Ragefire – A Vote for Kunark is a Vote for… something

The current round of EverQuest time locked progression servers, Ragefire and the spill over Lockjaw, continue to provide a spectacle as they move forward.  To their credit, Daybreak does appear to be paying attention, something that differentiates this round of servers from the Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak servers, where SOE was mostly an absentee landlord, setting a bar for the minimum amount of acceptable communication and then failing to meet it.

Ragefire hanging out..

Note to self: Name future servers after dragons and not freakin’ gnolls

Having worked on the open world, contested raid boss problem last week, this week Daybreak has turned its gaze back to the population problem.  The servers remain popular despite requiring a subscription in order to play on them.  This means they are a money maker at least.  Nostalgia pays.

However, it also means Ragefire got pretty crowded pretty fast.  Daybreak initially used their multiple parallel zone instancing technology on the starter zones and upped the server capacity, but that wasn’t enough.  They put in a login queue, but that didn’t help much.  Finally, they had to relent and open up a second server, Lockjaw, and apply that parallel zone magic to even more zones in the old world.

Don't forget about me!

Lockjaw on the scene

And apparently that still wasn’t enough.  The TLP forum has been running hot with the idea of an early unlock date for the Ruins of Kunark expansion as the one true way to accommodate the population of these servers… or at least on the Ragefire server, as it remains the more popular of the two by a fair margin. (History repeats there, the spill-over server tends to be less popular.)

And Daybreak must see some merit in this idea, as there is now a poll up on Ragefire asking if the Ruins of Kunark expansion should open up earlier than planned.

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

Personally, I am sympathetic to an early opening of Kunark.  It would add a variety of additional low-to-mid level zones, zones that would likely get under-utilized once the bulk of the population leveled up past them, as would be likely after six months of classic EverQuest.

Kunark is popular and, in my opinion, perhaps the best MMO expansion ever released.

Crowd on the Kunark Dock

Crowd on the Kunark Dock during Fippy Darkpaw’s reign

Ruins of Kunark is the prototypical MMO expansion, a monument to what every MMOs first expansion ought to be as well as a warning about how hard subsequent expansion will have to work to live up to that first expansion.  It had something for pretty much everybody.  But being the child of classic, it tends to be overlooked and under utilized on the progression servers.

For Fippy Darkpaw we had to wait 90 days in classic EverQuest before Ruins of Kunark could be unlocked.  But Kunark and beyond were all 60 days from final raid boss down, something that took just a couple of days from expansion unlock.  That led to it getting short shrift in my opinion.  So, back during the progression server poll, my votes were hinged on getting the maximum amount of time with Kunark.

However, there are counter arguments.

There is the group I would call “the classicists” who simply do not want the server to progress beyond the original EverQuest content and who have vowed to vote “no” on every unlock.   That doesn’t seem to be a very realistic goal, but they certainly have the right to go that route.

Then there are those who decry the legitimacy of this vote and who worry about what precedent it will set.  The decision was made up front, via a poll of players, to unlock expansions at the current planned rate.  If you allow people to punt on that a month in for Ruins of Kunark, will we get the same thing after that unlocks?  Will players then vote in Scars of Velious early?

I get the sentiment that Daybreak shouldn’t make changes to the plan lightly.  However, I reject the idea that once a decision has been made it can never be revisited or revised, and doubly so as that original poll was taken from the EverQuest population at large.  This poll will be taken from the people actually playing on the server, who have committed to the project, and who are facing the challenges that come up.  I think that gives this poll all the legitimacy it needs, especially since Daybreak, watching things from their end, seems to think that the idea has some merit.

Then, of course, there is the question of what the level increase and better gear that comes with Kunark will actually do to the server.  The whole idea goes to hell is most people just drop classic and run to Kunark and make that the new over-crowded location.

And, finally, there are some people pointing out that all the changes that Daybreak made… the improved server capacity and the parallel zone instance technology applied to more and more zones… is actually working, and working well.  In that case, opening up Kunark early will just disperse the population and reduce the number of zone instances to the point that you won’t be able to pick one that has the camp or spawn available that you are looking for.

Now, admittedly, that isn’t how things worked back in classic EverQuest, but it seems to be working out well enough on the Ragefire server, so you have to question the desire to mess with something that seems to be going okay.

So that is the poll and some of the questions at hand.  Interesting times and I would like to say yet again how much better it is with Daybreak actually engaged with these servers, at least relative to the benign neglect we saw for most of the Fippy Darkpaw era.

