Tag Archives: Progression Server

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers Today

Today is the day.

I am not betting on an early launch, but Daybreak’s shot at nostalgia servers for EverQuest II are slated to come online today, after a two week beta.  The short version of what these servers are is:

TLEannounce

The more detailed list of features, from the forums, is:

  • PvP server: no battlegrounds EVER!
  • PvP server: no prestige housing!
  • PvP server: no flying, leaping or gliding EVER!
  • PvP server: No more pvp stats on gear. Procs return to items that have them.
  • PvP server: Travel bells will be restricted, more information to be determined.
  • There will only be ground mounts and they will have reduced ground speed. Most likely 45%/50% run speed.
  • Only All Access Members will be able to create characters and log into the TLE-Servers.
  • A new queue system for logging into the servers
  • Content will be locked to classic EverQuest 2, starting areas will be Frostfang Sea and Darklight Wood. More on this later.
  • Expansions will be voted to be unlocked at certain times by the population of the server. Majority vote 2/3 of the population.
  • No Veteran Rewards or Veteran experience bonus.
  • No Recruit a Friend
  • No /claims. Anything you could claim on your normal accounts will not be available on the new TLE-Servers
  • Loyalty System and daily quests will be locked to Chains of Eternity expansion.
  • Legendary, Fabled and Mythical crits will be locked to Altar of Malice Expansion.
  • No dungeon finder
  • Level agnostic dungeons will be locked to an undetermined expansion feature.
  • No races or classes will be restricted from character create if you own them. They will all be playable at launch.
  • Re-forging, Mercenaries, and Tradeskill apprentices will be locked to Age of Discovery.
  • Mercenaries may or may not return to PvP, this will most likely become a poll in the future.
  • Guidhalls and their amenities will be locked to a undetermined expansion. We are still considering this.
  • No prestige home portal or home UI will be available.
  • Marketplace will be highly restricted and polls will be done to determine what will be available.
  • Experience penalty will be returned to launch levels of experience gain
  • Coin will also be returned to launch levels of coin gain.
  • Adventure packs will be linked to specific expansions, still being determined.

I am surprised they haven’t updated that, but maybe they will have something new once the server goes live.

And the whole Alternate Advancement side of things will be unlocked as follows:

  • Exp01: Desert of Flames, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 60, Guild Level Cap Increased to 60
  • Exp02: Kingdom of Sky, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 70, Alternate Advancement Subclass Window unlocked with a 50 AA cap, Guild Level Cap Increased to 70
  • Exp03: Echoes of Faydwer, AA Class Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 100, Tinkering, Transmuting, and Adorning Unlocked
  • Exp04: Rise of Kunark, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 80, AA Cap is Raised to 140, Guild Level Cap Increased to 80, Guild Halls
  • Exp05: The Shadow Odyssey, AA Shadows Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 200
  • Exp06: Sentinel’s Fate, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 90, AA Cap is Raised to 250, Guild Level Cap Increased to 90
  • Exp07: Destiny of Velious, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 92, AA Heroic Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 300, Flying, Leaping and Gliding Mounts
  • Exp08: Age of Discovery, AA Cap is Raised to 320, Mercenaries, Apprentices, Reforging
  • Exp09: Chains of Eternity, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 95, Prestige Window Unlocked, Guild Level Cap Increased to 95
  • Exp10: Tears of Veeshan, AA Dragon Tree Unlocked, AA Cap is Raised to 350
  • Exp11: Altar of Malice, Adventure, Tradeskill and Guild Level raised to 100, Prestige Class Tree is Unlocked, Guild Level Cap Increased to 100, Legendary, Fabled and Mythical crits

Unfortunately, this is going to be a busy week for me, so I doubt I will be able to peek in on the server until the weekend.  We shall see how things play out.  While I remain mildly disappointed, though not surprised, that the Isle of Refuge won’t be making an appearance, I will surely head to Qeynos to explore the old zones out there, including the catacombs below the city.

The catacombs back in the day...

The catacombs back in the day…

Now, will anybody show up for this?  Is there nostalgia for some variation of old EverQuest II?

EverQuest II Time Locked Expansion Servers – To Beta or Not To Beta?

