by Redhenna on January 31, 2008
Everquest is approaching it's ninth anniversary, which is a remarkable feat for something that was originally hoped to last a couple years. The way EQ has survived, and continues to succeed, is by constantly changing and adapting. Today, guest writer Redhenna looks at 5 possible changes to EQ for the future, to potentially help EQ last another nine years.
1: Revamp Hotzones and quests
New hotzones for EQ come along once every 3 to 6 months, completely replacing the old set, and with a few new mobs and items, and noticeably more experience. This system works pretty well, but could be dramatically improved. I suggest replacing at least one hotzone per month, every month, and making some lasting changes to the zones when this is done.
First, when SOE decides upon the new hotzone, a dev should go into the zone data,find those quests that are rarely if ever done, and get rid of them. Common sense should be applied. Epic quests, unique quest rewards, or quests important to the lore should stay. This still leaves lots and lots of quests that serve no real purpose any longer.
Once that is done, add a new quest arc or two to the zone. One of these quest arcs will tie in with similar quest arcs in all the other hotzones, both current and past, resulting in a Wanderlust type charm. Every time you complete one of these quest arcs, the charm gets better, with the potential of being the best charm in the game. Other rewards for these quests would be focus effect gear of the appropriate level, or coin to help keep non-quest gear up to date. These quest arcs should take you all over the zone, with each individual quest being no more than 2 to 3 hours to finish. The quest dialog should help tell the story of the lore of the particular zone.
This change should, in theory, help improve the new player experience, and maybe, with the game being more new player friendly, the marketing department just might be willing to spend a few dollars to advertise.
2: Revamp Flagging
Single group flagged zones should be accessed by completing single group quests. Raid flagged zones should require flags to access. Raiders should not be required to do an endless series of single group tasks just to raid, just as groupers should not be required to do raids to access group zones. If a raid zone is an instanced version of a group zone with a group flag requirement (e.g. Demiplane of Blood is an instanced version of Dreadspire), then yes, the raider should have to do the requirements for accessing the group zone to access the raid zone as well.
Further, after 2 years, all flag restrictions are removed from a zone. This will annoy some raiders to no end, but tough. Two year old content is far from current, and as such, no one is actually hurt by this change, but it does provide a help to those who are further behind current. This applies both to group and raid flagged zones.
3: Improve Grouping
Who has not been putting together a group, and had one needed class not LFG? This leads to frustration, and anger at the game. Some concrete changes need to happen to reduce the likelihood this will happen. There are 4 tank classes(warrior, paladin, shadowknight, and yes, ranger), and all 4 should be seen as viable group tanks. There are 3 primary healing classes(cleric, druid, shaman) and all 3 should be seen as viable group healers. Where any of these classes are not seen as viable to fill these roles, boosts are needed. Rangers and druids are probably the top 2 classes that need these improvements. Yes, it might create balance issues among the other classes, but those can be worked out, and the advantage of having more options to build groups is too important to not work out any balance issues. This is true of any archetype needed for groups, but tank and healer are the two primary classes most groups are built around, and expanding options here is needed.
4: The Dreaded Gear Gap(tm) Needs a Long Term Solution
Over the years, there have been many methods used to balance group gear with raid gear. Sometimes, group gear is just seen as needing to be less than raid gear, with no real rules as to how far behind, sometimes there are specific ratios between group gear, and 'average' raid gear. These methods have not yet worked.
To make a system that does work, we first need to throw away a concept. “Average raid” is a nonsense term. For several expansions, the “average raider” was Anguish level, which leads to a stagnation of group gear. With a one year expansion cycle, current expansion raid gear should be at 100 %. Last expansions raid gear should be 90 %(a 10 % increase in power each expansion is plenty), and current best group gear should be 85 %.
Again, certain segments of raiders are going to not like this, but if you are more than 1 expansion behind in progression (i.e. 2 + years behind), you simply cannot any longer have your gear used as a reason to hold back group gear progression. This includes all gear, including focus effects, and including weapons. EQ is very much a character progression game, and one of the primary methods of progressing your character is with gear. This is true of raiders, and of non-raiders.
5: Non-raiders Need Progression Through Storylines
If you have cleared Plane of Time, you have probably seen the rather nice script at the end, as the storyline of the expansion is brought to a conclusion. It is a really cool thing to see (even when, as in PoTime, the storyline has a stupid ending), and adds a lot to the feeling of accomplishment for completing the expansion. I strongly believe non-raiders need something like this, each and every expansion. Group players should have something they can do, that makes them feel like they are a part of the lore of the expansion.
This could be done any of a number of ways. Easiest is a large quest arc, with a scripted ending, that makes a player feel like they have contributed. Another method would involve using systems used for certain world events, and I think could be pretty cool, and let me expand on that idea.
