No, Not That Island!

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

It seems we’ll be parting with two islands by May’s end. And while we’ll still be able to catch  John Locke, Jack, Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate in syndication, the Qeynos and Freeport starting islands seem destined for a more permanent fate. We are providing continuing (hopefully not excessive) coverage of the impending removal of the EQ2 starting islands.

Share Your Story

If you’d like to share your story of your experiences either on the Outpost of the Overlord, Queen’s Colony, or on the original Isle of Refuge, shoot us an e-mail through the Contact Us page, or post a comment to this article. Sadly, I started playing after Isle of Refuge was changed in Game Update 19, but I have read many comments about how immersive and fun it was to arrive on a boat, battle drakes, and the Darathar storyline.

We’ll assemble these stories together into an article: Remembrances of the Isle of Refuge.

Links to Isle of Refuge

I have done some Internet Archive and Google searches to try to find Writeups and history of the original Isle of Refuge quests. Here’s what I found:

In response to intense player reaction mounting on the EQ2 Forums, Cronyn has stepped in with essentially a repeat of the reasoning we heard from Brenlo back in February (who we have now learned had little part in the decision to remove the islands):

Hey folks. I understand that many of you would like to see the old starting islands remain, but I’d like to explain the decision, at least so you see where we were coming from.

Primarily, the starting islands and following content, simply put, are not up to the standards of the newer starting cities. Players who start in these zones are at a disadvantage when compared to players who start in the newer zones. In the more recent starting zones, the play experience is laid out better, with improved loot and quests. From an art and design standpoint, the islands were great five years ago when the game launched, but the game has changed and improved in many ways and we don’t feel the newbie islands are as good as they should be today.

A great positive effect of having four starting zones is that it helps focus players into areas with other people, and encourages interaction and community. The current content revamp helps players travel along a common path as they level up, so that they will more likely come across other people, and form relationships, form communities, and experience the game when it’s at its best – with friends. Making sure they have this chance by focusing them into content we feel is strong is one of the goals with turning off the islands as well.

Finally, I’d like to say that we are not planning to abandon Freeport and Qeynos. However, we’d like to repurpose them somewhat into content destinations rather than starting points. A good deal of overarching content deals with these cities directly, and we’d like to create even more content that basically turns these into important quest and activity hubs, so to speak – I can’t go into it too much right now (although you saw some of what I mean during the destruction of Freeport live event), but there’s definitely an idea on how we’d like them to be presented going forward. The legacy content that is there (especially the racial quests) are not being removed, but we’ve been discussing ways to make this content more functional overall.

Anyway, we really appreciate all of the feedback, and we hope you can see why we felt this was a necessary change.

Thanks again, all!

Cronyn

Hey folks. I understand that many of you would like to see the old starting islands remain, but I’d like to explain the decision, at least so you see where we were coming from.

Primarily, the starting islands and following content, simply put, are not up to the standards of the newer starting cities. Players who start in these zones are at a disadvantage when compared to players who start in the newer zones. In the more recent starting zones, the play experience is laid out better, with improved loot and quests. From an art and design standpoint, the islands were great five years ago when the game launched, but the game has changed and improved in many ways and we don’t feel the newbie islands are as good as they should be today.

A great positive effect of having four starting zones is that it helps focus players into areas with other people, and encourages interaction and community. The current content revamp helps players travel along a common path as they level up, so that they will more likely come across other people, and form relationships, form communities, and experience the game when it’s at its best – with friends. Making sure they have this chance by focusing them into content we feel is strong is one of the goals with turning off the islands as well.

Finally, I’d like to say that we are not planning to abandon Freeport and Qeynos. However, we’d like to repurpose them somewhat into content destinations rather than starting points. A good deal of overarching content deals with these cities directly, and we’d like to create even more content that basically turns these into important quest and activity hubs, so to speak – I can’t go into it too much right now (although you saw some of what I mean during the destruction of Freeport live event), but there’s definitely an idea on how we’d like them to be presented going forward. The legacy content that is there (especially the racial quests) are not being removed, but we’ve been discussing ways to make this content more functional overall.

Anyway, we really appreciate all of the feedback, and we hope you can see why we felt this was a necessary change.

Thanks again, all!

