Monthly Archives: February 2007

Rise of Kunark?

Kendricke, well known MMO commentator and luminary on WarCry’s EverQuest II site, posted a comment this morning on my Dec. 6th entry titled “The Next EverQuest II Expansion?” with information that Sony Online Entertainment filed on February 15th, 2007 for a trademark on the name “EverQuest II Rise of Kunark.”

This is what I predicted.  I am pretty sure my being right on something like this is a sign of the apocalypse, so stay tuned.

You can find the entry at the United States Patent and Trademark Office web site, select “Search Trademarks now,” (upper right of the page), and do the basic search on word “Kunark.”

Thank you a ton for that tidbit Kendricke!  That about made my day!

The Official SOE Podcast #13

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby, Aimee “Ashlanne” Rekoske, and Julie “The Intern” “Ellyra” Burness host this show with Jason “Pex” Ryan reading the news.

Topics

  • SOE Community Summit Recap
  • Interview with Travis McGeathy, Lead Designer for EverQuest
  • Pirates CCG expansion “Pirates of the Spanish Main”
  • Playing Games with “God” powers ? Not allowed at SOE
  • Interview with Roger Sewell, Systems Engineer SOE Operations
  • EQOA’s 4th Anniversary
  • Valentine’s Day
  • TV Talk
  • What are you playing?
  • Out takes

The show is available on iTunes as well as from the official SOE podcast site.

The show was recorded on February 14th and runs in just under one hour and five minutes. The show notes feature cast pictures and links.

40 Hunter vs 40 Swashbuckler

One of the comparisons I have heard between EverQuest II and World of Warcraft is that it is much easier to level up in WoW.  At least to a certain point, level 40 in my case, WoW does seem to be a breeze, guiding you though quests to different zones and making the whole thing a lot more fun than effort.

Just last weekend I hit level 40 in EverQuest II with my fae, Blintz, and decided to compare how long it took to get to level 40 in WoW versus EQ2.

I happen to have a hunter on Hyjal who is level 40.  I will call him Joe because, in a moment of weakness, when trying to come up with a name, I borrowed one of the favored names of a friend of mine.  That person does not read this blog to my knowledge, but might, so I’d rather just keep the name to myself.

Anyway, I ran Joe to level 40 in what seemed like record time.  I thought I would compare the play time for Joe and Blintz and see how much time went into each.

Joe – Level 40 Hunter, 6 days, 1 hour, 9 mins

Blintz – Level 40 Swashbuckler, 5 days, 2 hours, 53 mins

Well, that was unexpected.  Blintz had almost a full day less play time on him.  Considering how much time I spent running around and harvesting or sitting still waiting for Captain Gaer to spawn, I thought surely Joe would have less play time.

Still, the number for Blintz does not include time spent at trade skills.  EQ2Players.com separates the two numbers.  Joe did some trade skills and is a leather worker at about the same level that Blintz is an armorer (skill of 200 or so).  So I added in Blintz’s trade skill time, 14 hours and 13 minutes.

Joe – Level 40 Hunter, 6 days, 1 hour, 9 mins

Blintz – Level 40 Swashbuckler, 5 days, 17 hours, 6 mins

That is closer and probably pretty representative of comparable time spent online.  While trade skills in WoW do not take as much time, nor does harvesting (at least not for leather) I did run the auctioneer addon once in a while, so that probably accounts for a similar chunk of time.

Some might claim that my knowledge of EQ2 gave Blintz an edge.  Yet I think the opposite is true.  Joe was the 7th or 8th character I ran through to the 30s and the 4th to 40.  I had a system in place for levelling at that point, which I call the “rolling green” method, where you pick up and finish every single quest in both the human and dwarf/gnome areas so that you end up doing quests that are mostly green (sometimes yellow) all the way to level 40.  You never have to face a difficult orange or red quest and you still have a chain of quests on your plate when you hit 40.

