Press Coverage of EQ, EQ2, EQN Franchise News

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Grouping, Itemization, PvP/Battlegrounds, Raiding

everquest_franchise_yearofeq

Looks like today’s press embargo dropped around 1:30pm EST as ZAM, Massively, MMORPG, and a number of other sites dropped their articles about what we can expect from EverQuest and EverQuest II in the first 3 months of 2014, as well as a pointlessly brief tease of EQNext Landmark.

Despite being just NINE days from SOE President John Smedley’s self-imposed “end of January” deadline for EQNL Alpha to begin, the team remains coy about what the actual day will be. We’re banking on January 31st, which is also the day when hundreds of players will fly in from around the world just to play a 15 minute demo. Now that’s dedication!

Some quotes from the ZAM article after the jump…

New EQ Video Talks KoS Fabled Zones, Prestige Homes, Contested Highkeep, 350 AAs, and Temple of Veeshan North (raid)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, PvP/Battlegrounds, Raiding

Holly “Windstalker” Longdale recorded (along with the Producers for EverQuest and EverQuest Next Landmark) a video talking about upcoming features this year. After the jump, our bullet-point list of what Holly talked about.

Fabled Dungeon Preview: Den of the Devourer

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization

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SOE writer Erin Oakley talks about the fabled version of the Den of the Devourer, which will offer level 95 rewards relevant to players in Tears of Veeshan content. The Kingdom of Sky fabled zones all go live tomorrow, January 23rd.

From the EQ2 Forums:

You may remember the shadowy floating isles of the Bonemire and the ancient halls of the Den of the Devourer which teem with Ravasects. These giant insects made their home in the Overrealm after the barrier between Norrath and the Plane of Air weakened.

The Ravasect are intelligent, but their primary objectives are to feed and to reproduce. Anything that stands in their way will be destroyed. Seeking a place to store their eggs, the Ravasect tunneled deep into the ground. But their digging uncovered an ancient secret: vats of wurndrom, the mysterious substance used by the dragons to create the Droag.

On January 23rd, the Den of the Devourer will become a Fabled Dungeon, challenging the highest level heroes with tougher fights and updated rewards. If you’re up to the task, be one of the first to visit (or revisit) the Den of the Devourer for your chance at awesome new loot!

Continue reading on the EQ2 Forums…

Fabled Dungeon Preview: Halls of Fate

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping

halls_of_fate

From the EQ2 Forums:

The minions of Lord Vyemm call the Halls of Fate their home. This fortress is one of the most important places to The Awakened. As such, the Halls of Fate and the treasures within these walls are guarded diligently.

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Within the walls of this massive fortress, the Doomwing Legion toils to create draconic weapons. Hidden within the laboratories of this dungeon, you may find the secrets behind the creation process of the weapons. But beware! Dragons do not respond well to intruders!

The Fabled version of the Halls of Fate dungeon becomes available to players starting Thursday, January 23, 2014. Gather a group of the top adventurers you know and get ready for this upcoming heroic dungeon. Do you have what it takes to defeat the Doomguard Legion?

Smed: PlayerStudio Coming to Europe — EQNL Made It Happen

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Player Studio, StationCash

playerstudio-splash

Aspiring graphic artists who happen to live outside the USA have been stymied by SOE’s regional restrictions on Player Studio. It’s our understanding that tax and accounting laws have so far kept the program from opening up to other countries.

With Player Studio being a core part of the upcoming EQNext (sources pointing to a 2015 nod) and EQNext Landmark (going Alpha this month and in wide release sometime in April), it seems that a corner may have been turned and PlayerStudio availability in the EU may be on the horizon. As a happy side benefit, this will hopefully open the marketplace up for many more EQ, EQ2, Planetside 2, and FreeRealms player-designers as well.

Weekend StationCash Services Sale in EverQuest II — Jan 17~21

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, StationCash

From the EQ2 Forums:

Is your Vitality in the dumps? Low XP gain keeping your character from enjoying Norrath? Don’t settle for normal speed progression! This weekend only, take advantage of 30% off Services* and Potions to ensure your character receives nothing but the very best!

This sale will begin at 12:00 PM PT, January 17th and be available until 11:59 PM PT, January 20th.

* Heroic Characters and 280 AA Bauble not included

What’s On Sale?

