Smart Loot Masters?

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization

Posted by Kander:

So there are two percentages that are set on master drops. There is the drop percentage, which means monster X has an X% chance to drop a master spell.

Then there is the smartloot percentage, which means aside from the drop rate, if a master drops what percentage chance is it that someone will need it.

So a boss mob that has a 10% chance to drop a master and it has 33% smartloot, means that when it drops, there is a 33% chance that its a spell someone in your group needs.

If you think about it, with there being currently eventy-billion spells and abilities on a given tier, 33% that its something you need is light years better then the alternative.

I see how people see the smartloot as not so smartloot, I hope that helps.


May 19 Hotfix

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


  • Death Chimes will now work correctly.
  • Ill Will now properly applies the heal to the owner of the item.


  • Pets should now be able to attack the Void Annihilator.


  • Boss mobs should now drop multiple keys for early progression in Veksar: The Invasion.
  • Innate spells used by much of the population in Veksar: The Invasion can no longer be used towards other creatures within the zone.


  • The Archmagus now banishes players less frequently than before.  Field General Uktap’s Sappers now take longer to set explosive charges, and do not spawn as often.
  • Field General Uktap now drops legging patterns.
  • Ykesha now only drops chest patterns instead of both chest and legging patterns.

EQ2 Dev Chat at Zam

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Grouping, Itemization, Raiding, Tradeskill

On May 14th, there was an EQ2 Dev Chat hosted by Zam.

  • Bruce (Froech) – Producer
  • Jennifer (Kirstie) – Mechanics Supervisor
  • Ryan Favale (ImagoQuem) – Graphics
  • Roger (patherpanchali) – Raid content
  • Nick (GlipSOE) – Associate Producer
  • Brett (timetravelling) – Associate Game Designer
  • Greg (Rothgar) – Sr. Programmer
  • Emily (Domino) – Tradeskills
  • Chris (Aeralik) – Class Balance/Combat
  • Jason (Fyreflyte) – Itemisation
  • Nathan (Kaitheel) – Events and Quests

Complete chat logs of that event can be found at, however some people might like to get the highlights that I think my readers might be most interested in…

My question about Set Bonuses:

Ward of Elements is fun and challenging. One issue with the zone however is set bonuses. Equipping more than one piece of T3 armor breaks up the T2 set bonus. For tanks this means losing 7% mitigation. Going forward when armor sets are added, can one of the items in the NEXT tier include the set bonus of the PREVIOUS tier?

Fyreflyte responded in the live chat with:

We’ve run up against this issue in a number of places recently, and have certainly been giving it a lot of thought. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as allowing the next set to count toward a current set’s bonuses.

You end up with some issues with double bonuses, and we’d need some new code support for it. We have a few plans for our next round of sets that should help avoid the problem, however. No specifics yet, as we’re still testing them =)

Fyreflyte provided additional details in the free-for-all chat afterwards:

The problem with upgrading set bonuses was compounded this expansion due to the way players upgrade their shard sets. It’s an issue we hadn’t run into much before. One idea I’ve had to help alleviate it would be to drop set pieces in WoE that were inferior to the actual shard armor, but helped complete the set for classes that absolutely needed their set bonuses.

This takes a bit of new code that allows for larger, slightly more dynamic sets, but may present an option to avoid this same problem in the future. It’s still just in the idea phase, but is an example of the types of solutions we’re looking at. For future gear, I’m definitely going to be careful about using such powerful bonuses high up in the set, as that by itself will reduce this issue a lot.

Camphor wanted to know what to expect, difficulty-wise, in the two new group zones coming in GU52. timetravelling gave some insight:

The two new group zones will certainly be challenging, but not extremely difficult. There will be some really fun scripted encounters, but they shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as somewhere like Palace of Ferzhul or Guk Stronghold.

One of my questions got a surprising response:

Will anything be done to keep Veeshan’s Peak a viable zone in the next expansion? Assuming the level cap is raised to 90, acquiring Mythicals will be incredibly trivial.  Has SoE considered scaling the zone to 90 and providing a quested item that dings the player to level 90 similar to the Munzok’s item?

timetravelling replied with:

Yes, actually we do have plans to keep older, low-level content much more relevant! And not just Veeshan’s Peak! But I can’t tell you what those plans are, yet =D

Cayanetta asked a question which was on the minds of several vocal forum posters:

Why did you choose to revisit Kunark with GU 52 instead of expanding on TSO content?

timetravelling had this to say:

There are always a number of reasons for those sorts of decisions, but a huge part of this one was the lore. The story we’re telling with the update revolves around quite a bit of stuff specifically in Kunark. Just wait til y’all get the chance to dive into the huge # of awesome quests Kaitheel is making =)

Fyreflyte about Itemisation:

Shield progression got a bit messed up last expansion, and it was hard to correct it without a level cap increase.

We’ll be paying good attention to it in the future though =) I’ve got more help with itemization now, which gives me more time to provide oversight, rather than just scrambling to pump out items.

What would a Game Update be without some tradeskill content. Domino reports in with:

Level 50+ Sages will soon be able to make a set of notebooks, which can hold user-created content (user-written books).

Carpenters may find it worthwhile to investigate — or send their friends to investigate — the Estate of Unrest a little more closely.

Tailors will see some changes to their hex dolls, which include a much reduced casting time, stat increase, and a set bonus for the mastercrafted ones.

Woodworkers and tailors will see their ranged weapons (bows, satchels, bandoliers, etc.) get a stat upgrade also!

Adventurers may find some small goodies in the new Charasis West wing, including perhaps a couple small goodies for provisioners.

I’ve made a few minor changes to the void tradeskill instance that folks have been asking for… including a slightly more satisfying ending, and more harvests per click.

