EverQuest Next and Lessons Learned

The SOE Fan Faire went off this past weekend in Las Vegas.

One of the things that came out of the coverage of Fan Faire was EverQuest Next, the future MMORPG that will be based in the EverQuest universe.  Massively and Complete Heal have decent coverage of the event.

Norrath will live again!  Exciting News!

They even showed some concept art.

Freeport Next?

Kelethin Next?

Remember, concept are is just a vision of what may be.  Your Mileage may vary.

And what I have read so far about EverQuest Next features ends up making something of what I will call a “lessons learned” list.  This list includes:

  • Single world without the need to load zones
  • Instanced dungeons
  • Low system requirements
  • Stylized character models
  • Fewer classes, relative to EQII
  • PvP from day one and “done right”

Not a bad list.

You might remark that, aside from that last item, it sounds a lot like lessons you could learn from looking at World of Warcraft.  That isn’t a bad thing.  Nothing says that those items preclude making a successful MMORPG.

On the other hand, a list of lessons learned can be a deceptive thing.  We need only look back six years and compare the products that SOE and Blizzard shipped that were both heavily influenced by the original EverQuest.  Both EverQuest II and World of Warcraft became things because of EverQuest.  Their very design were obvious responses to the lessons learned from the EverQuest experience.

If we look back at what EverQuest II brought to the table as a “lesson learned” from EverQuest some were pretty much right one the money, some needed some work to be viable, and a few were just wrong.  These are my own recollections of some of the aspects of EverQuest II that seemed to represent in some way, lessons learned from EverQuest:

Zoning is Okay – In EQ when you hit a zone line you had to sit and wait for the next zone to load up.  The world was chopped into zones.  There ended up being dozens of them.  And each time you hit one, you waited at the loading screen.

EQII kept that same idea, changing it only in small details.  For example, the invisible zone line fun in the middle of a places like the Commonlands or the Karanas was done away with.  In EQII you at least knew when you were going to zone.  But you still had to wait at that loading screen.

Who Needs A World – One of the things I most remember about starting off in EQ was that Norrath felt like a big, connected world.  You had to run a long time to get across it, and you could even take different routes as you went from zone to zone.  Travel time though, that became a drag.  If you were in Qeynos and your friends were in Kelethin, just getting to them could blow your whole evening.

EQII seemed to take on the whole travel problem by destroying the world.  That was the theme of the game after all, a planet rending cataclysm. But they also managed to destroy the feeling that Norrath was a single world.  We got the ever shifting system of bells that would teleport you to a new location.  As the game expanded we got ships to carry us from island to island, but post-cataclysm Norrath never had the feel of “place” the way EQ did.

Reduced Death Penalty – The EQ death penalty, coming back naked, often many zones from where your corpse lay with all your equipment, losing a quarter of a level of experience and perhaps even dropping a level, that played okay in MUDs, but in a huge world of Norrath it was, frankly, a royal pain.

EQII removed the naked corpse run.  Rather than losing experience your equipment was damaged and you accrued about a quarter level of “experience debt” that you had to work off and which effectively reduced your experience gains by 50% until they were paid off.  Remember when the whole group shared in the debt when any member of the group died.  That made for some fun, group sundering times!  And even that level of death penalty was toned down until today it is about 2 mobs worth of experience debt.

Group Play – In EQ playing past level 20 really required a group unless you were content to grind at an incredibly slow pace.  It was a group focused game, something it inherited from its DikuMUD roots.

EQII started out with the idea that there ought to be a solo play path, but it was clearly not the primary path.  When you got out to the Thundering Steppes or Nek Forest, solo time was tough.  That all changed later, but for a while you really needed a group to get along in the game.

Quests Needed – Quests in EQ?  There were some.  They were not as arcane as the Diku MUD days of questing, but they were not a big focus either.  You spent most of your time grinding mobs, hoping for a decent drop.  Sometimes you would have a quest for a really nice piece of gear and you would spend a huge amount of time camped, waiting for a critical mob to spawn.

EQII was all about quests on day one.  There were lots of quests.  Those of us from MUD or EQ backgrounds still tended to go find a corner of the world with big mobs and just grind.  But the days of those groups being the main path for advancement were over.

