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

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


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


EQ2 Gold, All Access to Get Rewards Instead of Free StationCash

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

An announcement intended for tomorrow morning briefly appeared in the EQ2 Forums RSS feed and then vanished, however a few players brought it to our attention. As you likely know, EverQuest II Gold and SOE All Access accounts currently receive a monthly allowance of 500 StationCash.

Starting the first week of February 2014, in lieu of this StationCash allotment, all recurring Gold and All Access customers will be able to login to EverQuest II and buy one item (up to a value of 2,000SC) per month for FREE. If you are All Access, you’ll also be able to login to EQ, Planetside 2, and DCUO and get something similar.

Who will see this as a Bad Change — Players hoping to continue stockpiling StationCash for EQNext or EQNLandmark, or buy plat will likely see this as unwelcome news. This also impacts players who tend to buy small items, rather than a single large items. The most desirable items — Service items like server transfers, AoD features, and 280 AA baubles, will likely be excluded.

Who will see this as a Good Change? — Players who use their free StationCash to buy items off the Marketplace will likely see this as a nice change and significant premium over the standard Gold subscription.

UPDATE: The official announcement has been posted on the EQ2 Forums

EQ2 Talk #73 – Santa Kander is Coming to Talk

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

Dellmon and Aliscious have conducted a great post-launch interview with Kyle “Kander” Vallée about EQ2’s recent Tears of Veeshan expansion, talking about what worked and what didn’t, and sharing a few tidbits of the future. Our illustrious host Dellmon’s protestations that he shall never reforge nor adorn do wear a bit, but it’s nonetheless a fantastic interview worth listening to if you wish to hear the thought processes behind the expansion, as well as a look at EQ2’s coming months.

As for prescient sneak peaks within the interview, look for more raid content, a fabled Kingdom of Sky zone (level 95 Sanctum of Scaleborn please?), and PvP/Battleground fixes are all on the way, with at least some of this landing as early as January. Kyle also took a moment to share his appreciation for EQ2Wire and our coverage of the expansion. He was generous in his comments and I was a bit stunned to say the least.

No doubt many of you are no doubt driving or flying to and from visits with family over the holidays, so go ahead and grab a download! From EQ2Talk.com:


EQ2 Talk welcomes back Kyle “Kander” Vallée, EQ2 lead designer! Kander helps take the mystery out of some of the itemization changes that happened in game with the Tears of Veeshan expansion. He touches on the team’s goals for changes to healers, best in slot items, new content and some of the mechanics changes. He also gives us a vague hint at what we can expect in the near future.

Click here to listen to Episode 73

Opinion: The New StationCash Reality — The End of Double and Triple SC?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Daybreak Cash, EQ2


As we’ve discussed in the past, Sony Online Entertainment got itself into a huge pickle with their unintentional devaluation of their StationCash currency. An overeager Marketing Dept held numerous Double and Triple StationCash promotions which devalued much of the StationCash entering SOE’s economy to just 1/4 of its value.  This created an untenable situation and at SOE Live, SmokeJumper was heard to say “We were losing our shirts”.

Compound this with the fact that Walmart demands special incentives from their vendors to carry product. The popular 1500 StationCash cards with 500 SC bonus further amplified the devaluation effects.

We are just speculating at this point, but we’re going to call August 2013’s Best Buy Double StationCash deal to be SOE’s last such weekend. This is frustrating due to how few locations bothered to stock the cards.

At this point, EQ2Wire is predicting that Double and Triple StationCash deals are a thing of the past and we will not see them return.

Point of Need: Revival of the Revive Button

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

Anything can change in Beta, but at least right now on Tears of Veeshan beta, a new “Point of Need” option is being tested in the Revive window:


The large “Revive Instantly!” text and  Double Up icon at the bottom of the window ONLY APPEAR when the player selects the small yellow “Revive Instantly!” text within the list of revive spawn points. In last year’s Chains of Eternity beta, I believe this feature was much more “in your face” as I recall the large double arrow icon and text appearing at all times.

At SOE Live 2012 in the Business of EverQuest Franchise panel, Dave “SmokeJumper” Georgeson talked about how Point of Need features could be a financial boon to SOE without being nearly as obtrusive as the paywalls of other Free-to-Play games. This Revive feature seems to build on existing Point-of-Need features including Researching spells and, more recently, Map Travel.

EQ2Wire Asks

What do you think of the new Revive Instantly feature? Is it still obtrusive or has a reasonable compromise been struck?

Rothgar, Autenil Join SOE, WoW, PoxNora Alums at Startup – Molten Games

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

NOTE: No EQ2 News.


