Category Archives: EverQuest II

EverQuest – The Broken Mirror Lands in Norrath

I thought The Broken Mirror expansion was going to go live today… I seem to recall reading the 19th as the date over at Massively OP at some point… but when I went to go check for this post I found that the the EverQuest Twitter feed had already announced the expansion as live.  Memory is a faulty receptacle at best, and my own is more flawed than most.

So here we have expansion number 22 for EverQuest.

Mirror cracked... also boobs

The mirror cracked… also, is that Firiona Vie in a bikini?

I won’t reprise my full commentary about Daybreak announcing that expansions were out and that adventure packs were in, only to change their mind for what I consider a clear and pressing reason.  You can read Tuesday’s post for that.  I’ll just repeat my suspicion that it is all about the money.

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

The Broken Mirror pricing? Try the broken gaming budget!

Money is important, without it the game goes away, so Daybreak can hardly be faulted for going back to the expansion plan with its $140 option.

Instead I want to go with how SOE/Daybreak, despite their many mistakes… common enough for me to create a “Because SOE” tag for the blog… and the many dev hours they have squandered over the years on dubious projects that never went anywhere… SOEmote and the SOE Launcher spring to mind, while Legends of Norrath remains in some horrible limbo, neither fully exploited nor completely neglected, just lingering in some middle state… has gained, somewhere along the way, the institutional/organizational knowledge of how important expansions are to keeping their player base engaged with their games… at least their EverQuest games.

EverQuest II, which launched less than a month before World of Warcraft, just had its 12th expansion go live.  Not bad for a game that just turned 11.  Meanwhile, as noted above, EverQuest has had twice that many expansions in its 16 years, 14 of which have been launched during the reign of Azeroth over the MMO universe.

World of Warcraft… five expansions in 11 years, with a sixth set to hit just before the game turns 12.

Now, there are more than a few low cards in that 22 expansion hand that EverQuest is holding.  Some expansions arrived broken or had content of dubious quality… especially so during the rush-rush times when SOE felt the world would end if they didn’t have two expansions out every calendar year… but SOE clearly felt a sense of urgency in getting out content.

An urgency you never really get from Blizzard.

An expansion a year though, that seems to have worked out as a decent pace for EverQuest.  I think there can be too many content drops.  I think EVE Online is feeling a bit of a pinch with its every six weeks or so expansion pace, in part because now expansions are not special, so there isn’t the big spike of returning players anymore.

No, once a year seems good for Norrath.  It gives the game new content on a regular basis and has allowed enough time for some major features to be added, things like player housing.  Okay, nobody wants that in WoW, but still…

And you can certainly argue against what I am saying by pointing at the success of WoW.  The population of Azeroth is down… way down… down below half of one time peak of 12 million subscribers, with only 5.5 million hanging around now, and that is still an order of magnitude larger than EverQuest’s subscription peak of approximately 550,000 players back in 2004.  Who brings in a billion dollars a year baby?  Not Norrath!

The flip side of that of course is that Daybreak, with a small fraction of the revenue and player base somehow manages to get out an expansion a year.  You would think that Blizzard would have the resources to move a little quicker.

Anyway, there are many complexities in that comparison, not the least of which is the culture of the organization that makes the games.  But WoW is still the cash cow for Blizzard… to the point that I wonder if their move to stop reporting subscriber numbers was as much to blend WoW revenue in with their other games (like they did when they announced the combined revenues of Destiny, Hearthstone, and Heroes of the Storm) as to stop people declaring the game is dead because it isn’t the biggest subscription MMORPG by a large enough margin… so I still wonder at their sometimes glacial speed.

Thoughts for the day as EverQuest launches expansion 22, The Broken Mirror.


EverQuest II Terrors of Thalumbra Goes Live Today

Today is the day and the unexpected 12th expansion for EverQuest II, the Terrors of Thalumbra, is set to launch.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

I write “unexpected” because back in April Daybreak was telling us that they were done with the whole expansions thing.  It was going to be adventure packs or DLC or whatever you wish to call content additions that aren’t big enough to be expansions but which you still have to pay for.

