Tag Archives: Ruins of Kunark

EverQuest is Returning to Kunark as Well

Thanks to a nudge from Bhagpuss, I went over to the EverQuest site and read more than the first news entry this time.  As with EverQuest II, yesterday’s producer’s letter says that EverQuest will be returning to the island of Kunark for its 2016 expansion.

While EverQuest II went to Kunark last in 2007 with Rise of Kunark, leaving a 9 year gap between then and the upcoming Kunark Ascending (rise? ascend? is there a message in that?), EverQuest last went there in April of 2000 with the Ruins of Kunark expansion, the first of many expansions to the game, leaving nearly a 17 year gap between visits.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

This box art is going to get a lot of use

After that long gap, EverQuest is going back with the Empires of Kunark expansion, due out this November.

As with the EverQuest II announcement I reported on earlier today, there are not any real details about the expansion aside from zone names and… well… that it will be set in Kunark.  I am sort of surprised it took them this long to get back there.  They’ve been back to Faydwer in one form or another a few times already.  Hell, they’ve done pirate/sea adventures as a theme twice now. (The Buried Sea and The Darkened Sea.)

More information about the expansion will follow later.  Daybreak says they are planning bonus events and sales to help players get ready for the expansion when it launches.

Stormhold Server Faces a Third Strike Vote

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a fan of the whole nostalgia retro server thing when it comes to MMOs.  I have found them to be a fun, if imperfect, way to take a visit back to what things were like.  Not the actual launch experience, but an incredible simulation.

Nostalgia on Wayne!

Norrathmania!

It is also very much an accelerated experience, as the people who show up are generally looking to relive the early days, and know where they want to go and what they want to do.  On the various generations of EverQuest progression servers people knew what zones to visit, what mobs to camp, which spawns to farm, and what groups were needed for any given boss.

It is something like compressed nostalgia.  All the stuff you took months to do now accomplished in a few weeks.

But it isn’t just the nostalgia that is compressed.  A very swift path opens to all the usual MMO problems as well.  Again, as we have seen on multiple iterations, people have problems with groups and spawns and multi-boxing and contested open world bosses and raids and even being able to log into an overloaded server.

However, the most contentious issue of all is content pacing.  There is always a conflict between those who burn through the content quickly and want the next expansion unlocked at the soonest possible moment, and those who move at a more leisurely pace or who showed up late (along with that persistent, classic server sub-group that wants no expansions unlocked ever), who want to hold off on the new stuff.

And so it has come to pass on the remaining EverQuest II time locked expansion server, Stormhold (the other server, the PvP focused Deathtoll, was shut down earlier this year due to lack of interest) that the content pacing wars have begun to burn bright.

That is Daybreak's graphic for the idea

That is Daybreak’s graphic for the idea

Unlocks have not been automatic on Stormhold up to this point.  The pace of votes, which come every 30 days, is such that they must seem too quick to some segment of the population, and so first unlock votes seem to fail regularly.  But the second vote has generally gone in favor of releasing fresh content.  The current vote revolves around the Rise of Kunark expansion.

What was it with SOE and dark elves?

What was it with SOE and dark elves?

However, the Rise of Kunark expansion, which raises the level cap to 80, has already failed its on two unlock votes, and the third one is in progress, being set to end this Friday.

It is a simple yes/no question

Trolling with a simple yes/no question

The thing is, as Feldon at EQ2 Wire dug up, there is a “gotcha” clause if the unlock vote fails for the third time running.  The voting quote from the forums:

Players will have the option to vote to unlock content on Stormhold (PvE) and Deathtoll (PvP) servers every 30-days. The voting period will last a week, and if the server votes not to unlock the next expansion, the vote will start again after 30-days.

If the server chooses not to unlock content three times in a row, the votes for the next expansion will change to 90-days in-between votes. This will reset back to 30-days in-between votes after an expansion is successfully unlocked on your server.

Players must be within 20 levels of current content cap to be eligible to vote.

