Daybreak Updates Its Norrath Anniversary Progression Server Plans

As I have no doubt mentioned a few times already, and will likely mention again before we’re there, this coming March 16th is the 20th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest.  This is a big deal for me, having been there for the launch, and for Daybreak, as this is the oldest title in their catalog and the foundation of the company that was once Sony Online Entertainment.

So naturally enough Daybreak has some special things planned for Saturday, March 16th, including the launch of four different special servers.  Two are focused on the original EverQuest while the other two are in EverQuest II.

That we’re getting two EverQuest II servers seems a bit odd to me, as that title has its fifteenth anniversary coming up in November of this year.  But maybe they just want to get in on their ancestor’s glory moment.  We’ve already heard that EverQuest II is getting an expansion this year, so maybe that will the the focal point of its 15th anniversary.

Anyway, the official rules for these four servers seem to be set, so let me review what we have here.

The rules for the two EverQuest progression servers were announced a couple weeks back and met with some push back from the players.  Daybreak said they would take this under consideration and came back on Friday with an update heralded on Twitter with this message:

Hail, Norrathians! We heard your feedback, and have made changes to the upcoming Selo and Mangler Progression Servers so that you can get excited about finding a new home in Norrath on March 16th.

So what did they change?

Selo – Ultra Casual becomes Fast

The Selo server was probably the most controversial because Daybreak said in advance it would be “Ultra Casual” and then didn’t define what that meant.  As one might expect, that let everybody interested in the idea set their own mental expectations, so when the rules for the server came out they seemed for many to be at odds with their personal view of the situation.  The Selo server was going to start three expansions in, be true box, unlock an expansion every month, and offer faster experience gains than other progression servers, but still slower than live servers.

Beware of an old game in a hurry

Reading the forums, that seemed ideal for the hardcore raiders, who as a group are always antsy for the next raid unlock, but not exactly casual.  Meanwhile, if you read any of the forum posts on this topic, what constitutes casual is a pretty wide topic.  I personally expected mercenaries or multi-boxing to be allowed and probably experience at the level of a live server.  Others were calling for slower progress, or less experience, or whatever their hearts told them.

Anyway, Daybreak fixed all of this by changing the description of the server from “Ultra Casual” to “Fast Progression.”

Seriously, looking at the FAQ for the Selo server, nothing else has changed.  Given that, I would claim that the message I quoted above was pretty much a lie when it comes to the Selo server.  I’m not saying there was a right answer for everybody who was complaining, but this looked like no answer at all.

Mangler – Plain old Progression Server

Mangler was supposed to be the hardcore server.  Again, what constitutes hardcore is up for debate.  Some people want slower progression, others want to wear the hair shirt and have slow exp.

Hair of the dog

As with the Selo server, Mangler was supposed to start with the Shadows of Luclin expansion, but move more slowly with a much more oppressive experience curve.

In the update, Daybreak has relented and will start a progression server on the 20th anniversary of the classic launch at classic content.  That seems fitting.  But with that, they decided it will be standard progression server, with 12 week unlocks until the Gates of Discord expansion and 8 week unlocks there after for any expansion without a level cap increase.

There is a FAQ up for Mangler, but if you’re familiar with any of the last few progression servers, you won’t find anything new.

Nagafen – Another Shot at PvP

On the EverQuest II front, the previous big news was Daybreak trying to revive PvP with the Nagafen server.  PvP servers have tended to be self consuming for EverQuest II, with the population dying off, followed by players complaining in the forums, then SOE making changes which have tended to only to make things worse.  But they’re willing to give it another try, so if you’re willing to subscribe to all access, you can have a PvP server to play on.

Nagafen’s all consuming fire

The server will be free-for-all PvP and will only allow you to make a single character per account.  You can kill anybody from any faction, with the only safe areas being Qeynos and Freeport.

The newbie starter areas will only allow you to attack people +/- 4 levels from your own, while in the open world you will be restricted to +/- 8 levels, save for the level 40+ zones, where there will be no restrictions at all.

The Nagafen server FAQ covers the plans for seasons, itemization, and expansion unlocks.

Kaladim – A New Gimmick

Finally, there is the Kaladim time locked progression server.  I think there is a message in the fact that Daybreak thinks they can launch a plain vanilla progression server for EverQuest, but for EverQuest II they need something to spice it up.  Not that I am against a gimmick.  I like me a new gimmick now and again.  But it seems odd that Kaladim needs one while Mangler does not.

Kaladim is a dwarf place, so a dwarf

When it comes to the Kaladim server the twist is that you will be able to earn account-wide rewards for completing heritage quests and special account-wide titles for collection quests.

In addition, you will be able to go to the old starter home areas.  This is something of a mixed blessing to my mind.  On the one hand, it will be nice to see old areas of the game that have since been removed.  On the other hand, few things were as disappointing as the racial ghettos of the two starting cities when EverQuest had a unique hometown for every race.  While I missed the old Isle of Refuge starting area, my memories of Greystone yard in Qeynos are mixed at best.  Barbarians and dwarves started there, and little about the place reflected either race.