Then, about a month and a half back, after some coy hints by Daybreak, they finally announced that they were back on the “expansion a year” plan for both EverQuest and EverQuest II.  I strongly expect that pricing had something do to with it.  Can you charge $90 or $140 for an adventure pack?

Premium packages available for premium prices

Premium packages available for premium prices

As noted, EverQuest got its own expansion with similar pricing, due out later this week.

According to the Daybreak copy, this is what you get with the expansion:

Terrors of Thalumbra
Deep underneath Norrath lies a realm on the edge of the Plane of the Underfoot, known as Thalumbra. This expansive, subterranean domain is home to fabled races and ancient terrors!

When the dark shroud upon this land is pierced by Lanys T’Vyl, the recently resurrected demigoddess of Malice, it spells doom for all! You are a hero on the stage of Norrath. Will you play your part and protect Norrath from those who seek to destroy it? What mysteries will your torch uncover deep beneath the surface? Can you withstand the terrors of Thalumbra?


  • Subterranean Overland Zone – Overland zone deep beneath Norrath’s surface.
  • Signature Quests – Special quests for both Adventure and Tradeskill players!
  • New Level Agnostic Dungeons – Brand new dungeons that scale for players 20-95
  • Upgrade Your Items – Through the new Infusion system!
  • New and Updated Deity System
  • New Relic Item System
  • Heroic & Advanced Solo Dungeons, Challenging Raid Zones and a New Contested Zone for level 100s!

Level 100 adventurers are to speak with Virun D’Xyafin in Neriak or Dangle Springbolt in Greater Faydark to begin their adventures.

Right now the servers should still be down for the deployment, along with other updates, details of which you can find over at EQ2 Wire.  Noon is the time slated for the expansion to go live, so it should be good to go by 4pm Pacific Time, given past history!

EverQuest II – US Server Merges Complete, Kingdom of Sky Rejected, and Other Tidbits

The server merge… or server consolidation… or whatever they ended up calling it… plans for EverQuest II, officially announced back in August, are now complete.  Nine of the low population servers have been consolidated into three.

As somebody who had characters spread across four servers, Crushbone, Guk, Freeport, and Stormhold, I can now say that… I still have characters spread over four servers.  They are now named Maj’dul, Halls of Fate, Skyfire, and Stormhold.

So no help for me on that front.

The old servers were grouped and merged as follows:

  • Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers into Maj’Dul
  • Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest servers into Halls of Fate
  • Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost servers into Skyfire

The ever-popular Antonia Bayle server was left to its own devices, while the even more popular Time Locked Expansion Servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, roll on as before.

Servers outside of the United States have not been touched as yet.  If you want an EverQuest II PvP server, your options now are Deathtoll and that Russian server… Harla Dar?

There is an official FAQ about the merges as well as a helpful why aren’t things working FAQ reproduced over at EQ2 Wire.

I suppose I can bask in the warm glow of each of the characters on those three servers having nine more titles to choose from.  It appears that I got three variations of titles for each of the three servers,  So my character Reynaldo from the Guk server can be “Of,” “Descendant of,” or “Native of” Guk… or Everfrost… or Unrest.  Not sure why he got all three, but there it is.  I think I’ll stick with the old school “of E’Ci” title to show my old Norrathian cred.

Also, Reynaldo has years old guild mail from Revelry & Honor in his mailbox.  Lots of it.  I should probably go delete that at some point.

Meanwhile, on both the Stormhold and Deathtoll nostalgia servers, the Kingdom of Sky unlock vote went down to defeat.  From the forums:

Hail Norrathians,

This is a quick update to let you know that the vote to unlock Kingdom of Sky did NOT pass on either Stormhold (PvE) or Deathtoll (PvP) in November 2015.

Don’t worry if you’re one of the players that was excited about Kingdom of Sky content, because the vote will become available again in 30-days.