If the unlock vote fails this Friday, the voting will move to an every 90 day cycle, and won’t go back to every 30 days until an unlock vote succeeds. (Also, my “no” vote in the screen shot apparently doesn’t count because I am only level 30 and you need to be level 50 for your vote to count according to that quote.)

This naturally has the quick content consumption faction seeing red.  In the post over at EQ2 Wire, Feldon has points out three threads up on the forums where players are issuing dire predictions should the vote fail, one of which includes a pro-unlock video.

Of course, there is no telling what Daybreak will actually do should the unlock vote fail.  The company seems to have a history of bowing to the will of the loudest voices in the forums.  Just about a year back they overrode the rules set down for the EverQuest Ragefire progression server and let players vote in an early unlock… a situation that also happened to revolve around the continent of Kunark.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

Can’t get enough Kunark!

I will give even odds, should the unlock vote fail, that Daybreak will disavow the 90 day vote cycle clause and keep with the every 30 day pace.  Anyway, we shall see what happens come Friday.  Maybe the vote will pass and everybody will just move on.

Ruins of Kunark Unlocked on Ragefire

Back at the launch of the EverQuest time locked expansion servers, the unlock plan that was voted into place by the players asked for a six month gap before the first expansion unlock vote would occur.

And then the usual drama happened, with restless raiders, complaints about multi-boxers camping all the good spawns, and a feeling in some quarters that everything would be better if Daybreak would only open up the Ruins of Kunark expansion.  That would raise the level cap and open up a bunch of new low level areas.

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

The only fully good MMO expansion ever

So Daybreak put up a poll asking if they should unlock the expansion early.

Vote early, vote often, vote all your accounts

Now, three months, or six month

In the end, the original rules got the most votes.  However, it did not win a majority.  A majority voted for now or three months.  So in one of those compromises where nearly everybody feels a bit cheated, Daybreak decided to change the unlock time frame on Ragefire only to 30 days.  The Lockjaw server would remain at 60 days.

Daybreak did eventually open up the ability to buy a character transfer between the two servers so players could theoretically be on the unlock plan they desired.  However, those transfers stopped last week because the unlock vote on Ragefire hit, because if the two servers get out of sync on expansions, transfers will not be allowed.  You can’t be carrying Kunark loot to Lockjaw.

And transfers will stay locked because the Kunark vote passed.

The Ruins of Kunark expansion is now officially live on Ragefire.  Holly post a picture of people waiting at the dock for the boat.

Ragefire Kunark line

Ragefire Kunark line

About the same size crowd as was waiting for the expansion back on the Fippy Darkpaw server in 2011 I suppose.

Now will people be happy with Kunark for a full six months?

The Scars of Velious Open on Fippy Darkpaw

The second EverQuest expansion, Scars of Velious is now live on the Fippy Darkpaw Time-locked Progression Server.

Original Box Art

There was no official announcement as far as I could see. Neither the forums nor the EQPlayers had anything on the subject.  Of course, the forums seem to be reserved for complaining about guilds fighting over the same bosses and the lack of population on these server.  Meanwhile, what passes for “news” on EQPlayers seems to be primarily focused on Station Cash and what you can buy with it.

So it was pretty much by accident that I went to check the status of Fippy Darkpaw this morning and found that Velious was now open… and two bosses down already this morning.

Aug. 29 Game Status

Two bosses down today means that it probably just went live, given how things have gone in the past.

The Ruins of Kunark went live back in early June and was “completed” in about two weeks, which started the 60 day timer for the next expansion, Velious. (I thought it was a 30 day timer initially, but it is 60 days.)

At this rate the next expansion, The Shadows of Luclin, should be available some time in November of this year.  And the last expansion should be live on the server somewhere in the 2014 range.

Ruins of Kunark “Complete” on Fippy Darkpaw

On the current EverQuest time locked progression servers, the idea is to play through all of the EverQuest expansions, in order, one by one.

Three things need to happen in order for the server to advance to the next expansion.

