Archive for the ‘Everquest 2’ Category

Gold in them thar hills

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Kendricke in Everquest 2, The Gaming Industry

It’s been some time, but I’ve finally got the time to start writing again, it seems.  What’s been going on?

In February, after two exciting, grueling, incredible, exhausting years at Activision, I took a position as a producer at ohai, a start up in San Francisco.  I get to work with people I’ve respected for years, working as part of a small, passionate development team putting together MMOs for Facebook.

I’ve certainly taken my fair share of potshots at Facebook games over the years (my previous post, for example), but I’m hoping that perhaps I can take some of that sneering contempt and attempt to bring a traditional gamer’s perspective to more casual titles.

So far, ohai’s been a great home, just as Activision was for quite some time.  I learned a lot at the Big A, and certainly miss a lot of my former coworkers.  A few of the more senior producers there have been unbelievably generous mentors to me over the years and though I’ll still ping them from time to time for advice, I’ll miss our 11 PM beer sessions after work.  I put a lot of my heart and soul into the games we built there and I’m still proud to walk into a GameStop or Target and see one of my games on the shelf.  These may not have been AAA MMOs, but the amount of sweat and tears that went into them was not lessened because the budgets or timeframes weren’t as large.

Anyway, it seems I’ll have a bit more time to talk games.  Certainly I’ve had more time to actually play and enjoy games in the past few months.  My guild is still doing strong in spite of the inactivity I’ve inflicted upon them over the past two years, in no small part to the efforts of the extraordinary officers currently leading our Everquest II and Rift chapters.

It feels good to be back to writing.  Hopefully I can start doing a bit more of that over the coming weeks and months.

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The Server of Greener Pastures

Posted: July 17, 2009 by Kendricke in Everquest 2
Tags: , ,

Throughout the forums (official or otherwise) players and even guilds have uprooted and moved to the Antonia Bayle server.  Everywhere I turn, a new blogger has packed up a truck and then moved to Bev-er-ly…Bayle that is.

Why not?  Isn’t Antonia Bayle the server where dreams come true?  It’s the virtual land of milk, honey, and perfect roleplaying.  Every street is paved in gold and every LFG is answered within seconds by the nicest group of strangers you’ve ever had to chance to group with.  On Antonia Bayle, levels do not matter because a veritable army of level 80’s stands at the ready just waiting for a call to Mentor your level 12 through Blackburrow.  The channels are filled with the most helpful and thoughtful voices you’ve ever heard – this must be what angels sound like, right.

The reality is that Antonia Bayle is bursting at the seams, apparantly.  Common complaints seem to indicate that server lag of 5-6 seconds is widespread.  That means that it probably took longer for your heal spell to actually start casting after you pressed the button than it did to read this sentence.  Other repeated complaints indicate that entire chunks of guild rosters are being kicked out of the game regularly as Guildhalls crash or take to long to load.  Other players are upset that they’re unable to actually log into the server in the first place.

Me?  I’m back here on Guk with my guildJaye‘s here with her guild, too.  We didn’t follow Cuppycake, Tipa, or Stargrace to those “greener pastures”.  We’re doing just fine where we’re at.  Feel free to come visit us over here on Guk…just not all at once.  We’d prefer it if you kept your dirty lag out of our clean server, thank you very much.

 😉

Most guilds tend to track player characters differently depending on whether or not it’s a main or an alt (in my guild, we refer to these as “primaries” and “secondaries”…because, well, we like to complicate things).  For many guilds, mains are treated differently than alts – voting rights, loot rights, guildhall rights.  If someone leaves or is removed from a guild, then an officer typically has to go through the entire guild listing to hunt down all of the different characters that belong to a particular player in order to keep the roster clean. 

I’ve had to do this function in multiple games and I can say that within Everquest II, this is a pain. In Everquest II there is no indication of which character is a main or alt.  This in itself isn’t really an issue since no games I know of actually make this distinction.  So long as there is a notes function that I can sort by, I can set up the roster to take care of this concern for me. 

In Everquest II there are notes, but these are a function within the same column as character names.  We cannot actually sort by these notes.

Ideally, Everquest II could have mimicked the old Everquest method which had a separate column for “Notes” in the guild window which could be filled in by officers.  Since you could actually sort the entire list by just the Notes column, it was very easy to enter “Kendricke Primary” or “Kendricke Secondary” in the Notes column to very, very quickly identify all characters for the same player. 

Even if such a thing were not something SOE would want to include as separate column, I think there could be tremendous value in something as simple as allowing the current guild window to be sorted by the “Notes” and “Officer Notes” fields. 

What other features could be implemented to help players track their rosters a bit easier?

It Ain’t Called “Catching”

Posted: June 29, 2009 by Kendricke in Everquest 2

I love fishing. Like most boys, my grandpa used to take me out dockside to throw some worms at the sunnies. Now, I don’t get to go fishing as much these days as I used to, but I still go whenever I can.

I can quite easily spend a day casting my line into the water over and over and over hoping for a hint of a nibble. If I think I’m in a bad spot, I can move. If I think I’m using a bad lure or bait, I can change it up. If I think I should be using one set of tackle over another, I can switch. On a really, really good day I might get a nibble half of the time I cast. On my best days, I might actually pull in a fish 4 out of 5 times I feel a nibble or strike. On the days of my dreams, half of the fish I actually land are worth keeping.

I shudder to think of a place where I might show up to go fishing once a month and a guy at the dock simply hands me a pole which already has a 15 pound lunker hooked every time I drive up. No matter how nice his intentions are, he’d quickly take the thrill of fishing away from me.

