As I was waking up and drinking my morning tea (black, no sugar, thanks) I was jolted awake by this line in the patch notes:
Removed the embedded Legends of Norrath (LoN) client from the EverQuest II client. If you wish to continue playing LoN, please download and use the standalone client available at www.legendsofnorrath.com.
Feldon doesn't comment but it strikes me that this is quite significant. Or could be.
Ever since LoN went live back in 2007 its main function has been to provide in-game loot for EverQuest and EQ2 players. Oh, there was a time when significant numbers of people played Legends of Norrath as a game in its own right and for all I know they may still, although I'd want to see some convincing evidence before I'd believe it.
As far as I can recall it has always been playable outside of the game from a standalone client although I have never until today even visited the web page, much less thought of installing it.
When LoN first appeared in game I played through the tutorial, which I remember finding very confusing. I never progressed as far as a match against another player. After a couple of desultory games with the AI I gave up on LoN as a game-within-a-game and thereafter never gave it much thought other than as a source of free stuff via the occasional Loot Card.
There was a period when LoN provided actual dropped loot in game, too. Back in 2007, which seems insanely longer ago than nine years as I recover these memories, I must still have been playing EverQuest as my primary MMORPG, because I clearly recall Booster Packs for LoN dropping as loot from mobs while I was hunting in the Crypt of Nadox and other Legacy of Ykesha zones.
Those packs were tradeable and they sold for big money on the broker back then. Not, I think, because anyone wanted to expand their deck to play LoN. No, the premium price was for the chance of getting something like the Bot Made Ice Cream Cart , still one of the coolest items ever added to the game and one of the very, very few I have always coveted.
At some point, either at the beginning or very early on (I can't recall which and the brief wiki entry doesn't mention it) a stipend of five LoN cards per month was included with the All Access sub. Ever since then opening and hoping has been a monthly ritual of my EQ and/or EQ2 gameplay.
Over the years I've had a few nice "drops" including mounts and houses although never the elusive ice-cream cart. A while back the rules were changed so that you had to log in each month and claim the free cards (also your 500
The terse patch note doesn't mention anything about the stipend but I have to wonder: if the games have been de-coupled, what is the future for the free packs? I'd like to know.
I did try logging in to test it for myself but although the patch notes may be up the patch itself is not. The process for logging in to Test is unbelievably easier and smoother than it used to be back when I played, though, so I'll try again later.
In the meantime I've downloaded and installed the standalone client and tried it out. It seems identical to the in-game version except that it's slower and very laggy. You'd think that would be the other way around.
I opened packs until I got a Loot Card. It took me seven tries, which is about average in my experience. The loot is now in my account Claim list so I guess that, for now at least, the only substantive change is the access method required.
I'm off to post about it on the forum. It seems like something that should have been handled a little more sensitively than with just a line in the Test server patch notes but that's SOE/DBG all over.