Imagine an expansion that adds onto Velious. Rallos Zek is making trouble, aided by the giants. The top end group zone (an instanced version of this zone is the top raid zone) is guarded by an army of giants, and unavailable till this army is disposed of. Camped a short distance away from the giants, is an army of Coldain dwarfs. They are ready and willing to help destroy the giant army, but lack enough armor and weapons to do so, yet. A series of tasks, doable once per person, gives you “High Quality Coldain Armor” and “High Quality Coldain Weapons”. When you compete these task arcs, you take this armor and weapons, and hand them to “Coldain Quartermaster”. When the quartermaster has received enough armor and weapons, a worldwide emote goes off, announcing that at prime time the next day, the dwarfs are going to attack. This leads to a world event, much chaos, and hopefully a lot of fun(and probably a lot of lag).
Non-raiders now have had a method to help progress the storyline of the expansion, raiders and non-raiders have a reason to work together(raiders will of course be anxious to access the raid instance, and so potentially willing to help non-raiders with the tasks), and there should, hopefully, be a real sense of accomplishment.
EQ is still a great game, but no game is perfect, and game designers should always be looking for ways to improve their product. I think these five suggestions would make for a better game experience from everyone.
Comment Posted by: Krylax on February 8, 2008 08:18 PM
When I read that Redhenna was going to do an article for Mobhunter I was a little apprehensive. I haven't agreed with alot of what she (I'm assuming she, don't know for sure. No offense either way) has posted in the past. So I logged on tonite, gritted my teeth and clicked the link.
What I found was a very well written article full of excellent ideas. Ideas that, if implemented, might well tempt me to give EQ another try.
I'll probably get scolded again for commenting on EQ even though I no longer play the game but I just had to speak up and say well done Red. It's this kind of open minded thinking that could breath new life into a graet game.
Hope to read more articles from you in the future.
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 8, 2008 09:06 PM
I cannot put into words how horridly disappointed I am. I mean, I've got a "lexicon of demeaning terms", two pots of boiling oil, and took time to break two elder seals just to get the right amount of vitriol evil ready. All for naught. Now I've got to wait for Nolrog to reply before I can use any of that boiling oil.
In short, all good points.
It would be really good to see posts in reply from people like Smedly.
Comment Posted by: Kyth on February 9, 2008 12:45 AM
You forgot to mention the #1 way to improve Everquest - unsubscribe and start playing WoW. This simple step has greatly improved the gaming experience of many former Everquest players.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 9, 2008 03:29 PM
Krylax, thank you for the kind words. Don't worry about the non current player commenting on EQ thing, since part of what I was thinking about is how to lure older players to come back. I am in the same boat as you, and some one will be along to complain about me not playing EQ currently but writing about it, since that is easier than commenting on what I actually wrote.
Ghost of Zek: no demeaning terms, no burning oil? I am so disapointed.
Comment Posted by: Zzzzzz on February 9, 2008 05:12 PM
How sad it is to see this site devolve into a lovefest between people who no longer play EQ yet somehow feel qualified to comment on it. B-O-R-I-N-G.
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 9, 2008 08:33 PM
And the winner is: Zzzzzz! For the first pointless complaint void of any contstructive commentary.
Okay as fate has conspired against me and I find myself at work on a Saturday with far too much bandwidth and far too little to do I'd like to see if I can dig a little deaper than a simple read and ask that most annoying of questions; "How?"
With regards to #1 "Revamp Hotzones and quests", a couple of quick questions/comments. Given that the SOE developers have in the past been found to be essentially clueless as to the quest content in the game, how would you suggest they approach the issue of quest stagnation? To highlight the issue, I'd suggest going back to the panel questions during the first, second and third anniverseries where when specifically asked if the "Shakey the Scarecrow" quest was "working as intended", the quest guru's all nodded and said "yes!" One went so far as to claim that all the quest lines had been verified as working, and that it was the players and the players alone who where failing to solve them. This of course caused a piss fit when for the Epic 1.5/2.0 quest line they admitted they had no idea what shakey was for, that the designer was no longer working for SOE and had left no notes. There are epic numbers of both forums that have been created to track DOA quest lines, and the number of posts both on official SOE forums and off has been legion. Yet SOE has failed to ever own up to it's ignorance. What managerial/customer service actions would you envision to have SOE come clean and have both an honest public tally of DOA quests, and a working internal knowledge of such?
With regards to #2 "Revamp Flagging". There are many instances where "flagging" results not just in access to a zone, but also grants special AA's, modifies special items, etc. How would you allow for these effects to continue? Would there be an alternate flagging system? Would there just be a removal of the flag "check" in the software?
