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!
Looks like SOE is expanding its Player Direct program which seeks to highlight player-made content such as fansites, Youtube videos, Twitch streams, and more on official SOE communication channels. From Colette “Dexella“ on the EQ2 Forums:
Every player has a unique experience, story, and point of view, especially when it comes to games. The types of players who create streams, videos, articles, memes, and more share a deeper, richer story with their communities. That is the heart of our newly expanded Player Direct program.
Beta testing for the Altar of Malice expansion is in full swing and now open for everyone to try out! Joining the Beta server for testing is a great chance to take a look at all of the incredible things coming with Altar of Malice, and also an excellent opportunity to give us your feedback about the expansion before it launches on November 25, 2014. In addition to seeing these gorgeous lands before launch, you can also take some loot home to your live characters just for participating in the Beta action! Take a look at the rewards players can obtain for their live accounts by Beta testing overland, heroic, and tradeskill content.
This Char-Ferrin, Hound of Despair ground mount is rewarded to players who Beta-test solo overland content in Altar of Malice. Intimidate your enemies by riding into battle on this ferocious hellhound! If the flaming eyes and spiked mane aren’t enough to scare you, maybe the razor-sharp teeth will awaken your senses.
EQ2 Programmer Maevianiu has been working over the last few months on some significant performance tweaks to the EQ2 client and server, including at least one change that touched 10 year old code. As a part-time semi-amateur coder, that scares me deeply. So I’m gonna say it’s uberimportant that players login to Beta and test everything out to make sure these changes don’t impact any existing systems. It won’t just be a testing session though as it looks like there’s going to be quite a turnout of EQ2 devs on the Beta server today!
We have our first round of performance increases on Beta right now. There are more coming, but this first round we want to do some load testing and get it out to live as quickly as we can. This affects every aspect of the game: quests, tradeskilling, items, combat, pvp-combat even housing. So we need to test as many different things as possible.
Please join us on the Beta server, Wednesday, August 27th starting at 3PM and going on until whenever!
We did not promote this news at the time, but there are a number of cool fixes on the Test server which should hopefully go live after SOE Live. Chief among these are significant optimization of the EQ2 client so players should get smoother framerates. Also, players had assembled a list of quest starters that, through revamps and NPC shuffling were no longer attainable. These plus many more bug fixes and a few nice convenience features are now sitting on Test. It’s almost like one of the big bug stomps we used to see.
Made some optimizations to the client to improve performance.
Changing your settings under the “performance” tab in the options menu to High, Very High or Extreme should have performance improvements on higher end machines and should have improved shadow quality on “Extreme” setting. NOTE: you will have to re-select the option if you had it already selected to see these changes.
Added the ability to filter stoneskin chat messages to Combat > Stoneskins.
Macro ‘Use Item’ option now allows you to use food and drink items. The macro will always attempt to use equipped food / drink items first, if you have the same item both equipped and in your inventory.
Added Show Equipped Only filter to reforge / restore.
Using an adornment will now display a selection window listing applicable items in your inventory. You may still choose to manually apply the adornment from this window if you wish.
Earn even more achievements for completing Heritage quests!
Many quests removed from Vermin’s Snye are once again available.
Not everyone reads the EQ2 Forums, but those who do have likely had their fill of disruptive, attention-seeking posters who derail one discussion after another. Further, such posters cherish the knowledge that they can push the buttons of other players and goad them into confrontation, and then laugh when well-intentioned players trying to confront this behavior are banned for their trouble. Some would say to just use the Ignore feature, and that works for the individual, but as someone who has administrated forums for 12 years, I can tell you that such posters can be very effective at poisoning even the nicest community.
If you see a poster who is attention-seeking or posting random gibberish nonsense, that is disruptive behavior as per the Forum Rules and should be addressed using the Report function.
Trolling is posting provocatively with reasonable expectation of provoking an emotional response (intentional or not). Trolling can include.
Non-constructive feedback or comments.
If you feel that my posts on the EQ2 forums fit this definition, then by all means use the Report feature or, if you prefer, shoot me a PM or e-mail and I will constructively address my viewpoint with you.