Talking Shop with EQ2 Devs

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Daybreak Live (SOE Live/Fan Faire), Expansion News, Free-to-Play (EQ2X), Grouping, Itemization

No doubt the best part of Fan Faire is talking to the developers. So far I’ve gotten to ask Rothgar both serious and geeky questions about the new UI, server upgrades, guild halls, and of course free-to-play.

I’ve made no secret of my concerns about the logistics of free to play seemingly cutting off the flow of new players to the live subscription side of EQ2.

The XP Curve

I really drove home the point about xp curves and how The Hole was so overnerfed that it was abandoned content. Between mobs that largely resist control effects to just a ramp up in difficulty, the target audience of 3-4 mid-80’s average geared folks don’t get much bang for the buck here.

He said the xp was high at first so they wouldn’t get accused of putting another Karnors castle with hardly any xp for a lot of work. I suggested making sure there are no xp loopholes going in and setting the xp on dungeon crawls lower at first and after 2 weeks bump it up, then a month bump it again to keep it viable. At first you have full power groups of 6 burning through sprawling dungeons to level up and grind AA. Over time you shift to less optimal groups of 3-4 who are not as well geared but want an alternative or break from solo questing.

Guild Halls

We talked about guild halls and guild hall amenities. I pitched guild hall alliances like a guild hall amenity to jump from gh to gh. We talked about how housing/gh permissions are stored and accessed and it’s pretty kludgy. I suggested storing a list of houses/gh your character has access to on the character record. We talked about the difficulty of paying rent on a house remotely.

The new server hardware for Nagafen and Antonia Bayle sounds sweet. Rothgar has already laid out some of the details and results, but he said Nagafen had 170 players in a Warfield with no lag. That’s pretty amazing. Once all servers are up on new hardware (likely with server merges so all players have a large pool of players to talk to and group with as AB currently enjoys), contested griefing by calling out friends or fake Guide events to try to lag out a zone may be a thing of the past.

Tradeskills

Talked to Domino a bit. I asked if we might see a new UI down the road other than 1-2-3-1-2-3. No commitment just yet. I tried to impart the reality that by streamlining tradeskilling so much, the actual process has gotten a bit dull. She was impressed with SmokeJumper for spending all his free time for his first few weeks leveling new toons in the different starting areas and giving a boatload of feedback about all the places and issues that are confusing to new players to try to make it more engaging.

Itemization

Bumped into Fyreflyte who was going to Fan Faire incognito. 🙂 These days he’s shifted gears into more programming of content including encounter design. He likes encounters that give players something to do instead of just blocking the players from doing their jobs. Don’t worry, no statue clicking. 🙂

We talked about itemization and the fallout of Sentinels Fate’s launch. Despite months of work, itemization ended up being tight on time and we missed out on some cool items with that “wow” factor. Why? Because after 1 year of itemizing for the expansion and writing better tools to make items, Fyreflyte basically had to start itemization over. Yes, many items came out of a formula/program BUT that was supposed to be the lesser gear so he could focus more attention on making special items with unique effects. We talked about Shard of Hate itemization and how he wanted to add items to SF that had really cool effects (but not as OP of course) but ran out of time.

As we speculated about in my Itemization Puzzle article here on the Wire, the cancellation of Gear Scaling ended up binning months of work and Fyreflyte had to try to reitemize an expansion in basically a month.

In the aftermath, It has to be less stressful to not be the public face of itemization (which has essentially been split over 2-3 eq2 devs). He’s always been straight with us. Itemization was largely cleaned up in the months after Sentinels Fate launched. I’m looking forward to seeing what Fyreflyte is working on next.

Free to Play

And I mentioned that I spoke briefly to Dave Georgeson last night just before the Welcome Address started. He sounds convinced that this will work, and hopes we realize that there are more tweaks and changes to the f2p model yet. He pointed out that there have already been revisions to the bronze/silver/gold/platinum EQ2X chart as a result from player feedback.

The marketing campaigns to come later on after the EQ2X beta ends will focus on both games with a landing page that emphasizes “if you want to earn everything you get, and join a large established community, consider the live subscription servers”

I asked why level 1-30 or 1-50 couldn’t be on all servers, and he said then we would have to put The RMT marketplace on all servers. You can’t make any money if you allow completely free play. (updated)

I said well the f2p server seems to have an identity crisis because you almost have to have a subscription to play it AND there is the store.