Twinking Is Bad – In EQ, you could bum a high level buff or three from a friend, spirit of the wolf from somebody else, some really good gear from your main character, and run out and solo huge mobs to speed up the level grind.  If you were in luck, a healer friend would sit around and keep you healthy while you tore though the Aviak village in South Karana.  Twinking at its best.  Get things going right and you could take out that wandering cyclops while you were at it.  Good times.

This seemed to annoy the devs (and certain forum dwellers) quite a bit, because when EQII came out, it felt like SOE had spent more time coming up with ways to stop twinking than they on, say,  travel or how to sell via the broker.  We ended up with buffs you could only cast on group members, buffs with very, very short duration, equipment with level restrictions, and equipment that changed stats depending on your level.  Do you remember that last one?  Do you remember equipment with stats that were tied to your level?

And then there were locked encounters, a system where by once you started a fight with a mob, nobody outside of your group could damage that mob or cast beneficial buffs on you.  Cumbersome is the only way I can describe this.  Sure, it defeated kill stealing as well, but you could have fixed that with a “who hit it first gets the exp” system. (In EQ, it was the person or group who got the killing blow who got the exp and the loot, which lead to… abuses.) This was all clearly designed to thwart easy leveling with the help of high level friends.  Gone were the random buffs of kindness.

Player Housing Is ImportantEQ is finally getting player housing in the upcoming expansion, House of Thule.  17 expansions after launch and you can finally get a place of your own.

EQII had player housing.  Guild halls took ages to arrive, but you could have your own home on day one.  It is an important part of the game to a lot of people.  And while there is some debate as to whether it pulls people off the streets and makes the game feel less populated, it is really part of the EQII experience.

Crafting Should Be Really Complicated – In EQ crafting was… difficult yet simple.  You bought your components from an NPC vendor (unless you were cooking, in which case you could use some drops from mobs… rat meat, yum!), put them in the crafting station, pressed the button, and you either got something or you lost all your stuff.  There was no recipe, so it could go either way.  They changed that later on.  And they changed it so that you could make useful items.  But initially crafting could be a money wasting crap shoot.  But it was simple and quick.

SOE took that lesson to heart.  In EQII you could craft useful items.  Very useful.  But the crafting game was much more complex.  There was harvesting, of course.  Lots of harvesting.  And then the actual manufacture, which was set up so that which ever trade skill you chose, you likely needed pieces and parts from other professions.  The idea was an integrated economy.  It was a disaster, unless you were an alchemist.  I made stuff everybody needed.  A chunk of my modest fortune was made through chemicals.

Three major revamps later, the crafting system is now manageable and, I must say, more fulfilling than the WoW model, though I am still not fond of playing whack-a-mole, which is what production of items ends up simulating.

So What?

Where am I going with this?  Do I have some point I want to make or is this just a rambling Grandpa Simpson post?

A little bit of both, I suppose.

But mostly to bring up a list of things that probably like good ideas… or at least reasonable plans… some of which were and some of which were not just to illustrate my statement early on in this piece that you do not always learn the right lesson from things.

And to ask a question.

What so you think SOE should take away as lessons learned from EverQuest II and apply to EverQuest Next?

28 thoughts on “EverQuest Next and Lessons Learned

  1. Tipa

    Small correction: In EQ, it was the person/group that did the most damage that got the xp and loot, which made raids complicated before the raid system simplified things. All the big DPS had to be in the main group….

    What I mostly hope for from EQ Next is a DEEP and ABIDING DEVOTION TO THE LORE. And they won’t do this, but I would like the races to be kept more or less separated from each other initially, like in EQ. Learn your own lore and people before you mix it up with the wider world.

    Starting in Neriak, Rivervale, Erudin or Kelethin were entirely 100% unique experiences that shaped the rest of your time in the game.

    Oh yeah — FACTION. EQ’s complex faction system — which tied into the lore — continually reminded you of your place in the world. Try being an Iksar who wanted to live and trade in Antonica… with a lot of work, maybe, someday. Planes of Power, with PoK, ended the faction system. It was a real loss.

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  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Tipa – Now that I think about it, you are correct. That was part of the fine art of twinking and power leveling, having somebody knock down 49% of a mob then let you finish off the rest. Exp for the final blow was a Toril MUD thing.

    Individual, geographically dispersed home towns were part of what made the world feel like a world in EQ. Travel was a pain, but you felt like you were somewhere. The racial ghettos in Freeport and Qeynos in EQII were a disappointment.

