TenTonHammer's Coyote Sharptongue has a up a rundown on momentous year for EverQuest 2. From the echoes of Echoes of Faydwer to the rising respect for Rise of Kunark, I'm going to say 2007 was easily the best year SOE's flagship game has had since its launch in 2004. Excitement among the playerbase is high, hints are that people are returning to the game or trying it out for the first time, and the newest expansion is getting a lot of positive feedback from gamers who have pushed past their initial anti-soloing impressions.
Coyote discusses the impact Faydwer had on the game early in '07, and then goes on to discuss the Estate of Unrest, Fan Faire, and RoK.
Phat Lewts. Unrest offered it in abundance...IF you could survive long enough to enjoy your riches. Set towards what was at the time "end game" the Estate of Unrest offered something that no other expansion or update had ever offered before. A chance to crap yourself. Creepy dolls coming to life, disembodied whispers and howling, ghostly laughter mocking the fact that you just turned on every light in the room in which you sat. If you allowed it, the zone could easily submerge you in its doom and gloom and suck you into the game play.
I like Coyote's list a lot, but it definitely left something out ... where's the love for the Arasai?
For me the biggest event of 2007 wasn't Kunark (not high enough level yet) or Unrest (ditto), but the free patch-in of Neriak and the Arasai race. SOE is garnering a reputation equal to Blizzard's for patching in amazing free content, and an entire new race is probably the biggest love letter to the players a development house could hand out.
In many ways, I see the Neriak release as a fundamental part of EQ2's turnaround under the now-departed Scott Hartsman. This is from an article I wrote for Gamasutra on the topic back at SOE's gamers day event:
For various reasons, the design standpoint when the game was first created was "we can't steal from EverQuest". The game's goal was to move as far away from EQ as they could, to attract new players while leaving the EQ player base more-or-less intact .... [Hartsman] explained: "The understanding behind the product was perfectly valid... it just missed the mark. So the initiative became, 'let's make this into a game we want to play.'
Let's hope that even despite Mr. Hartsman's departure, the EQ2 team continues to use the momentum of 2007 to make a truly great game even better.