This survey seems to be going out to certain EQ2 players and apparently it will be sent out on a semi-periodic basis, perhaps quarterly. I received a copy on each of the e-mail addresses associated with my accounts:
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the EverQuest II development team is developing the game?
2. How would you rate your enjoyment playing the latest expansion, Kunark Ascending?
I am no longer involved in the EQ2 Discord chat. You can access the EQ2Wire Chatroom here.
Players are always looking at methods to keep in communication with developers. Of late, the forums have been less than successful at serving that mission. Community has tried different things, including engaging us on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit, however these social media platforms haven’t been adopted as much as they have in other games. Connecting the player community to the developers is something I am hugely in favor of and some methods have been more successful than others. I thought the old EQ2 ZAM Question & Answer sessions did rather well.
Yesterday, a new EverQuest II chat server was launched on Discord, which is a service available in your browser as well as through mobile apps that features both text and voice chat. It is independent of Daybreak Games and will be staffed by volunteer moderators and members of the EQ2 team. So far, Discord has been incredibly successful on other Daybreak games.
Things to expect:
Developers aren’t going to talk about things they’re working on that are still in the planning stage.
We aren’t going to be strict about “off-topic” discussion. If need be, we’ll create more subchannels for specific topics, including possibly an #offtopic channel if there is strong interest.
It’s hoped we’ll have regularly scheduled Question & Answer sessions.
If you attack developers or are extremely negative, you’re going to be shown the door.
If you prefer Forums, E-mail, or other forms of communication with Daybreak, nobody is saying you can’t continue to use that.
You may be asking if Community is already stretched so thin, why add yet another form of communication beyond Facebook, Twitter, Forums, E-mail, and In-Game chat? The answer is that this is an a third-party site that will be a shared effort between different people.
I am no longer involved in the EQ2 Discord chat. You can access the EQ2Wire Chatroom here.
Nights of the Dead has been activated on Test server!
Nights of the Dead brings goblins and ghoulies out from the shadows. Those inclined to celebrate the holiday through crafting will find a new book of recipes full of new house items being sold by official event merchants. And those feeling more adventurous can hunt ghosts in Antonica, and the Commonlands, or investigate the multiple haunted locations! Setri Lur’eth returns, and may or may not have another task for those willing (or not so willing) to help. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for special sparklies in spooky celebration spots! And remember, tricks and treats are the name of the game!
On April 28th, EverQuest II launched its level 100 content release “The Siege of Zek“. The update takes us back to Zek, the Orcish Wastes and a lot has changed in 12 years. While the original level 35-appropriate zone can still be accessed, players may now choose to travel to the new level 100 Scourge Wastes. The update contains updated versions of classic Zek zones in Advanced Solo, Heroic, Event Heroic, and Heroic Contested versions as well as a Raid zone. Rather than a simple up-tiering of existing zones, the Designers and Art Team have put a lot into this All Access-only update with totally redone Orc models and many other touches that make this content feel fresh.
As it had been a couple of weeks since the release of the Siege of Zek, we had an opportunity to peruse the official EQ2 forums for player questions and concerns. The EQ2 team are already working flat out on EverQuest II’s thirteenth expansion slated for later this year, so our interview focuses on the few questions that I submitted about itemization and some of the new systems in the update including Heartbound, which is an in-game celebration of the real-life bonds that players have developed, and the new progression-tied Resolve stat.
Game Update 100 “The Scourged Wastes” has been under invite-only beta for the last three weeks and tonight it will hit the Test server to allow for a bit of public testing prior to its April 28th launch. Bugs should be reported on the EverQuest II Bug Tracker. The full Test Update Notes can be read here, but we’re going to cherry pick a few interesting points…
This update is heading to test later tonight, ETA ~10pm PST.
GU 100 is now available on Test server. Level 100 players should expect to receive an in game mail directing them further.
Removed the embedded Legends of Norrath (LoN) client from the EverQuest II client. If you wish to continue playing LoN, please download and use the standalone client available at www.legendsofnorrath.com.
