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The Tattered Notebook

The Tattered Notebook: Quips, quotes, and EQ Next tidbits from SOE Live

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

The Tattered Notebook  More quips, quotes, and EQ Next tidbits from SOE Live
It's official: I survived SOE Live! (I'd have included "with my sanity intact," but we all know I didn't have any going into it.) It's not that I seriously doubted this conclusion; I did successfully survive my inaugural visit after all. But with so much to see and hear and do, there was bound to be a casualty of some sort. In this case, it was sleep. Even sacrificing that, there was still no way to experience it all -- and I tried!

If you haven't been to SOE's annual "family reunion" in a while, you might not realize just how big it has grown. And adding EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark to the already expanded portfolio of games represented made for more news than could reasonably be condensed into nice little packages. That's where The Tattered Notebook comes in! I'm going to share an assortment of hidden gems and hilarious moments from the convention, including plenty of EQ Next intel from various developer interviews.

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The Tattered Notebook: It's OK if EverQuest Next is a niche game

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

The Tattered Notebook - It's OK if EverQuest Next is a niche game
I'd like to open today's column with my favorite quote from SOE's EverQuest Next reveal:

"Enough is enough. Enough of the same game already. It's time to get some new ideas into the genre."

Now, you would think that this sort of unambiguous mission statement would be picked up on and understood by everyone who has even a passing interest in EverQuest Next. After all, the quote rolled off franchise director Dave Georgeson's tongue during the first two minutes of the EQN reveal speech. And if it wasn't clear from that opening monologue that EQN isn't going to be your daddy's combat lobby, the rest of the reveals that focused largely on the game world, the building tools, and a wee bit of the ol' ultraviolence should have been the second clue.

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SOE Live 2013: EverQuest Next explained

Fantasy, Video, MMO Industry, Previews, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage), The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content

SOE Live 2013 EverQuest Next explained
With that pesky SOE Live embargo out of the way, we can finally stop speculating and start talking about EverQuest Next! And if you're a sandbox fan, you're going to love it because when SOE declared last year that it was doing something really, truly different with EQ Next, it wasn't kidding. EQ Next is set in the realm of Norrath, but this is a rebooted version of those lands. Veteran players will find familiar places and names in the lore and setting, but they won't have a monopoly on the knowledge of this world; players new to the franchise can be equally comfortable because everyone is discovering this new world at the same time.

On two separate occasions over the last few weeks, I got to sit down with Franchise Director Dave Georgeson to learn even more details about the game in preparation for today's SOE Live reveal. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Then join me for a tour through some of the key aspects and features of the upcoming sandbox.

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The Tattered Notebook: Speculation's last stand for EverQuest Next

Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next

Tattered Notebook  Speculation's last stand for EverQuest Next
I found myself in an interesting predicament this week. Today's Tattered Notebook was slated to be my last big speculation about EverQuest Next before I learned the real scoop at SOE Live 2013. However, as many of you know, I actually got the goods in a special preview a couple of weeks back! So until I can talk about what I know, my speculation days are done... at least on the features front, that is. What I can still ruminate on is the hype surrounding the game. After all, who needs concrete information when hype is involved?

Hype is a powerful tool, able to work people into quite a frenzy. As often as we've been burned by unfulfilled promises, you'd think we we'd skip the hype boat, but that's not the case; we often book a ticket and hop on anyway. We just can't help but feel our heart strings pulled and hope renewed when a new title comes out flashing our favorite buzzwords. And EQ Next has offered a few: emergent gameplay, sandbox, innovation. From there, every little morsel of news -- no matter how few and far between -- has been like a drop of fuel to the fire, elevating our hopes and building expectations.

Is the hype justified? We'll all have a better idea of that soon, though not soon enough. Until then, here's a recap of what we do know to chew on until the main course is served in two weeks. Then you can let your speculation run wild, even if I can't!

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Tattered Notebook: Are EQII mercenaries a solo-savior or group-killer?

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

Tattered Notebook  EQII mercenaries  solo savior or group killer
A couple of events this past week brought my mind back to a subject I have pondered off and on since EverQuest II's standalone expansion Age of Discovery launched back in December 2011. The first came when a Massively TV viewer expressed amazement at how our little group could decimate the triple-up heroics (a con system designation meaning hard) in a dungeon. The second came when a colleague was lamenting the difficulty of finding a group to get into a dungeon. How are these two situations tied to Age of Discovery? By the tethers of mercenaries.

Mercenaries, or mercs as they are more generally referred to, are available to all players who have purchased that particular expansion regardless of their level. Plenty of Norrathians, including me, are running around with these for-hire companions. But the question on my mind is, are mercenaries a boon or a bane to EQII? The answer depends heavily on your playstyle.

