Category Archives: EverQuest II

Quote of the Day – The End of Legends

Within the Daybreak family, LoN seemed to be that uncle that, while still part of the family, no one ever talked about. He was always just hanging around creepily, standing in the corner sipping on a bottle of who-knows-what out of a brown paper bag.

Dellmon, Guest Post at EQ2 Wire

Legends of Norrath went dark last week and, despite a previous post about its imminent demise, I totally missed the date.  I suppose next year, when I do the month in review post, being off by ten days won’t matter much.  And frankly, to me the game itself didn’t matter much.  It was a convoluted game in a genre I don’t care for in any case.

Dellmon puts the game’s “players” into three categories in the post linked at the top, and I clearly fell into the third of the three.  I tried the game for a bit early on, then just collected the free card packs that being a Station Access subscriber got me, opening them up in hope of finding a loot card or two.

I will admit that I did get a few nice housing items out of those packs.  But it wasn’t enough for me to bend my mind to the task of opening up those card packs on a regular basis.  I think I had 80 or so sitting around unopened as the game went away.

There was a momentary glimmer of hope for the game when Smed, seeing Blizzard make a quick success out of its card game, Hearthstone, figured SOE (soon to be Daybreak) could do something like that too with Legends of Norrath.

Of course, nothing came of that.  The studio had just announced the closure of four titles in what looks like, in hindsight, pre-acquisistion house cleaning.

And so it is gone, like so many online titles before it.  I still think the high point of the game for me was when Brent from VirginWorlds was used for a card in one of the expansions.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent on his card

That is likely to be the only card I will remember.

 

Subscription Deals and Free Level Boosts and Bad Timing

Oh EverQuest II, you are forever off in your timing.

Daybreak is doing a big push this week to get players invested in the game.

The latest game update introduces a Fabled version of the Fallen Dynasty adventure pack from mid-2006.  There are some special, limited time public quests running.  Several zones have been added to the level agnostic list.  And the content of 2014’s Altar of Malice expansion has been been made available to all players, subscribed or not, leaving only last year’s Terrors of Thalumbra as content you must purchase. (I am not sure what happened to the Hunter S. Thompson inspired Rum Diary adventure pack that came out a while back, when they weren’t going to do expansions any more.)

More would be the Altar of Malice expansion I guess...

More would be the Altar of Malice expansion I guess…

In addition to that, the insta-level program has been bumped up a notch, so when you buy a Heroic Character upgrade, it now boosts your character up to level 95.  To celebrate this, they are giving players a free Heroic Character upgrade, which you must collect before noon Pacific Time on Tuesday, September 6th. (Details at the link.)

Heroic dude is heroic... and sort of looks like Thor from the movie

Heroic dude is heroic… and sort of looks like Thor from the movie

And, just to top all that off like a sweet, glistening, unnaturally red maraschino cherry on top of a too large ice cream sundae, Daybreak is also offering a special deal on All Access subscriptions.

Good through August 29

Good through August 29

$71.99 for a 12 month subscription is a decent deal.  That works out to, as the Daybreak copy reads, less than $6.00 a month, though only if you live in a world that allows transactions at 1/12th of a penny.  Still, minor quibble aside, that is less than half price over the month-by-month $15 rate, and $4.00 a month less that the usual discount for subscribing for 12 months at a stretch.

All of which would be awesome news… if it had come in August of 2015 when I was disaffected by World of Warcraft and garrisons in Draenor and there wasn’t even a war going on in New Eden and all that.

But now?  Daybreak is laying this offer down with just a few days left until the WoW Legion expansion hits?  I mean, I love you guys down in San Diego, but I’ve already sent a card to Gul’dan letting him know to expect us in the Broken Isles come August 30th.

You can't always find hearts in fel green on cards

You can’t always find hearts in fel green on cards

It does seem to be the fate of EverQuest II to forever be in the shadow of World of Warcraft.  They launched less than a month apart, leading to five years of “What if…” articles and posts wondering how Norrath would have fared had it not launched straight into the teeth of the Azerothian juggernaut.

