Tag Archives: MMO Expansions

EverQuest Launches the Ring of Scale Expansion

Another moment to note, today Daybreak launched the 24th EverQuest expansion, Ring of Scale.

Does it scale?

The Ring of Scale expansion sends players back to Kunark… again… and into new versions of some familiar zones to assist the Combine in their conflict with the Sarnak, dragons, and whoever is living in Veeshan’s Peak these days.

The expansion lists out the following items:

  • Level Cap Raised to 110 – 5 more levels
  • 6 New Zones
    • The Overthere (RoS version) – Hub zone, connects you to other expansion zones
    • Charasis (RoS version)
    • Gorowyn
    • Sathir’s Tomb
    • Skyfire Mountains (RoS version)
    • Veeshan’s Peak (RoS version)
  • New Raids, Quests, and Missions
  • New Spells, Combat Abilities, and Alternate Advancement traits
  • New Collections

Further details are available at Fanra’s EverQuest Wiki., the Allakhazam Wiki, as well as in today’s update notes in the EQ forums.

As usual, the expansion is available at three different price points, the two more expensive coming with their own piles of fluff.

Re-used image from The Broken Mirror expansion because the prices remain the same

With the base package you get the expansion content, plus access to all previous expansion content should you be behind on that.

The Collectors Edition adds in the following:

  • Gorowyn Express Beacon – teleport item
  • Contract of the Skorpikis – redeemable for a special NPC mercenary
  • Claimable once per account:
    • Ring of Scale Painting – House item
    • Experience Potion* – 25% exp boost for 8 hours
    • Howling Stones Bag* – 40 slot bag
    • Devourer Familiar* – pet
    • Fierce Cockatrice Mount – mount with stat buffs
    • Guise of the Iron-Toothed Earthdigger* – illusion

And for the full $140 Premium edition you can add the following to the above:

  • Shared Experience Potion* – 25% exp boost for your group for 8 hours
  • Bridle of the Balefire Wyvern – mount with an even bigger stats buff
  • Rhino-Riding Herald Telcha Familiar* – pet

Items marked with an asterisk are available to be redeemed on progression servers.

And, of course, if you’re a Daybreak All Access subscriber you get to take 10% off the prices listed.  Even with that discount there doesn’t seem to be enough fluff to begin to tempt me at those rates.

While I won’t be jumping back into old Norrath, I did stop and watch the trailer for the expansion.  Things still look very EverQuest-y in Norrath, if you know what I mean.

Next year, expansion 25.

Planes of Prophecy Expansion for EverQuest II

It is that time of year, the expansion season for the Norrath franchise at Daybreak, and today the first of the pair to launch is EverQuest II which is going live with the Planes of Prophecy expansion today.

Planes of Prophecy

As down as some people are on Daybreak (looking at you Massively OP) I still see a victory in every additional expansion they manage to ship for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  Even though I don’t play either any more, and really can’t bring myself to stick to either when I try, they still both occupy a special place in the pantheon of MMORPGs for me.

Anyway, the fourteenth EQII expansion takes us to the elemental planes again, as the title indicates.  I guess that counts as something of a nod to nostalgia as it even has the same acronym as the famed/infamous 2002 Planes of Power expansion for EverQuest.

The feature list reads as such lists tend to, with more of just about everything including levels, quests, zones, raids, and so on.

  • New Zones including
    • Plane of Magic
    • Plane of Valor
    • Plane of Innovation
    • Plane of Disease
    • Bastion of Thunder
    • Solusek Ro’s Tower
    • Brackish Vaults
  • New Heroic Dungeons
  • New Event Heroic Dungeons
  • New Solo Dungeons
  • New Duo Dungeons
  • New Raid Dungeons
  • New Large Overland
  • New Hub Zone “Coliseum of Valor”; provides access to dungeons, raids, and public quests
  • Alt-Friendly Keyring System: If you unlock a new heroic or raid zone on your main, your alt will also gain access to it.
  • New Signature Quest Line
  • New Public Quests
  • New Timed Key Quests
  • New Collection Quests
  • New “Soulbound” Weapons: Soulbound weapons will be able to level up and become even more powerful!
  • New Weapon Type: Crossbows, a ranged weapon usable by all
  • Adventure Level Cap Raised to 110
  • All Ascension Classes Level Cap Increased to 15
  • Guild Level Cap Increased to 250
  • New Factions
  • New Achievements
  • New Items
  • Tradeskill Level Cap Raised to 110
  • New Adornments for Crafters to Make
  • New Tinkering Recipes
  • Mercenary Level Cap Increased to 10
  • More Mercenary Gear Slots: Six new slots for hands, legs, feet, and 3 additional accolades