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The Tattered Notebook: EQII's housing update makes feet obsolete

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Patches, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, Housing

The Tattered Notebook EQII's housing update makes feet obsolete!
Life in EverQuest II just got lazier thanks to the housing system part of the this week's update. Wait... what? If you've ever delved deeply into decorating in Norrath, you'd know that one thing this housing system can not be accused of is fostering laziness. With the countless number of items (seriously, I gave up trying) and the limitless ways of using them, players have been lost for weeks, even months, on decorating projects. Just take a stroll through the EQII housing leaderboards to see the amazing detail -- and therefore time and attention -- that goes into these abodes. So how on earth can I equate housing with lazy?

The lazy part comes not in relation to the actual decorating (which did become easier thanks to another recent update, by the way) but in travel. Indeed, now all Norrathians may never have to walk home through city streets again! Join me for a look at what could rightfully be billed as the new Norrathian transportation system. Oh, and the spiffy house management features, too.

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Tattered Notebook: There's too much to do in EverQuest II!

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Economy, Game Mechanics, Lore, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Roleplaying, The Tattered Notebook, Dungeons, Crafting, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Tattered Notebook There's too much to do in EverQuest II!
For this latest Tattered Notebook, I'd already planned -- and in fact was in the middle of -- writing impressions of Scars of the Awakened, EverQuest II's most recent meaty update. I've collected a slew of notes taken from the adventurer and crafter questlines, including some tips and time-saving tricks. But amidst all that intense update research (I gladly sacrifice myself for you guys!), I got distracted. And no, it wasn't by a shiny!

You see, although the land of Cobalt Scar opened up just over a month ago, I've been pulled away and unable to complete everything I want to in that zone. Why? Because in that same time, there have been multiple city festivals, a round of Moonlight Enchantments (with new quests and brand-new housing items that were a must have), a double XP weekend that just begged for some serious crafting advancement, a commissioned housing project to complete, personal houses to decorate, old quests to finally finish up... and that was just to start!

As the guilt for not finishing the entirety of GU66 settled in, friends who weren't as high-level as I wanted to play together in areas they had access to, which coincidentally did not include the latest update. So off I ran through older zones and dungeons with lower-leveled friends. Needless to say, my in-game adventures of late have stretched all over the map of Norrath. Sounds busy, no? It was during all this that I had to finally lay my delusions of finishing everything I have planned before EverQuest Next to rest; there's just too much to do in EQII!

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The Tattered Notebook: EQ Next scoops up Emily 'Domino' Taylor

EverQuest II, MMO Industry, Opinion, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Crafting

The Tattered Notebook  EQ Next ranks swell with the known
A curious thing happened as I was strolling through EverQuest II this past week. It seems there was a bit of commotion in the Norrathian community, with races good and evil cheering and dancing in the streets. Personally, I didn't even know Sarnak could move like that! What was the catalyst of this celebration? Why, didn't you hear -- there was news about EverQuest Next! And with the scarcity of that kind of treasure, it's understandable that folks went a'frolicking. But this wasn't just any old news, either. This week, fans learned that Emily "Domino" Taylor, also known as Pentapod, was returning to the EverQuest franchise as the producer for EQ Next.

Can the presence of just one person really send prospective players into a tizzy of anticipation? Yes, it can. I watched as a number of EQII players, once ambivalent or on the fence about EQN, not only look twice at the upcoming sandbox but hop right on over into the newest Norrath's camp. More eyes than ever are watching the development of this game (even though there is scant little to watch at the moment). And this is why.

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Tattered Notebook: A guide to EQII's Moonlight Enchantments (with new stuff!)

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

Tattered Notebook  A guide to EQII's Moonlight Enchantments and new stuff!
Lately, there have been a number of topics all vying for my attention here in Tattered Notebook. In a couple of instances, some of them got a little rough and started pushing the others around to try for a better place in line. Yet all the while, EverQuest II's Moonlight Enchantments has been patiently waiting. So as a reward (we do like to reward good behavior here!), that quiet little topic is getting the spotlight in a special bonus edition. And the timing couldn't be more perfect!

You see, initially this guide was just going to focus on speed to help you get through that short two-day event that comes but once a month on the 20th and 21st in EQII. Now, however, we get to delve into the changes and new things coming to the Enchanted Grottoes, from even more housing items (yes, that's on top of the new additions in March) to two new repeatable quests to earn the tokens to buy the items. And with this month's festival right around the corner, having a game plan ready to get the most out of those two days will benefit new and old players alike.

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Tattered Notebook: It's the little things that count in EQII updates

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

Tattered Notebook  It's the little things that count  a look at EQII updates
It's like they know me! You'd think with all the bag functionalities that SOE has introduced to EverQuest II this year that the devs have watched my livestreams and taken pity on me and my storage predicament. And it didn't stop with just one new addition; even after one set of sorting capabilities was released, another set came along. With all these new organizational tools, there is a chance even I might actually find something in my oft-overstuffed bags. (Clean bags, however, is another matter entirely and not likely to be resolved!)

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.

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Tattered Notebook: EQ Next and Storybricks, sitting in a tree...