A few weeks ago, Joshua “Autenil” Kriegshauser, tweeted that it was his last night at SOE. Josh worked on EverQuest II for many years, dabbling in different SOE games but always contributing to EQ2. He also helped launch Clone Wars Adventures.

Just 5 days later, Greg “Rothgar” Spence, lead (or one of the chief) programmer for EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark followed up on Facebook:

Today is a special day because it’s my 7-year anniversary of being employed at SOE. This job has been a life-changer. The people I’ve met, both co-workers and players from the community have affected me in more ways than I could describe. I’ve learned so much from a professional standpoint and grown to love the community behind our games like family. I’ve made friendships that will last forever and I’ll never be able to give back as much as I’ve taken from these experiences.

Diablo III to Ditch Auction House — A Cautionary Tale about Fully Tradeable Fabled/Mythical Gear?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

It’s a slow EQ2 news week, and an interesting article came up about Diablo III, a game whose Auction house aligns with a desire expressed by a small but vocal group of EverQuest II players: Fully tradeable Fabled/Mythical raid drops, sellable on the broker.

So what’s the verdict? Effective March 2014, Blizzard will be phasing out their Gold and Real Money Transaction Auction Houses. The video their lead designers have released (and which I have embedded below) leaves no doubt about how the Auction house was impacting Diablo III…

From Ars Technica:

The blog post and embedded video note that Diablo 3‘s Auction House was originally designed to provide a place for players to simply trade items. However, the system quickly took on a life of its own, becoming the preferred way to acquire epic and legendary items with the class-specific stats that each of the games’ classes needed to slay more demons. Diablo 3 Game Director Josh Mosqueira noted that the Auction House “short-circuited [the] core reward loop” of Diablo 3, replacing monster drops as the primary way the vast majority of players acquired new gear.

After the jump, Josh’s further thoughts, and I address why SLR is not an all-or-nothing affair…

The Book Closes on Another SOE Live

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

The curtain has gone down on another Grand Banquet, and just a few panels left to go due to the extended SOE Live schedule this year, it’s hard to believe that another event has come and gone so quickly! Every year things seem to go faster, with barely time for a breath.

There are a few panels today for those folks who aren’t East coast or who are staying Sunday night) including EverQuest Next Writer‘s panel, Channeler feedback panel (naturally there will be more feedback taken in the Tears of Veeshan beta forums) and the EverQuest II Q&A panel. I imagine these panels will be lightly attended, but hopefully videos will be taken and posted! As I am on the East coast of the US these days, I’m heading out before some of those panels even get under way.

I saw so many EQ2 players this weekend, had a tremendous time talking about and answering questions about EQ2U at our Data panel, and just really enjoyed the weekend. It was fantastic to meet Aliscious of EQ2Talk, Arabel and Maergoth of Equilibrium, Striinger, Yadrizzle, Afista, Dedith of Dragon’s Armory, Chuina (Chad) and Tannlin of the new EverCast show, and so many others, as well as catching up with old friends like Leko, Dellmon, Cyliena, Atan, Jethal, and so many others that I should be remembering (Email me!) .It was also great to catch up with devs from the EQ2 and EQNext teams.

EQ2 Impressions

I’m really happy to see a lot of good decisions going forward on the EQ2 team, I liked the Mechanics and Itemization panels a lot, and really other than the Insta-85 thing (which I talked to Holly about), things are looking good for EQ2.

One thing I was blown away by with EQ2, which will be explained further when I post the Art & Animation panel video, is that the work of Alex (GermInUSA), who is a graphics programming wizard from the early console days, is now finally going to bear fruit. If you have watched past Art & Animation videos about EverQuest II, you know that building a large exterior zone takes weeks if not MONTHS. This is due to the archaic tools available which follow EQ2’s design rules. Also the tools have prevented things like blending multiple textures together to make a smooth transition from a dirt path to rocks at the side of the road, up to hardier terrain. Right now this is extremely arduous.

Demoed at the Art & Animation panel, EQ2’s new Terrain Editor allowed the creation of a large island zone in 10 HOURS. The zone was much more intricate and detailed, flora and landscape elements just looked so much better, and significantly improved pathing is built in as well. No more NPCs and characters flipping around at odd angles as non-flat surfaces are encountered. It was truly amazing and I can’t say enough about it. In the past, the Design team has had to ask the Art team for new zones 6-9 months in advance. Now, we’ll see zones rapidly prototyped and iterated so much faster that who knows, there might even be some time to goose up some older zones which are interesting lorewise but visually dull (like Thundering Steppes).