So, while I don’t have a lot of WoW specific activities penciled in on my calendar for the weekend… my Tauren warrior is already level 58, so my goal to get him to 60 is nearly done… from Tuesday forward I look to be pretty well booked in Azeroth and the Broken Isles.

And by the time I want a little break from that content, Pokemon Sun & Moon will be out and I will be able to flop on the couch with my 3DS and play that as a break from Azeroth.

So Daybreak… maybe you could run this offer by me again in maybe 9-12 months?

My Secret EverQuest II Shame

I mentioned the expansion unlock poll on the Stormhold server last week. (It passed.)  But there was another poll available as well.  It was aimed at classifying what aspects of the game the people taking the poll enjoyed most.

But there was one question that struck right at the heart of a problem of mine in Norrath.

The pointed question

The pointed question

How many EverQuest II characters do I have at max level?  I have no EverQuest II characters at max level.  in the near dozen years the game has been out… and I played it pretty actively at various points in that time frame… I have, at no time, ever had a character at max level.

At least not for adventure levels.  I may have hit the tradeskill level cap before Desert of Flames came out, and again during that time frame.  But for adventure level, which is what really counts in my book, I have never been there.

And relative to the current level cap, I am still back in Rise of Kunark as far as levels go.

Too many alts, too much tradeskilling, and too much just screwing around in game I guess.  Not that I didn’t enjoy myself, but there have been times when I wish I had focused a bit more.

Stormhold Dodges Third Strike, Votes to Unlock Kunark

The results are in! The community has voted and it looks like everyone is ready to assail Chardok and conquer Karnor’s Castle! The Rise of Kunark expansion will launch at noon PT on August 16th.

The final results for those of you interested were 66% of participants voted to unlock the next expansion.

RadarX, EQII Forums

As I noted earlier in the week, the Stormhold time locked expansion server was on the horns of a dilemma, stay put for a long stretch or move ahead to the next expansion.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

That is Daybreak’s graphic for their retro server(s)

The vote to unlock the Rise of Kunark expansion was up for the third time.  If it failed to unlock yet again, the votes would be extended out to an every 90 day cycle, an idea that was causing much fuss on the forums.

However, it looks like the “yes” crowd got its act together.  As RadarX, the CCP Falcon of Daybreak, announced, 66% of the votes cast were to unlock, up from 46% last time around.

For me, Rise of Kunark represents the last expansion where I really know anything about the story or content.  It was, as with the Echoes of Faydwer expansion, a nod to the original EverQuest in design/content/lore.

The next expansion up for a vote is The Shadow Odyssey which, like every expansion after that, I couldn’t really tell you squat about.  Even over at Wikipedia expansions after Rise of Kunark get the briefest of summaries on the page listing out EverQuest II expansions.

Stormhold Server Faces a Third Strike Vote

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a fan of the whole nostalgia retro server thing when it comes to MMOs.  I have found them to be a fun, if imperfect, way to take a visit back to what things were like.  Not the actual launch experience, but an incredible simulation.

Nostalgia on Wayne!

Norrathmania!

It is also very much an accelerated experience, as the people who show up are generally looking to relive the early days, and know where they want to go and what they want to do.  On the various generations of EverQuest progression servers people knew what zones to visit, what mobs to camp, which spawns to farm, and what groups were needed for any given boss.

It is something like compressed nostalgia.  All the stuff you took months to do now accomplished in a few weeks.

But it isn’t just the nostalgia that is compressed.  A very swift path opens to all the usual MMO problems as well.  Again, as we have seen on multiple iterations, people have problems with groups and spawns and multi-boxing and contested open world bosses and raids and even being able to log into an overloaded server.

However, the most contentious issue of all is content pacing.  There is always a conflict between those who burn through the content quickly and want the next expansion unlocked at the soonest possible moment, and those who move at a more leisurely pace or who showed up late (along with that persistent, classic server sub-group that wants no expansions unlocked ever), who want to hold off on the new stuff.

