Tag Archives: Legends of Norrath

Friday Bullet Points – STO, SuperData, Legends of Norrath, and EVE Online

It is another Friday where I have some topics rattling around that I want to mention but am not really keen to make full posts about.  And so we return to bullet points… the format of which seems to have moved away from actual bullet points over the last few posts.

STO on Consoles

Start Trek Online never did much for me, but it does keep chugging along as the title made the jump to consoles last week.

Never not final frontier

Never not final frontier

Perfect World Entertainment and Cryptic Studios have brought the six year old game to PlayStation 4 and XBox One, updating the control scheme for the consoles so that players can enjoy all those episodes of content, some console exclusives, and the joy of lock boxes, from the comfort of their family room.  I am mildly surprised at the move.

The Ghost of Legends of Norrath

And speaking of lock boxes, the late SOE/Daybreak collectable card game Legends of Norrath may have gone west back in August, but the spirit of its loot cards carries on, haunting the cash shop.  Loot cards from the second season of the game… which must put them from about 2008 I would guess… will be available from the Daybreak Store in simulated foil packs that prevent you from knowing what you’re going to get until you’ve paid for it.  This was done previously for season one of the game.  While I am sure there is some hard core completionist out there looking to complete their collection, I couldn’t begin to tell you what any season had to offer, so for me this isn’t even a pig in a poke, but mystery wrapped in an enigma and listed in the cash shop.

SuperData July Numbers

I just like the SuperData charts every month. (June’s here)  A single chart by itself can be dubious, but a series of charts created using even flawed data gathering methodologies can provide unintended insights.

SuperData Sez - July 2016

SuperData Sez – July 2016

I don’t have any such insights yet, but there is the chart.  More of the same, with Pokemon Go making its debut at the top of the mobile chart.  We’ll see what the August chart looks like soon enough, once it shows up on the SuperData Blog.

EVE Omega Rewards

With the coming of the very New Eden flavor of Free to Play this November, some of the usual parts of the transition parade have made their appearances, including a bonus package to remind current subscribers that they are indeed special snowflakes and of great value to the company.  There is even a special ship, the Society of Conscious Thought destroyer the Sunesis, the name of which I expect to be mangled on coms should we ever see one in space.

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

The Sunesis looks a bit flimsy

However, in order to get any of that bonus pack you have to have an account subscribed and in good standing by 23:59 UTC on September 16, 2016.  Considering that today is the 16th and that this post is going live at 17:15 UTC, that doesn’t leave you much time to get on the spaceship gravy train.

EVE Vegas

EVE Vegas is coming at the end of October and I am on board to attend.  The list of announced speakers include Dave Andrews of Just for Crits who is going to be giving a talk about EVE Online bloggers and streams as we glare at him, daring him to call us out.  Also, he used to work for SOE, so I have a few, “Seriously, WTF?” questions for him.  Might have to wait until drinks have been flowing for a bit at the Saturday night party.

Vegas baby!

Vegas baby!

The event is not that far off, to the point that I ought to be encouraging people to buy their tickets NOW before they sell out, but it sounds like tickets are still available in quantity.  I think the dates chosen, October 28-30… the weekend before Halloween, which falls on a Monday this year… was perhaps sub-optimal, as people often have plans for that and, of course, it is a party weekend in Vegas so cheap rooms and discount flights are sparse.  On the bright side, this is probably one weekend where any cosplay will totally not stand out.

More information about the event is available at the official EVE Vegas site.

Quote of the Day – The End of Legends

Within the Daybreak family, LoN seemed to be that uncle that, while still part of the family, no one ever talked about. He was always just hanging around creepily, standing in the corner sipping on a bottle of who-knows-what out of a brown paper bag.

Dellmon, Guest Post at EQ2 Wire

Legends of Norrath went dark last week and, despite a previous post about its imminent demise, I totally missed the date.  I suppose next year, when I do the month in review post, being off by ten days won’t matter much.  And frankly, to me the game itself didn’t matter much.  It was a convoluted game in a genre I don’t care for in any case.

Dellmon puts the game’s “players” into three categories in the post linked at the top, and I clearly fell into the third of the three.  I tried the game for a bit early on, then just collected the free card packs that being a Station Access subscriber got me, opening them up in hope of finding a loot card or two.

I will admit that I did get a few nice housing items out of those packs.  But it wasn’t enough for me to bend my mind to the task of opening up those card packs on a regular basis.  I think I had 80 or so sitting around unopened as the game went away.

There was a momentary glimmer of hope for the game when Smed, seeing Blizzard make a quick success out of its card game, Hearthstone, figured SOE (soon to be Daybreak) could do something like that too with Legends of Norrath.

Of course, nothing came of that.  The studio had just announced the closure of four titles in what looks like, in hindsight, pre-acquisistion house cleaning.

