Tag Archives: Lost Dungeons of Norrath

The EverQuest Agnarr Server Hits the Planes of Power

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.

Agnarr the Stormlord for whom the server was named

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.

Planes of Power – Hope you like it!

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.

Released Together?  Not this time

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.

Not for Agnarr

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.

Firiona Vie casts in the expansion graphic

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.

We Find Our First “Lost” Dungeon

As predicted in a comment thread on another post, Potshot and I found ourselves in EverQuest mid-afternoon on Sunday.  I was on as Wilhelm the warrior while Potshot was dual-boxing with Garfinkel the bard and Foggen the ranger.

We had mucked around a bit and gotten ourselves to level 20 and decided it was high time we found one of these lost dungeons.  Actually, we could have gone earlier I would guess.  We all got a pop-up at level 17 that said we were clear for LDON missions, but 20 really isn’t that much further along with the way levels come in the Blightfire Moors.

I had already heeded the call of the wayfarers and was ready to go.  Potshot had visited Vladnelg Galvern, but still had to speak to somebody at the wayfarer’s camp, so we headed off to the Commonlands tunnel to find Barstre Songweaver.

Potshot got through the questions, got his stones, and then it was time to ask for a mission.  Answering the questions and getting your stone now gets you an achievement.

The achievement seems to be mis-informed though.  The representative in my home town sent me somewhere else to get my Adventurer’s Stone.  But all these achievements are new and LDON is nearly nine years old.

Anyway, we hit up the adventure recruiter and found we had four options.  We could kill a boss, kill a set number of mobs, rescue somebody, or do some fourth thing that sounded like more work and less fun than the rest, but which has since slipped my mind.

We opted for slaying a boss, which is certainly the standard in the post-WoW world, and got assigned our mission.  There was also an option to set the risk level, which had the choices “normal” and “hard.”  We went with normal for our first run.

Kill Yness Bloodprayer, and orc in the Rujarkian Hills.  How hard could that be?

We shall see.  Pictures, a map, and potential spoilers after the cut.

Continue reading

The Wayfarer’s Call

One of the things about my forays back into EverQuest over the last few years is that they tend to focus on one of two things: New or Nostalgia.

I either log in to see something new and shiny, like a new starter plan or in-game housing (or new hot bars), or I want to wallow in the old world of EverQuest and play in the Qeynos sewers or West Karana.  Part of the reason I keep saying that Ruins of Kunark is the only good EverQuest expansion is, of course, because that was the last EQ expansion in which I was really invested.  I have only really been a Norrathian dilettante since then, looking at the new and then going back to play the very old.

But those two points are just the first and last items on what is a very large and still expanding buffet of EverQuest content.  There are many more dishes in which to indulge. (I was torn on what metaphor to use there. I also considered the layers of a cake, the ends of a foot long hoagie, and something about pizza toppings. Clearly I did not get enough to eat for dinner.)

With this in mind, I decided to try and take advantage of one of the EverQuest expansions that I have never seen but which is available at lower levels, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath.

Yes, LDON is hardly new, but it does fall inside my knowledge gap, which is pretty much empty from the launch of the Planes of Power to The Serpent’s Spine.

LDON was tentatively on the list of things for Potshot and I to look into on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server.  Even after that effort was derailed by the PSN/SOE hacking last year, there was still a chance that we might go back once LDON was released, since you can start on it in full at level 20, or so I understand.

Then SOE announced that EverQuest would be going free to play, an event which occurred just a couple of days after LDON finally went live on Fippy Darkpaw.

And since playing of Fippy Darkpaw requires a Gold level subscription, it seemed like a better idea to just roll up characters on the new Vox server.

So there we were, rolling up new characters yet again.  And then subscribing and making too many alts and running around in old Norrath and all of the usual vices.

Eventually I managed to focus on one character long enough to get the call.

LDON is calling you...

I have actually gotten that message in the past, at other times on other servers.  I knew (though cannot tell you the source of this knowledge) that this message had to do with LDON, but have never attempted to answer the call.

