EverQuest – The Broken Mirror Lands in Norrath

I thought The Broken Mirror expansion was going to go live today… I seem to recall reading the 19th as the date over at Massively OP at some point… but when I went to go check for this post I found that the the EverQuest Twitter feed had already announced the expansion as live.  Memory is a faulty receptacle at best, and my own is more flawed than most.

So here we have expansion number 22 for EverQuest.

Mirror cracked... also boobs

The mirror cracked… also, is that Firiona Vie in a bikini?

I won’t reprise my full commentary about Daybreak announcing that expansions were out and that adventure packs were in, only to change their mind for what I consider a clear and pressing reason.  You can read Tuesday’s post for that.  I’ll just repeat my suspicion that it is all about the money.

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

The Broken Mirror pricing? Try the broken gaming budget!

Money is important, without it the game goes away, so Daybreak can hardly be faulted for going back to the expansion plan with its $140 option.

Instead I want to go with how SOE/Daybreak, despite their many mistakes… common enough for me to create a “Because SOE” tag for the blog… and the many dev hours they have squandered over the years on dubious projects that never went anywhere… SOEmote and the SOE Launcher spring to mind, while Legends of Norrath remains in some horrible limbo, neither fully exploited nor completely neglected, just lingering in some middle state… has gained, somewhere along the way, the institutional/organizational knowledge of how important expansions are to keeping their player base engaged with their games… at least their EverQuest games.

EverQuest II, which launched less than a month before World of Warcraft, just had its 12th expansion go live.  Not bad for a game that just turned 11.  Meanwhile, as noted above, EverQuest has had twice that many expansions in its 16 years, 14 of which have been launched during the reign of Azeroth over the MMO universe.

World of Warcraft… five expansions in 11 years, with a sixth set to hit just before the game turns 12.

Now, there are more than a few low cards in that 22 expansion hand that EverQuest is holding.  Some expansions arrived broken or had content of dubious quality… especially so during the rush-rush times when SOE felt the world would end if they didn’t have two expansions out every calendar year… but SOE clearly felt a sense of urgency in getting out content.

An urgency you never really get from Blizzard.

An expansion a year though, that seems to have worked out as a decent pace for EverQuest.  I think there can be too many content drops.  I think EVE Online is feeling a bit of a pinch with its every six weeks or so expansion pace, in part because now expansions are not special, so there isn’t the big spike of returning players anymore.

No, once a year seems good for Norrath.  It gives the game new content on a regular basis and has allowed enough time for some major features to be added, things like player housing.  Okay, nobody wants that in WoW, but still…

And you can certainly argue against what I am saying by pointing at the success of WoW.  The population of Azeroth is down… way down… down below half of one time peak of 12 million subscribers, with only 5.5 million hanging around now, and that is still an order of magnitude larger than EverQuest’s subscription peak of approximately 550,000 players back in 2004.  Who brings in a billion dollars a year baby?  Not Norrath!

The flip side of that of course is that Daybreak, with a small fraction of the revenue and player base somehow manages to get out an expansion a year.  You would think that Blizzard would have the resources to move a little quicker.

Anyway, there are many complexities in that comparison, not the least of which is the culture of the organization that makes the games.  But WoW is still the cash cow for Blizzard… to the point that I wonder if their move to stop reporting subscriber numbers was as much to blend WoW revenue in with their other games (like they did when they announced the combined revenues of Destiny, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm) as to stop people declaring the game is dead because it isn’t the biggest subscription MMORPG by a large enough margin… so I still wonder at their sometimes glacial speed.

Thoughts for the day as EverQuest launches expansion 22, The Broken Mirror.

 

3 thoughts on “EverQuest – The Broken Mirror Lands in Norrath

  1. bhagpuss

    I can’t really speak for EQ because it’s been many, many years since I was sufficiently up with the level curve to see any of the meat of an expansion there, but as far as EQ2 goes, where I am bang up to date at least as far as solo content is concerned, the quality is pretty good. I really enjoyed Altar of Malice a lot and while I wasn’t a big fan of the Ethernere setting of the two previous expansions (too much color wash, not enough blue sky) they were meaty and enjoyable to play through.

    I wish there was an EQ equivalent of EQ2Wire though. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t know there even was an EQ expansion. Have MassivelyOP even covered it?

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  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Massively OP mentioned the beta, but has not posted about the launch.

    This is part of the reason I never feel bad about writing about a topic, even if it is covered elsewhere; it is my reaction to things and somebody will wander by and see it here first.

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  3. Telwyn

    Ah if there’s one topic that might bring me close to rant-territory it’s Blizzard’s mishandling of WoW’s expansion cycle. Since Wrath they’ve had a vast chunk of the MMO playerbase eating out of their hand and we’ve gotten progressively smaller, and IMHO poorer expansions each time and still at a slow pace compared to the competition. As for EQ2, I’ve never tried the elder game, the expansions are worth the base price for sure. I’ve never been one for collector’s edition but I do enjoy the content Daybreak/SOE puts out and the pacing is good enough for my varied/casual approach to the game. It’s a crying shame that Blizzard cannot put out enough content to keep my casual/latecomer approach to WoW expansions happy, honestly…

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