The Life of Progression Servers

I was looking at the front page of the EverQuest site to see if there was any news worth knowing and I was struck/amused that the two most recent items involve progression servers, with the vote to unlock the Planes of Power expansion hitting the Ragefire server and the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion opening up on the Phinigel server.

Playing the nostalgia card has worked out pretty well for EverQuest and I am glad to see they are taking it more seriously than they did in the past, where such servers were launched with fanfare, only to be mostly ignored thereafter.

On the other hand, I do wonder when we might hit the “too much of a good thing” margin when it comes to nostalgia.  Yes, the latest progression server, Phinigel, remains the most popular server for the game most hours of the day.  On the flip side, such servers now represent almost 25% of the total EverQuest server base and, according to the recent Producer’s Letter, Daybreak plans to launch a new one this summer called Agnarr with its own special twist.

EverQuest Server List – May 2017

What should become of progression servers that are past their prime?  The original pair, The Combine and The Sleeper, which launched a decade back… can you have nostalgia for nostalgia… were eventually rolled into standard servers when they had caught up.  That was back in 2009, so they didn’t linger on for long on their own.

But Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak’Aerr launched back in February of 2011 and, last I saw of them, the vote for the Underfoot expansion was going on… that was in 2014… and I haven’t heard much about it since.

The next round came in May 2015, with Ragefire, then Lockjaw following up in the traditional spillover server role a bit later.

That was followed up six months later by the current reigning champion nostalgia server, Phinigel, which took all the zone instancing and server queue lessons Daybreak learned and rolled in some features to keep people from multi-boxing.

Now, about a year and a half down the road from the Phinigel launch, Agnarr looms.  While Agnarr has a different formula than Phinigel, it will still likely steal some of the players from the older server, just the way Phingel denuded the populations of Ragefire and Lockjaw.

Meanwhile, Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak’Aerr linger on… are they effectively live servers at this point?  You need All Access to log in, but if they’re done progressing on their own maybe that shouldn’t be the case.  And is there too much capacity in the EverQuest nostalgia department at this point?  Should some of these servers get merged in or have they spawned resilient (and paying) communities worth keeping the servers up?

2 thoughts on “The Life of Progression Servers

  1. bhagpuss

    I have a suspicion that Agnarr is designed to be the permanent “Nostalgia” server. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any more permanent retro servers after that.

    They could leverage both the New Server Thrill crowd and the Race To The Top crowd better by launching fixed-term servers as EQ2 did with Race to Trakanon. That gets over the issue of what to do with all these servers as populations drop while still bringing in those subscription dollars.

    As for the older Prog servers I guess they are in the same boat as most of the rest of the list: they probably have a regular playerbase that isn’t all that large but which it would be imprudent to provoke into thinking of other ways they might be spending their time and money. As long as the overall server bill remains acceptable I would guess DBG would prefer to avoid merges but no doubt at some point they’ll need to consolidate again.

    I’m not planing on making a character on Agnarr. I never made one for Phinagel. There are several jumping-on points ,though, with Kunark, Luclin and Ykesha all having new races and starting areas so I reserve the option to clamber on board further down the line.


  2. Anonymous

    I actually logged on to Vulak last Sunday morning. I was the only person on the server. Also, in response to Bhagpuss, they actually did that with the Quarm server that was then rolled over into the new server Brekt.


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