With regards to #3 "Improve Grouping"; If we all think back to the GUComics inspired player rebellion of the GoD era, we can see from the panel discusions that grouping and group viability was one of the major issues that the players wanted a clean clear and resolute path for correction from SOE for. SOE then started thier grand re-envisionment of the classes. Enchanters (like myself) note with irony that "charm" suddenly dropped of our class definition (and has been admitted as being broken by the devs since). Yet despite special forum moderators, special feedback posts, etc., Druids still don't have "stances" and basically the consensus is the first summit was essentially a PR stunt to blow smoke up the collective players arses long enough to molify the high level raiding guild with a re-do of GoD and the release of OoW. In short, what process/plan would you suggest SOE take in order to accomplish any of the suggestions either made again today, or the promised revisions made oh those many years ago by every major voice at SOE yet since reneged on?
Regarding #4 "The Dreaded Gear Gap"; Generally speaking, all good straight forward design concepts that require some retooling of existing content, but not much, but more so a change in design planning moving forward. Two things I would strongly recommend to be added:
1) Make all in game gear currency/points "tradeable"
2) Place in each major city a "currency trader", capable of changing one cuurency type for another.
Lastly regarding #5 "Non-raiders Need Progression Through Storylines"; here SOE desperately needs to look at the work being done by EQII, WoW, and a dozen other MMO's. Meshing the Casual, Hobbiest, and Raider populations in a game together into a joint cause, is vital! The questions though is how would you suggest SOE change it's design team mind set to allow this process? Currently there are dozens of of quest arcs that SOE has advertised as being out there for "everyone" that are epic in length, often with rewards that are at least good. However SOE somehow always adds access to flagged zones, rare drops off MoBs that need groups with raidgear and raid AA levels, and other hinderances that inevitably exclude all but those geared and AA'd for the leading content. Simply put, what tactic/path would you have SOE follow to change thier internal thought process on this?
In summation; yes, all the ideas are good. Many of them have been brought up in one fashion or another both as feed back to postings by Loral, or on the offical SOE forums. That said, isn't the #1 absolute must have way to improve EQ; a change in SOE's mindset? I mean seriously, if that's not the first thing they do, they will either never do any of the rest, or if they did try, they'd screw it up because of thier current mindset.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 10, 2008 12:07 AM
I have no problem boring people as long as I am entertained.
Ghost, in regard to your first point: I make the assumption of basic competance for the current crop of dev's. If they are not competant at the least, no amount of changes are going to improve things. Saying that the devs are clueless and cannot fix anything is essentially admitting defeat in advance.
On point 2: it should be possible to tie the AA's/item stats to the quests, and not the flag itself. And yes, I advocate totally removing flagging/access quests for access to any zone after a certain period of time(2 years). Once the content is no longer current, it becomes increasingly hard for people to get access. It is, bizarrely, harder to get access done on old content than new.
On point 3: I am not suggesting any change in relative 'class balance', but to changing where the classes are balanced I guess. I think the starting point has to be making more options for grouping. When you have to have a warrior, or a cleric, to do content, it limits choices. Even when a warrior, or a cleric, or whatever single class, allows you to do content significantly faster and safer, this creates a 'need' for those classes. Fix that, and do whatever it takes to balance it after.
The overall idea is that, while some problems people procaim with finding groups are self inflicted, what can be done to improve that process is purely a win situation. No amount of improvements are going to stop some people, mostly sitting in the guild hall with LFG on, wondering why no one sends a tell, from having some issues with finding a group, but that does not mean that making groups easier to form is not something that should be done.
On point 4: I dunno if I really think that is needed. I certainly do not advocate the removal of nodrop gear, and I think the fact that points are tradeable(as an aside, point based loot is one of the worst ideas ever...gear gains based on purely time sinks are horrid) is good enough.
On point 5: I do not know that a need is really there for a complete change in mindset. SoF was supposedly tuned around nonideal, group geared people. The quest type stuff has been done before, albiet not as well as I would like. It just would take actually doing it. Also note that I do not believe that all quests *should* be doable in a current expansion by group geared people, nor is it neccessarily bad to have group content aimed at raid geared people in an expansion.
This carries into your last point. I think SoE is moving in a good direction, on some things. I don't think they neccessarily have to completely change things, just polish and improve.
Comment Posted by: Smedley on February 10, 2008 02:25 AM
* No personal attacks - Loral; btw, this is very unlikely to be the real smed. *
Comment Posted by: RosesAreRed on February 10, 2008 02:45 AM
Geeze ... that's HARSH ... and not really productive
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 10, 2008 03:17 AM
Ah, if only it could be proven to have been a real post by the real Smed. If would clear up so many thoughts regarding his character. Anyway, baring a call by the real Smed to Loral claiming authenticity, I'll err on the course that says' "Smedley" in this case is yet another example of someone interested in hiding the fact that thier berries haven't dropped yet.
That said, I look forward to more insightful commentary from our new Smed.
Seriously, Smedley, how do you plan to improve EQ?
Comment Posted by: Nolrog on February 10, 2008 10:06 AM
>>> QUOTE: With regards to #2 "Revamp Flagging". There are many instances where "flagging" results not just in access to a zone, but also grants special AA's, modifies special items, etc. How would you allow for these effects to continue? Would there be an alternate flagging system? Would there just be a removal of the flag "check" in the software?