Lots and lots of “new” and “more” on that list, enough to keep people busy for another year… or at least until the spring game update.

A few items jump out at me from the list.  I am curious as to how this Coliseum of Valor will work, or what it actually is.  Is this the EQII version of the Plane of Knowledge?

Then there are crossbows because… well… I bet they look cool.  Still, that seems like something that wasn’t really missed for the last 13 years, so why bring them in now?

And then there are the new Soulbound weapons, which on the surface sound a lot like Artifact weapons from WoW Legion or Legendary weapons from LOTRO.

Which is to say it could be a good idea, but it could also be a bad one.

I actually ended up liking the Artifact weapons in WoW Legion even though, for example, every retribution pally gets a copy of Ashbringer.  That you can unlock special looks for each artifact weapon helped on that score.

The downside is that artifact weapons will cease to be a thing come the Battle for Azeroth expansion, which will leave an awkward 10 levels towards the end of the level curve where you have to get and upgrade a special weapon that you’ll likely throw away before you’ve had a change to fully upgrade it.

As for LOTRO and legendary weapons… ugh… that seemed like a good idea back in Mines of Moria, but it quickly got old for me there and Turbine’s, and then Standing Stone’s, continued use of the awkward mechanic is on the long list of things that keep me from going back to play the game.

I haven’t followed the updates for the expansion, so I am not sure what path Daybreak plans to follow here, but I am wary none the less.  And what do these new Soulbound weapons mean for Mythic weapons, yet another category I am told exists.  I am clearly out of my depth here.

Anyway, you get all of that when you buy the standard edition of the expansion along with a level 100 character boost.

But, of course, the expansion comes in three flavors, the same as before, so I don’t even have to crop up a new graphic for the pricing and can just roll with what I did in 2015.

Premium packages available for premium prices

For the Collectors Edition you also get a trade skill level 100 boost and a 5 ascension level boost along with an array of other items, and with the $140 Premium Edition you can add on a 10 ascension level boost as well as even more… um… stuff.

You can get all the details from the expansion order page.

Sadly, if you’re reading this and have not ordered yet it is likely you missed out on the Clockwork Calamity illusion pre-order bonus item, some aspects of which Bhagpuss has demonstrated in a video.

Bhagpuss also has some words about the expansion in his post today which are probably better than my own as he pays more attention to EQII than I can manage.

That is it, another year and another EverQuest II expansion.

Addendum: Even Daybreak says the expansion is live now.  Hit level 101 before December 12th and get special painting for you house.

Lifeblood comes to EVE Online

The Lifeblood expansion is upon us, having been deployed earlier today.

Arriving Today

After weeks… and in some cases months… of talk and updates and dev blogs, the date has finally arrived.  And what does Lifeblood bring?

The Moon in the Sky

Probably the biggest change involves moon mining.  Moon mining lies at the center of the production of Tech II ships and modules, so any disruption of that means a disruption in the market… and a disruption seems likely.

The first aspect of the moon mining change is the introduction of new Upwell structures, in this case the Athanor (Medium size) and Tatara (Large size, there being no XL) refineries.  These structures will be replacing the moon mining and reaction capabilities previously seen in the familiar old Player Owned Starbase, or POS.  From this point forward a POS can no longer mine moons; that capability is now gone.

A Tatara Refinery in the Wild

The refineries will take that all over… once they come online.  Corps and Alliances and the rare enterprising soloist will have to grab a BPO for one of the new structures… probably research it a bit just to shave off some of the cost… and actually start building the new refineries.  During that time there will be no “moon goo” production.