In contrast Blintz is a fae.  That meant starting in a whole new area.  Now, I will admit that I have strayed back into the old zones, especially Nektulos and Zek, but I have also done a lot in the new zones in Faydwer.  And playing in the old zones has hurt my play time a bit, as I have to travel from Kelethin down to the boat, wait for the boat, then ride it to Thundering Steppes or Nektulos Forest.  I have only taken a portal once.

So I looked for another metric.  How much calendar time did I actually spend playing each character to level 40?  Fortunately I was on a data collection binge for Warcraft Realms while I was playing Joe, so I have an accurate list of levels and the date at which they were attained. (I always run the Census addon when I level.)

EQ2Players.com of course provides detailed information, including your location, about every time you level.  The data showed the following:

Joe
Created: June 17
Level 40: September 22
Duration: 97 days

Blintz
Created: November 18
Level 40: February 18
Duration: 92 days

The calendar duration was almost the same.  The data is somewhat skewed of course, as I dawdled a bit in the 20s then had a hard core (for me, anyway) run and did levels 30 to 40 in a little over a month with Joe.   In EQ2 I actually took time off from Blintz while he was in his mid-30s to play Vanguard in January.  But in the end, they both took 3 months to get to level 40, the variations in the levelling schedule being something of a function of my attention span more than anything else.

I would say, therefore, that as far as play time and level of effort required, WoW and EQ2 are about on par when it comes to gaining levels.

So what is different?

Quests are certainly different.  You end up doing a lot more quests in EQ2 than in WoW.  That isn’t a bad thing though.  The quests in EQ2 do not deliver as much experience as quests in WoW.  However, since you end up doing more quests, and since in the “kill ten rats” style quests, the rats seem to deliver more exp relative to WoW, it still seems to be different yet balanced.

Yet both games have their flaws.

EQ2 quests are often a lot less specific about what you should do or where you should go to accomplish your assigned task.  I am much more likely to go and look up a quest for EQ2 than I am for WoW.  Now, a lot of the EQ2 quests are very well written and very specific, especially in  in the Faydwer zones.  On the other hand, some older quests can leave you stumped.  In the dark elf quest chain in Nektulos Forest, for example, at one point you have to go kill some owlbears.  When the quest was written, owlbears were impossible to miss.  They were all over the path that lead from the beach to the bridge.  The owlbears have since been moved to an out of the way corner of Nektulos and you could spend a long time looking for them since the quest gives you no clue where to look.

WoW, on the other hand, excels at guiding you through quests.  I would say that half of the time I look up a quest, it ends up that I simply mis-read something or had followed the directions almost to the right point, but gave up a bit too early.

What WoW lacks… and this is not going to be a huge surprise… is a diversity of paths for advancement.  In WoW, at some point, you find you are on the same path as everybody on your faction and then everybody on the server.  The quests paths nicely guide you along through all of the content

By contrast, EQ2 has almost too much diversity.  One of my annoyances is the number of quests in my journal that go grey before I get to them.  I spent levels 30-40 mostly in Nektulos Forest, Butcher Block, and Zek.  Except for some quests that brought me there, I have pretty much ignored the Thundering Steppes, the Enchanted Lands, and Steamfont.

But in EQ2 if I am tired of whatever I am doing, I always have a lot of alternatives for play.

Summary

For me, a mostly solo player that falls somewhere between “casual” and “hard core,” the ability to level, at least to 40, seems to been pretty equal in EverQuest II and World of Warcraft.

The primary difference is in how much you want to control your own destiny.  In WoW, there is a very solid quest path to follow.  If you follow it, finish all the quests, and go to where you are sent, levels will come and you will see most of the world.  In EQ2 there are multiple quest paths you can follow or mix and match as you will.  You probably cannot follow them all, however, unless you want to do quests that are grey. (When they go grey you still get adventure exp but no AA exp.)  Thus there may be parts of the world you never see unless you go out of your way.  EQ2 is much more of a “choose your own” adventure proposition. 

