EQ2 Potpourri

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Game Updates & Maintenance, Raiding

Parsing Gravitas, Cures, CoB, etc.
Will consider it.

Determining where guild rally flag is located? Some coming has already been done for this.

Auto mentoring – hail an npc and mentor to a level in 5 level increments. Old quest completion missions. Probably not on PvP.

Daily double shard zone in Welcome window or MOTD? Possible.

Achievements (like CoH or Xbox Live) like 500 kills, 20 heritage quests, etc. In a new tab in the quest window.

Current tier upgrades are coming for bone clasped gridle. Not so much for the bloodthirsty choker. 🙂

Streamling buffing for classes. Buffing while running was the first part.

Harvester Npcs could auto-deposit in Harvest supply depot in the future.

Lavastorm elevator to WoE will be fixed to continue to it’s destination. This one got a lot of applause. 😉

Teaser of Shaders 3.0 — Nek Castle before and after.

Character and Enemy models and animation

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Expansion News

Some seriously funny, cool, and creative new mob designs and revamped appearances to some existing mobs. More interesting animations.

* fighting pandas
* displacer beasts
* two headed giants
* stalagmites
* scarecrows

Random illusion appearances driving you crazy? Looking at a possibly a Magic Mirror house item to save illusion setups.

Npcs only have about 50 animations.
Players have about 1,000 animations.

Kelethin houses will get a transparent window. Both Kelethin and Neriak houses will have more rooms.

Male ratongas with whiskers but without glasses? We’ll look into it.

Illusion picker UI to switch illusions in development.

Devs would like to add more mannequin choices ie ratonga.

More magic user clothing options is in production.

Fan Faire Day 1

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News

The comprehensive writeups on Fan Faire and the events and photos are always worth a read if you couldn’t make it. I admit I’m all about the details and the expansion news. I don’t try to cover the whole event as others do that better than I can… One writeup I want to mention is CompleteHeal. Calthine (great to meet her of course!) has a writeup at Zam as well.

I took some pics of the event last night, some general Fan Faire pics, and of course lots of pics from the EQ2Flames gathering last night. Hope to get them up soon. Meeting BigRon was cool as hell, as well as meeting a bunch of Saints of Norrath folks which is of course Lord Pantz’ guild. Oh, and Gage was there too. 😉 Hell, he went up and talked to Aeralik who was out and about and nobody died. 😉

So what am I doing now? I’m logged in right now helping a guildie get their epic after betraying.

Gonna catch as many EQ2 panels as I can. Of course the big announcement will be tonight at 7 as far as the name of the expansion and then tomorrow from 4-6 will be the epic panels with nearly everyone from EQ2 telling us what’s coming and when. I know there is quite a bit a lot more content coming before the expansion.

If you caught this video at MMORPG.com, you know that there is some big news at Fan Faire with regards to Shaders 3.0 in EQ2. Namely boosting the look of the game and taking a lot more work off the CPU and putting it on the graphics card where it belongs. Already the new GPU shadows look awesome outdoors (indoors will require more work as I’m sure most instance zones lack point lights and use ambient light which doesn’t cast shadows). I will post some comments as soon as I see some side-by-side comparison screen shots.

If there is one awkward element to the event so far, I am kind of wondering why Bruce Ferguson is so publicly visible at Fan Faire, especially around EQ2 events. It’s clear that we’re moving in a different direction, so I guess I just don’t understand. I don’t have any ill will towards the guy, but he shepherded some decisions which are now being backed out of the game now. Maybe I’m overthinking it. 🙂

I’ll post more goodies about the future of EQ2 as soon as I have it…

An Awesome, Chaotic Day

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

An interesting day indeed, talking about the game. As much as people may doubt it, most of the Devs really do listen and want folks to play the game. It would pretty dumb if they didn’t.

They know the mistakes of Kunark, and the issues (to a lesser extent) in TSO.

Oh and talking to Pantz, Crabbok, Atan, and more isn’t too shabby either.

Record turnout for the eq2flames mashup. WTF are you Gage? 😛

Fan Faire 2009 Opens

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

A line of folks stretching out into the casino, ready to head into the main Fan Faire hall. Then at 8, the welcome by Brenlo, who couldn’t resist havimng a little fun, using every opportunity to hawk the game he is now Exec Producer for — EQ2.

Prizes included Turtle Beach headsets, 3d display goggles, and PNY 8800gts video cards. Well, if you could do an emote (you’d think folks would practice by now ;)).

Cirque

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

My 4th Cirque de Soleil — Ka — freakin sweet!!

The engineering that went into the 360 pivoting tilting stage is incredible. And of course great performers.

Awesome!

Legroom

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

While i do not feel entitled to special treatment (even though I’ve been asked enough basketball and weather inquiries to last a lifetime), in the end it came down to a stewardess getting me into a seat less likely to induce leg cramps. 😉 Thanks. 🙂

Now to get situated…

Useless Airways

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

Getting ready to board the sorriest excuse for an airline around. First airline I’ve ever dealt with that cannot offer an exit row to a 6’9″ passenger online, at the ticket counter, at the gate, and when the gate rep made a rude comment about my height not being his fault, I notified customer service.

