Category Archives: EverQuest II

Finding Nostalgia on the Isle of Refuge

I jumped onto the Stormhold server in EverQuest II once I was home from vacation last week, and from the look of things I was clearly not alone.  The Isle of Refuge was a popular spot, spawning multiple copies to handle those also seeking a fresh server in post-cataclysm Norrath.

That is a lot of colonies of the Queen

That is a lot of colonies of the Queen

I haven’t made it off the isle yet, but reports indicate that Qeynos and Freeport and Antonica and the Commonlands and the Frostfang Sea are likewise seeing multiple versions spawn.

Okay, Frostfang Sea isn’t really a nostalgia destination, but the housing is very nice.  I will probably end up using the base housing there rather than the box-like apartments in Qeynos or Freeport when it comes times to shack up.

Anyway, I jumped in and rolled up what for me is the default EverQuest II character, a barbarian berserker, and started off on the isle.  But I wasn’t really feeling it.  Too many berserkers on too many servers I suspected.  I decided that for the full nostalgia effect I might have to go back and roll a templar, which was my first character class back in 2004.

Nostalgia on Wayne!

Nostalgia on Wayne! Nostalgia on Garth!

I went down that path, taking the boat ride and starting off on the isle again, but still wasn’t feeling it.  The lure of a plate wearing healer wasn’t enough.

Then, thinking on Bhagpuss’ post and his choice of a Shadowknight (almost wrote “Death knight” there) made me wander off in that direction.  I rolled up a SK, which made me realize that I couldn’t remember ever going to the Freeport version of the Isle of Refuge before.

The boat ride is the same, though the Freeport Captain Varlos seems to have some person space issues.

Dude, I'm not even that close to you

Dude, I’m not even that close to you

I had also never rolled up an SK before either.  There are a number of classes in the game I have never played, no doubt in part because the game launched with 24 playable classes (and only 4 character slots), and while I tend to avoid cloth wearing casters as a general rule, not playing an SK seemed to be a long missed opportunity.

So off I went with that, finding that both the class and the quest chain on the isle were giving me a new experience.

Still trying to figure out where that bee was hiding the chest he dropped...

Still trying to figure out where that bee was hiding the chest he dropped…

That gave me the impetus to run through most of the the isle.  I had no recollection of any of the isle, so I wonder if my one Freeport character took the option to just skip the isle and head straight to town with a boost to level 5, which was something you could do at one point.  I think.  Maybe?

Anyway, it was all new and fun and such, but it wasn’t really nostalgia, being new stuff and all.  Or was it?  Does having a new experience in an old context count?

So I started thinking about how things played out in 2004 and what was missing from the mix today that was going on back when the game launched.

And one big change from the original context is a guild.  Back in 2004 I showed up in the game with a whole set of players from TorilMUD that joined up with an EverQuest guild to form our own guild early on.

Our day one guild on Crushbone

Our guild on Crushbone… I left for a bit then came back… Pretty quiet now…

As such, the early days of EverQuest II were very much a group event, as we spent a lot of time together exploring the world and figuring out the game.  In fact, I’d say that the game, such as it was back in November of 2004, was likely only tolerable in a group environment where we could work through and figure things out together.

So maybe the Freeport side of the world, which I have never really spent much time with, is the right choice as there will be some sense of newness to go along with the long familiar context of the game.   But I am clearly going to have to find somebody else to play with, which means finding a regular group or guild, something I always find difficult.  Without that I will likely play for a bit, taper off, then stop.  Something to work on.  Anybody on the Freeport side of things?

Meanwhile, I might roll up a couple more likely characters.  Surprisingly I still have a couple of character slots left and, honestly, a few characters I could delete and never miss if push came to shove.  My main motivation would be to get that 16-slot bag.

In the Daybreak Store

In the Daybreak Store

I went off to find that bag as soon as I ran into the old school problem of running out of bag space almost immediately because I dared to work on my harvesting skills a bit.  That bag has been a savior.