  • Character Slots
  • Reforging Uses (you can use Plat or SC any time you reforge your stats)
  • XP Debt Removers
  • XP Potions
  • Vitality Potions
  • Guild Renames
  • Name, Gender, and Race Change Potions
  • Server Transfer Tokens

You can browse the EQ2 StationCash Marketplace without logging into the game! Just head to the EQ2U Marketplace Browser.

Extended EU Server Maintenance January 22nd

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, International (Pro7Sat1)

From the EQ2 Forums:

All EU servers will be unavailable for a very important technical (database) maintenance on January 22nd beginning at 2:00 AM CET (5 PM PT January 21st). Downtime is anticipated to be approximately 12 hours. There are no gameplay changes associated with this maintenance

Time Zone Conversions

  • PST: Jan 21 @ 5:00pm ~ Jan 22 @ 5:00am
  • CST: Jan 21 @ 8:00pm ~ Jan 22 @ 8:00am
  • GMT: Jan 22 @ 1:00 ~ Jan 22 @ 13:00
  • CET: Jan 22 @ 2:00 ~ Jan 22 @ 14:00
  • AEST: Jan 22 @ 10:00am ~ Jan 22 @ 10:00pm

Kander Talks Future Plans for PvP, Nagafen server

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, PvP/Battlegrounds

From Kyle “Kander” Vallee on the EQ2 Forums:

We are working on some changes to pvp that will be coming up over the next few weeks. We will be removing procs from pvp entirely. We simply cannot tweak and balance the thousands of procs and effects that were intended for PvE in any sort of reasonable amount of time, most of them are too specialized and situational to elegantly translate for use in PvP. We had them mostly removed prior to the expansion and things seemed to be okay from that standpoint. We will be upping player damage and adjusting the amount that players can crit in PvP to counter the recent hit point increases to keep PvP fun and viable.

As to current jewelry, we will be allowing you to reset them for those who want to change/switch out there adornments. We will be placing new jewelry on the daily missions for you to choose from as well as on the merchants if you decide you want to purchase these. The new jewelry will have toughness and lethality in place of the effects.

January 16, 2014 Update Notes

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding

From the EQ2 Forums:

MERCENARIES

  • In response to player feedback, we have revised the Mercenary user interface in the Character panel to add summon/suspend functionality and clarify the features overall.
  • As a reminder, mercenaries (normal and rare) may be resummoned after 60 seconds from when they were last suspended.

POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Vesspyr Isles

  • Fixed an issue that was preventing Draazak from being spawned when the correct items were turned in.
  • The red shinies on Aeterna Gardens have been moved a bit further away from Wuoshi.

Underfoot Depths

  • Regulus and Regulas should no longer reset a few seconds after they are triggered.

Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson Comments on PvP in E-mail to Player

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/Battlegrounds

E-mailing a Producer or Executive Producer on your favorite game is like a box of chocolates. You’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. A player named “Pawder” reached out to Director of Development for the EverQuest Franchise Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson and hit the motherlode.

Here’s the entirety of Dave’s e-mail as posted on the EQ2 Forums:

Hey there, Steve,

I had to do some research on this before I could respond accurately, but here goes.

Firstly, I’d just like to say that we like PvP also. You may or may not know, but I helped create the original “Planetside”, and did “Tribes 2” and some of the “Mechwarrior” games before that. I’m keen on the stuff.

You said a lot of things in your email, so I’m going to parse out your comments and questions so I can be thorough in my answer. I hope this helps. :)

  • You seem to think there’s basically no dev team on EQII any longer. (Your “lay off” comment.) That’s not true. In fact, the team is the same size that it’s been for years. They’re very enthusiastic, and they’re (honestly) just as frustrated about PvP as you are, and intend to make fixes soon.
  • Procs are going away in PvP as of next week. (At the very latest, the week thereafter.) That’s a start in the right direction.
  • Other balance improvements are coming, but I’ll leave that to Holly Longdale (the game’s Producer) to announce in her Producer’s Letter later on.