Maybe there is some small satisfaction in getting a cocky employee of the most customer-hostile airline in trouble. But as I stand in a completely backed up jetway, because three gate attendants haven’t learned the fine art of staging an aircraft boarding, I realize there can be no satisfaction.

See you in 4 hours.

June 23 Hotfix

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

GENERAL

  • The Order of Rime illusion no longer has a minimum level for use.
  • Fang the direbear has received some additional defensive bonuses.
  • The Eggstractor should now only work on its intended target (which is, of course, eggs).
  • There is a new EQ2VoiceService.exe from Vivox that should resolve some crash issues that players were experiencing.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Coercer

  • Coercive Healing will once again apply properly to reactive heals.

KURN’S TOWER

  • A cinematic event when slaying Ione (with a quest requirement) has been turned on. Fear Kraytoc’s wrath!

MUNZOK’S MATERIAL BASTION

  • The void sapper adds associated with Ozyk in Munzok’s Material Bastion have reduced health, and don’t spawn as quickly as before.
  • Umzok will not automatically sacrifice his adds to gain their buff as quickly as before.

QUESTS

  • It should no longer be possible to gather every available reward when completing the Shadow Odyssey signature quest line.
  • The Order of Rime barrel of fish and box of bones in Kunzar Jungle will now offer the quest “Fishing for Faction” and “Set of Bone Plates” correctly, when you have completed Kellaen Mednevn’s quest “Stockpiling Stone Mucus” and have the Rime illusion cast.
  • Kallaen Mednevn in Kunzar Jungle now consistently offers her quest “Task of the Rider” to only those that have enough Rime faction and are masking themselves with the Rime illusion.

SPELLS

Necromancer

  • Nylph’s Misty Image has been reverted to its previous illusion state.

Moonlight Enchantments — Every 20th

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Live Events, Tradeskill

Moonlight Enchantments is a new recurring World Event in the forests of Norrath which will only be available the 20th of every month. I apologize for not getting this information up before June 20th, but it should be available for the 20th of every month hereafter.

This event is now known as Moonlight Enchantments (formerly known as the Enchanted Grottos of Norrath).

Essentially, there is a mushroom ring in each of the forests of Norrath which can be entered once per month (on the 20th) to visit five unique hidden instances. Each has purple shinies and quests to be completed. Both offer house items, charge-based mounts, and illusion forms. The mounts in particular have some…unique choices. Between magic mushrooms, brownies, and sunshine yellow carpets that bloom flowers and belch mushrooms, it was quite a trippy day let me tell you. 😉

For those with a scientific mind who wish to know what these instances look like, here is my best guess:

  • Emerald Halls entry
  • Lower Guk entry
  • Lesser Faydark
  • ? – mushroom area — dig up compost
  • ? – fawns and brownies — make root beer

As always, EQ2Traders is on the ball with a full accounting of these five new forest-based instances and the rewards they offer. It’s quite a selection of house items if you are looking to spruce up your terrarium or take the plunge with a more interesting looking guild hall aquarium. 🙂 Ok, no more bad humor I promise. At least until Wednesday…

Cross-talk in Palace of the Ancient One

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

If your guild has been experiencing heavy lag in Palace of the Ancient One and perhaps noticed that you are seeing combat logs from another guild that is in their own instance ‘leaking’ into your combat logs for this zone, you’re not alone.

There is an amusing screen snapshot that shows partial combat logs that demonstrate this ‘cross-talk’. It seems likely this is the cause of some of the lag in this zone.

There is also another issue with regards to adds continuously spawning, to the point of hundreds of adds appearing if the zone bugs out.

It’s being addressed by timetravelling.

June 18 Hotfix

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

EMPEROR’S ATHENAEUM

  • The final bosses no longer ambush players.
  • Players should get experience from each location discovery within the zone, instead of just the first.
  • Drago’s Boar’s Eruption does less damage.
  • Added a clue to help decipher the floor-set vault lock.
  • Master of the Embalmers summons adds much less frequently.
  • The Curator teleports less frequently.

KURN’S TOWER

  • Ilenee’s Betrayal and Despair no longer heal after they teleport and no longer can teleport to the same room.

VOICE CHAT

  • EQ2VoiceService.exe should now run on Windows 2000.
  • Players should no longer show as talking intermittently when their push-to-talk key is not pressed.

June 17 Hotfix

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

GENERAL

  • Players experiencing problems customizing Wood Elf males should no longer have any issues.
  • Persistent instances should no longer boot players out when they were not committed to the previous instance.

EMPEROR’S ATHENAEUM

  • The final bosses should no longer despawn if players died next to their spawn locations.

Laryngitis

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Tradeskill

Any software update is going to bring bugs.

Laryngitis

I just wish SoE hadn’t tried to completely revamp the voice system on the same day as all this new content was added. Last night we spent most of time just fiddling around with voice, trying to get it clear and stable. Mostly it was choppy, stuttery, laggy, and folks had a tough time joining channels.