Fantasy, New Titles, Opinion, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

Tattered Notebook  EQ Next and Storybricks sitting in a tree
OMG! It's EverQuest Next news! No, really. I'm not pulling your chain. It's all official and everything. Namaste Entertainment, the creator of Storybricks, made the announcement that it is collaborating with SOE on EQ Next. So go ahead and do your finally-some-news celebratory dance, I'll wait a moment. Just don't go all out and strain something; you'll want to be able to spring into celebration again when more is revealed, right?

Sadly, the news is pretty much summed up right there in that one sentence; we don't have any more details to revel in and no time frame for getting more (well, other than SOE Live, of course!). But when has a lack of specifics derailed fan excitement about an upcoming game? Well we may not have definitive details, but using what we know about Storybricks, we can certainly speculate on what the relationship between the two means for Norrath's next incarnation.

And if there was ever a relationship I was happy to see, it's Storybricks and EverQuest Next's.

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The Tattered Notebook: Can EQ Next's housing measure up to EverQuest II's?

Fantasy, EverQuest II, New Titles, Opinion, Free-to-Play, The Tattered Notebook, EverQuest Next, Sandbox, Housing, Player-Generated Content

Tattered Notebook  Can EQ Next housing measure up to EQII
With last Wednesday's release of EverQuest II's latest prestige home, the totally awesome Hua Mein Retreat, I couldn't help but be focused on one of my favorite gaming features. I toured the new home, got to check out the break-out spots, and marveled at how pro SOE is with housing. Sure, there have been some misses when it comes to the prestige options, but things just keep getting better. Before long, my thoughts turned to the idea of housing in EverQuest Next.

Obviously, I am excited to play EverQuest Next. How could I not be? This studio has cornered the market on the most fun classes I have ever played (Dancer, Disciple, Fury, and Shaman) and the best housing systems I've personally had the pleasure to delve into (Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, and EverQuest II). And now it's making another sandbox.

But will EQN pull me permanently away from EQII, a game where I've earned my seven-year vet rewards? That, my friends, will depend in large part on the housing.

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Tattered Notebook: What Chronoportals to EQII would you put in EQ Next?

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

Tattered Notebook What Chronoportals to EQII would you put in EQ Next
If you were even slightly luckier than I, you had the chance to traipse through the Chronoportals of EverQuest II's most recent event. The events inside these portals are a nod to the game's older sibling, the original EverQuest, and include landscapes, characters, and dialogue that reflect that first incarnation of Norrath. EQ vets understood the inside jokes and humor, who then had to explain it to us young EQII whippersnappers who'd never experienced the situations featured.

Even though I missed out on this year's event (I was too busy trying to weasel some EQ Next information out of folks at GDC for you), it got me thinking: If EQII has Chronoportals back to EQ, will EQ Next have some back to EQII? And if so, what iconic moments should be immortalized in the next incarnation of Norrath?

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The Tattered Notebook: EQII's Ribbitribbit Day celebrates community

Fantasy, EverQuest II, Culture, Events (In-Game), Opinion, Free-to-Play, Interviews (Massively's), The Tattered Notebook, Housing

The Tattered Notebook EQII's Ribbitribbit Day celebrates community, creates memorial to remember others
There is no two ways about it: Every time I started to pen this particular piece, I had to pause. You see, the story behind it all is steeped in emotion; inspiration, joy, pride, sadness, and togetherness are all a part of the heartwarming tale that is simply impossible to not be touched by (or in my case, completely choked up). And it's one that makes me proud to be a part of the EverQuest II community.

Last year we shared with you the story of a young boy whose simple wish for a fun place to play in EQII brought the community together in an unparalleled way. In order to make an extra special place for Ribbitribbit, adventurers, raiders, and crafters left their guilds -- heck, even their servers -- to come aid in what became more than a simple island refuge. It became a multi-house playground that included a Tier 3 guild hall. The sheer volume of enthusiastic participation is enough to make any heart swell. Sadly, shortly thereafter Ribbitribbit lost his battle with cancer, and that same community mourned his passing. Now, one year later, the same organizer who uncorked that first outpouring of generosity has brought players together again to commemorate community, continue philanthropy, and remember those who have been lost.

Today's Tattered Notebook invites you to become a part of this community with a look at Ribbitribbit Day 2013.

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The Tattered Notebook: Attacked by AAs in EQII

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

The Tattered Notebook  Attacked by AAs in EQII
When EverQuest II first went free-to-play in December 2011, a number of long-lost players poked their noses back into the game. But even before that, and certainly since then, veteran players have found cause to return to Norrath after a (sometimes very) prolonged absence. And why not? There are plenty of great things to lose yourself in within EQII... as well as plenty of ways to feel lost! Invariably, those who have been gone for any length of time are confronted with a doozy of a headache-inducer upon their return: alternate advancements.

Back in the dark recesses of time, The Tattered Notebook brought you a newbie guide to these AA points. But much has changed in the ensuing two years, including the AAs. So it behooves us to take another look and update our information. The following is my personal journey with that at times intimidating system, sprinkled with tips, tricks, and tales of woe I've picked up along the way.

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