EverQuest 20th Anniversary Progression Servers Announced

More build up to the EverQuest 20th anniversary next month.

As promised in the previous Producer’s Letter there will be two progression servers set to open on Saturday, March 16 as part of the anniversary celebration.

Let’s take a look at what we’re getting.

Ultra Casual

The first of the pair will be called Selo, a name no doubt derived from the bard class song Selo’s Accelerando, which let your group move more quickly.

Selo moves you faster

This is appropriate because the Selo server will be the fast/casual progression server, with an experience curve that will  likely let you get to level cap much faster than you ever did back in 1999.  It will still be slower than live servers, but not as slow as any past progression server.

It will also advance much more quickly, starting in the Shadows of Luclin era and opening up a new expansion on the first Wednesday of every month thereafter, starting with the Planes of Power unlock on May 1, 2019.  That will give people a little extra time to get ramped up on those initial levels.

After it catches up to the current expansion level, something that will still take close to two years (so many expansions, and probably a new one at the end of the year), it will become a normal live server.  There is a FAQ for the Selo server available.

Hardcore

The second server will be named Mangler, named for the black guard dog that hangs around in one of the back rooms of the Fool’s Gold in Rivervale.  It is of the more traditional progression server style.

Yes, my dog bites

The experience rate for Mangler will be somewhat slower than the usual, already slowed progression server norm, and is aimed at the more hardcore raider faction.  For this server, expansions will unlock every 12 weeks until Gates of Discord opens, after which expansions that include level cap increases will last for 12 weeks while those without will last for 8 weeks.

That still puts the life of this server out in the five year range.

There is also a FAQ up for the Mangler server.

True Box

Both of these servers will be in the “True Box” model that Daybreak has adopted, which means that you will not be able to multibox.  Multiboxing was deemed the literal worst thing ever by a loud faction of the progression server community.  And I get that it can be annoying to see one obvious group all being controlled by a single person owning your favorite spawn.  Further, I agree that on a server like Mangler, it is probably in the zone.

My Reaction

I want to say right up front that the idea of starting a progression server on the 20th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest that kicks off anywhere but classic is complete bullshit.

Seriously, who at Daybreak thought, “Let’s celebrate classic by bypassing classic!” was a good plan?  That was enough to make my playing on it go from “sure thing” to “maybe.”

That aside, I am also confused as to what “ultra casual” means to the team at Daybreak.  On hearing them use the term “casual” I thought they might relax the whole “true box” thing so people could dual box a tank and a healer or something, like I did back with Fippy Darkpaw.

Or, even better, maybe allow mercenaries onto the server from day one… in classic… so that you could hire your own in-game healer to follow you as you explored.  But neither will be the case.

I guess I am okay with the faster XP curve.  I can see the argument for not wanting to wear the hair shirt if you’re in for a casual tour.  But the whole faster expansion unlock thing?  That seems to be the opposite of what casuals have been asking for out of a progression server.  It is the hardcore raiders that always want the next unlock once they’ve finished up the current expansion.  Casual players have traditionally been the holdouts looking for longer stretches with each expansion since they tend to play at a casual pace.

Giving substance to that unlock history, it seems as though the hardcore raiding guilds are planning to avoid Mangle altogether and hit Selo instead, since it pretty much gives them what they have been asking for; the ability to level up more quickly in order to raid and faster unlock times for expansions so they can have new content for their guilds more often.

The casuals… well, if you trust the Progression Server section of the the EverQuest forums… are feeling left out.  I don’t seem to be the only one who thinks that starting anywhere besides classic is simply wrong, but there is the usual amount of arguing back and forth as to what the server ought to be, interrupted only by the person who opened a thread asking for a PvP progression server.  That seemed to unify a lot of people… against PvP.

But the key factor here seems to be badly set expectations.

Daybreak told us there would be an “ultra casual” progression server back with the Producer’s Letter, but did not bother to explain what that might really mean.  So for a couple of weeks people got to make up their own idea “ultra casual” server in the head, setting the expectations themselves in the big blank that Daybreak left open.  I certainly did so with my thoughts about mercs or true box.

And then Daybreak told us what they had in mind and it failed to match almost everybody’s self-constructed view.  No surprise there I suppose.  Remember when they told us H1Z1 was going to be for Star Wars Galaxies players?

We shall see if the heat in the forums leads to any changes.  Unlike EverQuest II, where the company often seems to blow with the loudest wind in the forums, the Progression Server section of the EverQuest forums has a long standing tradition of being ignored by Daybreak.  An actual post by a Daybreak employee there is generally looked upon as something akin to a miracle.

