Game Update 56 Hits Test: Travel Revamp, Warfields, New Raid Zone

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, DGC Wants Feedback, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Raiding, Tradeskill

Game Update 56 is looking to be a huge update, with many tweaks and adjustments throughout Norrath. In brief…

  • a substantial Travel Revamp
  • more quests in Stonebrunt Highlands to hopefully fill that level 87-90 solo questing gap
  • a new Storyline feature
  • a new Icy Keep x4 Raid
  • Shaders 3.0 Graphical Revamp
  • Research Assistants can help all your characters
  • Blue PvP Adornments
  • Yellow Adornments on T9 Mastercrafted gear
  • Level 90 Character Traits
  • PvP Warfields
  • new Training Dummy options in your guild hall (solo, group, raid, and AE group)
  • and of course New Halas

Also of note, is that a vendor has been added to Moonfield Hamlet selling some of the rare Heroic drops from Sentinel’s Fate zones. It will be interesting to see if this is like the vendor added late in the release of The Shadow Odyssey, where only the lesser Fabled items were available, and for a whopping 150 shards/marks each.

With the Test Server being updated nearly a month before we are estimating Game Update 56 will hit live servers, hopefully there will be plenty of time to test out all the changes.


End-of-the-Week News

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Live Events, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Tradeskill

The focus this week has been on new EQ2 Senior Producer Dave Georgeson, and EQ2 Server Performance, which has been a persistent black cloud over EQ2 for the last 2 months.

Test Copy

Test Copy is getting some major use as it is where PvP and Battlegrounds changes are tested.

Gninja advised us:

We will be working out a schedule as to when the test_copy server will be pvp vrs pve. We are working it out now and will get back to you guys shortly.

Stuck at Character Select

An issue with being stuck at Character Select on Thursday was caused by a Configuration issue which has been corrected. EQ2 Forums

Adventure/AA/Tradeskill XP Weekend

The e-mail and EQ2Players announcements for this weekend’s Bonus XP event neglected to mention that Tradeskills will also see a bonus. We have not yet been informed what % the bonus will be, but 30% is a good guess.

Zone Start End
Pacific US Friday, April 23 @ 3:00pm Sunday, April 25 @ 11:59pm
Eastern US Friday, April 23 @ 6:00pm Monday , April 26 @ 2:59am
GMT Friday, April 23 @ 22:00 Monday , April 26 @ 06:59
Copenhagen Saturday, April 24 @ 00:00 Monday , April 26 @ 08:59

Game Update 56 Goes to Test Soon

We don’t have an exact date, but Game Update 56 will be moving to Test and Test Copy soon. When we know exactly what content will appear on Test and Test Copy, we’ll let you know. It would not be surprising if New Halas is not in the first build. EQ2 Forums

Thundering Steppes Revamp Mothballed

Gninja has confirmed the news we speculated about earlier this year.

Unfortunately we will not be making drastic changes to Thundering Steppes this time around. That doesn’t mean there will be no changes but we are not considering it being revamped. GU56 will be full of cool stuff though (Including but not limited to New Halas and some new raids) you should see it hitting test servers in the not too distant future.

A revamp of Thundering Steppes seems to be completely off the development radar at this point, with Butcherblock Mountains stepping in as the “place to be” for level 20-35 content.

Although subject to change, our understanding is that, just like Timorous Deep, level 20 players will be offered a quest guiding them from New Halas to the Butcherblock docks to begin level 20-35 content.

Level 82 Mastercrafted Armor

It seems the strength of level 80 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Shard armor from The Shadow Odyssey was always destined to overshadow Level 82 Mastercrafted armor. But that doesn’t mean the EQ2 team haven’t given up on it yet! Domino has managed to land some additional upgrades to the Level 82 set:

Look for some changes coming to level 82 mastercrafted armor with GU56 (for a start, it should all be level 82 now …) including the addition of yellow adornment slots and some resists. We are also in the process of discussing the possibilities of some stat tweaks.

It now seems even less likely that any of the Tier 1 Marks of Manaar gear will be an upgrade to any player. Note that Tier 2 Marks of Manaar gear (which has Critical Mitigation and better stats) must be sought out in Moonfield Hamlet in Stonebrunt Highlands.

Update on Server Issues and Battlegrounds

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

From the EQ2 Forums:

Greetings all.

An update on Battlegrounds and server issues.

Battlegrounds will be down until at least tomorrow.  While the BGs are down, we’ll be collecting data on the current server issues as an aid to tracking down what is causing the the lag and slow zoning times.

