Tuesday, November 1, 2011

History Repeating: EQ2

 And not in a good way.

Is that what you want? Is it?

We didn't get any trick-or-treaters for Halloween but I still got a nasty surprise. It just came a day late.

I never entirely recovered from the last revamp of Freeport. The one in the original game that came free alongside Prophecy of Ro, one of Everquest's least-memorable expansions. You probably don't recall the expansion even if you were playing EQ back than, but no-one could forget that revamp. It was the one that turned a charming, idiosyncratic, human-sized city into a soulless impersonal maze.

Okay the harbor was nice, but that's no excuse.

Nevertheless, when they announced at Fan Faire that EQ2's Freeport was going to get a makeover of it's own I was sanguine. I didn't feel the fear like Wilhelm. As you can see from my rather smug comment on TAGN's blog there, I had " a lot more confidence in the EQ2 team to do a better job". Well, soon we will see how well-placed that confidence was.

Breakfast on the terrace at The Blood Haze Inn.
My problem is that all the things listed as negatives about the current Freeport in the interview with Timothy "Hoahmaru" Heydelaar (of whose existence I was previously unaware. I don't think he posts on the forums much) are strong positives for me. They are the very things that have led me to base almost all my characters in Freeport over the last six years.

Lucan, no friend to the lawnmower
I love the down-at-heel Mediterranean port ambience. I love the "pale and desaturated" palette and the "broken stucco and plaster". I have three characters living in the inn in West Freeport that 's being rezoned "to be more military focused with training grounds taking up the area where the bar and inn were".

If anyone's been to Malta they'll know just how convincing Freeport is. The capital of Malta, Valetta, is a harbor fortress built by the Knights of St. John and it's about as close a real-world analog of Lucan's Freeport as you could hope to find. Architecturally, that is. It's not the fag end of a  corrupt empire, peopled by talking rats and eight-foot tall ogres, true, but then you can't have everything.

Valetta, blurred. I blame Cisk.
The new Freeport will have plenty of bling, we're told. They've "added a lot of rich golds to replace the rusty metals throughout and replaced a lot of brick with pattern work". I'm sure it's very tasteful, but don't we already have one city out of the Arabian Nights?

Oh well. At least SoE have had the decency to add an in-game "FRAPS" style video facility before they begin tearing down the house. I'm off to make my own nostalgia documentary before it's too late.


  1. I never played old EQ, but I do recall repeatedly traveling from EQ2 Freeport to Gorowyn - yes, before they redid the ramps - because I could never remember which Freeport subzone I needed to go to for basic amenities. The lore weeps at my character traveling halfway around the world because the guards won't give you directions across zone lines.

    That said, I wasn't exactly pulling for a complete gut-and-overhaul either.

  2. That shows how tastes differ. I have always loathed Gorowyn. It raises my blood-pressure every time I go there, which is absolutely as infrequently as possible. I find it the single least-navigable city I have ever visited in any MMO and that includes Kelethin! As for guards giving directions, I always thought the Freeport guards should just sneer at you if you asked them for any kind of assistance, or at the very least demand a bribe.

  3. I never played an "evil" character for long enough in EQ2 to really get the hang of Freeport, but I'm wary of the revamp, too. After all, they already announced Qeynos will be next.

    I love the current Qeynos, and I'm very worried that a lot of the atmosphere of the place, with the small "ghetto" villages, open spaces and parks, and the sewers under the city (that are an interesting place to explore as a low level), will go away in the name of streamlining blandness.

  4. I absolutely hated, and still do to this day, the EQ Freeport Revamp. I dislike even going there, I miss the old FP. That said I am looking forward to the revamp in EQ2, simply because it is adding new content. I agree though, the style should really remain the same and not be glitzy like other areas we already have.

    I would have preferred if they added in a new neutral city where both factions could take part in the new content that is being added. Who even knows when the Qeynos revamp will be finished :( I actually hate the idea of them touching Qeynos, I love that city.

    All in all I dislike revamps, for the most part, it feels like erasing memories. Unless. of course, they keep it very, very similar to the original. I still hate it when the original EQ gets zones revamped, it just feels so weird.


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