Oh, and lots more I don’t really have room to talk about…

So no … nothin’ really. 😉  Sorry!

Aeralik confirmed what he had posted on the forums about the combat XP to achievement XP conversion rate being upped substantally, although did not give hard numbers:

Currently the adventure xp to achievement xp is really small.  So to better match the current level scaling this had been adjusted for gu52.  Completing a dungeon should net you a good amount of achievement xp now.

Also in gu52 there are 80+ quests which will net you a good chunk of achievement experience.

It seems people ask all the time about why EQ2 does not allow Armor Dyes. Those folks always keeping their eyes peeled for any details about this may be interested in these quotes from Fyreflyte:

(Expect more) set jewelry from instances/raids. I’ve had some plans for some extra shard gear too for awhile, but have had zero time in which to implement it.

I’m not a big fan of armor dyes. We actually have some technical issues with them as well, since a LOT of our armor isn’t tintable.

All of the new sets that have been coming out, I’ve had to ask artists for specific colors of when I need them. When they use a fresnel shader, they become difficult to tint.

Much more at

GU52: Return to Kunark

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

Ok, actually it’s Game Update 52: Monument and Might.


  • Player-written books
  • Research Assistants
  • Spell Naming ConventionsAs spells upgrade through tiers rather than entirely new names, each subsequent spell will have a roman numeral increment afterwards. For instance Ice Comet and Ice Comet II. Rather than Apprentice I, II, IV, Adept I, Adept III, and Master I, Master II, spells will progress such as Apprentice, Journeyman, Adept, Master, Grandmaster, etc.
  • The end result of this will be spell names such as Ice Comet II (Adept).
  • Level 80 characters currently have their Combat XP converted into Achievement Experience at an extremely, almost immeasurably small rate. This rate will be adjusted upwards in Game Update 52.


  • Charasis: Emperor’s Athenaeum — a new group instance in Jarsath Wastes
  • Kurn’s Tower: Breaching the Void — a new group instance in the Fens of Nathsar
  • Kurn’s Tower — an extremely challenging new x2 raid zone


  • We’re also adding more than 80 new quests to the overland zones of RoK. There will be all new adventures to be had in the Fens of Nasthar, Jarsath Wastes, and Kylong Plains.

These changes will appear on the Test Server sometime the week of May 18th.

May 12 Hotfix

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


  • The Bane Warding line can no longer be stacked by wearing three pieces of two different sets. All Bane Warding spells now deal less damage and cannot trigger more than once per second in PvP combat.
  • The Combat Art damage displayed on the Assassin’s Thirst abilities now matches the bonuses they give.


  • Yzlak Encounter – The clone adds of player priests now have reduced health.
  • Yzlak Encounter – The clones themselves will remain longer before becoming a Yzlak Presence.
  • Yzlak Encounter – Yzlak Presence adds can now be affected by all classes, not just the ones that match their archetype.
  • Yzlak Encounter – Infuriating Madness now only affects three players rather than five, the one targeted and the two closest to that player.
  • Ozyk Encounter – The void sappers have less health and hit players for far less damage.
  • Ozyk Encounter – Void sappers will not explode as quickly after they spawn, and the timed explosive charges looted by players are now stackable and instant cast, with a very short recast time.


  • A Cleansing This Temple Needs (Shard of the Day Quest) – Players who are not on the quest and not in Void Stalker form can no longer assist with killing the void-touched invaders.

Undocumented Fixes:

  • The T3 (Ward of Elements) Conjuror head piece proc effect now applies to the target encounter just like the Necromancer T3 headpiece. It previously only affected the conjuror’s target (single). See this thread.

Guild Hall Guards going on a Diet

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

This will be good news for those of you with large guild halls and want to use more of the available guild hall amenities, but not without losing your Hall Guards.

In GU52, Hall Guards will no longer take up Amenity slots. Already, mailboxes do not take up amenity slots.

Also, as some guilds have used these Hall Guards for other purposes than guarding (indeed they don’t actually have any function and will not ‘defend’ the hall if invaders come in, nor are they agroable), in GU52, they will lose the “Hall Guard” flag under their name.

More Info

AA Curve to be Tuned

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

On May 6th, we were all reassured that the “AA problem” is a figment of our imaginations:

In EQII, we allow you to gain achievement experience at a fast rate by questing, discovering new locations, killing named creatures and even by getting certain items without this impacting your adventure leveling.  We feel that this ends up being a good overall compromise so players level up in both systems together pretty quickly.

So you can imagine my surprise when Aeralik popped  into one of dozens of threads discussing the AA Grind with this less than clear comment:

Or maybe someone can just adjust the adventure xp to achievement xp conversion so that you don’t have rely solely on quests.  Sounds like a good idea to me now if only someone would do that

I chipped in with:

Fantastic News, Aeralik. When are you going to do it? Cause right now it’s .0001% AA per kill.

and the surprising response was that we should expect changes in the conversion ratio from combat XP to achievement XP in GU52 (expected to appear on Test on or about May 18th and go live around the first of June).

Of course there was outcry from those folks who through a lucky set of circumstances (started playing EQ2 after KoS, didn’t reach 100 AAs before reaching level 70, didn’t do any quests beyond 100 AAs in EoF, and didn’t do any quests beyond 140 AAs in Kunark, so that all those quests are still available to earn AA) and through dogged determination grinding hundreds of grey quests have managed to reach 200 AAs. In response, Aeralik had this to say:

I would disagree that this is making the game easymode.  People are going through all sorts of strange methods to get to 200aa that we never intended.  The progression from achievement experiences hasn’t changed since it’s introduction with KoS and the initial curve.  As a result of that, level 199 to 200 is almost like doing 79-80 twice by grinding.  We wanted some difficulty in going to 200 so that we didnt repeat RoK where you got to 80 the same time you got to 140 but this is on the excessive side.  Changing it so that someone who runs a dungeon real quick gets 10-15% aa plus a mission bonus just lets you use the current content properly as a source of advancement. You can still go do those gray quests in old zones if you choose but having the option to advance through the current content should be the preferred method.