We’ll be tracking the data with the BGs both off and on.  If they appear to significantly affect the issues we’re seeing on the live servers, we’ll have them off over the weekend.

We’ll let you know any further information we can share when we have it.

We apologize for the inconvenience and greatly appreciate your patience as we try to track down the problems and iron out the bugs.

– EQII Team

More on Battlegrounds for Levels 30-79, Warfields Clarification

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

Battlegrounds For Levels 30-79

We’ve gotten some more details on the format that Battlegrounds from levels 30-79 will take from timetravelling:

After Game Update 56 the Battlegrounds tiers will be:

30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, 80-89, and 90

Players in each tier will be auto-mentored down to the lowest common level (30, 40, 50, etc.).

Players in each tier will also have armor sets and accessories available for purchase from the existing PvP Merchants in the major cities.

The BG ‘starter’ sets will be the already-existing Mastercrafted armor sets (from levels 30 -> 70). Each has had a small amount of toughness added to its existing stats.

In other words, if you don’t already have Mastercrafted armor from levels 30-79, and want to do Battlegrounds, it’s recommended that you commission or pick up a set.

The Warfields of Antonica and Commonlands

Meanwhile we have gotten some clarification from Olihin on Antonica and Commonlands becoming PvP zones on Open PvP servers (currently Nagafen).

Warfields are restricted to PvP servers.

The writs are being changed to 6 kills for 5 tokens across all levels. A single currency regardless of the level will be used.

The new coin will be the Discord Token and I have set up a merchant to exchange the tokens for you in increments of 5 or 100. I know some will be able to gear up more of their characters quickly, but that is the point. I want you to be able to play on your account at whatever level you want and either save or spend your token when you want.

and from timetravelling:

[Warfields] is a new event that will be on PvP servers only that will give players the opportunity to fight for control of Antonica or the Commonlands.

This is clearly an effort to try to move at least some of the PvP community away from the “Token Vending Machine” that is currently the Kunark quest hub of Teren’s Grasp. Most players bent on earning Tokens live there 24/7.

GU56 Testing Soon, PvP/BG Changes Previewed

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

Game Update 56 is coming soon to the Test and Test Copy servers, and in addition to the expected New Halas starting zone and city, which will have 2, 4, and 6 room housing as well as Tier 1 Guild Halls (unknown if it will be the same or different artwork), and in addition to a new raid zone, some substantial changes are happening to Battlegrounds and PvP combat in general. Battlegrounds in particular are being expanded from level 80-90 to level 30-90.

timetravelling gave this Battlegrounds preview:

  • Brand new 1st Campaign armor sets and accessories
  • Many of the accessories are based upon the currently BG-disabled RoK PvP accessories. Those adornments have had their effects adjusted and will be re-enabled for battlegrounds!
  • Each armor piece will have a pvp-only Blue adornment slot!
  • As such, we’ll all be introducing 20+ new Blue adornments!
  • Battlegrounds at levels 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 are being activated!
  • Battleground armor sets and accessories will be on sale at each of those tiers
  • Brand new open-pvp server battles for control of Antonica and Commonlands!
  • Additionally, we’ve internally removed the ~15% damage reduction applied to all spells in pvp combat. I’d like to once again ask for y’all to copy over to test-copy and give us feedback on the change.

Although the line item about battle for control of Antonica and Commonlands was posted in the Battlegrounds forum, it is believed that this is a PvP-server only feature.

Olihin followed up with this preview specific to the PvP (Nagafen) server:

  • Level locking enabled starting at level 30.
  • Removal of level restrictions for Alternate Advancement distribution.*
  • 100% achievement bar settings prior to max level.
  • Single Currency for Open PVP, the Discord Token.
  • Warfields! Antonica and Commonlands…
  • Much more!

When asked whether the change to Alternate Advancement level restrictions meant that PvP players could spend all 250 points at any level, Olihin responded with:

It’ll allow your AA expenditures on a PvP server to match those of a PvE server instead of the current restrictions.

PvP servers currently restrict the number of AA points which can be spent based on your level, beyond those restrictions of the PvE servers.

April 7, 2010 Patch Notes

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Raiding

Today’s Hotfix include some anticipated tweaks to Itemization and Battlegrounds, such as resists and fixes to adornments. It also includes a cutback in the amount of damage put out by the 3-headed dog in The Vigilant: Final Destruction x2 raid zone. Even during the Beta, this particular mob was completely out of progression for the difficulty of the zone, gear players are expected to have at this point in the expansion, and intended audience of the zone.

The complete April 7, 2010 Patch Notes after the jump:

Battlegrounds Jewelry Bait-and-Switch

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

During the Sentinel’s Fate beta, many of us were surprised at just how powerful the armor and jewelry available from participating in Battlegrounds were. Many of us warned SOE during beta that having Battlegrounds gear that’s better than TSO raid jewelry would make Battlegrounds an expected/required part of progression for guilds.

  • Battlegrounds gear launched with a new stat — Toughness — which is a type of Critical Mitigation that only works in Battlegrounds.
  • Later, the most powerful effects on Battlegrounds gear (i.e. +10% Base Damage) became PvP-only.
  • With the March 30th Update, the Resists and Physical Mitigation on the Indomitable Jewelry set now only apply to PvP combat.

So, it seems we have eventually arrived at the goal put forth by players — make Battlegrounds gear only desirable for PvP and Battlegrounds. Just not before players spent dozens of hours earning hundreds of tokens in Battlegrounds. A conspiracy theorist could make the case that Battlegrounds armor launched with powerful effects to encourage players to come back and play the content, and then the items nerfed a month later to mitigate their effect on PvE gameplay.

Join the Discussion/Rant/Bitching

Brenlo Looks Forward to Game Update 56

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Raiding

In an unusual move, Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, Senior Producer of EverQuest II, has posted some high level updates on what we can expect from Game Update 56 coming in May.

As many of you know, several items planned for the expansion and corresponding Game Update 55 slipped: New Halas, Shaders 3.0, New Spell Animations, Thundering Steppes revamp, etc. Also, there have been major performance problems with many of the live servers, which have been alternately attributed to Battlegrounds, Database Issues, or the expansion itself.

After the jump, you can read Brenlo‘s response to these issues, copied from the EQ2 Forums:

Server Performance, Battlegrounds Issues continue to plague EQ2

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

As you all know, this is “season 1” of Battlegrounds. Specifically, that the EQ2 team did not get the load testing they wanted to on Test, and so now this test is going on on live servers. But as much as we have gotten reassurances that Battlegrounds are having no significant impact on live servers, this seems to be exactly what is happening.

We’ve heard reports of servers rebooting, inability to open instances, and Battlegrounds have been down several days a week for adjustments, tweaking, maintenance, etc.

Hopefully this will all be worth it, but Rothgar did shed some light on part of the problems that Battlegrounds is causing:

The issue isn’t really that type of character data, it’s more the large amount of inventory. EQII has more inventory slots available to a charater than any other MMO I’ve ever seen. Combine that with your bank, house vault, guild bank, harvest depot and shared bank and its just an immense amount of data. Much of this inventory does not need to go back and forth with you, like your bank and house vault, and that’s what we are working on fixing now. Unfortunately even just your inventory slots represent a large amount of data and that stuff does need to go for us to have the flexibility to give quests that use/consume items, reward items, etc.

We have several changes we’re working on to improve performance across the board as well as reduce the data that moves between worlds. We also have more DB upgrades on the way for servers that haven’t gotten them yet.

It’s clear to me that Battlegrounds started out as an extension of the Character Transfer Service. In essence, your character is completely copied to the Battlegrounds server, and then after the match, you are copied back to your home server. But a lot of redundant data is being carried back and forth.

and further from Rothgar:

Battlegrounds are still having a pretty big impact on DB performance especially during primetime and on weekends. We’ve decided to throttle back the number of BG matches that can run concurrently until we can get some additional optimizations made. This should resolve the issues with a little longer queue times instead of us needing to take them down altogether.

It is no secret that Customer Service have been swamped with issues of stuck characters, duplicate characters, etc. as a result of Battlegrounds. We continue to track these issues…

Spell Resist Changes for Battlegrounds/PvP

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

Mages have been rather effective in Battlegrounds and PvP combat of late. Moreso than perhaps was intended.

Timetravelling has laid out the details of the cause of this issue, what he intends to do about it, and how it will be tested in this EQ2 Forums thread.

We’ve been digging through the code to track down the inconsistencies we’ve been seeing in spell resists and spell avoidance. We have some changes incoming that I’d like to describe briefly for y’all.

Based on the old formulas, extremely high resists (if capped) would give players a 75% chance to avoid a spell AND a 75% reduction in the damage when it landed.