1100 Days

I read over on the EQ2-Daily forums that the EverQuest II 3 year veteran rewards were now in game.

3 years, since we have had no leap year funniness since EQ2 came out, is 1095 days.  The official EQ2 launch date was November 8th, 2004 according to Wikipedia, so technically, we should have a ways to go before anybody can claim this reward.

Of course, I checked my own account, and as of last night I have 1100 days.

Again, technically, I had only 830 days as of last night, having started playing the game on November 13, 2004.  But with each EQ2 expansion you purchase, you get a bonus of 90 days towards your veterans reward.  I have all three expansions, so that tacks on another 270 days for a total of 1100.

So I got on for a minute this morning to claim my reward on Blintz.  Since you get the reward on three characters, I will have to think about which other characters should claim the reward.

The Three Year Veteran Reward gives you:

  • Three 1 hour potions of +55% adventure experience
  • Three 1 hour potions of +55% trade skill experience
  • A 40 Slots Salesman’s Case
  • The title “The Distinguished”
  • Ancestral Scroll – gives you an “of” title for an EQ server

3yearrewards.png

I certainly want the trade skill experience potions for Blintz, and maybe the adventure potion as well, though adventure experience has not been much of an issue so far.  Those potions, by the way, are the same ones as the two year reward.

I use one of my other characters for selling.  I will have to find out if there is a way to get the “lore” and “no trade” 40 slot salesman’s case into another character’s room.  Since you can only have a single character on an account selling at any given time, it would seem a waste to have two of those cases sitting idle.

The salesman’s case also reduces broker fees to 10% versus 20% for player produced cases. (Thanks to Rotacidare for confirming that tidbit.)

As for the title, I will wear it with pride.

The Distinguished Blintz

40-40 Fae

Three months and one day after starting this character I made level 40 in both adventure and trade skill.

I hit adventure level 40 on Sunday while finishing up the shiny brass halberd heritage quest.

Then I got on Monday night and ground my way through armorer level 39.  60% percent of a level, 6 items per 10% of advancement, 36 items created and I was done.  I had 27 feyiron clusters left when I levelled. 

I sold all 36 items back to the vendor.  My salesman’s cases are full on Vikund and I wasn’t in the mood to store them.  (If you are on Crushbone I can make you a deal on some feyiron armor!)

For those who want the overall score, I crafted 564 items from starting on trade skills through to level 40.

Now I have to get my armor skill up to level 44 to be able to make all of the items I will need for the next tier.  I can still adventure though, as  my feysteel items are at least as good as the fulginate items I will be able to make and I cannot wear or wield ebon items until adventure level 42.  And when I get there, I will be able to wear my JBoots, so that is one less item to make!

And, yes, once I hit 40 the next tier of recipe books were available at the trade skill vendor.  Thank you again Loredena for that tip.  Trust me to worry about such things.

I took two veteran rewards for Blintz, two that gave elixirs of adventure and trade skill experience bonus. (Plus a title.  Blintz is running around as “The Dedicated.”) 

I have not used any of the elixirs yet.  I plan to save to trade skill ones for the late 40s, as I recall that being a particularly wearing stretch of trade skilling.  The next durability buffs do not come until level 50, so by the end of the 40s it can be a lot of work to get pristine results.

All in all, doing the trade skill work has not been as bad as I thought it would be.  The real annoyance has been the price of raws on the market, and that problem seems to go away at 40, as a lot of the raws are selling for prices around a silver. 

Once stocked with materials, the first pristine bonus and the experience boost of vitality made things bearable.  I cannot imagine how I did trade skills the first time around, back at launch.

Next stop is 50!

Slaying Dragoon K’Naae

Sunday I had a bit of time during the evening to run around in game.  I was still out by the Commonlands, so decided to pick up where I left off on “Dragoon K’Naae of the Thexians.”

I needed to pick up the water sample from Behemoth pond and bring it to Dragoon K’Naae, an easy enough task.  I hit the pond then trotted along to him and updated the quest.