First, a certain set of objectives must be met in the expansion.  Key bosses must be slain, epic quests must be completed, and so on.

Second, a set time limit must expire.  The time limit was set for 90 days from the start of the server until the first expansion, Ruins of Kunark, could be unlock.  Each subsequent expansion requires a 30 day wait before it can be opened.  Some will view this as a way to slow things down, as I understand that the last time they did progression servers (Combine and The Sleeper), expansions were getting cracked open at an alarming rate.  Others will view this as a conspiracy to keep people playing and paying as you must subscribe for a month for each expansion. (And with the base game plus 17 expansions, we’re getting close to a two year commitment to see this through from start to finish.)

And, finally, there is the vote to unlock the next expansion, which is something of a foregone conclusion each time.  I have yet to read a good reason to vote against an expansion, and if you believe what you read in the forums, the next expansion is always what will cure what ever is going wrong in the current expansion. (e.g. Kunark was going to alleviate the crowding in the higher level zones in the base game, while Velious will fix the harm touch issue that people are exploiting using in Kunark.)  Plus, the vote is only open to those within 19 levels of the cap, a group made up mostly of those with a vested interest in opening the next expansion, so I cannot see the vote ever going against opening an expansion.

While I have not been playing on Fippy Darkpaw much of late (the plan is to go back for Lost Dungeons of Norrath, which we should get to in November) I have been watching the forums and the progress with expansions and will record results here just because they interest me and because I’d like to be able to refer to them at a later date.  SOE isn’t good about keeping results like this around.  I couldn’t find anything on the last progression servers and how quickly they progressed and what issues they faced.  So consider this a public record of sorts… a biased and oddly focused record, but with enough facts to be better than nothing at all.

When the Fippy Darkpaw server opened, the first objective, the downing of certain key bosses, was completed within 10 days.  That left 80 days of calls on the forums to open the next expansion, The Ruins of Kunark, early because a bunch of people were sitting around with little to do and the few high levels zones were very crowded.

This sounds like just about every other MMO, right?  There is always somebody who rushes through the game (and these are games no matter how much certain people stomp their feet and insist otherwise) and complains that there is nothing to do.  The difference this time is that this group made up a much larger percentage of the population than usual.

SOE held its ground, fixed a few bugs, locked a lot of threads (from my observations, the key job requirement for a member of the EQ community team is the ability to lock threads), went off-line for nearly two weeks, then held the vote for Kunark on time.

The vote to unlock passed.  No vote results were ever published that I saw, but the Ruins of Kunark unlocked (automatically I would guess) on June 6th.

And the race was on again.  The cynical forum conventional wisdom was that the objective would be knocked out within 72 hours and that it would then become a 27 day wait for the next vote.  Not that there is nothing to do.  Some people are actually playing to see the whole game one expansion at a time, and even those who are racing through need to gear up their guilds to be ready for the next expansion.

But we cannot see metrics on those who have gotten their “been there, done that” ticket stamped nor get a report on what guilds are geared up and ready to go.  All we get is a list of those who accomplished the set tasks for the expansion first.  Like Napoleon’s men in Egypt, who couldn’t resist scrawling their names on the Sphinx, the drive to get your name and your guild’s name written in lights is a strong motivator.  Is there any wonder why there is a race to the top.

Surprisingly, the expansion was not completed within the 72 hours the wags expected.  The final boss, Phara’dar, was not brought down until yesterday, 13 days into the opening of the expansion.  That is close enough to the half way point of the expected 30 day life of the expansion to seem reasonably satisfying to me.

The Ruins of Kunark Checklist Complete

So, for the record, here is the timeline for Kunark.

June 6

June 7

June 8

June 9

June 11

June 14

June 19

It is interesting to see that there is a competition going on.  For the base game, Twisted Legion killed all of the bosses first.  This time around there were other guilds in contention for server first events.

While it looks like Twisted Legion still dominated, they are clearly not alone out there.