I’m sure some of those “strange methods” he is talking about was the Icy Keep mission at Frostfell where some folks gained 10-15 AA points just from doing mentored 5 minute runs through Icy Keep.

My opinion on all this can best be summed up by this quote from Gage:

This is a fix that is long overdue.  As long as the conversion % is scaled up enough it will make doing missions, doing instances and actually playing the game AT THE CURRENT TIER a meaningful way to earn AA experience.

The Mandate Detrimental

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

A substantial (and undocumented) change which was made to all of the “key mobs” in TSO dungeons was clearly intended to prevent Monks, Bruisers, and Shadowknights from acquiring Void Shards (and Plat in some dungeons).

But it now looks like this detrimental effect, called Mandate, may affect groups attempting to clear TSO dungeons. Here’s a thread discussing it. I’ve even got art… Thanks Merriestar:

One can assume this is the first half of SoE closing the “Void Shard loopholes” first identified in TSO beta but which got no official attention until just a few weeks ago.

May 5 Tuesday “Hotfix”

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

Posted by Kiara:


  • Overpaying shard chests in Guk Upper, Guk Lower, Guk Stronghold, Nu’Roga, Veksar and Korsha have had their platinum payouts decreased to be inline with the other zones.


  • Sannik the Unfinished in Atrebe’s Laboratory has had his damage significantly lowered.


  • Players in combat should now be able to harvest energized crystals within Anashti Sul’s room in Palace of the Ancient One.
  • The Void Handlers associated with Pentaclypse and Ultaclypse in Palace of the Ancient One now do slightly less damage.


  • The unstable minions that spawn in Ykesha’s Inner Stronghold during the Tyrannus encounter will no longer target priests or mages.


  • The Mystmerian Wraiths associated with Zarrakon will not spawn quite as quickly now.

I wonder if anyone will ever run Nu’roga again? Without a 30 plat chest waiting at the end of that 3 hour dungeon crawl (unless you are full fabled/mythical), why would anyone visit this zone again?

And as for the changes that DIDN’T make it into the notes…

The “key mobs” in each of the 20 TSO dungeons have been substantially buffed so that they can no longer be soloed by Shadowknights, Monks, and Bruisers. As with all EQ2 changes, this buff is a complete overreaction and will probably wipe many groups. Each of these key mobs has been buffed to ^^^ with two ^^ adds and now has an effect called Mandate:

  • Forces Target to clear their selected targetPrevents target from changing targets

    Interrupts target

    Disarms Primary, Secondary and Ranged slots of target

    When target begins casting a spell this spell will cast interruption on target

    Inflicts 227-530 magic damage on target

    Interrupts target

    Throws target back

    When target uses a combat art this spell will cast shock on target. Lasts for 9 seconds

    Stuns target

    Interrrupts target

    Epic targets gain immunity to stun effects of 27 seconds and duration is reduced to 3 seconds

File this under “Why don’t you worry about how YOU play the game and quit worrying about how OTHER PEOPLE play the game.”

New x2 Raid Zone

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

Lest ye think that the Ward of Elements zone is the only x2 raid zone we will be seeing for a while, Kander has given us an update.

Timetraveling and I have no plans to make this zone any easier, we feel that the challenge vs reward is about right. If there is anything you feel that is a flat out bug and needs to be fixed, please feel free to PM either him or me and we’ll look into it ASAP.

In other news, we have another x2 coming soon, that will be a tad more… challenging.

The Ward of Elements, introduced in the GU51 Lavastorm Revamp, has gotten a lot of positive feedback from casual and established raiders on its difficulty and rewards. Yes, there are some folks out there who are totally overwhelmed by the difficulty of the zone. But SoE made clear the requirements of the zone before it went live — it was tailored for folks with full Adept 3, Epic Weapon, decent Jewelry, and T2 Void Shard Armor.

Folks who feel comfortable running most of the heroic dungeons in TSO should have no trouble with at least the first 3-4 names in Ward of Elements, and then via internal progression, once several raid members have acquired their T3 armor in the WoE, should be able to start progressing to the last 4 names in the zone.

I know our guild has already got the first 3 named on farm status and we made a valiant attempt at Digg and are going to work on our placement issues. It sure would be nice if those bridges were solid instead of floating rocks that you can slip between and fall to your death.

The immediate supposition has been that the new x2 raid zone will be Kurn’s Tower. We’ll give you more details as soon as we have them.

Research Assistants IV

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Itemization

This is my 4th posting on Research Assistants. If you have not read all 64 pages of the marathon topic, you may have missed some info.

SoE wants to add Research Assistants to EQ2. These will be NPCs which will take one of your existing spells and upgrade its tier after a specified amount of time. That time varies by the tier of the spell. If you have an Adept III version of a Tier 8 spell, then the Master version of that spell might take a month or more to research.