So no floating islands in the sky this month.

All this... is for later...

All this… is for later…

I still think a vote every 30 days is too quick, but Daybreak seems keen not to let the EQII retro servers turn into a stale death march of boredom, as tends to happen on the EverQuest time locked servers after the first few expansion.

I was going to proudly report how I voted no on the unlock… and then I went and looked at my screen shot and… well… I guess I voted yes.

Official ballot

Official ballot

I am not sure why I did that.  It seems unlike me.  But hey, glad to see that I went down to defeat.  Go me!

EverQuest II also turned 11 years old this week.  Or maybe it was last week.  I see different dates in various places.  It was either the 4th or the 9th by most accounts, or maybe the 6th, but SOE celebrated it last year on the 10th.  I suppose that just symbolized what a long strange road and all of that.  To celebrate that, Daybreak has their 12 year veteran award all set.

On per account

On per account

I am so out of touch with the game that I have no idea what those tokens are for.

They had to roll out the 12 year reward because purchasing the first four expansions gave people a 90 day… um… boost… to their veteran status.  Don’t ask me why this seemed like a good idea or a needed incentive back then.

As it so happens today, Friday, November 13th, is my own 11 year anniversary with the game, having rolled in just after launch when the second round of servers were opened up to take overflow from the initial servers.  I wrote about all of that last year, so I won’t dredge it all up yet again.  You can read that tale here.

And, in what might be considered an ironic twist, my Daybreak All Access subscription expired yesterday.  I cancelled it at the start of the month because I hadn’t been playing on Stormhold as much as I thought I would.  I haven’t been playing any fantasy MMORPGs recently.  It is just odd that it should expire when it did.  What were the odds?  (1 in 30… so not that long of a shot actually.)

Finally, we stand on the edge of the first post-SOE expansion for EverQuest II, Tales of Thumbelina… ern… Trials of Terre Haute… no… wait… I’ve got this…  Terrors of Thalumbra!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Set to come out next Tuesday, November 17th, Daybreak has decreed that there shall be double XP from whenever they said until the expansion launches… at which time you may resume grinding at the usual rate.  Time locked expansion servers are exempt from this because you wanted an authentic experience, right?  Nobody made you roll a character there!

And that is what seems to be going on in post-Cataclym Norrath this week.

A Farewell to Crushbone as We Head Towards Maj’dul

Just shy of 11 years ago, on November 13th, 2004, Gaff and I and a few other friends and acquaintances, an odd group made up of people from EverQuest and TorilMUD players,  decided to hop into the just launched EverQuest II in order to see what it was about.

The game had been up for a few days at that point, but just as we rolled into to town SOE, having learned from their EverQuest days, was already rolling out a couple of fresh servers to accommodate the expected influx of players.  One of those second round servers was Crushbone.  We rolled up their, opting for the Qeynos side of things, and formed a guild.

Our day one guild on Crushbone

Our day one guild on Crushbone… I left and came back at one point…

Unfortunately, while SOE seemed to be planning for another EverQuest style launch, with plenty of growth, that wasn’t how things played out.  I’ve been down this road before here, but needless to say there ended up being little call for more rounds of fresh servers.  There was even a previous consolidation of servers years back.

We persisted for over a year in the game, though our ranks were whittled down by defections to WoW as time moved on.  The game was rough, awkward, and in a constant state of change over that first year.  But we rode it out, and it was something of a bonding experience, the sort of thing that happens with shared adversity.  We held together through two adventure packs and into the Desert of Flames expansion, but by the time Kingdom of Sky hit, which brought with it a horrible server lag issue that persisted for quite a while, we were folding up shopOur guild still stands, the Knights of the Cataclysm, though nobody still on the roster is active any more.  I think we all ended up in WoW on one server or another, even Wooflin, our guild leader, who used to rail against Blizzard and their cartoon, easy-mode MMO.  A few of us collected on the Eldre’Thalas server, but for the most part we were scattered to the winds, never to group up again.