The Daybreak team got the two beta servers, one PvE and one PvP, for the nostalgia bound EverQuest II time locked expansion server project they have been pitching for a bit.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

Should probably just be “Nostalgia Servers”

Maybe a bit later that they expected, but at least on the same day as planned.

The question now is whether or not to dive in.  The instructions given in the forums are easy enough to follow.

Beta client is on the list

Beta client is on the list

Though if you don’t want to re-download the whole client again, Feldon at EQ2 Wire has you covered with some additional download details.

While they are testing out a queuing system for the server, things will otherwise be pretty much as announced previously.  I have a post that lists out the details that have been shared so far.

There is still no Isle of Refuge, so the starting zones remain the Frostfang Sea and Darklight Wood.  There was a “more on this later” tacked on to the end of the starter zone bullet point, but I do not know if we have heard anything else beyond technical reasons why bringing back the Isle of Refuge would be a huge pain.

Unlike the EverQuest progression server beta, you will have to have an All Access subscription in order to play on this beta server.  No free peek at nostalgia this time.

So now that it is there, do I dip my toe in and see what things look like?

I am generally not fond of betas here in my dotage.  When I was younger I would throw myself into such things, but now I often feel my time is better spent elsewhere as I tend to value the progress and virtual possessions I accrue, so knowing it will all be wiped shortly… and perhaps repeatedly… can be a disincentive.

On the other hand, I am genuinely curious about how popular such a nostalgia driven servers will be.  Even with key elements of the old days missing… just keep chanting “Isle of Refuge” over and over… there has to be some draw.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 - Nov. 14, 2004

Can you even get to this zone anymore?

Just being able to start out on a fresh server that won’t allow transfers is going to bring a few players in.  Some people will do it just for the challenge.  And there were reports that the queue was already in play, though that could just be Daybreak setting the server limits low just to see if the damn thing even works.

I will have to consider whether to play or not this weekend, though given the pace Daybreak has been setting lately with these projects, if I deliberate long enough I might be able to go straight to the live versions of Stormhold or Deathtoll, the PvE and PvP servers respectively.

Ragefire – Counting Votes, Fighting Boxers, and Keeping Casuals at Bay

The results of the Ruins of Kunark vote are in for the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers.  As a reminder, here is what the ballot looked like:

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

All votes in

The vote ended on Monday and the results have been posted in the EverQuest forums.

The key for a lot of people is this quote:

On both servers, the 6 month option got the most votes by far, meaning a very large percentage of you like things as they are and want to continue on that path.

That means the status quo won, right?  The “stay the course” option got the most votes.

Well, no.  That option did not win a majority… 50% + 1… of the votes in the polls on either server.  The majority of players voting voted votes cast were for either the ASAP option or the three month option on both servers.

So shortening the unlock date won, right?

Well, no.  If this had been some sort of parliamentary democracy there would have been a run-off vote of some sort on each server between the two options that received the most votes, which on Ragefire was 6 months and 3 months and on Lockjaw 6 months and ASAP, to decide the course of action.

But this is not a parliamentary democracy, it is a business and a dictatorship.  Daybreak sets the rules of the game.  And so they have come up with a compromise worthy of their SOE heritage.

On the Ragefire server, the unlock vote for Ruins of Kunark will be reduced from 6 months to 3 months.  On the Lockjaw server, the unlock vote for Ruins of Kunark will remain at 6 months.  The possibility of free transfers between the servers has been mentioned, but is not a sure thing.  And given how allegedly important server communities are in EverQuest, it shouldn’t be popular even if they implement it.

So there we have a decision pretty much guaranteed to provoke the more vocal members of the community, as well as pulling the two servers out of sync before the first expansion, something that will muddy all future decisions on this front.

We will have to see how that plays out.  Keen has his own views on this, stronger than my own, likely because I haven’t really invested in the whole progression server thing this time around.

Meanwhile, in an interview over at Massively OP, EverQuest team chief Holly “Windstalker” Longdale spoke about some other issues facing the EverQuest progression servers.  One of them was the alleged plague of multi-boxing groups on the server.

If you read the forums you might be convinced that every worthwhile spawn on Ragefire is being camped by some guy running six mages who never logs off or takes a break, but simply farms that spawn everybody else wants all the live long day.

I couldn’t tell you how prevalent that actually is, but it is generating a lot of forum rage and so, Daybreak being the child of SOE, where forum rage is how players have long been trained to get what they want, the EverQuest team is looking into this.  Holly mentioned the possibility of limiting EverQuest logins to one per computer.  You can still multi-box, but you’ll need multiple computers to do it.  However, given the long tradition of multi-boxing in EverQuest… SOE at one point fixed the client so that it was officially a supported thing… I am not sure how you then make this change to the client… the same client the rest of the servers use.

So I guess we shall see how that plays out.  I would like to hear from Daybreak some numbers on how many people they think are out there running the dread six mage multi-box group (and paying almost $90 a month for the pleasure) on your average night before I make up my own mind on that.  I distrust forum rage.

And then there are the raid issues and zone instancing and all that.  Way back before the progression server beta Daybreak already had an official stance on whether or not they would instance raid bosses in the expansions before Gates of Discord:

Uninstanced content on this level was a unique experience for EverQuest, and there are people out there who have never experienced it. We want to believe that you can work it out on your own. We have plans for what to do if you can’t work out something equitable, though, and we might have to contract Alan Rickman to read them.

Basically, no instancing because that wasn’t the way things were, with at least a tacit admission that the whole contested raid thing was going to be a problem because it has literally always been a problem every time it has been a thing.

Apparently unsatisfied with this stance, Holly “Windstalker” Longdale decided to clarify this with a quote that is likely going to haunt her for a while:

What we don’t want to do is instance raids, which is what casuals want us to do because they want to fight Nagafen. Casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen… that diminishes the achievement of others. That’s part of the challenge: You have to be better than the other guy; you have to be more strategic that the other guy.

You cannot get tone from a quote in text, but it is really hard for the voice in my head not to read the start of that second sentence as “Filthy casuals shouldn’t be allowed to fight Nagafen!” in a voice filled with derision and mockery at the very idea of such a thing.

Now, that is just the voice in my head playing games.  I know this.  But I also know that voice is working from notes based on years of war over who should get access to raids, raider elitism, causal entitlement, and the general muddle of conflicting views that is MMO community.  And Holly, given her time having to deal with this sometimes toxic community, ought to understand that.  She isn’t some junior dev dropping a casual quote, she is the Executive Producer responsible for EverQuest and EverQuest II.  Her views set the tone for the game, and that was the tone we got.

No Casuals!!!

Nagafen says, “No Casuals!!!”

Meanwhile, just after the ellipses, we have a confirmation from her that allowing casuals to do things that elite players do hurts the elite by diminishing their achievements.  This goes back to there being an intangible equity system in play where things like LFR hurt the game and should be banned.  What you are allowed to do affects my game, even if we do not interact.

Ah, such fun!  Burn, baby, burn!  At least she didn’t tell casuals that, if they want to fight Naggy, they should just buy a level 90 on a standard server and go solo him.  Wait, no, that would diminish the achievement of others… or would it?  Crap, how does this even work?

This is an issue where I can wander either way depending on my mood, the direction of the wind, and whether or not I went with the hot salsa on my Chipotle burrito. (Always barbacoa!)

I absolutely think there should be aspirational content in games like this, things that take some work and skill and that not everybody gets to do.  There should be things that take a lot of effort and which few attain.

On the other hand, I quite enjoyed my time doing LFRs in WoW.  The raid tourism thing was interesting, I got to see the content, and I was perfectly happy not getting the same drops that people doing the raids at the highest levels got.  But I wasn’t there for the loot, I was there for the show.  Anything else I got was a bonus.

So I, personally, have no answer.

And, on this front I do not expect anything to change.  This is the third time through the whole progression server thing, making it the fourth time through the exact same set of problems.  Daybreak will most likely follow in the grand SOE tradition and try to muddle through until raids are all instanced, when they can forget the whole thing.

Anyway, here in the summer doldrums, when not much generally happens, Daybreak is doing their best to give us something to talk about.  And we haven’t even gotten to the EverQuest II time locked expansion servers yet.

Addendum: Meanwhile, Massively OP apparently couldn’t resist going the click bait rage route with the Ruins of Kunark vote, gratuitously tossing the casuals quote in there for good measure. (And somebody at Daybreak agrees with my assessment.)