But starting a progression server anywhere except at classic… no… just no.  That has got to be fixed.  On a server where the unlocks will be once a month, I can’t even imagine an argument for skipping straight to Shadows of Luclin.  It will be unlocked soon enough already.  Seriously, what the hell?

10 thoughts on “EverQuest 20th Anniversary Progression Servers Announced

  1. bhagpuss

    Heh! Literally the one and only thing that made my eyes light up when I read the Selo’s ruleset was the Luclin start-point. When I went to the forums to see the reaction there were plenty of people agreeing with me that not having to start in Classic yet again was a good thing. That said, it does seem a tad counter-intuitive given the tie-in with the 20th Anniversary.

    The rest of the ruleset is bonkers and the main reason for that is that no-one seems to have any clear idea what “Casual” means. Reading the forum thread, it’s apparent that lots of EQ players think “casual” means “going as slowly as possible an never getting anywhere”. They think a “Casual” server would have slower xp than a regular Prog server and expansions would unlock less frequently. Someone actually said a true casual progression server would unlock expansions in real-time equivalence of the original launch dates, so Selo’s wouldn;t reach parity with current Live servers until 2039!

    Personally, my idea of a “Casual” EQ server would be a minimum of permanent double XP, no death penalty at all, Mercenaries from day one, full boxing allowed and expansion unlocks around every 2-3 months. I’d actually go for Double XP and Triple on Weekends to make it even faster. Clearly my understanding of playing casually is very different from either DBG’s or the current playerbase’s.

    I think they will change some of the ruleset. They already said twice that they were listening to feedback and reviewing their options. I think unlocks will go to two or even three months – that seems to be the biggest objection. Whatever they do, though, I won’t be playing. I want faster XP than Live, not slower. I’ll stick to Live, if I play at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – When did the tutorial zone come into EQ? Was that with Luclin? For all my love of classic and wanting to stand out in front of Qeynos getting kicked by snakes, I have to admit I really like the tutorial. The main problem with it is that it spits you out at the end into a game that isn’t nearly as well crafted, at least in terms of pointing you on your way.

    As for casual, like you I was hoping for merc or boxing or something. Oh well, they have a month to work on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Alunaria – These servers tend to be pretty heavily populated by people who were there during the early days, so there is a standard set of behavior norms and such, but they aren’t all that mysterious. Groups own the spawn they’re camping. Calling “spawn check” in chat should get people to call out who is camping which spawns. You announce you’re looking for a group in the same way, since after about level 8-10 the way forward is with groups.

    The classes are all pretty simple. I think a warrior is just auto attack, kick, shield bash, and taunt as skills for a long stretch. The spell interface is different in that you have a spell hot bar that you can only assign a subset of your spells to in order to use.

    The upside is that there is something fun in the primitive nature of the game, relative to something like WoW, and the people out there all like the game and want to be there and support it, so they tend to be easy to group with.

    In my experience, it isn’t 1999, but it is as close of an approximation as most people will ever need. I don’t need the original interface. I’m good with the current hot bars that work like you expect hot bars to work these days, for example.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bhagpuss

    Hmmm. When did the tutorial zone come to EQ? Not as easy to answer as you’d think.

    I remember testing the original Glooming deep tutorial but as yet I can’t find any hard information on when exactly that was. None of the versions of the tutorial get mentioned in the “Stand Out Occurences” headlines on Allakhazam’s patch archive. I flipped through the details for a couple of years but couldn’t spot anything. I am fairly sure it came in around 2002-3 but I can’t prove it.

    The best-known version arrived in July 2005. http://everquest.allakhazam.com/history/patches-2005-2.html It was the lynchpin of “Escape to Norrath”, the free trial for EQ that I’d totally forgotten. It was included as a standalone on the Depths of Darkhollow disk and by 2008 it had its own website https://www.everquest.com/news/imported-eq-enus-51112

    All of this had completely slipped my memory. Those patch notes and the press release archive are goldmines. I could do blog posts for years based on what’s in there.

    I don’t know how many times they revamped the Gloomingdeep tutorial but it was quite a few. I haven’t done if for a long time – I always opt to start in Freeport or Qeynos. Now I feel like going and doing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Alunaria – Speaking of the tutorial, if you want a taste/intro into how EQ plays, you can download the client, create a character, and run through that tutorial. It will go through the basics which are similar, but not the same as WoW and more modern games.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Topauz

    I’m with Bhagpuss. I was expecting a faster XP rate. I don’t have time to grind out levels anymore. I was picturing fast leveling with a merc so I can easily see more of the game.

    Like

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