Thursday, May 25, 2023

Bring The Jubilee

It's technically still Spring, although the weather outside is telling me it's Summer already. The EverQuest II team must think so too because they just announced their plans for this year's Summer Jubilee and they're awesome!

Okay, maybe not awesome because it's not 1992 and EQ2 doesn't have a 90210 Zip Code but summer in the Shattered Lands is looking pretty darn cool, let's just say that much. 

No, wait, no, not cool. That's just confusing. Um... fire, maybe? Okay, that's just as bad, but in the other direction.

Bitchin'? The cat's miaow? 

Erm...this isn't helping, is it?

Minus the confusing and chronologically-challenged slang, Summer Jubilee looks like it's going to be lots of fun. The event brings the three big seasonal holidays - Tinkerfest, Scorched Sky and Oceansfull - together under one, big holiday banner, stretching all the way from the beginning of  June to the end of August. 

The EQ2i wiki, once an absolute authority on just about everything that you could possibly need to know about the game, has been slipping of late. The Live Events Timeline there makes no mention of the Summer Jubilee at all. Worse, it still has Scorched Sky in June and Tinkerfest in August, whereas they actually swapped places last year.

For the most up-to-date information you're always better off looking at the in-game calendar but if you want to check out of game I'd recommend EQ2 Traders Corner, which these days has the considerable advantage of being run by the game's dedicated (In all senses.) tradeskill developer, Naomi Denmother. There, you'll find the dates neatly tabulated:

  • Tinkerfest — June 5, 2023 to June 21, 2023
  • Scorched Sky Celebration — June 29, 2023 to July 12, 2023
  • Oceansfull Festival — August 10, 2023 to August 23, 2023

In fact, now I come to look at it closely, that's even clearer than the official Calendar, which has to cope with two events happening at the same time. So maybe go to EQ2Traders first. I don't know... I'm sure you can work it out!

The full details of what's new for the individual events are still under wraps but there's some exciting news about the new content that runs across the whole summer. First, we're getting a new equipment slot: Plume.

The Plume slot allows you to equip an item that gives you some very big bonuses to one of your choice of three key stats: Ability Doublecast, Crit Bonus or Max Health Percentage. You can obtain these by doing Summer Jubilee content but once you get one, you also get a recipe that lets you craft more. 

As the illustrations show, the stats are hefty enough to be useful even at Level 1 but of course you can level them up as the event goes on. If you're one of those strange people who actually play with others in MMORPGs, it gets even better:

 "When grouped the power of your Plume will be amplified by how many other group or raid members are also using a Plume."
Not only that but 

"The power your Plume gains is based on the tier of your Plume, so even groupmates that have not yet unlocked the best tier of Plume will contribute fully to the amplification effect of everyone in the group or raid."

It seems like a well-designed, well thought-out addition to the game to me but of course, this being EQII, the initial reaction on the forums is one of deep suspicion. One annoyingly persistent Debbie Downer (2004 says Hi!) wanted to know if this was just another way Daybreak planned to screw more money out of the players:

"Also, could you tell us if this new system will be monetized like the merc, mount familiar? Or will it be an extra item simply lootable via quests or achiev ? Basically, is this implementation only the beginning of a new cash system planned later? Like seeing op plume in crates, pushing players and raids to look into it, After a well-crafted hook? "

Naomi Denmother, employing the infinite patience for which she is so well-known, while no doubt wishing she could clout the Moaning Minnie (1942 says Hello!) with her rolling pin, explained that it was none of those things:

"No. This is an event slot, for participating in holiday events. It is 100% meant to be a fun, attainable item. Let's please not remove everyone's fun and enthusiasm with such speculations on the first day it is announced."

I very nearly signed in to alert the complainers to Wilhelm's excellent post about the current attempt by minority EG7 shareholder Alta Fox Capital Management to force the whole group, Daybreak included, into a series of moves designed to wring every last dime out of the games before they toss the empty carcasses onto the pile of corpses left by the rest of the late-capitalist leeches and move on, like the vultures they are, to the next victim. For all that EQII players think they're being screwed over now, they'll be looking back at this as some kind of Golden Age, when the bastards get their way.

Or if. Let's go with "if". If there's one thing the last decade or so has shown us, it's that Jason Epstein and whoever else is in charge over there really don't like to let too much light into the room. I'm guessing Daybreak has ended up tucked safely under the wing of the Swedish regulatory authorities through something more than pure happenstance. If the games have any protection, it's probably that.

At least we can hope so. Meanwhile, we can just play the damn games and enjoy ourselves. Well, some of us can.

Getting back to the joys and pleasures of an EQII summer, the other significant feature highlighted in the announcement is this:

 "Summer Jubilee Dungeon – Triad of Elements - Opening once Tinkerfest goes live is a new solo dungeon called, Triad of Elements. Whether you’re level 1 or 125, this dungeon is open to all and can be repeatedly completed throughout each Summer Jubilee in-game event... head in and farm to your heart’s delight... the loot that drops will be level-appropriate every time"

A new solo dungeon is always welcome, especially a scaling dungeon that you don't have to be a subscriber to access and that drops loot. Whether it's loot worth having, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Also whether running it gives decent xp below level 100 (It certainly won't after that but that's a diferent question). If it does, I have a level 60 whose going to be very interested.

The dungeon looks like it'll be the primary source of Silver Jubilee Medals, this year's summer event currency, as well as the way you'll upgrade your Plume. The medals can be spent at the appropriate Jubilee merchants, who've added twenty-two new items to their stock, including a dog pet and a mount, species unspecified.

Well, unspecified in the official forum post, that is. If you'd care to look at that EQ2 Traders post I linked earlier, however, you'll find an absolute wealth of detail, including a full list of those twenty-two new items, with pictures. The mount is a "Parade Roan Stallion" and it's an appearance ground mount , which means I probably won't use it. These days you'd pretty much have to be a dedicated roleplayer to use a ground mount, I think.

The dog, though, looks fun and I could find plenty of uses for some of those house items. EQ2 Traders has a full list of how to get the medals needed to buy them (Do all the quests, basically, then keep running that dungeon if they're not enough or if you hate doing quests, in which case boy, are you playing the wrong game...)

There's also a clear explanation of how to upgrade the Plume (Do the dungeon ten times.) and how to get an even better Plume than that (Do it ten times more so you can buy an upgrade from the in-game vendor.) Also, the crafted Plumes aren't quite as good as the quested ones, presumably for reasons.

I'm very happy with all of that. It seems like a much more egalitarian system than the Summer Ethereals it replaces and the 2023 event looks like a good iteration on the inaugaural version from last year. About the only thing I really wish was different would be for the Plume to be a display slot. It'd be so great to be able add a Plume you could actually see to your hat! 

Or maybe that's just me.

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