Return of the Isle of Refuge

As mentioned in my previous post this morning, I was away for the week so the posts that went up on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday were written well in advance of their going live.  So my Tuesday post about the EverQuest II time locked expansion servers going live was working on the information I had at the time and lacked any immediate action on my part.

So I was pretty surprised to find upon my return that Daybreak had pulled a fast one and had actually put the Isle of Refuge back into the game for these servers.  I logged in and made a character… a barbarian berserker, which is my default EQII character choice most days of the week… and found myself, as Bhagpuss put it, on the boat and on my way to the isle.

Where are we headed Captain Varlos?

Where are we headed Captain Varlos?

In fact, when you create a character you are back to the two original choices.  No Frostfang Sea or Darklight Wood options were displayed.

You have your choice between two identical islands...

You have your choice between two identical islands…

I ran through the boat ride and landed on the Isle of Refuge, but stopped there.  It did appear that, if the whole retro isle experience wasn’t your thing, you could leave immediately as opposed to after you finished up the main quest chain.

The servers themselves seemed pretty busy for a Thursday night.

TimeLockedServersPvE seemed to be beating out PvP for the time being, and enough people were rolling in then that I ended up in Queen’s Colony 3 on the PvE side of the house.

I will have to devote some time to playing this weekend to see how the retro experience stacks up to my memories.

And there is an incentive to get into the game sooner rather than later.  Daybreak is offering a 16 slot bag to those who log in before August 7.

Subscribers Only

Subscribers Only

Given that you start out with a single 4 slot bag… where will I store all my stuff… that seems like a good thing.

Now to decide which trade skill to pick up.

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers Today

Today is the day.

I am not betting on an early launch, but Daybreak’s shot at nostalgia servers for EverQuest II are slated to come online today, after a two week beta.  The short version of what these servers are is:

TLEannounce

The more detailed list of features, from the forums, is:

  • PvP server: no battlegrounds EVER!
  • PvP server: no prestige housing!
  • PvP server: no flying, leaping or gliding EVER!
  • PvP server: No more pvp stats on gear. Procs return to items that have them.
  • PvP server: Travel bells will be restricted, more information to be determined.
  • There will only be ground mounts and they will have reduced ground speed. Most likely 45%/50% run speed.
  • Only All Access Members will be able to create characters and log into the TLE-Servers.
  • A new queue system for logging into the servers
  • Content will be locked to classic EverQuest 2, starting areas will be Frostfang Sea and Darklight Wood. More on this later.
  • Expansions will be voted to be unlocked at certain times by the population of the server. Majority vote 2/3 of the population.
  • No Veteran Rewards or Veteran experience bonus.
  • No Recruit a Friend
  • No /claims. Anything you could claim on your normal accounts will not be available on the new TLE-Servers
  • Loyalty System and daily quests will be locked to Chains of Eternity expansion.
  • Legendary, Fabled and Mythical crits will be locked to Altar of Malice Expansion.
  • No dungeon finder
  • Level agnostic dungeons will be locked to an undetermined expansion feature.
  • No races or classes will be restricted from character create if you own them. They will all be playable at launch.
  • Re-forging, Mercenaries, and Tradeskill apprentices will be locked to Age of Discovery.
  • Mercenaries may or may not return to PvP, this will most likely become a poll in the future.
  • Guidhalls and their amenities will be locked to a undetermined expansion. We are still considering this.
  • No prestige home portal or home UI will be available.
  • Marketplace will be highly restricted and polls will be done to determine what will be available.
  • Experience penalty will be returned to launch levels of experience gain
  • Coin will also be returned to launch levels of coin gain.
  • Adventure packs will be linked to specific expansions, still being determined.

I am surprised they haven’t updated that, but maybe they will have something new once the server goes live.