We also had to inform a few folks running Windows Firewall that they would need to allow Eq2VoiceService.exe. This service was spun off from the EQ2 client to allow voice chat outside the game as long as the Station Launcher is running.

Instead of running new dungeons as we originally planned, a lot of solo quests and old HQs got done instead. It’s perhaps just as well that we elected not to try the new zones.

Emperor’s Anathenum

Quests and AA

I just wanted to reiterate that our AA prayers have been answered. If you are coming up short on Achievement Experience and have had enough of grey quests, once you reach level 80 (and provided combat XP is not disabled!), your combat XP will be converted to AA XP at a significant rate. It may make sense to pick up City Writs not only to help your guild level but also for AA. 🙂

GU52 adds a series of solo quests regarding the Order of Rime starting on the Kylong Plains docks. Kaitheel was nice enough to enumerate the quests and their general locations:

  • Kylong Plains has 10 new quests
  • Fens of Nathsar has 31 new quests
  • Kunzar Jungle has 20 new quests
  • Jarsath Wastes has 20 new quests

Timers

timetravelling fixed a bug with all instances that would prevent certain people from zoning in. The error message these folks were receiving — You may not enter an instance created prior to when your previous instance’s minimum lockout timer has expired seems to imply time travel!

Try the Pie

If you are a diehard provisioner, who is more than willing to fling 10 plat pieces and toil for an hour in exchange for some new provisioner recipes, you might want to check out the stats on the recipe reward first. It may or may not be worth your effort. I’m not sure why such an expensive recipe wouldn’t have some main stat bonuses.

I would love to see Advanced Provisioner recipes that produce good to very good food/drink.

From the Shadows

There are several threads going on about the new GPU Shadows which have had an extended stay on Test and have finally made it to Live. The consensus? They look fantastic outdoors in full sun. Indoors? Well, let’s hope we see enough point light sources added that GPU Shadows can be enabled indoors.

More Testing

Ultimately a lot of this comes down to not enough people being on Test and Test Copy. Also if folks go over there and there are issues with zoning and timers, they quickly give up and come back to Live.

My suggestion would be rewards for testing. Perhaps a Quest is offered at a certain time on Test and Test Copy which rewards a short-term 80% mount, or a house item, or guild hall item, or some other rare item. And this time would be announced on Live either in the MoTD or in that handy Welcome box.

   

SOE Trademarks Possible EverQuest & EverQuest II Expansions

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Expansion News

From Curse.com.


Through a bit of internet sleuthing we’ve discovered that recently, Sony Online Entertainment decided to trademark two new titles, one each for EverQuest and EverQuest II. The trademarks in question took place on June 10th, 2009 and are EverQuest Underfoot, and EverQuest II Sentinel’s Fate. While nothing is announced yet, there’s a good chance these two titles are the names of each game’s respective expansions.

So why would SOE do this? Well, they have the annual SOE Fanfaire coming up in a week, in which they’ll no doubt continue their recent tradition of announcing expansions for their flagship MMO titles, so ensuring the trademark was in place prior to the announcement is always crucial.

EverQuest fans will no doubt recognize the Underfoot fairly quickly. It’s an area that many wished would be introduced to the game early on in its lifetime; the realm of Brell Serilis, deity whom created the dwarves. Coming off its 10th anniversary and a new server ruleset, this would be the 16th expansion for the game.

On the other hand, what Sentinel’s Fate will bring is questionable. Will this be the much-anticipated Velious expansion for EverQuest II, related to the dragons of the continent? Or will it continue the story laid out by The Shadow Odyssey?

Regardless, I think it’s safe to say we’ll hear these new expansions announced at the SOE Fanfaire during John Smedley’s Community Address on Friday, June 26th at 7PM PDT. Stay tuned next week as we’ll no doubt have more information not only on EverQuest and EverQuest II, but other titles shown at the Fanfaire as well!

Been a While

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance, Itemization, Live Events, Tradeskill

A week without news, some of you might be getting jittery. 🙂

GU52 is still on Test, getting nipped, tucked, and tested out. I believe they are on track to get it onto live servers perhaps as early as June 16th (my estimate, arrived using my advanced degree in EQ2ology). I know they really wanted it to be on Live before Fan Faire.

I’ve already documented the broad strokes of Gu52 in my earlier posts. If you haven’t seen a preview of player made Books, upgraded Hex Dolls and Ranged Weapons, or new furniture coming to EQ2, check out the EQTraders.com preview.

Many folks have been asking for more Live Events to be added to EQ2 especially during the summer doldrums. Due to changes in how server updates can be handled, it is possible to roll out Live Events a lot more easily. You can look forward to:

  • Tinkerfest — Tinkerfest is the great annual gnomish festival of tinkering and all things tinkered. It’s that time in the year when gnomes spend time with family and friends, exchange tinkered gifts, and celebrate the gnomish life.

