by Moorgard on 2002-07-25Breaking Down the Breakdown
If you excitedly loaded EQ on Wednesday in order to download the massive new patch, more than likely you soon became frustrated. Due to the huge amount of data being pushed to the huge number of users, just connecting to the patch server was a nightmare. Once you managed to start your download, disconnects were not uncommon.
After finally getting all the necessary files--assuming you eventually did--many users like myself immediately enabled the new user interface and loaded the game. Ah, the character select screen is so cool now! Play with that a while, select your character, start loading the game, and... drop to desktop. Try again. Same thing. I updated my video drivers, but to no avail.
I could get into the game with the UI disabled, but not with it turned on. Hmmm. There was a rumor floating around that if you turned off your video card's anti-aliasing you could get in. No dice. Turns out a file was missing from the patch, but even that, along with at least one more version of the eqmain.dll file, didn't help me at all.
Finally one of my guildmates read on IRC that if you entered the game with the old UI, clicked off all your buffs, then typed the /newui command, it would work. It sounded crazy to me, but I was desperate. Bingo! That did the trick.
Of course I crashed a couple times throughout the course of the night, but overall I love the new UI. It makes managing your inventory so much easier, and the multiple chat windows are a dream come true. The Bazaar interface is just awesome as well. Shopping for goods is unbelievably easy.
The downside? I can't stand being bound in the Bazaar anymore. Even at 1AM Eastern there were over 250 people in the zone on my server. If you walk through the place it's a freaking slideshow. I got myself bound in the Nexus so I can at least move around.
There are many tweaks and a few game-crashing bugs that still need to be ironed out, but overall the UI works like a dream. It's just better in so many ways--unless you're a caster and had to rearrange your spellbook completely, tee-hee. A few people might stubbornly cling to the old interface, but I suspect they'll give in eventually.
There were a few things that fell through the cracks, which Absor pointed out over on Dev Corner:
We forgot to include a comment in the patch message about the removal of the 10% healing penalty for non-clerics. The penalty was indeed removed with this patch.
Also, while we've included the new 'old-world' Vah Shir models in the patch, you won't be able to turn them on yet. We'll have to patch another file to allow you to choose to turn them off in the interface. That should happen soon.
For those of you with characters that summon pets, we are aware of the problem with pets. Currently they are not being summoned at their highest level. Sorry for the problem, we'll get it fixed as soon as we can.
Healers cheered--except for clerics, who didn't care all that much. Pet classes freaked out initially, but Absor did a good job of assuring them that the problem would be fixed soon. He even pointed out another bug that affects mage pets:
While we're talking about things we missed...
There is indeed a bug with BO 4. It was a typo caused when trying to fix some stacking issue of some sort (I can't keep track of all this stuff today...).
It's fixed in the database and will go live whenever we get spells pushed again.
So while pet classes may not be happy, at least they know the issues will be corrected.
As for me, I found that /camp desktop didn't work for me with the new UI enabled--I ended up back at the server select screen. Verant lied! They screwed me yet again! Yada yada yada.
Jaggedpine Forest, by the way, looks pretty cool. I was attacked by lots of green and light-blue cons, which was annoying, especially when a hoard of those water chicks (pictured above) swarmed out of the river and killed the chanter I was exploring with. There are some quests with Brell-worshipping gnolls, as well as a few unique NPC models, but I think my favorite feature is the quest where you have to watch some resident's daughter who tries to sneak off to party in Qeynos. Finally an EverQuest zone that encourages you to spy on teenage girls!
So overall, the day ended up okay. But in the future, Verant, please don't put out a huge optional patch on the same day you release a huge regular patch. Thanks!
The British Are Camping! The British Are Camping!
About a zillion people sent me a link to a BBC article on the Ragefire camp. Honestly, I have no idea how anyone at the BBC decided this would make a good headline. Maybe Tony Blair is a closet EQ junkie.
The writer of the piece was good enough to include the following example of that biting British wit:
Perhaps Everquest should be renamed Everqueue.
Oh, how droll.
The article also discussed the upcoming Star Wars: Galaxies game, which I am still predicting will have more players than the combined populations of many third-world countries. Looks like there's going to be a strategy to counter the swarms of players when the game finally goes live:
Lucas Arts is working with EverQuest creators Sony on the Star Wars: Galaxies game and is capping the number of players that can be on any one server to limit population density.
Players will be able to buy or build their own homes on the various cities and if too many people crowd into one location the playability of the game could suffer.
The game's release is also likely to carried out in stages to ensure a slow build up of players on the servers supporting the online Universe.
Maybe they'll limit the number of copies sold at first, or perhaps they won't opt for a global release right away. Whatever the plan, it won't take long for the galaxy to be swarming with l337 j3d1 d00ds. Bank on it--Verant is.
Planes of Power Character Advancement Revealed!
So I sent this e-mail to Scott Hartsman, crying about how I couldn't run the game without crashing. Scott did his best to console me, so I thought I'd use the opportunity to play upon his compassion and ask him to tell me what the character advancement system for PoP is going to be. Here, verbatim, is his response:
The goal will be to die exactly thirty six times after speaking with the League of Planar Bards, then completing their Planar Mail Delivery Quest, at which point all will recognize your obvious superiority, as you earn the title: "Bernice."
There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth. In the off chance that Hartsman is actually telling the truth, I'm going to do all those mail delivery quests one more time. It never hurts to be prepared.