And the whole Alternate Advancement side of things will be unlocked as follows:

  • Exp01: Desert of Flames, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 60, Guild Level Cap Increased to 60
  • Exp02: Kingdom of Sky, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 70, Alternate Advancement Subclass Window unlocked with a 50 AA cap, Guild Level Cap Increased to 70
  • Exp03: Echoes of Faydwer, AA Class Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 100, Tinkering, Transmuting, and Adorning Unlocked
  • Exp04: Rise of Kunark, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 80, AA Cap is Raised to 140, Guild Level Cap Increased to 80, Guild Halls
  • Exp05: The Shadow Odyssey, AA Shadows Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 200
  • Exp06: Sentinel’s Fate, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 90, AA Cap is Raised to 250, Guild Level Cap Increased to 90
  • Exp07: Destiny of Velious, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 92, AA Heroic Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 300, Flying, Leaping and Gliding Mounts
  • Exp08: Age of Discovery, AA Cap is Raised to 320, Mercenaries, Apprentices, Reforging
  • Exp09: Chains of Eternity, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 95, Prestige Window Unlocked, Guild Level Cap Increased to 95
  • Exp10: Tears of Veeshan, AA Dragon Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 350
  • Exp11: Altar of Malice, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 100, Prestige Class Tree is Unlocked, Guild Level Cap Increased to 100, Legendary, Fabled and Mythical crits

Unfortunately, this is going to be a busy week for me, so I doubt I will be able to peek in on the server until the weekend.  We shall see how things play out.  While I remain mildly disappointed, though not surprised, that the Isle of Refuge won’t be making an appearance, I will surely head to Qeynos to explore the old zones out there, including the catacombs below the city.

The catacombs back in the day...

The catacombs back in the day…

Now, will anybody show up for this?  Is there nostalgia for some variation of old EverQuest II?

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers – To Beta or Not To Beta?

The Daybreak team got the two beta servers, one PvE and one PvP, for the nostalgia bound EverQuest II time locked expansion server project they have been pitching for a bit.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

Should probably just be “Nostalgia Servers”

Maybe a bit later that they expected, but at least on the same day as planned.

The question now is whether or not to dive in.  The instructions given in the forums are easy enough to follow.

Beta client is on the list

Beta client is on the list

Though if you don’t want to re-download the whole client again, Feldon at EQ2 Wire has you covered with some additional download details.

While they are testing out a queuing system for the server, things will otherwise be pretty much as announced previously.  I have a post that lists out the details that have been shared so far.

There is still no Isle of Refuge, so the starting zones remain the Frostfang Sea and Darklight Wood.  There was a “more on this later” tacked on to the end of the starter zone bullet point, but I do not know if we have heard anything else beyond technical reasons why bringing back the Isle of Refuge would be a huge pain.

Unlike the EverQuest progression server beta, you will have to have an All Access subscription in order to play on this beta server.  No free peek at nostalgia this time.

So now that it is there, do I dip my toe in and see what things look like?

I am generally not fond of betas here in my dotage.  When I was younger I would throw myself into such things, but now I often feel my time is better spent elsewhere as I tend to value the progress and virtual possessions I accrue, so knowing it will all be wiped shortly… and perhaps repeatedly… can be a disincentive.

On the other hand, I am genuinely curious about how popular such a nostalgia driven servers will be.  Even with key elements of the old days missing… just keep chanting “Isle of Refuge” over and over… there has to be some draw.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 - Nov. 14, 2004

Can you even get to this zone anymore?

Just being able to start out on a fresh server that won’t allow transfers is going to bring a few players in.  Some people will do it just for the challenge.  And there were reports that the queue was already in play, though that could just be Daybreak setting the server limits low just to see if the damn thing even works.

I will have to consider whether to play or not this weekend, though given the pace Daybreak has been setting lately with these projects, if I deliberate long enough I might be able to go straight to the live versions of Stormhold or Deathtoll, the PvE and PvP servers respectively.

Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime MMO Ennui Blues

Theoretically, this should be an exciting time for MMOs for me.

Blizzard finally gave us the WoW 6.2 patch, bringing us a new zone and opening up flying in Draenor.  Daybreak has the EverQuest time locked progression server thing running, and it is more popular than ever.  They are also warming up an EverQuest II version of the same, which could be interesting.  There is a new update dropping for EVE Online next week and then the final round of Fozzie Sov changes the following week, which should liven things up.

And yet, I am not really feeling it right now.