Meanwhile, the big moon reshuffle will also have happened, so people will need to go probe moons to find out what they will now yield.  Yesterday’s R64 might not be so valuable today.

And then, once moons are surveyed and refinery production has ramped up and structures are available to be place (one per moon), there is the matter of the new moon mining process.

The old process was passive.  The POS modules did the work and somebody just had to show up to collect the output every so often.  It was common for one person to have multiple moons and reaction farms going, or for an alliance to have a few people tending their moons while the proceeds went to support their ship and SRP budget.

The new process involves extracting a chunk of a moon, hauling into space, blowing it up into little chunks, and then mining it the way you would mine an ore anomaly.  That means getting people out there in mining ops to collect the 75 new flavors of ore that will carry the things like technetium that was formerly extracted passively. (There are also ten new mining crystals, with tech I and tech II variants, divided into classes of moon ore rather than individual ore types.)  Groups that pride themselves on being PvP only who have depended on moon mining to fund their operations will need to find a new way to stay on the moon goo gravy train.

So there will be delays as the new structures are produced, moons are scanned, and organizations adapt to the new reality of moon mining, during which time we will all be living on whatever moon goo supplies have been hoarded ahead of time.  I suspect that the price of Tech II modules will rise on market speculation alone.

Related Dev Blogs:

Mining Ledger

A legit opportunity to say “spreadsheets in space” for once, CCP has added a way to track your own personal mining output, with a corp version so that leaders can get an organizational view of who is mining what, when, and where.

I will be interested to see what becomes of this.  Every time CCP gives more data to players, that data ends up getting used in many ways.  I expect this will become both boon for some and bane for others around New Eden.  There is a dev blog up with details.

Guristas Shipyards

Coming with Lifeblood will be a new pirate faction shipyard, this time from the Guristas.  Up to three of these NPC Sotiya class engineering complexes, two in null sec and one in low sec, will be up and running in Guristas space, which is in the north end of New Eden.

Guristas Shipyard

As with the Blood Raider shipyard in the south, these will spawn forces to defend based on the attacker’s force and will drop blueprint copies of Guristas capital ships.  These will be the Loggerhead force auxiliary, the Cayman dreadnought, and the Komodo titan.

While these look like their Caldari counterparts, the Minokawa, Phoenix, and Leviathan, they have their own special additions.  In keeping with the Guristas love of drones, the latter two will be able to launch fighters.

Forward Operating Bases

In addition to the shipyards, both the Blood Raiders and the Guristas will be deploying forward operating bases around New Eden.  These will be group PvE sites to attack and will react proportionally the way the shipyards do, only on a much smaller scale.

At EVE Vegas CCP said that if these forward operating bases are allowed to linger NPCs from them will start to venture out to attack those in system with bad standings with the faction in question.  How powerful these excursions from the FOBs will be was left unsaid.  If they are akin to belt rats it won’t be a big deal.  If NPCs start hunting players in force, I expect outrage and hilarity to ensue until they’re nerfed.

The Agency Upgraded

Also shown at EVE Vegas was the new vision for The Agency.  Up until now it has been simply an interface from which regular events have been run.  But CCP has a broader vision for The Agency, planning for it to be the one-stop-shop for all of your PvE needs.

The Agency will roll up events, agent finder, the journal, and epic arcs as well as showing you anomalies and other PvE activities around you in New Eden.  This is supposed to open the world of PvE options up for newer players who might not even be aware that they exist.

Dev Blog about updates to The Agency.

Resource Wars

With The Agency update we also get another new PvE activity for it to track in the form of resource wars.  This is sort of an co-op open quest approach to PvE, where you do not have to fleet up but can join in as you want.  Your job will either to be to mine ore to hand off to NPC haulers or defend the haulers from NPC pirates.

The events will reward ISK, standing, and loyalty points with the new empire specific NPC corps that will be running these operations.

The sites will also come in five tiers of increasing difficulty which you will have to unlock by increasing your standings with the corp in question.

