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EverQuest II Tears of Veeshan Expansion Launches Quietly November 15, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II.
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Quietly is relative term in this case.  I am sure that if EverQuest II is your main game you were fully aware of what was going on with the game, including the Tears of Veeshan expansion that launched this week.

EQ2ToV_450px

But as something of an outsider to the SOE line of games these days… I am playing nothing from SOE at the moment… it seemed a bit quiet to me.

EverQuest II seems to be falling into the “Jan Brady” role in the EverQuest franchise family.  EverQuest, the older sibling, has already done most everything already, and when somebody wants to talk about the “good old days” or “classic MMOs,” EverQuest is the clear go-to title.

And how can EQII compete?

Tears of Veeshan is the 10th EQII expansion?  EQ launched its 10th expansion 8 years ago and already pushed out expansion number 20 this year.  And EQ even co-opts stuff that makes EQII unique, like housing.  You can just hear the sibling argument in your mind as EQII cries, “But housing was MY thing!  Why couldn’t you just let me have that for myself?”

Meanwhile, all attention is on the new baby, EverQuest Next.  Everybody loves that cute little tyke.

So there is EQII in the middle, “Hi everybody, I launched a new expansion!  Hello?”

As I said, I am not paying close attention to SOE games these days, not the way I would if I were playing them.  But I do watch the news.  I have EQ2 Wire in my RSS feed, which covers just about everything you need to know.  I was right there when SOE announced the straight to level 85 option and loosened up some of the restrictions on the free game.  Still I felt like I knew nothing about this expansion, though expansion excitement seemed to be low in a lot of places this year, which is odd.  Expansions are, in part, about re-igniting passion in your followers and giving people a reason to return to your game.  Look at BlizzCon and the Warlords of Draenor announcements.  Not everybody loved what was announced, but by the end of the weekend everybody seemed to have an opinion on what Blizz had on tap.   Yeah, not a fair comparison, orders of magnitude and such. But I still wasn’t sure what was Tears of Veeshan bringing to the table after SOE Live.

Now I do.

And a lot of what was in the expansion does seem a bit mundane when listed out.  Feldon has the meat of the details, but the overview is kind of a yawn for an outsider.

  • New Dragon based Alternate Advancement tree
  • Alternate Advancement point cap raised to 340
  • A new overland area, Vesspyr
  • More quests of all shapes and sizes
  • 9 new dungeons
  • 2 new raid zone
  • More trade skill stuff
  • A new equipment tier for PvP
  • New Guild Hall options

Nothing there is going to make somebody think, “Ah, I must go play EverQuest II!”  There is substance there.  EQTraders has a big post up about just the crafting updates with the expansion.

Oh, and one more thing.  I left one item off the list.  It probably wasn’t that important, as it only made it as the 5th bullet item on SOE’s feature list for the game. SOE added a new class to the game.

Wait, what?  A Channeler class was added?

That seems like huge news for the game.  Why wasn’t this the headline?  Everything else almost drops to the level of trivia when you add that to the list.

I have long bitched and moaned about the fact that SOE launched EQII with 24 classes, which I felt was too many and really limited their expansion options, since “add a new class” is a clear go-to option for these sorts of things, a way to experience the game afresh, a way to get old hands at the game to re-roll and play through the older content again (and thus slowing down their consumption of the new content I suppose), or at least a way to sell more instant level 85 options.

And so, in the nine years of EverQuest II, they have only ever added one class to the game, the Beastlord… which, like so much else, was borrowed from Marcia… I mean EverQuest.

Anyway, to the outsider like me, this seems like the lead item, the big news, something that the EQII team should be talking up.  How will this change the game?  How will this make me want to re-roll?  What makes this class unique and the thing to have?  And maybe they are talking that up.  Maybe I just can’t hear them over the noise of the new baby and the ongoing nostalgia for the older sibling.

Being the middle child can be tough.

Comments»

1. HarbingerZero - November 15, 2013

Heck I don’t even remember seeing it mentioned in the advert email I got. I think devs are getting lazy in the world of blogs and social media. WoWp’s launch was a silent affair as well. You’d think they’d want to trumpet things from the mountaintops and make a big deal of it (in both cases).

2. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 15, 2013

@HZ – I hate to use the word “lazy.” It comes with too many implications and there is now way I can verify if laziness is actually the cause. Certainly at every tech company I have worked at, the key problem has almost always been having too many things to do and not enough time/people to do them.

I would however say that their marketing priorities seem off from where I am standing.

Maybe WoWp is doing a soft launch and plans to ramp up as things look good? That could be an alternate universe explanation.

But SOE and the EQII marketing… I don’t know how to frame it except to use SynCaine’s “SOE being SOE” turn of phrase.

3. bhagpuss - November 15, 2013

I’m fairly sure that EQ2 is now firmly in the same business as Everquest, namely catering directly to its established customer base. EQ long since gave up trying to attract new blood. EQ2 had one last roll of the dice with the big F2P conversion but that i itself now seems a long time ago.

I bought the new expansion. It was a very good deal since it comes bundled with the previous one, Chains of Eternity, which I’d skipped. I can’t really use any of the content in ToV because it all starts at 95th and after a month of CoE and having completed the entire first (of two) zones and several of the solo instances I’m now at 92.7.

As I mentioned before, only people not familiar with how EQ2 plays nowadays could have made all the fuss about SOE giving/selling Level 85s. You could quite literally solo a character from 1 to 85 in less time than it would take you to do level 90. After that it slows down. If you compare it to early Everquest it would be like giving you a free Level 10. Or maybe 8.

From what I read and hear in-game ToV is pretty popular on paper. It brings a major change to stats on gear, which has been a player sore point for a while now and word from the beta was largely positive. Crafting got a lot of love that it’s been missing since Domino left (of course she’s back now) and there were some very desirable changes to housing, including a massive increase in item count for builders and the addition of T4 Guild Halls.

I believe that for the audience SOE is aiming at, long-term current players from whom EQ2 is their game of choice, all of those changes plus a large tranche of new dungeon content are of far more interest than a new class. The new class itself looks a bit weird. I haven’t tried it yet. No doubt I’ll get to it at some point but not before I get my berserker to 95, which at current rates of progress will be after EQNext comes out.

4. Wilhelm Arcturus - November 15, 2013

@Bhagpuss – “I’m fairly sure that EQ2 is now firmly in the same business as Everquest, namely catering directly to its established customer base.”

That seems to be supported by their actions, but kind of defeats at least some of the purpose of going free to play, which at some level is about getting new people into the game. Of course, that might be the focus of the insta-85 characters, which got more press I thought than ToV.


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