The 6.2 patch in WoW, far from bringing me back into the game, seemed to tip the balance the other way.  I had been in something of a garrison and pet battle holding pattern for ages, and then 6.2 hit and I stopped logging in altogether.

There was the momentary shock of the Master Plan addon breaking.  Really, doing garrison missions without that makes the whole thing such a chore that I didn’t bother trying.  And even when the addon was fixed a day later I didn’t bother.  Garrisons kept me going for a bit, but they are also my undoing in the end.  (The death of the easy-money gray trash from the salvage yard didn’t help either.)

I think, perhaps, that the two year straight run with WoW might mean it is time for a break.  Blizz has said that 6.2 is it for the expansion, so the whole game will be in something of a holding pattern until BlizzCon, at which point they will likely announce the next expansion.  We’ll see if Blizz can wait that long.  I suspect that the Q2 2015 results, which ought to be announced in August, will show another sharp decline in subscribers.

On the EverQuest side of things, I am just not feeling it.  For all the nostalgia I feel for the game, I might not be in the right state of mind for another round of bandit camping in West Karana, undead in Unrest, and whatever else.  I am glad it is going on, I am enjoying watching from the sidelines, but I just don’t log in.

I fear the same might be true for the EverQuest II nostalgia servers.  I am not entirely happy with the name choices.

Deathtoll seems just a bit too cute for the PvP server.  And, while Stormhold would have been my first choice for the PvE server had Isle of Refuge not been on the list, I am somewhat shocked that Isle of Refuge didn’t win.  It was the runaway favorite in the nominations.  I don’t want to go all Daybreak vote rigging conspiracy theory on this, but I seriously thought Isle of Refuge winning was pretty much a given.  But, Stormhold it is I guess.

Stormhold, in Antonica

Stormhold, in Antonica

There is the promise of more polls to come for the EverQuest II time locked expansion server, along with a beta promised for next week, though I have to wonder how Daybreak is feeling about polls now given the seeming “ain’t nobody happy” compromise around the Ruins of Kunark unlock vote.

And then there is EVE Online.  I suppose that EVE doesn’t really count, as boredom and finding it difficult to log in is the normal state of affairs for me with the game.  Then something will happen… a war, a deployment, a new fleet doctrine… that will lead to the moments of excitement that make the hours or boredom worthwhile.

All of which has added up to me mostly playing Minecraft every evening when I have some time.  So you can probably expect more “letters from those late to the party” posts about the game going forward.

June in Review

The Site

Well, WordPress.com finally decided to impose their new stats page on us.  I am not a fan, to say the least.  While they did fix the problem where the first three years of my stats were missing, which I complained about previously, the format leaves me cold.  They have added a few more informational tidbits to the mix:

That is 18:00 UTC, probably when Bhagpuss gets home from work

That is 18:00 UTC, probably about when Bhagpuss gets home from work

But they have removed all the summary charts that I really, really like.  Fortunately, for the time being, you can still access the previous version of the stats page at the URL:

https://wordpress.com/my-stats/

You can also find the even older version of the stats page for your WordPress.com blog if you modify this URL to add in your blog’s domain:

https:// <blog name e.g. tagn> .wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=stats

You do have to log in and have permissions for any given blog, so you cannot modify that URL to see the stats of others.

Meanwhile, WordPress.com and Automattic, its parent company, are coming up on their 10th anniversary in August of letting people in to blog for free.  It seems odd that I have been around and blogging on WordPress.com for almost 9 of those 10 years.

One Year Ago

I toasted the Newbie Blogger Initiative class of 2014.  Long may they post.

WildStar launched… and started its journey to F2P.  Still alive though.

SOE finally broke its ties with the ill-fated and ill-conceived ProSiebenSat.1 deal.

Derek Smart was telling us why to charge for beta.  Lord British was getting serious with virtual real estate.

It was summer and the short lived strategy group was looking to the Steam Summer Sale for a new game.  Meanwhile we were still playing our epic game of Civilization V.

We heard about how CCP handled/mishandled World of Darkness.

CCP launched the last of its expansions with a six month lead-time.  Kronos was the end of the line for twice yearly expansions.  I set off on the training plan to be a wing/fleet booster in EVE Online.

