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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Frostfell Review: A-








Frostfell was really impressive. Let's get right into it:

Music: A

I wasn't expecting the music when I zoned back to Qeynos so it came as a very nice surprise. I thought it was great, managing to have that "holiday" feel but still somehow staying true to the Everquest theme. Would have been an A+ but the Runnyeye music in the Goblin den slightly annoyed me.

Decorations: B-

I'm referring to the decorations around Norrath here. I thought they were fine but a little lackluster. The tree was nice. My main problem is that none of the decorations felt "Norrathian" (is that the proper adjectival form of Norrath?) at all. Rather, they looked like they were ripped wholesale from the line at Macy's as you're waiting to see Santa. Which is okay, but I would have liked decorations that had more of an Everquest edge to them. And I would have liked to have seen Maj' decked out a bit.

Quest: A

I can't say enough about how fantastic this quest was. The story was good from start to finish. The dialogue was hilarious at points and very well done. The zone populations were interesting. Everything was over the top, in a good way. But most of all anyone who reads this blog knows I love innovation in quest design. And this quest had a lot of interesting moments. I don't really want to spoil it but suffice it to say you're doing a variety of things to advance the quest that don't even involve combat but yet are still fun. And when you get to the combat part, even that is unusual because you have a very cool temporary secret weapon. Truly an enjoyable time with an ending that fit the holiday mood.

Bugs: C

Some of you might be saying, Aggro how can you give that quest an A when it was bugged so badly? I figured I would consider the bugs separately.

I said
two weeks ago of Frostfell, "Let's just hope it is a little less buggy." Well, it was pretty buggy on night one. But I am going to give SOE a passing grade here. Why? I want to encourage trying different things in quests. Something like the pots is something I have never seen before in EQII. I am willing to give them a little more wiggle room when they try something new. I'm sure they could churn out a kill 20 of x mob holiday quest with no bugs. But is that what you want?

What's more, they fixed the bugs quickly and cleverly so it was fine by night two, for me at least. That has to count.

But, even though I am being understanding, SOE should be aware that other players might not be and all the hard work that went into such a great quest is translated to "Buggy quest again thanks SOE!" I really hate to see that. I'm not sure anything can be done to prevent situations like this. But whenever they trot out the old chestnut, "Things on the Live Servers are different than the Test Server," I always ask myself, "How can we fix that situation so they aren't to provide better testing for bugs?"

But in my mind, one night of bugs should not take away from such a terrific event and should not discourage SOE from being aggressively innovative in the future.

House Items, Gifts, Snowballs: A

The housing stuff has always been great and the new additions are no exception. So kudos to whomever the unsung hero or heroes who design those items are. The gifts so far have been interesting and fun. I am really enjoying the wonderful music boxes. The snowballs are simply a good time. Mobs dropping gift boxes is a nice touch.

Bonus Stuff: A

The
lore story was a touch saccharine for my tastes but it is the holiday season and it was well written. I'm sure it is really hard to write that expository type stuff ("Go sum up the lore of Frostfell in one page and make it interesting!") and this story had heart.

Players really seemed to love the
surprise Blackguard appearance and I enjoyed just reading about it. That extra effort can reap great rewards amongst the players. Also, this explanation in the thread for why Blackguard was not fighting the actual Lord Nagafen was brilliantly convoluted and hilarious.

It would have been nice if the restrictions on mailing items from Qeynos to Freeport and vice versa had been lifted during Frostfell. I wanted to send my evil friends a few gifts and was not able to.

And finally, the unexpected new hate reduction spell for Wizzies was a nice holiday present. I think that if it is tweaked slightly it will really add a new strategic element to group combat and that's great.

All in all, Frostfell was a tremendous event that really set a very high standard for holiday events in MMO's.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was quite happy with Frostfell, and the Grumps who say "Bah, it was buggy on day one" can just have a pile of humbug.

I enjoyed the Goblin lair with all the throw-away humor and the non-kill quests. I want to encourage more of this from SOE to make our EQ2 experience more varied and fun.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aggro, I could not have agreed with u more. SOE gods did a great job with the quest and theme. The funniest part is getting pelted by about a couple dozen snowballs in the noob zones and not knowing where it came from. GJ SOE.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Tock AB server said...

the only bit that annoyed at all was the bug that caused characters to say things outloud along with their cringe and double-over emote actions when hit with a snowball. everyone's Christmas holiday playing was filled with an endless stream of "i'm sorry!"

but even that was easy to let slide. i'd agree with your grading on this fantastic holiday event.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Brett said...

Those snowballs are useful.

We were working on LLoL for some guildies, and got to the Magolemus fight. We all zone up, and there's a group already there. Negotiations begin to form a raid - meanwhile, the MT for the other group decided to ignore the discussion and pull the Mag before we can get formed up. Unfortunately for him, he had no idea that Mags has a knockback.

They wipe, he despawns (guess they ate up his timer buffing or something), and EVERYONE proceeds to pelt the offending MT with snowballs.

Ah, sweet justice.

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