We know how those estimates work out. Still, I would guess that the server will be open by the time people get home from work on the west coast.
Yes, the EverQuest team is betting on yet another special nostalgia server to keep the money flowing and its fortunes bright… or as bright as they can be for a video game facing its 17th birthday early next year.
Named for Phinigel Autropos, the last known knight of the Kedge, it aims to solve most of the loudest complaints aimed at the previous progression servers.
First, and foremost, the Phinigel server will only allow players to log into it with a single client from a given machine. This is an direct attempt to thwart the scourge of multi-boxing, with players driving a full groups via IS Boxer or some such and hogging all the good spawns. You are going to have to play with other people if you want to group up… or multi-box by literally using multiple boxes.
I think this will be a good thing. Multi-boxing has always existed in EverQuest, to the point that SOE eventually fixed the client software so you could run multiple instances of it on the same machine without any tricks of special software. Why say “no” to somebody who wants to pay for multiple subscriptions, right?
But in the nostalgia environment, the point seems to be more about reliving the old days when we had to find groups rather than eschewing all social contact to solo yourself to level cap and through various bosses.
That was complaint number one solved.
Next on the list was expansion unlocks. Votes for unlocks have been close and contentious, while unlocks based on raid content being completed have lead to very fast unlocks. So this time the unlocks will be set in stone, coming at 12 week intervals. We’ll see if the forums erupt in “we need Kunark sooner” demands, as they did with the last progression servers.
Finally, there is the raiding question. As I understand it, raid bosses (which have been booster in power) will still be available in the open world, but they will also be accessible via instances. The instances will have an account-wide 6.5 day lockout, so you and your team will be able to hit raids weekly without having to worry about fighting over spawns.
That brings a welcome end to Holly’s past statement about raiding:
What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.
Casuals will now get their opportunity to raid.
Otherwise, all of the changes made during the launch of Ragefire and Lockjaw in order to handle a rush or players… multiple versions of zones, improved performance, more players allowed on the server, and a primitive server queue… are still in place. My hope is that these, and the lack of multi-boxing players, will keep Daybreak from having to launch a second server. That has happened with every progression server launch so far, and always leads to a secondary, underpopulated server over time. One server will keep everybody together in what will hopefully be a well populated world.
Still, all is likely not to be peaches and cream.
This will still not be a real 1999 level server. Your gear doesn’t stay on your corpse when you die. Lots of new things will still be in the game. This will annoy some people.
And then there is the question of how much nostalgia is too much?
Currently Daybreak still has the Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak time locked progression servers running. They are getting close to live, but aren’t there yet. Then there are the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers that were launched back in May. That wasn’t all that long ago and they are still on the Ruins of Kunark expansion. That puts them in a nostalgia sweet spot.
So launching Phinigel today will make for five nostalgia servers running at once, all available only to Daybreak All Access subscribers. (For nostalgia, you gots to pay to play.)
Will the other servers hold on to their dedicated populations? If so, will that keep the Phinigel server population more manageable, or will it fail to hit that critical mass needed to make a world feel alive?
Or is the allure of starting fresh (and no mulit-boxing) strong enough that Phinigel will drain players off of the other four servers and run into the sort of first night follies we’ve seen in the past, with over crowding, queues, and the team eventually giving in and launching a second server, all while the other four servers languish for lack of enough players?
I like that Daybreak is iterating on the nostalgia server idea, but is there a limit to how often the nostalgia card can be played. I am interesting in this new server and how seeing how well it goes, but I am still good on EverQuest nostalgia from the early days of the Fippy Darkpaw server.
Maybe I’ll jump on the next one.
Anyway, if you are interested, Daybreak has a full FAQ posted for the Phinigel server in the forums. And no, recruit a friend is not available on this server, please stop asking.