Characters on Thurgadin have been granted legacy server titles.
Fixed a bug where it would take a long time for your Daybreak Cash balance to show in the marketplace window.
Fixed a bug where players could lock other players out of Kralet Penumbra.
We have received reports that Daybreak Customer Service is in the process of migrating from SOE’s rickety ticket system to a modern off-the-shelf solution called Zendesk. On the surface this appears to be good news, however there have been some growing pains in the process. Players have reported being unable to check the status of their own tickets, instead receiving a “Ooops, that page does not seem to exist” error. Others have been locked out of the site with automatic IP bans due to some kind of false positive. Also we’ve received reports that customer tickets have been automatically closed with automated responses based on key words in the ticket. For instance if the word “refund” is used anywhere in the inquiry, the ticket is closed and the customer is linked to Daybreak’s NO REFUNDS policy posting. It is also impossible to open a ticket from within Daybreak’s games. All tickets must now be opened at Help.DaybreakGames.com.
Daybreak’s short-staffed support team have been trying to make do and I’m cautiously hopeful that this new software will allow for a little bit more of that personal touch and care that SOE customers were lucky enough to experience for over 15 years.
Community Manager Tony “RadarX” Jones responded on the lightly used Landmark subreddit:
We’re currently migrating our ticketing system to something much better which yes is ZenDesk. The migration shouldn’t impact anyone’s ability to contact support but if it is please let us know.
The vote to unlock Kingdom of Sky content on BOTH Stormhold (PvE) and Deathtoll (PvP) has passed. This content is scheduled to unlock to players on Thursday, January 7, 2016.
There are a lot of updates coming to Time-Locked Expansion servers after this content unlocks. To give you an idea of what’s coming:
Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level will be raised to 70
Alternate Advancement Subclass Window will be unlocked with a 50 AA cap
This launch will include a full balance pass for all TLE content level 30+, including existing encounters.
Kingdom of Sky dropped or quested equipment has had a full stat re-distribution to fit with progression.
All blue stats, with the exception of crit bonus, will be available on the server.
Cloud Travel will be restored.
Spire Travel will be restored on Stormhold (PvE) and Deathtoll (PvP), and reverted to its original design, teleporting players every 5 minutes.
To make sure this content is done right, we’re opening up the beta server to test these updates for Time-Locked Expansion servers. The beta server will remain available through the first week of January. If you’re an All Access Member, you’ll be flagged with access to the beta server!
If you didn’t get your fill of testing during the Terrors of Thalumbra expansion beta, or you just can’t wait until Frostfell arrives on non-TLE servers, you’re in luck. Frostfell has now been activated on the Test server and you can check it out, report bugs, and provide feedback!
Now that Test has been updated… Frostfell is active on Test!
There’s plenty of Frostfell cheer throughout Norrath this season! Gigglegibbers and Frostfell elves are busy celebrating the holiday within the player cities, and encouraging everyone to visit the Frostfell Wonderland Village, accessed through the Magic Closets in Qeynos Province District, Freeport, Haven, Kelethin, Neriak, Gorowyn and New Halas. There you can assist Jarith Icewing and Frestishan with their holiday challenges, or help Candice Cheriweth, Gardy Ex-Giftgiver, Mr. McScroogle, Queen Bunny, and Snarf Frostfoot with some holiday tasks, but only after you release them from their deep freeze! For those that have a talent for crafting, you can help Sogs Frostfoot, or gather presents to craft wondrous new Frostfell goodies for yourself. Don’t forget to log in each day and claim your extra-special Frostfell present from everyone’s favorite Frostfell Gigglegibber, Santa Glug!
How many EQ2 players want to Beta Test the new Terrors of Thalumbra expansion using copies of their live characters via the in-game Beta copy toool? So many that the system is now backlogged by up to 24 hours!