That's pretty easy Ghost. The mechanism already exists in game. Take the PoP zones. You get access to them via level, but if you do the quest/raid access, you get the AA and charm upgrade.
For the flagging one, I am very much a mixed opinion. People shouldn't be granted access to a raid zone just because it's older. It ruins the sense of accomplishment. Plus diminished the accomplishment of people who did it previosly.
In addition, older raid zones are easier to access already, because the new levels, abilties, spells and gear make doing those old raids easier and with less people. That alone improves the accessability to them.
However, on the other hand, it would bring more people into those zones and eliminate the back flagging burden from guilds currently doing them.
1. The biggest issue with the hotzones is that they don't change frequently enough. I'm sure that everyone would appreciate more quests added, because we just have way too much quest journal space that we know what to do with ;-) (note sarcasm). I think people would be happy if they rotated every 2 months instead though.
2. see above.
3. I don't think anyone would argue with improving grouping (though a ranger isn't a tank in the common definition. They can tank, if needed (and if well geared and well AAed), but they are not a tank.)
4. Gear Gap: This has been majorly addressed in SoF, with the reset that it has. Significant gear upgrades are easy to get via cultural, or named drops, and are tradable so you can bazaar them.
5. Non-Raider progression: More story orientated progression for everyone would be great. I think the expansions that were ranked the best have the best story.
Over all a well thought out article. I appreciate the time you spent putting it together Red.
Comment Posted by: Valentine on February 10, 2008 01:18 PM
Great, another pointless EQ article. Loral, it's obvious that you no longer care about WoW, the single most popular and subscribed MMO in the world. So you've lost interest in WoW? Fine. But I think it's your responsibility pass the reigns over to someone else who is willing to write about WoW, the single most successful and loved MMO in the world. Failing that, how about a write-up on Guitar Hero III at least?
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 10, 2008 03:17 PM
Nolrog, I understand what you are saying about flagging, I used to be 100 % against removing flags, then moved to not really caring much as I could see both sides. You are more right for raid flags than group flags though, and even then I disagree. Group flags get harder to get, unless they get so easy they are soloable, simply due to the fact that it gets harder to get the groups to do them. People want to do the new, current content, not go back and redo old flag missions.
With raiding, both high end and mid/low tier raid guilds have their own set of challenges. It gets really difficult and painfull to motivate people in midtier guilds to go wipe learning flag events with crap loot that is old. It tends to drive the motivated people to higher end guilds(who have the motivation), and the less motivated to not log on as much, and have to suddenly log when these events are called. Yes, it is a membership problem, but it is a real one with midtier guilds, and who they have available to recruit from.
I strongly disagree that unflagging a zone takes away at all from the accomplishment of those who have done the flagging. You still did the work. I tended to get more excited, at the moment, for big flag mob wins...Rathe Council, Uqua, Inktu`Ta, Trial of Foresight(much h8 for that trial on a dialup connection), Sendaii...those where the big wins for me, not the end game bosses themselves.
On hotzone quests...do quests *have* to be journal type quests? I mean, is it possible to make quests in EQ now without taking a journal entry? Further, since this is aimed at low level players, would limited journal entries be an issue? I honestly do not know on any of those questions. I do think your comments point to a real issue with the size of quest journals in EQ now, and something that should be fixed though.
Rangers are in fact tanks(dev quote from I forget where: "light tank"). They should be able to tank better than any nontank class by a fair margin, and be sufficient for most content. I am not saying they are currently, I am saying they should be. Healers should be like the 3 "heavy tanks", where they are virtually interchangable in that role.
SoF did improve group gear, but I would agrue that the gap is still too large, especially with regard to weapons. When designing gear, it should do multiple things. It should allow you to do any content you are likely to do, it should progress each expansion, and as you move into new content, and it should be good enough such that with the gear you can fit in comfortably with any group doing appropriate content with that gear. it's that thrid thing that is lacking. It used to be frustrating, as a midtier raider, filling spots in a group with nonraiders from the LFG list. They contributed so little to the group, it was more to fill the spot than for what they could add. That is why the gap needs to narrow, so that top group gear from an expansion is not light years behind raid gear...still behind, but within sight.
Comment Posted by: newhumanmodel on February 12, 2008 02:41 PM
Great site! This is my favorite forum to read up on a second rate game being discussed by people who don't actually play it. Keep up the good work, Loral.
Comment Posted by: Wolfkinder on February 12, 2008 04:04 PM
Regarding changes to AA acquisition, you all might find this interesting..........
"Changes to AA Experience
One of the most common topics of discussion on these boards has to do with AAs - gaining them, using them and how many you "need" to be viable in a group or raid setting. As time passes and expansions are released the total number of AAs that are available to each class grows, as does the number of AAs that are considered "core" by each class. Anyone who has played EverQuest for very long can realize how important a few hundred well-spent AA can be for any player of sufficient level. As great as the AA system is, however, it presents an ever growing barrier to new players or current players who might like to try a new class for a different experience or perspective. The hill, to put it simply, is simply too high to climb for many people.
