Artist Highlight – Dave “Covic” Brown

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

EQ2Players has a new Artist Highlight up for Dave “Covic” Brown. Covic is the artist behind Varsoon, Anshti Sul, Ice Mares, Rhoen Theer, and the new mounts on the marketplace. He also pops on to the official message boards from time to time.

Excerpts from the article:

What’s your favourite thing that you’ve done for EQII?

This is always changing form each new character I do. First it was Varsoon, then Anshti Sul, then Kraytok, and definitely Rhoen Theer. It seems every model I do becomes my next favorite, and I am starting to feel the same way about the model I am working on now. But I have to say that the one I will be working on next month, if done right could top them all.

Do you have any special (or just super fun) projects you’re working on now for EQII?

The project I will be working on after I finish my current model is going to be awesome. Its going to give players something they have never had in our game yet, I can’t wait to get started. Also it’s going to need a lot of QA time to get this right. So I want to get it done as soon as possible so we will have over half a year to work out the bugs.

SF Retail Box Highland Stalker Tweaks?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, StationCash

The big news yesterday about the new Prowler mounts available via StationCash in the Marketplace is being discussed in the First Ever Mount on the Marketplace thread on the EQ2 Forums.

But as part of the introduction of these SC mounts, the Highland Stalker mount which was included in the Sentinel’s Fate CE retail box has gotten some tweaks as well.

  • First, the run animation created for the SC Prowler has been adapted to the Highland Stalker.
  • Second, the gigantic, and I mean Sir Mix-a-lot sized rump on the Highland Stalker has undergone plastic surgery.

Some players find the new animation smoother, others find it more jarring. Go figure!

About That Featherfall

Marketing apparently unintentionally embellished one characteristic of the SC Prowler mounts. They do not, in fact, have Featherfall.

And I promise I won’t use the words apparently, unintentionally, and embellished all in 1 sentence ever again. Well, after that last one. Promise.

EQ2 Senior Producer Responds to Feedback, SC Mounts

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

Previous EQ2 Senior Producers Alan “Brenlo” Crosby and Bruce Ferguson rarely responded directly to player inquiries. Thus we featured their posts here on EQ2Wire in separate posts.

However Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson has been tearing up the EQ2 Forums in two threads:

Prepping for GU56: Today’s 200MB Download

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

In preparation for Game Update 56, some of the art assets (and likely music) for Game Update 56 are being pushed in an update today. This update is approximately 200MB. From EQ2 Senior Producer “SmokeJumper“:

[Today's] update includes a lot of the files needed for the upcoming Halas feature set. We’re splitting the download into two parts so that the pain is a bit less each time.

Halas Prelude Event NPCs Added

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

A prelude quest leading up to Game Update 56 and the introduction of the city of New Halas has been available for some time now, if you could find a Guide or in-game GM or CM. But now in the last week leading up to this update, NPCs have been added throughout Norrath for those players who want to do this quest.

This quest is A Vision of Valor. Follow the link for a list of NPCs and locations.

GU 56: Icy Keep: Retribution

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

EQ2Players has a preview up for one of the two new raid zones coming with GU #56: Icy Keep: Retribution.  This one was designed by Carlos “Gninja” Mora with help from Cyndi “Xadrian” Johnson.

From the Gninja:

Which raid zones are of a comparable difficulty?
The difficulty should be aimed at the same difficulty as Lair of the Dragon Queen or slightly tougher in the later areas.

How many named mobs are there?

There are ten normal encounters and one challenge mode encounter. However some encounters might have to be unlocked in order to gain access to them through the questlines or various puzzles in the zone.

What do you think is the most impressive part of the zone?
The Chessboard by far is the most impressive. The art team did a fantastic job really capturing what I was going for in there.

Read the entire article at EQ2Players.

Keep Up with Events — New EQ2 Calendar

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Check it out folks! We’ve got a new Calendar here on EQ2Wire.

I’ve put in a list of upcoming events (currently set to 45 days, I can adjust this easily) in the Sidebar, including tentative dates for certain events based on 2009, and if you click the EQ2Wire Calendar header there, you can jump to a monthly calendar of EQ2-related events.