“They call it fishing, not catching” is a saying my grandpa was fond of whenever I complained of long, dry days at the dock without so much as a nibble. He tried to teach me that it was those days of nothing at all that made the great catches all the better. It took me years to realize what he meant.

In completely unrelated news, SOE has introduced Research Assistants into EverQuest II.

SOE Scraps the Plan for Hate Revamp

Posted: March 17, 2009 by Kendricke in Everquest 2

According to Bruce Ferguson’s Producer Letter today, SOE is completely scrapping their plan and starting over with regards to the “hate revamp”:

Well, we’ve been talking since the last Fan Faire about how we’ve drifted away from the hate management and damage sink that tanks were originally intended to be.  With this, there has also been an increase in the DPS that tanks have been doing while in combat. This begins to impinge on the role that we’ve envisioned for the Scout and Mage classes, and we feel that moving forward we need to make some adjustments, as it is increasingly difficult for us to do proper and cohesive game balancing as the lines get more blurred.

We introduced this to the test server in early January and the response from the community was strong.   Recognizing that this is a very sensitive and delicate topic, we postponed the revamp for more testing and evaluation.

In the end, with all of your feedback, we’ve decided to re-examine the structure of the fighter revamp. 

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. 

  –   William J. H. Boetcker, 1916 (often attributed to Lincoln)

In case you’ve missed it, SOE is considering giving away Master level spells to any player that wants one:

 All research requires a base amount of information to work with. In the case of the Research Assistants, this manifests in that they require you to have the previous tier of the spell being upgraded before they can begin work for you. So, in order to research that Master I, you’ll need to first know the Adept III version, though it doesn’t matter whether that Adept III version came from researching or from your friendly neighborhood sage, jeweler or alchemist. The time required to research a spell increase will vary based on the level and tier of the spell. A level 20 Adept I may only take an hour, while a level 80 master will likely take a month or longer. 

 –   Jennifer “Kirstie” Gerull, Mechanics Supervisor, Everquest II

There’s a couple of restrictions they’ve announced, but the one thing they haven’t yet conceded is an actual cost.  That’s right, no cost other than your monthly subscription and a little bit of time.  Since you’re required to have a subscription to play the game and since we all earn time at the same rate, this is no cost at all.  No gameplay required, just tell your research assistant you want X master spell, log out and come back in a month or so and you’ve got a brand new master level spell.  Even CCP requires you to pay for the skills you earn in real time in EVE Online. 

On the surface, I have to hand it to SOE, though:  it’s a truly noble idea.  It’s a way to provide master level spells to every person in the game – at least the important ones.  It’s a way to make sure that you’re never held hostage to the random number generator or the greed of plat farmers.  From a player’s point of view, why would anyone possibly be against such an idea? 

In a word:  standards. 

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Station Cash: Initial Functionality Overview

Posted: December 9, 2008 by Kendricke in Everquest 2
Tags:

Well, Station Cash is live now.  So, while SOE scrambles to put together a press release on the subject, I’ll be happy to fill you in on what’s live in-game right now. 

First off, I accessed Station Cash through the new “marketplace” option in the main “EQ2” menu.  Once in, I’m shown that my in-game wallet has 150SC points already.  There are several items up for sale already, ranging from 100SC to 1000SC.  The items are, as follows:

  • Flask of Achievements I -100SC
  • Flask of Adventuring I – 100SC
  • Flask of Tradecrafting I – 100SC
  • Slimy (housepet) – 100SC
  • Flask of Achievements II -300SC
  • Flask of Adventuring II – 300SC
  • Flask of Tradecrafting II – 300SC
  • Grunting Warrior (housepet) -300SC
  • Knight of Shadow’s End (fluff pet) – 400SC
  • Handy Servant (housepet) – 500SC
  • Zhog, Ghoz’s Little Brother (fluff pet) – 700SC
  • Flask of Achievements III -1000SC
  • Flask of Adventuring III – 1000SC
  • Flask of Tradecrafting III – 1000SC
  • Seafury Buccaneer Armor Crate (full set of fluff armor) – 1000SC
  • Tunarian Alliance Armor Crate (full set of fluff armor) – 1000SC

The potions are all experience bonus potions.  The Tier I and II potions last for 4 hours, while the Tier III lasts for 2 hours.  The Tier I give 10% bonus, the Tier II give 25% bonus, while the Tier III give 50%. 

While in the Marketplace window, you have the option to add funds to your wallet.  Choosing that option lets me know that I don’t currently have a payment source selected for my account (which leads me to believe that entering my credit card information might be a one time action).  After entering my information, I close the in-game browser which opened and close the marketplace window.  Upon re-opening the window, I’m now able to make purchases to add points to my wallet. 

As suspected, each point is worth $.01.  Adding $10.00 would give you 1000SC, for example.  To test the system out, I buy 500SC for 5 bucks (the smallest amount possible).  The transaction requires my credit card’s security code, which I key in, and the transaction completes instantly.  In my wallet, I now see 650SC (the 500 I just purchased, plus the initial 150 free points I started with).  I decided to go with an Achievements potion since I’m working on that today in-game, so I choose the Flask of Achievements II for 300SC.  The transaction takes a couple of seconds to process, but when it’s done, I have 350SC left in my wallet, and a brand new achievements potion already in my inventory.

So, there you have it.  Whether or not you agree with the system, it’s at least fairly easy to use and the functionality works exactly as expected.