EQNext: The Next Big Thing Roundup

So, Sony recently announced their next Everquest game. It sounds pretty cool – dynamic world AI, voxel-based landscapes, and –

Oh, you’ve heard about it already?

I’m really not sure when we last saw an announcement that has gotten the MMO community as excited as the EQNext reveal this weekend – and for good reason. The features they’re promising sound utterly revolutionary, and more importantly, at least reasonably achievable. I’m personally familiar with the kind of voxel-based landscape engine they’re using – it’s very doable for a next-gen game.

But will it actually work?

Let’s go to the phones – or, as the case may be, blogs:

What do you think? Is it as good as it looks?

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Darkfall And EverQuest 2 Roundup

In amidst the furore of all the huge new games launching, getting expansions, or generally making noise, it’s easy to forget the smaller guys. But Everquest 2’s had an expansion recently, and Darkfall, the tiny niche PvP fantasy MMO, is about to. And it’s about time we saw how they were doing.

ON which note – let’s go!

  • Chris at Game By Night has an intriguing essay up on why you should try Darkfall“If someone has told you that losing your gear when you die is a big deal, let me be clear, they weren’t actually playing the game.”
  • The Ancient Gaming Noob considers how Everquest’s new tradeable game time will work out in the long run“Let’s say you buy a Krono and put it on the market for 700 plat and it sells. Is 700 plat the real market price? Did you simply price the Krono too low? Did you just find a fat cat in a hurry? Were you simply the lowest price at that moment on the broker?”
  • And Flosch returns to the game and gives his impressions after a long absence“I wasn’t 100% sure what the story was. I mean, I got part of it, but there were a lot of Erudites running around, but the city wasn’t called Erudin, but Paineel? And everything was kinda of floating in the air?”

I must admit, Chris does make Darkfall sound tempting…

Are you playing EQ, Darkfall, or another indie MMO right now?

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Nostalgia, Commitment and Blame

Is anyone else out there pining for a TBC WoW server? I mean, I’m excited by Mists, but if I could reroll on a Classic server, I’d definitely give it a whirl.

Today The Ancient Gaming Noob examines why Everquest seems to have a lock on the nostalgia market – plus, praise for EVE’s marketing, and more on the “just a game” and “Are MMOs Doomed?” discussions.

  • CCP and EVE Online have sailed some rough waters, PR-wise, in recent months – but Jester believes that this last year has been a roaring success for them“conditions this summer are nearly identical to the conditions last summer. CCP is just handling it about twenty times better than they did last year. Their communications and marketing strategies are working wonderfully.”
  • The Ancient Gaming Noob looks at the phenomenon of Everquest nostalgia servers, and asks whether any other gaming company could follow in their footsteps“Yes, some games note the passing of anniversaries. And there is a always a “come back and play” promotion going on for one MMO or another at any given moment of time. But that seems to pale in comparison to the lengths to which the EverQuest Live team goes.”
  • Tobold argues that Edward Castronova has badly misunderstood both MMOs and their players when he calls them nothing more than a grind“Fortunately I think that the average player isn’t quite that stupid to keep waiting for the major payoff for years. I think Edward Castronova generalized a very narrow and comparatively rare player type here. There are a lot of players who are perfectly aware that there is nothing at the end, but they happen to enjoy “living” in a virtual world. Others are more competitive, but even they know perfectly well how ephemeral their epics are.”
  • And Lewis at Stnylan’s Musings looks at the preparations players make for EVE tournaments and asks just how different they are from “proper” sports’ preparations – *”2) Logistical preparation for training facilities and the like 3) Studying tape of opponent’s past performances 4) Studying tape of his own team’s past performances

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Podcast reviews, RP love and hate, and That Certain Tree

Two great posts from bloggers who joined us via the Newbie Blogger Initiative today, plus an overview of SWTOR podcasts you might want to check out…

