Tag Archives: EverQuest II Extended

A Swashbuckler in New Halas

Okay, if I had known I was going to get a spiffy outfit like this as part of the New Halas quest line, I would have rolled a swashbuckler and not a peppermint berserker first.

Frozen Swashbuckler

Now if I could just use dyes as in LOTRO to change the colors.

Do you hear me SOE?  Dyes?  Could you manage that?

You managed that in EverQuest?  Remember that hot pink?  You don’t have to go that far.

You could sell them for Station Cash.  People would buy that.  I would buy that.

A Weekend in EverQuest II Extended

I did not know it was going to be a free “gold level” weekend in EverQuest II Extended this past weekend.

Not that it would have mattered.  I opted in for a month of Station Access which, it turns out, also gives me a Gold Level membership in EQ2X, as I think I shall refer to it.

I figured that, as I had just done the level 1 to 20 jaunt in old, subscription style EQ2, that it might be an opportune time to compare that with extended.

I thought I was actually going in as a bronze level player when I grabbed the EQ2X client on Thursday.  However, I quickly noticed that I had a lot more bag slots than I was supposed to get as a bronzie.  I also did not have the option to upgrade to silver, which you can do for a one-time, 1,000 Station Cash transaction.

When I went to check my SOE account information, it showed me as a gold member by virtue of Station Access.

The current (as of this date) EQ2X membership chart will show you what the differences are (I have the previous one here, if you want to note minor changes):

The account level matrix

Still, even if I wasn’t a bronze, I figured that the comparison was still worthwhile.

I decided to repeat my experience as closely as I could.

I rolled up another barbarian berserker.  I started him in Halas.  I even named him Sigwerd.

Sigwerd (the second) is now level 22 on the Freeport server, the EQ2X server.  Here are things I noted on the way to that level.

Population

I saw a lot more people playing on EQ2X compared to my adventures on the Crushbone server, which is no slouch when it comes to population on the old servers.  It isn’t Antonia Bayle, but they are not going to merge it with another server either.

The Freeport server always shows a heavy load because it is the only EQ2X server available.  SOE appears to be ready to try out that single fantasy world idea I was speculating about roughly two years back.

Because EQ2 uses multiple versions of the same zone when a zone becomes heavily populated, I was not seeing anything like all of the people running around in the New Halas area.

Many versions of the Frostfang Sea

Because you end up doing a couple of solo instance events as part of the New Halas 1-20 quest line, you can tell when there are a lot of people about.  On Crushbone, on a Saturday afternoon, I never had to choose which version of the zone I wanted to enter.  But I saw as many as 7 versions of the Frostfang Sea on Freeport.

Of course, there is a downside to this.  If your main argument against WoW is that people are there are idiots, then EQ2X is proof that idiots are a fixed percentage of any population.  With everybody allowed access to all channels for the weekend, the idiots made themselves known.  I think the main purpose of the levels 1-9 channel is to force new players to learn how to turn off a chat channel.

And even if we vary on definition of who is a idiot, certainly the masses on EQ2X show a very WoW-like attitude towards what messages are appropriate on the Auction channel.

Still, I can put up with a bit of that to have a world that feels occupied and in use.  Or at least in a world where parts of it do.

Certainly New Halas is a vibrant and active location.  But it is the hot new zone with the fancy new housing.  Everybody wants to be there.

Meanwhile, a trip through Qeynos was a trip through an almost empty city.  A couple of people were running around, but it was about as active as the Crushbone version, which is to say not very active at all.  But then, what is there to bring people to Qeynos these days?

Buy Stuff, Sell Stuff

I was interested to see that on the EQ2X server that you could buy your way through the equipment rat race.  A set of master crafted armor, for example, runs 600 SC, or $6.00 US.

One suit, made to order

And the equipment grind is even more of a rat race these days since SOE has made old equipment lose its effectiveness as you out level it.


Sorry, that master crafted armor you bought 10 levels ago, it isn’t just 10 levels out of date on mitigation stats, it doesn’t give you any at all.

I am not sure what this is doing to the in-game market.  You are forced to buy new equipment every 10 levels, but SOE will happily let you buy your way out of that worry.  Is that good or bad for people who, say, craft armor?

The broker seemed pretty vibrant for things like collection quest items.   I made over a plat with those, mostly because I was being a bit obsessive about finishing off the butterfly collections.  But this was a weekend when everybody had access to it.

Most of the time, bronze players have no access, and silver players can buy but not sell on the broker unless they buy special credits.


Those 10 credits run $1.50, so you basically have to pay 15 cents to sell something on the broker.  That seems a bit steep.