What is known about these Research Assistants so far:

  • Each account (not character) can be researching one spell at a time.
  • The spell is immediately scribed when you receive it. There is no physical scroll that you receive from the Research Assistant, which means there will be no way to transfer, sell, or transmute the spells once they’re finished being researched.
  • Research Assistants won’t be part of Station Marketplace.  Research Assistants are definitely part of the base game.
  • We are leaning towards making this a house item, not a guild hall ammenity.
  • If you manage to acquire a spell through tradeskill/drop that you are currently researching, you will be able to stop the research and apply that progress (time) to another another spell.
  • Research Assistants are attainable after level 20.
  • Time to research at lower levels will be scaled based on the amount of time we see people spending in those level ranges.
  • There is no quest line, no additional component because if we wanted to award something via quest, then we would do it via quest. Quests are extrordinarily time intensive to do on the content side. We do a lot of quests. We will continue to do a lot of quests, but this isn’t the right setting for them.
  • This doesn’t encourage people to log out. Much like vitality accrues while you’re online or offline, researchers will continue to work regardless of whether you’re online or off.

There has been a TON of feedback in the thread. Different viewpoints include:

  • If there are spells which do not get upgraded after T6 (each class has at least one important spell that does not get upgraded after levels 52-55 or so), then T8 versions should be added.
  • Why not just go back and fix the mechanics of the game so that Masters are Smart Loot from levels 1-60. Then grouping and raiding Kingdom of Sky and Desert of Flames would yield enough of these Masters for group/raid members to resolve the issue.
  • Researched Masters should have a platinum, status, or void shard cost, or at the very least require a lengthy quest or rare material. The void shard cost in particular would keep Master spells in the realm of spells acquired by grouping and raiding. Solo and casual players do not need master spells.
  • Use a system similar to PvP master transcription. You have a master you can’t use, you can trade it in and transcribe it to another master.
  • Use a system similar to deity altars. Sacrifice items until you have gained enough faction to get your master.
  • Make it so if you want a Master, you have to give the researcher a different Master to draw the power from. This would have the effect of boosting the value of worthless master spells like Ranger Hawk Dive and Stream of Arrows and lower the astronomical cost of masters like Summoner/Enchanter pets and Fighter Taunts.
  • Alternately, make it so you need a Crystallized Mana (produced from transmuting Fabled items including Masters) to get a Master.
  • Making Master spells available with no cost will damage the game economy. Already, there is very little to spend Platinum on. Collectible rares, Master spells, Void Shards (eliminated for sale in GU51), NO TRADE Armor (via selling looting rights), and Mythical Updates are some of the few items that folks with stockpiled platinum pieces can spend them on. Platinum has become so devalued partly because of the proliferation of instanced raid and group zones in TSO. 98% of the desirible loot in TSO is NO TRADE.
  • Some people feel that these Researched Masters should come from Tradeskillers completing a complex questline and requiring very rare materials.

From dreamshadow:

On PvP servers we have transcribers that can transcribe a Master spell of the opposite alignment into one of your own alignment, or even neutral alignment. This has a significant cost associated with it and requires that you have in your possesion a Master level spell (not ad3 or w/e)

Implementing something like this seems MUCH easier and its already been in the game long enough to prove it does not cause any kind of imbalance. People on PvP already buy masters off the broker and “flip” them with alts on the other side until they get a master they can use or get stuck with a neutral spell they can no longer flip.

Kendricke made the point about platinum inflation even better:

An average run through Veeshan’s Peak can net a raid force more than 250pp per run.  An average run through Protector’s Realm can bring in more than 120pp.  Even though my guild only raids three or four nights a week, we bring in roughly 1300-1500pp a month just through raid drops and sales – and we don’t sell Mythical spots or no trade drops, either.  If we did, we could easily bring in double the coin we’re already making.

What, then, should all of those raiders spend all of that coin on?  Seriously.  There haven’t been any real tradeable raid drops since Kingdom of Sky with the exception of Masters.  Do you think Masters are overpriced at 200-300pp?  I personally have around 700pp on my main account right now.  I know raiders who have ten times what I have.  I know raid guilds which have tens of thousands of platinum.  What do they spend that coin on?

When you remove rare Masters as something to save coin for, what do you think happens to the prices on the rest of the Masters up for sale?  What do you think happens to collectibles?  What do you think happens to the few worthwhile rare drops?  Gage is dead on here – the prices will rise.

and a perspective post by Kendricke:

“I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY SINGLE YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?”  -Mike McDermott, Rounders.

How do the same players on each of the servers come to have so many masters with each expansion?  What, are they the luckiest players on their server?  As Gage indicates, there is much more to gaining masters than just dumb luck.  You think the average player even knows the zones which have smart loot enabled?  Do you think they understand which targets are even capable of dropping a level 65 master – named or not?  Do you think the average player knows which masters are being undervalued on the broker?  Do you think the average player knows how much to price a master on the broker for if there are no current copies of that spell available?  Do you think the average player knows how incredibly easy it is to make coin in this game…without ever stepping foot into a heroic or epic level dungeon?

In an MMO, skill is defined as much more than just the ability to punch buttons in the right order.  The knowledge behind the game’s mechanics is as much a part of the concept of “skill” as anything else we have to contend with.  It’s that same skill which enables better players to earn masters.

Sure, there’s some level of luck involved.  Just as somebody and bumble their way through a poker tournament, so too can someone luck out and find themselves in the right place at the right time and watch a lotto roll go the right way so they can pick up a master that they were around.  Of course, what we fail to acknowledge is that they were actually out in that right place at that right time in the first place…probably trying to “earn” more experience, achievements, or (wait for it)…gear or spell upgrades.

and further from Kendricke:

I have little problem with the concept of guaranteed paths to specific rewards.  I wholly embrace the void shard system.  I love the concept of tradeskill advancement through experience as opposed to advancement through skill-up chances.  I very much enjoy quests which provide multiple awards to choose from.  I favor faction merchants.

