Posts Tagged ‘everquest’

Fall of an Empire: SOE Style

March 31, 2011

SOE went and cut 205 positions and closed 3 studios. I am not terribly surprised by this mind you, but I am saddened. I would have to say that more than half of my time spent in MMO-land had been within the confines of an SOE game. EQ and EQ2 have been comfortable homes for the majority of my MMO lifetime.

So what is going wrong here? Everyone knows that EQ was revolutionary for its time and it is no less than amazing that as many people still play this game after 12 years. EQ2 is a great game that has arguably one of the most robust crafting systems and player housing (guild halls too) as any other game out there. Free Realms has mass market appeal to the younger crowd and they have had no shortage of great IP’s with Star Wars and DC Comics to top the list.

In large part I believe that SOE is suffering from some form of Jekyll and Hyde syndrome where sometimes the company is SOE, but more and more the company turns to its alter ego $OE. It seems that gone are the days when the company was trying to develop great games, and it has turned into a company that just wants to rake in as much revenue as it can to hearken back to the good old days.

The company really needs to take a step back and consider what it really wants to do. What is the best way to profitability. I can’t imagine that the current business model is the way to go. It is unfortunate that so many people had to lost their livelihood, but maybe the company can get its bearings back again.

Like Green Armadillo, who wrote a great post about the same topic (no really, go read it, it puts mine to shame), I feel I am one of the few people who stopped playing RIFT. Right now I needed to slow things down a bit and play a game that has more to offer than frenetic public quests and diverse leveling. EQ2 is great for that. For taking your time and looking around and smelling the flowers.

I truly hope that SOE can really focus on the two projects they have in the tank. I’m not too familiar with Planetside Next, but I have a lot of anticipation for Everquest Next. If SOE develops this project I think it could be a great game…if $OE rears its ugly head…EQ3 will be the final nail in the coffin for this flailing company.

-Pid

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[EQ] Out of the Blue Email

February 10, 2011

I received an email from SOE today telling me that one of my EQ accounts has been activated for free for 11 days. Crazy! Here is the bulk of the email:

Are you ready to relive the greatest memories that you’ve ever had in EverQuest? On February 15, 2011 you can roll a new character and jump into the Fippy Darkpaw Progression Server and race through Norrath starting with the legendary first three continents and planes. To get you started, we are thrilled to invite you to come back to play for FREE from 2/10/2011 – 2/21/2011.

That is a pretty neat idea for getting some people back in for the launch of the progression server. I can’t see punishing myself by playing EQ: The 1999 Edition, but for you masochistic folks out there…have at it.

Strangely the account that was activated was my second account and I didn’t receive an email for my primary one. Odd.

-Pid

Console MMO’s

January 24, 2011

So apparently DC Universe Online is selling like hotcakes and is SOE’s fastest selling MMO. The interesting thing is that apparently the majority of the sales are on the PS3 as opposed to the PC. I think this is great for consoles, and the game probably lends itself quite nicely for that platform. For what little I have played it on the PC though, I cannot get over the fact that the game plays like a console port.

Why should this matter?

“Just don’t buy the game.” There are plenty out there that are good and not tailored for playstation/xbox.

Here is the problem, or at least my misgiving with the potential success of hybrid MMO’s:

When a business model gets popular, other MMO companies tend to follow it. Reference any number of articles on the Free-to-Play MMO trend. As it stands, the popularity of DCUO has made SOE consider making EQ Next on a console platform as well.

I have no problem with people being able to play MMO’s on a console. I don’t really understand it, but I have no real problem with it. The problem arises when games get made so that they can be played with a gamepad and then get ported over so that they can be played on a PC too.

Hello, half the reason these games are MMO’s is so that people can be social on them. It is pretty hard to do with a game pad. Not to mention I think the gameplay stinks on a game pad. Every time I log into DCUO (which isn’t much I freely admit) I can only play until the frustration with the controls reaches an unbearable limit. It really doesn’t take much time.

I understand that the gaming companies are out to make a profit. That is the whole point to forming a company…I get it. I just implore them to go the extra mile though. If they are going to make the games on two radically different platforms (PC/console) please don’t make the game for one platform and then just port it to the other.

SOE, I am pleading with you. Please do not make Everquest 3 to be a console port on the PC. Please make the game playable for the folks that contributed to the success of EQ and EQ2. Make a game that is playable on a PS3, but also make a game that is playable designed for the PC as well.

-Pid

EQ My Set of Demands

January 21, 2011

A lot of people are moving back to Everquest. Some out of boredom, some in preparation for the new Fippy Darkpaw server. I have a couple of friends that are always asking “Hey, wanna go back and play EQ?” My routine response is “No.” Sometimes I may elaborate, but usually they already know.

So what will it take to get me to resub to the mother of my MMO addiction? Here are a few of my demands in no particular order. Feel free to yell at me if some of this has been updated already.