I realize that it has been said that there is a hope that we’ll go back to the Commonlands Tunnel method of commerce.  The problem is, SOE will sell you all the important equipment, which leaves commodities like trade skill materials (which SOE will also sell you directly, btw) which are best handled via the broker.  I mean, there is a reason they put a broker in every trade skill instance, right?

The Inevitable LOTRO Comparison

Content is an obvious area of comparison with Lord of the Rings Online.

EQ2X gives you all the content in the game up to level 80.  If you want the Sentinal’s Fate content, which is 81-90, you’ll have to buy the expansion.  This is a big selling point over the LOTRO system where they want to sell you content past level 20 or so.

I was a bit surprised at how many restrictions I could not buy myself out of in EQ2X though.

Again, comparing with LOTRO, I like that they allow you to get past the bag slot restriction with cash.  More bag slots, more bank slots, more shared slots, all yours for some Turbine Points.  In EQ2X, these items are not available for Station Cash.  No, you have to move up to a higher access level.  The only exception seems to be character slots, on which I have given my opinion already, an opinion I heard echoed a few times in-game.

Then there is the currency question, Station Cash versus Turbine Points.  I like that Station Cash seems have a set value versus real world currency, so no matter how you buy it, it is 100 SC to the US Dollar. (In the US at least.)  Turbine Points can run anywhere from $0.60 to $2.00 per 100, depending on how and where you purchase it.

Station Cash also seems to have more options for purchasing.  For example, if I want some Station Cash, I will probably buy it via my cell phone, which is on a pre-paid plan that I barely use.  So there is more than $200 sitting there that I have already “spent” once, by putting $20 on the phone every 90 days to keep it active, that I could turn around and “spend” again on Station Cash.

On the flip side, I do really like that you can earn Turbine Points in game.  Played right, and not too far off the most efficient path, you can earn enough points to get a few zones past the initial level 20 cap.  Station Cash, as far as I can tell, is a cash-only situation, barring the 600 Station Cash I seemed to have accumulated by just being subscribed off and on over the last couple of years.

Conclusions?

Well, aside from the lack of that “Knight of Bayle” quest for new players, EQ2 and EQ2X are the same basic game.

EQ2X’s main draw, for those already play EQ2, is the fact that the server is well populated.  It is very nice to see the game feeling alive again.  It am glad that SOE is holding firm on keeping this to a single server, even if it does mean more disconnects when zoning. (On Sunday, every attempt to enter my house ended up with me at the character select screen.)

That said, it is kind of a pain that for EQ2 vets the option to play on a well populated server seems to require moving to a place where your $15 a month doesn’t buy you nearly as much.  I wonder if SOE should pursue a more aggressive plan towards server consolidation for EQ2 Live.

Then again, part of the liveliness of the Freeport server is that new people are joining the game.  You could crush all the EQ2 Live servers into a single server and still not get any new blood since the only trial for the game is EQ2X, and once you make characters there you cannot move them to EQ2 Live.

So it looks like EverQuest II Extended is the wave of the future.

What do you think?  Is a more vibrant and varied population worth the restrictions that hit even Gold level accounts?  Is there a way to save EQII Live, or will it be non-stop server consolidation from now on, until we’re all playing on the Antonia Bayle server?

And should SOE try this with EverQuest as well?

August in Review

The Site

This month saw another big spike in traffic due to something pretty much unrelated to the site.

Cracked.com linked to a rant I wrote quite a while back about the mis-use of the term “microtransactions.”  They did a humor piece about FarmVille, and somehow my post seemed relevant.

Obligatory Traffic Graph

Also driving traffic this month were the search terms “Blood Elf Porn,” “Elf Porn,” and “Ancient Porn.”  All this for a post titled Fighting Blood Elf Porn.  Do you suppose it was nerd rage that brought them here?

Along with the big PLEX loss story, those were the big three traffic driving posts of the month.

Aside from that, I took yet another baby step into the 21st century.  I now have a Twitter account.  All it does is tweet when I put up a post… WordPress.com does that for me automatically… and it works most of the time.  It will list posts for both this site and EVE Online Pictures, my other site.

Otherwise, I have little to say in SMS sized bits.

So far I have two followers.  You know who you are.

One Year Ago

The Matrix Online (MxO for those in the know) was shut down by SOE last August.  Planetside is still around though!  For now.

Bruce Everiss was getting sued for libel by the makers of Envoy.  That was eventually worked though this past March.  Enovy, LLC dropped their suit, but not before causing Mr. Everiss much pain and hamstringing his desire to be as forthright in the future.