Addendum:  In response to accusations on the forums that the whole poll thing was just a smoke screen to allow Daybreak to do what they wanted to do in the first place came this dev response:

This is not what we wanted.

It would be much easier for our team if both servers remained on the 6 month timeline. We wouldn’t need to support character transfers, prep Kunark while waist-deep in the Campaign effort, or maintain two servers with staggered unlock schedules. This is not the ideal outcome for us, and we’re putting in extra work to attempt to give those interested in max nostalgia or early unlock a place to play the way they’d like.

Also, if we did what we wanted, the TLP servers would be on a seasonal ruleset. :p

Ragefire – A Vote for Kunark is a Vote for… something

The current round of EverQuest time locked progression servers, Ragefire and the spill over Lockjaw, continue to provide a spectacle as they move forward.  To their credit, Daybreak does appear to be paying attention, something that differentiates this round of servers from the Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak servers, where SOE was mostly an absentee landlord, setting a bar for the minimum amount of acceptable communication and then failing to meet it.

Ragefire hanging out..

Note to self: Name future servers after dragons and not freakin’ gnolls

Having worked on the open world, contested raid boss problem last week, this week Daybreak has turned its gaze back to the population problem.  The servers remain popular despite requiring a subscription in order to play on them.  This means they are a money maker at least.  Nostalgia pays.

However, it also means Ragefire got pretty crowded pretty fast.  Daybreak initially used their multiple parallel zone instancing technology on the starter zones and upped the server capacity, but that wasn’t enough.  They put in a login queue, but that didn’t help much.  Finally, they had to relent and open up a second server, Lockjaw, and apply that parallel zone magic to even more zones in the old world.

Don't forget about me!

Lockjaw on the scene

And apparently that still wasn’t enough.  The TLP forum has been running hot with the idea of an early unlock date for the Ruins of Kunark expansion as the one true way to accommodate the population of these servers… or at least on the Ragefire server, as it remains the more popular of the two by a fair margin. (History repeats there, the spill-over server tends to be less popular.)

And Daybreak must see some merit in this idea, as there is now a poll up on Ragefire asking if the Ruins of Kunark expansion should open up earlier than planned.

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

Personally, I am sympathetic to an early opening of Kunark.  It would add a variety of additional low-to-mid level zones, zones that would likely get under-utilized once the bulk of the population leveled up past them, as would be likely after six months of classic EverQuest.

Kunark is popular and, in my opinion, perhaps the best MMO expansion ever released.

Crowd on the Kunark Dock

Crowd on the Kunark Dock during Fippy Darkpaw’s reign

Ruins of Kunark is the prototypical MMO expansion, a monument to what every MMOs first expansion ought to be as well as a warning about how hard subsequent expansion will have to work to live up to that first expansion.  It had something for pretty much everybody.  But being the child of classic, it tends to be overlooked and under utilized on the progression servers.

For Fippy Darkpaw we had to wait 90 days in classic EverQuest before Ruins of Kunark could be unlocked.  But Kunark and beyond were all 60 days from final raid boss down, something that took just a couple of days from expansion unlock.  That led to it getting short shrift in my opinion.  So, back during the progression server poll, my votes were hinged on getting the maximum amount of time with Kunark.

However, there are counter arguments.

There is the group I would call “the classicists” who simply do not want the server to progress beyond the original EverQuest content and who have vowed to vote “no” on every unlock.   That doesn’t seem to be a very realistic goal, but they certainly have the right to go that route.

Then there are those who decry the legitimacy of this vote and who worry about what precedent it will set.  The decision was made up front, via a poll of players, to unlock expansions at the current planned rate.  If you allow people to punt on that a month in for Ruins of Kunark, will we get the same thing after that unlocks?  Will players then vote in Scars of Velious early?

I get the sentiment that Daybreak shouldn’t make changes to the plan lightly.  However, I reject the idea that once a decision has been made it can never be revisited or revised, and doubly so as that original poll was taken from the EverQuest population at large.  This poll will be taken from the people actually playing on the server, who have committed to the project, and who are facing the challenges that come up.  I think that gives this poll all the legitimacy it needs, especially since Daybreak, watching things from their end, seems to think that the idea has some merit.