Fabled Dungeon Preview: Sanctum of the Scaleborn

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Grouping, Itemization

fabled_sanctumofscaleborn_123b

From the EQ2 Forums:

Starting Thursday, January 23, 2014 EverQuest II players can experience the Kingdom of Sky zone, Sanctum of the Scaleborn, as a Fabled dungeon. This means that this contested dungeon will return as a place where the highest level players can explore and defeat the challenges for level appropriate loot. Are you prepared to do battle with the fanatical Awakened (again)?

EQ2Wire Forum Signature Contest Winners!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, EQ2 Data & EQ2U

On December 18th, I announced our Forum Signature Design Contest which would allow players to submit artwork and designs for EQ2U-driven signatures which players can post on the EQ2 forums, guild forums, and anywhere else they choose. Here we are 4 weeks later, and I’m happy to announce the winners of the contest.

First up, Ainaree of Antonia Bayle submitted the winning entry which you can view below:

eq2udesigncontest

I really liked how clean and easy it is to read, with great use of the headshot imagery, and good display of both adventure and crafter classes and levels.

Next up, Ajiope submitted these two dramatic entries:

01a

02a

I found these to be visually interesting, and a nice break from the current signature style, while providing players with some nice new options.

Last but certainly not least, Basel Noire of the Underground Decorating Society on Antonia Bayle submitted this entry:

sig

Basel Noire put a stylized flair on her entry which I think will prove irresistible for some readers.

A heartfelt congratulations to all the winners! Basel and Ajiope receive 1,000SC each, while Ainaree will receive an EQ2Wire polo shirt and 2,000SC! I’ll be working with our three winners to get these into new Signature choices for EQ2U!

Timing is Everything

If you wanted to enter the contest and ran out of time, or just wanted to submit an idea for a signature graphic, please feel free to e-mail me at morgan (at) eq2wire.com with your artwork and I’ll be happy to look at it!

EQ2U Gains Full Recipe Support — Search, Details, Known Recipes

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2 Data & EQ2U, Tradeskill

Last month, we introduced a Known Recipes and Recipe Books feature, however it was lacking the some optimization and was affecting the overall performance of the site, so we temporarily took the feature offline.

I’m thrilled to announce that not only have we completed the optimization and restored these features, but we have also added full support for Recipes throughout EQ2U, including Recipe Search and Recipe Details!

eq2u_recipedetail

Search for Recipes at EQ2U!

If you have not read it, please read our past article:
Crack the Books with Recipes on EQ2U

after the jump, our EQ2U Recipes FAQ…

Ars Technica: Last Week’s DDoS Attacks Abused Time-Sync Protocol

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance

floodedroad

For last week’s Distributed Denial of Service attacks which took down League of Legends, Battle.net, Steam, Origin, and yes Sony Online Entertainment, “miscreants…used a never-before-seen technique that vastly amplified the amount of junk traffic directed at denial-of-service targets.” From Ars Technica:

Rather than directly flooding the targeted services with torrents of data, an attack group sent much smaller sized data requests to time-synchronization servers running theNetwork Time Protocol (NTP). By manipulating the requests to make them appear as if they originated from one of the gaming sites, the attackers were able to vastly amplify the firepower at their disposal. A spoofed request containing eight bytes will typically result in a 468-byte response to a victim, a more than 58-fold increase.

“Prior to December, an NTP attack was almost unheard of because if there was one it wasn’t worth talking about,” Shawn Marck, CEO of DoS-mitigation service Black Lotus, told Ars. “It was so tiny it never showed up in the major reports. What we’re witnessing is a shift in methodology.”

NTP servers help people synchronize their servers to very precise time increments. Recently, the protocol was found to suffer from a condition that could be exploited by DoS attackers. Fortunately, NTP-amplification attacks are relatively easy to repel. Since virtually all the NTP traffic can be blocked with few if any negative consequences, engineers can simply filter out the packets. Other types of DoS attacks are harder to mitigate, since engineers must first work to distinguish legitimate data from traffic designed to bring down the site.

Read the full story at Ars Technica…

EQNext Landmark: Will Monetizing Everything Leave Room for an In-Game Economy?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

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NOTE: No EQ2 News. Just a little bit of cross-promotion of EQNWire.

EQNWire.com has checked in today with a speculative critique of the upcoming EQNext Landmark and its all-encompassing implementation of Player Studio. According to PC Gamer’s recent interview with Dave Georgeson, SOE will be looking to recoup its staggering development investment in EQNext as soon as servers are up. But if a price tag can be put on everything players create, will an in-game economy have any chance against players flush with cash?

