Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Baubbleshire Village Green Preservation Society: EQ2

Daybreak Games have been grabbing their share of headlines recently, what with the announcement of a new game (Planetside Arena) and a limited-availabilty Lifetime Subscription (selling like hotcakes, reportedly). Then there's the mildly controversial cash-shop related holiday offer that made me stop and think about whether to break into my own extensive savings.

On that last one, well, I'm very glad I didn't. And not because I changed my mind on how good the offer is - I still think it's pricey but fair - but because when I logged into EverQuest II a couple of nights back I found there was something much better available - and no-one's even talking about it!

To backtrack a little, when I was replying to Wilhelm's post, linked above, I mistakenly commented that DBG were offering a package of eight premium houses for 3000DBC. That would have been a fantastic deal, if it existed. I was all set to cash in until I got into the game and found I'd misread the offer on the website and the houses were in fact 3000DBC each.

At that price I probably wasn't going to be buying any of them but I was still interested in taking a look. EQII has a great feature whereby you can "tour" any house before you buy it so I travelled to the Prestige Housing Portal in Qeynos to see what I could have bought if I wasn't such a cheapskate.

Some of the new houses are spectacular. Some I'm not convinced are as prestige as all that. None of them appealed to me to the tune of 3000DBC. As I was scrolling through the list, however, I happened to notice an unexpected entry: The Baubbleshire.

Whoa, Betty! The whole reason I'd considered buying five thousand Daybreak Bucks' worth of items and services to get ten chocolate coins to buy Santa Glug's Cheerful Holiday Home in the first place was so I could then break out of it and maybe - just maybe - gain access to my own personal instance of the old gnome and halfling starting village.

Now here it was, openly available as a Prestige Housing Instance all of its own. What the...?

Naturally, I took the tour. And there it was, the whole of the original Baubbleshire zone, just as I remembered it. All the buildings that had been accessible back then were ready to move into and several of the halfling burrows that I don't remember ever being able to go inside were standing open, available for immediate occupation. You could even go down to the docks and swim in the sea!

At this point I was a tad confused. I hadn't heard or seen anything about Baubbleshire coming on the market. I popped up the Store window and looked in Housing. Nothing. Hmm.

Figuring it was new to me, at least, I looked in the (somewhat crassly-named) Limited-Time Lewtz tab and there it was, The Baubbleshire Deed of Ownership Holiday Bundle, along with all the other new 3000DBC Prestige Homes. Only Baubbleshire doesn't cost three thousand, nothing like.

It comes with three chocolate coins and it costs just 1350 DBC !! What's going on?? Who cares! Grab it now!

So I bought it and spent the next half hour wandering around, imagining it as it was. And once the shock of having bought, for 1350DBC, the exact thing I'd almost paid 5000DBC for the mere chance of getting, I started to wonder what else I'd missed. Quite a lot, as it turns out.

Somehow, when I'd scanned down the (only slightly less crassly titled) Come Get Yer Loot promo on the official web page, I'd skated over the entries on "Marketplace Bundles" without registering what they were. There are two of them: The Pack of the Collector and The Premium Pack of the Collector. These each collate several extremely desirable items from the Collector's and Premium Editions of recent expansions.

The regular version, priced at 3000DBC, contains your choice of mercenary from either the Tears of Veeshan expansion or Terrors of Thalumbra. More excitingly, to me at least, it also contains both the 88-slot Bag of Dirty Tricks from ToT and the 100-slot, 100% broker fee reduction Cae'Dal Merchant Crate, which is actually from the Premium edition of Rise of Kunark, so you'd think it would be in the Premium pack.

Said Premium pack, double the price at 6000DBC, has a choice of mercenaries from Age of Malice or RoK, a different 100 slot/100% fee reduction broker box (the Atomizing Merchant Crate), a different 88-slot bag (the Bag of 88 Wonders, previously only available on the TLE servers) plus the Altar of the Ancients and Arcanna'se: Effigy of Rebirth pre-order house items from ToT and RoK respectively, and finally the Clockwork Calamity pre-order illusion from Planes of Prophecy.

Both packs are only available for the duration of the Winter Extravaganza promotion, which ends on December 31st. I will be buying the 3000DBC version for my All Access account (which already has all the pre-order items) and I'm considering getting the 6000DBC one for my lapsed AA account, which has none.

The immense practical value of all these items seems to me to make these packs both highly desirable and excellent value. No doubt there will be some grumbling and head-shaking from the people who shelled out anything up to $140 for some of the Premium Editions but I have always been of the opinion that anything from a prior expansion is fair game once that expansion is no longer current.

I do wonder, though, whether this isn't another straw in the wind that's blowing us towards the end of expansions for EQII (and EverQuest as well). As a developer, you might well think long and hard before putting items from premiums past up for sale at attractive prices, especially in cash shop coin.

You might well be thinking that opening that door risks closing another on any future sales of overpriced expansions as you train canny consumers to wait for a better offer down the line. But if you know you've already sold the last expansion you're ever going to make, that does rather cease to be an issue, doesn't it?

Well, let's not think too hard about that. For now, let's celebrate our good fortune and grab the goodies while we can. I'd recommend anyone reading this, who's also sitting on a pile of DBC, to splurge while the offer's there.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a village to decorate.


  1. Heh, well at least they have found some use for the old racial ghettos of Qeynos. They didn't seem like a great idea at launch... so much zoning back then... but then once we'd all settled in and got used to them they got pulled and we all got sent to some tenament in South Qeynos instead. And if there was anything in the city more dull than the suburbs it was the rest of the city.

    Qeynos is just so dull. SOE was very much on the Freeport side of things.

    1. Yep, dull is the word for Qeynos alright. I never liked it and still don't although I lived there right at the start because everyone I was playing with at the time was a goodie.

      Releasing all the original villages as Prestige Homes seems like such a no-brainer I can't believe they haven't already done it. I'd bet they will now, though. I'm just astonished they're only asking 1350DBC. If they stick to that price I'd most likely get a couple more but of all the starter zones I think I remember Baubbleshire the best.

    2. For whatever reason, I had dwarves and barbarians to start with, so Greystone Yard was my place. I realize Qeynos had to put the refugees of the cataclysm somewhere, but not all the mixes seemed right. Gnomes and halflings were at least both short. What do dwarves and barbarians have in common?

  2. Also, this:

    In case that doesn't resolve, 400 Daybreak lifetime subs left.

    1. Nice cash grab. I have to say it's sold faster than I expected. Interesting, too, that they've been able to shift four times as many as LotRO, although of course LotRO has had lifetime subs before.

      I have to say all of this makes me more convinced than ever that DBG is done with developing new content for EQ/EQ2 (and DCUO for that matter). They're taking the money now, while they can, I think. My hope now is that they'll want to keep milking the installed base(s) for as long as possible, for which the servers will at least have to stay up. That would work for me.

  3. 1,215DBC after discount, actually. Dang, man, thanks for the tip. I just bought Baubleshire.

    Now, I'm trying to find the exit out of Santa Glug's, having stepped in to tour. hmmm...


    1. Found it. Omigosh, it _is_ tiny.


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