Further, you can expect a recurring event which will likely be available only one day per month (perhaps when the moon is full!):

  • Enchanted Grottos of Norrath — Enchanted Mushroom Rings have sprung up in the forests of Norrath. These lead to instances which contain purple shiny collections, not to mention quests which award Elemental Tokens. Both the collections and the Elemental Tokens reward fantastic furniture and house items.

These two live events are discussed further on the EQ2 Forums, as well as links and pictures to some of the awesome rewards.

It wouldn’t be an EQ2Wire post without a hairball or two…

If you are a bard and your Drum of the Ethernaut  Chronicler is starting to sound a little flat, you’re not alone. A change on Test will make this item (which Fatuus wisely observed is more difficult to acquire than the Dirge/Troubador epic weapons) practically useless. Risk vs. Reward? Discuss it.

She’s got Skills

Adventurers in EQ2 go out of their way to be the best they can be, learning their class, tweaking their AA setups, adjusting casting orders, getting their skills up, and of course getting the best gear. I can assure you that EQ2 Tradeskillers are just as passionate about bettering themselves.

Tradeskillers acquire every recipe available to them, run the Tradeskill group instances added in TSO (some run them solo — oy vey!), earn faction to get access to more items, furniture, clothes, and recipes, work with adventurers to bring home more recipes, etc.

So when a scientific analysis of harvesting revealed that having significantly higher Harvest/Mining/Gathering/Trapping/Fishing skill had such an minimal effect on getting a rare as to be statistically insignificant, I had to dig deeper.

It is possible by donning the harvesting cloak (A Gathering Obsession), tradeskill epic earring (Proof in the Pudding), tradeskill jewelry, diety quest rewards, etc. to increase ones harvesting abilities to 540. This is 59% increase in this skill over what is required for T8 nodes (340). To put this in other terms, to naturally get a harvesting skill of 540, you would have to be a level 108 player.

Now, do I expect a 59% increase in the likelihood of harvesting rares? No. I’m well aware that this would unbalance the game and make rares too common. EQ2 operates on a diminishing returns curve. However nothing prepared me for the revelation that increasing Harvesting skill by 59% only increased the chance of harvesting a rare by .369%.

I know some folks would like to protect their lucrative market for rares (especially silicate loams), but a less than half of one percent increase? Instead of taking roughly 90 minutes to harvest one silicate loam, it will take 89 minutes and 27 seconds.

I love Domino to death, and she has always been above board, telling us exactly what we can expect, what she is looking for input on and what has already been decided. You know where you stand with her. But I will be making the point at Fan Faire — in the politest, most respectful way possible — that some of us expect Skills on items to actually do something. 🙂

Server Transfers

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Daybreak Cash

As you might be aware, EQ2 Automated Server Transfers have been down for over a year now. As a result, server transfers are something which must be done manually by a customer service rep. Server transfers have cost $50 per character, which makes it absurdly expensive to transfer all of your characters from one server to another.

Hopefully good news on this front is that the EQ2 Automated Server Transfers are coming back, but rather than through the Station Store, they will be triggered in-game through Station Marketplace (StationCash). Check out the Coming Soon thread at the EQ2 forums. Or just read these quotes requesting a definition for ‘soon’, how much it will cost, and whether server transfers were being held up for stationcash.

From Brenlo:

[Server Transfers] were not withheld to implement Marketplace.  Just fortunate timing on the work.

A few weeks is the current plan.

I am confirming pricing options.

Inevitably, comes the question of whether we’ll see Free Character Transfers, as a summer promotion, but Brenlo indicated that there were “none planned at the moment.”

Xalmat asked if EQ2Players Character Stats such as most mastered, discoveries, etc. would carry over.

Zoltaroth replied with:

The new system builds upon the old automated system, which should support transfering over your stats.  If it does not work with the new sytem, it is something that I will look into fixing.

I am sure we will post a FAQ at some point, but a few things I wanted to point out since this thread is here (keep in mind these are subject to change):

  • Transfers will be limited to monthly current subscribers only
  • Transfers will be limited to characters above level 10
  • Transfers will be limited to accounts older than 60 days

Anyone wishing to transfer who does not meet those requirements, will have to use the old manual proccess.  However, since the vast majority of transfers meet those requirements, manual transfers should become less impacted and faster as well.

We’ll have more info as it comes down the pike. Hopefully one of the options is to move all characters on the account to another server.

GU52 — Learn to Love Set Bonuses Again

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

One of the biggest complaints about the otherwise fantastic Ward of Elements x2 raid zone is that by upgrading a few pieces of armor to T3, fighters and mages lost huge 5-piece bonuses from their T2 armor.

An undocumented fix in GU52 is that these bonuses are now distributed over the set bonuses in such a way that 3 pieces of T2 and 3 pieces of T3 will yield a similar bonus to having 5 pieces of T2.

This is fantastic news, as it seemed this would be a long-term fix based on the Zam devchat. Glad they could squeeze this fix in sooner rather than later!

Although it’s not really posted in the right forum, I’m going to link to the thread which has the first information about this fix that I’ve seen.