  • Blogging veteran Shintar of Going Commando writes a really detailed review post on the top four SWTOR podcasts currently out there“One thing I’ve found remarkable about all the SWTOR podcasts I’ve listened to so far is that none of them have been badly made, even if some of them didn’t personally appeal to me because of the hosts or the content. “
  • Brazokie shares some of the aspects of MMO roleplaying that she finds can make or break an RP experience“Back when I was a kid, playing “imagination games” around the house and backyard, there was the crucial moment all girls would raise their hands and demand to be the princess. “
  • And How To Pour Sand Back In The Box writes a post in praise of the older, slower style of MMO gameplay, and memories of one particular Everquest tree” This particular tree is nothing special to most, but to me it is a tree located precisely outside the window of the Crushbone Keep throne room. Often, I would climb up it from the outside to see who was camping the room and if they wanted any help. Eventually, however, I started climbing up it and looking in just to have a conversation.”

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The Compleat Guide To Trying Out Everquest Free-to-Play

I’m occasionally blown away by the detail, care and thoroughness people put into MMO-related blog posts. From Maintankadin, EJ, and other sites’ theorycrafting to enormous treatises on WoW achievements, people can really put their heart into helping others, and that just makes my day.

Today we’ve got another contender in the “truly awesome guides” category, from ECTMMO. With Everquest going Free to Play, they’ve realised a lot of newbies and old-timers will be hitting the servers. So they’ve gone above and beyond, with a truly massive and comprehensive guide to everything you’ll need to know about modern EQ

Where do I find armor? And Claim ITEMS

You’ll want to check out your /claim items. Simply type in /claim and hit enter. You should have several items that you may want to claim on your characterful or several characters. Remember, some items can only be claimed once. These items consist of mounts, house items, clicky items, among other stuff. There are lots of them and you’ll want to make sure you which you want on what character, if you have several. For instance, you wouldn’t want to claim the Scepter of Draconic calling on a caster, it would be best saved for a melee character who doesn’t have the gate ability.

In the Plane of Knowledge (PoK) are vendors that do have some quests for armor, you can find those easy enough near the soul binder. The best thing to get while leveling will be the defiant armor. This armor starts at level 10 and there is an alternate set every 10 levels all the way to level 70. It is crude, simple, rough, ornate, flawed, intricate and elaborate- DEFIANT armor. You can buy this rather cheap in the Bazaar from other players and even find it as drops in the game. There are also defiant weapons too, they come in the same brackets. There are vendors in PoK that sell other bits too, these can help as you level. There is also crafted armor, raid armor, named mobs drop things too, so keep an eye out for named and rares. The cash shop does sell defiant armor, if you’re really wanting to go that route, and perhaps you have an armor bundle in the /claim items.

Did I mention this guide was long? It’s long. It’s 9 complete page-reads on my not-tiny monitor, covering everything from finding your old server to questing and levelling to random cool fluff. It’s not the best-organised thing ever, but if you’re in its target audience you should probably read it from start to finish anyway.

And even more impressively, it actually does a pretty good job of selling the game too. By half-way through, I was seriously considering checking EQ out myself.

So, if you’re coming back to Norrath, or arriving for the first time, or you know someone who is – now you know where to go for all your questions.

Are you planning on returning to EQ, or trying it out for the first time?

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Wednesday Posts: Both Productive And Pretty

Today’s other links are very visual, for the most part – we’ve got some serious prettiness going on. But fear not, there’s productivity there too, as Windsoar explains how she prioritizes to avoid letting her raid down.

Let’s go!

  • Brian “Psychochild” Green reviews the unique Everquest player-based dungeon creator, and concludes it’s interesting, but more than a bit lacking“I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that the most popular dungeons are almost entirely about earning resources rather than telling an interesting story.”
  • Kamalia has a really interesting themed post on WoW transmogging – she’s designed colour-themed Death Knight outfits around the three talent specs for the class
  • A Casual Stroll To Mordor features the sights of Caras Galadhon in Lothlorien – spoiler-filled, but if you’ve seen it or you don’t care, it’s also really beautiful
  • And Windsoar at Jaded Alt goes through the ways she makes sure to prioritise her raid “chores” when she’s short on time, with loads of helpful tips“The important thing I’ve learned is that you never know when a crisis is coming. When I get a new piece of gear, the very first thing I do is reforge, gem and enchant. I try not to log off before this is done, and the reason is simple: except for raid time, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be on. “

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Back to EQ for many, back to WoW for one – Tuesday Links

There’s a “returning” theme going on with today’s blog entries – from SOE’s attempt to get players to return to the game that started it all, to the popular Ironman Challenge concept returning with, well, even more Iron.