And so it has come to pass on the remaining EverQuest II time locked expansion server, Stormhold (the other server, the PvP focused Deathtoll, was shut down earlier this year due to lack of interest) that the content pacing wars have begun to burn bright.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

That is Daybreak’s graphic for the idea

Unlocks have not been automatic on Stormhold up to this point.  The pace of votes, which come every 30 days, is such that they must seem too quick to some segment of the population, and so first unlock votes seem to fail regularly.  But the second vote has generally gone in favor of releasing fresh content.  The current vote revolves around the Rise of Kunark expansion.

What was it with SOE and dark elves?

What was it with SOE and dark elves?

However, the Rise of Kunark expansion, which raises the level cap to 80, has already failed its on two unlock votes, and the third one is in progress, being set to end this Friday.

It is a simple yes/no question

Trolling with a simple yes/no question

The thing is, as Feldon at EQ2 Wire dug up, there is a “gotcha” clause if the unlock vote fails for the third time running.  The voting quote from the forums:

Players will have the option to vote to unlock content on Stormhold (PvE) and Deathtoll (PvP) servers every 30-days. The voting period will last a week, and if the server votes not to unlock the next expansion, the vote will start again after 30-days.

If the server chooses not to unlock content three times in a row, the votes for the next expansion will change to 90-days in-between votes. This will reset back to 30-days in-between votes after an expansion is successfully unlocked on your server.

Players must be within 20 levels of current content cap to be eligible to vote.

If the unlock vote fails this Friday, the voting will move to an every 90 day cycle, and won’t go back to every 30 days until an unlock vote succeeds. (Also, my “no” vote in the screen shot apparently doesn’t count because I am only level 30 and you need to be level 50 for your vote to count according to that quote.)

This naturally has the quick content consumption faction seeing red.  In the post over at EQ2 Wire, Feldon has points out three threads up on the forums where players are issuing dire predictions should the vote fail, one of which includes a pro-unlock video.

Of course, there is no telling what Daybreak will actually do should the unlock vote fail.  The company seems to have a history of bowing to the will of the loudest voices in the forums.  Just about a year back they overrode the rules set down for the EverQuest Ragefire progression server and let players vote in an early unlock… a situation that also happened to revolve around the continent of Kunark.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

Can’t get enough Kunark!

I will give even odds, should the unlock vote fail, that Daybreak will disavow the 90 day vote cycle clause and keep with the every 30 day pace.  Anyway, we shall see what happens come Friday.  Maybe the vote will pass and everybody will just move on.

July in Review

The Site

Nothing exciting happened to the site itself this month.  The scheduled post notification, which still uses the “new comment” icon most of the time, is still annoying.  I haven’t quite gotten around to looking at the blogger feed in the side bar just yet.  So all I have is that at some point this month I passed the 4,000 post mark.

Quantity... has a quantity all its own...

Quantity… has a quantity all its own…

Also, I still have some storage space left, which a concern given the number of screen shots I upload.

One Year Ago

I was feeling a bit of the summertime MMO ennui blues.

Project: Gorgon was off with another Kickstarter campaign.  Would the third time be a charm? (Spoiler: yes.)

Need for Speed: World shut down, so I said farewell to Palmont.

Derek Smart began what would become is crusade against Star Citizen, detailing why he felt we would never see the game that was promised.  It could have ended there, but RSI responded in a way guaranteed to turn it into a fight and took away his Rear Admiralty.   Game on!

In Minecraft I was learning about not falling off of things, bringing light to dark places, and accumulating materials.  Also, sheep stole my mine cart.

I was mucking around in War Thunder for a bit.  It is a pain to return to the game because there is always a huge update required.

Over at Daybreak, there was a vote up for the EverQuest progression server Ragefire about speeding up the unlock of Ruins of Kunark, as well as talk about raids and such.

On the EverQuest II side of the house, there was a beta for its first nostalgia servers.  I avoided the beta but was there when the servers went live… for the big surprise, the return of the Isle of Refuge, adding to the nostalgia experience.

And while that was going on, it appeared to be the end of Smed at Daybreak.

In New Eden my alliance, TNT, handed over its last system in Deklein. We then lived in Tribute.

The Aegis expansion hit… but there was a delay between that and other bits of what we now call Fozzie sov to be deployed.  But entosis link modules were finally able to take sov as the month rolled along.  So we started to learn by doing.