The transfers are going through but its taking a few hours for some. Also sometimes you may need to reload your character list to get it to show up. Either create or delete a character or try logging in and back out to refresh it.
Just got an update and it looks like we’ve gotten through only about a hundred copies so far. With the current number of requests its looking like it could take up to 24 hours. The DB has been getting hammered lately so everything is slowing down. We are looking at ways of speeding it up but as of right now its looking like there isn’t much we can do with it other than just wait.
Last year’s beta copy tool took just a few seconds, but that was before this spring’s Database changes. Hopefully the skinny pedal on the right can be located and the current beta copy script can be kicked into high gear. For now, you’ll have to rely upon creating Level 1 characters and then buffing them to your preferred Adventure and Tradeskill class at 100. Remember, you can lookup your character on EQ2U and download your AA/Prestige spec as an .aa file and then load this into EQ2! Also, don’t forget the in-game /load_uisettings command to load your hotbars and UI settings from your live characters.
Since the launch of EverQuest II, players have been able to submit bug reports and feedback through the in-game /bug and /feedback commands. It’s nice and integrated, but they are essentially a black hole. Players have no idea when or if their issue has been tested, confirmed to be a bug, or a timeframe when it might be addressed. Players have speculated that /bug and /feedback might not even be read (they are!). Over the years, other methods of bringing bugs and feedback to the EQ2 team’s attention have arisen, each with strengths and weaknesses.
Break On Through to the Other Side
In 2004, EverQuest II entered beta with Forums (EQ2Wire offers an extensive EQ2 Forum Archive of over 2.3 million posts) which has allowed players to share their thoughts and, more importantly, bring issues to the attention of developers. Unfortunately, forums tend to have a poor signal-to-noise ratio, especially if insufficient sections are made available to corral conversations into useful categories. Those who aren’t stakeholders tend to embrace the “active posts per week” metric to chase elusive “engagement” statistics, but this usually diminishes forums as an effective communications platform.
While the EQ2 team diligently reads the forums on a daily basis, these days posting a thread on the EQ2 Forums in the hope of getting an issue onto the radar of the right developer has become a hit-or-miss affair. The chaos of forums also invites off-topic blather and petty arguments which discourage the kind of fact-based discussion necessary to handling bugs and feedback in a professional manner.
It’s been nearly a year since DDoS crew Lizard Squad flooded the servers of Sony Online Entertainment, Blizzard Entertainment, PlayStation Network, etc. to a degree that games such as EverQuest II, Planetside 2, League of Legends, and World of Warcraft became inaccessible for several hours. The lizards then doubled down on their felonious amusement by calling in a bomb threat on an American Airlines flight bearing SOE president John Smedley. The flight was diverted to a militaryPhoenix Sky Harbor airport where the plane was searched and passengers interrogated. Smedley was also doxxed, with personal details including banking information laid bare to the public. This all played out as a war of words on Twitter, followed by local and nationwide coverage on television news.
It was expected that those responsible for these activities would face serious legal repercussions, but it seems the exact opposite has occurred. 17-year old Julius “Zeekill” Kivimäki pleaded out to 50,700 counts of fraud and harassment charges, receiving just two years of deferred adjudication (similar to probation but with the charges being expunged from one’s record after they complete their conditions). He will face few restrictions, specifically he will have full internet access unlike probationers in the United States who face an outright ban on Internet and Smartphone access if their crimes are even remotely internet- or sex-related.
The Ars Technica article continues that “According to Finnish law, the teen could not be extradited to face prosecution in America for any computer-related crimes he committed against American people or companies”. This is in spite of taking personal responsibility in Twitter posts, in recorded XBox Live conversations, and in an unrepentant interview granted to Sky News last December:
Lizard Squad has mocked those who have spoken against them, declaring that they are essentially untouchable…
All the people that said we would rot in prison don't want to comprehend what we've been saying since the beginning, we have free passes.