NOTE: Nobody said they are redoing any zone!! It was just given as an example of a zone built early on that could look so much more awesome.

So I’m signing off for now and will start crunching videos tomorrow! Seriously!

Heroic Characters: Insta-Level 85 for Free, for Any Player (No Previous Experience Required) — Sept 15

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2

Tonight’s EverQuest II keynote here at SOE Live included the revelation that Heroic Characters are coming to EQ2. I’m not against this idea, as the writing has been on the wall for insta-level 90 or 85 to come to EQ2 sooner or later. Due to multiple gear revamps plus Mercs, I feel that EverQuest II is a solo tutorial from level 1-89, and then the ‘real’ game starts at level 90.

However the unsettling part of this announcement was that people would be able to create their FIRST character as a level 85 with full Legendary gear, spells, a chunk of AAs, and have those AAs automatically spent for them with Character Advancement Templates.

EQ2Talk Episode #67 – Now Boarding

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


SOE Live is once again upon us, ready to douse us in news about a number of SOE games including EverQuest Next, and refusing to be overshadowed, EverQuest II! The EQ2 team have been working their butts off on new content, itemization improvements (more choice, less cookie cutter!!), and more which has yet to be revealed.

But while we wait for that news to break, (or if you need a podcast for your flight to Vegas), you ought to check out the latest EQ2Talk #67 episode which has been posted to EQ2Talk.com. If you didn’t listen to Episode #66, you really should, as much of the #67 episode deals with listener e-mail responding to Dell and Ali’s impressions of the Challenge Duo zones which were discussed heavily in #66.

Both Dellmon and Aliscious are attending SOE Live this year and hopefully we can get some of their impressions about all the announcements and news, and of course I think we can expect a post-SOE Live show!

Character Blocked from EQ2U Due to Trademark Claim

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


I have removed the block of characters named “Malshandir” from EQ2U.

I believe that a series of e-mails sent from a ISP address is insufficient to warrant blocking search results from a publicly accessible API. It also sets a dangerous precedent for other websites that merely index data from a third party source.

This morning, I received an e-mail from one Thomas Freyer of Freyer Consulting in Frankfurt, Germany:

From: Thomas Freyer
Subject: Deleting of Profile
URL: http://u.eq2wire.com/soe/character_detail/446677832604

We demand by law the deleting of this profile as the owner of the trademark “Malshandir” we gave you no permission to use is.
If this profile is deleted within the next 6 hours we will not take further legal actions against you.

As I was still a little sleepy, and since I receive threatening e-mails about once a month demanding that I remove characters from EQ2U, I replied informing Mr. Freyer that Sony Online Entertainment retains ownership over characters and thus he has no grounds to sue, but if he would avail himself of the Help section on EQ2U, he could remove his character in approximately 5 minutes.

Introducing EQNWire! — The Original EverQuest Next News & Commentary Site

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary


EQ2Wire has been providing extensive coverage of EverQuest Next for some 4 years now, ever since its development was hinted in the EverCracked documentary. But now the time has finally come for our coverage of the next EverQuest game to venture out on its own as a dedicated site — EQNWire.com.

There are a number of reasons for this division. While the EQ and EQ2 player communities have many things in common, they are still, at their core, quite different. I’ve seen this in the tenor of discussions on the EQ and EQ2 forums, in livecasts, and in chatrooms. There’s just something different that would not be served by a unified site. Also, with the distinct possibility that EQNext could be a dramatic departure from the standard MMOisms of the past EverQuest games, it makes total sense to make a clean break of things and let EQNWire be its own thing.

Of course we’re not alone in launching EverQuest Next sites this month. The past weeks have shown a flurry of activity as EQNext fan and press sites have come out of the woodwork with increasing regularity, all hoping to grab the attention of veteran EQ and EQ2 players, as well as those new to the MMO world who may have heard of EverQuest only in passing. It will be interesting to see how many sites hang in there over the long haul. Launching a site seems like the hard part, but it’s not. Keeping up the momentum to provide relevant news to your readers week in and week out despite foul moods, vacations, family issues, and so forth is far more challenging and it’s easy to run out of steam.

At one time, there was a community of sites covering EverQuest 2 but this is not true today. I’m genuinely hopeful that there continue to be a few dedidicated sites supporting the EverQuest Next community over the long term.