Somebody was granted a patent for something that sounded a lot like podcasting.  How did that ever turn out?

That Wii Bowling Ball made another appearance.  Still no know deaths attributed to it.

I was wondering what genre our post apocalyptic future really was.  People assume it is Science Fiction.  Is it?

On the Blizzard front, we learned that we were not going to get StarCraft II for Christmas.  I still don’t own a copy yet.

There was a lot of speculation before BlizzCon about the next WoW expansion.  I tried to draw parallels between 2004 and 2009.

I subscribed to the BlizzCon Pay-per-view event via DirecTV.  That was a lot of gaming coverage to watch.

Meanwhile in the instance group, we were finally almost all level 80.  It was time to screw around in some old raid instances.

I actually posted the results of that cheating poll I had set up.  I generally mean to post the results of these sorts of things, but somehow I usually don’t get around to it.

And, finally, I was on a re-reading binge last August while making Code Red floats.

New Linking Sites

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Most Viewed Posts in August

  1. RMT and Microtransactions Rant
  2. Fighting Blood Elf Porn
  3. The PLEX Story We’ve All Been Waiting For
  4. Pokemon Enigma Stone Download Event
  5. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  6. WoW Account Hacked… Officially No Longer News
  7. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  8. WoW Account Hacked – This Just Keeps Happening
  9. EverQuest Next and Lessons Learned
  10. The Factions of WoW Account Hacking
  11. Torchlight II – Look Out Diablo III
  12. EQII Extended – The Trial of Inconvenience
  13. I Do Not Like Raspberries

Search Terms of the Month

blood elf porn, elf porn, ancient porn
[These seem to spike late on Friday night.]

bloggoleechification
[Thanks Tobold]

blizzard account hacked and i dont play
[I have no account, and I must be hacked]

hack beter wow very good
[Very good indeed]

Spam Comments of the Month

Now let’s create, continuous innovation with Fashion game network:
[Because that is the innovation that will revive the economy!]

May i sex dating with you?
[Me sex date you long time]

EVE Online

I am in total slumber mode in EVE Online.  I have converted some of my ISK into PLEX and am just sitting in the station training long skills.  Still, I will have over 60 million skill points soon.

EverQuest II Extended

I said I was going to play this when it launched, but I forgot that in the post-Google world, the word “Beta” means you’ve shipped.  So I was waiting for it to go live, but SOE has been letting all and sundry in to play.  I hear the load on the Freeport server is pretty heavy, apparently with EQ2 vets.

Lord of the Rings Online

Turbine is a company that knows what Beta means.

The instance group… well, four of the group… have been seen regularly in Middle-earth.  The game has become my only MMO for the moment.  While the instance group is in the 20s, I have been pressing on ahead in hopes of catching a glimpse of Moria.

World of Warcraft

My daughter is in the Cataclysm beta and has been taking screen shots now and again… when I ask repeatedly.  My own WoW account… lapsed.  While I may leave it like that until Cataclysm ships, that will mean missing out on the last bottle, and the achievement, for Brew of the Month club.  Decisions, decisions.

Coming Up

LOTRO will be going Free to Play soon, and no doubt that will change the feel of the game some.  We’ll see if it is for the better or not.

Aside from LOTRO, I expect this coming month to be pretty light when it comes to posts.  Summer is over.  My daughter went back to school last week and, this week, I went back to work.  My wife now has the house to herself again during the day, much to her relief.

EQII Extended – The Trial of Inconvenience!

Certainly Sony Online Entertainment has given us a lot to chew on with their announcement of EverQuest II extended.

Let me put up that chart again.

EverQuest II Extended Membership Matrix

Certainly, the idea of free EverQuest II has appeal.  Free anything does.

There are also obvious downsides illustrated by this chart.

If you are a current EverQuest II subscriber, I am sure that none of the subscription models hold a lot of interest.  For $15 a month, you’re already getting more than what is being offered for $200 a year in some regards.

And the idea of playing under the restrictions imposed by the free version of the game… well, let’s call those out.

  • 2 Character Slots – Well, I guess you won’t have to worry about being distracted by alts
  • No Shared Bank Slots – With no alts, who needs them?
  • 2 Bag Slots – It encourages traveling light!
  • 4 Races – Well, you were going to be a barbarian anyway, right?
  • 8 Classes – EQ2 has too many classes as it is, eight is enough!
  • Inbound Mail Only – Only gold spammers use in-game mail in any case.
  • Spell Tier Limited to Adept – No need to farm for master drops!
  • Broker System Restricted – Who wants to play the auction house game?
  • No Legendary or Fabled equipment – Less stress trying to get upgrades!
  • Cash Cap of 5 Gold Per Level – You are encouraged to live off the land!
  • 20 Active Journal Quests – Feel what it was like to play EQ2 on day 1!
  • Restricted Chat Abilities – Nobody listens to you anyway, you don’t need /yell.
  • Cannot Create a Guild – A guild is a state of mind.
  • Only KB Access for Problems – If you have issues, just rage quit.
  • Limited to Level 80 – You can “win” the game with 10 less levels!

Now, certainly from a the perspective of a current player, this probably looks like something of a nightmare scenario.

But you can view this from another angle.

Back when many of us were playing the original Diablo, after having mastered the basic game, used to try to defeat it in other ways.  One way was what we called the Iron Man method.  You and your friends went into the dungeon and were not allowed to leave until Diablo was defeated.

No going back to town to sell, buy potions or equipment, repair, or take a breather.

You had to survive off of only what you could pick up.  And if you died along the way, the attempt was over.

Now EverQuest II offers a similar sort of Iron Man option.  Call it Inconvenience Man, or the Trial of Inconvenience.

This is actually a viable game play style, since SOE plans to offer all the content and then sell convenience items as opposed to Turbine’s approach to F2P with LOTRO, where they will be selling both convenience as well as content past level 20 or so.  You could still do an Iron Man attempt at the level cap in Middle-earth of course, but it would mean grinding mobs from level 20 to 65.

What do you think of a Trial of Inconvenience attempt at the level cap?

I would suggest picking a server and forming a guild for a group attempt… but you cannot form a guild without paying in and getting some of the convenience.

EverQuest II Free to Play Too?

Well, we can certainly see which way the wind is blowing this year… in the direction of free to play… or no cover charge, if you prefer.

As noted over at Massively this morning, Sony Online Entertainment announced EverQuest II Extended, their version of the free to play.

Like the Lord of the Rings Online free to play announced earlier this year, there will be different access for different plans, from free to various fees.

EverQuest II Extended Membership Matrix

However, unlike the LOTRO plan, this is not going to do away with the current EQII subscription plans.  From the FAQ:

EverQuest II Extended is a completely separate gameplay service from the EverQuest II live subscription service. The server lists are not shared, it has completely separate forums, and if you don’t want to be around the community that plays in the free adventure service, then there is no reason for that to ever occur. However, if you want to go try out Extended, feel free to do so. Active EQII live players can create a new account on EQII Extended for free or copy over a version of an existing EQII live character for $35.

If you currently play EverQuest II, you won’t be able to drop your monthly fee unless you want to pay $35 to copy over (does that mean “clone” or “move?”) a character to a new server.  If you pay for Station Access, you will apparently get a gold level account, but that doesn’t mean much if you characters are elsewhere.

What will this mean?  Will this effectively kill off any new players to the current EQII servers, leaving them to dwindle over time like their EQ brethren?  Will guilds jump to the new server?

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in comparison to the LOTRO conversion.

I do not think, however, that this free to play mania is going to spread to Blizzard and the WoW cash machine any time soon.

Addendum:

From the forum post by Dave Georgeson:

“EverQuest II Extended” shares all the content and features of Live EQII. It plays the same. It looks the same. It *is* the same, with two obvious exceptions: a) it’s free-to-play, and b) it has a more robust marketplace.

What does “free-to-play” mean? It means that you can download the game and play all of it (except the most recent expansion) all the way up to level 80. Your character is restricted in a bunch of different ways (limited class selection, limited races, limited coin, etc.) and to unlock those features fully, you’ll need to subscribe to Gold level membership. Which, coincidentally, is $15/month. Sound familiar?

What is a “robust marketplace”? It’s exactly the same marketplace that you see on the EQII service, but it also adds lots of “convenience” items. Can’t find a good shield in-game? We sell one appropriate to your level and class. Want a healing potion to use in a pinch? Need an emergency buff? Want to shortcut your research time? Items like that are all available in the marketplace. Do we sell the very best items and equipment? Nope. Legendary and Fabled gear are better than what you can buy in the marketplace. Has the game been rebalanced so that you *need* to buy these “convenience” items? Nope. EQ2X is exactly the same game that you’re playing currently on the EQII servers. Those items are just there if you want them. They are true “convenience” items.

I guess they will be taking the Station Cash aspect to a new level and start selling equipment with stats on the new service.  That is a significant change, no matter how they try to play it off, and explains, to a certain extent, why they will be keeping EQ2 Live and EQ2 Extended apart.