Category Archives: EverQuest II

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.

Desert of Flames Unlock Vote Passes on Stormhold and Deathtoll

Last week’s poll for the Desert of Flames unlock on the EverQuest II TLE servers had the tally pass the two thirds mark in favor of the new content.

Next Thursday it will be open season for flying carpets on both servers.

In the Pillars of Flame

I am still not fond of flying carpets…

I was against the unlock for the first vote, but had reached a point of indifference by last week when I realized I hadn’t been playing on the server as much as I thought I might.

Still, both of the TLE servers remain popular from the look of things.  The next vote, in ~30 days, will ask if the servers should advance to the Kingdom of Sky expansion.

Also, there was some blah blah blah about a new expansion.  I’ll get to that later once I catch up.

September in Review

The Site

Well, one thing I never quite got around to doing this month was some sort of final, post-Blaugust wrap up.  Of course, Belghast has already summed the whole thing up, listed everybody out, and handed out awards.  I got the right to display this logo.

Made it all the way, second year running

Made it all the way, second year running

I was also going to collect up and link to everybody else’s summary to merge it all into some sort of mega meta summary or some such… and then my wife said it was time for dinner and I forgot about the whole thing until I found it in my Drafts folder yesterday along with something I was writing for the NBI… back in 2014 judging from the date… and that idea I had for picking the most negatively influential games I have played.  Anyway, these are the links I collected before I got distracted:

Maybe next year I will remember to finish what I started.

One Year Ago

Blizzard said no to its Titan project.

ArcheAge went live, was overwhelmed, and pissed off some people.  But everybody is happy now, right?

Destiny also launched and though I went nowhere near that, I was interested in Bungie’s seven design point.

Project: Gorgon was coming to the end of its second Kickstarter campaign and it clearly wasn’t going to make it.  On the other hand Defense Grid 2 was headed for release even though Hidden Path didn’t make all of their Kickstarter stretch goals.

Also on the developer front, Notch sold Minecraft to Microsoft for 2.5 billion dollars.  Since then sales have gone past the 20 million copies mark, which I am sure Michael Pachter thinks is nothing.

Rift was set to join the insta-levels club as part of their Nightmare Tide expansion announcement.

EVE Online had the Oceanus release.  We all remember that, right? Parlez-vous français?

Meanwhile the Lords of Null Sec put our their Null Deal proposal.  In actual space, we left Delve yet again to come home and clean up Deklein. We were out numbered at one point, but we ended up with a nice op at the end of the month.

As part of my Pokemon binge I finished up Pokemon White Version 2.  I still think that is a horrible name, but it was a good entry in the Pokemon RPG series.

In World of Warcraft I managed to get the Brewfest Kodo.  However, my Loremaster project started to fall apart in the Blade’s Edge mountains.  Well, we had more details about Warlords of Draenor to fuss over.

The strategy group was putting on a shameful display in Total War: Rome II.

I was wondering how long you had to be away before an MMO changed so much it became like a foreign country.

For the blog itself, I was on to the third iteration of my sidebar feed and it had been eight years since I started blogging.  And finally there was a review of the first Blaugust.

Five Years Ago

Well, there was that whole four year anniversary thing.

Planet Michael, the Michael Jackson virtual world, was announced.  How is that coming along?

The whole David Allen, Derek Smart, Quest Online public blame and shame fest ended when Quest Online gave David Allen some money and he went away.  Derek Smart could not help but throw in a couple final comments.  Good thing he’s been quiet since then… *cough*

CCP was talking about Public Fleets and such that were planned for their Incursions expansion.  That got delayed long enough for me to get tired of waiting.  Still, it was better than Incarna.

More interesting was a guide to suicide ganking in EVE Online put up by TooNuRacoon.

Meanwhile, I was kicking off my EVE Online screen shot contest.  All of the entries are now posted on my other site.

I tried turning an old joke into an MMO joke.  Some people got it.  Some did not.  Some got angry, because this is the internet and that is what people do on the internet.

I looked at cloaks in MMOs, and how little they resemble what we would call a cloak in the real world.

In World of Warcraft I finally got that Brewmaster achievement.

Lord of the Rings Online flipped the switch and went free to play.  We were truly among the free (to play) peoples Middle-earth then.  There were some issues with Turbine Points, though I did get my 5,000 point pay-off.

The instance group was still summering in Middle-earth.  The group was finally into the meat of the Lone Lands.  We also tried some skirmishes and talked about Anderson Cooper.

In LOTRO I also ran into somebody who was looking for a social environment similar to old EverQuest.  I wonder if he ended up on Fippy Darkpaw which, for a short time, had all the best aspects of early EverQuest.

New Linking Blogs

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. LOTRO and the Great Server Merge
  2. When is WoW Legion?
  3. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  4. EverQuest Expansion Plans and Progression Server Polls
  5. Once Upon a Lifetime Subscription…
  6. EverQuest Next Five Years Down the Road
  7. Flying Comes to Draenor
  8. Nine is a Magic Number
  9. GuildWars 2 and What Free Really Means
  10. Minecraft – Our World
  11. The Demise of NetherByte and the Portability of Worlds
  12. The Unusual Scent of Victory in Period Basis

Search Terms of the Month

i am getting adventurous dreams after wearing emerald
[You go… um… girl?]

pokemon x shot 3ds nintendo tea
[I like some Nintendo tea in the morning]

rerolled killed pantheon
[Not yet]

an ancient raft
[Like this one? I think that is an ArcheAge screen shot.]

эверквест Интор
[The EverQuest II Russian server lives I guess]

Diablo III

I spent some time playing this, far more time than I spent playing EQII, so swapped this in for the other on the side bar list of games I am playing.  It is fun, immersive, and I remain impressed with how good it looks every time I play.  It just isn’t a game that sparks much blogging interest in me.  Weeee, I followed the same linear path as everybody else and got some interesting somewhat randomized loot.

EVE Online

Just enough happened in New Eden to make me feel like I did something without me burning a lot of hours in the game.  A short deployment, a couple of fun roams, a couple of homeland defense ops, and here we are done with the month.  It wasn’t as interesting as a good war, but it was enjoyable.

EverQuest II

Post-cataclysmic Norrath fell off the end of the list.  I can only really play three ongoing video games at a time, and as noted above, Diablo III bumped EQII into the oblivion of fourth place.  A pity, as I was enjoying a bit of nostalgia on the Stormhold server… just not enough to actually play I guess.  Time to cancel that subscription.


Again this month, the game that eats up most of my gaming free time is Minecraft.  The game is definitely better with a few people playing in the world, so I am glad we have a hosted server so that the five regulars can play.  But with the bump in price due to changing hosts, I have again started thinking about the whole renting vs. owning calculation.  Expect a post again about that I suppose.

Coming Up

It is October and suddenly the end of the year looms as we rush towards Halloween and the blur of the holiday season that will inevitably spit us out at the far end in the bleak landscape of January.

And so much is coming up.  Daybreak is supposed to spill the beans on the EQ and EQII expansions… well, tomorrow… with an official reveal.  The GW2 expansion Heart of Thorns is coming out later this month.  SWTOR and UItima Online also have expansions slated for this month.  People will be passing judgement on the WildStar free to play conversion.  There is EVE Vegas, which signs indicate I may very well attend, and the reveals that CCP will have there.  And then there will be the run up to BlizzCon.  While that is actually in the first week of November, I am sure people will begin to speculate about what we might see there.

Which is all good because, as noted, I am not at all inspired to write about Diablo III, no matter how enjoyable it is, EVE Online content can rarely be predicted in advance, and I am not sure I have a lot to say about Minecraft at the moment besides server logistics and how I built yet another crude structure or fell off of some high place yet again.

So time to start thinking about the inevitable “hopes and expectations” post about BlizzCon I guess.  It is either that or take up the offer I got in email earlier to go review Aeria Games’ upcoming title Dragomon Hunter…. which would mean trying yet again to fit four games into a three game time budget.  Oh well,  I am going to bet that somebody Massively OP has that game covered already.

Desert of Flames Vote Up Again on Stormhold

Another 30 days have passed and it is time to vote again on whether or not to unlock the Desert of Flames expansion on the Stormhold time locked expansion server… and the Deathtoll PvP server as well, though I don’t have any characters there, so won’t be voting there.

Last time around I was actively encouraging people to vote against the unlock, the server having only been up for 30 days.  That seemed like way too short a duration to enjoy the original 50 levels of content.

This time around I am voting against the unlock again.

The vote is up

The vote is up

However, I do not feel as strongly about it, for the most part because I have not been playing much in the last 30 days.  I never ended up finding somebody to play with… the obvious target, Gaff, who got me to buy the game back in 2004, picked up EVE Online again just as the server went live… and other games have filled the gap.

So as much as I would like the server to sit and wait until the time was ripe for me, it won’t be a personal tragedy if the whole thing moves on to another expansion.

But I am still voting against.  The vote runs through the weekend, closing at noon on Tuesday, with results expected shortly thereafter.  To vote you just have to log on to the server and check your in-game mail.