This time though, I was going to.  As soon as I remembered where my home city was.  I started off towards Halas before I realized that everybody has to start in Crescent Reach now.  They even give you a recall skill to get you home, called Origin.  So, like the drunk who saw the “Drink Canada Dry” sign, I went.

Upon arriving in Crescent Reach, there was a mysterious voice update.

Okay, now find a guy...

From there, it was a matter of finding Vladnelg Galvern… a name Steve Martin could have made up.  Fortunately, the mysterious voice gave a geographical reference, and I was able to find him standing next to our old friend Disgruntled Boawb.

A somewhat antiseptic hive of scum and villainy

He told me… well… several chat screens worth of stuff, ending up by telling me to seek the camps of the Wayfarer’s Brotherhood, which were purported to be scattered about Norrath.

He did not, however, mention exactly where.  So I had to go look this up, since Norrath is a pretty big place.  This lead me to one of the problems with EverQuest, the fact that a lot of data on the web it really old and often link out to pages or sites that no longer exist.  Even Allakhazam’s EverQuest section, which has held together pretty well over the years, shows signs of age and neglect.  There are a lot of pages on the site where the most recent comment is more than five years old.

Still, I did find a site that told me where I might find the camps.  While the site was obviously old, the information was accurate.  The dispersalof the camps  in Norrath betrays the ongoing anti-Qeynos, “Freeport Über Alles” attitude of SOE.  They were listed as being in:

  • East Commonlands (The Commonlands have been one zone for a while now)
  • North Ro
  • South Ro
  • Butcherblock Mountains
  • Everfrost

Bowing to the will of SOE, and looking for the camp closest to a Plane of Knowledge travel book, I went to the Commonlands.  Once there I had to search around a bit before some tidbit of lost data forced its way into concious thought and sent me headed to the tunnel to North Ro.  There it was that I found one of the NPCs which Vladnelg Galvern told me to seek, Barstre Songweaver.

This tunnel used to be full of players

I spoke with Barstre a bit, answering his questions.  I am sure they were part of the information that Vladnelg attempted to impart on me, but I just took the answers to his questions from the site I found, and used them to respond to each of his statements.  They were:

  • Adventures
  • Favor journal
  • Morden Rasp
  • Farstones
  • Oldsmobile

After that he gave me the Adventurer’s Stone, which is an augmentation thing.  But augmentations are a bit of EQ lore that I missed (or forgot about… I have forgotten a lot) somewhere along the line, so I am not sure what to do with it.  More research ahead.

But I have some time.  In addition to having to get myself up to level 20 in order to get into my first LDON instance, you cannot go in alone.  So Potshot has to get there as well.  But we are, I hope, on our way to seeing something new to us in Norrath.

Lost Dungeons of Norrath Goes Live on Fippy Darkpaw… And Maybe Legacy of Ykesha…

This should now be live in game.

-Naylie, in one of the LDON forum threads

Oh, for a simple declarative sentence!  Did she mean one expansion, both expansions, or something else?

Released Together?

Why couldn’t she have written, “LDON and LoY are now live in game!”  Don’t they teach the value of a clarity in school any more?  Her statement was in a thread that was only about LDON.

After a morning of grousing in the forums about LDON not unlocking when expected, Naylie, the EQ Community Manager, posted around 3pm Pacific Time that development was looking into the issue.  Then about two hours later she posted the message quoted at the top of this post.

I mention this because, of course, the very next message in the thread was about LDON NPCs not being available yet.  And nobody went to the forums with the unlock message.  And, even the next morning, neither LDON or LoY are lit up as being unlocked on the progress chart, though people are clearly doing LDON content.

LDON Content

Which leaves me wondering what is unlocked and what is not.

Of course, part of the problem is that I am attempting to track and report on the progress of the Fippy Darkpaw progression server without actually being subscribed to the game.  That means I cannot post to the forums nor can I log in to the game to make a few simple checks that would verify that the expansions are live.

If I could see a froglok in game, the race introduced with Legacy of Ykesha, or find the LDON NPCs (or get the message inviting me to come visit them) then I would have positive proof that both expansions were up.