And now the count down to the next expansion, The Scars of Velious begins.  I have no doubt that the vote will swing in favor of opening the expansion at the earliest possible date and that we will see the guild competition continue in early July… and what the next major complaint on the forums will be.

Still One Kunark Boss to go on Fippy Darkpaw

Which surprises me, since the forums seemed to think the whole thing would be wrapped up in 72 hours.  But the last required quest, The Staff of the Four, was only completed on the 14th.

Of course, the main topic on the progression server forums right now is how out of balance the Shadow Knight ability Harm Touch is at the moment.  Somebody posted an example:

[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Caleros begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Caleros hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Elesh begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Elesh hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Luminescent’s song ends.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Ultralisk begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Ultralisk hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Brosex begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Brosex hit Trakanon for 2586 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Gotterdamerung begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Gotterdamerung hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Matta begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Matta hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Dannin begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Dannin hit Trakanon for 3301 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Terminator begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Terminator hit Trakanon for 3081 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Minimax begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Minimax hit Trakanon for 2861 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Velvett begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Velvett hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Abusive begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Abusive hit Trakanon for 2806 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Wargrade begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Wargrade hit Trakanon for 2751 points of non-melee damage.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon writhes in the grip of agony.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Trakanon has been slain by Wargrade!
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Merrdox begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Merrdox begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Senni begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Senni begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Senni begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:45 2011] Ravisher begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Reaperr begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Reaperr begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Alfred begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Daiken begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Daiken begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Allahlav begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] Allahlav begins to cast a spell.
[Wed Jun 15 03:21:46 2011] <SYSTEMWIDE_MESSAGE>: Trakanon has been defeated by a group of hardy adventurers! Please join us in congratulating Caleros along with everyone else who participated in this achievement!

That is something like 32K points of damage done with a coordinated Shadow Knight Harm Touch attack.

Elapsed time: 1 second

This is how bosses go down so quickly it seems.

The SOE team is starting to sit up and take notice of the issue.  Sort of.

Well, they have started herding all of the posts on the subject into a single Harm Touch thread.

We shall see what comes of this.

Kunark Live on Fippy Darkpaw!

While there has been no official announcement of the vote results yet in the Time Locked Progression Servers section of the EverQuest forums, The Ruins of Kunark expansion went live yesterday on Fippy Darkpaw.

While the expansion took a bit to go live, people are able to get there now.  Pictures were posted to the forums (which I have borrowed, and would give credit if I knew where to link it) of people crowding in.

Into Kunark

Crowd on the Dock

There is a bit of annoyance in the forums that race change potions from the Station Cash Store are available on the Time Locked Progression Servers, allowing anybody to become an Iksar without having to start over.  The discussion, as it generally does, falls into the “not authentic” and “this isn’t a ‘classic’ server” camps.

Of course, the key metric for progress is how soon the next set of objectives will be met to open the next expansion, the Scars of Velious.

As of this morning there, 5 of the 6 bosses have been killed and 3 of the 12 required quests have been completed.  The report in the forums said that the first boss was down within 15 minutes of the expansion going live.

The Tally of the First 24 Hours

Defeated Bosses

  • Trakanon (by Twisted Legion)
  • Venril Sathir (by Ion)
  • Talendor (by Armageddon)
  • Severilous (by Twisted Legion)
  • Gorenaire (by Citizen)

Completed Quests

  • Orb of Mastery (by Seleking of Armageddon)
  • The Scythe of the Shadowed Soul (by Corpselover of Twisted Legion)
  • Ragebringer (by Dezire of Twisted Legion)

It looks like four guilds are competing to finish off the expansion.  You can see representatives from each in the pictures above.  The initial set of bosses were taken down by Twisted Legion within 10 days of the launch of the server.

I expect that all the quests will be complete and the last boss down by the end of this coming weekend.  We shall see.  With that timeline we could see Velious open up in early July.

As of this point, I have seen no formal announcement of any of this by the EQ community team in the forums or on the main page.