Daybreak is no stranger to special servers. On the EverQuest side of the house they have had quite a few over the years. The nostalgia progression server idea itself is a decade old, having first come to pass with The Sleeper and The Combine way back when.
Those were followed by Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak about six years ago, then Ragefire and Lockjaw a couple of years back, and then Phinigel which went live about a year and a half back.
Each has been a refinement on the attempt to capture “the good old days” of early EverQuest, when graphics were raw, groups were required, and spawns were camped.
Back in March, the Producer’s Letter at the game’s 18th anniversary mentioned a new progression server would be on its way this year, and Daybreak has now announced the timing and some details.
The server name will be Angarr, as previously mentioned, named for Angarr the Stormlord, a raid boss from back in the day.
This fifth generation progression server will carry on with the improvements from the past, including being a “true box” server, which is Daybreak’s way of saying that the are going to try to keep you from multi-boxing your way through the game, an innovation brought in with the Phinigel server.
But the key new feature for Agnarr is how it will progress… or, rather, how it will NOT progress.
The Agnarr server will, as always, kick off in the original March 1999 EverQuest content, such that it is. Then every 12 weeks Daybreak will unlock an expansion, following the usual path forward with Ruins of Kunark then Scars of Velious and so on. However, the unlocks will stop with the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion and no further expansions will come to the server, leaving the server to run on with content introduced in late 2003.
The Agnarr server is set to launch on May 24th, and given the “every 12 weeks” plan, the server cycle should look something like this.
- May 24, 2017 – Agnarr server opens with original EverQuest content
- August 16, 2017 – Ruins of Kunark expansion unlocked
- November 8, 2017 – Scars of Velious expansion unlocked
- January 31, 2018 – Shadows of Luclin expansion unlocked
- April 25, 2018 – Planes of Power expansion unlocked
- July 18, 2018 – Legacy of Ykesha expansion unlocked
- October 10, 2018 – Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked
Unlike past progression servers the last two expansions, Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath, will not unlock semi-concurrently with the Planes of Power expansion. There will be full 12 week gaps between each.
And then the server will stay like that, at least as long as there is sufficient population to warrant keeping it around.
This will/should/may satisfy the long standing calls that come with the launch of every progression server that Daybreak create a permanent “classic” server which sits still in time and never advances. These calls have grown all the more common since the closure of EverQuest Macintosh Edition back in late 2013.
I am mildly skeptical about the prospects for the server. EverQuest Mac was a magical place locked in time, but it was also made up of a community that evolved naturally over a decade, forged by a shared feeling of isolation and neglect, and started at a point when it was running current content. Can Daybreak recreate that by just rolling a new server? While they can restrain the march of expansions the servers will, by necessity, be tainted by changes made over the years like revamped zone graphics and updated user interface.
Meanwhile, progression servers themselves have been shown in the past to be very content unlock oriented, with populations rising with each new expansion and the dwindling off as time with that content ages.
And then there is the “what is classic EverQuest?” question. The expansion after Lost Dungeons of Norrath, the aptly named Gates of Discord, is pretty much accepted as being “post-classic,” if you will. So no point in going there. But is Lost Dungeons of Norrath, where the game becomes focused on instanced content, really classic?
Of course, like anybody from the old school, I have my own view. For me, everything after Ruins of Kunark is “that new shit,” but I might be more conservative than most and I have said in the past that I think Kunark is the only truly good expansion ever released for an MMORPG.
And where does Project 1999 stand in all of this? It was blessed by Daybreak as a legitimate place to go explore your retro EverQuest nostalgia, and it is an attempt to create a real “classic” experience, untainted by many of the updates that have gone into the game over the years. The problem is that Project 1999 requires you to have a specific, out-of-date, no longer available at retail version of EverQuest and can’t tell you how to find it otherwise.
Anyway, the launch is coming on May 24th. As always, access to the Agnarr server will require a Daybreak All Access subscription. We shall see how it progresses.