New EverQuest II Server Names Announced

The plan to consolidate/merge the North American EverQuest II servers, aside from the ever/over popular Antonia Bayle server and the two new TLE servers, Stormhold and Deathtoll, took another step forward yesterday with the results of the naming poll being announced.

Near Najena

Entering a new era… or Najena… one of those…

The winning names were:

Butcherblock, Crushbone, and Oasis servers voted for: Maj’Dul

·Everfrost, Guk, and Unrest voted for: Halls of Fate

·Freeport, Nagafen, and Permafrost voted for: Skyfire

If you go back and look at the options the polls offered, you will see that the shortest name on each ballot won, something I have seen pointed out several times.  I wasn’t keen on any of the choices really, but the result ended up about as well as I could have hoped.  Shortest is probably bestest in this case.  And I even voted that way on two of the three and suggested that I probably should have on the third.  I just didn’t like “Halls of Fate.”  Ah well, that is at least easier to type/spell than my choice of “Tenebrous Tangle.”

There was another bit of news in the announcement about going from a consolidation to merge methodology.

Another note on the server moves… We are going back to the “merge” methodology for this effort. Changing the entire way our data works for this process was very risky and we didn’t want to rush it and test it on your characters. That said, we didn’t want to wait on taking care of our server populations. The teams are reviewing all the areas we need to update the merge process. Still, all the questions and concerns we addressed in our FAQ are still in the plan. Also, after the U.S. merges, we will run a free one-week transfer period that will include free transfers for Antonia Bayle players to other U.S. servers.

Going to the FAQ about the whole thing, consolidation meant moving the data from all three servers onto a fourth, free server/database.  So I would guess that changing over to a merge now means that one of the servers will be the base and the other two will get moved into it.

Of course, there is at least one question on the FAQ that might need to be updated:

Q: I don’t know if this is true, but people on my server have said that guilds are often deleted when the servers were merged. Is this true, and if it is, what can I do to make sure that my guild will not be deleted?

A: This is not true for this server consolidation.

Yeah, but this isn’t a server consolidation any more, and the answer at least implies that it could be true for a merge.  Should we worry now?  Hah!

There are still no firm dates, though the whole plan appears to be sliding into October, which of course brings up some concerns about having problems just before the as-yet-unnamed expansion, which was announced earlier this week, enters the picture.  Always something new to fret about.

EverQuest and EverQuest II Plan New Expansions

Holly “The Hero” Windstalker was out with a new EverQuest II Producer’s Letter which announced that this fall EverQuest II would not be getting some DLC, or an adventure pack, or a campaign, or a campansion (whatever that entails), but an actual, old fashioned expansion.

The Adventure Packs

Remember Adventure Packs?

Though the decision seemed to be one of degrees rather than a hard barrier.

Our next expansion release is right around the corner! Yes, you heard me right – expansion! The team has been churning away and when we looked at the amount of content we created, we decided to call our next release an expansion rather than a campaign…

Enough content to call it an expansion isn’t perhaps the most solid endorsement ever, but it is something.

Color me pleased.  I am one of those people who thinks that DLC or content packs or live updates or what not are just fine, but an expansion is an event, a point in time that changes things, where there is only a before and after.  Or some such.  Syp had the bullet points for that.

Back in April I was declaring the circle complete.  SOE started off back in the day with adventure packs then dropped that to go back to the tried and true EverQuest style expansions.  Then, back in April, during the Daybreak post-acquisition hangover phase, it was announced that there would be no more expansions, that something akin to adventure packs, starting with the Rum Cellar, would be the new way of things, with a promise that the overall content over the course of the year would be about equal to an expansion.

Now though the circle is… um… re-complete?  We’re chasing our tails or running in circles on indulging in non-Euclidean geometric progression?

Also, is this expansion Cthulhu themed?

Also, is this expansion Cthulhu themed?

Further details on the expansion are promised for October 1st, which I assume will include a launch date and, perhaps more interesting to me, a price.  Expansions are worth more, so they will charge more no doubt.  But will there be a digital collector’s edition to skim off money from the faithful?  The last report I recall was that half of those who purchased the current Altar of Malice expansion went for the deluxe package.

And, as these things have gone in the past, buying the new, as yet unnamed expansion will also get you all previous expansions, including the Rum Cellar.  I told you that was a thing.  It is also something of a discouraging factor for the 50% off sale for Altar of Malice and Rum Cellar that they are running through the end of the month.  I can get all that for free with the next expansion… but for how much?  At least there is the option to buy it with Station Daybreak Cash as well.

