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The Tattered Notebook

Norrathian Notebook: Preparing yourself for EQN Landmark

Opinion, Free-to-Play, Humor, The Tattered Notebook, Family, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook

Whether you are a Founder who will access alpha or not, EverQuest Next Landmark is coming up on us like a bullet train; it will be here before you know it. As opposed to most games that stretch your anticipation out for years, this one is going from announcement to playable in less than six months -- if alpha does indeed make it out in January. Those who are opting for closed and open betas or even launch shouldn't have much longer to wait, either. I expect that those stages will maintain the same speed we've already seen, putting players into the game proper well before the next SOE Live.

So with the ultimate build-it-yourself sandbox on the horizon, the question is this: Are you ready? Have you got all your ducks in a row in order to best experience Landmark? Can you say you are all set to take advantage of those first minutes logged in? If not, I've got a few strategies, tips, and tricks to help you prepare for when the game goes live.

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Norrathian Notebook: The top 10 Tattered moments of 2013

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook

At the end of every year and the beginning of a new one, many people kick back and review what went well and what went wrong. We certainly got a taste of something that went wrong last week, so let's switch gears and focus on the positive! For my one-year anniversary as a writer of this column (I took over this piece exactly one year ago this week), I felt it was particularly appropriate to reflect back on the previous year, highlighting the best moments of The Tattered Notebook.

Actually deciding on only 10 articles to fill out my favorites turned out to be more difficult than I thought. There we were plenty of useful guides, videos, holiday celebrations, and even a peek at a certain upcoming game. But when forced to choose, these particular moments all stand out. See if my picks coincide with yours!

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Norrathian Notebook: Are membership changes a benefit to EQII players?

Fantasy, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Norrathian Notebook

While I had another, happier topic all ready to ring in the new year, SOE surprised us with a questionable decision this week that I felt necessitated an immediate response. So today we'll focus on this hot topic instead: All change is not good. And SOE's announced change in membership benefits for EverQuest II is really not good.

Previously, with the removal of the remaining free-to-play restrictions, EQII subscribers saw their benefits whittle down to essentially a buff to mount speed and coin, AA, and XP accumulation (basically what was offered during the Gold Rush event) and the monthly 500 Station Cash allotment. While that seems as if players lost most of their advantages for subbing, there wasn't too much murmuring because at least we were happy that our comrades had the freedom to choose the classes and races they wanted and enjoy the game better. And besides, we still had the 500 SC, so we still had some worthwhile benefit. Well, now that's changing.

SOE has decided that this last benefit must be retooled from 500 SC that accumulates until you use it to the ability to buy one single item for up to 2000 SC per month. While it may sound like a better deal on the surface, it's not -- not for SOE or for its customers.

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Norrathian Notebook: EQII's new Frostfell experience

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Guides, Norrathian Notebook

There's no place like Frostfell.

No matter how long you've been absent from EverQuest II, and no matter how many expansions come and go, you've known that there was always one thing you could be sure would stay the same year in and year out: Frostfell's Wonderland Village. Well, no more! Like Freeport and Qeynos before it, the staple of Frostfell celebration has undergone quite the transformation. So stepping through the Magic Closet now might be a bit of a shock in a going-back-home-and-finding-your-parents-converted-your-bedroom-into-an-office kind of way.

But unlike the parental remodeling, this renovation is meant to make the place more inviting for your return. With a beautiful new setting to go with the year's new quests and achievements, EQII's Frostfell experience is better than ever.

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Norrathian Notebook: EverQuest Next Round Table roundup, round three

Fantasy, Polls, Video, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Norrathian Notebook

Quick on the heels of our second Round Table roundup for EverQuest Next and EQN Landmark comes the third, filled with the next bushel of questions! In these (lucky) seven queries, devs asked players to give their opinions on starter zones, modding the UI, length of the day and night cycle, grouping, preferred Landmark building styles, and the role of NPC merchants. And of course, devs also offered their personal opinions on these topics.

Did you participate in all the polls the first time through? If not, we've got them all right here for you. Go ahead and join in the discussions; it is never too late to voice your opinions! You never know when your comment might be the one that turns the tide of thinking or offers a new solution no one had considered before.

