“EverQuest Next was a black box project for years – and it was only last month that Smedley and the team showed it to the EverQuest and EverQuest 2 teams. Smedley says he was so nervous the night before the presentation that he couldn’t sleep – but that both teams received it enthusiastically.
Players will have to wait a bit longer to try it themselves, but maybe not as long as you’d expect. ‘Players will get their hands on an actual release version of what we’re doing late [this] year – and I don’t mean a beta,’ says Smedley.”
I honestly don’t know what to make of the SOEmote technology, other than the gut feeling that (a) it would make me pretty uncomfortable to use it, (b) players will figure out six hundred ways to abuse it by hour two of it being in the game, (c) nobody really sees other characters’ faces, no matter what Georgeson says, and (d) it’s an extremely trivial project to spend resources on in the grand scheme of the game. Then again, it’s always good to experiment with new ideas and to throw the RPers a bone once in a while so they don’t gnaw off their legs in frustration, so we’ll see.
A couple quotes from the blogosphere:
“Indeed, if it had been announced two months ago, I don’t think any of us would be having any doubt that it’s just an April Fool’s joke gone awry on the part of SOE. Even the presenter, David Georgeson, is so incredibly enthusiastic that it’s verging on the sarcastic. I was half expecting him to turn and wink to the camera at the end.” ~ We Fly Spitfires
“SoE has the very worst history of innovation. They spit out ideas like the old woman at the back of the bus spitting sunflower husks into a paper cup and they pay about as much attention to them afterwards, too. The question’s not ‘should we have it?’ but ‘will you remember we’ve got it after you’ve given it to us?’” ~ Inventory Full
A few days ago Massively ran a Daily Grind topic about what your desert island MMO would be. I found that interesting, because I’ve been thinking about that same idea as well: If I could pick only one MMO to play on a desert island for the rest of my life, what would it be? And here we’re adding the stipulations that it already has to be released and currently operating, we assume that it won’t grow any more nor ever be cancelled, and it can’t be some sort of weird portal game.
So what would my desert MMO be? That is insanely tricky.
- First of all, I’d want something with maturity and established growth. A game that’s been around a little while so that the more egregious bugs have been stomped out, content patches and/or expansions have been added in, and enough holidays and regular events to keep things interesting.
- Second, I’d need a game world that is as large as possible. Fun to explore. I don’t want to see the same scenery over and over again, considering that I’ll probably end up making a bajillion alts over the course of my lifetime.
- Likewise, tons and tons of content.
- Options as to how to level — not just a linear experience.
- Plenty of side activities, such as crafting, collecting, and even PvP.
- A developed end game.
- Player-generated content.
- Lots of classes or ways to develop your character
- Something I haven’t played to death
And while there are many fine games out there right now, this list eliminates quite a few of them, because we’re not just looking for a good game for now, but for a lifetime. That changes things drastically.
LOTRO is an obvious choice, but it kind of fails that last point on the list. Honestly, I’m torn between two: EverQuest II and Fallen Earth. Both have gobs of content, a huge world to explore, player-generated content, great crafting, lots of options. I’m leaning toward Fallen Earth just because there’s so very much in that game I haven’t seen or explored yet, and I love that world (logged in just last night, as a matter of fact).
What about you guys? What’s your desert island MMO, and what would be the qualities that make it so?
Yesterday on Too Long; Didn’t Listen (you know, that podcast you so adore!) Dodge and I were talking about MMO and video game soundtracks, a topic which I quite adore. I wanted to follow the podcast up with a quick post about some places that I’ve found legal ways to obtain these scores:
Free MMO soundtracks:
- EVE Online: Good on CCP for making a bulk of EVE’s synth score available for free mp3 downloads!
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: About half of the game’s original score is available for a free download on the game’s site. The studio did this right before the game launched.
- Anarchy Online vol 2: WARNING – this starts a download from Funcom’s FTP server!