GU52 Screen Shots

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

For your viewing pleasure if you have not yet been able to make it over to the Test Servers, look what washed up on the northern shores of Fens of Nathsar not 500 yards from our old friend the Tangrin…

It is unexpected to see humans, halflings, giants, and ratonga working so closely together. What could their mission be?

Note also that this is not just a temporary event, but that it will persist into the next expansion. Whether we should read further into that is a question that I just don’t have enough information to know the answer to. Some have suggested that this is confirmation that Velious is on the way. Others have suggested that this may be the beginning of the reviled ‘Discord’ expansion (primarily because it signaled an increase in the difficulty of group and raid content beyond what even most hardcore raiders would find reasonable).

Hopefully I’ll know for certain in exactly one month, when the EQ2 expansion is revealed at Fan Faire 2009. Yes, I’ll be there. 😉

GU52 Comments

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

That’s a lot of notes to read, so I will distill some of the key points.

Procs

If you read Bruce Ferguson’s parting comments, and you generate a good potion of your DPS from gear with effects like Goblin Bane, Void Bane, or Vampire Bane, or if you are an Assassin wearing Soul Lancer armor, you might want to read the relevant section again:

We’ve discovered that with the items that we released with The Shadow Odyssey, that proc additional damage, the amount of damage being caused has grown considerably, and we need to adjust it. So, in the next game update, we’re going to be adjusting to the way triggered procs on items work.

We’re removing critical damage from the item’s base proc.

Procs can no longer be modified, with a few notable exception.

Generic bonuses will no longer apply to triggered damage generated from items

Predators will see a change to Toxic Expertise. We are refocusing affected combat arts back to improved poison damage, rather than spell crit damage. Spell Crit is going away as a benefit to Rangers and Assassins.

and the relevant lines from the Test Update notes:

Item based triggered effects can no longer critical or have their damage components modified unless done directly through something like an achievement or set bonus.

We were told that Soul Lancer’s days of generating massive dps for Assassins would come to a close, and this confirms it.

Of course GU52 also brings 2 new dungeons including Charasis 3 and Kurn’s Tower, 80 new quests, an overall improvement in Achievement Experience earned, Research Assistants, Player-made Books, etc. but I wanted to highlight these points.

I’ve made my points on Research Assistants elsewhere. I do believe it will kill the market for Masters if every month, everyone can get one for free without any questing or effort. I think other measures such as producing T8 upgrades for all non-upgraded spells would have been a great idea. Also adding more mobs that have these rare masters on their loot tables would have worked. Hailing an NPC twice 30 days apart and rewarding people for NOT playing the game seems very odd to me. But we shall see…

I really do encourage everyone to head over to the Test Server and try out GU52, check out the Test Server FAQ.

GU52 now on Test — Update Notes

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Game Updates & Maintenance, Grouping, Raiding, Tradeskill

Here are the notes for GU52 which has now appeared on Test. It is unknown exactly when these changes will go live.

FEATURED

Charasis: Emperor’s Athenaeum

  • The Order of Rime has managed to re-open this ancient vault of Venril Sathir’s. What secrets lie within? What terrible guardians? Venture in with a single group of adventurers to find out what awaits!

Kunark Overland Quests

  • A mysterious army has appeared upon the shores of Kunark and begun pillaging the land and slaughtering those that oppose them. Citizens of Dreg’s Landing in Kylong Plains, Riliss in Fens of Nathsar, the City of Jinisk in Kunzar Jungle and Danak in Jarsath Wastes are looking for your help in learning about the invaders and defeating them.

Kurn’s Tower

  • After Najena’s magic revealed the void tear slowly consuming the tower, the Bellywhumpers have frantically dug a passage into Kurn’s Tower once again! Delve into your choice of the x2 raid or the single group instance, and attempt to solve the mysteries within!

Research Assistants

  • Research Assistants have moved into many cities in Norrath.  These hardworking men and women will do the research to upgrade a spell or combat art from journeyman to adept or from expert to master.  They will only assist one character per account at a time and only help those level 20 or higher.  Research Assistants can be found in each of the six hoods and villages of Freeport and Qeynos, Neriak, Haven, Gorowyn and Kelethin.  You can ask any guard in those areas to point you in the direction of a Research Assistant if you can’t find them.

GPU Shadow System

  • A new shadow system has been implemented for the game.  This new system uses your graphics card to build the shadows rather than your CPU and it comes with a few extras as well.  Using the shadow mapping technique and 3.0 Shaders we’re now able to cast softer shadows, fade shadows, and cast dynamic shadows from trees, plants, feathers, and more!  The new system fixes a few shadowing glitches found in certain armor sets and self-shadowing and depending on your computer’s settings may also significantly improve performance.

User Books

  • Players can now leave their permanent mark in the world of Norrath by authoring their own books. Empty books are now available from sages.  Once you edit the content of an empty book you become the author and from that point forward you are the only one who can edit the book content.  Player-written books are tradable so you can give them to your friends or even sell them on the broker.

