Fippy Darkpaw – Dragons of Norrath and The Story Going Forward

*** Progression Servers ***

- Fixed a problem that could cause an expansion to open without a vote.

From the EQ Test Server Patch Notes

From what I have seen, the Dragons of Norrath expansion was fully unlocked and accessible on the Fippy Darkpaw server by the morning of November 13th, so I will mark that for my unofficial timeline.  As I mentioned in my previous post on the subject, no unlock vote was taken for the expansion, and no word has come from SOE about what happened, but it looks like the unlock will stand and there will be no roll back for a vote.

Open by whatever means necessary…

Meanwhile, it was reported in the forums that the pre-unlock message for the next expansion, Depths of Darkhollow, had been seen on the Vulak server.  There had been no vote up for that and I have no idea if it went any further than just a message.

Depths of Darkhollow is coming…

There was, however, a poll taken on Vulak and Fippy Darkpaw about the unlock timer settings.  Currently unlock votes are set to be taken 60 days after specific content from an expansion has been defeated for the first time.  The result of the poll was that a majority of respondents wanted that 60 day time frame increased.  There has been no word on when that will come to pass, though there will likely be another poll to determine how long the delay between content complete and a vote should be.

Of course, this is likely to please very few.

Voices from the raider factions claim that the repeated no votes on the Gates of Discord expansion unlock sent a good chunk of their population away, never to return.  Longer delays between expansions will not make their lot in life any better.

On the flip side, the constantly posting and ever unrealistic “I want to turn the progression server into a classic server” faction has been trying to slow down votes since day one.  And while there are many sub-factions within that group that want things to stop at one expansion or another, I am pretty sure that Dragons of Norrath is not high on anybody’s list as a classic server setting.

And in the midst of all of this, SOE has been saying… nothing.

There hasn’t been a word from anybody about what is going on.  The only thing approaching an official response has been from SOE-MOD-02, who comes in to shut down duplicate threads on subjects being discussed.

This is something of an irksome bit for me because, while I realize that the EQ team is in the midst of launching the Rain of Fear expansion, which is slated to come out next week, the population of the time locked progression servers represents paying customers.  You have to have a gold account in order to play on the TLP servers, so this is a population of SOE’s best customers, and they are being left to stew and squabble amongst themselves.

Must mishandled customer relations ever be the SOE hallmark?

So, with a great big sigh and a rolling of eyes skyward, I am going to call to a halt my attempts to try and track the progress of the second round of time locked progression servers.  It has been difficult to do since I stopped playing on the servers, which honestly happened back during Ruins of Kunark, and has gotten more so as time has gone on and the population on the servers has dwindled.

I am not going to renounce doing any more posts on the subject of these servers.  In fact, I can foresee at least two more such posts.  One will be when the Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak servers get merged, and the other will be when the remaining server, which will likely be the more populous Fippy Darkpaw server, gets merged into one of the standard EverQuest Live servers, thus ending this round of progression servers.

I suspect that both of those events will be easy enough to spot and will help me round out my timeline.

But I am not going to spend time watching forums, emailing people, asking people to log onto the server to check polls, or otherwise spend time trying to tease out information that simply does not get posted anywhere.

But even with the community squabbles and the opportunities that SOE missed to use this server as a community building tool, it has been a grand experiment to my mind.  A flawed, irksome, neglected, forgotten in the back of the closet for months at a time experiment that often represented the triumph of reality over dreams and nostalgia, but a worthwhile one none the less.

For what really turned out to be just a few weeks for Potshot and I, it was a misty water colored reflection of the game we played in 1999 that brought out both its benefits and its flaws.

I played in the snow.  We read graffiti the Qeynos sewers.  We went to Blackburrow.  We camped bandits in West Karana.  We ran to Freeport.  We delved in Najena.  I got stuck in the Ocean of Tears.  We died in Unrest.  We sailed on Lake Rathetear.  And we ended up on Kerra Island and then in Runnyeye.

It was a decent nostalgia tour that let us relive many fond memories.

All of the posts related to this are under the Fippy Darkpaw tag if you want to review.

So, with that, I give you my timeline of the Fippy Darkpaw server so far with, as I said, the intent of updating it at least two more times.

I expect in a few years we will see the EverQuest Progression servers, round three.  Despite the problems, nostalgia pays.

Will you be there?