Too soon?

Probably the reality for Fippy Darkpaw these days…

I would tell you how I voted on the poll… only you have to be level 10 to vote, and I am such a slacker that I don’t have a level 10 character yet.  The poll runs through the 28th, so maybe I’ll get a character there this weekend.  My bard seems the most likely candidate at this point.

5 thoughts on “Ragefire – A Vote for Kunark is a Vote for… something

  1. bhagpuss

    I will try to level my necro from 9 to10 on Saturday (only free day I have before that deadline) just to vote. I will be voting that they stick to what they said they were going to do.

    Not that I wouldn’t like Kunark now – it would be great – but because I absolutely think that to do oherwise will set a precedent that will cause far more problems than it will solve, longterm. I’ve played EQ long enough to know how these things go.

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  2. Jenks

    They told people the server would stay classic for 6 months followed by a vote, and they took our money.
    If a million people all subbed and voted for Kunark today, it’s ethically wrong for them to push the release up. The fact that this vote is taking place is making me consider pulling out of this server. I planned on being here for a very long time, but not anymore. This isn’t what I signed up for, it’s not what I paid for. It’s not what they told me I was paying for.

    “Once all of that era’s raids have been defeated, a timer starts. For Ragefire this timer will be six months up until Gates of Discord, when it is reduced to 3 months.”
    https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq/index.php?threads/welcome-to-ragefire-info-and-faq.221506/

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  3. Isey

    I have a level 20/and several level 10s and voted for 6 months as originally advertised.

    Interesting there are a few polls around on “what did you vote” and on the progression server spell list (very handy for casters) around 50% said 6 months, and the other half was evenly split between 3 months and right now.

    The vote splitting for people who want it faster may tip it to the slow and steady favor.

    I wonder if the boxers will wait around that long…

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  4. GnomeNecro

    I started EQ originally a few weeks before Kunark launched and was only in my lower teens at the time Kunark launched. So I did a lot of leveling in Kunark and not as much in vanilla. Now it has been good fun leveling up in the old-world zones but already at level 36 I am running into situations where I go “man, I sure would like it if I could go to The Overthere and just pull cactus and rhinos for a few hours”. And then there’s the fact that leveling options are somewhat limited in vanilla. Even with the addition of the ability to spin off a copy of a busy zone based on population things are still kind of overcrowded. Plus I am wanting to make my shaman an Iksar and I don’t really care to do a race change via the cash shop.

    The thing is that the 6-month vote did indeed win but a few weeks before the new TLP servers launched Daybreak did give themselves some wiggle room and say if the community was asking for it they may put an earlier release to a vote. Seemed reasonable to me, and now they have a vocal group asking for it. The claims of “false advertising” and “bait and switch” seem a bit bogus since they did say it was not etched in stone well before the servers launched.

    https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq/index.php?threads/ragefire-poll-results-and-beta-information.220107/

    So I voted for 3 months because it seemed about right to me. That gives me time to level my druid to 50, maybe level another character up to 50, and pretty much get my fill of vanilla at my casual pace. Plus Kunark was a majorly good expansion and I agree 100% with what Wilhelm said about it. I won’t be eager to vote Velious early and will likely vote against opening it for a good while, even though I also liked Velious a lot.

    I also voted 3 months just to stick it to the two extremes, those being the guys who leveled to 50 in 2 days and are either bored or locking down the top-end gear and selling it for krono (no thanks, I’ll limp along in my studded leather and raw silk junk and just do without, which is also max nostalgia!) and then the 6-months-or-die crowd who refuse to acknowledge that Daybreak gave themselves, and the players, some flexibility. But I will not be getting worked up over things no matter which way the vote goes. I do month-to-month precisely because if I become disenchanted or bored I can easily cancel the sub and move on. The only time I bought a longer sub was when EQ2 had the triple-station cash deals and you could use SC for your sub a few years ago. That was a no-brainer.

    Also, any rose-colored glasses I had that older, more mature EQ players were somehow of a higher quality of character than “kids these days” or “WoW kiddies” has been totally shattered. I’ve seen some absolutely horrendous behavior on both servers. I guess the Play Nice Policy and the fact that your reputation meant something in the smaller MMO world back then kept these base behaviors in check. I’ve also met really great people. So go figure, in a cross-section of people we have good and bad. But I’m no longer listening to the myth that the reason MMO communities are wretchedly bad is solely because of spoiled Millenials or whatever.

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