The common denominator is that each of the above systems relies upon effort and achievement to earn rewards.  The proposed research assistant, as currently explained, does not.  It has no coin cost and no apparent pre-requisites save for levelling to 20.

Add in a significant coin cost/status cost/guild level requirements to acquire the researcher and then a per-use cost which is not insignificant to the value of the spells being requested and you’d see a great many of the current complaints simply evaporate.

I promise Kendricke is not paying for my usage of all his quotes, he just has a good overall perspective on all this. 😉

From Kirstie:

I wanted to say that the feedback has been great, especially all the suggestions we’ve been getting.

We’ve been reading all the feedback on this, both the possitive and the negative and we’ll be thinking about it as we go forward.

So please, keep the ideas coming.  How would you want to see this in the game to interact with?  How do you want to acquire the Research Assistant?  If you could help him or her out to research just a little faster what would you think it would be fun to do? Would you want to see this feature expanded beyond just spells in the future?

and further from Kirstie

A researcher for armor or quests isn’t something we are persuing.

But I wanted to point out that this idea isn’t quite as totally ground breaking as some might think.  Consider some of these ideas:

  • What if instead of having to find people to buy your items, you just gave it to an NPC and they brokered it for you (and maybe they could charge a small markup fee for their services).
  • What if you could just stick items into a mailbox and they’d appear in your friends mail instead of having to go and meet up with that friend at a pre-defined location.
  • Imagine if we added an NPC that just went out and harvested stuff for you!
  • What if every hour you gained a vitality bonus that let you level a little bit faster for a while.

Each one of these ideas and many others were a brand new concept in the EverQuest universe at some point after EverQuest 1 launched.  So while each new idea can be a bit scary at first, most don’t run down a path that is the worst case scenario.

That being said, the feedback on what you don’t want to see a research assistant to be is just as valuable as what you would like to have as a feature, so keep it coming!

From Kirstie:

Hi All,

I wanted to thank you all for your feedback. The issues brought up here have led to some really interesting and at times passionate discussions within the dev team on the role of spells and spell upgrades in EQII as we discussed the feedback to the intial post.

We’ve also learned a lot about what type of information we need to present when first talking about a new feature in the game, and we’ll be working on that as we move ahead with new features for EQII in the upcoming year.

We don’t have a solid date for when you’ll see the first iteration of the research assistants on the test server, but when we do I hope that you’ll take the time to try them out and see what we’ve come up with.

Again, I appreciate everyone’s participation and the time taken to give feedback on this idea.

– Kirstie

I had to laugh at this suggestion from Foolsfolly:

What if it was a gigglegibber researcher? Hand him an adept3 spell and 5 plat, and roll the dice.

20% chance the spell being destroyed.

20% chance of the plat being destroyed.

20% chance of both being destroyed.

20% chance of getting back both of your items.

20% chance of getting your master.

You can only roll once per week, so odds are you’ll be able to get 1 master every 5 weeks…and lose some plat in the process.

From Gage:

Most people only “need” 6 to 8 masters.  Maybe even less.  Your big heals, your big buffs, your big nukes, your marquee spell.  Once you have those, you can purchase the remaining “crappy” spells from the broker rather than waiting on the Research Assistant and then… Woops you’re fully mastered in under a year.

When primarily raiders had fabled/masters you didn’t see solo/heroic content scaled to their level of gear. What you should be concerned with is the obvious: As soloers get closer and closer to raid quality gear, solo content and everything else will become closer and closer to raid difficulty. Scripts, AEs, control effects on solo and heroic mobs.

You used to be able to do heroic content in full mastercrafted, some treasured, adept 1’s and your best abilities adept 3.

As soon as they made plat, fabled and masters available to soloers/duoers at a much faster rate than any expansion previous they had to, of course, scale the difficulty of the mobs. You complain about altering your playstyle to be capable, well that is because SOE has rewarded soloers above and beyond their means. If you can solo and attain fabled gear/masters then obviously soloing will be geared to that level of progression.

People already complain about hard content is, yet they clamor and beg for items that will undoubtedly lead to future content being made even more difficult. This will just make content in the next expansion substantially harder.

Like I said previously, be careful what you wish for.

I hate to make a very very long post even longer, but now Clockwork Gamer has chimed in:

An Attempt at Economic Stimulus in EverQuest II by Clockwork Gamer:

…and now SOE wants to increase the standard to Master I. Oh, they’re not saying they want to increase the standard to Master I. However, what other possible message could we possibly take from this new concept. If everyone has access to free Master I spells, the standard over time will inevitably once again raise the minimum standard. The average spell quality will continue to raise from Adept III to Master I across the board – not just for raiders and 40 hour a week players, but for everyone. After all, there’s no cost being referenced by the SOE proposition thus far, and without any cost save for time, there’s no real cost at all.

The short term gains would be outstripped by the long term difficulty standards. Players who feel the game is too difficult today – the ones who seem most attracted to the idea of “free masters” would be the same ones upset in a year or two that the game is suddenly even harder than before. Those players who today feel the game is very challenging with all Adept III’s can at least increase their spells to Master I quality over time, through effort and coin gain. In a world where the Master I is itself the standard, there is no way to improve upon the spell quality – casual players will have no additional upgrade path in that regard.

Think research assistants are far off in the future? Guess again.
Lodrelhai unearthed eq2ui_mainhud_researcher.xml which looks like this:

Spell Naming IV

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Bravo to those of you who have managed to keep up with the 39 page topic on Spell Naming. That’s almost as remarkable as those who have managed to read every single post in the 64 page Research Assistants thread!

For the rest of you who just do not have that kind of time, I present some highlights, which offer some insight into just what direction the game is heading. In particular, Aeralik points out how there are some game mechanics which are complex or only really understood by folks who have an in-depth knowledge of how the game works.

