Tag Archives: Planes of Power

Lost Dungeons of Norrath Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw… And Maybe Legacy of Ykesha…

This should now be live in game.

-Naylie, in one of the LDON forum threads

Oh, for a simple declarative sentence!  Did she mean one expansion, both expansions, or something else?

Released Together?

Why couldn’t she have written, “LDON and LoY are now live in game!”  Don’t they teach the value of a clarity in school any more?  Her statement was in a thread that was only about LDON.

After a morning of grousing in the forums about LDON not unlocking when expected, Naylie, the EQ Community Manager, posted around 3pm Pacific Time that development was looking into the issue.  Then about two hours later she posted the message quoted at the top of this post.

I mention this because, of course, the very next message in the thread was about LDON NPCs not being available yet.  And nobody went to the forums with the unlock message.  And, even the next morning, neither LDON or LoY are lit up as being unlocked on the progress chart, though people are clearly doing LDON content.

LDON Content

Which leaves me wondering what is unlocked and what is not.

Of course, part of the problem is that I am attempting to track and report on the progress of the Fippy Darkpaw progression server without actually being subscribed to the game.  That means I cannot post to the forums nor can I log in to the game to make a few simple checks that would verify that the expansions are live.

If I could see a froglok in game, the race introduced with Legacy of Ykesha, or find the LDON NPCs (or get the message inviting me to come visit them) then I would have positive proof that both expansions were up.

Instead, I am going to take the cessation of complaints as the indicator that both expansions went live yesterday afternoon.

So that would make the timeline for the Fippy Darkpaw server something like this so far:

  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012
  • Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Legacy of Ykesah unlocked, March 12, 2012

Which leaves us looking towards the Gates of Discord, the next expansion on the list.  At this point I am not sure when we should expect the vote on it to go live.  Was the timer for it triggered by the completion of the Planes of Power bosses?  Will it be triggered only after LDON and LoY bosses are complete?

I suppose I will just have to watch the forums and see what happens.

At least the PoP/LDON/LoY group appears to be the only exceptions to the “one expansion at a time” plan.  Hopefully that will lead to a bit less confusion on my part.

Meanwhile, EverQuest is set to go free to play on Friday.  Not that that will help me.  The progression servers require a gold membership, which is a classic subscription.

Lost Dungeons of Norrath and Legacy of Ykesha Still Not Live on Fippy Darkpaw

Previously it had been announced by Piestro, the EverQuest community manager at the time, that the next two expansions to come up on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server would behave as they did on the previous progression servers.

(Those servers were The Combine and The Sleeper, if I remember correctly.  All that history seems to have disappeared, which is part of the reason I am keeping track of the new servers here.)

That is to say, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion would unlock automatically 15 days after the Planes of Power went live and the Legacy of Ykesha would unlock 15 days after Rallos Zek was slain for the first time.

Expected Together

Both of those events happened on February 13, 2012.  So there was an expectation that both expansions would go live on February 28.

As I posted here previously, they did not.

After a long thread, with the usual arguments (no such thread is complete until somebody chimes in that “expansion X” should never get unlocked, along with the paired duo of “Sony is always right” and “Sony is always fail”), the latest EverQuest community manager, Naylie, passed on an explanation of the issue.

I spoke with Development and apparently we were a little confused on how this unlock was going to happen.

These two unlocks should happen the same as the other expansion unlocks. If enough yes votes happen, both expansions should unlock on March 12, 2012.

This change of tune got some groans and a bit of fist shaking, but at least there was an answer.  After a bit more grumbling, people went back to their routines.

There was a bit of worry about the vote itself, since the expansion being voted on (two expansions really, LDON and Ykesha), was not listed on the ballot, just the generic “unlock the next expansion” verbiage.  This caused some to fear that people would think the vote was for the Gates of Discord expansion and that they might mistakenly vote against it. (GoD was, for some guilds, the “let’s go beta test WoW” expansion, and marked the end of growth and the beginning of decline for EverQuest.)

A name that was a little too apt

Though, frankly, no vote has gone against unlocking so far, so I am not so sure how valid those worries were.  Then again, there was at least one new thread agitating for a no vote because it was assumed to be the Gates of Discord.

And then on March 11, the day before the expected unlock, another vote came up.  As usual, there was only the generic “next expansion” verbiage, so it was not clear if this was a vote on The Gates of Discord, a re-vote on LDON, a separate vote of Ykesha, or just some error condition.

This was followed up on March 12 by a lack of voting results and/or expansion unlocks.

A thread on the forum ensued.  There has been, up to the point in time when I initially posted this, no response.

And the chance of a timely response seems pretty thin for two reasons.

First, this week EverQuest anniversary week, with the game turning 13 this coming Friday.  That means store specials and in-game events, none of which apply to the progression servers, so community team eyes will be focused elsewhere.

Second, this is the month that EverQuest is supposed to go free to play.  When the free to play transition was announced back at the end of January, the timeline for the change was given at “early March.”

I'm not making this up

I think we have passed the point which most people would consider “early” in March. (If you want to find out more, you can click here.)   We will shortly be at the aforementioned 13th anniversary, a date mentioned in the free to play announcement as one of the first post free to play events.

So I would imagine that the EverQuest team is very focused on the business model transition to the exclusion of almost anything else at this point.

And free to play is one thing that won’t touch the progression servers.  As noted in the details of the subscription matrix for free to play, players will be required to have a traditional, or Gold under the new terminology, subscription in order to participate on the progression servers.  A nostalgic model for a nostalgia driven server.  And, of course, the progression servers won’t have the selection of items from the Station Store either, so the model makes sense.  But it means that the progression servers won’t be getting much attention and are, in fact, probably being cursed by some programmer at this very moment who is having to add in or maintain a series of conditional statements just to keep those servers as close to the nostalgic idea as SOE can manage.

So the time locked progression servers are not the highest priority on SOE’s list of things to do this week.

Meanwhile, the Vulak server (see, I do remember them now and again) is running a couple weeks behind Fippy Darkpaw and no doubt want to see how this gets resolved if only to get an idea of when they might get access to LDON and LoY.

The Planes of Power Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw

Yesterday saw the next EverQuest expansion on the list, The Planes of Power, go live on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.

Firiona Vie casts!

The picture above swiped from Giant Bomb, which has a good write up about about the expansion detailing the progression as well as a lot of screen shots related to the expansion, including the front and back of the UK version of the expansion, which I also stole and put together into a single image.

Oh no, system requirements!

And then there is the US box art.

Planes of Power

As usual, there was no acknowledgement of this update from SOE.  I realize I say this every time there is an update, but it just mystifies me that a game that pays a good portion of the rent base on its nostalgia appeal spends to little effort talking up their key nostalgia event.

No, there was only the usual herald of a new expansion to alert me to the unlock.  Somebody started off complaining about the exp rate.

SOE is on top of one thing this time around.  They have already set up the PoP raid rotation in advance.  No guilds are yet qualified, but I have no doubt some will be soon.

This expansion carries on the accelerated history of EverQuest as represented by the time locked progression server.  The timeline so far:

Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server launched, February 15, 2011

  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012

We are now a year into the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, and the guild Twisted Legion is clearly dominating the first to boss fights aspect of the game.  One day in and there are already bosses down to the guild.

Planes of Power now open and active

From my own personal timeline, this is the first EverQuest expansion I know I did not purchase.  I am actually hazy on whether I bought Luclin or not, but I was pretty much done with the game until The Serpent’s Spine expansion four years (and seven more expansions) down the road.

What I mostly recall about the expansion was complaints from friends of mine who were raiders about broken content and the burden of the whole flag/unlock system.

As always, there is discussion about the expansion over at the unofficial Fippy Darkpaw site.

Finally, there is one thing that makes the Planes of Power unlock on Fippy Darkpaw a little different than previous.  The next two expansions, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath and The Legacy of Ykesha, are on timers related to the Planes of Power.  According to a post over at Fippy Darkpaw, Lost Dungeons of Norrath will unlock 15 days after Planes of Power, which will put it at February 28th.  The Legacy of Ykesha will unlock 15 days after Rallos Zek is slain, which will put it some time before mid March I would guess.

After that, it is back on the usual schedule.  60 days after the last boss is slain there will be a 7 day vote on the next expansion.  That will almost certainly be a vote in the affirmative, at which time the Gates of Discord expansion will become available on Fippy Darkpaw.

The Next EverQuest II Expansion?

A little over a year ago I wrote up my vision of the as then unannounced EverQuest II expansion.

My vision then was Kunark.

And, when it turned out I was right, nobody was more surprised than myself.

So I am going to put down my guesses for the next EverQuest II expansion again.

I have two reasons for doing this.

1) Remind everybody I was right last year!

2) Prove that being right was a fluke

So with my goals laid out, and half way accomplished already, let me dig into my prediction.

Nostalgia Again

As Indie Rock Pete will tell you, nostalgia is one of the strongest forces in the universe. The linkage between pre and post cataclysm Norrath has been successful enough that it has actually begun to flow both ways. Meldrath the Mad, who appears in the current EverQuest expansion, Secrets of Faydwer, began his career as a ghost in EverQuest II in Klak’Anon.

When it comes to playing the nostalgia card, I see no turning back now.

So the first aspect of my prediction is that it will be another location from pre-cataclysm EverQuest, brought forward and updated.

Some Deviations

The past two nostalgia infused expansions, Echoes of Faydwer and Rise of Kunark, played similar hands from different directions. Both were islands that introduced new races and new home towns, EoF concentrated on Qeynos aligned content while RoK was Freeport slanted. They both raised the level cap as well.

The second aspect of my prediction is that the EQ2 team will break from that pattern this time around.

No new races, no new home towns, and no raise in the level cap.

The last one is going to be hard for people to swallow. On the other hand, after what seems to been more of a brisk stroll than a race to level 80 in RoK for some who claim not to be hard core, it seems that levels alone are not the way to ensure a deep expansion. Plus, with EQ2 seeming locked into 10 level increments, level cap increases could quickly approach the absurd if used every expansion. I have decried the gap between new content and new players when it comes to EverQuest, I would hate for that to become a big issue in EverQuest II. Starting off and looking at 90 levels might seem daunting indeed.

Plane Geometry

Rather than levels, I think this next expansion will be based on the idea of expanding your character in other directions. There are different ways this can be done, one of which is to offer some serious meat for the raiding community.

And since have the gods back in post-cataclysm Norrath, I think it is time we paid them a visit.

So I think the next EverQuest II expansion will be throw back to The Planes of Power.

Raids. Progression. Equipment.

All of those in enough measure to keep the high end guilds busy for a long time. Perhaps all of these aspects in enough measure for some EverQuest guilds to take a serious second look at EverQuest II.

The Same But Different

While I expect that the basics of the new planes will be the similar to how they exist currently in EverQuest, which is to say instanced versus wide open, there will have to be changes. The gods will no doubt have revised their defenses. Of course, they won’t go overboard, as you can only have 24 people on an EverQuest II raid, unless they chose to change that as well.

And I will also predict that there will be no repeat of the Plane of Knowledge. There is no reason for it in EverQuest II, there already being a game wide sales and broker system available that is superior to that found in EverQuest (if only because you do not have to stay online to sell), so the Bazaar (I know, it was a Luclin zone, but it is attached to the Plane of Knowledge) is not required.

And a travel hub, such as the Plane of Knowledge would only have the same effect in EverQuest II that it had in EverQuest, which would be the almost complete depopulation of the traditional home towns. (Though in EverQuest today, it does help concentrate the remaining population.)

That does not mean that there will not be a plane of that name in the expansion, but it will not serve the same purpose.

Show Some Class

What about the rest of us? Well, there will certainly be non-raid sections of the planes, but we’ll need something else to get us excited, something that will make us start new alts.

I said no new races above, and I stand by that. But a new playable class, now that might be a different story.

And the class I think we will see is a pet class that handles and tames animals, like the beastlord in EverQuest. However, I think this class will be more akin to the hunter in World of Warcraft. Some will moan about this, but since the hunter class is one of the most fun to play in WoW, it will end up being an asset to the game over all.

This will, of course, screw up that whole “Magic of 24” thing, the mystical guiding number for EverQuest II, but I think that is inevitable at some point.

I actually see this pet class being showing up as two classes, ala Fury/Warden or Troubadour/Dirge, with one very, offense oriented, with ranged weapons figuring prominently, and the other very much focused on defensive skills and aggro management. They will show up in the scout category, which will give them tracking, a natural fit for a hunter, but they will not get stealth or evac.

Obtaining pets will be on the model of WoW, where you will actually go out and tame the creature of your choice. However, it will differ from the WoW model otherwise, with creatures having their own “classes” with skills that will be available in the EverQuest II skill model for players, with advanced versions of the skills being available via player crafting, with the appropriate trades picking up the skill production.

This addition to the game will get a lot of people rolling up new characters and exploring the dynamics of the various pet and skill combinations. The main complaint about the class, at least initially, will revolve around the limited number of animal types that can be tamed. Bears, wolves, spiders, and scorpions will all be appreciated, but some people just won’t be satisfied until they can have a pet badger.

Fleshing Out Options

Of course, with no new levels to conquer, there will have to be some place to channel experience for those who choose not to roll up an alt. This will likely take the form of a new tier of alternate advancement, accessible only after a certain level (I would guess 70) and only after you have spent a given number of points in the currently available AA trees.

Also, with the addition of the planes, you can bet there will be more deities and related quests for players to choose from.

And, finally, the planes won’t be solid, level 80 content. The expansion will serve up both the high end raiding content as well as widening the experience path from levels 65 to 80.

Summary

So here is what I claim will/will not be in the next EverQuest II expansion:

  • No level cap increase
  • No new race or home town
  • Content based on the Planes of Power
  • Lots of raid content
  • Expansion of level 65-80 solo and group content
  • New pet based, hunter-like class
  • New, third tier AA tree
  • More deities from EverQuest brought into the game

You Make the Call

My reasoning behind choosing the Planes of Power as the model for the expansion has to main arguments. The first is that SOE has been to the well twice in a row for terrestrial expansion based on EverQuest. A third  run would be a mistake, in my opinion. The second is that, of all of the remaining EverQuest expansions, The Planes of Power I think was the most anticipated by people I knew. That was the expansion that turned people into raiders. For good or ill, it heavily influenced the game going forward. And, as much as I am solo Joe, I think EverQuest II could use some of that influence as well.

There are other expansions in EverQuest that have had influence on the game, but none that I would consider worthy of the next expansion.

Luclin went boom and Velios was good, but no Kunark. And after those and Planes of Power, EverQuest stopped introducing quite such influential zones. The penalty for doing two expansions a year, no doubt.

I can see, for example, something like Lost Dungeons of Norrath making an appearance in EverQuest II. In fact, my guess is this is the sort of thing that they will re-use the raid content areas for, as Scott Hartsman alluded to in an interview a while back. But I would guess that would be put in as “between expansions” content.

Now here is where I invite you to take issue with what I have presented.

Tell me how I am wrong. Tell me what you think the next expansion will be.

Just remember my stated goals at the top of the article!