I expect the Not Happy Factor to reach 11 in the f2p panel today. The boos when the EverQuest 2 Extended (F2P) slide went up during Smedley’s presentation were loud and clear. He suggested we attend the panel on it.

At this point Brasse started the intros so time to shoot video. 😉 Saved by the Brasse. 🙂

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Comments (8)

  • alan

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    So in other words if i’m reading it right the cash shop is coming to the normal game? and by cash shop i mean the full on cash shop that the F2P model uses..

    Tell me i’m wrong.

    Reply

    • Feldon

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      They are absolutely not adding the rmt marketplace to live servers. Sorry for the hasty grammar.

      IF we want free to play on live servers we must accept the bigger marketplace.

      Reply

  • Blockhead

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    “if you want to earn everything you get”

    Can see that slogan reeling in a mass amount of players in today’s “i need it now” society. Whew-eeee, probably have to start adding live servers by golly.

    In my time we didn’t have an “Easy Button” there was no other option but to group, or forget about it and is why i have the memories i do.

    To be perfectly honest here, I’m older, hell of allot less time, kids/family, work and purchasing this or that doesn’t completely turn me off and is a big part of why I’m moving to LOTRO (pssst… “it has a future” ssshhhh).

    Bottom line is EQ2 is winding down to a very limited shelf life, LOTRO i can easily see outlasting EQ2 because when EQ3 is launched, good bye EQ2. They’ll prolly offer some sort of character transfers to EQ3 but, trust me, the writing is on the wall, EQ2 is a goner.

    EQ2X helps keep players like me from completely walking out the door so I’m around for their EQ3 launch. Think hard about this, you honestly believe they are going to be supporting EQ1, EQ2, and EQ3, “No”, you are correct and which one do you think they will cut from the line up.

    Once they get enough revenue running from 3 you’ll see a big announcement.

    From Smed:

    “It is with deepest regret that i have to announce that we are shutting down Everquest 2 live servers (only)…bla, bla,bla, due to the current trend of our society bla bla, the tough times we live in bla,bla, and the low population of the 3 live servers left after we choked them off with EQ2X (damn veterans) bla, bla,bla,bla, bla,bla they will be shutdown in two weeks.

    However we will continue to keep EQ2X Running, although no more updates are scheduled at this time (keeping EQ2x as a gateway drug to 3) So for those faithful players we have had over the years you can still deposit money in our account, eerrr i mean have a home because we care bla, bla,bla,bla, bla,bla,bla, bla,bla. We are offering FREE transfer of your character shells to EQ3 though for a limited time for only 75 bucks free. So it is with a sad heart (that eq2 the big disaster we at SOE see it was from the get go) and fat wallet that bla, bla,bla,bla, bla,bla,

    GOOD News is you have EQ3 and only cost 5000 SC to log in every time so you know there be plenty of disconnects and lag just like the old EQ2 servers so players should right at home.

    Your truly SC.”

    Reply

  • Steve

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    Sure, EQ2 won’t be around forever and EQ3 might make a dent in it. However, seeing how long it is taking them to bring The Agency and other games to market I think we still have at least 2-3 years before EQ3 comes out.

    Reply

  • BCS

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    The very notion that EQ2 will be shut off when EQ3 comes out is laughable at best. EQ1 still has lots of support, and what, 10 years later? EQ2 isn’t going anywhere, even with a new game coming out. Why would SOE kill of the newer of the 2 games?

    Give me a break. All this speculation on a game that isn’t even out yet is ludicrious.

    I will give eq3 a shot while maintaining my 2 active eq2 accounts. There’s nothing that been said or shown that makes me or any of my guildmates think for a second we won’t be playing this game in 2 years.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    My big complaint about TSF is i don’t believe they focused on people who like to play as a melee warden. Back in TSO (i may not like the expansion but i liked the equipment), we had 2 sets of shard armor. 1 for Melee soloing, and 1 for group/raid healing. Eventually you get the T4 set which covers everything. When TSF went live, i really felt like the level 90 replacements for my armor were actually a downgrade due to the lack of melee oriented stats. However they do superb in raids. Just when i solo i have to use my old shard equipment because i can’t find anything usable.

    Reply

  • Eschia

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    To those above who may or may not run off to LOTRO: They are doing the F2P there too. I’m actually closed beta testing the new client as I type this. So far it’s just like turbine’s DDO store. EQ2E is a lot like it too, but i think SOE went the extra mile to make sure theres nothing fun to do unless you buy something. I mean you only get to play 4 classes / races. Out of a game that has 18 / 24 (i think).

    Reply

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