Daily Archives: June 29, 2016

The Call of Free Trade in Norrath

Daybreak put up a new EverQuest II server yesterday.  Named “Isle of Refuge” after the original new player starting area, Daybreak is billing this as a “Free Trade” server.

Obligatory Isle of Refuge screen shot stolen from Daybreak

Obligatory Isle of Refuge screen shot stolen from Daybreak

Back when the intention to launch this server was announced, I wasn’t sure I got the appeal of the”free trade” idea.  And now that it has gone live, I’m still not sure.

It isn’t like the concept is difficult or subtle.  I am pretty sure I get what they mean from their description:

Isle of Refuge is what we call a “Free Trade Server.” This means that almost all items can be traded freely between players. There are a few exceptions – Heirloom items purchased via a merchant or in the marketplace, granted from repeatable quests, or received via /claims will remain Heirloom.

Basically, what we might call “bind on pick up” items in the context of WoW will mostly be “bind on equip” when it comes to this server.  Yes, I know that in EQII the flags “attuned,” “no trade,” and “heirloom” are used, but I think WoW’s descriptions are better.  So you can sell or trade your epic raid gear, or twink alts with it, or whatever.

I am just not sure I get WHY this is seen as a significant enough differentiation from other normal live servers to justify rolling up a new server.  Is there a huge demand for free trade?  Have people been agitating for it in the forums for ages?  It certainly doesn’t seem to justify the Daybreak tag line for it:

Get ready to journey to a Norrath like you’ve never experienced before.

Because it will otherwise be a live server.  It won’t be content locked or involve progression or have steeper experience tables or harsher death penalties or any of those things.  I don’t even think the Isle of Refuge will appear on a server named “Isle of Refuge.”  Daybreak, like SOE before it, seems to have no sense and/or fear of irony.

The only restrictions will be that you won’t be able to transfer a character to or from another server (but you can buy a level 90 if you want), some “/claim” items won’t be available, there won’t be battlegrounds, and you will have to be a subscriber in order to play, which was the experience they used to offer back before EverQuest II Extended launched the free to play idea at SOE.

Basically all stuff I have, in fact, experienced before.  I’ll even count transfers, given how prohibitively expensive they were back in the day.

Of course, I think it is the last bit, the All Access requirement, is the real key to the situation.

After ages of the SOE “Free to Play, Your Way!” mantra, which admittedly meant trying to get you to subscribe via a variety of sticks and carrots, Daybreak has bought into the idea of special servers for subscribers.  We saw progression servers on the Daybreak road map almost immediately after they were free from SOE.

However, my guess is that they couldn’t quite bring themselves to put up a new, subscriber-only server where the big draw was “No Freep Scum Allowed!”  So “Free Trade” became the MacGuffin here.  It is all about that.

Not that their plan lacks its appealing aspects.

New server smell, with no transfers from the rest of the game, does mean building a new community.  It will be a fresh start on a new server with new markets and new guilds, all in the current content package; same expansions, same events, same specials, same cash shop, just about the same everything.  So you can leave behind your old, overstuffed bank and those offending freeloaders and come play on a server for people who have some skin in the game!  Also, free trade!

I do sort of wish that the level 90 buy-in option wasn’t available, but I am sure it will be popular and help soak up the remains of the giant pool of Station Cash that I bet is still left over from the foolhardy sales during the dark ages of SOE’s failure to understand economics, an era which led to people paying as little as $5.00 for expansions and $1.25 a month for a Gold subscription.

So there it is.  A chance to play on a fresh server with some minor rules variations.

Now the question is, after Daybreak built it, will they come?  Will people… subscribers… flock to this new opportunity?  Does new server smell, with a side order of free trade, have the draw?  And if it is successful, will it simply draw off the paying membership from the recently consolidated live servers, fragmenting populations and leaving live in something of a bind?

Finally, if it does have some success, will it be headed to EverQuest next… erm, I mean headed next to EverQuest?

We shall see.  The new server isn’t up on the Daybreak status page yet, so I cannot tell if it is bursting at the seams or a ghost town.

Hat Tip to EQ2 Wire for reminding me yet again that this server was a thing.

A POS Shoot in Saranen

Going to do hurricanes if I can get better numbers, our enemies are coming to fight us so get in fleet, I want to volley some nerds. Op 1

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to all at 2016-06-29 01:57:39.912887 EVE ~~~

Though the station camp itself… never really a “hellcamp,” no matter how often EN24 chose to use the term, but still active and heavy at times… had largely subsided by late last week, actual fights in Saranen every night were still a regular item through the weekend, with the enemy dropping supers on us when we undocked a battleship fleet.

So the expectation of a fight was not unreasonable when I logged in and joined the fleet.  That has been the established pattern for weeks now.  The original ping had Nagas an option… I still have two sitting in station waiting to get used… but it changed to Hurricanes as more people piled into the fleet.  Asher wanted lots of Hurricanes, asking people for once to switch out of logi and into them.  Of course, due to the perverse nature of the universe, that meant we ended up with more logi that usual.  Once we hit what Asher considered critical mass, we undocked.

Once more out of the soda warehouse

Once more out of the soda warehouse

The first thing I noticed was an almost complete lack of hostiles on the overview.  There was somebody hanging out on the NCDot citadel, which is on the station grid by more than 1,500km away, but that was about it.  The station camp had gone from its desultory of late state to missing altogether.  Local was mostly blue.  No foes present to shoot.

Hurricanes rolling around Saranen

Hurricanes rolling around Saranen

So we set about to try and make some hostiles appear, starting with an NCDot POS tower in the system.  This had been mentioned as a possibility, and I had brought along some cheapT1  ammo for a POS shoot.  Well, it was cheap ammo when I bought it.  Somebody, playing market warfare games in our station, bought up all the T1 and relisted it at an outrageously high price.  So, for many, faction ammo was the cheap ammo option.

Shooting a POS

Shooting a POS

We disabled the offensive modules on the POS then shot “the stick” until it went into its reinforced state.  While there was a report of an NCDot fleet on the Pure Blind intel channel, which is starting to come alive again as people venture into null in smaller groups, nothing came our way.  We were even able to bring in some dreadnought support to speed things up a bit.

A Naglfar at the shoot getting hit by fireworks

A Naglfar at the shoot getting hit by fireworks

One done there, we went on to another tower in the system.  This one was mostly faction mods around a faction tower with better resists, and hardeners to boot, so things went more slowly.  We chipped away its guns first, the put our guns on the tower while leaving drones working on incapacitating the warp disrupting and webbing modules scattered about.  More dreadnoughts joined us for the effort and the tower was eventually put into a reinforced state as well.

And that was about it for the evening.  I saw SynCaine in fleet.  He got blotted out by the second tower in his Vigil.  A few frigate suffered that fate.

The fleet was mostly chatting and reminding people to activate their guns after they reloaded.  There were exactly three kills, an executioner that strayed into the extreme edge of our range and go popped, Oxygen’s cyno Rifter, which at least dropped the module and fuel, and a cyno bait ship sitting on a death star POS, which we quickly blapped on the way back to the station.  I wasn’t quick enough to get on any of those.  Two POS towers were reinforced.  And the 02:00 citadel went online without being contested.  Life in Saranen at the end of June I guess.

Meanwhile, in Pure Blind, a couple more systems were taken by us since I last posted on the topic (G-M4I8 and O-A6YN), while another traded hands back and forth (M-YCD4).  NCDot seems to be handing systems over to MOA, and a lot of work remains before us as we try to push back into null sec.