Beta Test EQ2 Database Changes This Weekend and Earn a Mount!

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

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!

From the EQ2 Forums:

We’re working hard on database changes for EQ2, and we need your help to make sure they’re awesome!

sokokarbetamount001

Starting today and running until Monday, March 9 at 11:59AM PST, we could really use your help on the beta server. You can use our Beta Copy feature by typing /beta on a character you want to copy.

UTSD: Game Developer Daybreak Trims 140 Workers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2

At the risk of dwelling on bad news, we now have some solid verifiable numbers on last month’s layoffs at Daybreak Games. This news is also up on MassivelyOP. Some excerpts from the San Diego Union-Tribune article:

The new owners of the former Sony Online Entertainment video game studio have laid off 140 workers from its San Diego operation.

New York investment firm Columbus Nova acquired Sony Online Entertainment – the maker of EverQuest, PlanetSide 2 and other multiplayer online computer games – in early February for an undisclosed price. The studio was renamed Daybreak Game Co. and now operates as an independent game developer.

The company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) document with the California Employment Development Department that revealed 140 workers were let go in San Diego, with the effective termination date April 13.

Daybreak Spokeswoman Michele Cagle declined to say how many workers remain at the San Diego location, but added the company still has a significant workforce in the city. When asked how many workers were let go in Austin, Cagle declined to comment.

It is also our understanding that a voluntary severance package was offered (bizarrely after the layoffs), with the most prominent departures being Matt Higby, Creative Director of Planetside 2 and Joe Shoopack, Director of Artistic Development for SOE. It’s possible these voluntary departures may have allowed some of those laid off to come back under different employment terms.

EQ2 Server Performance Issues a Priority

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

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From Holly “Windstalker” Longdale, here is an update about instability and lag spikes on the EQ2 game servers over the last few weeks:

Howdy Norrathians,

We are digging into the server performance issues that you are reporting which devs are also seeing during play times. We will be adding new logs in addition to ones we are reviewing now to track some specific server issues based on your feedback. (We’re kinda digging into everything, really.)

This is a high priority.

Holly “Windstalker” Longdale
Executive Producer, EQ & EQ2

EverQuest II Forums Undergo Streamlining — Guide, Fan Site, Lore, RP, Off-Topic, and PvP Forums Closed

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

eq2forums-burn4

The EverQuest II forums have undergone streamlining today, with the archiving of the following forums:

The PvP & Battlegrounds forums going away is not a surprise, as EQ2 lost our last dedicated PvP developer with the August 2013 layoffs. Although I’ll receive much rage and hate for saying it, I believe that at this point, further PvP/Battlegrounds development is an unaffordable luxury. The EQ2 team is down from 60 staff in the Kunark days to a quarter of that now and it’s just not realistic to expect continued development for the remaining percentage of the playerbase.

However as someone who has administrated successful forums for 12 years, I find the choice of the other forums being shuttered to be completely baffling by any logic I can think of.

The Shouts of Rowdy Patrons Calls Attention to Brewday 2015

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Live Events

NOTE: EU servers do not seem to have had the event turned on, possibly due to emergency maintenance on Valor and Splitpaw servers yesterday afternoon.

From the EQ2 Forums:

brewday2015

Celebrate Brewday with both new and familiar holiday themed rewards, crafts, and adventures. Brewday 2015 starts on Thursday, March 5 at 12:01AM Pacific and runs until Monday, March 16, 2015 at 11:59PM Pacific.

New Features for Brewday 2015!

Seven New Merchant Items sold by Balin Copperfoot in Bar of Brell

Daybreak Customer Service Making Tough Choices On What They’ll Fix

Written by Feldon on . Posted in DBG Wants Feedback, EQ2

fake_smile

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…

Storybricks Shuts Down After 5 Years

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No news specific to EverQuest II in this article…

storybricks

After trying to launch their own RPG on Kickstarter, Storybricks evolved into a middleware/tools developer for game studios such as Sony Online Entertainment. Chief among those tools was a powerful user-generated content system that would allow players to build dungeons, populate enemies, and then give those enemies behaviors, desires, and drives that would make a completely dynamic simulation that would be different every time.

For EverQuest Next, Dave Georgeson and John Smedley each talked about how expensive content design for MMORPGs is and how no company, no matter how well-funded, can keep up with the insatiable demand that players have for content. The silver bullet for this was apparently a partnership and licensing agreement with Storybricks. Instead of individually populating and scripting NPCs, giving them walking paths, adding specific quests, etc. Storybricks would allow players and designers alike to take a more high-level approach. A player-designer would establish an area that’s hospitable to Orcs by laying out the terrain, plant life, animals, and other creature, and then Orcs would just show up of their own accord. And as players interacted with the content, they might scare those Orcs away and see them pickup and move to some other place. If there’s one thing SOE seemed hell-bent on with EverQuest Next, it was putting a stake through the heart of static content.