  • Offline Trading: Seriously…seriously. If this was the only change that was made, I would almost consider resubbing that day. It just doesn’t make any sense. First of all, why have all those people actively logged into your servers and not actually doing anything? I already know the answer…many people have separate accounts just for their traders which means money for $OE. From a player standpoint, I don’t want to have to dedicate memory and processing power just so I can sell potions and whatnot.
  • Crafting: I am almost convinced EQ crafting all by itself has given me carpel tunnel syndrome. Also why is it that you can make millions (seriously my brother-in-law made millions…multiple) of platinum just buying reagents, clicking the mouse, and creating potions for recall, damage shield, and invis. Sick man, sick.
  • Respawn: Okay this is minor and I admit it. Could you at least respawn in the zone somewhere rather than your bind location?

That’s it. I know the graphics stink, but I could live with it. The UI is antiquated, but it’s functional. The quests…well…we won’t go there.

So Sony, can you step up to the challenge? Think of the extra profits from my subscription. Yeah, I can see you getting ready to send out a press release to the share holders now. I tell you what, fix these things and I will run two accounts simultaneously. Yeah…watch that stock jump!

-Pid

Archaic definition from Dictionary.com

VIP Server?

January 17, 2011

I am having a busy week between work and preparing my house to get a new carpet so I am going to get a little cheap with this post.

  • Kaozz just returned to Everquest which is well known for having a great community after all these years.
  • Gordon figured out why the community in WoW is awful. Too many dang kidlings.

Question: As a mature gamer (take that for whatever it is worth) would you be willing to spend a little extra cash on subscriptions to have access to a VIP server? Not to be elitist, but rather to get away from all the tots and twits for that matter! I imagine there would be some legal ramifications, but if you could get that ironed out, would it be worth it?

-Pid

UPDATE: Apparently I haven’t been reading blogs long enough or playing MMORPG’s long enough. Zubon over at KTR asked a similar question back in March ’07. Also Stargrace from MMOQuests made a comment on Stillwater’s Blog that EQ had a VIP server back in the day. It doesn’t exist anymore, so maybe that answers the question.

Brrrr…Halas

June 23, 2010

So I have been playing a bit more lately due to having a little more free time and a little more energy. Work was pretty brutal there for a bit. Anyway, I was bored one night and figured I would give this Halas thing a try. I made a froglok ranger and away I went. I must say that much like Timorous Deep, New Halas is a great place for leveling up fast.

If you are the type of player that likes to do quests that take you all over the place, you need not apply here. This zone has tightly bound quest hubs and quests that don’t require a huge trek to get to. Of the two remaining good-aligned starting zones, this one is far superior in my opinion. Feydark is very spread out and somewhat difficult to navigate where the Frostfang Sea glacier is very easy to navigate and is relatively compact.

The quests are, well…quests. Nothing new, nothing terribly interesting, but what is these days. In the beginning you will outlevel the quests but somewhere near level 15 or so you will be right on track to maybe a tad behind at level 18 or so. One of the quests (Sometimes you feel like a Knut) was rather funny as you equip this skin cap (named Griz) that actually talks to you as you are running around the zone. A thought bubble pops out of your head with instructions. Too funny. The head gear actually looks pretty cool.

Before

After

Pretty cool. Bottom line though, if you are gonna pick a good aligned character, do yourself a favor and pick New Halas as your starting city.

-Pid

Beholder What Eye Hath Seen

May 3, 2010

Ok, stupid title I get it…

Anyway, I think I may have gotten some of the MMO weariness out of my system by playing a few single player games over the last week or two. I poked my head into EQ2 today and I was trying to finish off a quest in Enchanted Lands. In any event, I came across this mob that was the heir apparent to Dungeons and Dragons’ beholder. Funny enough when you defeat it, it’s eyeball pops out of it’s head!

Click to Enlarge

This made me ponder that as much as I thought DDO is a decent game, at least to me EQ is the spiritual embodiment of D&D in an online medium. While it does lack a lot of the dungeon delving (though it does have it) that is iconic in tabletop D&D I think it does capture the essence of the fantasy world and class selection, and to a lesser degree the story telling nature. I know many would argue that last point, but I believe SOE is trying to mend that fence in its revamping of the leveling progression and newbie experience. I don’t know, I may be way off base here, but it wouldn’t be the first time right!

-Pid

Interesting Emails From SOE

April 21, 2010

I received two interesting emails from SOE yesterday:

Email the First – Apparently SOE is starting a new pricing plan for Everquest 2 which will allow people with inactive accounts to pay five bucks to play for three consecutive days in any given thirty day period. So essentially if you get an itch to see what is new in EQ2 or want to catch a bonus XP weekend or maybe even two box a second account for a short duration (they actually are promoting two boxing in the email!) it’ll cost you a Lincoln.

