Tag Archives: Roadmap

Daybreak Posts 2022 Roadmaps for EverQuest and EverQuest II

In a bit of a surprise, yesterday Daybreak posted their 2022 plans for their two remaining Norrath based titles, EverQuest and EverQuest II.

EverQuest was, of course, the foundation of SOE and its success, launching back in 1999, and was a benchmark for success before WoW came along.

EverQuest II came along five and a half years late as their heir presumptive, though the original game never ended up going away, so there has been a bit of a Queen Elizabeth/Prince Charles relationship going on here, with the newer title never really growing out of the original’s shadow.

Anyway, the real surprise was Daybreak being so forthcoming about their plans for 2022.  Daybreak’s reputation has not been one of “over communicating.”  There have been years when we have know that some things are coming, like new special servers, and we have assumed that things like Q4 expansions would be a thing because they always are.  But getting a plan up front is a rather drastic departure, and one I would like to encourage.

I just hope that fans remember that any roadmap is subject to change,  something that grows more likely past the six month mark.  But as long as Daybreak communicates changes, we should be fine.  People generally get more angry when a date comes and goes without a word than if they get notification that things have had to change.

A lot of the roadmap items are pretty common fare, things we expect from the company, like expansions and updates and events.

One standout item for both games is the migration to 64-bit clients and servers, something required to ensure the long term viability of both games.  EverQuest, which got an announcement about this back in November, is slated for 64-bit next month, while EverQuest II has July on its timeline.  With one team handling both games, the titles being done individually is probably a requirement.

EverQuest, the classic

EverQuest

EverQuest has a couple of big items on its list, including finally updating Heroic Characters, which is their level boost option, to be level 100 rather than level 85.  Level 100 still seems a bit stingy for a game where the level cap is 120 and expansions tend to jump only 5 levels, but it is still better than 85, where the boost has been stuck for the last seven years or so.

Mercenaries are also getting a rework to simplify them, a new progression server is slated for May, and the 29th expansion for the game will arrive in December.

Then, tacked on at the end, there is a promise of a new UI engine at some point beyond 2022.  Again, another item that might help preserve the game for a new generation of players.  What that really means and the actual timing will be something for the future, but it is nice to see it on the roadmap at least.

Oh, and then they are attempting to reboot their community council thing again.  I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing, and it certainly represents a new direction for the Daybreak era of the game.

But SOE had guild and community groups in the past and their influence has always been a bit of a mixed blessing.  They have tended to be drawn from the rarefied high end raiding elements of the game, because that group tends to be the most engaged with the game.  As with EVE Online’s CSM or the WoW Community Council, over representation of high engagement groups tends to toss more casual elements by the wayside.  We’ll see how it goes… maybe…. maybe Daybreak will remain communicative… once this comes together.  I haven’t seen how you can apply to be on the council or any other details about it and it is already the 20th.  This could be the first item to slip.

The full posted 2022 timeline for EverQuest is:

  • January:
    • Community Resource Council Application Relaunch – Your chance to help advise on the future of EverQuest.
  • February:
    • 64-Bit Servers and Clients Release to Live Servers
  • March:
    • 23rd Anniversary – New quests, missions, and a new raid.
    • New Content for Bristlebane’s Day
    • New Content for Stomple’s Day
  • April:
    • New Classic Achievements – Adding achievements for many original quests in EverQuest’s starting cities.
  • May:
    • New Progression Servers – Rulesets to be announced at a later date.
    • Mercenary Rank Simplification – Simplify mercenaries down to the two ranks primarily in use and remove the quest line requirements for obtaining them.
    • New Tempest Festival Event
  • June:
    • Server Merge – Merging the Phinigel and Miragul servers to Vox.
  • July:
    • New Scorched Skies Event
    • New Overseer Achievements and Reward Improvements
  • September:
    • Heroic Characters Update – New Heroic Characters will start at level 100.
  • October:
    • 2022’s Expansion Beta + Preorder
    • New Content for Nights of the Dead
  • November:
    • Extra Life – Help us raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.
    • New Content for Feast of Giving
  • December:
    • 2022’s Expansion Launch
    • New Content for the New Year’s Event
  • Throughout the Year:
    • Raid Zone Performance Improvements
    • Class Tuning and Balancing
    • Anti-Cheat Improvements
  • Beyond 2022:
    • New UI Engine

The aging second entry, no longer so young compared to the original

EverQuest II

The younger sibling doesn’t have as much big stuff on its list as EverQuest, but it is also in a better state when it come to things like level boost options and mercenaries.

