Nagafen will be Pay to Slay

Daybreak gave us our first update since the January Producer’s Letter for EverQuest II late yesterday afternoon.

Why does Daybreak think after 4pm Pacific Time is a good time for news?  That is when you announce things or publish press releases you want people to miss.  Must be a habit from the bad news days.

Anyway, the update was about the coming Nagafen PvP server.

Idealized image of PvP

The beta for the server will start this coming Tuesday, February 5th and will be open to all accounts.  And if this is your thing, you’d better find some time to give it a shot.  Remember what they said in the Producer’s Letter?

If it gets a good following in Beta, we’ll look to launching it live!

The implication is that if you blow this off it will go away… like every past EverQuest II PvP server.

If and when it does go live… though honestly I imagine it is on a trajectory to go live no matter what the Producer’s Letter said… so I guess disregard that last paragraph, Daybreak will probably push this puppy out on optimism alone… you will need to sign on the dotted line for a Daybreak All Access subscription.  No freeps will be admitted.

Other details announced:

  • Nagafen is a seasonal, free-for-all PvP server.
  • Nagafen is a Free-Trade server, where most items are tradeable.
  • In-game scoreboards will keep track of the top killers.
  • Only one character is allowed per account.
  • Stats will be customized and updated for PvP and balance.
  • Channelers and Beastlords will not be available for this season of PvP.
  • Spell research will not be available on Nagafen.
  • Familiars will not be available on Nagafen.
  • Experience potions will not be available on Nagafen.

Free-for-all means no factions.  No need to kill people from the other side of Norrath, you can kill your pals from your home city instead.

They will be doing seasons, which I guess will mean a wipe every so often so everybody can start fresh yet again.  No word on battle royale matches yet.

The stats thing is the bit that always grinds my gears.  History seems to show that you can balance for PvE or you can balance for PvP, but if you try to do both it becomes a disaster so the old SOE solution was to give nearly every piece of gear and every skill or spell both PvE and PvP stats.  For Nagefen they say they have redone the stats and itemization so that it will work for both PvE and PvP, but past experience colors me dubious on that.  We shall see.

Additional follow ups from the announcement include the fact that the cash shop will be pretty bare.  Bags, mounts, and whatever counts as expendables… but not experience potions, as noted above.  And things will be tilted so that PvP will be rewarding if you want to level up.  We’ll see how far people want to level.  As noted, in the old days people level locked around 19 to steer clear of PvP breaking skills.

So another EverQuest II PvP experiment is set to take flight.  I am not rooting against it, I just sound pessimistic based on how this sort of thing has played out in the past.

3 thoughts on “Nagafen will be Pay to Slay

  1. bhagpuss

    I was going to post about this earlier today but somehow I ended up rambling on about something else. I still might at some point, in which case I’ll probably end up rehashing most of the following.

    I think you might be underestimating a) the success of the original Nagafen server and b) how many ex-Nagafenians still hanker for what was lost. There’s an intriguing thread on the forums where old-time PvPers are chiming in to say how they’ve been calling up their former comrades-in-arms with the aim of getting the old gang back together. That was after the first anouncement, when everyone was being asked to “spread the word”.

    This new, detailed proposal is only going to consolidate that reaction, I think, because it both plays to Nagefenians sense that they are a Valued and Important Part of EQ2 History (they seem very keen on letting everyone know that) and more importantly, because it appears the new Nagafen will have the ruleset they all want, not the various watered-down versions that SOE forced on them, which drove them away in the first place.

    As for Deathtoll, I don’t think you can use it as a benchmark for interest. The ruleset there never seemed to sit well with the target audience and there was supposedly a huge problem with hacking/cheating that didn’t get addressed fast enough or well enough. If Kandor is right about DBG having learned the lessons from that experience, it could make a big difference to the success of Nagafen.

    As for the Seasons, I think that’s the best idea either SOE or DBG has come up with for PvP to date. Having a fixed duration competition with a Leaderboard and an outright Winner who gets permanent bragging rights is the kind of set-up that keeps people playing. You didn’t mention it specifically but there are three Seasons planned, each three months in duration and they will progress through the Base game, Desert of Flames and Kingdom of Sky in order. Again, that’s an attractive proposition.

    Personally, I won’t be going anywhere near it. FFA PVP with grizzled old vets trying to relive their glory days of fifteen years ago sounds like a nightmare. Also, in terms of commercial success or viability, I have no clear idea just how many of those veterans there are – or ever were. They all talk about Nagafen as if it was a raging success back in the day but I never set foot there and I barely knew it even existed. For all I know the whole parcel might not amount to more than a couple of hundred people.

    Anyway, the whole thing looks to be *way* better thought out than previous attempts so I wish it luck. At least it might stop the endless complaining in General chat. Then again…


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – Nagafen was not nothing. I remember when the EQ2-Daily crew was playing on it and podcasting about the joy of it. But neither was it the huge influence that the ever present, loud far beyond their numbers, PvP fans in the forums claim.

    Furthermore, the carping about SOE killing PvP with watered down versions can be laid directly at their feet. At the peak popularity of the server they were complaining pretty much constantly on the forums about the problems with Nagafen, almost all of which were directly related to trying to do PvP in a game designed for PvE. And we know how SOE used to slavishly follow the word of the forums.

    And while I like the season thing, it does seem like the smart move, I am not sure what opening expansions will do for the PvP crowd if they follow past precedent and all level lock at 19. But we haven’t heard all of the rules yet.

    I will be happy if this succeeds and brings in some money for the franchise. But history weighs against it, with the PvP fans being their own worst enemy in the forums as often as not.


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