I think this is a pretty neat idea and is generally good for both SOE (mo money) and players. I am glad to see MMO companies trying something new with pricing schemes. I think maybe having a pay per hour scheme would be a good alternative scheme to have as well. Possible pay $0.50 an hour up to $20 in a given month or something. That way paying $15 a month is a little discounted if you choose to use the flat rate model, but if you just play on weekends or something, you are not footing the whole $15 when you are really only using $6-7 of it.

Email the Second – This one is interesting…apparently EQ1 is allowing mercenaries in Raids now. For those not familiar with EQ1, the Seeds of Destruction expansion introduced mercenaries which essentially are computer controlled player characters. They came in two flavors, tank and healer, and cost a bit of game currency to rent their services. There was a bit of an outcry from the hard core players, but for the most part, they were well received by the player base. The mercenaries could pretty much be used in all content except for raids, but apparently that ban has been lifted and now you will probably find many raids that have a plethora of mercs in them in place of actual PC’s.

I have some mixed feelings about this, but I generally see this as a declining MMO trying to hold on to as much of a player base as it can for as long as it can before shutting down. Unlike some of the modern games, EQ1 had very large raid requirements for a lot of the content (something like 32 characters or more, I can’t remember). With the flagging population on the servers I can imagine getting that many folks together could be difficult for any guild. That is good, but at what point do you just come to grips with the fact that it is time to move on? I’m sure there will be people logging into EQ1 until they power down the servers forever, but at some point you would think SOE could spend the EQ1 resources on other areas. Time will tell what this new adaptation will do for the game. Heck, maybe if they start a $5 weekend for EQ1 I might check it out again.

-Pid

Edit:

Apparently I am a Johnny-come-lately to this topic…here are links to a few other articles…

Stylish Corpse

Stillwater

Bio Break

MMO Symposium

Spinksville

Tobold

Apparently I guy can’t sleep anymore without everyone else in the world writing about the same topic! LOL

Happy 11th Everquest

March 17, 2010

The original Everquest celebrates its eleventh birthday today! The subscriber numbers might not be what they used to be, but there is still a great community. From what I remember at least. Fifteen expansions and no real sign of stopping. My days of playing classic Everquest are done, but if you ever wondered what the old girl looks like, according to MMORPG.com you can get a copy of the original game + all 15 expansions for the whopping price of $2.50 from March 16th through March 26th if you use Steam. Welcome to Norrath!

-Pid

The New Old EQ

March 12, 2010

I have been meaning to comment on Tipa’s post about the new survey that Classic Everquest players are being asked to take.

According to Tipa, this is what they are asking players for feedback on:

Poll Question: What new feature would you be most interested in seeing in EverQuest?

  • UI Revamp — Work with the community to come up with a new default skin for the EverQuest UI, with a possibility for other changes like re-sizable hot bars and backpacks (not increased slots, however).
  • Increased inventory space — Revamp the inventory management system to allow backpacks larger than 10 slots.
  • Player housing — Personal player houses with items that can be placed inside, a ranking system, access rights, etc.
  • Improved guild system — Advanced guild rank management, guild halls that allow decoration and item placement (similar to player housing).
  • Revamped bazaar/broker system — Offline trading, trading outside of The Bazaar zone, etc.
  • New player character models — Optional new player character models (any new visible armor would only be visible on the new models).
  • More mercenary types — New AI types like DPS, crowd control, etc.
  • Player generated content system — Allow players to place NPCs and traps, set mission types, and turn loose their custom zone for other players to experience and gain points in a scaling reward system.

My thoughts on these:

UI – The UI is indeed dated, but functional…there is plenty else to focus on that would improve game play.

More inventory space – More space is always handy, but again there are better things to do.

Player Housing – This would add a missing element to the game, ie something to do when not grinding mobs or grinding crafted items.

Improved Guild System – This would be nice, especially for the raiding guilds

Revamped Bazaar – !!!!!!!!YES!!!!!!!!!! The brokerage system in this game is awful! It actually requires that you be logged into the game 24/7 Please fix for all those poor souls that still play this game.

New Player Character Models – This would be well received. The way the models are now, every barbarian warrior looks nearly identical to every other barbarian warrior etc.

More Mercenary Types – This would continue to help sustain a dwindling population, but would really be a blow to PUGs (for those that use them).

Player Generated Content System – I suppose this would be neat, but unless you are at level cap there really is no lack of content in this game. Also, unless done right, there does exist the potential for exploits a la CoH/CoV.

The one point I would make in all of this is: if these things are what you are looking for, why not just go play EQ2 instead? The game is notably more of a theme park than Classic EQ, but many of the same elements exist. Also, a lot of the fluff from EQ1 has carried over to EQ2. I guess if EQ1 is your cup of tea however, there is no substitute. Personally, I do not anticipate trekking in classic Norrath anytime soon.

-Pid