The requests for player feedback into the Time-Locked Expansion servers keep rolling. This time, we’ve been asked which encounters that have been changed over the years from Heroic or Epic mobs that should be changed back to something with more teeth!
Normally we don’t list complete Test / Beta Update Notes so as to avoid confusion with Live notes, but in this case, we’re going to make an exception as players have been clamoring for signs that development continues on EQ2 from bug fixes to performance tweaks to mechanics and class balance changes, and this update has all of that!
We’re working hard on database changes for EQ2, and we need your help to make sure they’re awesome! To encourage people to help us, we’ve upgraded the stats on the Blessed Sokokar mount people get as a reward for helping us. This upgrade will go to anyone who has received a Bless Sokokar in the past, and anyone that helps us on the beta server.
Starting today and running until Monday, March 16 at 11:59AM PDT, we could really use your help again on the beta server. You can use our Beta Copy feature by typing /beta on a character you want to copy.
Another week, and another live event is now on Test awaiting testing and feedback! Maybe we need to space these events out a little bit before we kill senior designer and event wrangler Nathan (Kaitheel), mmmkay?
Jesters, thieves, bards and fans of mischief, alike, are encouraged to enjoy the Bristlebane Day festivities in your city or elsewhere! You never know what laughs and pranks await you during these holy days honoring Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane, The Grand Prankster. Princess Evelynn has a lofty challenge in Sinking Sands, while other celebrators, like Rakshatta, can be found in the Enchanted Lands. She is excited about the arcane patchwork creatures seen roaming Antonica, The Commonlands, Darklight Wood, Timorous Deep, Greater Faydark and Frostfang Sea. You can get more involved by crafting your very own items in celebration of this wonderful holiday. Visit your local tradeskill house to purchase these special recipes!
The EQ2 programmers have been hard at work transitioning the databases responsible for running EverQuest II to EnterpriseDB. This is a huge undertaking but with significant benefits for the game’s developers and EQ2 players alike. The main thing we’ll see added as a result is Cross-Server Dungeon Finder sometime this year. Hopefully we’ll also see performance improvements on large characters with a lot of housing and other data. But in the meantime, the EQ2 team need our help Beta testing the ordinary stuff like grouping, housing, dungeon lockouts, the broker, and guild functionality to make sure that everything is working as it should. This is one of those thankless jobs where, if everything goes perfectly well, nobody will notice anything!
I know we’ve had a spate of frustrating news in the last few weeks, but please do login and spend some time testing things out on Beta. In the process you’ll get a flying mount!
In August 2013, SOE made some drastic layoffs to try to manage costs. The game teams undoubtedly took a hit, but by far the deepest cuts were felt in the Customer Service and Quality Assurance divisions. As I walked past the empty desks when I visited SOE last summer, it confirmed that these teams were hard hit. Still, the quality of Customer Service from SOE has remained almost universally high over the last 18 months, with staff going above-and-beyond to restore hacked characters, update broken quests and content, restore items which have been accidentally lost or destroyed, as well as addressing all kinds of account issues, character transfers, etc. all within a reasonable amount of time.
However the most recent layoffs triggered by the Columbus Nova buyout seem to have pushed the Customer Service department to make some hard choices about which incidents they will handle vs. those that they need to punt to the game teams. I asked Daybreak Games VP of Customer Service Brad Wilcox if he had any comment on recent reports that Phone and Live Chat support had been terminated, long ticket times, and policy changes such as CS staff declining to progress broken quests or assist in the process of voting in a new guild leader to an EQ2 guild that had lost its original leader.
Brad took the time to respond to my concerns with this statement…
EQ2 Senior Designer Kaitheel has posted the news that the popular Brewday Festival is now on Test and the developers are seeking testing and feedback:
Brewday Festival is now active on Test!
