About a month back I posted about Daybreak putting up a poll about the next round of progression servers. The options for that in-game poll were:
- Existing Rules
- Slower Progression
- Locked Progression
- Seasonal Challenge
Slower progression isn’t a bad choice I suppose. That is what I voted for.
What was the right choice depends upon your point of view, and there are any number of factions interested in the next server.
The raiders, who tend to drive the whole progression server thing, will probably be okay with slower, depending on how much slower things end up. But if you had your hearts set on a classic server, one that stops progressing at some point, then you are probably not happy with the result.
Personally, I fall into the “everything after Ruins of Kunark is crap” camp, so my motivation is to have any future progression server spend as much time as possible on the base game and Kunark.
And yet I am not all that interested in a locked server stuck in Kunark for all eternity. I like the progression idea, that the server moves forward and unlocks content, and that the game changes and evolves.
I am not sure that such a server needs to pass through all twenty-one expansions. There comes a point when the server is close enough to live that it makes little difference and it might as well be rolled into a live server. Where that point is would no doubt make for a lively debate.
Anyway, with the first poll out of the way, there is now a second in-game poll up. This time the choice is about how much slower should the expansion unlocks should be.
The original progression servers, The Combine and The Sleeper, which rolled out back in 2006, were driven forward entirely by unlocking raid content. There were no brakes on the system and, while I do not have a timeline for those servers, I recall the response by many non-raiders as being “too damn fast.”
The still active Fippy Darkpaw server was put up as a “time locked” voting server, where by there was a minimum amount of time that had to pass after raid content was finished before an unlock vote for the next expansion could take place. That slowed things down some. Here are the unlock durations I recorded for the “important” expansions.
- Ruins of Kunark: 3.75 months
- Scars of Velious: 2.75 months
- Shadows of Luclin: 2.75 months
- Planes of Power: 2.75 months
- Legacy of Ykesha: 1 month after PoP
- LDoN: 1 month after PoP
- Gates of Discord: 4 months after PoP
So the server unlocked Ruins of Kunark in just under four months, because there was a special delay, after which each expansion unlocked in just under three months. The exceptions were Gates of Discord, which failed three unlock votes, and Underfoot, which failed at least one, and then Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath, which are considered mini-expansions and so get unlocked on a set timer after Planes of Power.
(All of the Fippy Darkpaw unlocks I managed to record are available here.)
The vote underway now is to decide how quickly to unlock expansions. It has three choices, which I will list out from fastest to slowest.
This option would add a 50% boost the the minimum unlock time that we had for Fippy Darkpaw, so the unlock schedule would look like this:
- Ruins of Kunark: 4.5 months
- Scars of Velious: 4.5 months
- Shadows of Luclin: 4.5 months
- Planes of Power: 4.5 months
- Legacy of Ykesha: 3 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 3 weeks after PoP
- Gates of Discord: 3 months after PoP, then every three months
I think somebody forgot we were given extra time before Ruins of Kunark, though they did remember that LoY and LDoN were both unlocked two weeks late due to technical glitches. Still, that does give the base game and RoK a longer run than they had before. Estimated total time to run through the expansions is five and a half years.
The second proposed rule set would put a six month gap between server unlocks up until Gates of Discord, after which expansions would unlock every three months… because who cares about that shit.
- Ruins of Kunark: 6 months
- Scars of Velious: 6 months
- Shadows of Luclin: 6 months
- Planes of Power: 6 months
- Legacy of Ykesha: 2 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 4 weeks after PoP
- Gates of Discord: 3 months after PoP
So the time until each expansion could be unlocked would be fairly flat, with the server spending more that two years getting through Planes of Power, with the whole slate of expansions taking six and a half years to work through.
This is the most radical of the three proposals. This would run the progression server forward at half the pace of the actual, real world release schedule of the expansions. So the run up through Gates of Discord would look like this:
- Ruins of Kunark: 6.75 months
- Scars of Velious: 3.75 months
- Shadows of Luclin: 6 months
- Planes of Power: 5.5 months
- Legacy of Ykesha: 4 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 10 weeks after PoP
- Gates of Discord: 7.75 months (after PoP)
After Gates of Discord the schedule calms down a bit, with expansions hitting about every three months through the “two a year” era and then every six months after Secrets of Faydwer. At this pace it would take eight years to get through, since EverQuest is just celebrating its sweet sixteen.
What to Pick?
Give those three choices, I am inclined to go and vote for the Half Speed server, as it gives us the longest run from the base game to Ruins of Kunark, though the Maximum Nostalgia option isn’t completely off the table, as it would give us a full year of just base plus RoK, thus not selling that huge expansion short.
In addition to the three server types to choose from, there is a second vote up about whether or not expansion unlocks should be put to a vote every time… and thus possibly delaying releases… or if things should just unlock on a schedule. I am in favor of the latter. I would rather have expansion releases on the calendar so that the raiders, who will be part of the progression server community, can plan their activities. One of the problems for them on Fippy Darkpaw has been knowing when to call everybody back to the game to move on. (Though most of the time that has been SOE screwing up the unlock for whatever reasons as opposed to unlocks being voted down.) The raiders are not there for the same reasons I am, but I don’t think that should give me license to screw them over on a server that has been billed as progression from the start.
Anyway, I am happy to see that the progression server idea is moving forward though, like Bhagpuss, I have to admit that planning something that could take as long as eight years to get through might be an act of extreme optimism for Daybreak at this point.
Will there still be an EverQuest… or a Daybreak Game Company… in 2023?