As noted above, the 64-bit update for client and server is slated for July, and the game will be getting a new special rules server along with the annual expansion in December.

The one item I am interested to see is Heroic Opportunities getting a rework.  Those were a thing back at launch, but like Fellowship Maneuvers in LOTRO, fell out of favor as time went on.  They are still in there, and I still kick them off when I play, but I couldn’t tell you if they were worth the effort.  From the timing, it looks like the HO update will be part of the expansion in December.

The full EverQuest II timeline as posted:

    • January:
      • Kaladim Unlocking Age of Discovery – Opening up the Withered Lands and Skyshrine zones.
      • Improvements to the Test Server – Recipe books from old expansions added to the bookworm and level boosts setup to scale correctly to max level.
    • February:
      • Server Merge – Rivervale into Antonia Bayle
      • Lore and Legend Server – Every piece of content in the game is appropriate for your character.
    • March:
      • Chronoportal Phenomenon Updates – The annual commemoration of EverQuest’s anniversary will bring a new throwback dungeon as well as new items to attain during this timely event.
    • April:
      • Game Update 119 – Includes a new Overseer season, an Overseer Inventory system, new raid dungeons, new heroic dungeons, and new collections.
      • Stat/Number Wrappers – In game combat numbers (damage and heals) are visually abbreviated and commas are added into damage logs.
    • May:
      • New Time Locked Expansion Server – A brand new server called Varsoon that will be very similar to the Kaladim ruleset plus the Free Trade ruleset.
      • Tinkerfest Updates – The gears of time have been wound a little tighter, bringing the celebration of all things gnomish and clockwork a little earlier than in previous years. A new dungeon, new rewards, and new merchant items will be available exclusively during this event. You’ll also start earning Jubilation Medals, coins that can be earned and exchanged during the three summertime events for desirable items!
    • June:
      • Scorched Sky Celebration Updates – A red-hot new dungeon and new items will be available for those looking to join the devotees of Flame in their annual fiery festivities. Get more Jubilation Medals!
      • New Patches of Pride Items – New LGBTQIA pride familiars arrive!
    • July:
      • 64-Bit Servers and Clients Port Launch
    • August:
      • Game Update 120
      • Oceansfull Festival Updates – Join the loveable othmir as they give thanks to Prexus with this annual celebration. A new dungeon will be cracked open and new items will be available during the event. Get more Jubilation Medals to exchange for desirable items!
    • September:
      • Swag Store
      • 2022’s Expansion Prelude – A new expansion deserves a new prelude, complete with new items and new quests!
      • Panda, Panda, Panda Updates – The Hua Mein event of the year returns! You never know what they’ll ask of you, or where it’ll require you to go.
    • October:
      • 2022’s Expansion Beta + Preorder – Preorder of EverQuest II’s 19th expansion begins! Purchase your copy and join us in beta.
    • November:
      • Heroes’ Festival – Celebrate our 18th Anniversary!
      • Extra Life – Help us raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network.
    • December:
      • 2022’s Expansion Launch – EverQuest II’s 19th expansion launches, bringing new zones, new quests, and new adventures to Norrath!
      • Heroic Opportunity System Update – Making heroic opportunities fun and relevant again!
    • Throughout the Year:
      • Item Reward and Merchant Updates to Events – Your favorite live event wasn’t listed above? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten it. It’ll get new items and a bit of a refresh, too.

It is nice to see the company being out in front with this sort of information, it being, as I noted above, a rather radical change from the days of Daybreak when the company seemed to fret about providing any information.

I just hope they don’t get burned for it.  Players remember company promises, and anything said in public counts.  Roadmaps are plans, and plans don’t always come together.  We’ll see if we get updates when something inevitably slips and if that will build trust with the community.

Related

BB72 Roadmaps are Best Written in Pencil

For Blog Banter 72 the topic is the Roadmap for EVE Online. (Roadmap is a single word when used in tech, but two words when referring to a literal map of roads.)  We were pointed at a post that Sugar Kyle did just as the CSM summit was opening up and were asked what we might want as a roadmap for the game.

The thing is, I saw that post when it went up and quickly wrote out a few items that I thought ought to be on the agenda.  My suggestions were:

Keep the old camera around until the new one is rock solid. The new one mostly works, but I’ve had it freak out on me enough that I had to turn it off. There is no need to be in a hurry to ditch the old one unless there is some burden which comes with the legacy code.