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Norrathian Notebook: The EverQuest franchise through the ages

Fantasy, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Expansions, MMO Industry, Patches, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Consoles, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Norrathian Notebook

Our notebook is tattered no longer! We've filled so many pages over the years that it is time to set the dog-eared, fraying sheets aside and take up a fresh new notebook with plenty of room for all the upcoming adventures. And on this fresh new slate, you will see a slightly different focus from that of its predecessor. As you may have noticed, over the past few months, The Tattered Notebook dipped into coverage of more than just EverQuest II. As of this moment, it is official: Our notebook now chronicles Norrath, in all its shapes and forms. These pages will fill with all things EverQuest, from the original game to the next incarnations.

On top of the franchise focus that includes four major titles, the notebook is moving back to a weekly time slot every Saturday, so you'll get your Norrathian news more frequently. To kick things off, let's a look at the history of Norrath, from start to sequel to sandboxes, and everything in between.

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The Tattered Notebook Extra: EQ Next Landmark livestream talks tools, demonstrates mining

Fantasy, Video, Game Mechanics, New Titles, News Items, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Livestream, Player-Generated Content, Norrathian Notebook

Any time you mention EverQuest Next Landmark, you get a score of people saying that they just don't quite get it. To help alleviate that, devs hosted another EQN Landmark livestream and dished up more details about the upcoming sandbox and treated viewers to their first look at actual mining gameplay footage.

While a large part of the stream focused on harvesting and mining, that was not the only topic touched upon. Senior Producer Terry Michaels teamed up with Producer Emily "Domino" Taylor and Community Manager Colette "Dexella" Murphy to answer various questions and share information about naming, beta news for SOE Live 2013 attendees, and more. If you missed the stream, we've compiled some of the key points right here for you. And since seeing is believing, we've got the entire livestream as well!

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The Tattered Notebook: EverQuest Next roundtable roundup, take two

Fantasy, Polls, Video, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Community Q&A, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content

Back in September, The Tattered Notebook gathered together the first 10 roundtable questions that EverQuest Next and EQN Landmark devs posed to fans, with their accompanying community thoughts, developer opinions, and video clip answers. However, that was only the tip of the iceberg. The Round Table discussions were not just an introductory fad; they are a permanent part of the development process. As such, new polls are put up every week for fans to vote on and to post their own feedback and thoughts about on the forum.

So now that a couple of months have passed, it's time to round up the next wave of questions in one central location, focusing this time on the six questions with dev responses. Maybe there is a query or two that you missed as the weeks rolled by, or maybe you just want to see what direction the community is leaning. Got some strong opinions about death penalties or fast travel in EverQuest Next? What about in-game holidays? This is definitely the time to share them!

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The Tattered Notebook: The EQN Landmark founders pack fallout

Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Promotions, EverQuest Next

The Tattered Notebook:  Responding to the Founders Pack fallout
You might have heard about a little piece of EverQuest Next Landmark news about how interested players have the opportunity to purchase Founders Packs. If you haven't (or you missed the resulting maelstrom of responses), the basic gist of it is this: SOE is offering three levels of pre-launch bundles for the upcoming sandbox game, with prices ranging from $19.99 to $99.99. Besides in-game goodies, each pack also adds alpha or beta access to EQN Landmark. Therein lies the rub.

That one little bit of intel set off quite a flurry of comments, from valid concerns to some head-scratching claims. Some folks had questions as to whether these packs have anything to do with EverQuest Next (they do not); there seems to be some overall confusion and misinformation mixed in among legitimate points and vitriol alike, so today I'm going to address some of the concerns that cropped up.

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The Tattered Notebook: Dishing out memories for EverQuest II's ninth birthday

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Anniversaries

The Tattered Notebook  Dishing out memories for EverQuest II's ninth birthday
Like its older sibling before it, EverQuest II doesn't show any signs of slipping quietly into the night as it ages. Another year has come and gone for the middle child in the EverQuest franchise, and plenty has transpired in those 52 weeks. You'd think after all the goings on of the game's eighth year that things might slow down a bit; after all, how do you top monumental occasions like going free-to-play? But no, the content train just kept rolling in. If you thought that there was already too much to do in EverQuest II when the ninth year started, I'm sorry to say that it just got worse -- or better, depending on how you look at it.

That's not to say it was all rainbows and kittens and unicorns (although there were those, too!), but there were definitely plenty of positive happenings throughout the year. From demonstrations of great community spirit to updates galore, the past 12 months have been filled with things both big and small. Take a stroll with me down memory lane as we celebrate EQII's ninth anniversary.