Instead, I am going to take the cessation of complaints as the indicator that both expansions went live yesterday afternoon.

So that would make the timeline for the Fippy Darkpaw server something like this so far:

  • Classic EverQuest competed, February 24, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark unlocked, June 6, 2011
  • Ruins of Kunark completed, June 19, 2011
  • Scars of Velious unlocked, August 29, 2011
  • Scars of Velious completed, September 14, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin unlocked, November 21, 2011
  • Shadows of Luclin completed, December 4, 2011
  • Planes of Power unlocked, February 13, 2012
  • Lost Dungeons of Norrath unlocked, March 12, 2012
  • Legacy of Ykesah unlocked, March 12, 2012

Which leaves us looking towards the Gates of Discord, the next expansion on the list.  At this point I am not sure when we should expect the vote on it to go live.  Was the timer for it triggered by the completion of the Planes of Power bosses?  Will it be triggered only after LDON and LoY bosses are complete?

I suppose I will just have to watch the forums and see what happens.

At least the PoP/LDON/LoY group appears to be the only exceptions to the “one expansion at a time” plan.  Hopefully that will lead to a bit less confusion on my part.

Meanwhile, EverQuest is set to go free to play on Friday.  Not that that will help me.  The progression servers require a gold membership, which is a classic subscription.

Lost Dungeons of Norrath and Legacy of Ykesha Still Not Live on Fippy Darkpaw

Previously it had been announced by Piestro, the EverQuest community manager at the time, that the next two expansions to come up on the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server would behave as they did on the previous progression servers.

(Those servers were The Combine and The Sleeper, if I remember correctly.  All that history seems to have disappeared, which is part of the reason I am keeping track of the new servers here.)

That is to say, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion would unlock automatically 15 days after the Planes of Power went live and the Legacy of Ykesha would unlock 15 days after Rallos Zek was slain for the first time.

Expected Together

Both of those events happened on February 13, 2012.  So there was an expectation that both expansions would go live on February 28.

As I posted here previously, they did not.

After a long thread, with the usual arguments (no such thread is complete until somebody chimes in that “expansion X” should never get unlocked, along with the paired duo of “Sony is always right” and “Sony is always fail”), the latest EverQuest community manager, Naylie, passed on an explanation of the issue.

I spoke with Development and apparently we were a little confused on how this unlock was going to happen.

These two unlocks should happen the same as the other expansion unlocks. If enough yes votes happen, both expansions should unlock on March 12, 2012.

This change of tune got some groans and a bit of fist shaking, but at least there was an answer.  After a bit more grumbling, people went back to their routines.

There was a bit of worry about the vote itself, since the expansion being voted on (two expansions really, LDON and Ykesha), was not listed on the ballot, just the generic “unlock the next expansion” verbiage.  This caused some to fear that people would think the vote was for the Gates of Discord expansion and that they might mistakenly vote against it. (GoD was, for some guilds, the “let’s go beta test WoW” expansion, and marked the end of growth and the beginning of decline for EverQuest.)

A name that was a little too apt

Though, frankly, no vote has gone against unlocking so far, so I am not so sure how valid those worries were.  Then again, there was at least one new thread agitating for a no vote because it was assumed to be the Gates of Discord.

And then on March 11, the day before the expected unlock, another vote came up.  As usual, there was only the generic “next expansion” verbiage, so it was not clear if this was a vote on The Gates of Discord, a re-vote on LDON, a separate vote of Ykesha, or just some error condition.

This was followed up on March 12 by a lack of voting results and/or expansion unlocks.

A thread on the forum ensued.  There has been, up to the point in time when I initially posted this, no response.

And the chance of a timely response seems pretty thin for two reasons.

First, this week EverQuest anniversary week, with the game turning 13 this coming Friday.  That means store specials and in-game events, none of which apply to the progression servers, so community team eyes will be focused elsewhere.

Second, this is the month that EverQuest is supposed to go free to play.  When the free to play transition was announced back at the end of January, the timeline for the change was given at “early March.”