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Comments (12)

  • Lessing

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    Cronyn’s reply is so amazingly clueless because the main issue people have with this change is that it’s unnecessary to deprive _veteran players_ of content, while at the same time they still could funnel newbies through the new content. Do these SOE people actually read players’ concerns? Pathetic.

    Reply

  • Gazzaroony

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    It stinks of big companys giving current customers the stick while the new ones get the carrot.

    Reply

  • Charn

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    I understand them wanting to keep the TRULY newbie players experience more focused. I get they don’t want 6 starting areas because they don’t want a new player starting in an area and going, /shout Anyone wanna group? . . . Hello? . . . HELLO!?! . . . Bah! No one plays this game . . . /exit

    BUT they can make it “unlockable.” When you have your first level X character (20 seems right) you get a “You have unlocked Qeynos and Freeport as starting cities!” message. I’d want to make a new character just to see what it’s like. Increasing re-playability is a GOOD thing, Sony!

    Reply

  • Grugg

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    I vote for removing the newbie islands. The transition has never been smooth, the islands are usually empty and always boring, and they really serve as a means for hoarding low-level transmutables and resources. I think this is a good direction. I like the golden path, too.

    Reply

  • Lessing

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    Nice attempt at trolling, Grugg. Let’s remove all content that hasn’t been used by at least 1,000 players in the last 2 months. Bye bye Wailing Caves, Drafling’s Tower, Ascent of the Awakened, Pedestal of Sky, Living Tombs…………………

    Reply

  • AlienShine

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    What newbies, I certianly don’t see them. Returning players I don’t count newbies. So called veteran players all boost their alt in 2 hours to lvl 30 or so with 30-40 AA…

    I don’t understand, I can’t quest my way to 90 in SF… And then they add a new starting zone in a game almost 6 Years old now, I found that very odd.

    Reply

  • Tryon

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    “I don’t understand, I can’t quest my way to 90 in SF…”
    You can’t SOLO quest your way to 90 in SF. This is not a solo game. Run some instances, do the shard missions and heroic quests for those zone. Do the quests in the contested Hole and some of the new HQ’s. Then complain you if can’t hit 90. I personally had no problem with it.

    As for the newbie islands, if they are unhappy with them why couldn’t they revamp them to make them more in line with what makes the other starting areas so great? Veteran Players should not be punished. I LOVE the nostalgia I get from starting a new toon there. Don’t take that away!

    I like what Charn said about unlocking it. That’s the best solution IMHO if SOE wants to steer truly new players away from the Isles.

    Reply

  • GP

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    I am honestly curious, what purpose does this “really” serve? I know I need to get out my tinfoil hat here, but what purpose does this really help Sony with? They no longer have the islands, are they going to reuse the zone as a future small raid zone? Is it going to be a dungeon? Was there something that was happening on newbie island there that caused a massive disruption (duplicates / exploits etc…)?

    There is no logical reason to remove content. None, not from a programming perspective. No matter how little it “enhances to flavor” to have people start elsewhere, it is just completely illogical to take a working, non bug filled piece of content and dump it, unless there is a true ulterior motive that they are not telling us about.

    What does newbie island actually run on its own set of servers and they want to get rid of them to be more cost effective? What is the -real- benefit to SOE to make them shut this down, I think that is the question that should be asked.

    Reply

  • zerigo

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    Yea, I am pretty bummed out by this upcoming change, 6 years ago that zone was the first bit of everquest i had ever played, and i became addicted… Every time i roll a toon it brings back some memories of the good old days. Soe has a way to ignore feedback no matter how many people spam the forums, just close the threads as fast as they can be opened. If i had not became so attached to my guild, SF would have chased me away from this game, and soe keeps pushing.

    Reply

  • Grugg

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    “Nice attempt at trolling, Grugg.” Okay, I see. I disagree, so I must be trolling… As I wrote in the forum, I support the removal of the islands for the sensible design reasons previously explained by the developers. However, I think Qeynos and Freeport should remain starting-city options. Streamlining the new character experience is a good thing, but limiting starting-city options doesn’t accomplish that goal. At least not in a way that isn’t obviously lazy.

    Reply

  • Gazzaroony

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    How many of the starting zones got removed from Everquest or WoW ?
    Just saying..

    Reply

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