Update Notes & Extended EU Downtime for March 3, 2015

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

From Roshen on the EQ2 Forums:

US EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7:00AM PST for an update. Estimated downtime is one hour.

There will be extended maintenance for European servers.

EU EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at approximately 9:00PM PST for an update. (Approx. 5:00AM London Time on February 27, 2015). Estimated downtime is 4 hours.

Alle deutschsprachigen Server werden um 6:00 CET am 04.03.2015 zwecks einer Serveraktualisierung heruntergefahren. Die vorgesehene Stillstandszeit wird etwa 4 Stunde(n) betragen.

Le serveur de langue française sera arrêté à 6:00 CET le 04-03-2015 pour une mise à jour du serveur. Le temps d’arrêt sera d’environ 4 heures.

and from buildmaster Bunji on the EQ2 Forums:

POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Brokenskull Bay: Bildgewater Falls [Heroic]

  • The “Barnacle Burst” spell has been made to hit slightly less often and should no longer grow over time.
  • The “Whirling Daggers” spell has been made to hit slightly less often and should no longer grow over time.
  • The “Dangerous Flirtation” spell has been made to hit slightly less often and should no longer grow over time.
  • The “Pirate Spin” spell has been made to hit slightly less often and should no longer grow over time.
  • The “Boatman’s Grasp” spell has been made to hit slightly less often.

The Incredible Shrinking Fonts!

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

fontsize2015-03

If you spent this weekend wondering whether you were either A) losing your mind or B) going blind from grinding all those Far Seas Ferrin and FSSD Tokens,  you’re not alone. I personally experienced a bizarre bug affecting font sizes, specifically an issue where almost all the in-game fonts began to shrink by about 40%. On a 1920×1080 display, EQ2′s fonts are already a little on the smallish side. With this bug, attempting to read quest journal text had me on the phone to my ophthalmologist. Fortunately, after discussion with other players in the Antonia_Bayle.Homeshow channel and through a little bit of testing, I think we’ve gotten to the bottom of what’s causing it.

Official: Double Alternative Currency This Weekend

Written by Feldon on . Posted in EQ2, Live Events

And here’s the official announcement as of 11:00am PST:

double_alternative_currency

Hey players! Do you like collecting various types of Norrathian… like Far Seas Ferrin? Well, then you’re in luck because until11:59PM PST on Sunday, March 1, 2015 you’ll earn DOUBLE alternative currency.

Note: This is in addition to the bonuses to alternative currency that All Access members get every day when they play EverQuest 2. That means that All Access members will get double DOUBLE tokens during this promotion.

This is a great opportunity to stock up on [eq2u]Far Seas Ferrin[/eq2u] or any other alternative currency you’ve been collecting in-game. We’re excited to offer this to our players, and we’ll see you in-game this weekend!

There was an update from Holly on twitter about the event on EU servers needing to be extended, but then it turns out EU servers patched this morning, so NEVAH MYND! ;)

Double Alternative Currency This Weekend!

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

treasurechest-wallpaperhi-660

We’re waiting for an official announcement, but we know from a forum post by EQ2 Lead Designer Kander that this weekend will be a Double Currency weekend to make up for the AoM Mission Givers going absent this week.

We’ve confirmed in-game that the event is currently running a wee bit early!

As of now, all players will receive double the normal amount of currency for completing quests or doing in-game content that returns a token or currency of some kind. And yes this stacks with the Double Currency that All Access subscribers already receive, so any quest that rewards Far Seas Ferrin or Far Seas Supply Division Tokens should reward quadruple tokens this weekend!

If past events are any indication, then this event will likely run until Sunday at midnight, but when we have an official announcement, we’ll post it!

Altar of Malice Mission Givers Are Back!

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

scrooge_mcduck

From Gninja on the EQ2 Forums:

Mission givers have returned in AoM zones. Enjoy!

Further clarification from Kander:

Mission givers are back up. We will be running a double Ferrin weekend this weekend for all.

Sorry guys, the back end stuff we have been doing for the DB changes coming, messed with the OS time and caused a few problems. We are glad we caught it quickly too.

Also from Holly “Windstalker” Longdale’s twitter yesterday, we might see a Double Ferrin event this weekend!

Update Notes: Thursday, February 26, 2015 — UPDATE: Includes NPC Fix!

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

We’re still dead in the water as far as Altar of Malice daily and weekly missions for Overland, Solo, Adv Solo, Heroic, Event Heroic, and Raid content, however there are some other updates happening tomorrow which will be great when we get our NPCs back.