- Anarchy Online: Shadowlands
- Atlantica Online: A sampling of the game’s music
- Dungeons and Dragons Online: A HUGE amount of music from the game, including a 5th anniversary piece
- Global Agenda: Only seven tracks are available, but hey, that’s seven more than you had previously, right? And the Christmas piece rocks.
- Wizard101: They’re short ringtone versions, but still very much worth downloading
- Chronicles of Spellborn: Right side of the page
Amazon MP3 downloads:
- Age of Conan ($9): One of the most acclaimed MMO soundtracks ever
- Pirates of the Burning Sea Volume 1 and Volume 2: Great piratey music for $9 and $10 respectively
- Aion ($9)
- City of Heroes: Going Rogue ($9)
- EverQuest ($8) Note that this is a fan project, not the original, but it’s not that shabby
- Fallen Earth ($9) Love this soundtrack, it really is something different than the norm
- Lineage – Legacy Vol. 2 ($9)
- Lineage 2: Chaotic Chronicle ($10.50)
- Lineage 2: Interlude ($9)
- Lineage 2: Goddess of Destruction ($9)
- Lineage 2: Chaotic Throne ($9)
- Guild Wars: Prophecies ($6)
- Guild Wars: Factions ($10)
- Guild Wars: Nightfall ($10)
- Guild Wars: Eye of the North ($10)
- World of Warcraft ($10, also available on iTunes)
- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade ($10)
- World of Warcraft: Taverns of Azeroth ($10)
- World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King ($10)
- Final Fantasy XI: 8th Anniversary Album ($10)
- Final Fantasy XIV: Battle Tracks
- Final Fantasy XIV: Field Tracks
Let me know if I missed any and I’ll add them to the list (I’m not looking to list/link torrents and CDs, however)!
And that is all. I love it every time I see players organizing these kinds of events:
What is Pay it Forward, you ask? Well it’s a day when adventurers and crafters come together to donate crafted goods, items rotting away in your bank, plat, rares, masters … you name it … to young adventurers, asking only that they perform some random good deed for a complete stranger in return.
This event creates an incredible surge of goodwill on our server (which is already awesome as is!) and I thought I’d announce the next event for our server here (last time folks said they wanted more advanced notice). What I’m also hoping is that maybe others on other servers would like to step up and be the host/organizer on their server, and make this event a game-wide thing.
Last time we had more than 30 people come out to donate items in the 3-hour event, held on the Isle of Mara. Everyone had a blast and walked away feeling like a million bucks — both the givers and the receivers. The general comments were “Oh I wish I’d made more stuff” and “This was so much fun!”
People gave away adornments, rares from all tiers 10-90, fabled items, incredibly wonderful crafted items from levels 10 to 90, furniture, master spells, armour, poisons, weapons, 40-slot bags, and some even went with players who arrived on Mara and bought them housing in the city. Others even offered to craft thurga gear and AA mirrors, free of charge. No item was considered “too small” .. anything anyone did was absolutely wonderful because it’s the message behind the giving — to pay it forward and make the server a better place.
The only condition was that the person who received something had to do some good turn in kind. It was a very uplifting and fun couple of hours on Mara this past October (our second event). And it was remarkable to watch the goodwill spread as many who received items went out and ran dungeons for lower levels, or bailed someone out on a quest.
I just feel like commenting on a lot of little things that have been happening in the news and in my gaming life lately, so today’s edition of Bio Break will be fragmented for your pleasure.
Star Trek Online 2nd Anniversary
Man, remember when we were all going nuts over Del Taco cups in anticipation for STO’s launch? (I hear The Ancient Gaming Noob might still have a few…) Now we’re two years out, STO’s switched parent companies and has gone free-to-play. And it’s a heckuva fun game to return to, I’m discovering.
I’m pretty amazed that they’re not only revealing the new Enterprise model (the Odyssey class) but giving a free one away to everyone who does a simple mission during the anniversary weekend. Good on Cryptic for that, can’t wait to snag mine and put it in the bank for my level 50-ness!
Rubi leaves Massively, joins ArenaNet
Some of you will know Massively’s Rubi Bayer, a long-time writer and CM for the site who also did GuildCast. Well, Rubi’s leaving the nest of bloggernalism to join ArenaNet as a member of the community team, and I could not be happier for her. It’s not every day that you get to finally work for the game company you’ve followed and adored for years, and I know it’ll be a perfect fit. Good luck, Rubi!
Star Wars: The Old Republic is “dying” so hard, it’s got 1.7 million players.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that. I’m going to be so glad when we get past all this nonsense to the point where we can enjoy a game without it having to be a meta-war that is won or lost in the public opinion.
Yes, I am still playing LOTRO
I know I don’t talk about LOTRO as often on this here blog, and it’s mostly because whenever something comes to mind, I usually want to save it for my Massively column. But I am still playing and even spent five hours yesterday with a completely new character.
EverQuest goes F2P
I’m both surprised (it’s such an old MMO at this point) and not (SOE’s really bought into the F2P philosophy), but if it gets more players and/or extends the life of the game, good on it. I just feel bad for the EQMac folks who are losing their homes in this process.
[We were talking about there being one dev left at SOE who was responsible for the EQMac version]
“There was one man, slowly toiling. He sobs, late in the night. No one hears him. It is said that to read his code is to look upon beauty itself. And no one knows.”
~ Massively’s Eliot
“SOE is a weird company sometimes. One moment they seem incredibly torpid, and the next they’re reacting to player demands with immense agility. One month they seem to ignore near-universal feedback and the next they’re paying too much attention to what players are telling them. It’s like the best company in the MMO business and the worst are both operating out of their offices.”
It began, as with so many other obsessions, with a single click.
I was visiting EverQuest 2′s Wanderlust Fair in the Darklight Woods when I saw an unusual Gnome. His name was Milton Flunknuttle, and his sole purpose in life was to be a vendor for owlbear vanity pets. So, cool, right? I mean, I saw that and I had to have one. Owls + bears in one terrific package! So long stupid fluttering book that’s my only non-combat pet to date; hello hooting and honey-eating companion!
Except that Milton’s supply of owlbears was “out of stock,” which made me wonder just how much SOE was trying to mess with my head. Out of stock in a digital world… hm… okay, I’ll roll with it. Maybe it’s a once-a-day thing. Maybe I needed to keep checking back to see if his supplier came in. But nothing doing — Milton steadfastly remained out of stock the entire time I was questing in the zone. About the twentieth time I talked to him to check, I knew that I was becoming obsessed.
I didn’t care.
Finally I broke down to check out the wiki and saw that there was a mid-20s quest that he kicks off to resupply those dang owlbears. Since I was 19 at the time, I made a mental note to come back, and headed elsewhere. Fast-forward to yesterday when I returned at the grand level of 23 to see the little feather above his head indicating that I was about to do a whole series of silly tasks.
He sent me into a neighboring zone to talk to another gnome, Millie Flunknuttle (love these gnomish names!), who was a (owl)bear to find. After wandering the zone for an hour and failing to see a quest marker pop up on my map, my guildies educated me in the art of setting waypoints, and everything went smoothly from there. Oh hai, Millie! Gimme some owlbears so I can go back and finally buy one!
Not so fast, Syp, she says. First you gotta go procure a few eggs.
Fine. Eggs. Got it. Anything else?
Yes, you’re going to need to inhabit the body of this clockwork owlbear, go find a momma owlbear, and dance at her until she lays an egg. Rinse and repeat five times.
Yes, seriously. Now shoo!
So here I was last night, dying like crazy because the densely packed mobs in this zone are a couple levels above me and have no compunction against bullying an innocent, egg-searching traveler. I finally found a mother owlbear, got into my owlbear robot, and went up to her and hit the dance button. Nothing. Hit it again. The game tells me that I’m not dancing with enough variety and the owlbear is becoming bored.
What, is this Dance Dance Owlbear?