Make this Brewday Festival a memorable one! Follow the shouts of rowdy patrons located near every player city to the festival’s official brew house, The Bar of Brell. Once inside, grab a stein and celebrate Brewday with the holiday themed rewards, crafts, and adventures, both new and familiar. But don’t let the celebration stop there, the ale keeps flowing throughout the bars and drinking holes of Norrath this Brewday! Otengard Brauer’s Beer Garden in the Butcherblock Mountains seems to have attracted some unwanted patrons, and there’s news of goblins stirring trouble in the Enchanted Lands, too!
New Features for ’15!
7 New Merchant Items sold by Balin Copperfoot in Bar of Brell
New Quest – Bog Mountain’s Eruption
New Tradeskill recipe book, “Brewday Accoutrements to Craft VI” sold by Balin Copperfoot in the Bar of Brell.
This event content is currently set to run 03/05/2015 at 12:01am PST through 03/16/2015 at 11:59pm PST on the live servers.
Have you taken the EverQuest II: Altar of Malice expansion survey? If not, head here:
Personally as someone who has dedicated some time to writing good survey questions, this has to be one of the most generic surveys I’ve seen. On one hand, there is an entire page dedicated to the six raid zones in the expansion, yet the entirety of the tradeskill and heroic content are each distilled down to a single 1-10 rating question. What if you love the zones, animations, populations, humor, and the music, but you dislike difficulty, how would you rate that?
It’s pretty clear that Marketing largely referenced the expansion’s press release without much (if any) consultation with the EQ2 team. I wonder what if anything SOE will learn from this survey. I feel that the way the questions are written is prone to lead to invalid conclusions.
Looks like we can expect some improvements later this week or early next week in the XP earn rate of both adventuring and tradeskills in EQ2, as well as some other fixes. Today’s complete Test Update Notes can be found on the forums, but we excerpt a few below…
Rejoice! Exiles can now use the shared bank!
Exiles can now change suffix titles!
SOE Live Request: Players may now drag game commands such as “Summon Mount,” “Melee Attack,” “Ranged Attack” etc. into the Edit Macro window to create a step with the appropriate command.
POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Brokenskull Bay: Spoils of Maraud [Contested Heroic]
Poochy has attended some anger management classes making him less aggressive.
Deckmaster Vasril should cast his curse less often and will not hit quite as hard.
Altar of Malice tradeskilled food now correctly increases health regeneration.
Fixed many Grandmaster recipes that were uncraftable.
Advanced Adornments Volume 11 should now be more common.
Altar of Malice missions, repeatable quests and all Tradeskill Writs will now multiply experience rewards based on your experience modifiers such as veteran bonus, vitality, or potions.
Wheel of Misfortune – Repairing the broken wagon wheel in any zone will update the quest.
Ring of Dain Frostreaver VI – The Ring War Remnants public quest is no longer required to spawn Narandi the Enraged.
In order to institute Quality of Life tweaks and changes to Itemization, Class Balance, and overall gameplay, the EQ2 team launched Focused Feedback threads a few weeks back on a number of topics. We still have time to post our comments in these threads:
Last year, Frostfell only received a short window of testing, so we’re happy to report that this highly-anticipated annual event has appeared early on the Test servers. Live Event maestro and Senior Designer Nathan “Kaitheel“ has this report:
Frostfell is now active on Test!
There’s plenty of Frostfell cheer throughout Norrath this season! Gigglegibbers and Frostfell elves are busy celebrating the holiday within the player cities, and encouraging everyone to visit the Frostfell Wonderland Village, accessed through the Magic Closets in Qeynos Province District, Freeport, Haven, Kelethin, Neriak, Gorowyn and New Halas. There you can assist Frestishan, Candice Cheriweth, Gardy Ex-Giftgiver, Mr. McScroogle, Queen Bunny, and Snarf Frostfoot with some holiday tasks, but only after you release them from their deep freeze! For those that have a talent for crafting, you can help Sogs Frostfoot, or gather presents to craft wondrous new Frostfell goodies for yourself. Don’t forget to log in each day and claim your extra-special Frostfell present from everyone’s favorite Frostfell Gigglegibber, Santa Glug!