7 thoughts on “Fippy Darkpaw – Dragons of Norrath and The Story Going Forward

  1. NetherLands

    No doubt it has to do with me having zero interest in Raiding and being an Explorer at heart, but for me personally while I love the concept of Legacy/Classic servers I never ‘got’ the attraction of Progression servers.

    With a Legacy server, you basically step out of the hamsterwheel and play the incarnation of a game you liked best, perhaps with some tweaks. A sort of time-capsule.

    With a Progression server, you not only try to recreate an experience that can’t be the same again (due to e.g. knowing in advance what’s going to happen and how to act most fruitfuilly etc., in short: ample opportunities for meta-gaming) in a ‘race’ that has already been run, but your efforts will still be made obsolete (though at least this time arround you as customer get to vote about your stuff being made obsolete).

    At least that’s my opinion. Wouldn’t mind to hear about ED again :)

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Netherlands – You can judge by my own playtime on Fippy Darkpaw that I am only really interested in playing in Classic EQ and maybe a bit in Kunark.

    The first problem with the classic server group is that they pull in way too many directions. While I would put most of them in the bucket of wanting something between day one and Planes of Power, that is still a pile of people who want different things. And the oft suggested compromise of making five classic servers and offering free transfers and whatever else is a complete non-starter in my opinion, as it will just fragment what will be a fairly small group of players.

    The second is that there seems to be a dream that by creating a classic server, it will build up the same community things did back in 1999-2003. It will, for a little while. The early days of Fippy Darkpaw showed that. And then people will get their nostalgia fill,remember why they moved on, and then it will be a server with a few dozen regulars. If you are “OMG must do this!” then you can actually play on the Al-Kabor server, the free Mac server stuck at Planes of Power, from a Windows box if you can find the right image.

    The progression server, despite my non-involvement, makes sense to me, as it seems to be the only real way to relive a progression based game as a raider. If you just want to see old zones and bosses, they are all still there. If you want to fight them with expansion limited equipment and restrictions, it is a bit tougher.

    I might write a bit more about Emerald Dream. I am in Westfall, but I am getting to the point of doing Deadmines, but I don’t really want to PUG it and, frankly, I have other games I want to play. Nostalgia only lasts so long.

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  3. bhagpuss

    You know I was *this* close to buying an old Mac just so I could play on Al’Kabor? Until I saw the prices of old Macs, that was. I had no idea you could emulate the Mac client on the PC or believe me I’d already have tried.

    Obviously I will have to try to get this to work. I don’t have a copy of the Titanium client and not only are there no UK sources but the US price is now hovering around $80 so we’ll forget that. There may be ways, we’ll have to see.

    I am guessing Al’Kabor still has the original Freeport? That would be my main reason for going there. If they had the zone revamps there really wouldn’t be any point.

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Al’Kabor is completely old graphics. That is why you need the old client, because you have to have the right graphics pack. The server has sat frozen in time at the Planes of Power. The Sleeper still slumbers even.

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  5. NoAstronomer

    “Fixed a problem that could cause an expansion to open without a vote.”

    Since I can’t imagine that expansion opening is a automated feature presumably this means the individual responsible has been ‘disciplined’.

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  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @NoAstro – Oh, but the opening of expansions is apparently completely automated. It is just done in what looks like, from the outside, a Rube Goldberg method that has a new problem every time an expansion unlocks. I think Kunark unlocked correctly. After that, issues have been the default, right up to DoN, which opened up without a vote.

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  7. NetherLands

    @2

    For EverQuest Legacy Servers might be too tricky, given the multitude of Expansions, and you’re right in that a) most of the stuff is still there and b) there’s EverQuest Mac (didn’t know about the Windows ‘adapter’ though).

    In case of WoW though the number of Expansions is rather limited and Cataclysm did wipe away a lot of content so I could see the Legacy model working for WoW, especially because with the 35+ million served (if we are to believe Blizz’s numbers) the potential pool is much, much bigger than that of EQ.

    A Wrath server would perhaps be safe bet as a bit of a compromise, as except for 60 Naxx and Ony, pretty much everything was still there, and as a result 60/70 Guilds were – at least in the EU – still pretty active for example; in other words, people could -with the XP Lock feature – pretty much play in their own preferred part of the game.

    Too bad ED is a bit on a hold atm, though I thoroughly understand (Planetside 2 is leering at me for example :P)

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