Then, of course, there is the question of what the level increase and better gear that comes with Kunark will actually do to the server.  The whole idea goes to hell is most people just drop classic and run to Kunark and make that the new over-crowded location.

And, finally, there are some people pointing out that all the changes that Daybreak made… the improved server capacity and the parallel zone instance technology applied to more and more zones… is actually working, and working well.  In that case, opening up Kunark early will just disperse the population and reduce the number of zone instances to the point that you won’t be able to pick one that has the camp or spawn available that you are looking for.

Now, admittedly, that isn’t how things worked back in classic EverQuest, but it seems to be working out well enough on the Ragefire server, so you have to question the desire to mess with something that seems to be going okay.

So that is the poll and some of the questions at hand.  Interesting times and I would like to say yet again how much better it is with Daybreak actually engaged with these servers, at least relative to the benign neglect we saw for most of the Fippy Darkpaw era.

Too soon?

Probably the reality for Fippy Darkpaw these days…

I would tell you how I voted on the poll… only you have to be level 10 to vote, and I am such a slacker that I don’t have a level 10 character yet.  The poll runs through the 28th, so maybe I’ll get a character there this weekend.  My bard seems the most likely candidate at this point.

Ragefire – Solving Those Open World Raiding Blues

Seeing the coming of open world raid issues on an EverQuest progression server is ike predicting the sun rising in the east in the morning; anybody surprised by the occurrence probably hasn’t been paying much attention.

Ragefire hanging out..

This picture means I’m writing about the Ragefire server!

And so it is on the Ragefire and Lockjaw time locked progression servers.  The raiding guilds have leveled up and have started warring over the raid bosses while taking over the zones where the raids occur.

Last time around, on the Fippy Darkpaw server this became a big problem, at least relative to the percentage of the population involved.  Bad behavior at raid bosses became a thing, leading people to complain and open support tickets and generally cause a lot of smoke.  Eventually GMs had to step in, first with their own creative solutions on the spot and then later by imposing a rotating schedule for raiding guilds so that everybody would have their own crack at the loot pinata.

That’s the story of open world, contested raid content right there.

Now in the post-Sony as Uncle Moneybags era, the new Daybreak Game Company isn’t running so many GMs and has limited what issues they will deal with, so it seems unlikely that they will devote resources to a GM enforced raiding schedule.

As with so many aspects of these new servers, Daybreak is moving very fast (compared to the SOE days) to find a new solution.  And so we have an announcement:

As Holly mentioned, we’ve been doing some work on raid targets and high end zones on Progression Servers. There are more active players on Ragefire and Lockjaw than there ever were on our launch servers, and right now there’s too much competition for some very limited resources. We know some of you have suggested moving the raid targets into private instances, but we firmly believe that competition is a definitive component of the original EverQuest experience.

At launch, as now, there is only one Lord Nagafen and only one Lady Vox. If you defeated them, you also had to compete with a server full of people who wanted to defeat them, too. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.

So, in the spirit of making raid content more available while still allowing for competition and accomplishment, here’s what we have planned for an update in July:

  • Nagafen’s Lair, Permafrost Keep, the Hole, and Kedge Keep are now load-balancing zones. This will let more people have access to these zones for XP and non-raid items (WTB GEBs, PST).
  • We now have a way to prevent raid targets from spawning in extra load-balanced zones. We have done this with Lord Nagafen, Lady Vox, Master Yael, and Phinigel Autropos so they will only ever spawn in the base version of their zones.
  • All raid targets (dragons, Phinigel, Yael, and gods) now spawn more often than they used to, but have a much larger variance in their spawn times so they’ll be more difficult to predict.
  • We’ve made the raid bosses more difficult, so that they will require coordination of more adventurers to tackle them successfully. Healing and support should once again be very important in these encounters.
  • Speaking of Hate and Fear, while we didn’t implement load balancing, we did reduce the respawn time of all non-raid targets by two thirds. Any mini-bosses that didn’t have persistent timers (such as the Fear golems) now have them and have additional variance in their respawn times. This means that they won’t necessarily be spawned when the server first comes up.

