Friday, April 9, 2021

Buggin' Out

This morning I spent a happy hour or so writing a bug report for EverQuest 2. Okay, that's a little misleading. I probably spent about ten or fifteen minutes on the report and the other forty-five trying to work out how to add a screenshot to my post on the forums.

Daybreak recently made some changes to the bug reporting process. There was an item about it in the News and Announcements section. The main change seems to be a prompt to copy the report to the forums, which seems like a peculiarly redundant process to me. 

I guess the idea is that added value is going to accrue from other players reading the forum posts and adding their information to the pile. The in-game reporting process is inevitably invisible to everyone other than the person making the report and whoever receives it at DBG but I'd always hoped that it was someone's job to read them all. I certainly never assumed anyone would read through all the comments on every post on the forums - even the bug section. I can't believe Daybreak could afford to pay anyone enough for that.

As I read the gloss now, I realize the new reporting feature copies the bug report text to your clipboard automatically so all you have to do is paste it and give it a title. I missed that part, naturally, and re-wrote mine from scratch.  

Then I tried to add a screenshot of the problem. Luckily I'd taken one when it happened. Not because I'd realized anything was wrong. I didn't notice until much later. No, I took the screenshot for a blog post I was thinking of writing. This one, I guess, although it's turning out quite differently from what I had planned.

There is a function on the EQII forums to add images to a thread. It requires you to insert a URL. I've done it before but it was a while ago and I'd forgotten how it worked. I tried to dodge the issue by just copying and pasting the jpg file directly into my post. It seemed to work until I went to upload the whole thing and got the message it was too long.

Much fiddling and experimenting later I decided that wasn't going to work so I had to go and re-learn how to give images URLs. It's fiddly. I got it in the end, after about a dozen tries. It does seem to me, not infrequently, that people who play mmorpgs are assumed to have a surprising level of technical facility. I bet you don't need to know this sort of thing to post on the Candy Crush forums.

The issue I was trying to report may not even be a bug, although I did have an actual bug I was going to report. For the last week or so, every time I log out of EQII, instead of getting a chat message every five seconds telling me I'll be logged in 20, 15, 10, 5, I get all of the messages at once, right at the start. 

That's a proper bug, no doubt about it. It also has zero effect on gameplay and I don't find it particularly annoying so I wasn't rushing to report it. Since I was doing another anyway, I thought I might as well do that one too, but then I saw there was already a whole thread on it so I didn't bother. I guess it annoys some people more than it annoys me. 

The thing I did report? That does annoy me. I really hope it is a bug because if it's a feature it's a very irritating one indeed. 

I've been plugging away at Overseer Season 3 and I now have more than enough quests to set the ten I'm allowed as soon as I log in each day. Most of them are still the basic, blue ones but I have three yellows and, as of this morning, two greens. 

Green (aka Celestial) is the top tier of quality. There should be some Purple (Fabled) ones just below that but so far I don't have any. For Season 3 the timer on Celestial quests has doubled from fifteen hours to thirty and the number of agents required has increased from three to five. 

My only agent with a Season 3 trait so far.
And the most boring name.

That's some inflation. You'd want a good reward for all that extra effort. I mean, it's two extra clicks with the mouse, at least. And you have to wait longer. I mean, come on, we pay a sub for this? (Sorry, just practising for the forum. You want to fit in, don't you?).

So far I've only done the first 30 hour quest twice. The second one is running as we speak. For a miracle I actually have agents with most of the specified traits but only because some of them are the old ones. So far my drop rate on agents with the Season 3 traits has been abysmal. I've had several new agents but only one has any traits at all.

Not to derail my own post but at this stage of the game, what exactly is the point of agents with no traits? I understood it when the Overseer system was new. At that point we were just happy to have any agents at all. Now, though? Why are we still employing people with no discernable skills?

I can answer that! Because they're really good fun to collect. And to look at. I only discovered today that if you open the Agent Collection tab in the Overseer interface it goes to a really impressive, large, well-framed portrait of the Agent in question. Instead of that tiny little icon where you can't even make out what race they are, you get a full-size, hang-it-on-the-wall oil painting.

That's a feature EverQuest has had since the start and I use it there all the time, or I did until I stopped getting new agents. I don't know if EQII always had it and I just missed it or if it was added some time along the way but I'm very happy to have found it. Some of the illustrations are glorious. And some of the descriptions are quite amusing, too.

The thing I was finding neither glorious nor amusing was the flag on the fabled quality (235 resolve!) cloth shoulder item I got from the bonus chest the second time my agents came back with Tarinax's head in a sack. The first time, the bonus chest didn't drop and all I got from the regular one was a forcelink, but this time my 70% success chance triggered and I got a very nice - very nice - upgrade for my necromancer.

Or it would have been if I could have given it to her. I didn't notice until I went to put it in the shared bank that it was flagged No Trade. And I'd received it on my Berserker. Who couldn't wear it even if he wanted to because it was also flagged "All Mages" or, as I'd put it, "Mages Only".

As far as I can remember there has never been any reward for regular Overseer quests that wasn't flagged Heirloom so it could be passed around the account. I think some of the holiday quests may have had No Trade items attached but those are all fluff items, not proper fighting gear. At least anyone can use them.

I'm very much hoping it is a mistake. If not, it's going to be something of a shot in the foot for a system that could better use a shot in the arm. I love the Overseer feature but it has its haters. Handing out No Trade items with class restrictions as the rewards for the most time-consuming content in the system, when players have no effective means of controlling which class gets them, well it's practically trolling us.

So I reported it. We'll see if anything comes of it. 

Meanwhile I'll keep plugging away at the blue and yellow quests. Maybe I'll even get some capable new agents. They must be in there, somewhere.


  1. Reporting bugs to the developers? What madness is this? The normal accepted pattern of behaviour is to exploit the hell out of the bug if it's beneficial to you (and optionally post a 'how to' video on YouTube in the hopes of Internet fame), and then complain about the 'Fun Police' when they fix it.

    If the bug isn't something you can abuse for personal gain, you should post it on Reddit with a long screed about what a bug-ridden piece of shit this game is and why haven't the devs fixed it yet?

    You certainly don't go passing useful information to the devs through the official channels, that's just snitching.

    1. That is all so true I shouldn't be laughing... but I am.


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