Almost everybody in this raid went off to WoW

Possibly our last raid group as a guild…

l’ve been back to EverQuest II multiple times over the years since that great departure, but it has never quite been the same.  For more than a year we were, as a group, as a guild, pretty much committed to this as our one and only game as we struggled with the crafting system, the market, five minute group-only buffs, and a quest journal that could only hold 20 quests… which included collection quests, heritage quests, and everything else that fell in that category,

So when I think of Crushbone, I think of those times, rose colored glasses worn proudly, in full on nostalgic denial mode, and call them “the good old days.”

The server being merged, along with Oasis and Butcherblock, into the new Maj’Dul server doesn’t change those memories.  And it likely won’t change much of anything for me, as my more recent and higher level characters are on the Freeport server.  But the name disappearing does make me reflect on those times.

We shall see how the merger fares.

Addendum: EQ2 Wire, as usual, has some helpful info.



I haven’t see a final Twitter update, but I was able to log in at around 8pm PDT and access all of my Crushbone characters.  I had to choose a UI layout for each, which was easy for most, but a couple I hadn’t logged in since I last reinstalled, so I could just choose the Crushbone version of the same character.  Fortunately I tend to use the same layout most of the time, so one character is as good as another.  (One long neglected character had about 10 minutes of update messages to cycle through as well.)

The Perils of PlanetSide and Payment Models

The game is really struggling, and it isn’t just on PS4 to be honest, and we are actively looking at things that can try and help change that in the short term. I hope everyone will be open minded that in order for the game to have a bright future and be supported it needs to not only retain people but find ways to generate revenue to support the team’s efforts.

-Jens Andersen, Daybreak Executive Creative Director, Reddit AMA

The big news item that came out of the Reddit AMA with Jens Andersen was that PlanetSide 2 is “really struggling.”  That is MMO press headline material and fodder for blog posts. and not great news for a game that is just turning three and purportedly had plans for other platforms.

Mental image of my expectations...

Mental image of my PS2 expectations way back when…

That wasn’t really shocking news.  PlanetSide 2 has always had its share of problems, not least the one it shared with its predecessor, the proliferation or aim bots and other hacks in the game, some exacerbated by the F2P business model.  Banned for hacks?  Download an update to the aim bot and make a new account!

Add in the fact that it is a mediocre shooter at best… is anybody throwing over Call of Duty to go play PlanetSide 2… that smacks of pay to win, that also doesn’t really scratch the persistent world MMORPG itch for people either, and so sort of sits between genres, neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat.  All the dubious records in the world won’t fix that.

Clearly I am not a big fan, but my FPS days tapered off back with the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942 more than a decade back, so you’ll have to allow for my bias.

Still, not really news at this point.  H1Z1 seems to be the money maker in the FPS MMORPG, selling early access boxes with a cash shop already selling power and lock boxes, and, more importantly, giving people a decent, co-op survival experience.

The interesting bit for me was another quote, which Bhagpuss pulled out and used in his post, which had to do with getting people to subscribe:

You know what is funny? No matter how many things we heap into membership on all of our games, it makes no difference in the appeal of membership to non members. This is something we saw on DCUO for sure. The amount of benefits to DCUO membership is staggering, but people don’t take advantage of it. It’s just not a really good strategy for us to keep trying to lead horses to water that do not want to drink. And the fact is, current members already get huge benefits from the monthly fee they already pay.

Basically, there are some people who will simply never opt-in for your subscription model, no matter how cheap you make it nor how many benefits you heap on.  And, likewise, there are some people who will subscribe so long as some minimum threshold of benefits are given… just “let me just play and not worry about having to buy or unlock anything” in my case… after which diminishing returns kick in pretty quickly.

I recently… on Tuesday if I recall right… cancelled my Daybreak All Access subscription.  As part of that they sent me an exit survey which I filled out.  One of the questions asked me to stack rank the importance of five subscriber benefits.

My top choice was the rather open ended “Game Specific Benefits,” which to me is the whole “just let me play” aspect I mentioned above.  That is why I subscribe.