In summary, we’re increasing availability so that there are more chances at the content, increasing difficulty for both a greater challenge and to require coordination of larger groups of people, and increasing variance in spawn timers so that knowledge of the last kill time is less of an advantage.

We’re hoping that the combination of these changes will both relieve some of the competition for experience and item content at the top end of the server but keep the integrity and uniqueness of the race for raid targets. Thanks for playing!

The first thing that struck me was how they went right to their “multiple instances of a single zone” solution.  When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.  That said, as a non-raider, being able to access those zones without having to be part of the raiding drama is about all I could ask for.  Raiders can have the base version of the zone with the raid boss and everybody else can be in a different instance.  Like Keen, I am pretty happy with the zone instancing plan so far.

The rest is… interesting.  They seem to be committed to the old-school, open world raiding experience that was EverQuest in 1999.  Of course, putting those bosses in real instances with lockout timers and all that stuff we’ve come to accept as the way things should be might be too much work as well.

Taking raid bosses off the static timer sounds good, but as we have seen in the past, that sometimes will just make people camp the site non-stop.  But at least they made the timer shorter.  The net result should be more raids possible.

Making the raid bosses more difficult though?  My gut reaction:

Down in San Diego...

Also, the remaining GM team in San Diego…

Schadenfreude aside, making the bosses tougher is probably a really good thing.  This isn’t 1999 any more.  The game has changed, the classes have been revised, and the tactics of these fights have long since been mapped out in great detail.  And it will keep us from seeing another multi-boxer down a boss mob with a group of Shadow Knights using vampiric touch in rotation.

Of course, there is the question as to what “more difficult” really means.  More hit points?  Hitting harder?  More resists?  All of the above?

Anyway, the whole thing seems pretty reasonable to me given what Daybreak has to work with at the moment.  Of course, that is easy for me to say, since I will never actually be in one of these raids.    But it is certainly more effort put into the game itself than they did with Fippy Darkpaw.  Of course, back with Fippy Darkpaw the expansions were unlocking a lot quicker, so I am sure there was a bit of “We just have to get to Gates of Discord and this problem goes away” on the team.

Reactions to this on  forum are mixed… which would pretty much describe the reaction to almost anything Daybreak posts on its forums.  There are concerns about implementation and what the new timers will mean for line members in the raiding guilds… which seem to be the same raiding guilds that were on Fippy Darkpaw.  We shall see how this works out.

Get Lockjaw Today!

Erm… I mean get on the Lockjaw server today!  Maybe.  Daybreak has targeted today, May 29, at 11am Pacific Time as the launch point for the second Voting Time Locked Progression Server, Lockjaw.

Given all they have gone through over the last week, I would hope that this would be the easy bit.  Just clone the server, wipe the character database, and go!  As if anything in life is ever that simple.

Lockjaw Defeated

He’s going to be ready to go by 11am, right?

As I noted in yesterday’s post, this seems to be the only answer for Daybreak at the moment.  Even with all the updates they have done for the Ragefire server, it remains popular beyond its capacity.  People will have to start fresh however.

How this plays out in the longer term… well, Daybreak could help out by not forgetting about how popular Ragefire has been while they have talked about it.

Don't forget about me!

Don’t forget about me!

Addendum:

 

Days of Ragefire

Maybe not the best post title, but I figured I already had two literary allusions for titles so far this week, so why not run with the trend.

The Ragefire Voting Time Locked Progression Server, or whatever its full title is, carries on and remains more popular than expected.  There were problems from launch, but Daybreak has been working hard to accommodate all of those who want to play.  They have tweaked the zone instancing, they have put in code to log off players who go AFK for extended periods (the big problem last week), they have upped the capacity of the server so that Ragefire can now handle more players at once than the old progression servers, Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak, combined.  They even added a queue to the login page.

And still I couldn’t get on last weekend.

Okay, I admit, I did not try that much.  My daughter wanted to go to FanimeCon, which is just over in San Jose, so we spent most of our waking hours down at the convention center. (80+ street passes on my 3DS XL!)  But during those times when I was home and had some time to log on, I was left looking at the login page and wondering where I was in the queue.

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting...