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  3. Tipa

    They could make your junk races live close to each other — the ones all the cool folks will want to be. But make a race or two really remote, really segregated — a place and race that will make the game significantly harder to start, but will confer an advantage later on. Like Ogres in EQ. They were the best warriors and shadow knights, but you had to deal with initial levels in the back end of nowhere and high level monsters like spectres floating around to ruin your day if you got lost.

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  4. Tipa

    And also, Ogres had an xp penalty. Yeah. And to trade with other races (besides trolls), they had to tramp all the way to EC, because they couldn’t use the druid rings and the closest wizard spires were in the depths of the Temple of Cazic-Thule. Ogres paid their dues.

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  5. Brian 'Psychochild' Green

    What so you think SOE should take away as lessons learned from EverQuest II and apply to EverQuest Next?

    Sadly, I suspect the lesson that will be learned will be, “Your game wasn’t enough like WoW.” I have more fond memories of playing EQ2 than I do of playing WoW, personally. However, I’ve found it easier to get back into WoW after a long absences than EQ2, which might account for their terrible ongoing numbers.

    The lessons I’d hope they learn are:
    * Stay true to your fanbase, don’t go chasing someone else. I still contend that EQ2’s biggest problem was that it alienated the EQ1 fans by being too different but didn’t really attract a new audience because it seemed too much like EQ1, even down to the name. The stated intention for EQ2 was to go after the “millions” of people who had played EQ1 but didn’t stick with it. We can see how that went.

    * There’s no shame in not being #1. I think there were a few bruises taken by the dev team in that they went from having the dominant game (EQ1) to being an “also ran” in two big games (EQ2 and SWG) when WoW came out. While there were some good changes made to EQ2 to improve it in tremendous ways, I get the feeling that there was a bit of discouragement from not being top dog anymore.

    * Keep It Simple, Stupid. I think EQ2 continuously suffered from a lot of complication it didn’t need. The crafting system, while interesting, was ultimately too involving for the crafters to do what they actually enjoy, socialization. The initial class system was intended to force players to face less choices in the beginning, but ultimately led to the players having to do more research to really understand what class choices they had to make to play what they really wanted to. The item shop added a lot of options, but also some frustration from what I understand. Focus on the game, make it fun and focused, give people what they want and expect. Want to do something new and interesting? Then leave the EQ name alone.

    We’ll see if they’ve learned or not. As a note, I am available for consulting work. ;)

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  6. Bhagpuss

    Excellent remembering of EQ2. One thing, there were “corpse runs” of a kind at launch, where you dropped a “shard” where you died and got a chunk of lost XP back if you returned to it. The worst of both possible worlds and thankfully soon removed.

    I always thought what was uppermost in the minds of the EQ2 dev team was minimising the kind of calls to customer service they’d had in EQ. They seemed to have a shopping list: trains, kill stealing, lost gear/corpse, camp-sharing… if it was an issue in EQ they did their damndest to design it out of EQ2.

    If Scott Hartsman hadn’t happened along, EQ2 would probably have closed after a couple of years just like Asheron’s Call 2 did. Fortunately he was able to turn the ship around, amidst much howling from the residue of uphill-in-the-snow-both-ways players that were all that remained after everyone who valued either their time or their sanity had been boiled off.

    My fear for EQNext from what they are say ing so far is that history might repeat itself. They could end up addressing all the issues that make them still “not WoW” now and release a near-perfect WoW-beater just as Blizzard pop out their true next-gen MMO, leaving EQNext looking as desperately old-fashioned as EQ2 did at launch.

    Let’s hope not. Doesn’t really matter anyway because I’m going to be playing the damn thing whatever.

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  7. Mike

    Another lesson they need to be sure to learn, don’t give us 500 spell abilities. Playing EQ2 I don’t know anyone that has less than 5 button bars up.

    Consolidate those abilities into 1, improve it over time (instead of a new spell, add an effect to the spell. Perhaps a dot starts off debuffing AC, then as you get higher level the new version will slow… and so on. Same with direct damage and dots.

    I really hate the insane number of buttons you have to have in EQ2.

    Also, if it doesn’t have LUA from day 1 also, stop and start over.

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  8. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Tipa – Yeah, the “evil” races being more of a challenge was something that they lifted straight from Toril MUD. I even wrote a post about that, since it does offer a way to create a more challenging path.