To address this we're going to introduce the same type of experience scaling in the AA system that exists with levels. Just like level 1 is a lot easier to get than level 80 is we're going to change how AA experience works so that the first AAs you earn will come faster than the last AA you earn to reach the cap. This change should make it a lot easier for players climbing the levels to gain key AAs and advance to the point that they can interact with friends (new or old) that have more established characters.
What we've done is put together a very flexible, data-driven system that we can adjust as expansions are released or in response to changing circumstances. The way the system works is that we'll be able to create point ranges (with a minimum number of AAs earned and a maximum number) that will have a multiplier assigned to it. So you'll get the amount of experience you would have gotten prior to this change, but then that experience is increased by this multiplier.
So for AA #XYZ your multiplier might be 2.0. Before the change you would have gotten 500 experience. After the change it would be 500 x 2, or 1000 experience. Simple, right?
The higher you go in AA totals the lower the multiplier will be until eventually it will reach the 1.0 mark and AA experience will return to "normal". AA experience is already normalized by level to be equal to the same number of even-con kills no matter what your level is and this system will work with that. No matter where you are in terms of level you'll see the same bonus based on your AA count.
Based on the data we collected a few months ago and looking at where we're putting the 1.0 mark the vast majority of players will see a boost in the rate that they earn AAs with those at the low end of the AA count seeing the largest boost. As I mentioned above we're able to nimbly change the shape of the curve and as we release new expansions that push forward the total number of AAs that exist we will be changing the shape of the curve, including the point where AA experience returns to normal. So we'll be attempting to continue to support new players and returning veterans going forward with the AA system.
Message edited by Nodyin-Dev on 02/12/2008 11:22:51"
Comment Posted by: Loral on February 12, 2008 04:39 PM
"Great, another pointless EQ article. Loral, it's obvious that you no longer care about WoW, the single most popular and subscribed MMO in the world. So you've lost interest in WoW? Fine. But I think it's your responsibility pass the reigns over to someone else who is willing to write about WoW, the single most successful and loved MMO in the world. Failing that, how about a write-up on Guitar Hero III at least?"
Best post in 2008.
I played Rock Band. I didn't like it.
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 12, 2008 08:43 PM
Any idea when that change will go "live"?
Comment Posted by: Wolfkinder on February 12, 2008 09:34 PM
Ghost of Zek
Another quote from Nodyin --
"The time line that we're looking at right now would be to roll this out with our next patch which will be in the next few weeks. We're still finalizing the curve and looking into any last second issues but this change should be on Test in the next few days although the exact values may change over the next week or so as we tweak the values to make sure we're comfortable with where the values are."
I only bring this up not only in reference to Redhenna's article but also some things mentioned by Loral in his past article on the strengths of WoW. This sounds like it might level the playing field for "new" players or those rerolling characters. The indications from other posts point towards a "possible" huge increase in AA gaining for those with little or none since it will be based on a curve. Curious to see:)
Btw, hopefully the "next" patch will see new hotzones too.
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 12, 2008 09:41 PM
I've read through the whole forum post (my God, I'd forgotten just how nasty the EQ forums could get).
One issue I have is while non-devs (Nolrog) have mentioned multiplies in the 3x range, I've only seen 2.0 mentioned by Dev's. Additionally the Dev's appear to not want to give out any real numbers.
Now we all know that what the formula really is will be well known on spoiler sites withing 72 hours of launch. Also, based on past experience, I'd guess there will be at least two to three "nerfs" of the formula once it is well known.
What would be stellar though would be the Dev's publishing the numbers without the cloak and daggers secrecy.
Anyway, for what it's worth, Nolrog, if you read this, your taking a hell of beating on that thread and I can't disagree with one thing you've posted on it.
Lastly, I gotta admit, I'm curious to see how this all plays out. Interested to the point I logged onto the SOE account admin pages to make sure I still remebered my password.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 13, 2008 12:53 AM
I have not read through the thread yet, but this sounds like a wonderfull change to me. I tend to believe that people are only as far behind as they think they are, but helping speed up lower AA people tends to strike me as a good thing. I really can't see how some one could really oppose it, though I am sure, when I read the thread later, I will find out.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 13, 2008 02:39 AM
Ok, I read the thread, in it's entirety. Good change, absolutely zero negatives to it. I am awestruck and flabergasted at just how far those who are complaining about it are having to reach to do so.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on February 13, 2008 09:34 AM
I think this is an awesome change for the game. It attempts to address one of the most significant issues with new and returning players. It should also help top end guilds in finding people who they need as people will be more likely to have the required AAs. I hope it is implemented well and is a significant enough accelleration to make the game more enjoyable for many.