Now I needed to get through the Dragoon T’Sanne fight.  That was probably a bit much for me solo, a named heroic, even if he was only level 30 or so.

As I headed back down the trail, somebody said on OOC, “Anybody want to help with the heritage quest?”

Well, there are lots of HQs that have bits and pieces in Nektulos Forest, but I responded hopefully, “The T’Sanne fight?”

The responded in the affirmative and sent me a group invite.  I was now grouped with Ronson, a level 30 wizard and Rastan, a level 32 troubadour.  (I seem to be finding a lot of troubs running around these days.  Oh, and if you are going to name a wizard, naming him after a lighter is about as appropriate as you can get I suppose.)

They were a little paranoid about trying to take on T’Sanne with just our group, though I was happy enough to give it a try. (I’m a swashbuckler, but I act like a berserker.)

Still, we held off trying while we found a couple more people to come and help.  We got a few and started clearing the Gul’Thex Citadel to try to spawn T’Sanne.

This ended up being another long wait.  We killed anything that popped.  The experience was good, but T’Sanne would not come out and play.

Some people left, others joined us.  Eventually there were five of us when Ronson said he had to go and get showered for a date. (See, MMO players do get out once in a while.)  He recalled as we stood there in the courtyard.  As he disappeared one of his and Rastan’s guild mates joined us, a level 70 guardian, to help us out.  Just as we grouped him, T’Sanne popped and attacked. 

I learned something new at this point.  You cannot mentor when in combat.  We had to run for it because nobody who needed it would get quest credit.  T’Sanne and his party finally gave up chasing us quite a ways down the road.  The guardian mentored and we headed back to the Citidel. 

Rastan asked me to invite Ronson again because he was still on.  I invited and we waited for him to get all the way back from Freeport to our location in Nektulos.  Fortunately, nobody else seemed interested in T’Sanne.

Ronson showed up, we sent the guardian in and slew T’Sanne and his group quite easily.  It was nice not to be the tank for once… and to have a real tank there in my place.

With T’Sanne down we ran back to do the last step, turn in the quest, and live happily ever after.

When we got there, Ronson spoke to Dragoon K’Naae first, the assassins jumped out and attacked him, and, in an effort to get mobs of the squishy wizard, I did an AOE to get everybody’s attention. 

Everybody included Dragoon K’Naae.  I forgot that he is just a mob and you can kill him.  Ooops.

So we killed everybody.  I think we might have gotten AA experience for K’Naae.  We did get AA experience for another named dark elf wandering the camp.

So we had to wait for K’Naae to respawn, which took a while.  Eventually he showed back up and, good sport that he is, he didn’t mention it when we finished the quest.

That makes my fifth heritage quest with Blintz, so I can go collect a new title.  I also hit level 40 during one of the last fights, so now I really need to get to work on my armor skill to make my next tier of chain.

Finishing The Return of the Light

Saturday night I decided I would just poke my nose into EverQuest II for a little while, just to see what was going on. Due to life pitching high and inside at couple of the team, our regular Saturday night WoW instance run has been on hiatus, otherwise I would have been there instead. 

I thought I might run down a couple of quests, but I was going to call it a night early.  It had been a busy day.  Our house is on the market, so we had an open house this weekend, which meant we needed to be out of the house most of the day.  My wife was working a trade show up in SF over the weekend, so while she was sleeping at home, she was spending most of her waking hours up in the city.  As she got home to have a late dinner and get to bed I told her I would not be far behind her.

I logged in as Blintz and found myself in Nektulos Forest at the Commonlands gate.  I knew I had an update for “Hadden’s Earring” to get in the Commonlands, so I figured I would go get that, taking a run out of my way to check to see if any of the mobs I needed for “Return of the Light” happened to be wandering around.

For “Return of the Light” I was on the step where I needed to find and kill Captains Gaer and Ogof. 

