Now bag sorting in and of itself really doesn't sound like a big deal, the kind complete with flashing lights and a ticker-tape parade. It's not. In fact, it's pretty much a little thing... well, except for micro-managers and packrats, of course. So why in heavens would I be spending time talking about piddly updates in EQII when such an expansive one recently released? Because getting the little things (and getting them with regularity) is big. The subject of minor updates warrants just as much attention as a named one like Scars of the Awakened, both for what the updates are and for what they portend. And those updates bode well for everyone.
Why indeed do EverQuest II's smaller updates command so much respect from me? The same reason they should for you: Paying attention to the little things means that the developers care about the players' enjoyment. From bug fixes to convenience additions like bag sorting, continually adding things is continually working to improve the player's experience. And who doesn't want devs invested in constantly making the game better for players? It's like little thoughtful gestures throughout a relationship; those do more for maintaining the relationship over the long haul than just one large token every now and then.
I have long been a proponent of smaller, more frequent updates; such a schedule is much better for the game overall. Think of it this way: Players crave new things and new experiences, so if a game offers new content only once a year in a major expansion, the game will attract the players' attention for only a limited time. Players will come in and revel in all the new content until they play through it all. Then, they will yearn for more and their attention will wander. If they have to wait another 11 months for that to roll around, they will most likely go find the new experience somewhere else, though they may return at the end to try the next big new burst.
Smaller updates, on the other hand, keep feeding players that "something new" experience in frequent-enough doses to break that cycle of leaving. Not only is there something new to keep them occupied for a little while, but the anticipation of something else coming just around the corner convinces players to hang out even longer.
So I especially like to see that SOE hasn't forgotten the little things. And if the studio has that attitude for this incarnation of Norrath, I can feel more confident that it will have it for the next.
Although possibly the most relevant to me personally, bag sorting isn't the only addition nestled among tweak and bug fixes over the last couple of months. Even knowing that EverQuest II had been delivering on the weekly update front, I was pretty shocked to see just how much was rolled out throughout the month of March. In that month alone there were four different weekly updates ranging from major (all races and classes open to F2P players) to not-so-major (resetting the sizing parameters for certain housing items). April, however, as the lead up to the major mini-expansion was a bit more barren on the content-side, focusing on mainly tweaks and bug fixes.
What all can players enjoy now from just that eight week span? The list of individual updates is extensive, from quest tweaks to instance alterations to ability updates and more. But just to give you a taste, here's a smattering of some -- but certainly not all -- of the features changed, added, and otherwise updated in EQII recently:
- Players can use more slash-commands for items that used to be checked-in options, such as show and hide illusions. This opens up the possibility of making macros instead of fiddling with opening and sorting through tabs on windows.
- The Wurmbone's End: Nox Incessit instance has lower swarm encounters to reduce lag. Certain adds and bosses also have lowered health.
- Players can again swap bags and dump contents of one bag into another as well as filter what goes into them using sorting filters like drink, fuel, food, harvested materials, gear, tier, and more (see inset for all possibilities).
- Some quests have been tweaked, including lowered requirements (gather fewer bulbs for Jenni's Stained Pants) and group updates (One Hungry Bug, The Harrowing Hand).
- The experience required to increase the level of a Spiritstone was lowered in many cases.
- Dirges, Troubadors, and Beastlords had their abilities and Alternate Advancement abilities refined.
- Krono bought on the broker no longer incurs an additional broker free.
- Multiple F2P restrictions were eradicated, including class, race, bag and bank slots, and active journal quest limits.
- Mercenaries no longer get extra funds on top of their 30-minute pay; they no longer receive a share of the coin earned in groups.
- Certain gear saw stat adjustments; Pirate King Mage accessories have a more mage-y focus with added offensive casting skills, Subjugation, Disruption, and Focus.
- Decorators gained more flexibility as some plants can be resized even larger.
- Drinal in the Harrows End raid got a few tweaks including losing its ability to cast more than one curse on the raid force at a time and occasionally casting spells on already dead players.
EverQuest II is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores Norrathian nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running every Saturday, The Tattered Notebook is your resource for all things EQII and EQNext -- and catch MJ every 'EverQuest Two-sday' on Massively TV!