I also wish the developers would just come out and publish the break points when they decide what they are. It's not like it's going to be all that big a deal. The EQ developers are more tight lipped about anything they make than any other game, and I think it's bad for the game. Players have a hard time assessing things like heroic stats, because the directly visible contribution they make is weak, and the devs don't want to tell you how they really work or what the mystery benefits are. I don't know if they actually think that adds appeal or not, but I can tell you it is just confusing vaporware for people who play the game and makes them feel less than heroic.
As to the long thread. I think there are some players of the game that really need to do a reality check. I really get tired of the "I had to do x, it's not fair that others don't have to do x," argument that goes on in every stupid thread. Some of those people are so tedius I just skip over their posts when I see their name. You know exactly what they are going to say. After all, they've repeated the same theme for hundreds of posts. After they repeat the same junk enough, they quit even saying it in semi-interesting ways. It's just noise.
At any rate, after the whining is over and SOE implements this, we'll be able to see if it has a good impact on the game.
Comment Posted by: Meh on February 13, 2008 02:15 PM
Too little too late. Stick a fork in the fat lady.
Comment Posted by: xsi on February 13, 2008 09:50 PM
An EQ post... omg! /tease.
I love the upcoming AA change... and that, to me, is a sign that, understaffed though they clearly are, the EQ devs are doing what they can to still improve the game.
I agree with much of this article. In particular, I'd love the ability to participate in the storyline of the game as a grouper, (and not just the 'first x% of the storyline' (like in most expansions) or as a farmer and/or resource gatherer (as with the war of guk preparations)). Gameplay is king, but story is what gives gameplay meaning in my opinion... and also serves as a carrot for people to progress.
I'd love to see new models too. :P (Had to throw that in there, as I've been doing since just a bit after Luclin launched)
Comment Posted by: Teremar on February 14, 2008 02:42 PM
Good article, great AA change. That's one major reason I could never go back to EQ removed.
One comment on world events though: unless the servers have become a lot more robust than they were when I was playing, having an exciting event scheduled to happen in one place at one time is a very bad idea. Maybe the dwarves could be attacking on several fronts, or on several different days (with the timeline known ahead of time). Otherwise the battle against the giants becomes secondary to the battle against lag.
Comment Posted by: nqeb ervxzq on February 15, 2008 05:52 PM
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Comment Posted by: Skuz Bukit on February 15, 2008 08:23 PM
New models are being worked on, "elves" are in the pipeline.
Jourdian (Clint Worley) has a new "EQBlog" up and running.
Comment Posted by: Skuz Bukit on February 15, 2008 08:25 PM
New models in the pipeline "Elves".
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 16, 2008 01:34 AM
Also in regards to EQ, from this source: http://forums.station.sony.com/eq/posts/list.m?topic_id=128186 Zatozia wrote the following:
At the beginning of the year, I mentioned that changes would be happening with the correspondent program. The changes are close on the horizon.
The existing correspondent program and the current community leader group (from previous summits) will be phased out. Instead, I will be implementing a new EQ Community Leader Group. The new group will include some of the individuals from the previous groups but not everyone. Others who may not belong to either group will also be invited to join it. We will eventually end up with multiple representatives for each class/area. This group will continue to grow as needed.
The EQ Community Leader group has similarities of its predecessors but will take the community/development communication process up to new levels. With this new group, individuals selected to take part will represent the community while communicating to the EQ Development and Community teams. They will not only represent a class but they will be able to offer feedback on other classes as well and other topics. In turn, we will be able to share ideas and changes planned for the future before the reach the "larger scale", "in process" stage or "announced" stages.
In addition, the EQ Community Leaders will collect feedback from the various areas of the forums in additional to external sites and share that feedback with us. So, expect to see new faces asking you for your feedback soon!
As we form this program, I will be continuously monitoring it to make adjustments as needed.
Really looks like SoE is going to put alot of effort(though no more money) into keeping EQ going as long as possible.
Comment Posted by: Ghost of Zek on February 16, 2008 02:12 AM
All good news this month from SOE, and as you posted on the SOE forums, SOE is making somewhere between 1,495,000 to 2,990,000 per month on EQ still. So while not a IP that SOE is looking to reinvest into, they certainly have every reason to keep the IP performing, perhaps even to see somall expansion on as they move more and more into housing a catalog of MMO titles with micro-transaction system boosting the bottom line.
Comment Posted by: Moreau on February 17, 2008 03:12 AM
I enjoyed reading the article and I look forward to more. It is quite clear that EverQuest must continually improve in order to meet the needs of the players who log in. I am delighted to hear that part-time players (less than 40 hrs/week) are progressing in the game. I think the decision to slow down the expansions was a good one. This gives some rest time for the guilds at the top as well. They can farm until everyone in the guild has upgraded gear in all 22 slots and then enjoy real life for a bit or farm gear for alts for the hardcore collectors.