    @Brian – As I said, more like WoW isn’t evil in and of itself. My favorite day dream heresy is to have original EQ redone with the WoW engine and a more stylized graphical theme. I want to play EQ but have it work as well and as smoothly as WoW. But I don’t want it to be WoW, which I would take as your point.

    I have more fond memories of playing EQ2 than I do of playing WoW, personally. However, I’ve found it easier to get back into WoW after a long absences than EQ2, which might account for their terrible ongoing numbers.

    Yes, I have a lot more fond memories of EQ2, especially really early EQ2. I played from day one through until just before Kingdoms of the Sky, but have a hard time getting back into it since then. I have to start new characters to get into the game again. With WoW, I can figure out my old characters without too much issue, but in EQ2 it seems to be a huge chore. As Mike commented, too many damn skills to reasonably manage. That was a huge over-correction from EQ.

    And I am completely out of character slots, even if I go with Station Access, which does not bode well for my ever getting back into EQ2 Live again.

    But that is an interesting point of design consideration, making sure that your players can leave the game for a while and be then be able to get back into things.

    @Bhag – Yeah, Scott Hartsman correcting the whole “Ignore the EQ Lore” perspective was a huge boost for the game. Coming back for Faydwer was my big second wind in the game. Of course, it involved making a new character.

    They did seem to go after customer service issues, though how twinking/power leveling got on that list I will never know. They did so much work to thwart it. I’ve always wanted to ask somebody at SOE “WTF was up with that?”

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  9. Sören

    I neither played EQ nor EQ2 but I hope they will not create another mediocre WoW-clone.

    I’d like to see an MMO(RPG) without a levelling corset. Well, levels are fine for the financial department as you can milk the customers by repeatedly releasing addons which increase level cap by another 5 levels or so and let everyone run for max level end game. But it seperates low level players from high level players. It makes PvP impossible for low levels as someone always starts calling the big guys.

    A good Lore part would be fine too. I do not like the WoW-style quest-accepting: skip the wall of text, just read how much of what to kill and go hacking your 10 boars.

    I’d like to see some new combat system. The click-target-push-your-buttons-and-forget style may fit e.g. Eve but seems strange to me in fantasy themed MMOs.

    But I’m afraid it will be something smoothed for sale, some lessons learned from the past and no real innovation.

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  10. Ponder

    My more radical view.

    We play MMOs to discover how the game works.

    Unfortunately, MMO design has been converging over the past 10 years into a fairly standard set of features. As a consequence we know how the game works before we play it. Its NO LONGER OF INTEREST.

    What I’m saying is that the MMO industry in its current form is on the decline. WoW is now a Brontosaurus.

    However, MMOs won’t die because there is so much that hasn’t been explored:
    . dynamic worlds
    . non-combat interactions
    . shifting alliances/enemies
    . social status/law/government

    In other words, many of the interesting stuff in the real world.

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  11. smakendahed

    Ogres didn’t have it nearly as bad as Trolls… heaven forbid you played a Troll Shadowknight – worst XP penalty out there.

    TAGN – EQ2 started with a death penalty called soul shards, but they replaced that system quickly. Idea being you had 5 soul shards, if you died, a soul shard was left where you died and you gained 20% xp less for ever reward until you got that shard back. So if you left 5 shards behind, you weren’t leveling at all.

    Also, all content was heroic outside of the newbie areas. Just about every mob was Heroic or an encounter of heroics outside of the newbie/isle area. They shifted that too because it was too hard for players to get from point A to B without a group. I think it was worse than in EQ because they had a lot of mobs out in the wilderness – it wasn’t as easy to avoid them. They changed it so all outdoor mobs would be solo (except a few) and all dungeon mobs (almost all) would be Heroic.

    Sound familiar?

    You also had to do quests to unlock the access to the other islands. After that you could buy tickets to that island. The quests were not soloable and involved defending a ship as it traveled to that new location.

    There were a lot of things that made the game tough (though somewhat rewarding and still a group focused game) that they ended up doing away with because people ended up playing WoW instead.

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  12. Mike

    Don’t forget the lovely fun of group Debt from EQ2! You’d invite someone half-way across the zone and they’d die there and your entire group would get debt because the guy across the zone died.