Meanwhile, there was also an EverQuest Producer’s Letter and hey, guess what, it has the same news!  An expansion will be coming our way this fall.

We are excited to announce we have an expansion on the way – that’s right, expansion – not “campaign.”  As we’ve been toiling away this year, the content we’ve been working on evolved and grew more than we expected.

And, as with EQII, details to come on October 1st.

This sounds less like a coincidence or “whoops, we made too much content!” and more like a plan to keep Norrath viable and making money with the expansion cycle we have come to expect over the years.  What does this say for DLC, campaigns, or campansions?  And what about the other games in the Daybreak portfolio?

Anyway, Norrath keeps on rolling.  Expansions for everybody!

Friday Morning in a Hot Spell

It has been close to 100 degrees here almost all week… which is actually pretty normal in Silicon Valley at this time of year.  My memories from childhood and the start of school always included some really hot days a week or two into things, just in time to find that the air conditioning in one building or another had broken down over the summer.  And so my daughter gets to experience the same.

So in the cool of the evening I am throwing together a few items too short for posts of their own.  The return of bullet point Friday!

  • Asheron’s Busy Signal

Asheron’s Call was put into unsupported limbo, being free but essentially unsupported, by Turbine some time back.  Now we are getting a taste of what that might mean in the long term.  MMO Fallout reported earlier this week that the game had been brought down for maintenance a couple weeks back and failed to come up again and has been unavailable ever since.

asherons_call_full_logoThe thread reporting the problem has been updated and indicates that moving that transferring the Asheron’s Call to Turbine’s new data center, where the LOTRO servers are going as well, would be expedited, but that the game would not be up again until that happened.  The statement was that the game should be up by Friday.

They just did not say which Friday.

However, it appears it might be today, as people at the end of the forum thread are reporting that they can log in.  There has been no official announcement or update since August 31.

Addendum: Turbine posted about the servers being up on Facebook, though no word yet in the official forums, where players are looking for compensation for the down time.  I say refund them double their money!  Wait, the game is free?

  • The Wonder about Drunder

Daybreak announced their isle of misfit players, the Drunder prison server, back in August.  However, we haven’t heard much since.  Over at Atheren’s Adventures there was a report of a thread about the new server over on the Daybreak forums.

Fortress of Drunder is included on the Drunder server

Fortress of Drunder is included on the Drunder server

The thread kicks off with a post from somebody who has been banished to the new server and has found that it isn’t actually working yet.  How do you open a ticket on a server where you have been denied all support?  Anyway, there is clearly a hole in the system if people so banned can still post on the forums.  The rest of the forum thread is mostly scorn for cheaters, questions about what gets your there (as opposed to just outright banned), and why Daybreak has bothered with this at all.  Key comment from the announcement thread:

Update from drunder: server was a complete flop, no one plays there. Banned people continue to just make new accounts.

Still some of the old SOE “Hey, let’s just try this!” moxie left in Daybreak I guess.

  • Transfers Begin in Middle-Earth

The server consolidation effort for Lord of the Rings Online, which was referenced at the beginning of the year in the Producer’s Letter and for which we finally got some concrete details early last month, looks to be kicking off next week.

There is a post up on the forums indicating that the first two servers up for free, one-way transfers will be the US server Elendilmir and the EU server Estel.

Players on EU servers will be able to transfer to one of the following servers:

  • Belegaer
  • Evernight
  • Gwaihir
  • Laurelin
  • Sirannon

Players on US servers will be able to transfer to one of the following servers:

  • Arkenstone
  • Crickhollow
  • Gladden
  • Landroval

The US server Brandywine remains off the list of possible destinations for the time being.

  • Saying No to Windows 10

Long gone are the days when I would install a new operating system on day one or, heaven forbid, during beta.  I think the last beta OS I installed on a machine I owned was Mac OS 7.1, part of the System 7 chain of releases, and I regretted it.  I don’t even want to  get into the pros and cons of Windows 10.  I am happy and everything is working on Windows 7, so there is no reason to change.  I’ll move when I need to.

However, Microsoft seems quite intent on telling me about Windows 10 every day when I start up my system.  I am not interested in a “free” copy of Windows 10.

This, every single day

This, every single day

Finally sick of that, I decided to try to at least do away with that notification.  As it turns out, Microsoft slipped that in as part of the Windows Update cycle as KB3035583.  Uninstalling that update removed the daily reminder about Windows 10.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is so eager to hand out copies of Windows 10 that they might be pushing it to people who haven’t even opted in.  Just what I need clogging up space on my SSD.  Something else to fix.