The Worst News from Fan Faire…

At least EverQuest II related news… and in my highly opinionated view.

I saw this quote over at MMO Axis and felt a pang of despair.

Outside the expansion, EQ2 will be launching the revamp of Freeport.

Really?

Was the revamp of Freeport in EverQuest such a booming success that it was felt that SOE needed to repeat it in EQ2?

To me, revamping the over-wrought monstro-city of Freeport should be a pretty low item on the list of things to do.

Freeport cannot even claim to have been the focal point of the game the way it was back in EverQuest.

Unless the upcoming Age of Discovery expansion is going to focus on the city (and let the player base that is aligned with Qeynos/Halas… which seems to be the majority of players on the servers on which I have played… access the city) I cannot see the upside of this for the game as a whole.

Now I am biased, having suffered the neglect of the Qeynos citizen at the hands of SOE in EverQuest, where they took the time to redo Freeport but cannot be bothered to fix the fog effects west of Highhold Pass.  And then in EQ2 it felt like SOE spent about 10x the resources creating Freeport vs. Qeynos.

Long simmering resentments aside though, I still wonder what SOE feels they are going to gain from this.  If they had announced a Qeynos revamp, I think I would still be asking the question, “Is it worth it?”

Yes, the city could be improved.  Cutting down on the number of zones that make up the city would be a start.  And that goes for Qeynos as well.  But couldn’t the effort of doing the revamp be used elsewhere?

We need only look over at World of Warcraft which revamped the 1-60 parts of Azeroth and wonder if such work is worthwhile.  Did that improve the game, or merely sever a link that many of us had with the game’s past?

What do you think?  Is the planned revamp of Freeport a good thing or not?

Addendum:

EQ2Wire has some additional info about the Freeport revamp, which I only saw after I posted this.

A screenshot of the rebuilt Freeport which is being redone as a single large city zone which will function as a quest hub through the entire level range. Players will be encouraged to come back to their home city and continue to do quests for them. I look forward to a rebuilt Freeport which is no less sinister but perhaps one which looks a bit less like a landfill.

Still, the question stands: Good thing or not?

More details from the EQ2 Zones and Content panel.

8 thoughts on “The Worst News from Fan Faire…

  1. stargrace

    I don’t really understand this revamp – except that Freeport has been “destroyed” when Lucan went missing into the void, and is still on fire with broken buildings everywhere. I see this as the “rebuilding” that should have happened a LOT longer ago when that whole event went live more then an actual revamp. Although Qeynos is also going to be revamped, it’s planned for much later.

    I also don’t see the point when everyone these days starts in Halas (as you mentioned). The us vs. them attitude of having factions has mostly gone out the window since EQ2 released, and I don’t really understand the separation any more.

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  2. Green Armadillo

    They did announce a Qeynos revamp, they just have to wait til second because Qeynos’ current lore status is less out of date than Freeport’s (which is currently frozen in time at the beginning of last year’s expansion). The purpose is to improve the leveling experience for all the EQ2X players who may not know that they’re “supposed” to go to New Halas. This was a predictable consequence of separating the two services – new content has to be diverted to entice the free players, who are predominantly lower level, to pay for stuff.

    And yes, I think the state of the Cataclysm indicates exactly how risky this type of overhaul can be.

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  3. Gaff

    Well, your overhauling one city that is effectively a ghost town anyway–not only because of the numerous zones but guild halls and all their services. There is no reason for someone to zone out of the guildhall. I for one think that is a shame. At launch, I felt the game had life because I passed people in the streets hurrying about to various areas/quests etc. I certainly don’t blame anyone for not using the cities now–who wants to zone 3 times to get somewhere?

    Reorganizing the city into one zone and making it useful for the player is a step ahead, in my opinion. I understand Qeynos is in the queue. This is supposition, but maybe they want to do the less-used city first to work out the kinks in the plan? I’m not sure why Qeynos was always the majority faction–seems in WoW that trend is reversed on a number of servers (horde/freeport versus alliance/qeynos).

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  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    If they could revamp Freeport (and eventually Qeynos) radically enough to make them as user friendly as New Halas, there might be something to the whole effort.

    But that would be a hell of a revamp and I am not sure they will want to go that far. It would require some new storylines to back it up… like another piece of Luclin fell on the city or a sinkhole from the sewers swallowed up chunk of the place requiring new construction.

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  5. missfruitypie

    I haven’t been inside Freeport since before it got all burny, but my guess about the purpose behind the Freeport/Qeynos revamps is that the two primary goals are: 1) consolidate the city into fewer zones and 2) jettison the cobwebbed starter villages/sub-level-10 adventure zones. Dunno if I actually read this somewhere or just made it up in my head.

    I have a lot of fond memories of the little newbie villages (and the now-retired Isle of Refuge), and I would be sad to see them go, but it’s sad as well to see them empty but for NPCs and monsters.

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  6. bhagpuss

    I’m really surprised at the surprise here.

    The revamp of Freeport isn’t any kind of news. It’s been in open discussion for many months now. I first heard about it in the furor following the decision to close the Isle of Refuge, which happened, what, a year ago? If I didn’t have to go to work in ten minutes I’d google up some of the many relevant Dev posts about the planned Freeport and Qeynos revamps.

    There’s not even much new in the detail from Fan Faire. We’ve known for a long time that Freeport and Qeynos are going to be revamped into all-level content hubs. We’ve known there will be instances accessed through them. We’ve known that the conflict wbetween Evil and Good will be re-emphasised. We’ve known that the new player path will direct players to this content after New Halas.

    To me, the only real surprise is that Freeport is getting a year’s head-start on Qeynos. That really does seem weird and I can’t quite imagine how it will work out.

    As to whether it’s a good idea or not, I’ll stay judgment on the execution. The EQ1 Freeport revamp was an absolute disaster and has been acknowledged as a failure by the EQ1 dev team. I have a lot more confidence in the EQ2 team to do a better job, and of course they aren’t also trying to shoe-horn in a completely different graphical look on top of the structural re-design.

    Most of my characters live in Freeport, so I have a strong vested interest in this going well. I remain optimistic.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Who said I was surprised? I heard about this ages ago. I am merely annoyed and expressing my displeasure that they seem to have firmly fixed this on the roadmap and that they have, as usual, put Qeynos on the back burner. They saw fit to put it up on the screen at Fan Faire, so somebody at SOE must have felt it would be news to someone.

    Yes, deeds not words is reasonable stance to take. But after the revamp of Freeport in EQ, I wonder if there wasn’t something else they could be doing that would better serve the game, especially on Live. It seems to be mainly for the benefit of EQ2X that they are doing this.

    And the word from people at FF seems to be that the revamp is just going to update and combine the big main zones of Freeport. The racial ghettos and starter zones will remain untouched.

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  8. Chris

    I think I’ll actually be happier with the racial zones untouched. I made a good ratonga and moved him over to Qeynos so that he could live in the Baubbleshire with the little folk. It’s been a while since I’ve done an evil character or checked out Freeport, so I can’t remember how the ghettos are there. But Qeynos’s have a lot of character that I’d miss if they left.

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