    I don’t fondly remember the corpse runs in EQ1 or the crazy death systems of early EQ2. The 8 hour corpse runs from Plane of Fear suuuucked.

    The things I do remember though are exploring Lesser Fay and seeing those giant spiders for the first time in EQ1. It was like a tabletop gaming session come to life.

    Unrest in EQ1 (the EQ2 version while it looks pretty is terrible when compared to it) was so fun. Loads of people pulling different sections. Most folks helping each other when things got crazy… getting a full set of bronze armor.

    Give me the good times w/o the silly stuff!

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  13. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Smakendahed – That soul shard thing must have been in beta or killed very, very quickly after launch. I remember the “go get the shard at your corpse to reduce your exp debt” but not that 5 shard shenanigans you mention, and I was playing at launch. (But I did not play any in beta.) On the other hand, we all forget things.

    I wouldn’t say all content outside of the initial zones, Antonica and Commonlands, was heroic, but it was skewed 80-90% that way. There was, for example, a quest to kill griffons in the thundering steppes. If you knew where to look, you could find solo level griffs, but 90% of them were heroic encounters.

    And running through Nek forest used to be death. Heroic bats flitting all over the road.

    You could level past the lock-out restrictions on places like Zek. You could get the quest to get in around level 25, but were free to go there after… was it 30 or 35? Oddly, they looked at your trade skill level as well as your adventure level. I got into Zek and the Enchanted Lands, avoiding those quests, by cranking on alchemy. But the whole locking of major overland content thing seemed like a bad idea.

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  14. CF

    I love how every time a new MMO is announced the entire community comes out like this.

    You people really should have learned by now that all of your “stay true to the fanbase” and “keep it like EQ1” suggestions are not going to happen.

    Mark my words, this is going to be WoW clone #453. How you guys keep faith in these AAA MMO devs anymore is beyond me.

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  15. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @CF – And I love how people always read into things exactly what they want as opposed to what was actually written.

    Discussing a list of potential “lessons learned” from EQII is a far step from pinning hopes on suggestions. It is a discussion of theoreticals that I am sure everybody who commented realizes are just for our own benefit.

    We just like to talk about this stuff.

    Have you ever listened to a call-in sports radio program? More hot air, BS, and wishful thinking was never heard. Same thing here.

    As for faith in AAA MMO devs, who said we had any at all?

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  16. Mike

    @cf Even if it’s not like WoW folks will claim it is WoW. Even when WoW did nothing innovative beyond make the game casual. The game mechanics and just about every other feature someone else had done before. Not saying that’s a bad thing… I am saying however that people that only play WoW will laughingly suggest that every other game is like WoW.

    So if EQNext is like EQ1+EQ2 people will still claim it’s a WoW clone because 1) it’s the stupid thing people like to say when they don’t have a valid response and 2) so many people have ever only played WoW.

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  17. Epiny

    I’m not sure how to take your posts. I disagree with some of the things you didn’t like in EQ. The realy thing to take into consideration during all of this is that EQ’s positive features were a direct result of it’s percieved negative features.

    EQ1 had a strong player community because we had no other options. You couldn’t change your name and server transfers didn’t exist, and when they did show up you went naked and platinum-less. The twink community helped support the economy and the more or less Stock Exchange style of transactions that occured in East Commons tunnel. (WTS Fungi Tunic by Shady!)

    The death penalty was so severe people didn’t take risks. That caused the common, sit in 1 spot and camp. The goal was to break a camp and space the mobs out safely to reduce risk and increase exp gain. If someone was bad and wipped the group they were kicked and found it hard to get another group due to word of mouth.

    The rare mob camps would get a dev team tared and feathered by today’s standards. A friend camped Stormfeather for 2 weeks staying up 18 hours a day and I covered the other 6 for him. I spent a week in Naggy’s lair waiting on Ragefire to spawn with my guild. We had a phone roster/calling tree to wake people up. These are shitty features, but I remember them foundly. I had no choice in the matter so I made the best of them.

    Gamers haven’t changed in 10 years. We’ve always min/maxed the difficulty out of the game. Even in EQ we did everything possible to reduce the risk and increase the loot and exp gain. The ONLY reason this worked was because we had no easier place to go. I’m not saying that a game just being easier will draw people away. However people want a game they can play and advance in on their terms. Waiting 2-3 hours on a list to get in SolB is not what people want anymore.