Also, I had never heard anybody refer to these areas as “hoods” until the Kaladim announcement.  When I saw the word “hoods” I literally thought there was going to be some new cosmetic head gear.   But I guess they cannot call them ghettos, the way I do.  I am certainly using that word in the pejorative sense.  And they aren’t home towns, but places where they are sorting our refugees from the great cataclysm.  No wonder I have little affinity for them.

Anyway, as with the previous three servers, there is a FAQ for Kaladim that goes into more detail.

Which to Choose?

So that is four new servers, all launching in March 16th in celebration of the EverQuest 20th anniversary.

Honestly, I am not enthusiastic about any of them.

If I was part of a group that was keen to visit any of them, I would probably go along.  But for just me, there isn’t much of a call for any of these four.  In this they are unlike the LOTRO Legendary server, where I knew that I could at least progress through and see all the sites on my own.

So where does that leave my plans for the 20th anniversary?

I think I might just stick with the Vox server, where I am already through the tutorial and in the Plane of Knowledge with my cleric.  I am not sure if there will be anything special for him at his low level, but There will be banners and special NPCs to see if nothing else.

It also raises the likelihood that I will head off into Moria once SSG figures out when that will unlock on the Legendary server.  I don’t expect Daybreak to make any changes to the servers announced at this point, but we shall see.

9 thoughts on “Daybreak Updates Its Norrath Anniversary Progression Server Plans

  1. Krumm

    Sadly having four EQ+II servers means making a choice. Even if you choose to go with LOTRO you probably will still have some time to explore an EQ choice before that unlocks. PVP is out for me merely because they will scrap the toons after every season… Im not going to invest time into a character they are going to sack in the end.

    While I like the idea of starting with a classic EQ server to experience it as close to how it unfolded I am so much more invested into EQ2. Sense I came in after the changes to the great cities I haven’t got much experience with the hoods…as they are being now called. I remember they changed the Barbarian and Dwarf zone into a strange brawl that is not new character friendly. I don’t think Ive been in any of the others ( i think most are inaccessible).

    What was strange is that the said they would open them up but just for nostalgia. Although I think it would be cool to offer the ability to rent/own some homes in the old town’s.

    And yet Classic wow will be coming out in what maybe three months? I guess I should craft my RP letter to my guild master letting him know that I will be wondering the woods of the Greater Faydark for *cough* some time yet to come once that is released.

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  2. bhagpuss

    The changes to Selos are really interesting in that yes, just about all they have done is rename the server but if you read the thread responding to that change you’ll see something quite amazing: happy customers! It’s a long time since I saw such a positive response to anything DBG have done. It’s not universal approval but comment after comment says something positive and there’s plenty of appreciation for DBG listening to complaints.

    I think the thing is, if you read the original thread, almost everyone felt the Selos ruleset was solid… for raiders. Now that it’s not being promoted to the wrong audience, most people are happy. Mangler is a bit different but again the responses are fairly positive. I think this is a prime case of DBG knowing who their intended audience is – and it’s people already playing EverQuest. I think that, had they gone with an ultra-casual ruleset with higher xp, mercs, multiboxing allowed etc. they might have pulled in some sightseers from outside the game but it would potentialy have disrupted the status quo. Firiona Vie, which has a 50% xp bonus and extremely liberal trading rules, is probably the most popular server in EQ and they are wary of undercutting its appeal, I think.

    Nagafen will be a disaster. The vocal audience there is dead set against FFA PVP. They want factions. They basically want old Nagafen back, in fact. Nothing else will appease them.

    Kaladim looks good, I think. I don’t plan on playing anyone up there but I might pop in for a look and a blog or two. Whether EQ2 really needs – or can support – a new Progression server is another matter entirely. As for “Hoods”, no, no-one ever called them that. They were either “villages” or, less-commonly, “Burbs”. It’s an odd decision to leave the current populations and quests in place, all of which are specific to racial storylines, while opening the doors, but at least it’s another option.

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I will admit that for the most part the TLP section of the forums seems to be settling into these so-called changes. The raiders are all hyped for Selos, as they were before, while the old school crowd is happy now that Mangler starts at classic now. I guess nobody really wanted anything like what I thought a casual server might be.

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  4. calthaer

    Have you considered giving Project 1999 a whirl for the 20th? I suppose if anything truly hearkens back to the days of yore, that does.

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  5. calthaer

    Rightly so, of course. I got it working a few years back; let me see if I can get it working again and message you on Steam.

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  6. calthaer

    I sent you a ping on Steam. Have the requisite things you’d need to get started on P99, if you care to take a shot at it. I dunno; it’s weird – I still find it kind of magical, despite the low-res graphics and everything.

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  7. calthaer

    If you get on, I would make an effort, too. The old stuff does force folks to group up; I have usually found a group but not always close by. Only gor my single character to lvl 24 before saying “meh” and giving up; last night I checked if it still worked for the first time in about 2 years. But when I did get on I made 200 plat by selling foraged elven dew or something in Greater Faydark. Now if I can only remember what items are good; might dump it into crafting.

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