If you have any suggestions for events that should be on this calendar, please post a Comment and we’ll see about adding it!

Dude, Where’s My Mount?

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

After Game Update #56, you may wonder why your mount is disappearing during combat.  As reported earlier, there’s a new setting coming to the game.

In Options -> Display -> Animation, there will be a new setting called “Render Mounts”.  This has three options:

  • Show mounts always
  • Hide mounts during combat
  • Never show mounts

Hide mounts during combat is the default which may lead to some confusion on launch day.  If you want it to work the way it used to, just set it to Show mounts always.

GU56: PvP Warfields Coming to Nagafen and Vox

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

Game Update 56 next Tuesday will include a new scenario specifically for the PvP servers. Antonica and Commonlands will become home to Warfields, a scheduled PvP campaign with specific rewards. Here’s PvP developer Olihin‘s update notes:

PvP WARFIELDS

  • Antonica and Commonlands have once again become hotbeds of conflict! Will your lands be overrun or will your forces prevail against the siege?
  • Warfields are Good vs. Evil faction based.
  • Rewards will be Discord Tokens with a higher quantity to the winning team.
  • The event will stagger between Antonica and 2 hours later in Commonlands and last for 30 minutes.
  • The Antonica and Commonlands zones have been CHANGED to 10 level ranges from 4 to allow a wider range of skirmishes.

Is There Raid Progression for Small Guilds?

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

An interesting topic has popped up on the EQ2 Forums asking the question:

Is there Raid Progression for Small Guilds?

The Shadow Odyssey ended up offering many choices for Casual Raid Guilds. Sentinel’s Fate has not been quite so generous with such progression choices. Game Update 56 will add two raid zones, but both are intended for 24-person raids. We compare the expansions in today’s commentary.

This week in “Did You Know?” Freeport Riff-Raff

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Tired of getting a swift kick or a punch in the mouth from the surly and unwelcome Thexian and Dreadnaught goons occupying parts of Freeport?

Did you know…

  • Killing Thexian and Dreadnaught “guards” in Freeport does not affect your faction with Freeport?
  • If you kill enough Thexians and Dreadnaughts (about 10 of each), they will grow afraid of you and STOP WITH THE BEATINGS ALREADY?

Fun Facts from the EQ2 Forums

Highlight on: Beetny’s AA Calculator

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Just prior to Sentinel’s Fate, two different web designers set out to produce an updated AA calculator. We kept our eye on a really smooth one (but which had not been updated for Sentinel’s Fate) by Beetny.

We were stoked to find out that Beetny’s AA Calculator has been fully updated for Sentinel’s Fate.

This AA Calculator lets you browse, experiment, and spend AA points in all 3 AA trees for your character class without logging into EQ2. Also, you’ll notice there is a URL at the top so you can share your suggested AA setups with other players. I predict we’ll see extensive use of these special URLs along with tinyurl.com to easily share AA setups with other players.

Also, Brett has been quick to fix bugs and correct oversights, so if you see any problems, please be sure to e-mail him!

When Brasse went to work for SOE, it was not surprising that her awesome AA Calculator (which set the gold standard) would eventually go out of date. But now we have this great functionality available to us again!

GU56: The Underfoot Depths

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

The Underfoot Depths from EQ2Players:

Halas Reborn, scheduled to launch at the end of May, brings us two new raid zones. The first of which is the Underfoot Depths, accessed via The Hole.

Brett “Timetravelling” Scheinert gave EQ2Players a brief interview about this new raid zone.

Players have cleared all of Sentinel’s Fate’s normal-mode encounters and all but one of the challenge-mode encounters…just in time for us to add 20 more normal-mode encounters and eight more challenge-mode encounters (which practically doubles the raid content available at level 90). I am very excited at the chance for players to test their mettle against both the Underfoot Depths and the new Icy Keep raid!

GU56: EQ2 Betrayal, Citizenship Tweaks

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Game Update 56 will contain minor tweaks to Betrayal and changing one’s Citizenship.