At level 70+, spell avoidance chance was being multipled by 0.6 (reducing your overall chance to avoid by 40%) and spell resists were being multiplied by 0.65 (reducing the damage reduction applied to spell damage by 35%). This has been contributing to the … ah … very high combat effectiveness of spell-damage based classes. We have removed all of these mults internally.

Once internal testing has been completed, we plan on pushing these changes to Test-copy (and temporarily flagging it as PvP). Once that happens, we’ll update the thread here and ask for y’all to jump over there and help us test the crap out of the changes. We’ll leave it up there for at least a week or two to give time for balance tweaks and such before considering a push to Live.

Our intention is *not* to make any classes unbeatable or make others unable to kill opponents.

However, spell resistances and high STA should be contributing to survival as expected instead of at a greatly reduced effectiveness.

Your feedback is encouraged, and hopefully lots of people will test these changes. In case you missed it, for PvP and Battlegrounds purposes, Spell Resists are now calculated using Stamina (STA), a stat that all classes have some of, and can gain more of, rather than Wisdom (WIS), which due to Stat Consolidation, is now much harder for certain classes to get in any quantity.


A Light at the End of the Itemization Tunnel?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Raiding

If you’ve been thinking that the pieces of the Sentinel’s Fate itemization puzzle just have not fit well together, you are not alone.

While we have not spent a lot of time covering itemization in SF, it is because things have continued to be in such a state of flux during, and after the Beta.

The smooth progression of TSO gear was seemingly replaced by a scattershot approach, with some of the x2 raid items being the best in the game, the x4 Hard Mode gear being only 1-2% better than the x2 Easy Mode gear, and Battlegrounds gear the red herring, providing a confusing shortcut to skip instance gear altogether. In short, the “plan” has not been clear. Until now.

After the jump, check out what Frizznik has posted regarding the EQ2 Team’s itemization plans:

BG Exploiters Face Suspensions, Bans

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

As we have reported, players have been abusing an exploit which allowed them to login to Battlegrounds and consume/transmute/craft items and then get those items back upon being returned to their home servers. SOE have stepped up and shown they take this sort of thing seriously with the following announcement from Brenlo:

This weekend an exploit was found on the Battlegrounds server which allowed players to transmute items, and have those items returned when leaving the Battlegrounds.  This occured due to a change we made in the code to speed up the return process.  While we understand that this was a bug of our creation, some players chose to take advantage of it, knowing it was not meant to work in that fashion.

Many players took advantage of the bug, to varying degrees.  Some of our community however went to great lengths to abuse the bug.  For those accounts that abused this obvious bug, we have taken action.  Some have been removed from the game altogether, while others are losing all of the items on their characters.  All will face at least some time removed from the game as we sort through the various logs and track down their ill-gained platinum and items.

While we hate to remove anyone from our community, our family, there are times that for the good of the servers, the in-game economy and the community we do find ourselves forced to take action.  Unfortunately, this was one such occasion.

Thanks all for being a part of Norrath.

This action is not just limited to Transmuters:

We tracked spells, transmutations, abuse of Mender Bots, etc. We are taking action against all who reached a specific threshhold of abuse.

The most egregious offenders, who I have learned made thousands of plat off of this exploit, will find themselves suspended from the game for several days or possibly a longer ban.

Fair Warning about Battlegrounds Exploit

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

From Rothgar on the EQ2 Forums:

Customer Service will be investigating reports of players making use of a duping exploit.  If you’ve been found using this exploit, your character may be rolled back several days.

You should always be aware that using an exploit can result in suspension or bannings regardless of what the exploit is.  If you’ve stumbled across something on your own or heard of an exploit from a friend, your best bet is to petition CS about it right away and cease that behavior.

PvP to PvE Article

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

We have gone ahead and pulled an article we had posted about the possibility of transferring from a PvP to PvE server by way of using a Server Transfer Token while logged into Battlegrounds.

We have not been able to substantiate reports that players had been able to perform such a transfer.

March 5th End of Week News

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds, Raiding

Here are some end-of-week news items which I’ve noticed on the EQ2 forums that readers may find useful…

Scale of Flame

Players have been having trouble advancing/completing the quest Scale of Flame. In response, Gninja has responded:

I found the issue causing the spirit to not spawn and have corrected it. You should see it come to live server early next week with our next build.

Breaking Combat on PvP/Battlegrounds

Rothgar has made some further adjustments in how combat is broken on PvP/Battlegrounds. It has been tweaked so that you must be at least 1000m from the other player as well as a timer based on activity.

