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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kingdom of Sky Press Release: Part 2

Okay, time to delve back into my analysis of the KoS press release.

"Higher level advancement -- now reach level 70 as an adventurer or artisan."

This is the one that has apparently stirred up the most controversy. I have a position on this and it is probably going to annoy some people.

I like it. I have seen a ton of angst on the forums on this issue and I just don't get it. If I told you that you could have 10 to 15 new spells or skills, wouldn't you want them?

What is the game you fell in love with? For me, it was doing quests, soloing a bit and fighting through zones in a group. And as I did that, I enjoyed the carrot of better items, wealth and also the new spells which came with new levels. Sure, raiding is fun as well, but that's just a part of EQII. I like raiding, but if the only fun aspect of the game was raiding, I wouldn't play it. (Hmm...idea for game though: an MMO version of Shadows of the Colossus with all boss mobs?)

Enjoy the game. Do the quests, explore the zones and experience the content. The levels will come naturally. Do not worry if you are not at max level. I'm only at 58 right now and it doesn't bother me. You do not have to rush through to some "end game."

Okay, I'll make the case my in-game friend makes. He really likes raiding. So for him this is just a meaningless grind that has to be endured before the next round of raiding begins. And sometimes DoF can be a bit of a grind. But I think that if the group content is great and the quests are exciting, even he will end up having fun. I do think quest xp needs to be looked at more carefully on a quest by quest basis.

Moorgard addresses the
gear concerns here. I'll just add that as I progressed from level 1 to level 58, I was constantly upgrading my gear. To me, that was and is part of the fun of the game. I don't want the same gear for an eternity. I look forward to purchasing, questing and raiding for new, cool stuff.

In summary, I like options. I like a higher level cap. It makes me nervous that SOE (who does listen to the players) might listen to all the complaints and not raise it for the next expansion. A year at the same level does not excite me.

The players need to get past their emotional reaction and enjoy the game. SOE has to do their part by making the grind in KoS seem less "grindy."

Of course, if anyone wants to make a case for the other side I would be happy to listen.

"Four new arena champions and two new arenas."

Okay, yeah, here come the nitpicks. I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But this is where letting a player read your press releases before you send them out might be a good idea. While this point may sound good in a marketing meeting, anyone who actually plays the game is going to immediately laugh at this one.

Who the heck cares about new arena champions when no one currently cares about the arena? And who cares about two new arenas when the vast majority of the players have probably never seen all the original ones? This is not only pointless, it just reminds players of how empty the arena currently is. And it is empty. I check it all the time. The mention of new arena champions as some great thing may even serve to further annoy players who received an arena champion as an award on completion of a difficult quest.

It is just a waste of your players' time to read this kind of stuff and makes it seem like you are trying too hard to fluff up the press release. This was pretty much Wargut's first reaction to the press release in
this thread, and I'm sure that is indicative of how many players felt. Let some players "beta test" these releases to avoid killing them with stuff like this.

"High above the mightiest peaks of Norrath, a secret world exists. This Overrealm, made up of enormous islands of land suspended in the air, is home to aviaks and creatures never-before seen, but it is the splintered and warring dragons who rule it. Driven by their lust for power, religious zealotry, and all-consuming rage, the most ancient of the world's creatures now find common cause in a plot to destroy all of Norrath!"

I thought I'd comment briefly on the setting. I think it has some narrative force to it. Unlike DoF which just seemed like a cool place to explore, the denizens of the Overrealm apparently wants to invade Norrath which gives a sense of urgency and drama to the proceedings. It also sounds like an interesting place to visit.

It lends to the kind of high fantasy visual look I like. There are some screenshots up on
EQ2Stratics and I like what I see. The graphics look like they can spark the imagination.

"Signature Quests which reward large experience bonuses, personal status, new items, and advance the lore of EverQuest II."

According to Illucide
in this thread, they already exist, they just weren't labeled correctly. The Ring of Fate quest is an example of one. I suppose the concept of these quests is that they are Heritage Quests which deal with lore new to EQII as opposed to EQ. I think they are a nice addition.

You thought it was over? Nah, part III tomorrow.


Blogger Krystalea said...

I have to go with you on this one aggro. Level 70. I had already set myself up for the disappointment of not getting a level increase and which alts I was gonna play. I can only play a character so long that is not advancing so to speak. I know I could quest and "grind" for money, but that is not fun if you are not gaining a little bit on yourself.

As for the gear issue. I will have to say, I do not understand this "oh noes, T6 gear will be obsolete." Obsolete?? Yeah, cuz we all know, the minute they release KoS, you have to take off all your T6 gear, and refarm for T7 gear. /boggle.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

I like that you can get new gear, I just wish they would get away from the whole Teir aspect. It'd be difficult now but it's just a little annoying changing gear every 10 levels cause you feel you have to.

As far as the level 70 increase, it's great in one aspect and kinda overzelous in others. IF they plan to release expantion every few months then this level increase coudl of happend next expantion, but we shall see how it all turn's out when KOS come's out.

I may just come back to explore the Plane of Air once again.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Zygwen said...

If they plan to keep eq2 around for 7 years as originaly planned then they have to increase levels by 20 every year to get close to the cap of 200 in 7 years.

The Tiering of gear and content is both a boon and a bane. From a content management point of view it makes their lives easier because they can balance the equipment to the gear of that tear. From a players perspective, its not so great because you are forced to continuously upgrade. Most equipment from 2 tiers ago is obsolete.

Here lies one of the advantage of EQ over EQ2. In EQ you could do content from several expansions and still get usable gear. You could also go and kill gimpy raid mobs for old times sake and get loot. In eq2. raiding tier 5 when you are tier 7 isn't very productive.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love EQ2 - I gripe about some parts - but overall, I really love it.

I am saddened though by the apparent lack of innovation and originality in the next expansion. As I look over the feature list, I see AAs and I see class and profession hats as being new, and everything else as just more of the same.

We should all be concerned when new hat artwork makes a list of top features.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Quylein said...

That's actually the only thing I'm looking forward to the hats...

I mean seriously every helmet looks the same, and mages wear beany designed ball caps that all look fairly un-mage like..

Though I do think this should jstu be a normal update

5:42 PM  
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