In Azereoth, my attempt at the Loremaster achievement had me in Darkshore and then on to Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains .

Meanwhile the Warlords of Draenor alpha was starting, so I had to avert my eyes.  So I started pondering things like how Blizzard should change the starter edition of WoW.

The instance group, heading towards its regular summer hiatus, was hitting the Mogu-shan Palace.

I took a look at a long history of gear obsession.

And I was wondering if authenticators were still a thing.

Five Years Ago

Warhammer Online, whose game tips I previously mocked, was out soliciting user written game tips with the most boring video game related video ever.  Really, I was embarrassed for them.

Meanwhile, there were comical tips to be found in another game.

CCP was telling people that the steep learning curve in EVE Online was just part of the game, and Hulkageddon III was on the way.

FrontierVille came along, evoking the whole Oregon Trail thing… for which they recently were sued.  And a good thing to, as they are a bunch of lying bastards there at Zynga.  They never sent me my FarmVille magnet.

There was the big news from Turbine with Lord of the Rings Online going Free to Play.  I wondered is Lifetime Subscribers like myself would get the shaft in this transition.  But Turbine made me a perm VIP instead and put out one of those charts that seems to accompany these multi-level subscription scams structures.  But I was winning LOTRO lotteries, so I was happy for the moment.

In Pokemon SoulSilver I had beat all the gym leaders, but we were having Pokewalker problems.

Then there was Blizzard.  Where to start?  They were to the Summer of 2010 what CCP is becoming to the Summer of 2011.

They were selling WoW Gold straight from the main page.  Really.  It just isn’t what you think.

They screwed up the parental controls interface… in my opinion… along with compromising the security of it.

The whole RealID thing was just getting warmed up.

One of the accounts in our guild was compromised and the guild bank was looted.  That has happened a couple times since and is barely news any more.

And during all this, the instance group was working its way through The Burning Crusade content with our Horde alts, but we weren’t really feeling it.

Ennui had set in and our only hope was Cataclysm.  And there were plenty of offers to get us into the beta.

New Linking Sites

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

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in June

  1. Fine, You Can Fly in Draenor, But Only AFTER You Hit an Arbitrary Content Threshold!
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. The Search for the Summer Game
  4. Introducing Carnyx the Magnificent
  5. Entosis Link Modules in Action in Querious
  6. Travel Advisory – Conflict in Amarr
  7. Quote of the Day – F2P Insight
  8. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  9. What Future for Turbine after Infinite Crisis?
  10. The Revenant Kill in JU-0WQ
  11. A Bit of Ancient History that Still Sticks With Me…
  12. On to 64-Bit Gaming

Search Terms of the Month

civ iii on win 7 64 bi compuer
[That isn’t the hardware info I need to help you]

aggronauts myspace
[I’m pretty sure Belghast gave up on MySpace]

is turbine developing a new mmo?
[If they are, they haven’t shared it with me]

totally free and legit courses online
[Good luck with that]

why does server emulation take so long to do
[It probably takes less time than the original]

Spam Comment of the Month

So, sum up the advantages of belonging to the pre-war, animal husbandry, which is the top 30% inhibition, can play a little more aggressive, make good use of the hammer then fear storm control, and no brain start to play shield + disperse oppressive force play. Danelaw went to the former and Wessex to the latter with each side taking half of Mercia.
* Fast Poison.

EVE Online

After the Reavers left Querious things slowed down a bit for me in New Eden.  We ran a couple of ops to Fountain to assist Brave Newbies, making us the rare exception to the “let’s go to Fountain and farm!” trend.  And there was Burn Amarr.  But the last week or so has been more about settling in and finding a home in Tribute.

EverQuest

I have probably been playing this for some definitions of “playing,” but even so I have not made much progress.  I made a few characters to claim the storage box that was given to those who joined the beta, which gave me a pile of alts to work on.  So now I have a pile of low level alts.  None of them are even level 10 yet.  It is just like 1999 again.