Raid Mob Damage Calculations

There has been some wonkiness, to say the least, in how raid mobs have been putting out damage. Players have noticed these issues and been reporting in this thread on the subject. Rothgar has provided an update:

Yesterday’s patch fixed a bug that was causing many of a mob’s special abilities to not be applied correctly. So technically the code is working as it should be now and all buffs are being applied to the mob. However, this bug has only been in since the first hotfix after the 24th of February. So the mobs should be the same as they were on release, but unfortunately no one was probably raiding them that much during the first week or the people that did expected them to hit this hard.

I’ve spoken with our raid designer and he’s going to take a look at the mobs on a case-by-case basis and determine what needs to be changed. We don’t have any ETA’s on changes yet, but please continue to post your feedback on the ones that you think are way too hard.

Keep in mind we’re only a few weeks into the expansion and that mobs SHOULD be pretty tough until people get caught up on gear, levels and AA’s.

Battlegrounds Cloaks for Testers

For those folks who tested out Battlegrounds, there was an announcement that these players would be getting an appearance cloak. Kiara weighs in on the status of this item:

It hasn’t been entitled yet. Yes it will be very soon. The department that handles this particular sort of situation has been swamped under with another project.

Itemization Issues

We are continuing to follow a story about Itemization issues with the new EQ2 expansion. Players are reporting that Battlegrounds armor is far better than shard gear (Marks of Manaar), quest items are far better than Mastercrafted gear, and most notable, jewelry and charms from the Vigilant x2 raid zone have so far been far superior to the 24-person raid zones and contested x4 raid mobs introduced with Sentinel’s Fate.

We will be tracking this story to see how this all shakes out.

Breaking Combat in PvP and Battlegrounds

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

Players have been reporting an issue with being able to escape combat *very* quickly on both PvP servers and Battlegrounds, and then being able to join a Battlegrounds match while seemingly still in PvP combat (on Nagafen). After some discussion and diagnosis in this thread, Rothgar posted the backstory on the issue and presented a change that will be made to address the issue:

Prior to battlegrounds the only way you got out of combat was for your hate to degrade over time. So the more hate you built with someone, the longer you’d stay in combat.

When battleground development began, a new method was added to remove you from combat if you got far enough away from your attacker and hadn’t had any aggressive action with them in a period of time. (4 seconds) The aggressive action goes both ways, you attacking them or them attacking you.

This new check was enabled for all PvP, not just battlegrounds. We’re going to increase this timer from 4 to 10 seconds and see how that goes.

The old rule is still in effect. If your hate degrades to almost nothing, you’ll be removed from combat. But in addition, if you run 20 meters away and neither of you have attacked each other in 10 seconds, you’ll also be removed.

A Bumpy Flight for EQ2 Servers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

There were some additional issues with the EQ2 servers today. The servers were set to come down for a hotfix, then that hotfix was delayed, but the automated scripts in place to prepare for a Hotfix continued. This resulted in there being no way to create new instances (visit dungeons, guild halls, cities, etc.). From Rothgar:

Due to an unrelated network issue this morning, the hotfix was not able to happen at the normal time. Since the servers were scheduled to come down but never did, this caused new instances to not be created. This is normal procedure for taking down servers but its normally resolved when they come down and then start back up.

This hotfix contains some performance changes necessary for battlegrounds to be more stable as well as some major bug fixes so we decided to bring the servers down now rather than delay the hotfix an entire day.

Then later, the servers were fixed so that instances could be created.

And then Kiara announced that the Hotfix was indeed pushed back until March 4th:


The US server hotfix is being pushed back a day to the morning of Thursday, March 4.

It will go ahead as planned for Runnyeye and Splitpaw this evening at 9pm PST March 3 (5am GMT March 4).

All of this is on the EQ2 Forums.

De-targeting Bug

Written by Feldon on . Posted in PvP/BG/Proving Grounds

Players have noticed a de-targeting bug in Battlegrounds and PvP open world environments were players can become difficult to target.

Thanks for all the info about the targeting issue. You guys provided enough clues to piece together reproduction steps for this sneaky little bug.

While I won’t tell you how to reproduce it (since it’s obviously exploitable in pvp) I can give you a workaround. When you have a valid target but start getting all these targeting errors, hit escape really quick and clear your target, then click your enemy again. This will clear out the bugged UI state so you can attack normally.

Unfortunately it looks like a code issue is behind all this, so I can’t fix it personally. It’s been forwarded along to Rothgar.

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