I did choose “Monthly 500 Daybreak Cash Reward” as the second in the stack, because I am at least aware of that.  I still barely buy anything from the cash shop… I think I bought a character rename potion this last time around… so the Daybreak Cash tends to accumulate.  But I know it is there and my approximate balance (12K).

The remaining three I ranked as follows:

  • 10% off Marketplace Items
  • Special Member Only Promotions
  • Membership Forum Badge

I vaguely recall that you get a discount as a subscriber, but since I so rarely ever buy anything from the cash shop, that doesn’t really play into anything.  Member only promotions… I cannot recall one off hand.   Maybe some special discount on The Rum Cellar at some point?  And the forum badge… well, I don’t post to the forums, and when I go read them, the special snowflake badges kind of annoy me.

And I suspect that my stack ranking of things is not totally out of line when it comes to how most subscribers feel.  Maybe I lack the insight, but I cannot imagine anything ranking ahead of the “Game Specific Benefits,” at least when it comes to the core games like EverQuest and EverQuest II.

Which doesn’t mean Daybreak could take anything away easily.  They tried to take away those 500 store credits at one point and people blew up because that was actually a tangible item and because they now felt entitled to it, having gotten it for several years up to that point.  So the compromise was that you have to log in and claim those credits every month.  People grumbled about that as well, though at least that had some precedent.  Turbine only gives you your VIP stipend if your account has been active recently.

So where does that leave Daybreak?

Here is where I chuckle a bit at people who were so happy that they were going to be an “indie” studio now, able to do whatever they wanted.  In fact, they are owned by an investment firm that wants their cut every month, so they have to keep Columbus Nova Prime happy in ways that they probably never had to under the semi-benign neglect of Sony’s bureaucracy.

So the emphasis, starting in the latter half of 2015 and likely to continue in that direction for some time to come, will be to make more money.  And it looks like everything can’t be about the cash shop.

As we saw with EverQuest and EverQuest II, expansions are back.  This is most likely because you can get away with charging $140 for a “Premuim” edition loaded up with virtual items, the production of which is probably covered after the first five copies are sold.


Premium prices for virtual goods

That will likely continue, though I suspect that they will still try to slip in a spring DLC pack as well, bringing us back to the old “one good expansion, one half-assed rush job” that some will remember from the good old days of EverQuest.  This time the rush job will be appropriately priced though.

I imagine that nobody thinks selling early access is going to go away.  Landmark did okay on that front, and by all accounts H1Z1 has been a rousing success selling those on Steam.  Expect more of the same when it comes to any new titles.

The change I do expect is an end to “Free to Play, Your Way” for future games and a return to selling boxes.  Virtual boxes, to be sure, but boxes all the same.  If a million people will pay $20 for a half-finished version of H1Z1, why would you start giving it away for free?  You don’t have to make it $60 at launch.  $20 is fine.  You can work with that price and what a value it is, and that gives account bans some bite… but not so much bite that some people won’t just buy another copy.

Expect the same for EverQuest Next, whenever that should be, and whatever the secret new title is.

Meanwhile, on the classic Norrath front, it feels like reality has set in and the team has finally admitted that the cost of attracting new customers far outweighs the economic benefit they bring.  They won’t say “no” to new players, but  we have seen a renewed focus on the installed base with new nostalgia servers and bringing back old favorites like the Isle of Refuge as both a prestige home and the starting zone on the Stormhold and Deathtoll servers.  I expect that to continue to be the theme going forward.

Despite an unfounded rumor earlier this month, I do not expect Daybreak will attempt to revive any old games.  No Vanguard revival, no reskinned SWG, and no adults only FreeRealms.   What is dead cannot die… it just remains dead.  I also expect that once Dragon’s Prophet is finally shut down, that there will be no more half-assed Asian imports.  You can find an audience for any game, but finding a big enough audience to make these ventures profitable has clearly eluded SOE/Daybreak.