And so it is gone, like so many online titles before it.  I still think the high point of the game for me was when Brent from VirginWorlds was used for a card in one of the expansions.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent on his card

That is likely to be the only card I will remember.

 

The End is Nigh for PlanetSide and Legends of Norrath

More Friday afternoon announcements from Daybreak, spotted by Feldon over at EQ2 Wire.

The first to go will be PlanetSide, which will be shut down as of July 1, 2016.

PlanetSide back in the day...

PlanetSide back in the day…

Unsupported and basically free for ages now, its continued existence was largely due to the grace of Smed, who championed the game and its successor, the troubled PlanetSide 2, and a sense of nostalgia.

Smed is gone and nostalgia without financial support only gets you so far, and so the following was posted to the PlanetSide 2 site… because PlanetSide doesn’t have its own anymore.

April and May were really exciting months for us with the release of the new Construction System, base revamp of Indar, and new population caps to improve battle flow. It’s been exciting to watch all of you experiment with base design and shift battles in new directions. A big thanks to all of you who have jumped in to try it out and given us feedback.

While we hope you are as excited as we are about the recent changes, we do have to make a more solemn announcement. On July 1st, at 4:00 PM PT, we will be closing the PlanetSide 1 server. PlanetSide 1 has a very important history with Daybreak Games and a special place in the hearts of those who work on its successor. While we have run the game for free since 2014, due to evolving business needs and technical requirements it has become necessary to conclude this service.

We hope you will take this opportunity to enjoy the remaining time available with each other and please help us give PlanetSide 1 the sendoff it deserves.

And so it goes.  I was never a fan myself, but the game had a dedicated, if small, following.

The next item is Legends of Norrath, which was removed from the EverQuest and EverQuest II clients recently, followed by loot packs from the card game becoming available in the cash shop.  That seemed to be a sign of things to come.  Today there was a post in the forums and on the Legends of Norrath site, accompanied by email notification to subscribers, indicating that the collectable card game would no longer be available after noon on August 17, 2016.  The email notification says:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING LEGENDS OF NORRATH

On Aug‌ust 1‌7, 20‌16 at no‌on pac‌ific, the Legends of Norrath Trading Card game server will close.
The monthly All Access Membership claim of Legends of Norrath booster packs and the ability to purchase Legends of Norrath booster packs will no longer be available after Ju‌ly 1‌8, 20‌16 at 10‌AM paci‌fic. Legends of Norrath packs will need to be opened in the LON client and all loot rewards will need to be claimed prior to Aug‌ust 1‌7, 20‌16 at no‌on pacific to ensure your loot rewards are available in EverQuest or EverQuest II.

For more information regarding this announcement, please see the Legends of Norrath website.

Daybreak Game Company LLC

Again, the writing seemed to be on the wall recently.  The forum post indicates that the game has not had an active development for some time.

At one point, just before the announcement of the Daybreak acquisition, Smed seemed to have taken inspiration from Blizzard’s Hearthstone and indicated that SOE might do something with the game.  That clearly never came to pass.

I was never a fan of this game either, and only tinkered with it because as an All Access member I was given free card packs.  The last time I checked I had ~70 unopened packs waiting for my attention.  Now they aren’t even in the EQ or EQII client and I am not sure it is worth the effort to grab the stand alone LON client just to see what they may hold.  And hell, if there was anything I really wanted I will be able to buy it in the cash shop eventually I suppose… if I am willing to buy a pig in a poke.

Random... I hate random...

Random… I hate random…

I will mostly remember LON for using members of the community as models for some of the cards.  I was pretty happy when I finally got the card that had Brent from VirginWorlds on it.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent from VirginWorlds

Daybreak continues to trim down.  I do wonder at times if they are planning anything new, or just riding out an extended end game on the few assets of value they have left.

 

Quote of the Day – Hearthstone, SOE, and Historical Inevitability

Actually after seeing what Blizzard did with Hearthstone it’s given us some other ideas…. LoN is an awesome card game. We can take that to the next level.

John Smedley, Reddit AMA on plans for Legends of Norrath

Okay, that is actually a quote from a few days back, but the Reddit Ask Me Anything that John Smedley did last Friday is a gold mine of quotes.  I have to salute Feldon at EQ2 Wire for picking out some of the prime samples for his post.

And I have to hand it to Smed for not flinching from some tough question and answering things the way he did.  He laid out a lot things there, and not all of them were flattering to SOE.  He also left a lot of meat on the table to discuss, from SOE operating Vanguard at a loss for “a long time” to consolidation of IPs plan (again, is DC Universe Online safe with that going on?) to EverQuest Next being headed for the PlayStation 4 (not good news in my book, at least when it comes to a ship date… or user interface choices).  You could get a month’s worth of blog posts out of that AMA.  I am sure bloggers will be feeding on this all week.

But the item quoted at the top… I think speaks volumes in just two sentences.