Commentary: Putting Plat in Perspective

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

For the latter part of last year and into this year, I’ve been raiding Saturday mornings in mostly x4 EM content. Outside of that, I’ve done mostly Advanced Solo content and just a smattering of group zones. From that gameplay, via selling shinies, masters, drops, crafting spells for other players, etc. I’ve been able to accumulate more than enough Plat for my character needs.

I am currently the co-owner of a Tier 1 level 62 guild hall with max amenities. I also have five level 95 characters (although my Ranger will always be my main). Between Reforging and Adornments, there are certainly some expenses to be considered, but I’ve always managed to make do without grinding Protector’s Realm, Shard of Hate, etc.

LucasArts and the Human Cost of Game Development

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

This article contains no EverQuest II content.

From PennyArcade.com by Ben Kuchera:

Former LucasArts composer Jesse Harlin has written a eulogy for the company, and the words have been matched with a series of images taken of employees on what was reported to be their last day of work. The eulogy is moving, and it provides a look into a group of people who are passionate about what they did, but a few lines stand out as stark reminders of how much you give up to work in this industry.

“In the trenches of game design, work was hard. Crippling crunches that lasted for months aged us and tested our sanity. Sometimes executives presented us with projects, development partners, or deadlines that were impossible,” Harlin wrote. “But giving all of yourself creatively never stopped. Ever. Marriages failed as we poured our hearts into games that the press might eventually skewer. Pregnancies were delayed in favor of project milestones. Funerals were missed.”


April Fools? Pink Bovoch Pricing Makes Players See Red

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Daybreak Cash

On Friday, a hilarious video of Tom Tobey and Christopher Atkins introducing new Meatbeast mounts and house pets was released. The video was extremely well-received and I and many others ran out to buy the new mounts and pets and galloped all over Norrath mooing all the way.

But today, it seems the EQ2 team may have pushed the April Fools joke too far.

As was announced on Friday, a pink version of the Meatbeast matriarch mount is available TODAY ONLY (April 1st). What has players stunned is the price: 5,000SC. If you stocked up on StationCash over the weekend from Walmart, that works out to $18.75. If you didn’t, you’re going to be dropping upwards of $50. That’s more than an expansion!

Further, players couldn’t help notice that the original price is marked as 50,000SC 5,000SC. Players are not seeing the humor in that price markdown and instead wondering if the mount will jump to that price the next time it’s offered. We’ve heard from a few players who were so excited to purchase this mount that they grabbed one without double-checking the price, and are now out 5k SC. Thus far, EQ2 mounts have hovered between 1,950SC and 950SC.

Further, players have expressed shock that it’s not a Leaping mount, nor does it offer any bonuses to runspeed, beyond other mounts. You’re literally paying for a re-color of the Bovoch mount added on Friday.

Bovinasauros Rex? Cetaceans!

Raph Koster wrote an article which has been heavily quoted on MMO sites about Free-to-Play and the existence of Whales or customers who will buy big ticket items on game marketplaces. Is this SOE’s first foray into this category of high dollar items? Are they seeing a marketplace trend and simply getting on board with having a few rare items which are at a price beyond what most players would consider a sane purchase?

This is being discussed (raged) on the EQ2 Forums:

EverQuest2.com Community Fan Site List Updated!

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

At long last, the EverQuest2.com website has been updated with a current list of Community Fan Sites and News pages. This page can be reached under the Community menu under Links.

Of course we’re happy to see EQ2Wire listed — hey it only took us 4 1/2 years! — as well as our sister site EQ2U and Dethdlr’s recently updated Adornment Calculator. It’s great to see the number of sites listed which have contributed so much to the EverQuest II world and player community.

Thanks to Dexella who reached out to the Fan Site community to make sure she was working with the best possible list of sites that are still relevant to the EQ2 world.

SOE Game Launchers Triggering on VMWare

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

As part of SOE’s very public efforts to stop cheating in PlanetSide 2, SOE is instituting more detection code into its Launchpad to try to stop troublemakers. Apparently some of this code has not been isolated to PS2 as a number of players of SOE games including EverQuest, EverQuest II, and Wizardry Online have all found themselves having trouble logging in.

The culprit? A popular virtualization software called VMWare which allows PC users to run more than one instance of Windows (for keeping work and play separate, or for running multiple game instances), or in the case of Mac users, being able to play their favorite SOE games without having to reboot into Windows.

SOE Customer Service have been quick to unban users and get people logged back in, but it’s something people should be aware of. As long as you are not logging into SOE games through VMWare or another virtualization program, you should not encounter this issue.

We’ll report back if any Policies on this are officially announced or there are any changes to report.