I'm not making this up

I think we have passed the point which most people would consider “early” in March. (If you want to find out more, you can click here.)   We will shortly be at the aforementioned 13th anniversary, a date mentioned in the free to play announcement as one of the first post free to play events.

So I would imagine that the EverQuest team is very focused on the business model transition to the exclusion of almost anything else at this point.

And free to play is one thing that won’t touch the progression servers.  As noted in the details of the subscription matrix for free to play, players will be required to have a traditional, or Gold under the new terminology, subscription in order to participate on the progression servers.  A nostalgic model for a nostalgia driven server.  And, of course, the progression servers won’t have the selection of items from the Station Store either, so the model makes sense.  But it means that the progression servers won’t be getting much attention and are, in fact, probably being cursed by some programmer at this very moment who is having to add in or maintain a series of conditional statements just to keep those servers as close to the nostalgic idea as SOE can manage.

So the time locked progression servers are not the highest priority on SOE’s list of things to do this week.

Meanwhile, the Vulak server (see, I do remember them now and again) is running a couple weeks behind Fippy Darkpaw and no doubt want to see how this gets resolved if only to get an idea of when they might get access to LDON and LoY.

Lost Dungeons of Norrath Still Lost on Fippy Darkpaw

On the Fippy Darkpaw time locked progression server, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath, the next EverQuest expansion slated to become available, failed to show up on the expected morning.

Still Lost

It was reported in the forums and repeated elsewhere that the Lost Dungeons of Norrath would unlock 15 days after the Planes of Power went live.  Since the Planes went live on February 13th, that would put the Lost Dungeons unlock at February 28th. However, according to reports in the forums, the expansion failed to show up on the appointed day.

Instead a vote came up that morning regarding the unlock, which was set to run through March 12th, something that would push the unlock out considerably.

Naylie, the new community manager for EverQuest, who just recently took over from Piestro (who got thrown into all the fun going on in EverQuest II of late), chimed in to say she was looking into the situation.

There is no word so far as to when the Lost Dungeons of Norrath will be found and what will happen with The Legacy of Ykesha expansion, which was targeted to unlock 15 days after Rallos Zek is slain… a death which occurred on February 13th as well… so that unlock is officially off schedule as well it seems.

Update: Naylie posted the following on the forums:

I spoke with Development and apparently we were a little confused on how this unlock was going to happen.

These two unlocks should happen the same as the other expansion unlocks. If enough yes votes happen, both expansions should unlock on March 12, 2012.

So it looks like there will be a vote, and that the vote is for BOTH Lost Dunegons of Norrath and the Legacy of Ykesha.  Tune back in a couple of weeks to see how that ends up.

And, to add on to the confusion, it is unclear how this will all impact the vote/unlock timer for the Gates of Discord expansion.  Never a dull moment!

The Shadows of Luclin Complete on Fippy Darkpaw

The EverQuest expansion, The Shadows of Luclin, went live on the Fippy Darkpaw progression server back on November 21st.

Well, the last boss was cleared as of December 4th.  While the official timeline remains broken, in that it no longer shows who completed quests or killed bosses, reports indicate that Twisted Legion, the dominant guild on the server, brought down Aten Ha Ra.  This event starts the 60 day clock to the next expansion vote.

Luclin Bosses Down

The next vote should commence around the end of January, with the expansion opening, if the “yes” vote passes, by the second week of February at the latest.

The next expansion in line is actually a combo pack if reports are correct, and will include BOTH The Planes of Power and the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansions.

This actually puts the releases out of order, as The Legacy of Ykesha originally came out between those two expansions.  As I understand it, the raid focused Planes of Power and the group focused Lost Dungeons of Norrath were viewed as complimentary sets of content.  So you Frogloks will have to wait until the unlock after that it seems.

This, of course, lead to more forum posts about voting “no” on expansions, which at least might distract from the ongoing complaints about the speed of AA experience.  Planes of Power remains… controversial nine years later… but then so do most of the post-Velious expansions.