  • Klepsacovic of Troll Racials are Overpowered has returned to WoW – and is finding that the best way to enjoy the game is by first taking a year’s break“I had a blast. Everything came right back, except for where my res key was located (right side bar, a little bit up from the middle). I got some sort of points, but I don’t know the point of them. Halfway in I decided I should go to Molten Core, but didn’t, because I had an instance to finish.”
  • Iron Man Mode are going hardcore for charity. No, not in a bad way – instead, they’re blogging their adventures inside a number of MMO and MMO-like games, with the simple premise – if the character dies, the blog does too.
  • And Everquest – yes, the first one – is going Free To Play. Keen and Graev have been looking at the offering, and they’re a bit cynical about what it’s meant to achieve“The point I want to make, one that I feel is very obvious, is that SOE is going to use you if you’re a free player. You’re not getting anything from SOE by playing for free. They have turned that first tier of free players into value for their own product.”

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Nostalgia For Old MMOs

Yesterday I mentioned Tobold breaking the news that there’s a new server for the old game Everquest. Spinks has taken up the debate and says that actually, no. Even solid lumps of gold wouldn’t get her to play Everquest now. And maybe we should be wary of that nostalgia feeling while we’re on this old game track.

Spinks is against anyone dipping their toes into the waters of an old game reborn. She’s coming across a jot grumpy – I hope I don’t insult her here but I had visions of Granny Weatherwax while reading her post – but it’s understandable. She’s got some good points: Everquest’s developers are probably counting on people wanting to feel the magic they remember from playing first time.

I can only assume nostalgia … everything and everyone was new, and maybe to reclaim some of their forgotten youth, especially if other ex-players can also be cajoled into going back. You can’t actually go back to those times, people know now which the best classes are, what the best shortcuts are, and I wonder how many of them really do want to spend hours camping the same spawn of mobs to level. I suppose we’ll find out. SoE sensibly gave old players the first month for free, which explains part of the popularity.

And as Spinks insinuates, what better time to do it than when there’s all kinds of blue air being thrown around about MMO communities? She also points out that MMO veterans are fiercely loyal about their chosen game and there’s quite a range, so not everyone’s giddy about Everquest. But her closing advice is sensible – and forward looking. Personally I’m with her: let’s go play something new on the market, right?

What do you think – would you replay new versions of old games to try to get the magic you felt the first time round back, or is it better to move on to new things?

_Quote taken directly from Spinks’ post

You can find Welcome to Spinksville’s homepage here_

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Where There’s A New Everquest Server There’s Champagne And Challenge

Quick note to highlight an even quick post from Tobold that caught my eye today. He’s inviting us to party like the last century. And, while we’re partying, enter into deep and meaningful conversation with him about how hard games are.

Why? What’s going on, I hear you cry.

Tobold’s got the gossip that a new Everquest ‘progression’ server has opened up today. Everquest was one of the forefathers of MMO gaming and a lot of gamers have fond memories of it. Heck, a lot of us have our roots there. So a new progression server opening up for it is worth shouting about to anyone who has fond memories or wants to see what it was all about if, like me, they missed the party at the time. If you want to know more about the server, check Tobold’s post – I’m not stealing his thunder. Don’t worry, it’s quite short!

Though news about the server isn’t all that’s on Tobold’s mind. He’s also quite openly inviting debate on the age-old “games are too hard/easy/facerollable” topic. He’s suggesting that, well, in his own words…

Having played EQ myself a decade ago, my personal guess is that none of these people could even make it to level 50 … let alone start raiding.

Quite a direct opinion, there. What do you think, whatever your gaming experience – is it worth talking about how difficult X MMO is, or do you know for a fact that they don’t make them like they used to?

_Briefest of brief quotes taken directly from Tobold’s post_

_You can find Tobold’s MMO Blog homepage here_

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