GENERAL

  • Indus Surion should no longer sell “The Freeport’s Guide to Opportunity – 2nd Edition”.
  • Navarius Orvalis should no longer sell “Welcome to Qeynos, Citizen! – 2nd Edition”.
  • Class Trainers will now only sell Entertainment spells and not Apprentice II spells.
  • By popular demand, the Gigglegibber Gamblin’ Lotto game has expanded onto the Lavastorm docks (void where prohibited by Norrathian law).
  • After a disturbing number of Koada’Dal disappeared while speaking with him, Vindain Greenfaith has moved slightly away from the entrance to The Down Below in Castleview Hamlet.
  • Daily faction missions in Tupta, Grobb, and Firmroot Moot now award more faction.
  • Killing NPCs will now accumulate achievement experience faster.
  • Missions now grant slightly higher achievement experience.
  • Merchants who formerly made a living selling Apprentice II spells are experiencing an economic downturn and have either found new employment or departed the city to seek fortune elsewhere.
  • Menders based in Kunark will now assist you even though they may be apprehensive.  Bankers and brokers are also willing to deal with you once they consider you indifferently.  Fens of Nathsar now has a mender, banker, and fence.
  • Mounts will now persist through death.
  • Most Baubles that apply illusions will show the illusion in the dressing room when Ctrl+Left Clicked.
  • Beneficial spells will no longer fail to cast if you have an object such as a harvest node or non-attackable npc targeted.
  • Cosmetic pets will no longer be killed by AOE from monsters.
  • Castable items will no longer trigger proc spells.
  • Item based triggered effects can no longer critical or have their damage components modified unless done directly through something like an achievement or set bonus.
  • You can now cancel a maintained spell by using /cancel_maintained spell name.
  • Fixed a case where some triggered spells would cause reactive damage triggers to go off.
  • Power draining dots will no longer trigger reactive damage once applied.
  • The elusive Schizophylum Spore in upper and lower Guk instances can now be found!

ACHIEVEMENTS

General

  • Castable Achievement abilities have been moved to the Combat Art or Spells tab depending on the class and the ability type.

Bard

  • Heroic Storytelling will now apply properly to damage and heals.

Druid

  • Reduced the recast of Rebirth to 5 minutes.

Predator

  • Toxic Expertise will now improve the damage of poisons instead of increasing spell critical chance.

Shadowknight

  • The Shadowknight will now be healed properly from Malevolent Protection.

Summoner

  • Reanimate pet will properly apply TSO pet modifiers now.

AUTOFOLLOW

  • Improved auto follow to avoid having the follower sometimes run large circles around the character they are following.
  • Auto follow now works when following someone who starts climbing down a cliff.
  • Autofollow while climbing used to only go up or down, now it also goes left or right.

CODING

  • EverQuest II now supports the Philips amBX experience.  With the amBX system, you can experience dynamic lighting, wind and rumble effects. See http://www.ambx.com/ for more information.

GUILDS

  • Players now get the message “GuildLeader has kicked YourAltName from the guild” if you are online and one of your alts is kicked (the message used to read “GuildLeader has kicked YOU from the guild”).
  • Changed the guild hall teleport pop up window to reuse the existing window rather than spawn multiples of the existing window.
  • Fixed a bug that sometimes causes a guild rally banner to deactivate before the two hour time limit.
  • Guilds are able to hire a research assistant hireling for their guild hall.
  • Fixed a bug causing level 79 guilds to only get 25 amenities instead of 29.
  • The slayer sign guild hall amenity no longer uses an amenity slot.
  • The guild hall amenity limit is no longer constrained by the size of the guild hall.  The number of amenities allowed is now only based on your guild’s level.

ITEMS

  • Upgraded the appearances on Aiden’s cloaks from Ward of Elements.
  • The Ground Granite Helm should now match the coloration of the rest of its set.
  • Adept and Master spell scrolls for Unyielding Will are no longer no-trade.
  • Bite of the Wolf will now trigger properly and apply to the warden.

LAVASTORM

  • “Efforts Repaid” has had the number of kills required reduced.
  • “Snuff the Flare Reapers” has had the number of kills required reduced and now all flare men count as quest targets.
  • “Colossal Lava Rocks” now includes hardened colossi as quest targets.
  • There is no longer a group of goblin ritualists that cause the Fiery Apparition to attempt to attack from across the zone.
  • There should no longer be any heroic encounters in the Temple of Sol Ro.
  • There should no longer be the occasional mob that can see invis in the Temple of Sol Ro.
  • Teleporters in Lavastorm can no longer be used while engaged in PvP combat.

MISTMYR MANOR

  • The Stewardess should no longer occasionally reset.
  • The 3 reward chests no longer have an unintentional 1-hour time limit before they despawn.
  • The Primogens teleport less frequently.
  • The Primogens should be a little less reluctant to give up certain items.
  • The Curator has slightly fewer hitpoints.

PLAYER HOUSING

  • The front door of a player house now always leads back to the city.