Op Ed: Will Monetizing Everything Leave Room for an In-Game Economy for EQNL? @ EQNWire

Update Notes: Thursday, January 9, 2014

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, Raiding

From the EQ2 Forums:

POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Veteran Rewards

  • Corrected an issue that prevented items from being purchasable on the Loyalty Merchant.

Temple of Veeshan: Guardian’s Edifice [Raid]

  • In the Andreis the Culler encounter, the spell “Bone rot” should no longer continue to get stronger after 60 seconds and wear off.
  • Adds in the Andreis the Culler encounter have had their health adjusted.
  • In the Gerid, Merig, and Harin encounter, the spell “Commanding Leadership” has been reduced in damage.
  • Lowered the agro radius on the Aerakyn Recruits for the ring event in the west wing.
  • Lowered melee damage output on the Aerakyn Recruits, Dreadweavers, and Arch-dragoons in the ring event in the west wing.
  • Added more time between when the groups of attackers lock to the raid for the ring event in west wing.
  • In the Kigara and Kelana encounter when one drake dies the adds needed to defeat the remaining drake should continue to spawn.
  • Abilities triggered from player’s deaths should no longer occasionally trigger from pet deaths.

High Keep: The Pickclaw Depths [Heroic]

  • There are now only two waves of goblin adds at the onset of the Bolgin Serilis encounter.

Introducing the Raid Council

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Raiding, SOE Wants Feedback

From Kyle “Kander” Vallée on the EQ2 Forums:

We are opening a new area here on the forums for the sole purpose of getting raid feedback quickly and easily in order to assist us to make changes, tweaks quicker and more effectively and vastly improve future raid content.

This area will be by invite only and will be for raid leaders and raiders who are participating in the upper echelon of raid content. This is area will be a direct link to the development team. We want it to feel open and constructive.

The goal is to have a limited amount of participants so we can moderate it and post frequently without having to dig through tons of threads and posts. So we will have limited slots.

If you are interested in participating in this forum and wanting to contribute to the betterment of all raid content, please contact me directly with your in-game name, guild, raid position and current raid progress.

kvallee (at) soe.sony.com

Commentary

You may ask why a raid council like this is needed. Raid guilds tend to be guarded about their strategies, as for them, competition is important. And game developers tend to not want to give away entire strategies of fights, as players are supposed to be figuring this out. Such an invite-only forum will allow a level of honesty and brainstorming not possible on a public forum.

Also, all the information will be in one place, so it will require less digging by developers and so should result in a net gain in development time on raiding AND other forms of gameplay.

This is not an elevation of one playstyle over others, as these days, the raid content is adapted so that soloers and groupers get to experience it, rather than entirely separate content being developed for all 3 play styles. Even so, I predict people will flippantly ask for a Solo Council, Tradeskill Council, or Group Council in the comments.

3rd Party Programs: Stopping an Exploit

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance

SOE has tried to turn the other cheek on Multi-boxing, but players have been turning up the automation of these bot-controlled characters to 11, with armies of computer-controlled characters performing a level of interaction that can only be described as “fully automated gameplay”.

There was an exploit being taken advantage of by a top guild. Kander has posted this announcement that continuing to use this exploit will not be tolerated on the EQ2 Forums:

Using 3rd party programs to get character ID’s for use in macros is not okay. Due to the holidays, we were unable to address this in a timely manner. Consider any use previous to this post a freebie.

We will be taking action against those who abuse this in the future.

K. “Kander” Vallée
Lead Designer, EverQuest II 
Sony Online Entertainment, LLC.

Coming Soon: New Flavor of Red Gemstone for Raiders

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Game Updates & Maintenance, Itemization, Raiding

Shining Red Gemstones, the gems required to upgrade the Tears of Veeshan tier 1 raid gear, are very hard to come by. However the EQ2 team have shied away from making them drop more frequently, likely due to their conversion to purple gemstones.

Today, a solution has been announced by Kyle “Kander”  Vallée on the EQ2 Forums:

Coming soon, we will be issuing Fractured Red Gemstones for raid gear that will be purchasable with Draconic Etyma and Craft-able for a lesser amount Draconic Etyma. These will be heirloom and they will NOT be usable to create Mystical Purple Gemstones. Mystical Purple Gemstones will only be attainable from the current dropped Shining Red Gemstones.

