So in the very active world of EverQuest II of late… is anything else going on at Daybreak, because they don’t seem to be talking about anything besides EverQuest and EverQuest II… another idea has come bubbling to the surface; Drunder – The Prison Server!
Announced in the forums as the prison server experiment, All EverQuest Executive Producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale described it like this:
We are very busy here on the EQII team and we have something coming up we wanted to make you aware of — a little experiment.
Later this week we plan to release a server we are calling “Drunder,” which is a “prison server.” What does that mean, exactly? Ultimately, players who are caught breaking our rules and disrupting EQ2 live server gameplay will be flagged for this server, and no others — ever. Characters on these accounts will be copied to Drunder (the “prison server”) and can never leave or transfer to another server.
This is a server our Customer Service Game Masters have requested over the years in order to manage disruptive players. They will determine who goes there. As gamers, we recognize there are some players who like to step outside our rules.
Drunder will get no customer service support and it will require a maintained membership to access and play. Rather than disrupt live servers in an attempt to join the “prison server,” players can use our /petition system and ask to join Drunder. To be clear: You won’t be able to move individual characters to this server, while maintaining characters from the same account on another server. This is a ONE-WAY trip for an entire account forever.
Ultimately, players who break the rules – or want to – will have a world of their own to do… whatever they will.
As I said, this is an experiment. We wanted to see what happens given it’s not a very common option.
Let’s see where this takes us…
No doubt named for the Fortress of Drunder in the Eastern Wastes (and yes I had to look that up) it is now… um… a thing to talk about I guess. And talk people have.
Some of the reactions were predictable. There has been the usual amount of “OMG, my pet issue/idea hasn’t been addressed, but you have time to work on that!?!” which both fails to understand that the world is not a perfect zero sum game and ignores the possibility that maybe this is addressing an issue that was costing the team cycles already. Still, time was expended on this, so one can at least legitimately ask what the end goal really is.
Then, of course, there were the people who wanted to go and play on this server! Special server! Greater challenge! Battle a sea of annoying problem children in Norrath!
But, as Holly’s post says, this isn’t a “make a character/transfer a character” server, this is a place where your whole account is banished forever. You can petition to go there if you want, but you’ll be there for good.
The interesting part for me is that the players will get no customer service… which I guess is expected… and will have to have an active Daybreak All Access account to play.
You must pay for the privileged of being banished! Wasn’t that something from the movie Brazil, where the accused had to pay the bill for their own interrogation, leading a guard to implore Sam Lowry not to hold out too long as it could ruin his credit rating?
So I am curious to know how many will pay to be on this server. Some will, I am sure, but will it be enough to sustain even the minor cost of running the server? And will they still get their Daybreak Cash stipend and have access to the cash shop and be able to buy expansions or adventure packs or whatever Daybreak is selling?
It just seems odd.
Of course, what you have to do in order to get sent there is deliberately vague. You cannot lay down strict rules because people will push the envelope or, like the guy who claimed he couldn’t be charged with gross indecency because he had only been incident 143 times, look for technicalities or loopholes or make the fairness argument because their infractions were less serious than somebody else’s in their opinion.
In the end though, I don’t know how this will play out. What sort of relationship does this lead to. Is it going to be some sort of Escape from New York dystopia, players raging against other players, griefing and annoying all who come within range? Will the players unite and defy the company and form their own community? Will Drunder even be noticeably different from the current servers? Will people just quit?
However, if the EverQuest II team did this in order to attract some media attention for their game, they have certainly won on that score. Feldon over at EQ2 Wire has compiled a list of major gaming… and a few non-gaming… sites that have picked up and reported on the prison server idea. That is enough attention that they might have to really go through with it and report on it regularly.
Of course, if they really want to make this a really interesting experiment, they ought to let people volunteer to be GMs on the server and watch how that plays out.
Meanwhile, we’ll see who in the neighborhood opines on this. So far I have seen: