I have to ask again, who are these people who claim to have once been Sony Online Entertainment? They seem to be moving at a speed unlike anything I ever saw out of SOE.
Last week the EverQuest Ragefire progression server beta opened up, then yesterday they announced in the forums that the Ragefire Progression Server would go live next Wednesday, May 20th.
Okay, yes, the EverQuest team, which now runs both EverQuest and EverQuest II and which has also been plundered to provide bodies for other projects, if I read things right, isn’t exactly making a new game like their brethren on the EverQuest Next team, nor are they trying to fix long standing problems and expand to new platforms like the PlanetSide 2 team. They aren’t even trying to bootstrap a new game on top of the PlanetSide 2 code, as with H1Z1.
No, the EverQuest team is just trying to put together another progression server, which they have done a couple of times before, so this ought to be somewhat straightforward. They have actual progression servers still running, right?
But even with the rather focused task, the EverQuest team does seem to be moving at a brisk pace. The last time around there were a couple of months between the results of the server name poll, which yielded Fippy Darkpaw, and the server actually going live. I think it must be all the attention the idea of another progression server is getting from Daybreak, and how much it contrasts with the lack of attention that the Fippy Darkpaw server got after it launched.
Anyway, the poll results were last Wednesday, the server goes live next Wednesday.
That is almost too soon for me. I was guessing a June date in part out of wishful thinking and the onset of the usual instance group summer hiatus. But there it is.
Like Bhagpuss, I have spent a little time on the beta server, following my usual pattern. I rolled up a half-elf druid and started in Surefall Glade. That was my plan back in 1999, the half-elf druid thing having been my main back in TorilMUD. But I had two friends who also wanted to roll half-elf druids as well, so I relented and rolled a ranger instead, thinking that they couldn’t possibly be as bad as rangers were in TorilMUD.
They were. My friends went on to greatness with their druids, one of the first really OP classes in EverQuest, while I struggled until I rolled up a bard.
So I rolled up and then rolled out of Surefall Glades and off to the front yard of Qeynos proper, the traditional spot for the first few levels for those of us starting west of Highpass.
It had been a while since I actually got out and slayed a gopher snake or two in Norrath, so there were a few changes I wasn’t aware of, like the updated looting method.
That actually helps, since one of the traditional EverQuest problems has been clicking on yourself while trying to click on a corpse to loot it, your own target area being huge relative to your actual avatar.
Of course, the prime item to loot was the Stone of Beta.
You collect the stones from corpses. Not all kills yield them, but if you just keep killing they will start piling up. Then you click on them, which puts up a firework and clicks a counter somewhere indicating your ongoing participation. I hope the threshold for reward isn’t too high. There is talk of a bag or some such, which would be nice. But if you need more than 100 stones I probably won’t get there. With the /betabuff command and content seemingly wide open on the server (I was on the Plane of Knowledge for a bit) the population feels diffused, so there aren’t the traditional groups forming up to camp bandits and such.
I did try the /betabuff command myself, boosting my first character to a level 20 druid. However, it also turned me into a female halfling along the way. That wasn’t going to stand, so I re-rolled another half-elf druid and went back to level 1 again.
One outstanding question is what happens with the Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak servers once Ragefire goes live?
Fippy Darkpaw is around the House of Thule expansion now… I think. SOE never bothered to announce these things so, as I have noted in the past, the only way you could tell when an expansion hit from the forums is when SOE screwed something up… which was regularly for most of the unlocks.
But now, with Ragefire opening up soon, what will happen to the other two active progression servers. They are long past the expansions for which most people are nostalgic. By House of Thule SOE was in full on backport mode, trying to bring every feature from EverQuest II back in time to old Norrath. I expect that the population, not huge on Fippy Darkpaw and small enough on Vulak that calls for a merge between the two come up regularly, will drop off with a rush back to the excitement of day one in the classic content.
We shall see I suppose. About time to get signed up for Daybreak All Access I suppose. The beta is free, but the live server will require a subscription to play.
And the next order of business is to see who might actually be playing on Ragefire when it opens. EverQuest is no fun solo.
Addendum: Make that May 21st. Much ado about happenings on May 20th.