For those who are not at the top, this provides a lot of catch-up time. The new AA experience system will help folks left behind catch-up faster and enjoy the EverQuest experience.
I used to raid every night for almost 2 years. For my professional advancement in real life, I am now going to school for an Executive MBA. I played WOW, and it was fun. I played Vanguard too, and it was fun. I played EQ2, and it was fun. I also played countless FPS and RTS games, and those were fun too. I think the reason I return to EverQuest is because I enjoy the different style of challenge. A single person task, like a cartwheel, is not very difficult (ok, for some people it is). 54 people doing synchronized cartwheels is a much more difficult task.
Not everyone will enjoy EverQuest, and that is fine. My hope is that the difficulty continues to rise so that the adventures continue. I realize that many people feel that it is difficult enough, but after the level cap is raised again, the challenge will shrink. The challenge must continue to rise. This will cause inconsistency, such as rats more powerful than Quarm from Planes of Power. However, the challenge must continue or the motivation of the body politic will diminish.
Much like the Super Bowl, there is nothing left until the next season. The next season does not work for an MMORPG because people will not tolerate dropping back to level 1. So, the story can be forgiven to give level 85 folks something more to chew on. Sony should make the level 90 rats and level 95 kobolds which will make the level 75 gear obsolete, but continue the challenge.
Some games are about celebration and socializing. Some games painfully resemble work. EverQuest is a work-type game. I happen to like it. Many of my associates play golf. I do not, and I have no need whatsoever to verbally attack them.
Have fun guys, we live in a great time to enjoy all this communication, recreation, and opportunity.
Comment Posted by: Nolrog on February 17, 2008 08:08 PM
>> One issue I have is while non-devs (Nolrog) have mentioned multiplies in the 3x range,
Any multiple that I mentioned were for use in the example in my post, and not meant to represent anything that acutally may happen (since we won't know until it goes live.)
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 18, 2008 06:34 PM
Moreau, thank you for your kind words. I wanted to quickly comment on one thing you said that I sorta did not like though.
"This gives some rest time for the guilds at the top as well. They can farm until everyone in the guild has upgraded gear in all 22 slots and then enjoy real life for a bit or farm gear for alts for the hardcore collectors."
There is this complete falacy that hardcore raiders do not have a life. Raiders I have known include a 77 year old lady fighting cancer(with 95 % raid attendence incredibly...she at times played in incredible discomfort) who is thankfully doing well now, several married professional couples, a retired couple of grandparents who spent their days taking care of their grandkids(grandparent daycare is the best daycare) and evening raiding, and any number of other people with active, busy social lifes.
This is not to say that hardcore raiders all 'have a life', but most actually do. The biggest mistake that nonraiders, or ex-raiders can do is generalize that raiders are lifeless teens living in moms basement, just as the biggest mistake that raiders can make is that casual players are 'lazy'. These concepts, when in written down, tend to polarize and help feed the fire of all those stupid raider vs nonraider, casual vs hardcore debates that get so old, so fast.
On the subject of the AA exp changes, I have been following the discussion threads on this, so I can comment here(I deserve bonus pay for reading through all that crap). While the majority think it is a good change, among those who do not, there are 2 big arguments they use. First is that this somehow dumbs down EQ(this is the argument I would have used at one time). needless to say, speed of AA gains does not make EQ easier,just faster. Slow does not equal hard.
The other complaint is that players would not be discouraged from buying 'fluff' AA's, as it might down the road slow down their AA experience. I find this an odd at best argument, in that I cannot see limiting my power in any way because some day, maybe, it might take me a tad longer to do gain AA's. Further, this makes an assumption that the top end AA amount to see a bonus will be fairly high, which I find unlikely. it was stated(here I think) that SoE found before SoF beta that average player had about 500 AA's, so SoF was tuned around this number. This makes me wonder if the actual top end would not be closer to 500, maybe 750 AA's. At this AA count, fluff AA's are probably not going to be a real issue. It could, possibly, maybe, affect a very few people, but not nearly enough to even be a real issue.
Comment Posted by: Omega on February 22, 2008 10:52 AM
The thing is that the old world is getting updated with hot zones, and the WoW ticketed on itemization will never sell. The "gear gap" is something that will continually exist and perpetuate the game's difficulty level.
Comment Posted by: wiggles on February 22, 2008 11:38 AM
With regards to the gear gap... one of the major stumbling blocks is for the devs to let go of this "raid gear" attitude on much older expansions. A good example was the Eron's jewelry quest where the caster version got a weaker version of maelin's meditation which is obtained very easily from a single group MPG trial. Another example is AC levels on tank gear stagnating for groupers. They refuse to budge because "once a raid drop, always a raid drop" mentality.
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 22, 2008 01:17 PM
Omega, old world zones are not being updated, just given a higher ZEM and some(I think) temporary new named mobs and drops(do the new named/drops stay beyond the hotzone timeframe?). I think more could be done, without taking up a whole lot of dev time.
