On the current EverQuest time locked progression servers, the idea is to play through all of the EverQuest expansions, in order, one by one.
Three things need to happen in order for the server to advance to the next expansion.
First, a certain set of objectives must be met in the expansion. Key bosses must be slain, epic quests must be completed, and so on.
Second, a set time limit must expire. The time limit was set for 90 days from the start of the server until the first expansion, Ruins of Kunark, could be unlock. Each subsequent expansion requires a 30 day wait before it can be opened. Some will view this as a way to slow things down, as I understand that the last time they did progression servers (Combine and The Sleeper), expansions were getting cracked open at an alarming rate. Others will view this as a conspiracy to keep people playing and paying as you must subscribe for a month for each expansion. (And with the base game plus 17 expansions, we’re getting close to a two year commitment to see this through from start to finish.)
And, finally, there is the vote to unlock the next expansion, which is something of a foregone conclusion each time. I have yet to read a good reason to vote against an expansion, and if you believe what you read in the forums, the next expansion is always what will cure what ever is going wrong in the current expansion. (e.g. Kunark was going to alleviate the crowding in the higher level zones in the base game, while Velious will fix the harm touch issue that people are
exploiting using in Kunark.) Plus, the vote is only open to those within 19 levels of the cap, a group made up mostly of those with a vested interest in opening the next expansion, so I cannot see the vote ever going against opening an expansion.
While I have not been playing on Fippy Darkpaw much of late (the plan is to go back for Lost Dungeons of Norrath, which we should get to in November) I have been watching the forums and the progress with expansions and will record results here just because they interest me and because I’d like to be able to refer to them at a later date. SOE isn’t good about keeping results like this around. I couldn’t find anything on the last progression servers and how quickly they progressed and what issues they faced. So consider this a public record of sorts… a biased and oddly focused record, but with enough facts to be better than nothing at all.
When the Fippy Darkpaw server opened, the first objective, the downing of certain key bosses, was completed within 10 days. That left 80 days of calls on the forums to open the next expansion, The Ruins of Kunark, early because a bunch of people were sitting around with little to do and the few high levels zones were very crowded.
This sounds like just about every other MMO, right? There is always somebody who rushes through the game (and these are games no matter how much certain people stomp their feet and insist otherwise) and complains that there is nothing to do. The difference this time is that this group made up a much larger percentage of the population than usual.
SOE held its ground, fixed a few bugs, locked a lot of threads (from my observations, the key job requirement for a member of the EQ community team is the ability to lock threads), went off-line for nearly two weeks, then held the vote for Kunark on time.
The vote to unlock passed. No vote results were ever published that I saw, but the Ruins of Kunark unlocked (automatically I would guess) on June 6th.
And the race was on again. The cynical forum conventional wisdom was that the objective would be knocked out within 72 hours and that it would then become a 27 day wait for the next vote. Not that there is nothing to do. Some people are actually playing to see the whole game one expansion at a time, and even those who are racing through need to gear up their guilds to be ready for the next expansion.
But we cannot see metrics on those who have gotten their “been there, done that” ticket stamped nor get a report on what guilds are geared up and ready to go. All we get is a list of those who accomplished the set tasks for the expansion first. Like Napoleon’s men in Egypt, who couldn’t resist scrawling their names on the Sphinx, the drive to get your name and your guild’s name written in lights is a strong motivator. Is there any wonder why there is a race to the top.
Surprisingly, the expansion was not completed within the 72 hours the wags expected. The final boss, Phara’dar, was not brought down until yesterday, 13 days into the opening of the expansion. That is close enough to the half way point of the expected 30 day life of the expansion to seem reasonably satisfying to me.
So, for the record, here is the timeline for Kunark.
- Trakanon defeated by Twisted Legion
- Venril Sathir defeated by Ion
- Talendor defeated by Armageddon
- Gorenaire defeated by Citizen
- Orb of Mastery, mage epic quest completed by Senlinkin of Armageddon
- Scythe of the Shadowed Soul, necromancer epic quest completed by Corpselover of Twisted Legion
- Ragebringer, rogue epic quest completed by Dezire of Twisted Legion
- Singing Short Sword, bard epic quest completed by Napster of Twisted Legion
- Celestial Fists, monk epic quest completed by Thraka of Twisted Legion
- Earthcaller and Swiftwind, ranger epic quest completed by Darallan of Twisted Legion
- Jagged Blade of War, warrior epic quest completed by Drillisen of Twisted Legion
- Water Sprinkler of Nem Ankh, cleric epic quest completed by Yoosta of Armageddon
- Staff of the Serpent, enchanter epic quest completed by Saarc of Armageddon
- Fiery Defender, paladin epic quest completed by Anselmo of Twisted Legion
- Spear of Fate, shaman epic quest completed by Profa of Armageddon
- Innoruuk’s Curse, shadowknight epic quest completed by Sazzabi of Armageddon
- Staff of the Four, wizard epic quest completed by Kyel of Citizen
- Phara’Dar defeated by Twisted Legion
It is interesting to see that there is a competition going on. For the base game, Twisted Legion killed all of the bosses first. This time around there were other guilds in contention for server first events.
While it looks like Twisted Legion still dominated, they are clearly not alone out there.
And now the count down to the next expansion, The Scars of Velious begins. I have no doubt that the vote will swing in favor of opening the expansion at the earliest possible date and that we will see the guild competition continue in early July… and what the next major complaint on the forums will be.