Aeralik posted in the Spell Naming thread:

I just want to reiterate that this change has nothing to do with creating new spell names.  Some members of the mechanics team were in meetings discussing balance and why certain aspects were overly complex while giving little gain for that complexity. We outlined several tasks going forward and this is just one of the areas we wanted to adjust going forward.

Take for example mitigation.  Some of you know that a level 70 bp with 500 mitigation is far worse than a level 80 bp with 500 mitigation even though both are plate.    On the broker they look the same but when you put on the level 70 one you probably notice the persona window tells you the bp you bought actually isnt all that good for your level. Unless you are an avid veteran of the boards here, you probably would not have known that and purely by the examination they should have been the same but they arent due to the level difference between you and the level 70 bp.  That is an example of something we are looking to make more obvious going forward and an idea of what we have redefined our goals to be.  Other aspects are things like why not have a common double attack instead of 2 double attacks and needing to make special items with ranged double attack from rangers.  Or why double up on deflection chance and shield effectivness when we can make common fighter items that increase block and deflection.

Back on topic though, Spell renaming just happened to be one of the simpler and more straightforward changes.  We decided to start off with that first while investigating how to handle some of our other concerns like the ones stated above. As a veteran player myself, I understand the players desire to not change spell names.  We have all been through several expansions and level cap raises.  We understand the spell progression and even take it for granted at this point.  If we don’t know when exactly we get the next spell or what its name is, we know what resources to use to figure it out.  Put yourself in a complete newbies shoes though and say you are a wizard.  You get your level 1 spell that you use for a few levels and then suddenly at 6 you get a new version of that with a new name.  You then get an upgrade to this at 12, 20 and 29 before going to the 14 level pattern.   That is a pretty strange pattern to be honest and with varying name structures I can see where some people might get confused.

I’ve seen several comments from people in this thread and others, where the different names have caused confusion.  If there are several here in this thread that means there are probably many more in game.  So if we can make a small change which helps keep some newer players in game then I think that ends up as an overall positive thing going forward.

Edit: Also the current format I am working with is Ice Comet II ( Journeyman ) which is pretty close to what we have today.

I know as a Ranger I would certainly have preferred if the merging of Double Attack and Ranged Double Attack he speaks of had happened prior to TSO launching. Before TSO, except for raid gear, RDA was a very rare stat. Now it’s on everything. And I wonder exactly what this will mean as Aeralik has frequently added less RDA to items than DA with the explanation that RDA = more damage per point than DA. Does this mean that Rangers are going to see a net 10-15% DPS loss on existing itemization when this change goes through? Inquiring minds want to know.

As of April 20th, the Spell Naming polls located in the class forums have been closed and tallying of scores begun. Again from Aeralik:

Thanks to everyone who has voted on spell names so far.  We will be closing down the polls today and beginning the conversion with the winners. I don’t have an exact estimate of when you will be seeing this go to test but it should be within the next few weeks.

No word on whether Conjurors and Necromancers dodged the spell renaming bullet. I have no problem with the spell renaming, but I feel that Conjuror and Necromancer pets should be exempted as they are completely different pets in each tier.

And on April 28th, Aeralik gave us an update:

Just wanted to update everyone that internally this is pretty much done and awaiting our internal testing.  I don’t have an eta as to when it will go to test but probablly not until sometime in early May.  When you view your spell book it will say Ice Comet, Ice Comet II, etc.  Tooltips and spellscrolls will use the same basic format followed by Apprentice, Journeyman, Adept, Expert, Master or Grandmaster.  The old apprentice 2 spells have been removed because the Norrathian Merchant association decided they were not selling enough in the economic downturn.

Any scrolls, recipes or writs you have should automatically convert to the new system.  Also fighter Taunt and Kick have been removed and replaced with the appropriate line instead of a generic all archetype spell.  Priests also had some common class heals which are now replaced by a new spell of the appropriate line name.  Summoners also had their heart and shard spells condensed into one spell for each class.  The new version replaces existing hearts and shards and scales to the level of the caster.

Any old Apprentice II and Apprentice III spells will scribe as Apprentice, I believe.

P.S. Throughout the Spell Naming thread, numerous suggestions have been thrown out about spells being given at low levels and “scaling up” all the way to level 80. However this would eliminate the need for 3 tradeskill classes, eliminate the source of dusts which are used to make mastercrafted poisons and cures, and also eliminate the idea of Masters in high level dungeons.

Consider the suggestion of auto-scaling spells to be about as likely as Beastlords being added to EQ2.

FreeRealms NOW OPEN

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

Some of you will be thrilled to know that FreeRealms is out of Beta and now LIVE.

I have not kept up to date on FreeRealms since its splashy debut at FanFaire ’08, but it certainly showed a lot of promise in the initial demo and playthrough. There are a gazillion things you can do once you login. You can race cars, buy and care for a pet, go out adventuring, questing, and exploring, craft, play minigames (checkers, chess, cards, puzzle games, etc.) chat with friends, put on a concert, etc. It’s The Sims meets Guitar Hero meets Petz plus a whole world to explore. There is even a built-in LoN type game if you are into card games.

Some of the big selling points of the game (other than being free) are that there is no complicated character creation system. You choose an appearance, type a name, and you are in. During the game, you can switch character classes or “roles” instantly and level them up. You can switch from driving race cars to mining to questing in dungeons. Another point is that there is no huge download before you get to see anything. The game downloads in the background while you are running through the tutorial and simple character creation screen.

As we were told at FanFaire, FreeRealms gets most of its funding from purchasing in-game items through microtransactions through the StationCash system which was revealed in November.