As I passed through the orcs, I saw a Sergeant Fogo on tracking.  I seemed to recall something about the two captains being given placeholders, so I stopped to look that up.

Sure enough, Sergeant Fogo is Captain Ogof’s placeholder.  Captain Gaer has a placeholder named Sergeant Reag.  So I killed Sergeant Fogo, then ran off to find the other placeholder.  I found Reag not too far away and killed him.  Then I ran back to where Fogo was and there was Captain Ogof waiting for me.

How nice!  How easy!  How completely in pattern for me.

I have this habit of lucking out the first time I do a quest like this.  

For example, way back in 2005, I did “Return of the Light” with my level 35 paladin, solo, in under two hours. 

Really.  From the point I spotted Lightbringer by pure chance to the point when I finished the quest was under 120 minutes, done completely solo, including Bloodskull Valley access.

This was back when a low 20s mob could barely touch a level 35 plate wearing fighter.  Bloodskull Valley consisted of wading through a ton of orcs until General Drull showed up, killing him, and walking away.  It was also a weekday morning, I was at home on a boring conference call, and the Commonlands was empty.

Of course, I have never been able to finish this quest in anything like that time frame since then.

So following that theme, Captain Ogof came easy.  Then there was Captain Gaer.

Sergeant Reag repopped.  I killed him.

Sergeant Reag repopped again.  I killed him.

Sergeant Reag repopped yet again.  I killed him.

I began making hash marks on paper to count the number of times I had to kill him.

I timed his respawn.  He shows up again in a little over six minutes after you kill him.

On I went.

I ended up killing poor Sergeant Reag 17 times before Captain Gaer finally showed up.  That is nearly two hours spent stalking Captain Gaer.  That is about an hour and a half longer than I had planned on staying in the game.

You kill the placeholder and then think, every time, oh, he’ll pop this time.  Over and over.  Still, you feel more in control than when you used to just roam around waiting for him to spawn.

Finally, having slain Gaer, I ran over to Cannix, updated the quest, then headed out to get my “Hadden’s Earring” update so I could go to bed.

As I hit the update for the fishbone earring quest, somebody said on OOC “anybody need the high priest of Val’Marr?”

“Well, crap” I thought, “I am this far in, I might as well get that step done.”  So I replied on OOC saying I needed him and got an invite from Kiry, a level 34 fae troubadour, and headed out for to the Ruins of Val’Marr.

This was one of those chance encounters that makes me love EverQuest II.  I seem to have the best luck with chance pick up groups and this was no exception.

While I flew the griffon out to the station at the ruins, she managed to spawn the High Priest, so I just had to run over and start the fight.

We ran back to Cannix and updated the quest.  Kiry then asked if I was up for killing T’Sanne for the shiny brass halberd quest in Nektulos Forest.  I wasn’t up to that step and I did not want to spend the time getting there then hang around waiting for T’Sanne to spawn.  I was done with that routine for the night.

So I suggested we give Bloodskull Valley a try.  I told her I was a cocky level 39 swashbuckler and was ready to take on the world.

She was dubious about our chances, wanting to find a healer at least, but agreed to give it a shot.  It turned out that she had done this quest at least as many times as I had, though a bit more recently in her last run, so was more up to date on the details.

For example, I had done the usual access quest for Bloodskull Valley.  She skipped it.  You do not need that quest any more, you just talk to some guy outside the instance to get into the right version for “Return of the Light.”

Still, my nutty ideas were not without merit.

We got there, got in the right instance, and the orcs came to get us.  The first wave wasn’t much of an issue.  I did some area of effect attacks to grab all aggro then we started slaying.

The next wave started to get on us a bit.  And then the third wave, the one with named Legionnaire (Gorluk?) came and began to beat on us.  I knew we were not going to make it.  Before we could bite into that wave too far, I was down, dead.  Then she was dead.

But something has changed since I last did this quest.  We revived in the instance.  All the remaining orcs were back in their groups standing around, but nobody was attacking us.

