Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Gift Horse: EverQuest, EQII

When I went to log into EverQuest II last night I noticed a new prompt on the launcher pointing to A Note From Jenn Chan. I clicked through to read it while the game was loading.

It's more like an essay than a note. It goes into considerable detail about some recent trials and tribulations, apologizing rather fulsomely and confirming something I'd already noticed since the transition of leadership, that the new Darkpaw is "trying to be much more transparent".

There's a different version of the apology on the EverQuest forums, giving more information about similar problems affecting the older game. It's clear that part of the issue there is the increased population, which is a nice problem to have, although not if you can't get it under control.

Both notes make for interesting reading, as do the responses. Even Feldon turns up with something nice to say! It's amazing how players respond so positively to an apology that both sounds genuine and which treats them as intelligent adults.

Oh, wait, no it's not! What's amazing is how so many game companies avoid this kind of open engagement with their customers in favor of silence or passive-aggressive self-justification. It's not that Jenn Chan's note is partiularly revealing, let alone indiscreet. It's mostly the absence of corporate doublespeak and the presence of what sounds like someone's natural voice.

While I was personally quite happy with Holly Windstalker Longdale's tenure, during which there were many notable improvements to the game and its prospects, I do think Jenn Chan comes across as warmer and more... well, more of a geek and more of a gamer. That, too, goes a long way.

The main reason I'm posting about all this, though, isn't to analyse any change in corporate style but to mention by way of a public service announcement that both apologies come with gifts.

EverQuest players get a 25% experience bonus, which isn't particularly exciting but is always welcome. I checked this morning and it applies both to free to play accounts and to xp from Overseer missions, which is good for me. My Magician is closing in fast on level 99 and every little helps in her drive to 100.

For EQII players there's a free mount and it's a very nice one. The appearance is taken from the Chaos Descending Collector's Edition, I believe, and it looks great. The stats, while they aren't anything that will excite raiders, are a very decent upgrade to the best mount I have... which happens to be the last one they gave away!

Best of all the mount, Samenda Honorhoof, is available to all accounts, not just to members. It's also Heirloom so you can move it about to whoever needs it. Characters do need to be level 110 or above to get the benefit of the stat buffs but it's very much worth grabbing even if you don't have a character that high yet. It's fast, it looks amazing and you can slap it in the mount appearance slot and keep the stats of whatever you normally fly.

I'll be logging all my accounts in to grab it before the offer expires in a couple of weeks on June 24th. One or two of them might even ride it, some day.

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