But I will admit I was a little surprised to see that some of the primary character classes in the game, and the ability to create more than 1 character, also require a monthly subscription. Most importantly, it seems that Adventuring is impossible without a monthly subscription. Wizard, Warrior, Medic, Archer, and Blacksmith are all premium classes. I really hate to be negative about the launch of a game, but requiring a monthly subscription for one type of gameplay seems shortsighted.

It is a nice touch that the monthly subscription can be funded with StationCash, from your Station account, or with gamecards purchased from Wal-Mart (avoiding the whole credit card situation).

Presumably SoE will monitor how much funding they get from hundreds of in-game items purchaseable through StationCash (certain pets, clothes, games, etc.), and how much they get from the monthly upgrades and make adjustments. They may find that folks prefer to spend $10-20 a month in items through SC but don’t want the monthly subscription.

You Might Want to be Sitting Down

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Daybreak Cash

EQ2 has added some of the most attractive furniture yet for the game. I think many people have been hoping for a nice, “clean” set of wooden, upholstered chairs for years now and we finally got them. Not to mention an awesome looking hutch.

Unfortunately these new house/guild items are being made available at an extra cost through the StationCash system.

While I appreciate that carpenters and woodworkers have received many additional recipes in the last year (thanks Domino!), a nice set of all-purpose chairs, table, and hutch have remained elusive. Until now.

I guess if you’ve gotta have them, you’ll produce your credit card. One can hope that craftable versions of these will be made available in a different color scheme.

sccabinet_resize scchair_crop_resize

From EQ2Players.


ZAM Launches New EQ2 Service

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

On April 22nd, 2009, Allakhazam (now known simply as ZAM) relaunched their EQ2 Portal. First announced at Fan Faire in August ’08, the new website is the first (and possibly only?) fan site with live data feeds directly from EQ2. This means that EQ2 Zam has live Broker search which are on just a few minutes delay. Also, loot drops from the various dungeons now have actual percentage drop rates.

As of April 28, EQ2 ZAM’s live data is only available for US servers. No word on when EU and other servers will be providing this data.

I will say the new EQ2 ZAM portal is a bit startling. The new color scheme and new style is attractive (no more station wagon green!), but I would love to see a splash page or entry page which has lots of highlights on what is new to the site and recently new to EQ2.

It should be noted that this is not just a new skin. A tremendous amount of effort has been spent over the last year upgrading, polishing, and reorganizing content in the EQ2 ZAM wiki system. I have written pages for EQ2i and I’ve written pages for EQ2 ZAM and I am quite satisfied with what ZAM has done. In particular, the TSO content seems more complete on ZAM from what I have seen.

New to EQ2 Zam:

  • A live Broker feed that allows you to track sales, items, and their pricing data across all servers
  • Loc’s and other detailed information on every mob
  • Drop information of every item, including drop tables with exact percentages
  • Quest data from the game
  • Complete recipe information

Update Notes: Tuesday, April 21

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

Posted by Kiara:


  • The friends list on the welcome screen will now ignore offline friends if that option is enabled on the community window.


  • The 4-piece bonuses on the Paladin, Monk, Berserker, and Defiler Shadow Odyssey raid sets have been improved.
  • The Lycanthrope Bracelet’s effects in PVP combat have been slightly lowered.


  • One of the lists of names for the Task “Hidden Agenda” could appear in an unreachable spot on a bookshelf. This has been fixed.


  • Elemental bosses in Ward of Elements now drop non-stacking encrusted gems. The encrusted gems can be unpacked to yield stackable elemental gems. This change allows the gems to be split between players when dropped.

First Hints of GU52

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

Aeralik has chimed in with the first hints of what we can expect in GU52:

GU52 has a wide variety of things coming. From what I understand there will be an assortment of new quests and additional content which means additional ways to raise your aa points if you havent yet.  You have to keep in mind dfferent people have different responsibilities.  My job is to work on the class balance and combat systems which this falls under and like I said is the first part of a greater plan which we will talk about more in the future.  While I am working on this and some other things,  the other projects do not suffer at all and actually its actually pretty amazing how much stuff is going into this next update.

Thursday, April 16 Downtime

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Uncategorized

From EQ2 Forums:

From 3:00 AM PDT until 6:00 AM PDT on Thursday, April 16, 2009, the EQII servers will be undergoing maintenance and will be unavailable.

Also beginning at 3:00 AM PDT on Thursday, April 16, 2009, SOE Account and Commerce flow, Station Store and the Station Marketplace will be unavailable due to maintenance. We expect this maintenance to take approximately 5 hours.

This might also cause some forum accounts to temporarily lose permissions, due to the inability to verify account status while the maintenance is taking place. This is only temporary and normal permissions will return automatically once the maintenance is complete.

We apologize for this interruption and will resume all affected services as soon as the maintenance is completed.

Update Notes: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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


  • Players will now see a new Welcome Screen upon login.
  • The Welcome Screen can be disabled by adding cl_show_welcome_screen_on_startup 0 (that’s a zero) to your eq2.ini.
  • You can now ctrl+left click the armor crates in the Station Marketplace window to see all of the armor pieces in the dressing room at once!


  • A mysterious and powerful void entity has made its presence known on Norrath.  Although its motives aren’t clear, its powerful presence has sent shivers through even the most powerful denizens of the realm.  This zone represents its stronghold and should prove a challenge for even the most experienced raiders.



  • Enhance: Ignore Bruises will work properly


  • Litany of Combat will no longer affect combat arts


  • Focused Prayers will now increase hostile spell casting time instead of reducing it.


  • Cavalier’s Call will now work correctly.