We walked over to the Legionnaire and pondered the situation, then came up with a plan.  We would start on the Legionnaire’s group, hoping that the remainders of the two other groups would not come to their rescue.  Then we would try to hold out and kill until General Drull finally spawned.  Once he was on the scene, we would jump on him and then evac.

And the cool thing is, it worked.  We started in on the Legionnaire wave, killing him first.  Another wave jumped in after not too long.  We kept on hammering away at the orcs.  Then Drull’s party spawned.  We jumped on him, I unleashed everything I had as quickly as I could until he went down.  I saw the update, hit evac, and out we went!  We did it.  We were both down to two bubbles of health each, but we were just a step away from finishing.

So we ran back to Cannix, spoke to him, he died, we slew his assassins (Qeynos aligned version of the quest) and we were finished!

I always think this quest should be worth more.  The status is okay, but the experience is marginal (it is at level 39 anyway) and there is no AA experience because the quest has long gone grey by the time you can reasonably do it without a raid group.

I told Kiry I had to log.  It was already 1am my time.  I had planned to get to bed by 10pm.  Kiry put me on her friends list and I put her on mine.  We had a fun time finishing this up, the crazy swashbuckler and the knowing troubadour, so we said we would try more quests together should we be on again at the same time.

Another heritage quest down.  I need to plan on which one to do next.

Working The Nek Forest Spawn Table

I decided Friday night that, for my next heritage quest, I would work on “Dragoon K’Naae of the Thexians,” the hertiage quest for the Shiny Brass Halberd.

I decided on that because I screwed up the “Little Lost Tarby” lead-in to “An Axe from the Past” (I let Tarby die to the wolves) and wasn’t in the mood to run around any more for “Hadden’s Earring.”

I had already done the owlbear meat portion of the quest and was now ready for the 60 drops from the undead around Nektropos Castle.  That meant taking the griffon up to N’Mar’s Ascent station and then running over to Gargoyle Gorge.

And when I got there, I found it was quite appropriately named.  There was nothing there but gargoyles in the form of crumbling watchers. 

I checked tracking and saw no undead.

I killed a couple of the watchers to see if they would update the quest, but they didn’t, so I headed up to the castle.

There were definitely undead around the castle.  Triple up, heroic undead, levels 29 and 30.

There was a time when a mob of that description would have been easy for a level 39 of any class.  But there has been a lot of adjustments to the dynamics of the game, so I figured I would be careful.  I found a level 29 off in a corner, pulled him back, and dug in for a fight.

And a fight it was.  I had a little more than half a bubble of health left when he went down.  It was a close fight which could have gone either way.  I got a lucky string of procs from my imbued weapons near the end that turned it my way, but it could have been much closer.

One down, 59 to go.  With battles like that, I could be going all night.  So I decided to look for more profitable quests to pursue. 

On my way back down the gorge from the castle, about where I killed the two watchers I noticed that there were now a couple of decayed flesh beings wandering.

Oh!  A shared spawn table!

I have been playing games with spawn tables for so long, yet I always seem to forget that such a thing exists.

After a little bit more killing in the area, I found out that crumbling watchers, patchwork men, and decayed flesh beings share the same spawn table, so that killing any of them is then going to respawn one of the three.  Since crumbling watchers do not satisfy the quest, nobody bothers killing them so, eventually, only they are left wandering around.

So I started killing watchers.  This meant that I had to kill more mobs than I might otherwise should have.  However, the last time I did this quest, you got a quest update about every one in four kills.  Now I was getting a quest update for every undead I killed, so effectively I had to kill less mobs for this stage of the quest than I had previously.

I managed to get my 60 undead slain without too much trouble in the end.  Still, killing 60 of anything takes a while, so once I was done, I turned that portion of the quest into Dragoon K’Naae and called it a night.  I’ll save the water run and the T’Sanne fight for another night.

Random Vanguard Thought

What would have shipped on January 30th if Sigil had just picked one of the continents for the first release and focused on that, leaving the others for future expansions?

I have to imagine that the sheer scope of their vision, huge amounts of land and so many races, is what has really hamstrung their efforts.

Didn’t somebody say something about focus and concentrated coolness in the last few months?

Of course, anything that happened in the last few months was probably too late to change Vanguard’s destiny.

Five Insane MMO Things I Want

I keep a list of topic ideas.  I add to it when something comes to mind, remove items when I have covered them, and I generally keep it ordered with the oldest items on the top.  I now have five items at the top of the list that I want to write about but I can’t quite do them justice.  Five items that will never happen, but which keep rattling around in my brain.

So I am going to set them free.  Pick them up and run with them if you like.  Or let them wither on the vine.

My insanity includes the desire for the following things.

1) A Forgotten Realms MMO

I played AD&D in the Forgotten Realms world.  I played a Forgotten Realms based MUD for 10 years.  I have actually read Forgotten Realms fiction.  I want to walk in a 3D rendered version of that world.  I do not care so much about the sticking to a particular AD&D rule set… or sticking to any of them… I just want to run free in that world.  There is enough lore in the modules and books to create a world and a series of expansions that would make EverQuest look meager in comparison.

Until then, my idea for a T-Shirt:  I wanted Forgotten Realms but all I got was crappy old Dungeon and Dragons Online.

2) EverQuest Completely Redone

By Blizzard on the World of Warcraft engine.  No, really.  Stop looking at me like that, I am not kidding.

WoW = Easy to play, light system requirements, and stylized (thus longer enduring) graphics

EQ = Huge world, awesome lore, cranky old engine, and dated graphics that will never catch up

I want to blend these two in perfect measure and make the ultimate super Norrathian experience!  I want Norrath to live forever… in a form I can actually stand to play!

Put down the torches and the pitchforks.  Please?  I’d take the EQ2 engine even. 

I said these were insane right up there in the title, didn’t I?

3) A First Age Middle Earth MMO

Okay, here is the Tolkien world in which I want to adventure.  Screw the Third Age and the rise of men.  Even the Second Age is full of panty waists, First Age leftovers, and missed opportunities.  I want Beleriand near the end of the First Age

I want the elves at their height, but divided!  I want the dwarvish masters of huge underground realms!  I want the armies of Morgoth at large!  I want the fate of the silmarils in doubt!  I want to hang out with a bunch of nerds who actually know what I am talking about!

There are some seriously larger than life names, both good and evil, to play with.  Sauron?  That Third Age badass?  He’s just one of Morgoth’s Lieutenants!  Balrogs?  You think one was bad?  First Age has dozens of them!  Dragons?  Morgoth was breeding them as pets!

And locations!  Who doesn’t want to see Nagothrond, Gondolin, or Angband?

And here is a Middle Earth venue where PvP would completely rock.  Monster play in LOTRO?  Bah!  Kids stuff!  I want dwarves, elves and men on one side and orcs, trolls, and more men on the other side.  But these sides do not get along among themselves, there being factions within factions, so betrayal is always an option. 

I would be such a hard core Noldor.  Kinslaying?  Won’t be a problem as long as you don’t get between me and a silmaril. 

4) EVE Online Converted Into High Fantasy

I am really impressed with the mechanics of EVE Online.  The problem is, as has been oft pointed out, that ships in space are very impersonal.  But imagine this universe converted to high fantasy… or maybe cyber punk… or steam punk if you want… but some world where your avatar in the game is a person, not a ship. 

A skill based system is hardly new.  You only have to pick up a copy of Ultima Online for that.  But a system with as much depth as EVE has is amazing.  There is nothing else like it, and people who play it sense that.  It is what draws them into the game.  There is a feeling of wonder and fear that EVE’s wide-open system has that must be duplicated in avatar based system.

5) An EverQuest Podcast

Wait, this isn’t actually insane, is it?  Why isn’t there one?

So what insane ideas are bugging you?