If done right, I think this could be a good addition to the PvE options in New Eden.  I plan to give this a try.

There is a dev blog up explaining Resource Wars in more detail.

Other Items

In addition to a frigate/destroyer/cruiser balance pass there are the usual bits and pieces and minor updates and fixes that have come along for the ride with this release.  UI and tool tips seem to have gotten a pass, and they keep plugging away at that new map.  There was also the CONCORD battleship the Marshall, which was redone in anticipation of handing copies over to people who attended both Fanfest and EVE Vegas. (ONE per person this time, not one per account.)  You can now wager on duels… so after a year hiatus, some form of gambling has returned to New Eden.  Also noted is the coming of the Crimson Harvest event later this week.

Further details can be found in the patch notes for the release as well as on the EVE Updates page.

While there is no music track to accompany this release… I guess the days of new space music are behind us at this point… there is a Lifeblood feature tour trailer.

Guild Wars 2 Path of Fire Launches Today!

Today is the day.  At some point around noon [or now], here on the first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, the Path of Fire expansion for Guild Wars 2 goes live.

Guild Wars 2 – Path of Fire

As an outsider to the game… never got much past level 40… the expansion looks to offer up some standard sounding fare for players; New story, new zones, new skills/specs, guild halls, and the seemingly now mandatory character level boost.  I think the new feature I can most related to is the addition of mounts.

Some very Tyria mounts

There is, of course, a whole page dedicated to the expansion over at the GW2 site if you are interested.  More than one actually, as there is a FAQ and such.

Expansions remain a mixed bag for me.

On the plus it brings in revenue for the game.   Expect a big spike on the GW2 chart when NCsoft releases Q3 2017 results.  It also gives players more content, gets players who have lapsed a reason to return, and can invigorate the whole game.

But expansions always bring about change.  Sometimes the change is minor and the spirit of the game remains true.  That caters to the core base but won’t attract anybody new.

But sometimes expansions change the core of the game.  I am reminded of Rift; I played the hell out of the base game, but then the first expansion changed design philosophy of the game and killed it for me.  And, of course, new gear, new mechanics, new skills, and what not also have a habit of changing the old content for the worse as well.

Then there is the ever growing gap between the new stuff, where the center of gravity of the community is playing, and where any new player will start.  I become more convinced as time goes along that level boosts are mixed blessing, a flimsy bandage applied to the gushing wound of linear, level based progression.

But I am also old and cynical and in a down cycle when it comes to fantasy MMORPGs right now.

Enough grumbling.  Today is a fresh new day in Tyria and a lot of people will spend the weekend and beyond exploring the new things that Path of Fire brings.  I wish them well on their journeys.  Among other things ANet rolled out some stats to celebrate the launch.

Also, a launch trailer:

 

EverQuest Launches Empires of Kunark

After decades if slumber, Imperator Tsaph Katta awakens and vows to reform the Combine Empire – the progenitors of much of the human race – by any means necessary. He will lead them into a renewed age of prosperity. Tsaph Katta focuses on rebuilding the coalition between the races of Norrath in order to cement his place in the annals of history as The Great Unifier. But not all are ready to bend to the will of Katta and his allies, least of all the current inhabitants of Kunark. Will a unified Norrath prevail, or will the Combine’s arrival in Kunark lead to a war of catastrophic proportions. Find out in Empires of Kunark, EverQuest’s 23rd expansion!

-EverQuest Empires of Kunark promo text

The fourth new expansion this week (following Minecraft, EVE Online, and EverQuest II), which went live yesterday, is the Empires of Kunark expansion for EverQuest, the 23rd expansion for the game.

Everybody loves Kunark

Everybody loves Kunark

This is a nostalgia play by Daybreak as it returns to the setting of one of the most fondly remembered expansions, Ruins of Kunark.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

It has actually taken them a while to get back to Kunark, given that the first expansion came out back in April of 2000.  I think they’ve done pirate themed expansions twice since then.

Anyway, without a site like EQ2 Wire covering EverQuest, I do not have as expansive a list of new features to steal as I did with yesterday’s post.  I have to make do with the official site, which isn’t always as helpful as you might imagine.  The latest item in the News section on the forums is an announcement that Daybreak branded game cards are coming, game cards which have since been discontinued.