  • The Harbinger of Malcontent and the Virtue’s Guard are now kite shields with higher protection.
  • Raiders who defeat The Leviathan can now collect their trophy from its corpse.
  • Many raid drops have had +crushing skill added to them where appropriate.
  • The Bruiser epic weapons will once again proc properly.


  • The Earthen Robe should now cost the same as other chest slot set items


  • Spells used by the Void Stalker on the daily shard quest have been made to cast faster and refresh faster to speed up combat.


  • The mystery ogre that has been attacking adventurers at the entrance of the Ward of Elements has been removed.
  • The Tempest within Ward of Elements should be far less likely to leash within its own room.
  • During Aiden’s encounter, Smoldering Updraft now grants players in-combat runspeed and slowfall in addition to glide.
  • Aiden’s adds are now tier 8 instead of 9.

Spell Naming III

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Commentary, Itemization

There have been concerns about having spells with a roman numeral and then spell qualities within a tier having roman numbers (App I, App IV, Adept I, Adept III, Master I, and Master II) as far as difficulties with Broker searching or confusion among new players who have to deal with a spell named, for instance Shadow Leap II (Apprentice II).

Careful reading of Aeralik’s posts had led many people to believe that this spell renaming was just the first step in a bigger process. Naysayers, looks like you just got served. 😉 We got our hint on what that process will be with this post from Aeralik:

We are acually only going to have one roman numeral in the end.  You will have Ice Comet, Ice Comet II, etc.  Instead of App 1, 2, and 4 we will instead have a slightly different naming structure.  That way the tier of each spell flows better and doesnt have the odd gaps like app 2 to app4 and adept 1 to adept 3 or people wondering why there is no adept 4 to match the apprentice 4.

Since it’s impossible to craft App III anymore, and Adept II and Adept IV only existing from AA spells which have 8 points that can be spent, I can certainly see wanting to change this.

It’s interesting that just 3 posts earlier, Snowdonia predicted this:

Apprentice I > Beginner
Apprentice II > Apprentice
Apprentice IV > Journeyman
Adept I > Adept
Adept III > Expert
Master I > Master
Master II > Grandmaster

And in response to Snowdonia’s post, Aeralik had this further to say:

Yeah we will probably do something like this with the tier designations.  We haven’t finalized the names yet but I was proposing something similar

Read More

Parting Gifts

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Art, Appearance, Housing, Raiding

Thanks to Denyo who has posted this great screen snap and list of all the epic encounters in EQ2 which reward a trophy:


EQ2: Darathar, Vox
DoF: Djinn Master, Godking
KoS: Lord Vyemm, Tarinax
TFD: Chel’Drak
EoF: Wuoshi, Mayong, Clockwork Menace
RoK: Venril Sathir, Trakanon, Leviathan
TSO: Gynok, Ykesha, Zarrakon, Aiden

April 8 Hotfix

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

One boulder won’t solve your Aiden problems anymore in the x2 raid zone…

Posted by timetravelling:

The adds were not intended to ALL be prevented by the boulders. Please try it again, and let me know if y’all have any issues.

From Kiara:

There will be a quick hotfix at the usual times (7am PDT for US servers and around 9pm PDT for EU servers) to fix the bug with Aiden in Ward of Elements.

April 7 Hotfix

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


  • An issue that was causing UI icons or elements to look blurry and low-quality has been resolved.
  • An issue that was causing low-quality textures on player characters after switching from third person to first person view has been resolved.


  • Marcus Thex should turn aggro now once all five clan leaders have been slain.


  • The Dancing Satyr has learned how to dance and is anxious to show off his new moves.
  • Bite of the Wolf will now trigger properly and apply to the warden.
  • Restitution Master 1 should no longer drop from spell tables.
  • The Signet of the Flame Disciple has been changed from +3 spell critical bonus to +3 spell critical to be more inline with the other quest rewards.
  • Vampire and Void Bane proc stacking has been fixed such that additional pieces of gear will increase the damage and proc rate, but will not add additional procs. This is the originally intended functionality.
  • The Stone Tower void shard jewelry set now has Deflection Chance as its 3-piece bonus instead of deflection skill. The block and deflection bonuses should now be roughly equivalent.
  • Corruption of the Elements should now proc on offensive spell casts.


  • Rhul’maldis should no longer occasionally never respond to the volatile liquid.


  • An issue that might cause no infamy gain when multiple players are attacking a single target has been fixed.


  • Tortoise Shell will once again work properly on group members
  • An issue that would cause Surging Tempest to get into an unusable state has been resolved.


  • The Advanced Armorer Service quest now requires the new improved version of fulginate kite shields.
  • Scholars’ volume 12 books now once again contain recipes for idols, symbols, tomes, and orbs.
  • Jeweler Far Seas writs now correctly accept the new secondary items.
  • An issue where Adornments would disappear when upgrading or imbuing items through tradeskills has been fixed.


  • Najena should respawn when players watch the flythrough then leave the instance and return.
  • Aiden’s banishes have been re-timed to be closer to the beginning of a land phase, giving players more time to get back to the tower.
  • Aiden’s adds have been linked into sizable groups instead of all in separate encounters.
  • Digg should no longer chain-kill players that die and are rezzed during his fight.

Munzok Will Have to Wait

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

From Kiara:

Hello all!

We’re going to bring the servers down at the usual time (7am PDT) for a hotfix.  We’ll post the notes tomorrow.

Included will be a fix for the overly proccerific procs.  The x4 raid zone, Munzok’s Material Bastion, was planned to be activated tomorrow, but we’re going to hold off until next week for a few more tweaks.

We’ll have the servers back up and running as soon as possible.

Thank you and happy gaming!

From EQ2 Forums

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