There was a plan in the Imperium to bring in care bears to mine and rat in order to raise ADMs so that our now much reduced space holdings would remain secure.

At one point Mordus Angels managed to claim some sovereignty in Pure Blind!  Can you imagine?  Crazy times!

Meanwhile, in the cash shop… erm… New Eden store, more skins were being rolled out.  Or, rather, the same skin on more ships.  The blog banter of the month was on about attributes, and I was bitching about never having enough jump clones.

On the Azeroth front, Blizzard said they would be announcing the next World of Warcraft expansion… right after the Q2 quarterly report was released, which raised some suspicions in me.  What would the subscription numbers look like if they felt they needed a big announcement to distract from them?

And I finally got my copy of Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls from the Kickstarter… only two years late.

Five Years Ago

Google+ was already starting to become annoying.

I tried Civ WorldI didn’t like it.

In EVE Online, the results of the emergency CSM Incarna summit were released with CCP basically saying, “Ooops.”

I hit level 50 in LOTRO, got into Eregion, and actually saw the door into Moria.   Only a couple of years had passed since I bought the expansion. Gaff was ahead of me, as usual.   Meanwhile, Isengard was in beta, but nobody was supposed to talk about it.

Getting lost… rules.

EA, BioWare, and their new Origin service got together and combined my accounts without bothering to mention they were doing it in advance.  Just another day at EA as I understand it.  Customers come behind their own convenience.  Still, I was interested in their authenticator and how it stacked up against others.  Can you actually buy those yet without getting the CE?

Speaking of authenticators, SOE made one available as well that looked just like the Blizzard model.  But they cannot be swapped, one for the other.  I got the official line from VASCO on that.

And on the SOE front, they announced that they were going to revamp Freeport, which I took as a waste of time.  (Plus, of course, Qeynos got shoved off until later.)  I am still not convinced that either revamp was worth the effort of the time spent downloading the assets.  But I am not sure Beastlords were either.  They seemed pretty broken when they launched.

The instance group wrapped up our last adventure in EverQuest II Extended.  There were a number of way the game wasn’t right for us.  It wasn’t just the ugly mounts.

The pending closure of Star Wars Galaxies led to interest (and concerns) about SWG emulation.

But PlanetSide 2 news was coming.  I think they are in closed technical alpha at this point.

I started playing Need for Speed: World, a driving MMO.  It wasn’t a bad game with the right music playing.

Zynga helped reveal the two faces of Tobold.

And World of Warplanes was announced, which got me wondering if this might not be a spiritual successor to Air Warrior of old.

Ten Years Ago

July 2006 was some sort of barren wasteland for related news.

Microsoft was talking about a device to challenge the iPod and denying they would ship an XBox 360 with an HD DVD drive.  Being on the mark half the time is pretty good for them.

EA was trying to retain people by giving out more stock options while Take-Two Interactive was being investigated over stock grants.

The ESA announced they were downsizing their yearly E3 conference.

The Civ IV – Warlords expansion came out on Windows and Super Dragonball Z launched on the PlayStation 2.  Woo hoo.

Featured Sites of the Month

For this month’s featured MMO Blog I want to bring your attention to:

I have my own EVE Online picture blog, but Mark726 at EVE Travel goes way beyond that, finding the various attractions in New Eden, documenting them, telling you where to find them, and how dangerous the journey might be.

Then of the “other” site of the month, I want to point you at is:

Connor has been running MMO Fallout for over seven years now.  He covers MMO news that doesn’t always make the big news sites.  It is not unusual to see Massively note MMO Fallout as an initial source for a story.  If you want to know about what is up with Jagex or NCSoft or some other non-headline grabbing companies, it is a site that should be in your feed.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  2. Titans Down in Okagaiken Trap
  3. The 7.0 Patch Looms
  4. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount
  5. The Pokemon GO Phenomenon
  6. LOTRO Headed for the Grey Havens?
  7. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  8. Cross Country to Frostfire Ridge and the Bloodmaul Slag Mines
  9. Last Moves Before the Big Move
  10. Defeat in the North and New Destinations
  11. Pointed Towards Delve
  12. Last Minute Garrison Gold Grubbing