More of a practical/tactical item, something to do RIGHT NOW, than a roadmap suggestion.  CCP did actually fix one of my major issues, where if you were looking at something when you warped the camera would pretty much go crazy.  However, I haven’t turned the new camera back on yet.  I suppose that is the roadmap item, how to get people to actually use the new camera and get used to it (and help work out any remaining issues) before they turn off the old one.

Dump the entosis link module and let us just shoot command nodes. We like to blow stuff up. Use the same mechanic for citadels so there is a cap on the amount of DPS to keep a blob from being able to blitz through.

This is a little less tactical, and something borrowed from my pretend CSM platform, which was based on the idea that all CCP projects should, in the end, create things that explode or cause things to explode more.  Here my logic is that a bunch of people shooting something (and getting a kill mail) is more fun that a bunch of people watching somebody shoot a beam at something.  An items for the “revisions to Fozzie Sov” list.

Work on some more interesting PvE content. I know, that is tough, because no matter what CCP introduces players will just optimize to beat it and then it will simply become another ISK faucet.

Vague, and clearly an ongoing item, the idea that CCP can possibly create PvE content in New Eden that is interesting and which doesn’t simply become an optimized ISK faucet like every other bit of PvE content in the game.  Not sure how you get there from here.

Having just watched my daughter, 14 and better at video games than I am, try to get into EVE, I would have to suggest that the NPE still needs some work. It went from a narrow path that didn’t really prepare you for the game to a wide path that an actual new player can get totally lost and frustrated with.

Ah, the new player experience.  The forum hysterian’s favorite bugbear, that goons are ganking new players and driving them away, pales into complete insignificance (if it is even a much of a thing at all) compared to what the NPE does to the game.  As noted, I watched my daughter try to go through it and ended up wondering how we get any new subscribers at all in the game.  As with better PvE, I don’t know what the answer is, but somebody at CCP had best be asking the question.

I could probably come up with more items.  I doubt there is an area of the game that somebody isn’t aching to see updated, improved, or expanded.

Instead though, I want to write a little bit about roadmaps in general when it comes to software projects.  They are a good thing, when used correctly.  And, having worked for companies that could come up with a six month roadmap, I’d have to say they are better than nothing at all even when used poorly.

A roadmap is a plan for where you want to go, which is usually broken up into a few distinct pieces.

The current release – What you are working on now.  It is likely nailed down, the features and goal set out, and most everybody knows what they’re doing.  If you code in short sprints or iterations for regular code drops, the “current release” idea might actually encompass a few updates.

The next release – Unless your product development life cycle is really immature, you have some people at least laying the groundwork for the next release.  That is likely a list of features, most of which will make the cut, but some will fall by the wayside, either pushed off into the future or discarded.  Somebody is likely trying to do design work and maybe some preliminary coding.  This is likely what the CSM should be hearing about.

The future – These are ideas and plans about where the product should go.  It is likely that nobody is writing code related to these items, except maybe to ensure that what they are working on today won’t make them more difficult.  There are often items in this area that are defined by a single sentence, and there are a generally a lot more ideas here than it is possible to code in the given time frame.  It is a field of possibilities, not a contact that needs to be honored.  This is where ideas from the CSM likely drop, unless they are small, self-contained features or incremental improvements.

You usually don’t share future items in detail outside of your organization, because people will assume that any document you share is carved in stone, even if they should know better.  So we get this sort of thing from CCP.

Some sort of release schedule...

Some sort of release schedule…

That isn’t actually a roadmap at all.  That is a train schedule.

A bright future of some sort!

A bright future of some sort!

This isn’t really a roadmap so much as a vague promise that exciting new things are somewhere just beyond the horizon.

Some more detail, with a line even...

Some more detail, with a line even…

That is a better roadmap.  Still very general, as it is for public consumption, and still only very high level features, but it at least gives a sense of what the medium to long term priority is. (In a world where “two years” is long term.)

The thing to remember is that, aside from what we get in dev blogs about the next release, none of this is really set in stone, either as features or when it will get released because the roadmap doesn’t work that way.  That third item was from EVE Vegas in 2014 and we are clearly not through with those middle three items.  We have sov warfare changes, and structures coming, but the former still needs some tuning while the latter will probably take a while before it is settled.

Basically, if we’ve learned anything over the years, it is that until CCP does a dev blog or detailed forum post about an upcoming feature, it hasn’t yet been retrieved from that future bucket.  New Eden is a complicated place and it always takes longer than you think to do anything, whether it is in game or out.

I want new things.  I want the new things, vague as they are, which are on those charts.  But I know some of them are still a ways off and that nothing we’ve been told yet about the future is set in stone.

Others diving into Blog Banter 72: