Well, the 2007 EverQuest nostalgia tour appears to have finished up for the season, and in the usual fashion.
Gaff and I played for a while, leveled up, set a goal, then promptly went off to other things.
Not that we were not having fun. I mean, we got to see Santug Claugg.
And we both had a good time grouping up and playing EQ. It is a very raw game relative to today’s titles. You can really feel how close EQ is to the MUDs from which it evolved.
But in some aspects it is a bit too raw.
So I am going to take the very naive view, again, and throw out a few items on the assumption EverQuest still wants to attract some new players. I have been sitting on this post for a couple of weeks, tinkering with what I wanted to suggest, and then just days before I posted it, another set of suggestion appeared over on Mobhunter. Usually that will make me kill a post, but fortunately, we do not overlap very much, so will post mine as well.
Quest For Success
Quests need some improvements. In the tutorial zone the quests deliver quite a bit of experience as well as cash and equipment, as do some of the quests in the Crescent Reach zone. But around level 10, the rewards suddenly start tapering off dramatically compared to the rewards you get just grinding mobs. Doing a kill ten rats type of quest past level 10 you end up getting more experience for each rat you kill than you do for the quest turn-in at the end. I am fine with there being some balance between the sum total of the experience for your kills and the quest experience reward, but with that little of a bump, it isn’t worth running back to town to turn the quest in. You would be better off using that time to kill another mob or two. But better quest experience is only the leading edge and leads to my next item.
Since most of the content for EverQuest is beyond level 50, I would like to see SOE be a little more relaxed on getting up to and past level 50. SOE tries to help out a bit by making some zones “hot zone,” where the experience is doubled. This is a nice idea, but there are only a few zones thus designated, they don’t even start until level 20, and not very many people even know about this zones unless they follow the forums. So, to get more new people up to level 50 or so, I would suggest that SOE just flag all zones under level 50 as “hot zones” and let people get into the game and up in levels.
With the inflation present in pre-cataclysm Norrath, getting drops that sell back to vendors for a few copper is a bit of a joke. A new player may feel good at first about selling a stack of items to an NPC vendor for 9 copper each, but wait until they see the price of things in game. And I am not talking about the bazaar, where sticker shock will give them a heart attack. No, just a simple parse through the price of spells will cause dismay. It is really a pain to be only a few levels into a game and not be able to afford things basic to the usefulness of your class. And given the cheap price of EverQuest platinum on the RMT front, that steep price incline may just push a new user into the illegal market, if not out of the game.
So I think there needs to be an injection of money at the low end of the game. Since the increment between coin values is 10 in EQ, versus 100 in EQ2 or WoW, something as simple as upping the value of vendor trash drops from copper to silver would make a big difference. In fact, the game might well do away with copper altogether, as a copper coin doesn’t do much for you in Norrath.
There are two items here that could use some updating. The first, which I mentioned in another post a while back is the keyboard layout. I do not want to kill off the current layout, but I would like to see an easy way to get a WASD based layout.
The second is the camera controls. Awkward does not begin to describe the camera controls in EverQuest once you have played WoW or EQ2. Of all the things that SOE could do to make EverQuest feel more up to date, I think this would be my #1 pick. Clint Worley, please go to the EQ2 team and get them to implement their camera code. That would be worth a lot more than another old world zone having its graphics updated.
I almost hate to bring this one up, but it feels like it might be time for another round of server merges. I do not play much over the course of the year, but I tend to play at the same time of year, and this time around the Plane of Knowledge and the Bazaar were feeling a little sparse. In years past, the Plane of Knowledge was the one place you could find a lot of people congregating in the name of something other than commerce. This season, the place just felt a bit empty. And the Bazaar, while hardly underpopulated, had noticeably fewer sellers. Selling platforms that were often packed shoulder-to-shoulder now had a lot of elbow room. That made it easier to find sellers, but I am not sure that it bodes well.
Of course, this is the observation on a single server, Luclin, but I also know that this topic came up in the latest EverQuest producer’s letter, so I do not think I am alone in with this feeling. I expect that when autumn comes and the rain begins, I will come back to EverQuest and find fewer servers than before. But if it keeps the community more alive, that will be a good thing.
Same Time Next Year
I expect that next year, like past years, I will find that, around expansion time in the Fall, the desire to see old Norrath again will hit me. I will poke Gaff and he will come along for another short tour I am sure. We might even get Potshot in on the action next time. He seemed keen for a trip down memory lane with us, having played back in the golden age himself.
Until then, keep a lamp lit in West Karana for us.
We’ll be back to visit.