Drinal: Raid Design on an Unforgiving Stage

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

I expected fierce responses to yesterday’s article about Drinal and the issues raiders have been facing in Harrow’s End. I wrote about issues that players have faced since the expansion launched, with a focus on the issues that still seem to exist based on player reports in the two Drinal threads I linked on the EQ2 forums. It was absolutely my intention to push some buttons and try to get some traction on fixing the Boss of the Chains of Eternity expansion. As to whether I went too far, that will be up to the reader.

Let’s get some clarifications out of the way…

Enough is Enough: Chains of Eternity Raids Broken For 3 Months

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

Enough is enough. It has been three full months since the launch of the Chains of Eternity expansion and the bosses of the expansion are hopelessly broken.

During the Chains of Eternity beta, there were warning signs that something was seriously amiss. On one hand, the Skyshrine and Chains of Eternity raiding ended up being so easy that the top 10-15 guilds per server had cleared nearly ALL the content within 48-72 hours of release. On the other hand, Drinal launched essentially unkillable. Not challenging. Not difficult. Broken.

GuildProgress Closes Its Doors

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Raiding

What makes people competitive? What makes people want to put their reputation on the line and be compared and judged by others?

At the conclusion of any sports event, one team experiences the euphoria of victory while the other is left asking themselves where they went wrong with their offensive or defensive strategies and what they could do better. But while sports are the obvious example, competition can be found everywhere. In academics. In Barbecue. In growing the largest tomato. People will make fools of themselves on national TV just for the chance to win a few bucks. So it’s not unexpected that pockets of competition would develop even within the humble Massively Multiplayer Online game.

The Blessings (and Smites) of Dungeon Maker

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

Due to some family health issues, things have been slow at the Wire the past couple of weeks short of Update Notes. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a slow resurgence in news on the EQ2 forums as the devs come back from winter break….

The Shortest Distance Between Two Points

Ever since the first Massively Multiplayer Online game arrived on the market, players have been seeking the shortest route to fortune, glory, and player experience (XP).

In EverQuest II, Pet classes (Beastlords, Summoners, and Enchanters) have always had an advantage with the TOS-bending concept of unattended gameplay. Druids’ Thorncoat spell is just one of many example abilities that can allow hardy characters to automatically engage and fight enemies without the player being near their keyboard. Now, it’s the much-maligned Dungeon Maker in concert with Chains of Eternity’s Experimentation feature which seem to have set up a perfect storm of shortcuts.

Happy Thanksgiving, and a Look Ahead to Next Week

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, EQ2 Data & EQ2U, Game Updates & Maintenance

A lot of you out there (myself included) will be on the road in the coming days so I just wanted to wish folks in the U.S. a Happy Thanksgiving. Alas, my well-wishes are a month late for Canadians, and as for Europe, well, the best description I’ve heard is:

  • Thursday: We eat turkey and innumerable harvest foods ’til we want to die
  • Friday: We nearly kill each other while retail shopping for marked down electronics
  • Saturday: We engage in awkward social activities with crazy Cousin Eddie and odd Aunt Edna
  • Sunday: We bid fare-thee-well to in-laws who we are thankful that we see just once a year!

Where’s My EQ2 Updates?

A boatload of updates have been queued up to hit the Test Server next Monday. In addition to numerous tweaks and fixes for Quests, as well as adjustments to Solo, Group and Raid zones, there are a few other changes in store including an improvement to the in-game appearance of Spirit Stones (green adornments).

Jethal Silverwing Hangs it Up After Five Years

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Today brought the stunning news that the Jethal Silverwing show which has hosted numerous guests from within Sony Online Entertainment including no less than SOE President John Smedley himself, has come to an end. It is hard to imagine the EQ2 Community without his show, his parodies, and his videos.  It is also hard to ignore a trend — With this news, Dellmon and AlisciousEQ2Talk becomes the sole EQ2-specific Podcast.

Here’s the announcement from Kithicor.org:

They say that “All good things must come to an end”. And, so it is with The Jethal Show.

It’s been quite a ride. Five years of madness. We’ve had ups and downs. You, my listeners, have been there for triumph and tragety.. and now, it’s time to bow out.

I want to thank Online Gaming Radio for giving me a voice. Sony Online Entertainment for their support.. and everyone on every EQ2 server for putting up with my antics and giving me an outlet every tuesday.

Jethal may return some time in the near future perhaps live, perhaps pre recorded but you can be sure that my parodies will go on.. So keep checking in at kithicor.org, twitter & Facebook!

Thank you all.

Keep your arrows in the air, and your feet on the ground.

~Jethal and Elquinjena

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