EverQuest II

I have been keeping an eye on EverQuest II because of the plans for their own nostalgia server.  I am interested to see how this will turn out.  I suspect it will be successful for reasons different than the EverQuest side of the house.

Minecraft

Since Father’s Day I have put in quite a few hours in the low-res world of Minecraft.  It certainly has a charm of its own, even if I am a few years late to the party.  But then, that just means that they have fixed all the bugs by now, right?

War Thunder

I have been putting in a bit of time with War Thunder over the last month.  I am still horrendously bad at it.  If I was better I might spend some money on it.  But I have a whole post on that and how the usual trend in F2P is manifesting itself in the game.

World of Warcraft

This has been in something like maintenance mode for most of the month.  I log in to tend my garrison.  I totally fail to show up for group nights.  I don’t do much else.  Then came the 6.2 patch last week.  Well, I am sure I will have a post about that.  I am just not sure what to say at this point.

Coming Up

July is the start of the summer silly season, when news dries up and we all start fixating on things like prognosticating octopi and the like.  Then we’ll head into August, the barren wasteland of new content and game launches, where memes and questionnaires will be all to sustain us as we entertain bizarro world ideas, like turning Pong into an MMO or imagining Star Citizen delivering on all its promises or taking crazy ravings on the internet seriously.  I will no doubt be digging deep into my drafts folder looking for something to write about then.

It is enough to make a body want to just take the summer off.

Still, there are a couple of things on the horizon.  Daybreak will be doing whatever it is they plan to do with EverQuest II and their nostalgia server.  There is supposed to be a beta starting as soon as the week of July 7th.

CCP has another expansion coming up on July 7th, to be followed a week later with the final transition to Fozzie Sov, at which point we’ll get to see first hand just how many loopholes and exploits there are in the plan.  I expect at least two sov holding alliances to fail cascade in simple frustration at dealing with the mechanics.  Could be interesting times, and doubly so since SniggWaffe (Pandemic Legion Junior) and some pals look like they came along and kicked J4LP out of half of Cloud Ring, so we’ll have them on our doorstep.  That should make for some excitement.

What else is coming up in July?

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Server Names Poll Unlocks the Irony

Meanwhile Daybreak is going forward with their EverQuest II nostalgia plan, involving those PvE and PvP Time Locked Expansion servers, and holding an in-game poll to decide what they should be named.

As noted over at the EQ2 Wire, Daybreak first went to the forums and asked for name suggestions and then… I think… drew from those suggestions.  My suggestion didn’t make the cut.  I figured that since the last great server experiment, EverQuest II Extended, got the name Freeport that it was time for Qeynos to be recognized.

That was a faint hope I am sure.  The anti-Qeynos sentiment on the team, present since before the 1999 launch of EQ, remains strong and we’re probably more likely to get a server named Qekaerbyad than Qeynos these days.  Anyway, it didn’t make the cut.  Instead, these are the names you get to choose from in the currently-running in-game poll.

EQ2TLEServerPoll

My choices indicated

For the PvP server there didn’t seem to be any obvious stand out choice, but I have always felt that Bonemore was a particularly grim sounding name, so I went with that.  Deathtoll seemed too unsubtle while the rest didn’t really resonate with me, but any of the names would probably work.

On the PvE side I could say something for Stormhold, that dungeon in Antonica in which we spent so much time back in the early days.  In fact, that would have been my go-to choice had the obvious winner not been glaring at me.

Yes, I think the only appropriate way to vote is to go with the “we’re going to keep bringing it up until you bring it back” name, Isle of Refuge.

This is almost a text book example of what SynCaine refers to as “SOE being SOE.” I cannot imagine how that name made the cut for the vote.

First, the name implies that this subscriber-only server will be a place to escape from whatever sins you care to count on the live servers.  Screw you, freeps!

Second, they will be naming a server after a zone they took out of the game which represents a good chunk of the nostalgia they are attempting to milk pander to recreate.  How is that a good idea, reminding everybody every single time they log on that the Isle of Refuge server does not include the actual Isle of Refuge that those likely to play on this server want?

So clearly, I feel you should log on immediately and vote for Isle of Refuge.

Make Isle of Refuge happen.