    People already complain about a 15 minute wait in Dungeon Finder for a group. We can’t have EQ1 redone. It wont work. We can take some good ideas from EQ1 and implement them to make a new experience. I just think people are putting their blinders on when they say that one X feature from EQ1 and not Y feature when in reality Y is the reason X worked to begin with.

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  18. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Epiny – You should not take the post as “I didn’t like these things in EQ.” I quite honestly miss some aspect of all of the items I mentioned. That I said, for example, that the death penalty and running naked from Qeynos to East Karana to find your corpse was a royal pain, and you must admit that it was, does not mean that I hated it at the time. It was part of the environment. As you say, fond memories and such.

    What I said in the post is that these appeared to be items that SOE felt they had to address in some way in order to make EQII a better game and successor to EQ.

    The fact that EQII has never surpassed EQ’s peak subscription rate and that even now, 11 years since launch, EQ is holding even with EQII in subscriptions (as stated at Fan Faire) seems to indicate that this was not a full blown success. What they took as lessons learned were, I would guess, part of the issue.

    Gamers haven’t changed in 10 years? Hrmm… maybe. It is hard to tell, because the gaming environment in MMORPGs has changed quite a bit over the last 10 years and a lot of new players have joined in. Does the fact that I no longer really want to put up with a death and a corpse run eating up all my play time in an evening mean that I have changed, or that I just have other options?

    So not only do we have a lot more choice than we did 10 years ago, there are a lot of people for whom WoW was the starting point. And the oft-cited prediction that WoW was the training wheels and that gamers would seek greater challenges (the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy) has failed to come to pass.

    In the end, you cannot remake EQ and have a market leading product. SOE wants, and is no doubt under some pressure to produce, a market leading product, so their lessons learned appear to come from the market leader who, as I pointed out, also did their learning from EQ.

    Ironically, you could probably remake EQ with the subscription targets originally envisioned for the game (~50K was it?), and be successful with that. But you could not be all things to all people, you would have to focus your execution, really trim all non-essentials, and be ready to say to people who want another WoW that they had better look elsewhere.

    That probably isn’t going to happen at SOE. You need somebody like Runic that can obviously bite the bullet and stick to the core goal for a product release.

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  19. Jose

    @Epiny – Those rare mob “features” is what kept me away from EQ and made me grow tire of FFXI. I understand making the best out of it, but I hope they don’t come back again. If the devs want to throw one or two in the game, then do it. But not the norm.

    About the op… I believe that Vanguard SoH, at least on paper, took a lot of lessons learned from EQ and improved on it. I recall fondly many forum threads where Brad McQuaid explained his vision. I recall also many posts from the community with dreams of exploring the world, others dreaming of building ships and go sailing (or pirating) in the sea. Unfortunately the dream was too big. I was there at the start and even thought I tried again and again I couldn’t get over the many problems that it had (still has?).

    Which takes me to my lessons-learned for SOE… I prefer for you them to start with a limit number of classes, races, features at launch and dedicate more to quality that trying to accomplish everything at launch and be all crap. I do know that there is no “bug free software”, but I’m sure that all agree that the bigger the focus the more problems are likely to be encounter.

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  20. Mike

    I’d stay forever in vanguard if they’d offer a lifetime subscription option. Even with all its ongoing bugs and glitches. The Diplomacy system is nothing short of genius, even if only partly implemented, and should be emulated in every game made forever-after. Crafting is a minigame but unlike EQ2 it’s quick and still manages to be deep… and it puts more of the quality and customization of the item in the player’s hands (far better than EQ2). The environment, the dizzying heights and vistas, how far you can see, the layout of cities that actually feel like cities… Someone redoing Vanguard, without changing any of the systems, on a stable code platform = fantasy.

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  21. Mike

    Come on, EQ Next! Let it be: Vanguard + EQ2 = EQNext.

    (and for God’s sake, give broker access to buy and sell to the EQ2 Extended bronze and silver levels, you’re only killing your own marketplace the way it is now — I can play Runes of Magic, DDO, and countless others and have full access to the auction house, because it’s a BASIC system that shouldn’t be penny-pinched-out)

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  22. Stringer

    I think they need to remember one undeniable truth about anything you try to make everyone love: in trying to make everyone happy, you won’t make anyone happy.