These new stones, Fractured Red Gemstones, will upgrade red armor slots the same as the Shining Red Gemstones and will also have a % chance to drop off of bosses in Accursed Sanctum only.

Coming soon.

Smedley Delves into Reasons for Subscription Changes (mostly Accounts and Tax Laws)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), StationCash

smedley_fanfaire_community_address

SOE President John Smedley continues to peel back the curtain on the thinking behind Subscriptiongate and why he is trying to make this right for loyal customers, while addressing the Accounting and Tax Law issues which SOE could ignore no longer.

First up, Smed posted his philosophy on game development and how these Subscription changes were never about squeezing players for more revenue:

When I read through all the posts here and on our forums, it never ceases to amaze me how people can think we’re just money grubbing jerks because we’re trying to make money.

I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that’s just not how we think. Most people I know in the games business are in it because there is literally nothing else they want to do ever. From the time I was in high school I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The same is true for a lot of people here at SOE and around the industry.

Obviously one of our goals as a corporation is most certainly profit. And yes, when you guys buy our stuff it makes us happy. But money has nothing to do with why it makes us happy. We’re happy because you guys bought something we (or one of our other players made).

We’re in the middle of developing Everquest Next Landmark (on schedule right now for end of this month). We rebooted the game 3 times. It was a massive delay and it hurt us financially. But it was the right thing to do for us, and for the industry. Most importantly you all are going to get to play something we’re very proud of and we think is a whole lot of fun.

I believe a lot of this rhetoric is the result of us not being transparent enough, so we’re going to change that. I want us to start explaining the “why” in the decisions we make.. particularly the financial ones.

The changes we originally proposed would not have made us more money than the previous plan. Even if some people cancelled, though to be honest we thought our plan was pretty darn awesome and you would love it.

The same is true for a lot of the decisions we make. We’re trying to make life better for you, and yes.. for us too. But while some of those decisions are financially based, most aren’t. It’s usually something to clean up a tangled process or solve other problems.

So. how do we really feel about monetization?

Here it is.

We believe if we make great games, we’ll make money.

In that order.

So I therefore am going to make it one of my personal missions to explain the thought process behind our business decisions. I want to be able to have an honest enough dialog that I can actually tell you “yeah this is important to our bottom line.. that’s why we did it”… and have you at least not question whether that’s the real reason. You may disagree with it, but at least you’ll be able to make a reasonably informed judgement as to whether or not we’re the greedy company some of you seem to think that we are, but at least you’ll hear the why.

My hope is that by doing this we can at least get people to say “ok. that makes sense.. I don’t love it but it makes sense and I’m ok with it”. And if you don’t, then we have work to do.

many more quotes after the jump. Smedley has been a posting machine!

Backlash II: The Sequel — You Really Can’t Please Everyone

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Player Studio, StationCash

eq2forums-burn4

Last Friday, SOE announced changes to their Subscription services, replacing the 500 SC/month allowance for having a Gold Subscription in any of SOE’s games with a monthly voucher to buy ONE item per game, up to 2,000SC, to exclude Player Studio, “bundles“, and an unknown array of other items, presumably “Services“, Experience items (280AA bauble), and expansion unlocks like Mercenaries. Players who buy a number of 100-200SC items would have lost out with the deal, as the voucher only applied to a single item with exclusions. And while it’s a small pool of players, Vanguard players on an All Access subscription would have gotten nothing out of the deal.

Yesterday, SOE President John Smedley halted these changes, bringing back the 500SC/month allowance (although it must now be claimed once per month), and went further, cutting the price of a multi-game All Access subscription from $19 to $15 and applying a 10% reduction in all Marketplace prices for Subscribers. And all was right with the world.

Except…It seems there were some players who were excited about the “one item per month up to 2,000SC” deal, but didn’t say so. I’ll let the quotes speak for themselves

from Kaeros:

Wow, that’s incredible. A bunch of people just b & m’d the entire community out of 4 times the rewards. Way to go forums.

Personally all the people I play with were pretty hyped about the new version once they said they were looking at bundles and player studio items being back on the table for it.

Stick to your guns Sony!

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