Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious

Another entry in my sporadic attempt to chronicle the key events of the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.

And the way things have been going, you might think that SOE had never done a progression server before. (They have.)

Either that, or that somebody there feels that drama is the best advertising they can afford.

First there were complaints about absentee GMs when it came to contested raid bosses, which turned to complaints about how the GMs started handling things when the did show up.

Then there problems with the raid bosses themselves and the wardens guarding the Sleeper, whose awakening is the keystone event of the Scars of Velious expansion.

Along with that, some of the drops needed to complete the 72 item quests that make up lions share of events required to “complete” the expansion were missing.  This is one of those, “You know, you did one of these progression servers just a couple years back, did nobody take notes?” sort of things.

By way of a solution, if a couple of now deleted posts on the progression server forums were to be believed, some GMs took it upon themselves to hand out missing items to a few people who asked… just not to everybody who asked.  Like people weren’t already torqued about the GM sponsored Fight Club thing.

Meanwhile, Ten Ton Hammer has a piece up about the prevalence of hacks in EverQuest, and how they are especially common on the progression servers where there is fierce competition for the fame of being the first on the server accomplish one of the key gating tasks required to unlock the next expansion.

When asked by Massively about the hacks issue, EQ Producer Thom Terazzas said that the EQ team was primarily focused on the upcoming expansion. (Which sounds like the same response Ten Ton Hammer got with their own inquiries.)

All of which adds up to mean that the Scars of Velious expansion, which went live on the Fippy Darkpaw server on August 29th, still is not complete.

The Current State of Velious

No vote on the next expansion can occur until that happens, so the 60 day buffer between the final event and the affirmative vote for the next expansion going live still looms between current players and the Shadows of Luclin expansion.

At least I think that is how it needs to go.  I have saw a post over at the unofficial Fippy Darkpaw forums that said that waking the Sleeper was the sole gating event to starting the count down to the Luclin vote.  The Sleeper was woke 17 days into the Velious cycle.  I still think you need to need to complete everything to kick of the timer for the vote.

I suppose we will see what was the real trigger.  If it was just the Sleeper, then the vote for the Luclin unlock should show up in the middle of November.

Otherwise, we are now into 38th day since Velious went live on Fippy Darkpaw with no end in sight.

Compare this to the Kunark expansion, which was done in 13 days, and the goals for the initial release were brought down within 10 days of the server launch.

And finally, over on the unofficial Fippy Darkpaw forums, people are trying to assemble a list based on memories of what happened with the last progression servers, The Sleeper and The Combine which launched back in June 2006, of what issues might come up with Luclin.

They will at least be forearmed.  Will SOE be forewarned?

9 thoughts on “Despite Rampant Hacking and GM Shennanigans, Fippy Darkpaw Server is Still Stuck on Velious

  1. Aufero

    I’m starting to wonder if the SOE handbook for progression servers is a coffee stained three ring binder in the break room non-dairy creamer cupboard. (With scribbled notes from last time that say “Sleeper??”)

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Syp – Reading comprehension… I’ll look into it.

    I really just wanted to link to you AND TTH, and the Thom quote is what stood out in your piece. Though looking at the article again, that quote is in a separate paragraph from any reference to TTH, so while the connection may be implied, it is not explicit.

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  3. Stabs

    I don’t understand why so much work needs to be done. The players want the 99 experience, right? Which presumably is still around. Roll it out, warts and all.

    The purpose and aims of this server really baffle me, it’s like the players want EQ brought up to date and bug free but also just like it was in 99.

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  4. Aufero

    @Stabs: If my experience on other long term (non-MMO) software projects is any indication, it probably isn’t still around, at least not in usable form.

    (Particularly for a progression server, where years of later bug fixes have to be incorporated into the original code so as not to break things in even uglier ways than they were originally when another expansion rolls out. I recall some of the devs saying in 2004 that the reason they kept breaking Bards in patch after patch was that no one still working at SOE understood how the code for Bard song worked, or what changes to other parts of the engine would affect it. They finally had to rewrite that code from scratch. Multiply that by ten more expansions for 2011.)

    As for the purpose, it’s nostalgia – and players are nostalgic for the good parts, not for the horrific bugs that came with many of the major EQ patches. Since my personal nostalgia for EQ includes a lot of memories of hanging out in IRC waiting for the game to come back up on raid nights after major patches, I was never tempted by a progression server.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Yeah, what Aufero said. A lot of fixes have gone into the client to make it do things like run on Windows 7, and the client is only tested against a given version of the server (my guess). So to get back to true 1999, SOE would have to do a ton of work backporting code to the right client to run on the right server version, and what so far has shown SOE is inclined to do very much work at all for the progression servers.

    In theory, at my old company, I could have built any release or patch versions of our product back to 1993. In reality, the OS/2 stuff that was current to 1997 was probably beyond reviving just due to needing to rebuild an OS/2 environment. Likewise, the Windows NT and beyond code depends on specific build and runtime environments that all slowly become archaic. We licensed code from one company that changed hands seven times in five years. We tracked them down to inquire about an update and the current company had never heard of us.

    We had to put source code into escrow for a lot of contracts with large corporations. The theory is that, should we have gone out of business, the company could demand the code in escrow in order to build new versions of the product to fix defects. In reality, the odds of any of them being able to even recreate the environment necessary to build the code were so small as to be pretty much zero.

    The joys of complex enterprise level software.

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  6. Stabs

    I wasn’t really suggesting they just upload some backup from 5 and a quarter floppies or whatever it was back then.

    It’s that I don’t understand why there’s conflict over the rules of raiding. The 99 system for resolving raid boss ownership is no forgotten mystery. So why all the drama on what GMs should be ruling on a 99 emulation? Just do it the way it was done back then.

    It seems to me that it’s a wart that the warts and all crowd can’t accept.

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  7. bhagpuss

    This should please that large portion of the forum posterbase that wanted a permanent Classic server locked at Classic/Kunark/Velious.

    There was always a strong lobby for never opening Luclin or anything after it.

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  8. wizardling

    Agreed. IMO aside from coming down hard on hackers, SOE GMs should stay hands off on raids and 1999 rules ought to apply there. If that doesn’t make some happy – tough. They can raid lesser content (and I say that as one who will almost certainly always be in that boat).

    Also – I’d like to see Vulak made permanently classic (no Lucin ever, boats slowed and fixed, no gnomes porting at docks or any other instant NPC provided transport, and no bazaar) with free transfers to any server three months after hitting max level.

    That way we have the best of all worlds – classic to level in or stay if we want (I imagine I would for a couple toons), progression for the fun of slowly going through all expansions, and regular for merc solo levelling (though I’d still like to be able to cut my XP in half there – it’s way too fast) and the raid game – which is all regular EQ is about nowadays, sadly (I like raiding, but it’s not enough to keep me interested).

    But will SOE ever do this? Not a chance :-(

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