Daily Archives: September 11, 2012

BioWare Not Learning Lessons

Publicly announcing metrics that are easily tracked and can be assumed to denote success or failure… isn’t that kind of how we got here in the first place, with the second most popular subscription MMO in the US/EU being hailed as a failure as it tries to change its fortunes by going free to play?

Support recycled graphics!

So color me mildly disappointed that some lessons remain unlearned as BioWare publicly commits to a major update to Star Wars: The Old Republic every six weeks.

“Well we’re committed to about every six weeks, doing a major update for the game — which would be a new warzone, a new operation, a new flashpoint, a new event — and to doing that on a really frequent cadence, every six weeks. So we’re going to stick to that”

Matt Bromberg, BioWare General Manager

Well, he did say “about” every six weeks.

And I suppose the things he mentions are self-contained enough.

But still, six weeks down the road, nobody is going to remember “about” or “frequent cadence,” they will only be looking at the calendar and saying, “Where is it?”  And if it isn’t there… well, we are back to Failsville, Arizona man.

Not that it cannot be done.  Look at what Trion has done with Rift.

But can BioWare, with its staff reduced and in the midst of a transition to free to play even begin to track to a six week tempo for “major” content updates?  Their track record so far doesn’t support this sort of pace.  Then again, without this sort of pace, they probably won’t succeed.  And I am sure they know it.  I suppose we shall see.

In the mean time, does this spell the end of the fully voices fourth pillar in SWTOR?  Is story dead?

Omens of War Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw

The time for another vote has come and gone and this time around Omens of War has passed and been unlocked on the Fippy Darkpaw server.

Sexy Omens Indeed

Of course, in the Fippy Darkpaw tradition, the event could not pass without issue.  While the expansion unlocked and went live on the Vulak server without a hitch, the unlock failed on Fippy and the polling system went into something of a reset state and wasn’t displaying the results.  This lead to the guilds vying for “first place” in downing bosses to bump into the content wall.

Piestro, who is officially back as the EverQuest community manager stepped in and at some point yesterday afternoon the expansion unlocked on Fippy Darkpaw.

With Omens of War, the expansion list is now on the cusp of the World of Warcraft era.  Released on September 14th of 2004, this was the last expansion SOE was to release while still king of the subscription MMO hill.  After that, EverQuest II launched on November 8th and World of Warcraft launched on November 23rd, and the great decline began.  EverQuest would be the king of the hill no more.

The Omens of War expansion brought with it a level cap increase of 5 level, boosting the ceiling up to 70, a ninth spell slot, purchasable with AA points, along with the title, task, and tribute systems.  Among the notable zones added was the Citadel of Anguish, which was considered to be the hardest raid event relative to player power/abilities so far in the game.

Meanwhile, the progression server timeline app on the EverQuest site appears to be officially and completely broken now, having reverted from displaying Planes of Power to classic EverQuest.

A fresh new server?

This was no doubt was cheered by the group that has taken over the progression server forums to demand a stop to progression and who continue to agitate for a “classic” server preserved in amber and never updated, though there appears to be no consensus as to where “classic” really ends.  That state appears to be somewhere between launch and the Gates of Discord expansions, but shifts depending on who is speaking.

The list of Fippy Darkpaw events now stands at:

  • Fippy Darkpaw server goes live with classic EQ content
  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012
  • Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Legacy of Ykesah unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 7, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, May 21, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlock vote fails, June 4, 2012
  • Gates of Discord unlocked at last, June 18, 2012
  • Omens of War unlocked, September 10, 2012

The next stop on the Fippy Darkpaw expansion parade is Dragons of Norrath, which we ought to see show up before the end of the year… unless the Citidel of Anguish is still as hard as it once was.