EverQuest II Launches Chaos Descending and Celebrates Another Anniversary

The regular pattern of annual autumnal launches for EverQuest II expansions fits in nicely with the history of the game as they tend to hit pretty close to the original launch date, so you get some new content and a celebration of the history of the game all at once.

And so it goes this year, with today being the launch date for Chaos Descending, the fifteenth full expansion for EQII, and that doesn’t include the various adventure packs that SOE and Daybreak have tried now and again.

Chaos Descending the Library Staircase

While I wrote a bit about the expansion before, along with the various purchasing options, the bullet point summary from Daybreak is:

  • New Adventure Quests
  • New Signature Tradeskill Quests
  • New Signature Adventure Quests
  • New Achievements
  • New Zones
    • One Quest and Services Zone (Myrist)
    • 4 Outdoor Zones (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Detroxxulous)
    • 4 Dungeon Themes (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Awuidor)
    • 13 Solo Instances
    • 12 Heroic Instances
    • 7 Raid Instances
    • 1 Contested Raid Dungeon
  • Mount Equipment Feature
  • Mount Equipment Bundle
  • New Mercenary Equipment

That is a pretty nice chunk of new content being delivered, and on par with what the combined EverQuest & EverQuest II team delivers annually.  There is none of this “every other year” talk for expansions, and they still deliver a sizable mid-year update along the way as well.  They might be the hardest working team in the genre.

In addition, EverQuest II just celebrated its 14th anniversary last week.  The official launch date was November 9, 2004, with the Europeans getting their launch two days later, on the 11th.  And the anniversary brings out the Hero’s Festival for players in Qeynos and Freeport.

No Firiona Vie on EQII boxes

But wait, there’s more!

While the game launched on November 9th, my own anniversary with the game actually falls on November 13th.  That is when SOE, no doubt expecting the same rush for servers that they experienced with the EverQuest launch back in 1999, rolled out their second wave of servers for US players.  So on that date the Crushbone server went up and and what ended up being our guild, a mix of players from EverQuest and TorilMUD, started making plans for how we were going to attack post-cataclysm Norrath.  We were the Knights of the Cataclysm.

Our day two guild on Crushbone… I left in 2005 and came back in 2006

And so began a year of playing… and fighting with… the new game as both we and the in-game systems evolved.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

It was a strange time.  I have fond memories of it, though I am sure I have blocked out many of the problems and irritations that plagued the game back at launch.

Well, I can certainly recall some of them.  I could go on about crafting, no off-line selling at the broker, locked encounters, dupe bugs, experience debt, five minute buffs, the tiny quest log, having only four character slots, guild leveling, mounts, the experiments with risky boat travel, and that graphical processing bug in Qeynos Harbor that made you machine slow to a crawl as you came and went from using the bell positioned out at the end of the dock.

So yeah, if I remember all of those right off the top of my head then there were probably a lot more I’ve forgotten.

But it was still exciting and new and probably all the more so since I had stopped playing EverQuest actively a couple years before, only popping in to visit now and again, so there was very much a new to MMOs again aspect to it.  And having Meclin along, who had skipped EQ so was really in his first MMO experience made it a pretty special time.

Meclin swinging for gnoll necks… original gnoll models

And the game looked good.  Well, it looked better than EverQuest in any case, if you could run it with the graphics settings turned up enough to appreciate it.  I recall tales of people coming for EverQuest and finding the system requirements for the new game so onerous that they had to turn down the settings to the point that they couldn’t see the faces on character models.

I think this was called “future proofing” or some such, but it seems to sacrifice the necessary today in favor of a theoretical tomorrow.

Fortunately I had a decent rig… a big purple Alienware box with an okay nVidia card in it… so I could appreciate some of the graphical quality of the game.  I couldn’t go full settings, but enough to get a decent screen shot.

The catacombs under Qeynos back in the day…

It was also an awkward time for video cards, with the horrible, power hungry nVidia 6800 GT series ruling the roost and burning out motherboards and power supplies in the name of graphical fidelity.  The 6800 design stayed around for ages, being continuously improved as time went along.  I never went for the initial mode due to its horrible reputation, but had a couple of the follow-on 8800 GT boards (LOTRO burned out two of those), then a GTS 250 and a GTS 450, both of which had their roots in the old 6800.  At the time though I stayed with the more reliable 6600 GT and then an ATi 800XL.

It is amazing the amount of little details that lurk in my brain and yet I still can’t remember somebody’s name ten seconds after they’ve been introduced to me.  And I’d have to check the settings to tell you which video card I have installed now.

So it is something of a triple, the 15th expansion drops, the game celebrating its 14th year, and I celebrating my 14th anniversary of joining the game.  Though, if I look at my character, it actually puts me in line for the 15th anniversary present in another ten days.  I wonder what we’ll get.

SOE gave me time

Of course, the timing is all off as well.  Last month I was playing and writing about EverQuest II.  Now LOTRO has captured my fickle heart with its Legendary server.  Still, I might have a post or two left in me this year about Norrath.

2 thoughts on “EverQuest II Launches Chaos Descending and Celebrates Another Anniversary

  1. Bhagpuss

    Just about to have my tea and then log in to check out the new excpansion, assuming the servers are up. DBG’s status page says they’re locked but that’s not always accurate.

    I’d forgotten about the broker not allowing offline selling – in fact I still can’t remember it even now you remind me. I probably didn’t have anything to sell! As well as xp debt there was that fairly short period where you also had the option to do a “shard” run to get some of the xp back, giving EQ2 players all the fun of an EQ corpse run and xp debt on top. Then there were the faction restrictions that meant people in the same guild couldn’t group together or send each other mail if they were on oppsite sides of the Freeport/Qeynos fence. And most of the mobs being Heroic in open zones even right near the start. Oh, and the ever-popular level-locks on zones – that was a particular bugbear of mine…

    It’s a wonder any of us lasted 14 days let alone that some of us are still playing after 14 years…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – This is why I wish I had started blogging in 2004 rather than 2006. Then I might have a timeline on some of this stuff. EQII at launch would have been a blog post gold mine.

    There was a stretch from launch until… I’m going to guess February or March 2005… some point AFTER they introduced the extra trade skills to reduce interdependence but before Desert of Flames… where you had to be logged in and sitting in your house to have stuff showing up on the broker. It was creepy going into people’s houses to buy from them because every once in a while they’d actually be at the keyboard and move or say something. But for expensive stuff you’d risk it to save on the broker’s fee.

    My first character had what seemed like an ungodly amount of /played time because I used to log him on in the morning before work and then leave him running all day and sometimes over night trying to sell my wares. I’m sure this all seemed logical because, at the time, EQ also made you sit there online in the bazaar to sell as well. I’m glad they enabled offline after not too long.

    I was going to mention the quests you had to run to get into Zek and the Enchanted Lands before you hit level 30. My guild help me run the one for Zek and then I found out that your trade skill level counted as well, and I was already past 30 on that front.

    I was also a little vague on guild leveling. At launch in a guild you could only designate so many people as… I forget what they were called, patrons or something… and only their status counted towards leveling the guild up. But the more you designated, the less each patron would contribute. And if a patron left, you lost all of the status they contributed. I remember KotC losing access to guild mounts when one of our patrons jumped guilds.

    And then there is the one I always harp about, only being able to buff people in your party to prevent twinking. SOE, what were you thinking? Wait, I remember, you were only paying attention to people bitching in the forums as usual.

    It has been a strange ride indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

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