It turns out that my hotbar now has four dance skills on it, so I start mashing them in a random pattern, watching the two Owlbears sing (huh, not dance? whatever) until the mommabear poops out an egg with the weirdest expression on its face (the owlbear, not the egg). That only took me 40 minutes to do, and I was feeling exhausted from the day — not the dancing — so I called it quits. Then I pondered just how psychotic the quest designers of EQ2 are, and what kind of insane asylum I’ve stumbled into.
But today? I will be back. I will be dancing. I want that pet. That is my life.
While it seemed like the rest of the gaming world was either deep into SWTOR or Skyrim this past weekend, the Syp took a different path. What, I can’t call myself “the Syp”? Like “the Mittani”? I need to level up my ego to at least 50 before trying? Fine. Boring first-person perspective it is, then. “I” took a different path.
I wasn’t planning on it, but somehow I got sucked into EverQuest 2 and spent almost the entire weekend’s gaming time playing it. You know how sometimes you click with a game on the first try and sometimes it takes multiple attempts? I think that’s how it was with EQ2 and myself. Maybe I just needed to be in the right mental frame — a little antsy wanting a new game experience combined with a curiosity of what makes the EQ2 world work. I mean, when you have these long-running MMOs that have seen so many expansions and patches, you know that there’s just a wealth of content waiting to be mined.
It also helped that I used a few leftover station cash credits to purchase a different class — the Necromancer. The Necro and I fit perfectly together and I started to really get into this pet/DOT-wielding class. It’s funny, because coming from RIFT, the Necro in both games is incredibly similar (Scott Hartsman’s legacy, perhaps?). In any case, lots of time with EQ2 and little time elsewhere. While I was playing, I started to make a list of a few game elements that stood out to me. In no particular order:
1. Streaming Client
The way SOE did EQ2X’s accessibility is spot-on. I went to put this on my laptop and only had to download a small installer before I got in the game proper. Within five minutes I was playing while the remainder of the game kept downloading in the background. This is so much nicer than having to wait for a massive 20 gig download, let me tell you.
2. The Music
Maybe it’ll get old, but I really dig the game’s score. It’s high fantasy stuff, but very easy on the ears.
3. The Quest Text/Voices/Humor
EQ2 straddles the line between attractive and ugly/uncanny valley with its looks, but I found that the writing helps to make up for it. Several of the quests had me laughing with the back-and-forth between my character and the NPC, and the voices (when they appeared) sometimes lent to the moment. It reminded me a lot of how Fallen Earth does a lot of textbox leadup into each quest, and I liked that.
4. The Housing
For sure, EQ2 has incredible housing. Within the first day I’d not only gotten my first in-game house, but had been given a ton of items through quests and whatnot to decorate with. The housing system is so easy to use and is great in letting you be creative with the elements you have. It made me think of playing with LEGOs, really. I loved seeing how creative the other players got with theirs, too.
5. Friendly Folks
I’m on Freeport, the current F2P server, and I was really impressed by the maturity of the community. People were very friendly to me as I went around, and one guy just randomly ran up, handed me two big backpacks for storage, and headed off. I also fell in with a great guild that went out of their way to show me around, answer my questions, and get me set up. That makes a BIG difference when coming into an established game, let me tell you.
6. Quest Flow Across Zones
This isn’t a big thing, but I was kind of impressed with how the quests in the 1-20 area (Darklight Woods) didn’t just have me going in one direction the whole time, but would be sending me back to previously quested areas for different activities. In so doing, I got a much better feel for the area and enjoyed seeing where the quests would take me next.
7. Being Evil
Since I’m an evil class, I had to roll in an evil starting zone, and I just assumed it would be like the not-so-evil factions in other MMOs. You know, where they’re not evil, they’re just misunderstood noble savages, etc. But in this case, you and everyone around you have embraced the dark side, and it’s a huge tonal shift from what I’m used to seeing. Lots of it is played up for humor, but there’s little compunction against you unleashing plagues upon innocent mushroom-people just to get some breathing room for your friends.