5 1/2 years, you’d think they could afford to hire a few Kiara’s), Blizzard has decided to not just touch, but grasp firmly the third rail of MMORPGs — online anonymity.

The Blizzard Announcement:

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name…

Community Reaction

Since the announcement yesterday, there have been 13,000 responses, many of them announcing their depature from the forums for good.

Massively is calling this the WoW Killer.

SOE Reaction?

The irony of their current company spokesman “Mr. T” being a chosen moniker, is not lost on us. Will he be forced to start calling himself Laurence Tureaud in all future marketing? “I’m Laurence Tureaud and I pity the fool” neither intimidates nor rolls off the tongue.

If I were Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley, I would put my marketing department to work getting a slogan like this printed on every flat surface within reach:

Get lost in our worlds, without having to show ID.

Expectations are high that we might see DC Universe Online this winter:

Your secret identity is safe with us.

SOE has released The Agency: Covert Ops Facebook game:

We won’t break your cover.

Identity Theft

WoWRiot is covering this story, and have documented some instant karma reaped by one of the WoW developers.

Now I think it’s fairly safe to say that this is perhaps the dumbest idea that anyone has ever had ever.

To alleviate people’s concerns, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to say his real name on the forums, his real name is Micah Whipple.

Within a few hours, a full report of Mr Whipple’s personal life was posted online, including full address, phone number, age, parents names and ages, and his Facebook page with extensive personal details.

In the end, it may be the threat of hundreds of employee resignations that nixes this idea.

The Funny Papers

I leave you with this hilarious (and scary) comic strip:

http://www.thenoobcomic.com/headquarters/comics/00378_2.jpg

Icy Keep: Retribution — Vrewwx Gets Nuked

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

The Icy Keep (an easy x4 raid zone added in Game Update 56) seems to have taken its place as this expansion’s Ward of Elements. We’ve received reports that, with the exception of the final boss, this zone is appropriate for raid groups of as few as 11 players seeking to gear up and work their way into more difficult raiding.

There have been some issues with later bosses which Gninja has just submitted some fixes for:

[I've] just checked in a fix that cleans up the Vrewwx fight as well as fixed the respawn points. Now once you have defeated the Corrival you can respawn in his room. Once the Brothers have been killed you can respawn in there and once D’Ina has been killed the respawn resets to the front entrance since its a faster run from there.

I also made the front keep doors allowed to be openned if you have completed the quest “Knocked Out Cold” Thus having killed the dragon before in either normal or challenge mode and completed the questline from the zone. This means those wanting to fight the dragon can do so by openning those doors killing D’Ina and going after the dragon.

Hopefully these changes should make it live next hotfix.

Lag Progress (June 29, 2010 Update)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Today’s hotfix included some additional lag fixes. Here’s Rothgar:

With this morning’s update we made a fundamental change to how our zone servers throttle their frame rate. Our hope is that this change will allow busier processes to consume more of the server resources and increase performance (reduce lag). Whether or not this change has a noticeable impact will depend on many variables that can only be observed in the live environment and under a significant load.

We’ll be watching things on our end as we ramp up to primetime tonight but I’m also looking for your feedback as to whether or not you’ve noticed an improvement after this morning’s changes.

Thanks!

Epic Slant: Hopes for Velious

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News

Our friend Farrel over at Epic Slant has done a great article on player expectations for the Destiny of Velious expansion.

Velious is not something you do lightly. It was the defining expansion of EverQuest and to put it on such a short product cycle is dangerous.

Velious was one of the largest content additions ever to hit EverQuest. The whole expansion was simply massive in scale. Three major cities were added, several open world zones, shared access dungeons and a raid zone that could support more than a single guild at a time. The EQ2 trend of “two over world zones” and some instances will not work here.

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