Update from Gninja last night:

This update does include the fix to the missions but they will not immediately be turned on after the servers come back up. The mission givers should return shortly after all the servers are back up and we have double checked them on live servers.

From the EQ2 Forums:

POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
Zavith’loa: The Hidden Caldera [Advanced Solo]

  • Pterotrainer Yu’Lua’s adds will no longer stifle.

Brokenskull Bay: Fury of the Cursed [Raid]

  • Increased the leash range of the Barin and Morin encounter.

Ossuary: Resonance of Malice [Advanced Solo]

  • Elder Senistus’ “Persecute” spell has had its damage lowered.

Ossuary of Malevolence [Contested]

  • Ostiophobe will no longer cast Toxic Ruin constantly. Toxic Ruin may now be interrupted.

Server Downtime: Thurs, Feb 26 @ 4AM PST Plus Antonia Bayle & Oasis Maintenance

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

From the EQ2 Forums:

maintenance_notification

US EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at approximately 4:00AM PST for an update. Estimated downtime is one hour.

Both the Antonia Bayle and Oasis servers will be unavailable for approximately four hours for additional maintenance. 

EU EverQuest II Live Servers will be brought offline on Thursday, February 26, 2015 at approximately 9:00PM PST for an update. (Approx. 5:00AM London Time on February 27, 2015). Estimated downtime is 1 hour.

Alle deutschsprachigen Server werden um 6:00 CET am 27.02.2015 zwecks einer Serveraktualisierung heruntergefahren. Die vorgesehene Stillstandszeit wird etwa 1 Stunde(n) betragen.

Le serveur de langue française sera arrêté à 6:00 CET le 27-02-2015 pour une mise à jour du serveur. Le temps d’arrêt sera d’environ 1 heure.

Altar of Malice Mission Givers Fix in the Works

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

pandabear1

We are anxiously awaiting a fix and a return of the Altar of Malice mission givers. Until that time, it is not possible to pickup Solo, Adv Solo, Heroic, Event Heroic, Contested, or Raid missions on either a Daily or Weekly basis, not to mention timed overland Solo Missions. A fix seems unlikely today, but we’ll keep hanging on until the solution is found and applied.

Here’s Gninja with a couple of updates to say the team are working on it:

It is getting fixed and it is getting fixed right. We would rather get it right the first time and take an extra day to put in the needed testing than to rush it out and potentially make things worse. Sorry for the inconvenience.

and:

It is a new bug and we are getting it fixed asap. It is top priority. We know it sucks that they are missing and we want them to not be missing as well! We will get it resolved as quickly as we can with putting in the testing time to make sure its fixed right so we don’t have to bring them right back down.

Update from Windstalker on Twitter:

Still looking at some funk with the missions givers for #eq2. We’re planning a Double Ferrin weekend assuming we fix it (and we should).

Kotaku: Five Things I Didn’t Get About Making Video Games (Until I Did It)

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No EQ2-specific news/commentary in this article.

Kotaku has an interesting article from Anthony Burch who used to write for Destructoid and then at Gearbox Software. He reflects on the perception of game design from the outside vs. the reality of being on the inside and why there is such a gulf between the two. I know as I’ve learned more about game development and the maddening complexity of it, I’ve tried to dial back my own vitriol to something a bit more reasonable.

Before I joined Gearbox Software, I worked at Destructoid as a features editor. I worked there from 2006 to 2010 and specialized in highlighting indie games and spewing vitriol at big-budget games I didn’t like. It turns out there were a shitload of things I didn’t know about games development.

I was an atrocious blogger so I’m probably just speaking more to my personal ignorance during that time than anything else, but jeez is everything about game development more complicated and difficult than I thought.

Continue reading at Kotaku…

All Daily and Weekly Mission Givers for Tradeskill, Solo, Adv Solo, Heroic, Event Heroic, and Raid Currently MIA

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

EQ_2_Altar_of_Malice_keyart

Out of an abundance of caution, all Altar of Malice mission quest givers have been despawned on all EQ2 servers. This started earlier this evening with Skrit, the Tradeskill daily mission giver but is now affecting all mission givers of all gameplay styles.

Update: The in-game MOTD has been updated with this message:

A bug has caused an issue with mission givers in Altar of Malice. All mission givers have been removed from the game. We will have them back as soon as possible.

More as we have it…

Login Troubles? Make Sure You Aren’t Manually Specifying SOE Servers!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

server-lag-roundabouts

Remember last July when SOE didn’t pay a domain registration bill? It was funny for a few minutes, but then we put together an article helping people Manually Map their DNS to access SOE Games, Websites, and Forums. When we posted this article, we asked everyone to PLEASE REVERT THE CHANGES AFTER 3-4 DAYS. Alas, people didn’t do that and have been experiencing trouble connecting to Daybreak servers lately.

