Saturday, August 18, 2018

Warm Fuzz - EQ2

It's Developer Appreciation Week and yet again I'm going to praise the same team I always do. As Shintar pointed out in the comments, Ravalation hosted DAW last year and I contributed, expressing the somewhat left-of-center opinion that Daybreak Games, with a much reduced team, had improved considerably on the flailing, directionless chaos we'd come to expect from late-period SOE.

In the year that's followed I'm delighted to say that things haven't changed. Actually, yes they have. They've gotten even better!

I know that's not what everyone thinks. Feldon, when he closed EQ2Wire, made some fairly damning comments about what things were like behind the scenes and I do believe he would have been in a position to know.

I'm not. I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at Daybreak Towers. All I can judge by is the quality of the games. If you flip through my back pages for the last year or two, pretty much all you'll find about EverQuest and especially EQ2 is post after post where I ramble on about what a great time I'm having, how much I'm enjoying myself and how much better EQ2 is than it used to be. And it was always good (at least after Scott Hartsman saved it).

Over recent updates we've seen the addition of new  familiars, new holidays and new (okay, refurbished) dungeons. We've had a really top-notch new expansion that seems to have been better received than any for years. Even the concerns I had over the loss of the inestimable talents of tradeskill queen Domino proved groundless when the delayed signature crafting quest from Planes of Prophecy finally arrived.

Possibly the warmest, fuzziest character in Norrath.

With what have to be severely reduced and very limited resources compared to the old days under Big Sony, the EQ2 team has consistently provided solid, entertaining content in updates and expansions, punching far above their weight. What's more, they hit their deadlines and the content seems to arrive with fewer bugs.

I play two MMORPGs more than any others these days. I would guess ArenaNet have at least ten times as many developers, designers and coders working on GW2 as DBG have on EQ2 but my satisfaction as a player runs in inverse proportion to those numbers.

As I said, the proof is in the posts I write. I love GW2 but I sometimes despair of both the direction and execution of its content. I'm often sarcastic and snarky about the game. Any appreciation I do offer tends to be directed mainly at the unsung hereoes working on the filler content between big releases - filler that frequently feels more satisfying than the main course.

When I write about EQ2, though, I can't stop gushing. It's so much fun. The current development team seem determined that everyone should have a good time and no-one should be left out. They also understand that there's far - far - more to an MMORPG than endgame content and punching gods in the face.

I'm not going to run on any more.  I've made my point. I've played EQ2 since beta and I've seldom enoyed it more. I just hope that when we get to Developer Appreciation Week in 2019 all I'll need to do is link to this post and say "Again! Again!"

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