QUESTS

  • Kunzar Jungle: Any players who have completed the quest “Slice Your Way Up the Ladder” will now be able to get “Do Unto Havik” regardless of the order in which they did the Swifttails quests.
  • Characters that feign death or run away from the grave watchers for “Gathering Feathers” can now return and try again.
  • Gerun Pontian in the Commonlands will now update “Speckled Rattler Venom” for non-Freeport aligned citizens.
  • Kregnok Legbreaker in the Commonlands is not quite as good at breaking legs anymore.
  • The Clefts of Rujark – Players that have already completed “The Key of Coins” quest no longer need “a fancy steel key” in their inventory to access the Rujark treasure chamber.
  • Citizens of Gorowyn should be able to complete the Qeynos Claymore quest now.

SPELLS

General

  • Fighter avoidance buffs will once again persist through zoning.
  • Persistent spells should apply modification data properly upon zoning now.
  • Interpose effects will no longer trigger reactive procs while intercepting damage from another player.

Assassin

  • The Death Mark line will now use melee effect modifiers instead of spell modifiers.

Defiler

  • Spiritual Circle will once again apply to raid members.

Dirge

  • Cacophany of Blades will now make a melee attack instead of using a spell attack.

Enchanter

  • Mesmerize spells will no longer trigger additional spells.

Summoners

  • Some pet appearances have changed to match the new spell names.

Swashbuckler

  • The Inspired Daring line will now use melee effect modifiers instead of spell modifiers.

TRADESKILLS

  • Magmatic Bronze armor from Najena’s Forge now requires fewer components to create.
  • Tailors across Norrath have been experimenting and have discovered a way to improve the utility of crafted hex dolls.  Already existing pristine quality hex dolls will automatically improve.
  • Meledi Augren in the Village of Shin is looking for assistance from an experienced Sage.
  • Scholar recipes have been modified to reflect the spell naming changes.
  • Woodworkers and tailors have upgraded their recipes and can now make improved versions of tradeskilled ranged weapons (bows, satchels, bandoliers, pouches, and sheaths).  Old ranged weapons that already exist will not be affected, only new ones created henceforth.
  • Carpenters may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the Estate of Unrest a little more closely.
  • Provisioners may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the arena in Charasis West Wing.
  • Harvests are now more plentiful in the Palace of the Ancient One tradeskill instance.
  • Sages are now able to craft the level 34 Illusionist spell “Manatap,” formerly known as “Devitalizing Gaze.”
  • Alchemists among the Far Seas Supply Division have found new uses for Reflective Smoldering Shards.

USER INTERFACE

  • Statistic labels on the persona window now display the same tooltip as their values.
  • Updated the heading on the compass tool tip to be in line with the direction the compass is pointing.
  • Updated the deposit window to take eight digits rather than just seven.
  • Changed tool tips to auto widen if there are very long lines.
  • The friends list on the welcome screen will now ignore offline friends if that option is enabled on the community window.
  • Items that are appearance-only will now show APPEARANCE-ONLY in the examine window and on the tool tips of those items.
  • Fixed a bug causing hidden quests in players’ quest journal to become unhidden after zoning.
  • You can now specify the text format of your hotbars from the Hotkey Settings window.
  • You can now use the macro window to equip weapons in appearance slots.
  • You can now modify the key setting for toggling your point-of-view (F9) under Options->Controls->View Keys.
  • Fixed a bug where when a player would complete the last quest in the journal there would still be information from the completed quest showing in the details window in the journal and in the active quest window.
  • Textboxes now support selecting all text by pressing CTRL-A.

WARD OF ELEMENTS

  • Najena should no longer occasionally be floating up above the tower after Aiden has been slain.
  • Dayakara summons her imp minions slightly less frequently.

GU52 Preview Delayed

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

We’re hearing from EQ2’s new Senior Producer Brenlo that GU52 (Kurn’s Tower BTV, Kurn’s Tower x2, and CEA) will not hit Test and Test Copy until at least Tuesday, May 26th. It is unknown if this will push back the internal estimates of seeing GU52 on Live ‘several weeks’ before Fan Faire.

EQ2 Senior Producer Bruce Ferguson steps down, Make room for Brenlo

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary

A bit of a bombshell for some of you. Bruce Ferguson has stepped down as Senior Producer of EQ2 (his announcement):

Just like any evolving game, things change. Since release, we’ve had an ongoing and heavy interest in game balance. Much of the critical implementation work in the last several years for EverQuest II has been on the shoulders of Aeralik, but the discussion and decisions are shared across the entire team, as we review information that you provide us in various ways. Data comes from the many reports we run against our log files, from the posts you make in the EQII forums, and even from external forums. Once we gather that data, we process it so that we can see the underlying issue it reveals.

Fairly often the data confirms something that one of you has pointed out in a post, or in feedback, or a ticket with Customer Service, and we start looking at ways that we can correct whatever that issue is. There is not a one of us who enjoys putting something into the game that eventually needs to be “nerfed”, but at times changes get in that end up doing something completely unexpected, despite our testing. Even the most innocuous item or change can make a significant difference in a game with the complexity of an MMO, especially with the size and scope of EQII.