Finally, with Smed gone, I suspect that the original PlanetSide will be shut down and, barring any new revenue stream discovery, support for PlanetSide 2 will dwindle over time.  It is tough to go back and sell access when you’ve been giving it away for free.  And it certainly does not seem like a candidate for conversion to XBox if it isn’t a money spinner on the current platforms.

With no Daybreak equivalent of SOE Live in the offing, I don’t know when we’ll see announcement about the various project going on at Daybreak.  The nice thing about a regular convention is that it does put some pressure on the company to come up with some actual news and details about things.  But that is where my gut says things may be headed.  Subscriptions are good, cash shop sales are okay, but boxes are back.  Get some money up front.

Stormhold and the Pacing of Nostalgia

At some point today… 9am or noon or maybe 3pm, I’ve seen all three mentioned, though EQ2 Wire says the actual downtime will be at 7am Pacific Time… Daybreak will unlock the Desert of Flames expansion on the Stormhold and Deathtoll Time-Locked Expansion servers.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

That is Daybreak’s graphic for the idea

A bit more than a month back, the first vote to unlock that expansion failed on both servers.  That made a bunch of people angry, to the point that there were even some claims that Daybreak rigged the vote.  How could it go against unlock so heavily that Holly announced the results early?

More recently, the second vote to unlock the expansion passed on both servers.  This also made a bunch of people angry, again to the point of a few people claiming Daybreak cooked the results.  How could the voting swing from more than two-thirds against unlock to more than two-thirds in favor of unlock in just 30 days?

Clearly there is a split in the nostalgia demographic.

Those who want to unlock the next expansion say they are bored, need new content, that anybody who is “really” playing is at level cap and done with the content already, that if they made it to 50 already on their busy schedule then anybody can, that the expansion doesn’t affect the older content, and, in the words of one genius, that it is called a “PROGRESSION” server for a reason, even though it isn’t actually called a progression server. (See official name/logo above.)

Those who want to slow the pace want to know why people are in a rush, they are still enjoying the content, they are working on alts and trade skills, that they don’t want this server to simple become a live server in the shortest possible time, and that opening the expansion will most certainly affect the older content, bringing in new gear and allowing a large chunk of the player base, currently at level 50 and so available to do classic end-game content at level, to move up to level 60, at which point they will be demanding the unlock of the next expansion, along with the usual hangers-on who simply want to keep the server at the classic state forever.

What should Daybreak do?

This is actually a somewhat important question because, if you go to the EverQuest II site and look at the server loads, most hours of the day the Stormhold server is far and away the busiest one on the list, and every user who is playing is paying.  It requires a Daybreak All Access subscription to play on Stormhold and Deathtoll.  no Freeps allowed.  So anybody who gets pissed off enough to walk away… maybe they’ll go back to live, or maybe not… is potentially dollars lost.

My own sense is that having the first vote on new content after only 30 days with the current expansion is too quick of a pace.  That was my reaction when the unlock voting schedule was first proposed and I remain convinced of that.  If nothing else,  EverQuest II is not EverQuest, where the progression servers do become pretty much focused on raid unlocks and moving forward for the next expansion.

And once votes start tilting towards unlock, they tend to stay that way, so I will be surprised if the Kingdom of Sky expansion doesn’t get unlocked on its first vote 30 days down the road.  If hard chargers had already consumed all 50 levels of classic content in 30 days, the next 10 levels will be done for sure.  With only a dozen expansions to speak of, Stormhold will catch up with the live servers by this time next year if the votes go that way.  Will it remain as popular then?  Will people pay to play on just another live server?

Which isn’t to say that I think Stormhold should remain forever locked in classic or some early expansion either.  Moving forward and exploring each new expansion in turn is an express part of the experience, and the server should catch up to live some day.  The question is just when.

How should Daybreak balance this sort of thing?