Changing citizenship is being streamlined, as some cities require more busywork from players than others to switch between cities of the same alignment. Contacting one of the new Ambassadors in each city is your first step.

No changes to the actual betrayal quests are being made (changing alignment ) are being as far as we can tell, but an Ambassador NPC is being added in every city who must be contacted prior to deliberating the Betrayal process. You can read more about these Betrayal changes which have been extensively documented by Domino at the EQ2 Forums.

These changes are likely an additional safeguard to reduce the number of customer service tickets resulting from accidental betrayal.

Sentinel’s Fate: The Hole — 3 Months Later

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Grouping

Today, we reflect on a dungeon that I had high hopes for when it was first announced, but which underwent dramatic changes within 72 hours of its launch. 3 months later, there are no clear answers on the current intended audience of this zone, whether we’ll see any rollback of those changes,  and going into the next expansion — EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious — will these lessons in design and balance be learned from?

May 12 2010 Survey

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

It’s hard to believe that in 3 months we will be covering our third Fan Faire event and entering our third year of wheedling news and previews of EverQuest 2 expansions and game updates. We plan to offer the most comprehensive, up-to-the-minute coverage of the 2010 Fan Faire event.

It’s challenging to come up with news on a daily basis, especially about a game that works in 3 month cycles. Last month, we officially brought a staff writer, Dethdlr, into the fold, who has so far been posting some great updates.

There are a lot of EQ2 fan sites out there that have pushed themselves to stay relevant, and post something almost every day, but there are many other EQ2 sites that have largely stopped updating. We want to stay in that first group, and to do that we need your help.

Today we present a Survey which asks some questions about how you use EQ2Wire and how you think it can be improved.

May 12 2010 Hotfix Notes

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

Here are your hotfix notes for May 12, 2010:

ITEMS

  • Summoning Brace of the Wyrmkind now properly adds Molten Carnage IV to the caster’s pet.

THE HOLE

The following mobs will no longer attack you if you have faction points equal to or above -39,999 points with them. The faction point requirement should now be consistent with other standard mobs under the same faction.

  • “an animated watcher”
  • “a disheveled refugee”
  • The “Caetaxian dominator” located on the fallen pillar bridge in the Old Paineel section of the zone.
  • Killing “disheveled refugee” should now have an effect on your faction status with “Caertaxian Legion” as well as factions that are against them.

Midnight Performance Update

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Players were surprised when servers went down at midnight PST last night for a Hotfix. This hotfix is targeted at Performance issues which continue to dog EQ2. From the EQ2 Forums by Rothgar:

Tonight’s hotfix introduced a few changes that have been on the test server for a few weeks. I’d like to hear your feedback to see if any of these performance issues have gotten better after tonight.

First, we made a change to the zoning processes that should hopefully speed it up. In addition we’ve extended our logging in this area to help us better troubleshoot long zoning times. If you’re someone who occasionally hits long zoning times, let us know if you see an improvement after tonight.

Second, we’ve made some changes to the game servers related to the spell system. This should hopefully improve server lag but the amount can be difficult to quantify. Let us know how your lag situation looks after tonight.

These are only the first changes to come. We will continue to look at performance improvements over the next few updates.

Thanks!

As for why the downtime happened at midnight instead of at the usual 6 or 7am time, the cause is related to the Free Armbands promotion which we’ll be posting about momentarily. Rothgar again with the great communication:

Sorry for the miscommunication about the downtime. There was a last minute change to avoid two downtimes in a single day.

Due to a marketing promotion that begins tonight at midnight, the servers needed to be rebooted. Rather than taking them down again at 7am for the hotfix, it was decided that we’d update the servers with the hotfix during the midnight downtime.

So in essence, you’ve been saved a downtime.

EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Expansion News

From EQ2 ZAM:

EverQuest II players have long hoped for an expansion returning players to Velious.  Scars of Velious, the second expansion in the original EverQuest, was a favorite of long-time players.  With the appearance of the the icy Order of Rime last summer many players were sure Velious was coming, and were surprised when Sentinel’s Fate took EQII players to the lost island of Odus.
Astute player Vulkoor found some interesting files downloading in April, which included othmir (an otter race from Velious) and Tserrina the near-legendary boss of the original Tower of Frozen Shadow.  The appearance of Coldain dwarves in New Halas (now on the EQII test servers), have expectations high.

Today, observant (and persistant) players found an entry at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Sony Online Entertainment has applied for the trademark on EVERQUEST II DESTINY OF VELIOUS.

While we’re sure SOE will not announce the 7th EverQuest II expansion before they’re ready, we feel confident in predicting that yes, the next expansion will return us to the land of snow bunnies and Thurgadin, frost giants and the Temple of Veeshan.

With the entire EQ2 team now back to work on EQ2 content, hopefully we get the Velious expansion we’d all like to see.

GU56: Travel Revamp

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

This information was part of our Game Update 56 post on May 4th. However considering the importance of its content, we have reprinted it as a separate article and rewritten it for clarity.

GU56 Travel Revamp

Travel in Norrath has been substantially consolidated. Changes and bugfixes continue to be applied on Test, so this information may change before May 25th.

Worldwide Travel Revamp

  • Players may travel from and to nearly every zone in Norrath by using the Worldwide Globe system, which have consolidated all existing bells and gained many unexpected destinations.
  • Flying carpets, boats, and airships are now entirely optional means of travel. The destinations offered by these modes of transport have been added to the Worldwide Globe system.
  • Individual mariner’s bells which connect to only one or two zones (i.e. Everfrost, Lavastorm, Isle of Mara, etc.) have been removed.
  • Travel within cities is maintained through the City Mariner’s Bell.
  • Worldwide Gryffons continue to provide travel between Butcherblock Mountains, Neriak (Darklight Wood), and Gorowyn (Timorous Deep), and have gained a new destination — New Halas (Frostfang Sea).
  • Druid Rings no longer require players to have visited them prior to use. Rumor has it, a live or prelude event will rebuild additional druid rings and connect them, allowing travel between the Rings.
  • Wizard Spires, as rebuilt in a previous Game Update, continue to provide access to over a dozen interconnected wizard spires. With GU56, six additional Wizard Spire destinations have been added that players can travel directly to (previously these spires could only be reached with the help of a Wizard or Warlock).
  • All Call of Qeynos, Call of the Overlord, Call of Kelethin, etc. spells have had their cast time reduced to 10 seconds.

Intrazone Travel Revamp

  • Sokokar posts within the 4 Kunark zones no longer require having visited each post prior to using them and the sokokar item requirement has been eliminated (players must have completed either the tradeskill or adventure sokokar quest).
  • A Gryffon Tower has been added to the Gorowyn Beach so that players may easily reach the newbie area.
  • A Gryffon hitching post has been added to the Butcherblock Mountains dock so that players may easily reach the cliffs.
  • Gryffon Towers in Thundering Steppes and Nek Forest no longer require your assistance in gathering gryffon eggs before allowing travel.
  • Flying Carpets within Sinking Sands and Pillars of Flame have learned all of the intra-zone routes available to them.
  • Horses have been added to the Steamfont Mountains, Zek, Feerrott, Enchanted Lands, Everfrost.
  • Gryffon Towers in Greater Faydark and Nektulos Forest have been updated with additional destinations.
  • Guild Hall decorators will be interested to note that the various (now redundant) Mariner’s Bell amenities have been given unique appearances as a player choice. Choices include a boat captain npc in front of a large steering wheel, and a sculpture of the Worldwide Globe item.

Performance Motivation?

For the last 2 1/2 months, players have been reporting severe delays when traveling from one zone to another. Players have reported 20-30 minute delays when switching from zone to zone, a process normally taking 20-30 seconds. So it seems likely that these changes are being made for player convenience, or to put nearly every zone in the game into the reach of players with just 1 zoning screen!