This is the situation we’ve run into now. We’ve discovered that with the items that we released with The Shadow Odyssey, that proc additional damage, the amount of damage being caused has grown considerably, and we need to adjust it. So, in the next game update, we’re going to be adjusting to the way triggered procs on items work.

The first change of note is that we’re removing critical damage from the item’s base proc. This will help us even out damage from the items we’ve already released, and also assist us in maintaining a standard going forward.

The next thing you’ll see in this update is that the values of the procs can no longer be modified, with a few notable exceptions like achievements or item set enhancements. Generic bonuses will no longer apply to triggered damage generated from items. This will allow us to move forward with creating items that can have higher damage item procs in the future.

Predators will see a change to Toxic Expertise, The spell will now improve the base damage of poisons. We’re also making adjustments to the Death Mark and Inspired Daring spell lines so that they trigger melee attacks instead of spell based attacks. This is to refocus the combat art back to improved poison damage, rather than the spell crit damage it has been doing.

We recognize that these are substantial changes. We wouldn’t be making them if we didn’t feel that things were currently unbalanced, and becoming more so as the game continues to grow. These changes will bring the item procs and spells back to a reasonable standard.

What about the rest of the content in this game update? Well, there are a bunch of additional changes you’ll be seeing, beyond the spell rename that we’ve been talking about on the boards for a while now; you can expect to see a brand new x2 raid, two single group instances, lots of overland solo content, player created books, a whole new and more efficient shadow system, and research assistants to help you study up for your next spell upgrade.

We’re expecting to have most of this rolled out to the test server sometime during the week of May 18th, and then out to the live servers in June, around Fan Faire. We’ll be sure to keep you updated if dates change.
We hope to see your feedback on all of these matters and hope that you’ll join us on the Test server once we update. Until then, please give us your feedback in the Official Forums.

Finally, this will be my final Producer’s letter to you all. I’m moving on within SOE to another position, but wanted to thank each of you for your continued comments, concerns, and discussion. Between the team and the players, it’s been a most enjoyable experience for me again, and I will certainly miss you all – without being too far away. Fortunately, I’m leaving you in good hands, and I think the future of EverQuest II will continue to shine.

I’ll see you in game!

Bruce A. Ferguson

Today brings the announcement that Alan “Brenlo” Crosby is taking this position (his announcement):

You know, the most awkward part of writing one of these is the introduction; it almost always comes across as cliché.

So, now that we have that out of the way….

I am extremely pleased to join the creative and passionate EQII team as the Senior Producer.  Bruce has always been wonderful to work with and leaves me some rather large shoes to fill (speaking of clichés; they are actually about the same size as my own).  Bruce has been a strong shepherd for the team and the game and we all wish him well as he moves into his new role here at SOE.  I know he will do well, as he carries the dedication he shows in all things with him.

As far as Community Relations, I am leaving the team in very capable hands.  Richard “Greeblen” Schmelter will be giving that team the love they need now, and I know he will shine.  Why the change for me?  Well, first you should understand that it is not as different a career as you might think.  A producer is a manager, just like a director.  So, many of the skills are the same.  Just different processes, more people, more assets.  More, more, more.  And of course, now I have these large looming deadlines.  What was I thinking?  I love games, especially MMO’s.  EQ was my first love and brought me to SOE, but it was EQII that held me longer than any other.  I love the game and when the opportunity arose to work with this team, I could not pass it up.

This team is amazing!  I have spent the last two days in meetings as they talk about their work and their passion for this product; I am excited, as I could not be blessed with a better group to help me make this transition into Production.  Coders, Designers and Artists are all working very hard to make sure EQII stays the quality game it is today.  Over the next few weeks you will see some of their plans come to fruition as we publish Monument and Might (GU 52) to Test and then Live servers sometime in June (possibly before Fan Faire).

But that ain’t all we have in store for you.  As we sat together and went over the plans for GU 53 and beyond, the player in me was piqued.  I wanted this new stuff NOW.  I wanted to play with the new zones, items, and dungeons.  I smiled and laughed as I saw new creatures and their animations (complete with sound effects provided by Tom Tobey, one of our Senior Artists), and I know that you will love them too.

We also have some not so much fun stuff to get to, maintenance to the game to allow us to continue to develop content, expansions, and items for years to come.  Some of those pills will be tough to swallow (cliché).  The team and I will work hard to make certain you understand why we’re making these changes, why they are necessary.  We will discuss them with you and listen to your feedback.  While that doesn’t mean we can always go the way some players feel is correct, it does mean we want you to know the WHY of our decisions.  I used the word “shepherd” for Bruce and it is fitting, as that is what a producer does.  They make sure the game is headed in the right direction, away from cliffs and pitfalls so that it stays around, competitive, and most importantly fun, for a good long time.

I will be available on the forums occasionally, on Twitter often (handle is Brenlo) and in game when I can log in to chat with you.  I look forward to hearing from you.  I look forward to playing with you.   I look forward to being a shepherd for this game and development team.  Leading them, shaping their plans and guiding their passion.  A passion you, I and the team share.

See you in Norrath.
Alan “Brenlo” Crosby
Senior Producer – EQII-

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