    There are too many differences of opinion as to what’s good, what’s bad, what works and what doesn’t.

    If they just stay focused on their target consumer (ones with plenty of money and a tendency to be religiously committed to a single game in massive numbers), and design a game that works well together, then it’ll be great. If they try to be all things to all people, they’ll fail miserably amidst the barrage of conflicting desires.

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  23. Stringer

    Mike, FYI, the broker access was limited on purpose, apparently. The idea is that EQ2 needs to strengthen the community aspect, and public auctions do more for that goal than the broker. At least that’s what DJ has said time and again. Don’t forget that EQ2X is a bit of an experiment…and as such subject to massive changes depending on how people react.

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  24. Rita / Karaya

    Hey y’all, I haven’t read all of these responses yet, but while it’s on my mind I had an interesting idea: An in-character “I can vouch for this guy” faction mechanism. Now bear with me here…

    I love the way factions worked in EQ1. Like the OP said, they really give you a feeling of having a “place” in the world. One problem with them, though, is that they could divide RL friends who wanted to play together. IMO, having fun in an MMO starts with two basic premises: 1) Being *your* favorite kind of character in the game, so you feel a connection to her/him, and 2) Being able to play with your friends.

    So say you’re a high elf, and your friend is an iksar. You’re KOS in each other’s homelands, but you, being friends, want to work on quests together and maybe gain faction with each other’s people.

    So picture this: The Emerald Warriors offer a nice quest for a duo of friends to work on. If the high elf is “warmly” or “ally” with the Emerald Warriors, she can “vouch for” the iksar, which would give the iksar a temporary faction buff with the EW (like to “dubious” level, just enough to be non-KOS and be able to turn in quests shared by the high elf). Maybe the “vouch for” mechanism would be automatic as long as the friends are grouped.

    Without the high elf friend around, the iksar loses the faction buff, but keeps any faction he may have gained through those quests. So through a combination of a friend’s diplomatic influence and some hard work (which can be done alongside your friend), the iksar can eventually become non-KOS, or even friendly, in his own right. It’s still not easy, but he can play with his high elf friend from the get-go without having to sacrifice playing his preferred race (iksar).

    Just an idea to think about ;)

    Like

  25. Shnozz

    Take basically all of vanguard, minus the chunks, and slower (almost impossible to parse) fighting mechanics and redo them. Keep their crafting, keep the open world. No one enjoys going through linear 3D areas. You shouldn’t HAVE to go anywhere. If someone wants to get to the next area via the valley or road, and someone wants to climb over an ominous mountain let that be their choice.

    Have GOOD pvp. Non buggy, no stupid can’t hit for more than 1/3 of someones total hp rules. Allow a loot style after a pvp kill in line with eq1. Take something OF YOUR CHOOSING off of your victim. Not random aviak meat and 10 copper like in eq2.

    Agree with above posters about sticking to factions better. Factions should be hard and time consuming to change. What you class you choose, and where you choose to start should significantly affect your end game. EQ2 is now pick whatever looks coolest to you, and there will be miniscule, meaningless, differences in your end game experience.

    Like

  26. Matt84

    What they should keep from EQ1:

    The “world” experience
    Having ever race start at different locations was great because it gave your specific race a home which resembled their race (ie barbs in snow area, trolls in swamp). Also the way zones were distribute in eq2 destroyed the world experience (ie lvl 1-10 exp one zone away from starting city-commons, lvl 11-20 lvl lvl to zones away-nek, ect). Past the newbie area the exp zones for specific lvls should be more randomly distributed. What made me quit eq2 early on was the the path from 1 to max was laid out in a linear fashion from one zone to the next.

    Loot
    What I loved about EQ was that specific gear pieces stayed with you for a while. If you got a rare loot piece in guk you could be using it from 20 to 50 because that perticlur pieces was that good. It made getting a rare piece so much more special. What I seen in eq2 and wow was rare gear being replaced by common gear every few lvls. They should do away with lvl reg for gear.

    Community
    EQ1 had one of the best player communities in a mmorpg I played ever. The reason I think was that your reputation on a server mattered. There were no name changes, server transfers, and alot of time was need to develope a single charactor thus it made it harder to roll a new charactor. Also for the most part grouping was required which forced people to work together and made your reputation important to advancing.

    I hope those three aspects from eq1 make it into EQ next as much as possible

    Like

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