"the WoW ticketed on itemization will never sell"--I am not following that statement at all. What do you mean by that?
The gear gap will stay around forever, but I do not see what it has to do with difficulty. If content is tuned properly, then most group content should be doable with group gear. Raiders actually get in easier as far as grouping goes, in that they are able to do more, faster, and safer(they pay for that in other ways), but group gear should be what *most* content is tuned to, making that content of appropriate difficulty for those with appropriate group gear.
wiggles, the gear gap is here to stay, and it should stay. I doubt either of us disagree with this. You are 100 % right that there should be what I think of as a 'statute of limitations' on raid gear. After a certain amount of time(I think 2 years is plenty), raid gear from that far back in time should no longer be considered when designing group gear. I actually, in thinking things through further, disagree with myself in the article I did. There needs to be a baseline for raid gear set, and group gear. There should be a gap, and it should be significant enough to create a real difference in power, but not so big that group content is either too hard for group players, or too easy for raiders(with the exception of some potential group content aimed at raiders). Once a baseline is established, just grow each at a reasonable level each expansion, such that both raiders and groupers have a gear progression path each expansion. Once the baseline is established, the only checks needed between raid and group gear each expansion is a sanity check that they are not way out of whack.
After OoW, raid weapons kinds stagnated(though not to the extent some try to suggest). Raid weapons got very small boosts...untill TSS came out, when there was a sizable boost. Now group weapons are held back because raid weapons stagnated. This is wrong, on a number of levels. The gap between current raid and group weapons is just stupid large, and it is directly related to tying group weapons to some point in raid progression.
Comment Posted by: xsi on February 22, 2008 06:45 PM
Yes, any changes made (beyond ZEM) for hot zones stay even after the zones lose their hotzone status. For example, you can go, right now, to Seb, and eventually get an unmasked changeling to pop and drop you a decent aug, even though that was from 3-4 hotzones ago. :)
Comment Posted by: Redhenna on February 22, 2008 07:22 PM
Thanks xsi. That does not change the idea that more can be done(quests omg) with hotzones. By the way, the unmasked changlings where awesome though.
Comment Posted by: Keisa on February 25, 2008 03:28 PM
I want to expand on a thought Redhenna mentioned. I think that one of the biggest injustices that SOE did to EQ was to tie the group gear to a percentage of the mythical "average raider." I know why they did that, but I don't think they even had a clue as to it's impact on the game over an extended period of time.
The goal, of course, was to keep a separation between the average raider and the top end grouper, making raiding more attractive, and rewarding people for doing the larger, more complex events. The premise is that if you allow people to get good gear in groups, they won't want to raid to get gear. You can debate the value of such a system, and it would work ok, providing the average raider continues to progress. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, at least at the expected rate. Mid level guilds got mired down at Anguish/Demi level for a much longer time than everyone expected. Since the average raider's gear stagnated, SOE could not significantly improve group gear and still meet their goal. This in turn fed into the stagnation of the mid level raidsrs, because their application pool were not well equipped, further exaserbating the stagnation.
Not only that, but the raiders had little incentive to group outside raids, because they couldn't improve their gear in group content and many were capped or close to cap on AAs. The separation in gear and lack of incentive to play the same game built a separation between raiders and groupers and made it much more difficult for them to reach agreement on issues.
The connection between the mid level raider and the top end grouper was artificial and arbitrary. These should never have been connected as SOE linked them, because it places artificial constraints on the generation of gear. Each should be independent of the other. If Top end group gear reaches the quality of the mid level raider, then raiders will take advantage of the group gear to extend their raid capabilities and advance up the line. Furthermore, there is a reason for raiders to go and do group activities, which provides a common interface between raiders and groupers, which supports that old community feeling that seemed to disappear from the game.
The other affect that binding group gear based on the average raider's gear did is that it locks the bottom in place while the top continues to grow. This widens the gear gap for everyone and makes it impossible for SOE to tailor group content that can satisfy the broad spectrum of players. Redhenna said that no content should be too easy for the raider or too hard for the grouper. Unfortunately, if the equipment gap grows too big, that is an impossible goal.
I think that SOE released or significantly relaxed this constraint with SOF. Top in group gear extends past the average raider. It will certainly be difficult for most groupers to take advantage of it in the early part of the expansion, but there is a path for the grouper to gear up to getting there. The Average raider can use the top end group gear to supplement their raid gear and push forward into higher content. AC is still lower for group gear, but overall, it was a huge improvement. Group weapons are still weak.
I think that raiders that complain about the improving group gear and advanced AA path being made available to help newer players lack vision. They are focussed on winning some form of race and aren't particualarly interested in just where the race is taking them. If the game is to survive, changes will need to be made to draw the community together instead of splitting it apart.
Good luck and good hunting,
Comment Posted by: Skuz Bukit on February 26, 2008 12:25 AM
Great post Keisa & I agree with you on your gear balancing viewpoint.
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