Thursday, April 6, 2023

If It Looks Too Good To Be True...

I need to correct a fundemental error in yesterday's post on the changes to EverQuest II's Kael Drakkel server so, rather than bury it as an edit no-one would ever read, I thought I might as well give it a very brief post of its own. Also, since I logged in and played there for a while this morning and have a couple of observations to make, I might as well throw those in, too. Still going to keep it very short, though. No-one's that interested; me included.

Firstly, the correction: Kael Drakkel is not going to be a free-to-play server after all

Well... it is, kind of, but only for three weeks. 

This goes back to the confusion over dates I alluded to when I said "The changes are somewhat mysteriously scheduled to occur "Between April 6 and April 25", although it's stressed that they are permanent once implemented". I was taking my information from the Producer's Letter, which says

 "Between April 6 and April 25, we will be kicking off these permanent changes above by making the Kael Drakkel server available to all players—even those without membership"

I thought that was a clear statement that the server would be permanently available to everyone, members and free players alike, but no, that's not how it works at all. As today's announcement clearly explains,

"Anyone can play on Kael Drakkel. No subscription required until April 26!" 

I can see now how the statement in the Producer's Letter can be parsed to read as "Between April 6 and April 25 we will be making the Kael Drakkel server available to all players - even those without membership - as a time-limited opportunity to try out the changes, which will be permanent for members" but to my mind the phrase "kicking off" doesn't really express the meaning "temporarily introducing" at all clearly, although I do admit - and indeed did observe - that the sentence as a whole doesn't make much sense without such an interpretation. 

I just took it to be a badly-written sentence. Which it is, although not for the reason I thought.

The upshot is that everyone has three weeks to give the new ruleset on Kael Drakkel a try for free but after that, and if they want to stay longer, they'll need an All Access membership. So, is it worth getting one?

Only you can decide, although I'd obviously not suggest it was ever going to be worth subscribing just to play one of the four available titles on a special rules server. All Access is a great deal anyway, though.

I'm in the happy position of being a Member already, so I don't have to choose. Based on my brief experiences this morning, I don't think I'll be making Kael Drakkel my new Norrathian home but I imagine I'll be dropping in from time to time, which is exactly what Darkpaw want to hear.

The announcement I linked above goes a long way towards clarifying what Darkpaw are expecting from the rule changes. They want it to be a server anyone (I guess I should say "any All Access Member".) can hop onto at whim, mess around for a while, then leave. It's the sort of place you can imagine someone killing half an hour before the raid starts or spending a couple of hours while their home server is down for maintenance.

As Darkpaw describe it 

"We want Kael Drakkel to be your home away from home, especially when you just want to enjoy the game without all the pressure and extra time required. Think of Kael Drakkel as “plug and play”—get in and have immediate fun. Whether you make the server your home or a place to go when you just want some quick entertainment, all are welcome!"

It reminds me slightly of when ArenaNet added Edge of the Mists to Guild Wars 2 so players in the overflow for World vs World would have something to do while they waited. That worked for a while but eventually EotM turned into a ghost zone, when ANet switched off the xp faucet.

The big inducement to play on Kael Drakkel are the things you can get there for your "real" character. I don't think even Darkpaw are imagining many players setting up to play full-time on the Legend and Lore server. The secondary attraction is the ability to solo a lot of stuff you couldn't handle on a Live server.

I took a brief look at both of those this morning. I came away quite impressed with the goodies on offer, less so with the whole soloing a raid thing.

Nimgimli commented on yesterday's post that the idea of Kael Drakkel sounded attractive enough but the plethora of skills and abilities you'd need to learn at Level 90 was offputting. I replied, somewhat glibly asserting that solo content in EQII is already so easy that knowing what your skills do is a luxury more than a requirement.

Having died four times in a row to the first raid boss I tried this morning, I'm now willing to say that may not be strictly true on the new Kael Drakkel. It wasn't even a recent raid boss, either. It was one from way back near the start of the game. By the fourth try I could see victory was definitely within my reach but it would have taken more concentration and better playing skill than I was willing to muster just for the experiment.

On the other hand, outside the raid zone there was a yellow-con, Heroic named mob that I was able to one-shot, which seemed a tad extreme in the opposite direction. I came across a couple of bugs, too, so it's not impossible things aren't working as planned just yet. I'll keep an eye on the forums to see how many complaints there are.

As for the rewards, I spent some time looking at what Lore and Legend Merchant Ronald Gleneed had to offer and came away quite impressed. Some of it is unique to the revamped server and some comes from time-expired events, presumably making it otherwise unavailable. 

There's a ton of housing stuff, a lot of which I'd like to own. There are several mounts, at least one of which I'd use for looks. Even the new appearance armor, which didn't look all that impressive in the screenshots, is pretty spiffy when you see it in game. There was a constant stream of players coming to check it out, too, which is encouraging, especially seeing it was the middle of the night in the U.S.

The currency used to buy all of it comes from doing Achievements, that being the way Kael Drakkel operates. As far as I can tell, they're just the same, regular Achievements you can do on any server, only on Kael Drakkel you get paid for them. I somehow have over three hundred Lore and Legend Tokens already, enough to buy quite a lot of the stuff that interests me, although if I buy the Arcanists Hover Platform, it'll about clean me out.

That just leaves the scaling adornments, about which I can tell you... nothing. Didn't see 'em. Looked for 'em, couldn't find 'em. If I find out where you get them, I'll add a note to the end of this post.

And here it is. 

(The end of the post, that is. Not the note. I'm still looking.)

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