Aggro Me: Director's Cut
I linked to the Desert of Flames trailer movie back in May. But, SOE recently posted a new version of the trailer with narration by EQII's own Scott Hartsman. It's a nice video with a dash of humor so it's not unpleasant to see it again.
There is a thread on the forums criticizing Scott's work narrating the video but I think he did a good job. I was more disappointed that it sounds like he was reading a prepared statement rather than commenting off the cuff as the action unfolds. But, I'm starting to get excited about the expansion so let me analyze some of the features he mentions which I haven't discussed before.
The fact that quests come looking for you seems exciting. I would love to log on and have a letter in my mailbox from Queen Heather telling me I need to complete a certain quest. I'd like to be walking through Maj'Dul and have an NPC approach me with a quest. Would I like to have a mob ambush me while I am doing some casual shopping? Well, I suppose so, if it was related to a storyline. If you've ever done a taskforce mission in City of Heroes you will know that the ambushes are some of the most fun parts.
Scott mentions that there will be combat within Maj'Dul. I'm not sure whether this includes PvP combat as well. Perhaps you can PvP in Maj'Dul until the guards show up, whereupon you will be ported to the arena.
There is a line in the narration which states, "You can join in the story by taking over key buildings. The quests and adventures available will depend on your actions." I take it this will be related to the new faction system. I will have to wait to see if this is implemented effectively. If the factions' physical control of the city varies according to how many players support each faction it would be pretty neat. If it ends up being like the tradeskill society levels (i.e. completely meaningless), well, then it won't be something I pay attention to.
Scott speaks about the variety of games in the arena. It will be fun to play Capture the Flag and other games but it is a bit removed from the fantasy genre. Is this a Counterstrike server or Everquest? This comic by Penny Arcade captures what I am talking about. I personally am willing to overlook this since the games sound like they will be fun. There is lore to support the arena combat: it is the way the residents of Maj'Dul settle legal disputes.
If you are curious about the monk hat in the video (it reminds me of Raiden from Mortal Combat) you can check out the speculation in this thread.
I found this thread on the forums rather interesting. Apparently Maj'Dul will be one large zone which I was somewhat surprised to see. If this works out well, it should be a nice seemless feeling with no load screens. If there is lag, well, then it will be a disaster. To be fair, Lotus says they will break it into zones if lag or memory becomes an issue. A lot of upcoming MMO's are moving in the large or no zones direction. This is probably a good thing but I guess it will be the end of the quick stealth afk's I take while the loading screens are up.