The online collectible card game Legends of Norrath was launched back in late 2007, when it was integrated with EverQuest and EverQuest II, giving players a game to play within a game.  No mixed message in that.  Later it got its own stand-alone client, but the integration with the EverQuest games was still prime.  Legends of Norrath borrowed the stories and metaphors of the EverQuest games for theme and mechanics, and offered up in-game goodies for players of the two MMOs along with throwing out the occasional reward to the community by including somebody on a card.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

And, as far as I know, the game has been a success.  It survived the great purge of the Denver and Tuscon studios that seemed to spell the end of online card games being anything like a focus at SOE. (There are some good historical Smed quotes on the old SOE Blog, and some interesting posts from others about company plans. I am surprised it hasn’t all been sent down the memory hole yet.)  Legends of Norrath survived along with Magic The Gathering: Tactics, though the latter is slated to be shut down at the end of March.  Another aspect of the recent blood bath I guess.

And then along came Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.

HearthstoneWhite_450

Actually, it hasn’t really come along yet.  It just got out of closed beta and is now downloadable by anybody who wants to be in the open beta (Europe too now) and who has a Battle.net account.

Hearthstone compares directly to Legends of Norrath.  It is an online collectable card game based on the lore of a popular MMO, it is free to play with its own client, you can buy cards, play against other online, and so on.

However, unlike Legends of Norrath, Hearthstone isn’t integrated into World of Warcraft.  For now the linkage is only in lore and sharing a Battle.net login with WoW and your other current Blizzard games.  Also unlike Legends of Norrath, Hearthstone has gotten a lot of praise from both inside and out of the MMO player community.

Not that I have heard people slam Legends of Norrath, but it never seemed like a big deal either, not the way Hearthstone has been hailed.  Part of that is no doubt the fact that Blizzard games are much more visible, popular, and highly rated than games from SOE.  A lot of people will try anything Blizzard ships.  Simple truth: Blizzard has a lot more fans than SOE.

And part of that is no doubt the application of Blizzard magic to the Legends of Norrath idea, which made Hearthstone shinier, easier to get into, and more appealing to players for whom collectible card games were never really a thing to do.  Plus there is the promise of an iOS and Android version of the game.  The iPad will likely be the Hearthstone platform for me.

This is, of course, pretty much a parallel to EverQuest and World of Warcraft.  SOE got out there first and succeeded, but then Blizzard took what they saw SOE doing and created something an order of magnitude more successful.  And so I suspect will be the case with Hearthstone.

Of course, not everybody loves Hearthstone.  As the hardcore early EverQuest players derided World of Warcraft (even as EverQuest tried to become more and more like WoW ), so some serious CCG players have declared that Hearthstone is a shallow game only fit for casual scrubs, bitter that people are not playing “more deserving” games.  And so it goes.

But the generally favorable reviews of the game got even me to download the Hearthstone open beta, and I am well into the “CCGs are not for me” camp. (I tried the Pokemon CCG a few times, but never enjoyed it.)  I haven’t actually played it yet… or even launched the app… but I have it downloaded.  And that brings me to yet another SOE vs. Blizzard parallel.

In downloading and installing Hearthstone, I found out that to use it required the still-in-beta Battle.net launcher… erm, excuse me… the Battle.net Desktop App.  Oh, and that replaced the launcher for all of the current Blizzard games, including World of Warcraft and Diablo III.

The Hearthstone install did not warn me about that and I was PISSED!

I was pissed because I have been through the single, unified launcher/updater wringer before.  Of course, that was with SOE which was trying to push their version of that sort of thing quite a while back.

Station Launcher of yore...

Station Launcher of yore…

The fact that Station Launcher never quite worked right was compounded by the fact that the SOE website kept telling people to use it after they had stopped supporting and it had ceased to function.  I had to open a support ticket to get the response of “don’t use that” from SOE.  So my anger was entirely based on having problems with this sort of thing before.  I would have avoided downloading Hearthstone had I known what it meant.

Only, in the ongoing parallel between SOE and Blizzard, the new Battle.net launcher… Desktop App… just works.  I log into Battle.net through it and can kick off World of Warcraft just fine.  It shows me all the news tidbits that the WoW launcher did and, in addition, shows which of my Battle Tag friends are online and in which game.  No problems at all.

My anger was thus short lived, which brings me back around to the quote at the top of this post.  SOE deciding to copy Blizzard, who copied SOE in the first place seems to be the natural order of things.  I am sure somebody can make quite a list of the things that SOE copied back from Blizzard.  So it is no surprise to me that, upon seeing what Blizzard has done with Hearthstone, that SOE has been moved to action.  Because, when left to their own devices, SOE can come up with some clunkers. (Not to mention being a bit tone deaf at times.)

I suppose the only thing wrong with Station Launcher was that SOE didn’t leaving hanging around long enough for the Blizzard version to appear so that they would know what to do.