About a year back Daybreak announced yet another retro/progression server. This was the Agnarr server and it was to have a feature to make it stand out from its numerous predecessors.
The Agnarr server would be “PoP locked,” that is it would progress only to the Planes of Power expansion and then stop, remaining for its existence at that point.
Actually, “PoP locked” is incorrect. The FAQ for the server indicates that the Legacy of Ykesha and Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansions, which came after Planes of Power, would also be unlocked. The schedule was for an expansion to be unlocked every twelve weeks, so the timeline ought to be as follows:
- May 24, 2017 – Agnarr server opens with original EverQuest content
- August 16, 2017 – Ruins of Kunark expansion unlocked
- November 8, 2017 – Scars of Velious expansion unlocked
- January 31, 2018 – Shadows of Luclin expansion unlocked
- April 25, 2018 – Planes of Power expansion unlocked
- July 18, 2018 – Legacy of Ykesha expansion unlocked
- October 10, 2018 – Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked
Things were right on track with Planes of Power opening up this past Wednesday. (Though most of us were consumed with other drama at the time.) So while there is more content to be unlocked, the Planes of Power expansion is the last big raid focused update for the server. With past progression servers the follow-on pair of LoY and LDoN were opened up semi-concurrently with Planes of Power.
LoY, which was only called an “extension” rather than an “expansion” back then introduced the Froglock race which evicted the trolls from their home, sending them to Neriak. Tales of races seeking the ancestral homes are common in MMORPGs, but have we ever had somebody driven from theirs (or returning to theirs if you take the frog side of the conflict) as part of an expansion?
Meanwhile LDON is notable for introducing instanced, small group dungeons that attempted some level of randomness in layout to increase replayability.
That is where things will stop on Agnarr come October, at which point the plan is for the server to remain static. This is the “forever classic” server that many have pined for, though I am sure there is still heated debate over what really constitutes “classic.” It may also be an attempt to recreate the long passed EverQuest for Macintosh server Al’Kabor which stayed locked in time for so many years as a time capsule representing the game as it was back in 2002. (Officially shut down on November 2013)
The Gates of Discord expansion, the next in line on the long list of EverQuest expansions, which introduced instancing for raids as well as small group content, won’t be seen. The Gates of Discord expansion remains controversial for using instancing, though that very idea would be picked up by Blizzard for World of Warcraft, set to launch a little more than a year later.
The irony is that in order to keep player complaints down and keep the servers from needing direct GM intervention with things like raid schedules due to bad player behavior, Daybreak has put instancing in for all of the old raids already. In the end the Gates of Discord expansion was the path forward.
But now the Agnarr server, the progression server that will soon cease to progress, has hit its crown jewel, the Planes of Power expansion. It is an expansion of legend in the history of EverQuest, both for its breadth and ambition as well as for its level of brokenness at launch.
Daybreak has even put up a guide on their site that highlights what you can find in the Planes of Power expansion.
What will become of the server once the final expansion has been unlocked and it is left to drift on its own? We shall see. There are some who predict the growth a vibrant community, others who expect it to end up a ghost town. But to play on it you have to subscribe, so it had best offer something that can’t be had for free on the live servers.