Lately, the EQII devs have begun to drop hints about rethinking the mechanism of locked encounters (or modifying it). I notice they first did this on certain unofficial message boards rather than on the official EQII Forums. Let me be clear: I am not in any way against the devs posting on various forums. In fact, it is one of the things I really like about this group and I strongly encourage them to keep doing so. In any case, Sassee asked Moorgard about it in one of her great Ask SOE features which you can read here.
I happen to be in favor of leaving the locked encounter system the way it is, so I thought I would briefly mention why.
I do not want to see people power leveling or otherwise taking advantage of an open encounter system. I do not want to see difficult mobs conquered by the proverbial "zerg rush" of a hundred players rather than by skill and strategy. To be fair, Moorgard does state that raids will definitely still have a 24 player limit.
And let me be honest. Kill stealing would not really bother me. I am a pretty patient person. Sure, I might get frustrated if I camped a mob for a long time and then lost it to someone who swooped in but that's about it. But I do not want this game inundated with ceaseless whining in groups, on the forums and in /ooc about so-and-so killstealed me. I just don't. And that's what I am afraid will happen if locked encounters are changed. The kill stealing accusations are bad enough as is. And, yes, I am aware the locked encounter system was not intended as a block to kill stealing.
I am not going to pretend there are no negatives to locked encounters. They clearly break immersion. They are a completely artificial system in place solely for gameplay reasons. But, well, so are levels and world-wide chat channels and those exclamation marks over quest givers in WoW that people seem to like so much. There's always a tradeoff of gameplay and convenience for immersion.
People also miss the drive-by buffs and heals which shows that at least part of the community is friendly and willing to help other players. I agree with the sentiment. The problem is, you know people will just get their high level friends to heal them as they fight difficult mobs, creating a power leveling opportunity.
And some might say that power leveling should be part of the game to some degree. In my personal opinion, zero power leveling should be a part of any MMORPG. That is just my personal taste. If the majority of people feel it should be, well, then I can't fight it.
I just think the system works very well as it is. If you really need another player's help, try pressing the Yell for Help button.
Keep in mind that there are no definite plans for SOE to change the locked encounter system nor do I have any idea of just how they would do so.