If you made changes to your Hosts file last July, please follow these instructions:

  • Open your c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\ folder.
  • Drag the “hosts” file to your desktop.
  • Open the “hosts” file with Notepad, and REMOVE any entries like you see below:

64.37.171.24 lp.soe.com
64.37.170.20 lvs-recap-01.station.sony.com
64.37.169.11 manifest.patch.station.sony.com
69.174.202.136 account.station.sony.com
69.174.204.11 forums.station.sony.com
64.37.171.32 assets.soe.com
63.140.62.141 smetrics.soe.com
64.37.171.29 auth.station.sony.com
64.37.171.22 planetside2.com
64.37.171.22 www.planetside2.com
64.37.171.45 everquest2.com
64.37.171.45 www.everquest2.com
93.184.215.248 eq2.patch.station.sony.com
64.37.171.39 census.soe.com
64.37.171.15 data.soe.com

  • Save your changes to the hosts file and then move it back to where you found it in the first step!

You should now reboot your computer and have no further issue connecting to Daybreak websites, forums, or ecommerce sites.

Login Maintenance Continues; Don’t Get Too Excited About Double White Adorn Slots on New Heroic Gear

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

First up, this morning’s login server maintenance just passed hour four of its scheduled three hour window. The latest tweet indicates that there is no new ETA predicted…

Also, those fancy new weapons we got with today’s update seem to have a few surprises. First, at least two of the spell autoattack Wand items lost their green stats somewhere along the way. Second, the new weapons have two white adornment slots which is not in line with current itemization plans. Kander has responded:

Its a bug, they should not have two slots. The second slot sneaked back on there. We will fix it and the wands ASAP.

“Adornment Reclamation” Becomes Heirloom — Buy For Your Alts

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

adornment_reclamation

If you’ve done the Shattered Seas signature quest line on a character or two and just don’t see yourself repeating it again, but yet you really want the ability to pop off adornments on your alt characters with the [eq2u]Adornment Reclamation[/eq2u] spell, you’re in luck.

Three months after the launch of the Altar of Malice expansion, it’s now possible for a character who has completed the Shattered Seas signature questline (you must have earned the related achievement) to buy an HEIRLOOM version of this spell for their alts from the Ferrin Merchant in the tower near the Phantom Seas docks. If you still want the [eq2u]Indomitable Pteranodon[/eq2u], [eq2u]Anchor of Wanderer’s Dock[/eq2u], and the ability to travel to the Phantom Sea from any world bell, you’ll still want to do the Signature line. Plus, all but the best -geared ToV characters can benefit from the increased mitigation and resists on the Signature line gear. And if the stats are unappealing, you can buy gear with different stats as you complete each quest.

US-based EQ2 Server Maintenance 4-5:30am, Daybreak Login Maintenance 7-10:30am PST

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

downtime2

Today’s EQ2 Update Notes were posted yesterday afternoon, however a specific downtime notice for EQ2 was never provided. Meanwhile, a Daybreak-wide three hour maintenance notice was posted for 7-10am PST. Apparently we were assuming when we figured that US-based EQ2 servers would go down during the same time window as the Daybreak-wide maintenance.

It’s possible that if you remain logged into EQ2 before 7:00am PST, you can stay logged in during the maintenance.

PST:

  • US-based EQ2 servers downtime — 4:00 ~ 5:25am
  • Daybreak-wide login/account maintenance — 7:00 ~ 10:00am 10:30am ?

EST:

  • US-based EQ2 servers downtime — 7:00 ~ 8:25am
  • Daybreak-wide login/account maintenance — 10:00am ~ ?

GMT:

  • US-based EQ2 servers downtime — 12:00 ~ 13:25
  • Daybreak-wide login/account maintenance — 15:00 ~ ?

Update Notes: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 and Daybreak-wide Maintenance

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

OssuaryofMaliceEntrance

From the EQ2 Forums:

Attention players: we will perform a general maintenance beginning at 7:00AM Pacific* on Tuesday, February 24th. The current estimated downtime for this maintenance is up to three hours.

This maintenance may impact the following Daybreak services across all games:

  • Commerce functions, including purchases, for all games
  • Game logins
  • Web and forum logins for all Daybreak sites, including account creation

Time Zone Conversions

  • PST: 7:00am ~ 10:00am
  • EST: 10:00am ~ 1:00pm
  • GMT: 15:00 ~ 18:00
  • CET: 16:00 ~ 19:00

and from the EQ2 Forums:

POPULATION / ZONE PROGRESSION
General

  • Altar of Malice [Heroic] Dungeons now have a chance to spawn an extra encounter once the zone boss has been defeated.
  • Hit points for all Altar of Malice Solo, Heroic, and Contested zones have been slightly reduced.
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