One of the suggestions often put forward is to make more such servers, each tailored to a specific progression (or lack of progression) desire.  The problem there is that one of the great things about Stormhold right now… and one of the great things about the Freeport server back in the EverQuest II Extended experiment back in the day… is its huge popularity.  It is fun to play on a server with lots of people.  It is how the game should be played.  Slicing that up into a few more focused servers risks losing that aspect of things.

As usual, I don’t have any real answer.  I just felt the need to ask the question.

Terrors of Thalumbra and Why Expansions Trump DLC

Yesterday Daybreak broke loose and finally gave out some details about the previously hinted at/mentioned/waved about behind a curtain full on expansion for EverQuest II.  And so we were shown the Terrors of Thalumbra in a live stream that I totally missed, but which Feldon at EQ2 Wire attempted to live blog.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!!

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Smed-thulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!

The copy for the expansion reads:

Deep underneath Norrath lies a realm on the edge of the Plane of the Underfoot, known as Thalumbra. This expansive, subterranean domain is home to fabled races and ancient terrors!

When the dark shroud upon this land is pierced by Lanys T’Vyl, the recently resurrected demigoddess of Malice, it spells doom for all! You are a hero on the stage of Norrath. Will you play your part and protect Norrath from those who seek to destroy it? What mysteries will your torch uncover deep beneath the surface? Can you withstand the terrors of Thalumbra?

Terrors of Thalumbra is the 12th EverQuest II expansion and brings new adventures to Norrath.

I keep thinking Cthulhu when I read about it and see the screen shots.  That can’t just be me, right?  Not that borrowing from Cthulhu is bad or hasn’t been done many times before. (Where do you think C’htun in WoW came from?)

As mentioned previously, this is a return to the classic expansion plan previously, and presumably successfully, followed by SOE for the game, and an overthrow of the adventure pack/DLC path that Daybreak set themselves on earlier this year with The Rum Cellar.

And it doesn’t take you much time to figure out why Daybreak might have headed back to the tried and true expansion path… it is tough to sell DLC for $140.


Terrors of Thalumbra Prices

The pre-order page is up and ready to take your money, with the price for the expansion ranging between $35 for the base package to $140 for the premium edition.  Past history shows that half of those buying the expansion, who represent the core following of the game, will opt for one of the two higher priced options.   All Access subscribers get a 10% discount on the prices, and they will make up a majority of the buyers I am sure, but going past $100 is still asking a lot.

Far be it from me to tell people what value they should put on virtual items, but it would take a lot more than what Daybreak is offering to get me into either of those packages.  But that is just me and I have long since admitted I am not really invested in the game anymore.  2004 is more than a decade in the past.  I might feel different if I had characters at level cap and was active and in a guild and so on and so forth.

And should I get back into things, the standard edition seems pretty reasonably priced for me.  The expansion content includes:

  • 1 large new (underground) Overland zone for level 100s
  • 13 Heroic Dungeons for level 100s (6 are event heroics!)
  • 6 Advanced Solo for level 100s
  • 1 Contested for level 100s
  • 5 Level Agnostic Heroic ToT Dungeons for levels 20 to 95 added to Dungeon Finder
  • 3 “X4” (or 4 group) Raid zones (AT LEAST 5 bosses each) for level 100s
  • 1 “X2” (or 2-group) Raid zone with 9 bosses for level 100s!
  • Over 80 quests including Signature line, tradeskills, locales, missions and more!
  • Over 50 Collection quests!

No new class, race, or level cap increase, but otherwise pretty standard fare for an expansion.  Basically giving the people what they want.

Finally, in what seems like an old school SOE move, Daybreak also announced a $35 “Time locked server adventure pack” which includes an 88-slot bag and a vitality potion bundle.  It is stuck there in the middle of the Terrors of Thalumbra order and info, but does not explicitly say that it includes the expansion, just the two items.  For that price, it is way too expensive for just those items, so I assume it includes the expansion, but since it doesn’t say that explicitly I wouldn’t put money down for it without some clarification.  Ambiguity for the win.

Anyway, expansions are well and truly back.  The proposed launch date for Terrors of Thalumbra is November 17th.