Search Terms of the Month

orcs fucking
[What I get for using the phrase “more fucking orcs” in a post I guess]

دانلود بازیهای پورنو برای
[This is what the Ayatollah said would happen]

where is darkrai in pokemon emerald
[Nowhere, as it happens]

eve online on kindle
[I don’t think that meets the system requirements]

world of warcraft legion will suck
[There is always somebody…]

origin unifies your gaming life
[Unity is over rated]

EVE Online

It was time for a change of direction in New Eden.  After a strong start to the month, where we bagged some titan kills, The Imperium gave up its war in the north, postponed the reconquista indefinitely, and set its sights on Delve, the traditional place for Goons to invade.

And then we spent the rest of the month packing our stuff and hauling 41 gates/13 jumps south through hostile territory.

EverQuest II

I wasn’t expecting to play much in Norrath.  My account was set to lapse soon.  However, the Race to Trakanon server came up and I used my last few days to get to level 10 and collect a “one for every character on your account” mount as a prize.  Worth the effort to me.

Minecraft

I have spent some time in our Minecraft world, but I haven’t had a real project to focus on.  so I built another base with a giant structure along the great rail loop.  I am thinking about trying to build some sort of city skyline in the near distance along the rail line, with lit up windows so if you take the rail line at night it will look like… well… a city skyline at night with windows lit up.  We’ll see.

Pokemon GO

Since I do not actually have a smart phone, Pokemon GO hasn’t really been much of a game for me, personally.  And yet it is everywhere.  It is something those birthday cards that list out what was going on during the year you were born will mention decades from now.  As to whether or not it will survive as a game, I couldn’t tell you.  But it has gotten to much press to be forgotten now.

World of Warcraft

There was the roll up to the 7.0 patch… and after that I sort of lost interest.  The game is in a strange spot for me, as I am somewhat interested in playing, but not so much that I want to get out and do things with my level 100s.  When I have played, it has mostly been with lower level alts.

Coming Up

Considering what an empty month August can be, with so many people on vacation, there are actually some things coming up.

There are the Olympics, provided anybody is going to show up and compete.

There will be a chill Blaugust event according to Belghast.  Sign up today!

WoW Legion pre-launch events will be kicking off, and people who pre-ordered the expansion directly from Blizzard will have access to the new Demon Hunter class on August 9th.  Scrubs like me who got the 20% Amazon Prime pre-order discount will have to wait until the box shows up on or around the expansion launch date.

And then there is the big WoW Legion expansion launch on August 30th.  Will the servers be ready for it?  How long will the queues be on opening night?  How many people will show up?

In New Eden we should be done moving to Delve and ready to attack the region in force.  Lots of player groups in the area likely to oppose us.

Plus we will have to see how Pokemon GO fares as time wears on, school starts, and gyms are taken over by increasingly higher CP Pokemon.

The Race to a Mount on Trakanon

While WoW Legion is clearly in my future, there is still some time to get there, and with my Daybreak All Access still active for a bit I thought I would look into that whole mount thing on the new Race to Trakanon server they put up last week.  All I had to do was get to level 10, right?

Not a bad mount compared to many in EQII

Just 10 levels, how hard could it be?

I have never been that big on mounts in EverQuest II for some reason.  I have 150+ mounts in WoW… I know this because I got the achievement for hitting 150 a few mounts back… but in EQII I might have… maybe six… maybe ten on the outside… different mounts spread across all of my characters.

It isn’t that there aren’t plenty of mounts in EQII, it is more a matter of them being pretty damn ugly.  There are a lot of really ugly mounts in the game.

Ice Wolf on Ice

There is something not right with that ice wolf

And when they aren’t just plain ugly, they are generally just horrible things I wouldn’t be caught dead riding.

The setup to a "frog in a blender" joke

Rage inducing mount…

There is just something about the aesthetics and design of mounts in EQII that rubs me the wrong way.  I actively collect mounts in almost every MMORPG.  I have a fair number in LOTRO and a bunch sitting around in Rift should I ever return, but in EQII I stick to the most plain, most horse-like looking horse I can find and generally go no further.