Just keep waiting, just keep waiting…

It is great that they put in a login queue, but it is primitive enough that I immediately longer for something better… like a queue that told me how big the queue might actually be.  I will sit patiently if there are only a dozen people ahead of me, but if there are 900 I might just choose to go and do something else.  Even the ArcheAge queue, which would just say “more than an hour” beyond a certain point would at least tell you how many people were ahead of you. (Which led to at least one person telling me that the ArcheAge queues were not so bad because they never said anything beyond one hour, so the trick worked.)

Anyway, for all of the work Daybreak has done, the problem remains; the draw of nostalgia has gone far beyond what they expected.  The time has come for them to roll up a second server.

Lockjaw Defeated

Shit, get a priest over here, we need a res

And so at some point soon we will get the Lockjaw server, that being the second place name from the poll.  It will be otherwise the same as the Ragefire server.  If you want to play on Lockjaw you will have to start fresh.  There will be no transfers from Ragefire.

That works for me but, as noted, I haven’t been able to get on much, so I don’t have a lot invested in Ragefire yet.  Others who have more invested may be reluctant to swap.

Level 3 druid is easily replaced

Level 3 druid is easily replaced

And this will likely lead to another issue in the longer term.  Daybreak has been very reluctant to simply roll up another server to deal with the load.  That is because the history of EverQuest progression servers shows that the enthusiasm won’t last.

Some people will get their fill of nostalgia quickly enough.  A few days or a week or a month or two of playing in the original content will sate them and they will leave.  Others will hit the wall somewhere in the 30s when areas for exp groups start to thin out  and finding a free camp or a group that will take you starts to become a chore.  That will change when Ruins of Kunark goes live and opens up the world considerably, but that is six months and a successful vote down the road.

Eventually things will die down and we may end up with two sparsely populated progression servers, with one the poor relation in that regard, and there will be calls for a server merge that will never come. (Although there will inevitably be the person declaring that they like an empty server, because you can find support for any point of view if you look hard enough.)

Of course, Daybreak could help keep this from happening, or happening sooner than it should.  The starting point would be to not forget that they have these servers.  The last time around, with Fippy Darkpaw, SOE was great guns about the whole progression server idea until about two weeks after it launched… and then it never mentioned the whole thing publicly again.

Seriously, Daybreak should make a big deal out of the servers beyond launch.  If nothing else, the opening of expansions should be noteworthy, especially Ruins of Kunark with its new starter zones, new race, and all that.  Played right, each expansion could be a rallying point to get people to come to these servers, or return to them, as they progress.

But that is another one of those corporate culture things I bring up now and again.  An ingrained corporate culture can keep a company from doing what seems easy and obvious from the outside.  Blizzard will never roll up a WoW nostalgia server because their culture cannot fathom why people would want such a thing.  SOE’s corporate culture included a recurring habit of hyping something up, then totally failing to follow up and letting things go silent for ages.  Progression servers, The Agency, EverQuest Next, whatever, they make a big splash, then let things sit until the last ripple has faded.

So I suppose we will see if Daybreak is really a new company or just the old same old SOE with the same old habits we’ve come to know so well.

Addendum:

Daybreak has announced that they will be instancing some additional zones to accommodate the blob of players moving through the leveling curve.  The list right now is:

  • High Keep
  • The Liberated Citadel of Runnyeye
  • The Western Plains of Karana
  • The Northern Plains of Karana
  • The Southern Plains of Karana
  • Eastern Plains of Karana
  • The Gorge of King Xorbb
  • Blackburrow
  • The Lair of the Splitpaw
  • Kithicor Forest
  • The Lavastorm Mountains
  • Solusek’s Eye
  • Befallen
  • Najena
  • The Qeynos Aqueduct System
  • The Feerrott
  • Temple of Cazic-Thule
  • The Rathe Mountains
  • Lake Rathetear
  • The Lesser Faydark
  • Crushbone
  • The Castle of Mistmoore
  • The Estate of Unrest
  • The City of Guk
  • The Ruins of Old Guk
  • Dagnor’s Cauldron
  • Erud’s Crossing
  • Freeport Sewers
  • North Desert of Ro
  • South Desert of Ro
  • Highpass Hold
  • The Ocean of Tears

That is quite a list.  You can get pretty far into the original content on that list.  We’ll see how it plays out.