Notable Norrathians Contest — Add your Artwork to EQ2

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

Even as EQ2Wire is trying to find an artist or artists to help us tell humorous, interesting stories about EQ2, the development of MMOs in general, and the sometimes tumultuous relations between game developers and the players, we could not help but notice the Notable Norrathians” contest currently running on the EQ2 Forums and posted by Kiara.

UPDATE: Deadline Extended to May 28th!

The New Artists

My favorite part of EverQuest II’s fleeting 5th Anniversary  “Heroes Festival” (during last year’s American Thanksgiving week) was the 10 Player-Designed In-Game Paintings. Initially, an art conteste, the top 10 winners became available as paintings from City Merchants. Some of these paintings possessed a very high quality and added some much needed options to the previously limited choice of paintings in EQ2.


The First Prize winning “Destroyer of Ordanach” by Citadelli.

Not all of the paintings were classics. Because the contest wasn’t widely discussed outside of Non-Gameplay Discussion, and because I don’t think it was clear to players that their submissions could become in-game paintings, there weren’t a lot of entries. And in the end, the paintings sold in-game came with some very restrictive terms. They were unable to be placed in guild halls, and required both a guild level of 30 and a sizable stack of status each to buy. Still, I ran out and bought 2 of each (even that, unique Yha-lei mayhem image that came complete with targeting UI elements! :) ).

This time around, I’m hopeful that all aspiring artists and fans of EQ2 will give it their best shot and submit really stunning original artwork or in-game screenshots representing in-game characters or foes of note.

I believe anything that improves the in-game selection of paintings is a good thing, and it’s really cool that players get a rare chance to put some content back into the game.

And I am cautiously optimistic that we’ll see less restrictions on guild hall vs. house, guild status, and guild level when purchasing these new paintings.

DAZ Studio?

It’s worth mentioning that quite a few players of EQ2 who like to bring that extra bit of realism to their characters appearances, biographies, and conquests have discovered a program called DAZ Studio. It is a 3D character poser-type of program which has a toolbox of thousands of armor choices, clothing, weapons, races, accessories, and appearances.

An aspiring artist could spend months experimenting with this program.

Some of the coolest-looking signatures on the EQ2 Forums are EQ2 characters which have been reimagined in DAZ Studio. And thus far, some of the best-looking entries to this contest were created in this program as well.

NOTE: I do not work for Daz 3D nor do I make any money from mentioning their products here.

Three Weeks to Go!

UPDATE: Deadline Extended to May 28th!

Notable Norrathians Contest @ EQ2 Forums

Artist Highlight: Jeff Jonas

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

EQ2Players is highlighting another team member, this time Jeff Jonas, player artist for EverQuest II.

My role on the EQII team is to create objects that our player characters use, wear, or ride. I am known as a “wearables” guy. A project like this needs thousands of items to make it fun and exciting. Wearables run the gamut from Barbarian helmets, to collector’s capes, and full vampire armor sets, to wieldables such as swords and staffs, to rideables like the hover discs I have created. Other wearables can be backpacks, or armbands.

What’s your favourite thing that you’ve done for EQII?

To keep things fresh we have incorporated ways to streamline and add to our character templates. Since we support over 50 male and female player characters, we need to be careful to change our templates. One way we have made things more interesting is our “snap-on” system that uses offset to add objects to existing templates.

The newest exciting technology we implemented was designed by Bill Yeatts, and coded by Brian Belfield. This cool system allows our backpacks to have items swivel and bounce around like real objects kind of do- without additional animator time. This allowed me to make a few popular backpack items such as the Frostfell backpacks of last year, and the latest Brewmeister barrel backpacks. Other backpacks are coming for other tradeskills as well. It’s a lot of fun to see the items bouncing along in our test viewer.

Do you have any special (or just super fun) projects you’re working on now for EQII?

I reckon the new backpacks I alluded to above are the most exciting things upcoming in my work path. Right now I’m focusing on warm garments for certain icy areas, and tinkering with some other items. EQII always has something interesting lined up for me down the trail.

You can read the complete interview as well as see additional screen shots of character artwork that Jeff has created at EQ2Players.

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