EverQuest Progression Servers – How Slow Can You Go?

About a month back I posted about Daybreak putting up a poll about the next round of progression servers.  The options for that in-game poll were:

  • Existing Rules
  • Slower Progression
  • Locked Progression
  • Seasonal Challenge

You can read the details about each option in my previous post on the subject, but the results are in and posted on the EverQuest forums.  Slower progression won.

Slower progression isn’t a bad choice I suppose.  That is what I voted for.

Progression Server Polling...

Progression Server Polling…

What was the right choice depends upon your point of view, and there are any number of factions interested in the next server.

The raiders, who tend to drive the whole progression server thing, will probably be okay with slower, depending on how much slower things end up.  But if you had your hearts set on a classic server, one that stops progressing at some point, then you are probably not happy with the result.

Personally, I fall into the “everything after Ruins of Kunark is crap” camp, so my motivation is to have any future progression server spend as much time as possible on the base game and Kunark.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

And yet I am not all that interested in a locked server stuck in Kunark for all eternity.  I like the progression idea, that the server moves forward and unlocks content, and that the game changes and evolves.

I am not sure that such a server needs to pass through all twenty-one expansions.  There comes a point when the server is close enough to live that it makes little difference and it might as well be rolled into a live server.  Where that point is would no doubt make for a lively debate.

Anyway, with the first poll out of the way, there is now a second in-game poll up.  This time the choice is about how much slower should the expansion unlocks should be.

The original progression servers, The Combine and The Sleeper, which rolled out back in 2006, were driven forward entirely by unlocking raid content.  There were no brakes on the system and, while I do not have a timeline for those servers, I recall the response by many non-raiders as being “too damn fast.”

The still active Fippy Darkpaw server was put up as a “time locked” voting server, where by there was a minimum amount of time that had to pass after raid content was finished before an unlock vote for the next expansion could take place.  That slowed things down some.  Here are the unlock durations I recorded for the “important” expansions.

  • Ruins of Kunark:        3.75  months
  • Scars of Velious:       2.75  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      2.75  months
  • Planes of Power:        2.75  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       1 month after PoP
  • LDoN:                   1 month after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       4 months after PoP

So the server unlocked Ruins of Kunark in just under four months, because there was a special delay, after which each expansion unlocked in just under three months.  The exceptions were Gates of Discord, which failed three unlock votes, and Underfoot, which failed at least one, and then Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath, which are considered mini-expansions and so get unlocked on a set timer after Planes of Power.

(All of the Fippy Darkpaw unlocks I managed to record are available here.)

The vote underway now is to decide how quickly to unlock expansions.  It has three choices, which I will list out from fastest to slowest.

Add 50%

This option would add a 50% boost the the minimum unlock time that we had for Fippy Darkpaw, so the unlock schedule would look like this:

  • Ruins of Kunark:        4.5  months
  • Scars of Velious:       4.5  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      4.5  months
  • Planes of Power:        4.5  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       3 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   3 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       3 months after PoP, then every three months

I think somebody forgot we were given extra time before Ruins of Kunark, though they did remember that LoY and LDoN were both unlocked two weeks late due to technical glitches.  Still, that does give the base game and RoK a longer run than they had before.  Estimated total time to run through the expansions is five and a half years.

Maximum Nostalgia

The second proposed rule set would put a six month gap between server unlocks up until Gates of Discord, after which expansions would unlock every three months… because who cares about that shit.

  • Ruins of Kunark:        6  months
  • Scars of Velious:       6  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      6  months
  • Planes of Power:        6  months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       2 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   4 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       3 months after PoP

So the time until each expansion could be unlocked would be fairly flat, with the server spending more that two years getting through Planes of Power, with the whole slate of expansions taking six and a half years to work through.

Half Speed

This is the most radical of the three proposals.  This would run the progression server forward at half the pace of the actual, real world release schedule of the expansions.  So the run up through Gates of Discord would look like this:

  • Ruins of Kunark:        6.75  months
  • Scars of Velious:       3.75  months
  • Shadows of Luclin:      6     months
  • Planes of Power:        5.5   months
  • Legacy of Ykesha:       4 weeks after PoP
  • LDoN:                   10 weeks after PoP
  • Gates of Discord:       7.75 months (after PoP)

After Gates of Discord the schedule calms down a bit, with expansions hitting about every three months through the “two a year” era and then every six months after Secrets of Faydwer.  At this pace it would take eight years to get through, since EverQuest is just celebrating its sweet sixteen.

What to Pick?

Give those three choices, I am inclined to go and vote for the Half Speed server, as it gives us the longest run from the base game to Ruins of Kunark, though the Maximum Nostalgia option isn’t completely off the table, as it would give us a full year of just base plus RoK, thus not selling that huge expansion short.

In addition to the three server types to choose from, there is a second vote up about whether or not expansion unlocks should be put to a vote every time… and thus possibly delaying releases… or if things should just unlock on a schedule.  I am in favor of the latter.  I would rather have expansion releases on the calendar so that the raiders, who will be part of the progression server community, can plan their activities.  One of the problems for them on Fippy Darkpaw has been knowing when to call everybody back to the game to move on. (Though most of the time that has been SOE screwing up the unlock for whatever reasons as opposed to unlocks being voted down.)  The raiders are not there for the same reasons I am, but I don’t think that should give me license to screw them over on a server that has been billed as progression from the start.

Anyway, I am happy to see that the progression server idea is moving forward though, like Bhagpuss, I have to admit that planning something that could take as long as eight years to get through might be an act of extreme optimism for Daybreak at this point.

Will there still be an EverQuest… or a Daybreak Game Company… in 2023?

3 thoughts on “EverQuest Progression Servers – How Slow Can You Go?

  1. bhagpuss

    I’ll vote for Half Speed but really any of them would do.

    I imagine I’m in a minority of bloggers who give a toss about this thing in the first place in that I prefer EQ as it is now to EQ as it was then. I like my mercenaries, my thousands of AAs including instant, unbreakable invis on demand, levitation and gate for melees. I like coming round from death to find I still have all my stuff. I like a lot of the new zones and most of all I like the increased freedom of action.

    I still play EQ. Not all the time but consistently. I like new servers and new rule-sets so I’ll for sure be back for whichever wins the vote. In the end, though, it’s much more likely I’ll keep plugging away at my existing characters on current live servers than that I’ll spend significant time in a not-quite authentic version of the past.

    I wonder if the new Prog server will require All Access the way the previous one did?

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  2. Brandon Koch

    I played pretty much from Kunark until GoD. I have tried to jump back in a couple of times since then but the expansions and useless content have made it a nightmare. Really looking forward to a half time progression server if they go that route. will i stick around for the whole 8 years? probably not but i will relive some glory days.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Amongst my many problems, I feel very detached from EQ as it stands today, in part because of all of the UI elements that have been piled on the game over the years. (And all the zones. I am so lost in Norrath once I step beyond Kunark.)

    Along with nostalgia for the opening of the game and the world that it exposed, there is also something of a desire for a time when things were more simple, when you only needed a few skills, a group, and some bandits to camp in West Karana.

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