Friday, October 18, 2019

Blood Moon Rising: EverQuest, EverQuest II

Following on from yesterday's interview with Holly Longdale, today we have two Producer's Letters from her, one for each of the EverQuest titles. Both reveal the name of their resepective upcoming expansions, details of the various packages on offer and a few (a very few) details on what to expect.

There's also a tentative beta date for testing the new content. Pre-orders for the EQ expansion open next week on Wednesday 23. There doesn't appear to be a date yet for ordering the EverQuest II version.

As soon as there's an order button to press, I will be buying the basic pre-order package for the EverQuest II expansion, even though I have absolutely no intention of entering the beta to which pre-ordering provides access. My days of testing content I'll be playing live only weeks later lie deep in the past.

This year, in addition to the usual three grades of opt-in - Standard, Collector's and Premium - there's a fourth, "Family and Friends". Both games are getting the new offer, described as " experiment based on years of requests from players who like to share their generosity, families, guildmates and others" and about which we are warned "The bundle is set at a high price point".

The main feature of the new deal, which also includes all of the contents of the lesser packs, is a range of tradeable items and services, including mounts, character boosts, character slots and even another copy of the expansion itself.

I get the impression the team are nervous of being called on this one over what will almost certainly be an eye-watering price tag but it's quite true that people are always asking for the option to buy services and items for other players in the EQ games. The claim that this is "by popular demand" is almost certainly based, at least in part, in reality.

Won't stop the very same people who asked for it from complaining bitterly about being gouged and scammed but that's the community in a nutshell. And I would be ecstatic to find myself proved wrong on that...

Norrath has (at least) three moons: Luclin, Drinal and Morrel. There also three other known planets in the Ro system, Anbeal, Cordan and Trorsmang, none of which I had ever heard of until this morning.

The EverQuest expansion, the twenty-fifth, is called "Torment of Velious" so we know where that's going. The contents are as you'd expect:
Torment of Velious brings you a level increase from 110 to 115 with new spells and AAs, gear, and content with 6 new zones, and quests, raids and more.
My days of trying for cap in EverQuest are over, I believe. Expansions play to the established base that lives at end game and I haven't been domiciled there since 2005's Depths of Darkhollow.

My highest EQ character is a Level 93 Magician, who I boosted to 85 with the original Heroic Character freebie and soloed the rest of the way in the following five years. I could carry on doing that and maybe reach the current cap by the time I'm seventy. I think I'll pass.

There is an alternative:
On November 5, in support of EverQuest II’s 15th anniversary, we are going to be launching a new type of progression server, named Miragul, that will start at the House of Thule expansion that launched in 2010. You start as a Level 85 Heroic Character with live server experience rates, and all the trappings of a server that starts with a level cap of 90 with in-game housing, loads of raids, over 800 AAs, and more.
That is quite tempting. I could start at 85 on a brand new server and level up in the many PUGs that will surely be clogging /lfg for weeks. I'd have the same starting gear as everyone else and House of Thule is about the last expansion of which I have personal experience and a little knowledge.

The thing is, Miragul opens on the same day EQII launches its own new server, Rivervale. This is a regular server with no funny ruleset, Just a straight new start because, as Holly says, "It’s been a LONG time since we’ve added a new one". It's "Membership Required", which I find both interesting and revealing. I think F2P for the EverQuest franchise is all but dead and buried now.

The new server experience is more than enough on its own to draw me in. I will definitely be making some characters there. How long I'll play them for is anyone's guess.I wouldn't expect it to be more than a week or two, but I thought that when the Freeport server started and I ended up playing there almost exclusively for five years.

I think this is Drinal but don't hold me to it.

The forthcoming EQII expansion, due some time in December, will probably put a stop to any futzing about on new servers. Titled "Blood of Luclin" it kicks off the long-awaited return to Norrath's once-shattered, now restored moon. I have always been a big Luclin fan so I'm not about to miss that.

As with the EverQuest expansion, detail is limited so far but it appears to be exactly the "more of the same" most core players want and expect:
This expansion will bring you a level increase from 110 to 120 for adventurers and tradeskillers with new quests for both, signature lines, and more as you explore Luclin.
We’ve got all new solo, heroic, and raid content, including new challenge modes and contested raid fights.
There is one new feature, about which I am less than enthusiastic. Called "Overseer", it's one of those agent mission deals about which I have read plenty and thought the worst. I forget which games have similar systems except that I know World of Warcraft used it in whichever expansion added Garrisons and I think I've seen it but never used it in some F2P titles.

I made a decision when I was about twenty-five years old that one thing I never wanted to do in my work life was manage or supervise other people. I've never regretted that decision. The idea of becoming a virtual supervisor or, in this case, Overseer is about as unattractive a concept as I can imagine.

That said, the EQII team is good at this sort of thing. I really enjoyed the Tradeskill Apprentice system that came with earlier expansions. Maybe it'll be more fun than it sounds.

It's a particularly busy Autumn for EverQuest II because not only do we have the expansion on the way but it's also the fifteenth anniversary. Fifteen isn't the most significant of birthdays but it does end in a five so it deserves some recognition.

This too, probably.

We're getting an event about which we so far know nothing other than its name - Dragons Attack - and the date it begins, November 7. From the little that has been revealed so far ("Join with all Norrathians for Dragons Attack, because you’ll need them to conquer the challenges!") I would guess either a Public Quest (maybe several), a community collect-and-build project, a series of open-world attacks similar to WoW's lead-up to the Legion expansion or all of the above at once.

Whatever, it all sounds like fun. The end of the year looks like Back-To-Norrath-time for me.

Last and very definitely not least, as hinted in Holly's interview it seems we'll be learning some hard facts about the future of both Daybreak Games and the EverQuest Franchise in just a few weeks time:

Keep your ears perked in November for even more news about our teams and our commitment to the franchise.

I'd take that to mean we're going to find out what all those new trademarks are for and maybe even get some indication of whatever new EverQuest game is in development. We may finally have something to bite down on when we chew over the fat.


  1. Dare I say "greedy?"

    As eye watering as some of those prices are, I will say that the EQII side of the house delivers a lot of goodies for the money. If I were a REAL player, I would be very tempted by at least the the package above the base expansion.

    And it was noted a few years back that something like half of the expansions sold were at level above the base expansion. If nobody was buying them they wouldn't bother putting those packages together. If there is demand for an even more expensive package, good on them for serving customer desire.

    The EQ side of the house... I know they are hamstrung by character database file sizes... are kind of crap in my opinion. I have said for several years that even if I was a hardcore EQ play I am not sure the meager offerings that more money provides will be tempting.

    Anyway, waiting for more info to spill.

    1. I was tempted by last year's "Collector's" edition. The way I play, I pretty much only ever need the Base edition but they are putting some very appealing items in the EQ2 packages these days. I'm curious to see what this year's package includes.

      I agree on the EQ packs, though. They always look very thin to me. The a gain, I am definitely not the target audience. As for the new gifting pack, if people want it, why not give it... er SELL it... to them? The good thing about digital offers like this is that they almost certainly cost very little to put to gether and very little is lost if they don't sell. If there are evena relatively few people out there who want to hand over their money, why not let them?

  2. New job so there has been a lot less game time available lately. That being said, I am looking forward to this. I have not grouped in a while so hopefully it has decent solo options. The last expansion was fun to run through but I did not find much reason to run the solo zones multiple times.

    While I have been tempted in the past, I always buy the basic version. I am sure I will do the same this time around.


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