As I have no doubt mentioned a few times already, and will likely mention again before we’re there, this coming March 16th is the 20th anniversary of the launch of EverQuest. This is a big deal for me, having been there for the launch, and for Daybreak, as this is the oldest title in their catalog and the foundation of the company that was once Sony Online Entertainment.
So naturally enough Daybreak has some special things planned for Saturday, March 16th, including the launch of four different special servers. Two are focused on the original EverQuest while the other two are in EverQuest II.
That we’re getting two EverQuest II servers seems a bit odd to me, as that title has its fifteenth anniversary coming up in November of this year. But maybe they just want to get in on their ancestor’s glory moment. We’ve already heard that EverQuest II is getting an expansion this year, so maybe that will the the focal point of its 15th anniversary.
Anyway, the official rules for these four servers seem to be set, so let me review what we have here.
The rules for the two EverQuest progression servers were announced a couple weeks back and met with some push back from the players. Daybreak said they would take this under consideration and came back on Friday with an update heralded on Twitter with this message:
Hail, Norrathians! We heard your feedback, and have made changes to the upcoming Selo and Mangler Progression Servers so that you can get excited about finding a new home in Norrath on March 16th.
So what did they change?
Selo – Ultra Casual becomes Fast
The Selo server was probably the most controversial because Daybreak said in advance it would be “Ultra Casual” and then didn’t define what that meant. As one might expect, that let everybody interested in the idea set their own mental expectations, so when the rules for the server came out they seemed for many to be at odds with their personal view of the situation. The Selo server was going to start three expansions in, be true box, unlock an expansion every month, and offer faster experience gains than other progression servers, but still slower than live servers.
Beware of an old game in a hurry
Reading the forums, that seemed ideal for the hardcore raiders, who as a group are always antsy for the next raid unlock, but not exactly casual. Meanwhile, if you read any of the forum posts on this topic, what constitutes casual is a pretty wide topic. I personally expected mercenaries or multi-boxing to be allowed and probably experience at the level of a live server. Others were calling for slower progress, or less experience, or whatever their hearts told them.
Anyway, Daybreak fixed all of this by changing the description of the server from “Ultra Casual” to “Fast Progression.”
Seriously, looking at the FAQ for the Selo server, nothing else has changed. Given that, I would claim that the message I quoted above was pretty much a lie when it comes to the Selo server. I’m not saying there was a right answer for everybody who was complaining, but this looked like no answer at all.
Mangler – Plain old Progression Server
Mangler was supposed to be the hardcore server. Again, what constitutes hardcore is up for debate. Some people want slower progression, others want to wear the hair shirt and have slow exp.
Hair of the dog
As with the Selo server, Mangler was supposed to start with the Shadows of Luclin expansion, but move more slowly with a much more oppressive experience curve.
In the update, Daybreak has relented and will start a progression server on the 20th anniversary of the classic launch at classic content. That seems fitting. But with that, they decided it will be standard progression server, with 12 week unlocks until the Gates of Discord expansion and 8 week unlocks there after for any expansion without a level cap increase.
There is a FAQ up for Mangler, but if you’re familiar with any of the last few progression servers, you won’t find anything new.
Nagafen – Another Shot at PvP
On the EverQuest II front, the previous big news was Daybreak trying to revive PvP with the Nagafen server. PvP servers have tended to be self consuming for EverQuest II, with the population dying off, followed by players complaining in the forums, then SOE making changes which have tended to only to make things worse. But they’re willing to give it another try, so if you’re willing to subscribe to all access, you can have a PvP server to play on.
Nagafen’s all consuming fire
The server will be free-for-all PvP and will only allow you to make a single character per account. You can kill anybody from any faction, with the only safe areas being Qeynos and Freeport.
The newbie starter areas will only allow you to attack people +/- 4 levels from your own, while in the open world you will be restricted to +/- 8 levels, save for the level 40+ zones, where there will be no restrictions at all.
The Nagafen server FAQ covers the plans for seasons, itemization, and expansion unlocks.
Kaladim – A New Gimmick
Finally, there is the Kaladim time locked progression server. I think there is a message in the fact that Daybreak thinks they can launch a plain vanilla progression server for EverQuest, but for EverQuest II they need something to spice it up. Not that I am against a gimmick. I like me a new gimmick now and again. But it seems odd that Kaladim needs one while Mangler does not.
Kaladim is a dwarf place, so a dwarf
When it comes to the Kaladim server the twist is that you will be able to earn account-wide rewards for completing heritage quests and special account-wide titles for collection quests.
In addition, you will be able to go to the old starter home areas. This is something of a mixed blessing to my mind. On the one hand, it will be nice to see old areas of the game that have since been removed. On the other hand, few things were as disappointing as the racial ghettos of the two starting cities when EverQuest had a unique hometown for every race. While I missed the old Isle of Refuge starting area, my memories of Greystone yard in Qeynos are mixed at best. Barbarians and dwarves started there, and little about the place reflected either race.
Also, I had never heard anybody refer to these areas as “hoods” until the Kaladim announcement. When I saw the word “hoods” I literally thought there was going to be some new cosmetic head gear. But I guess they cannot call them ghettos, the way I do. I am certainly using that word in the pejorative sense. And they aren’t home towns, but places where they are sorting our refugees from the great cataclysm. No wonder I have little affinity for them.
Anyway, as with the previous three servers, there is a FAQ for Kaladim that goes into more detail.
Which to Choose?
So that is four new servers, all launching in March 16th in celebration of the EverQuest 20th anniversary.
Honestly, I am not enthusiastic about any of them.
If I was part of a group that was keen to visit any of them, I would probably go along. But for just me, there isn’t much of a call for any of these four. In this they are unlike the LOTRO Legendary server, where I knew that I could at least progress through and see all the sites on my own.
So where does that leave my plans for the 20th anniversary?
I think I might just stick with the Vox server, where I am already through the tutorial and in the Plane of Knowledge with my cleric. I am not sure if there will be anything special for him at his low level, but There will be banners and special NPCs to see if nothing else.
It also raises the likelihood that I will head off into Moria once SSG figures out when that will unlock on the Legendary server. I don’t expect Daybreak to make any changes to the servers announced at this point, but we shall see.