Speed - We Haz It!

Plain mounts for me and my friends

But this Race to Trakanon mount didn’t look too bad in the pictures and, better still, once you earned it you would get it for all of your characters.  That is another thing I am a bit mixed on with mounts.  I have grown used to having access to all my mounts account-wide in WoW (aside from certain exceptions) so earning/buying a mount for only a single character feels a bit off for me.

So off I went.

The first thing I had to do was delete a character, as I was out of character slots.  That wasn’t too hard, as I had rolled up a bunch of characters for the Stormhold server.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to play on the server, but if you made a character in the first couple of weeks you got a free bag, and bag space is always a thing on new characters, so I rolled up every potential character I might play just to get the bags.  I still had some level 2, never really played options, so deleting them wasn’t a big deal.

Slots freed, it was time to make a new character.

It has been a while since I created a new character in EQII and they now have a big, shiny server type selection option. highlighting the various flavors on offer.  My target was the event server.

Free players... keep left

Free players… keep left

From there, I had to figure out what would suit me best in my goal to just get to level 10.

I went with a human berserker.  Human, because why not… no size issues, no oddness in looks… and berserker because that is just my go-to class for EQII.  They wear plate armor and hit things hard until they die.  All very simple.

As it so happened, the human they handed me looked vaguely like Boris Johnson, or maybe his son, so I didn’t change any of the appearance options, I just chose the name “Boris” and ran with it.  I chose the Qeynos side of the world and off I went to the Isle of Refuge, where I played for about 20 minutes, then logged off.

This turned out to be a wise move, at least when viewed through the prism of my achieving the simple goal of getting to level 10.  I didn’t come back until the next day, after which I had accrued enough rest experience to last through to my goal.  That meant I would level up twice as fast as I would have had I just tried to plow through after character creation.

I did the run through the Isle of Refuge, though the current version of it seems a bit… off.  I see things or mobs and I wonder where some old quest or another has gone off to since the old days.  I might have missed a quest starter drop or two along the way, or my memory might simply be faulty.  It has been a long time since the Frostfang Sea replace the Isle of Refuge.

Running through that got me to level 7, at which point I spoke to the captain of the ship that brought me there and was teleported off to the Frostfang Sea to continue along my way.

I probably should have just opted for that earlier if efficiency was my goal.  I think the Frostfang Sea starter area is better organized and moves you along more quickly for the most part, though it does have more than its share running back and forth for each new quest.

I crossed over the water on the raft to the first quest hub on the mainland.

A little more ramshackle than the old raft

Roll stock footage of Frostfang Sea raft

I ran through the quests there and moved along to the second quest hub where, only a few quests in, I hit the magic moment a level 10 was mine.

Level 10 yet again

Level 10 yet again

That gave me the reward I was looking for.

Here is your mount!

Here is your mount!

The Sunbrite Clothwork Pegasus was mine.  I just had to figure out how to get it.

Usually items that show up like that as a reward drop into your inventory.  I looked there, but did not see it.  So I thought perhaps it might already appear in my mount options, but it wasn’t there either.  In thinking about it for a moment, I decided that, in order to be available to all characters, including those made down the road, the mount probably had to be accessible via the /claim option, and sure enough there it was.

Pegasus found, I was able to claim it for Boris who was able to join the other level 10+ characters in the zone riding around on their new mount.

Boris on the new mount

Boris on the new mount

For me, this might be one of the better looking “goofy” mounts that Daybreak has added to the game.  As I said above, there is a lot of ugly going on there in my opinion.  I rode it around for a bit, spreading its wings for a glide now and again.

New mount, wings spread

New mount, wings spread

I am not sure it will replace the plain horse for an every day mount, though I say that as somebody who, after playing the game off and on since launch, still doesn’t have a character high enough level to use a flying mount yet.  For ground travel it seems a bit much.  Maybe some day I will actually fly and have a use for a mount with wings.

Anyway, I have it around should that day come, and it wasn’t all that hard to obtain.  Others have been after it as well:

Of course, now there is the WoW 7.0 patch to focus on, plus the big space move that is coming up, so this could be my last moment in Norrath for a while.