From what I can glean, the expansion is the standard fare of new things to do with no rise in the level cap.

  • 7 Expansion Zones
  • New Quests and Missions
  • 8 New Raids
  • 24 New Collections
  • Familiar Key Ring – Access to your familiars in one easy location! Store up to 10 familiars per character, with the ability to buy additional slots to handle all of your familiar storage.

And, as with the previous day’s EverQuest II expansion, Empires of Kunark is available at various prices, depending on your need for fluff.

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

I loved Kunark and all, but is any form of Kunark worth $140?

Unlike the EQII return to Kunark however, I am not at all tempted to pick up Empires of Kunark.  I follow EverQuest mostly out of a sense of nostalgia these days.  I haven’t played it in any serious way since the release of the Fippy Darkpaw progression server, when Skronk and I set out to relive old times… which we did for about 30 levels and then SOE got hacked, everything was down for a couple of weeks, and then we never really went back.

That was actually a good time… really, about as successful a nostalgia tour as you could probably get for us…  but if you scroll back through the Fippy Darkpaw tag on the blog, it was also over five years ago, and every attempt I have made at the game since has ended very quickly.  I am over playing EverQuest I think, preferring to just watch it from a distance these days.  But nostalgia remains a draw for others.  Look at this snip of the game’s server status, which looks about the same every time I check it.

Not so many servers as the old days

Not so many servers as the old days

The most popular servers are Phinigel, the true box nostalgia server, Ragefire, the progression server before before Phinigel, and Firiona Vie, the RP server where all the cool kids hang out and actually have a community.  I am actually a bit surprised that the Fippy Darkpaw server, and its sibling Vulak’Aerr, are still around.  I have lost track of where they stand, but they must be getting close to current after more than five years, at which point it would probably make sense to just roll them into a live server, as they did with the first round of progression servers, The Combine and The Sleeper, years ago.

Hell, with the zone spawning tech they put in for Ragefire and Phinigel, they could probably merge a few of those live servers together as well… maybe a lot of those live servers.

Still, I am happy to see that it is still alive and well enough to be getting expansions.  That it is still there lets me imagine now and again that we might someday form another group and return to old Norrath for one final adventure.  We certainly don’t seem to be in danger of getting a new Norrath anytime soon.

Kunark Ascending Goes Live in Norrath

Norrath remains in danger from Lanys T’Vyl and her pursuit of power! It is up to you to keep Lanys T’Vyl from acquiring the third and final Chaos Stone. Return to Kunark to stop Lanys from ushering in a new age of power. Will you stand against the Tenets of Hate? Adventures await you in Kunark Ascending, EverQuest II’s 13th expansion!

-Kunark Ascending promo text

Next on this week’s list of new arrivals (and the second to derive a title from the root word “ascend”) is Kunark Ascending, the 13th expansion for EverQuest II (plus 4 adventure packs along the way as well), which landed yesterday, close to the game’s 12th birthday.

Launched November 15, 2016

Launched November 15, 2016

As the name indicates, the expansion returns to one of the “classic” locations in Norrath, the island of Kunark, which was the setting for the first EverQuest expansion, Ruins of Kunark, more than 16 years ago.

The expansion gets you the following:

  • 1 New Overland Zone
  • 12 New Heroic zones
  • 1 Challenge Heroic Zone
  • 8 New Solo Zones
  • 4 New Advanced Solo Zones
  • 6 New Raid Zones
  • More than 50 New Solo and Heroic Quests
  • More than 65 New Collection Quests
  • 4 New Archetypal Epic 2.0 Quest Lines
  • 4 New Ascension Classes
  • New Wardrobe Function
  • New Mercenary Gear Feature
  • Level 100 Character Boost
  • Access to All Previous Expansions

I borrowed most of that list from the top of the EQ2 Wire Kunark Ascending FAQ which goes into the features of the expansion in great detail. (Feldon also has the expansion deployment patch notes available as well.)  You should at least browse that if the expansion interests you.

