For the second week in a row, it's what's going on outside of the game rather than in-game that's topping the headlines, and The Tattered Notebook is ready for the roundup! From poll results to pathing to hints about Game Update 63, we'll look at the highlights below the cut.
As I pointed out last week, we may not have all the answers yet on the ProSiebenSat.1 deal, but it sure looks as if SOE is working hard to mend some fences. It was great to see the announcement that all players will be able to play on any server they want, but there are still unanswered questions, ranging from customer support to account security to cash-shop currency. How will SOE divide up the responsibilities, and will there be potential for overlap? There are a lot of fine points to this deal, but hopefully the patient wait means the team is making sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.
When EverQuest II went free-to-play across all servers, former Executive Producer Dave "SmokeJumper" Georgeson mentioned that the team would not make hasty changes to the cash shop without first seeking community input. The first in-game poll was conducted recently, and while it didn't grab the third rail of the cash shop, it did produce some interesting data on player behavior. According to the results, the three most popular activities that players say they participate in are exploring overland zones, doing quests, and completing dungeons. Players also indicated that they socialize, that they tend to play with others, and that their favorite non-adventure activity is tradeskilling. The results don't exactly seem groundbreaking, but it's a good, safe, first poll and a good way to start the process of player feedback. What I'd be most interested to see going forward, though, is how the polls match up with the metrics. What players say they do and what they actually do aren't always the same thing.
Game Update 63
In a previous Tattered Notebook, we looked at the revised update schedule for this coming year, and while April seemed a long way off back then, it's not such a long wait anymore. In the announcement, Community Manager Eric "Piestro" Cleaver confirmed that Skyshrine will finally arrive in Update 63, meaning we're probably going to be knee-deep in dragon dung soon. In the original EverQuest, Skyshrine was the home of the dragons and the third major faction of Velious. We've already had lots of time cozying up to the Dwarves and the Giants, so it'll be nice to see the trifecta completed in EQII.
Bugs, bugs, bugs
While it's not as glamorous as dragons, bug-squashing is just as important if not moreso. And there are some bugs that have been lingering in the game for years. It's nice to see that there's a renewed effort to tackle some of the pesky bugs in game, and we definitely won't miss them when they're gone!
Crit Mit gone, pathing corrected
Critical Mitigation is on its way out, and that patch is soon headed to the test server to be checked out before the stat is removed in Update 63. I have to admit that I'm a bit scared of GU63's arrival on the live servers, but that's only because itemization and EQII has traditionally gone as smoothly as the Hindenburg landing. On another note, it looks like some of the pathing issues that players have seen with certain mobs will finally be resolved. There was a nagging issue with certain mobs, particularly raid bosses, warping toward players if the players moved too far away. It's not game-breaking, but it can make for some frustrating fights. At least it's not as bad as the old pathing issues the game had at launch, when mobs would actually ghost right up into the ceiling and come back down with several hundred friends. It made Stormhold a place that I'll never forget, that's for sure!
March can sometimes feel like a lost month when it comes to real-life holidays. Sure, there's St. Patrick's Day, but it tends to come and go even faster than the rounds of beer consumed that day. In EQII, though, there will be plenty to do in-game. In addition to the monthly city festival and the Moonlight Enchantment events, players will participate in Brew Day (which is actually from March 8th to 19th). Also, the Chronoportal events will return; they celebrate EverQuest's birthday and will run from March 20th to 28th. If you missed these last year, they're a lot of fun, and if you're an old EQ vet, you'll especially appreciate the salute to famous moments in the game's early years. For a peek at some of the fun, check out last year's write-up.
There are a few other news tidbits included in the recent community announcement, like the reduction of certain dungeon lockouts from 18 hours to 90 minutes and a new chunk of the Age's End storyline for those who have been following it. What wasn't mentioned, however, was the planned PvP changes that were supposed to come in the next update. New Executive Producer Holly "Windstalker" Longdale made a follow up post saying that details of the Update were on the way, along with some behind the scenes videos, so perhaps we'll learn more about what's in and what's not in the next update soon. In the meantime, I'll be polishing up my tankard and dusting off my beer goggles. If they don't help me find that elusive pink elephant this time around, at least they might make the Crit Mit removal look good!
From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to firstname.lastname@example.org.