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The Tattered Notebook: Navigating EQII's Nights of the Dead

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Guides, Dungeons, Crafting

The Tattered Notebook  Navigating EQII's Nights of the Dead
Halloween is by far my favorite holiday, and EverQuest II is easily one of my favorite games of all time. So when the two combine, it's a match made in heaven. But just like the game itself, the Nights of the Dead live event has so much to it and so much to do that it is easy to become overwhelmed. Cue The Tattered Notebook!

I know what it's like to want to participate fully in an event but not know where to start. And now with so many more new players (thanks in large part to the Heroic Characters), it's not even a matter of finding the little changes to this year's event. Let's be honest: Even those of us who have taken part previously can't remember every detail from year to year, especially when more is added each holiday season! So today I'm going to provide a guide to introduce you to all things Nights of the Dead.

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The Tattered Notebook: Forging your own leveling path in EverQuest II

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Guides

The Tattered Notebook  A guide to forging your own path in EverQuest II
Who needs the straight and narrow? Not I -- when referring to EverQuest II progression, that is. Those who catch my antics on Massively TV can certainly attest to the fact that I am more of a twist-and-turn-loving meanderer than a straight-line kinda gal. And that's even without the inevitable distraction of shinies! Luckily for me, EQII is made for just such a soul as mine with serious emphasis on the wander part of wanderlust.

Folks who watch EverQuest Two-sday have seen me lope along the Golden Path, EQII's version of an in-game guide to where to level. But in EQII, the path is not a rigid set-up directing player steps as in many other themeparks. No, the Golden Path here is more of an occasional checkpoint along your journey that offers you just a nudge in the next general direction. Even then, you don't have to follow those implied suggestions. Maybe you'd prefer to forge your own path. That's where today's guide comes in! But unlike the recent guide for the new level 85s, this guide is for any and every level range, so no matter where you are now, you can see all the possibilities for where to go next.

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The Tattered Notebook: What to do with your new level 85 in EverQuest II

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Guides, Dungeons

The Tattered Notebook  What to do with your new level 85 in EverQuest II
It occurred to me as I was crafting up an EverQuest II leveling guide that a score of folks would be popping into the game on newly minted level 85s as soon as Heroic Characters go live next week. You might even be one of those who are taking advantage of this opportunity to see all of the upper content echelons. If so, let's be honest: You aren't necessarily going to care where the best place to go at level 38 is. You need to know what's happening in those later levels.

So I switched gears; today I am offering a guide for life in the 80s and beyond instead. Whether you have played EQII before in the lower levels and are bumping up your first character or you are diving in for the first time and finally giving the game a go, here's what you need to know to acclimate to life in the upper tiers of Norrath.

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The Tattered Notebook: EverQuest Next Round Table roundup

Fantasy, Polls, Classes, Game Mechanics, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Races, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

The Tattered Notebook  EverQuest Next round table roundup
Back when EverQuest Next and EverQuest Landmark were announced, SOE President John Smedley made it clear that the two games were henceforth in "open development." That meant that the company would be soliciting feedback and opinions from players about myriad design decisions for the two games.

Since then, EQ Next devs have thrown out new questions each week for players to vote on and discuss. Utilizing polls and forum discussions in a special section of the main site labeled Round Table, important topics like bearded female dwarves and armor appearance customization are delved into and player desires and feedback are gathered. After collecting the data, the devs respond, sometimes in video form.

Today, The Tattered Notebook is going to round up all those roundtables, giving you a summary of which way the community is leaning on these different topics as well as the dev input. I'll even throw in snippets of their opinions as well! Of course, if you haven't added your thoughts to the mix and you'd like to, you still have time to do so as all the polls are still active.

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The Tattered Notebook: Will EQ Next bolster or break EQII?

Fantasy, EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next

The Tattered Notebook  Will EQ Next bolster or break EQII
Doom! Gloom! Kaboom!

As is wont to happen, the recent news about SOE's layoffs sparked a flurry of speculation about the fate of the various games in the studio's portfolio. In fact, it's not terribly unlike the the speculation after the unveiling of EverQuest Next. Will EQ Next/SOE layoffs kill off my beloved *insert game title here*? In the case of EverQuest II, I feel fairly confident that the answer is a resounding no. I've even said as much before. Unfortunately, I can't confidently say the same for other titles, even though I'm pulling for the success of them all.

If anything, I get the impression that SOE is circling the wagons around its flagship IP, solidifying its attention on the franchise that started it all. Where do I get that idea? Well, keep reading to find out!

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