I was actually considering purchasing the expansion due to the level 100 character boost and my current disinterest in the WoW Legion expansion.  The character boost would vault me into the current content at least, though there is no doubt some complexity in that.  Plus I would have to figure out which character to boost, since I used the free level 95 character boost they were handing out a while ago on what I would consider my “main” character already.  Would be a bit silly to use the new boost to jump him just five levels.  And then there is the question as to whether my disinterest in WoW at the moment is just WoW or would it apply to any fantasy MMORPG.  Some days you just don’t want to don your tabard and go swing a sword in any fantasy world.

Still, it is there and waiting, level 100 boost included, should I want to join in.  The expansion comes in the usual three levels of excess, with a 10% discount if you are an all access subscriber… and if you’re serious enough about the game to buy the expansion I have to figure you’re down for all access as well.

Premium packages available for premium prices

Premium packages available for premium prices

The standard edition will be enough for me when the time comes.

There is also a launch trailer, if you need that to tempt you.

Meanwhile, a couple of bloggers have already dipped their toes into Kunark Ascending.

Ascension Day in EVE Online

It is the day, the day the Ascension expansion hits EVE Online.

Today is one of those dividing points, a time when everything changes, a point from which will be reckoned a brand new era in New Eden.  For many long time subscribers, everything before today is now history, and everything after will be the new shit that ruined the game the grand experiment that changed the universe.

Coming in November

It’s here, it is finally here!

Free to play has come.  CCP has opened the door and invited everybody in without a cover charge or a two drink minimum.  And seriously, this can be a game where two drinks often aren’t even enough… literally or metaphorically.  Clones states are here.

We can split hairs over what *really* constitutes “free” in “free to play,” whether the restrictions on Alpha clones make this more of an unlimited trial or a bonafide free experience.  All I know is that you can make a character, fly in space, shoot people, and never be asked to pay a dime.  That sounds pretty damn free to me.

Well, you will be asked to pay a dime.  Many dimes.  In fact, I am pretty sure you will be pestered to do so incessantly.

Can't touch that!

Upgrade to Omega

It would be remiss of CCP to not throw some of that Candy Crush Saga-esque “Oh, you want more? Well pay up!” persuasion in the game.  But you will not be obligated in any way to do so.  You can choose, as I do with Candy Crush Saga, to look at free to play as challenge mode where anything you accomplish is all the sweeter because you did it the hard way.

If all Ascension had for us was free to play and things related to that, it would be a huge deal.  That alone could be the biggest thing in a long time for EVE Online, a game that thrives on having more players.

But that is not all that Ascension brings with it.  What is left would still be a super feature packed expansion even if the whole free to play thing was not part of the deal.  That list includes:

That is most of the list from the Updates page, but there are also the Patch Notes for the expansion, which include many smaller items going into this release.  And little, of any of this, is non-controversial.  EVE Online is like any MMORPG where every feature is somebody’s favorite so changing any feature pisses somebody off… and Ascension is changing some fairly substantial features.

But there it is, deployed already.

I am excited… but also a bit anxious.  There will be bugs… there is already a patch set to drop at the next downtime.  And then there is the whole New Player Experience, the fourth since I started playing the game.  It is a directed story line that gets players involved with the empires and their lore, different for each of the four empires.  That is a fairly radical departure from the opportunities system that was in place until today.

So, if you have been waiting to try EVE Online… erm… maybe wait for the weekend to jump in, once there have been a few post expansion fixes deployed.  Or just jump right in.  Sometimes a good bug can be a formative experience in a game.  But CCP wants you to come give it a try.  There are many things you can do with an Alpha clone.  I expect all groups catering to new players will have Alpha clone compatible doctrines.  I even have my own Alpha clone trained up.  His skill plan wrapped up yesterday (though I had already brought him out for a trial run), at which point I started on a second one.

Others are talking about Ascension naturally enough, and while the focus is on Alpha clones, there is a lot of other things in play today as I noted above.

Finally, it wouldn’t be EVE Online if there wasn’t a new song for a new expansion.