Aggro Me: FanFaire Report - Part I
FanFaire Report - Part I
Well, I survived my first FanFaire, barely. I truly had an amazing time. If I wasn't passionate about EQII and online gaming in general, I wouldn't write about it every day. So the opportunity to talk with both players and SOE employees who are just as passionate as I am (if not more so) was absolutely a great experience. From arguing about conceptual ideas to laughing about PvP antics, I enjoyed every minute.
Besides the great conversations, my favorite parts were both the small scale and larger panel discussions. I did not miss a single one (even though I made it to last call at one bar or another every single night). But the fact that I went to every panel also meant that I focused a little less on stuff like watching the tournaments or doing the live quests. So I don't really have a lot to say about those things except that the live questers were really into it and seemed to be having a great time. I do know that the party and banquet were excellent.
I also know just enough about event planning to realize that the work which goes on behind the scenes to keep such a large scale event with so many activities running smoothly must be tremendous. So I was really impressed with how professional and well organized everything was. I was also impressed with how tireless the SOE people were. Beyond all the panels and other events, they were very accessible to any player who wanted to speak with them and they went out of their way to make everyone feel at home.
In terms of news, I don't have anything absolutely major to report which is going to blow your mind. There were no official announcements about the expansion. I assume that's more of an E3 thing than a FanFaire thing. Actually, the panel which shocked me the most (in a good way) was the EQ2Players.com panel. That's truly bizarre because I really didn't expect anything at all out of EQ2Players, considering that I feel it's been a major disaster thus far. But I walked out of that room quite excited (though I remain a quite wary based on past experience). Unfortunately, that's the one panel I didn't bring a notebook to so I'd like to e-mail Greg Short (Baelish) to make sure I have the details right before I start spouting off about it.
I do have tons of other stuff to write about, probably in a disjointed fashion. I'll also just be writing about the things I found interesting and not rehashing every question and answer. But other people may find other things interesting so I will also direct you to:
EQ2OGaming: They have a bunch of pictures and video interviews up. I haven't watched all the videos yet, but the ones I checked out were great.
EQ2-Daily: The EQ2-Daily crew already has two podcasts available for your listening pleasure and I know they have plenty more great stuff on the way because I listened to them record some of it.
Everquest 2 Realm: Arthais has a nice writeup posted and I'm sure there's more incoming.
TenTonHammer: Coyote has some stuff up I'm definitely looking forward to reading and a report from Radar is also promised.
MMORPG.com: Three entries about FanFaire are available already (in blog format no less).
I'm sure there will also be reports on the forums as well as at some other places I'm probably forgetting at the moment. Also, please realize that there may be stuff I misheard or misunderstood.
Okay, I'll start off with something I think many people will be interested in - the offline consignment issues. I thought it was pretty funny that the person who raised the issue at one of the open panels also questioned the "for reasons beyond our control" language in the server message. I definitely thought that sounded silly as I stated in this post.
But getting back to the actual problem, the reason for the frequent disabling of offline selling has been to prevent duping. I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone as it was fairly obvious. Now, SOE has been able to deal with the duping and patch up exploit after exploit. But instead of continuing to do that, they decided to completely revamp the backbone of the entire offline selling system.
In some areas you may not even notice this. For example, the broker will look and work the same way on the surface. You will also continue to be able to sell offline, of course. But the way you sell will be very different.
House vaults will now just be house vaults. By that I mean they will just be extra storage. So how do you sell? Well, you will have special containers which you place in your house or inn room. For example, one such container might be an armor rack. That armor rack would have a ton of slots but those slots would only accept armor. And you would be able to sell that armor offline (or online) from that container. If you prefer, you may also place a more generic container which will have less slots but accept all forms of items (and again sell from that container). But there's yet another option. You can also transfer items to special NPC's which will then list those items for sale for you (by acting as a container themselves). Those will have even less slots I believe.
What are the advantages?
1. From a roleplaying aspect it is quite cool to have, say, weapon racks in your room that people can actually purchase weapons from if your character concept is being a weaponsmith.
2. More storage options are always good (you don't have to actually list the stuff in the containers for sale).
3. I believe tradeskillers will make the containers (though I could be wrong on that and I'm not sure which subclass would make them) so it gives tradeskillers another revenue stream.
4. It balances things in terms of storage between tradeskill classes. With a house vault, tradeskill classes which produce stackable items (say Provisioners) have more storage room than those classes whose items don't stack (an Armorer for example). Under the new system, each tradeskill class will basically have as much room as they want to sell their product.
5. Players can come into your inn room or home when you are offline and interact with the containers, thus bypassing the broker's commission. This is nice for the buyers who don't want to pay a commission. And it's also nice for those sellers who like the idea of having a "store" because it encourages people to visit.
6. For new players, making an initial sale is a whole lot less complicated. They no longer have to mess around with a market board. In fact, they no longer even have to ever enter an inn room. They can just take some stuff they want to sell to the "sales" NPC and be done with it. By just doing that they list those items for sale both on and offline. I think it's nice to have something simple like that for players who are new to the game or just don't want to spend a lot of time on selling items.
The money obtained from sales will be deposited into a sort of "escrow" account which you can then collect. I definitely prefer that to the way things are now where (on PvE) the money is deposited directly to your character. I don't like being in the middle of some dungeon and then hearing coin being magically deposited to my coin pouch from the sale of a Xegonberry. I'm not a big role-player but to me that really breaks immersion.
Anyway, as for the system on a whole - is it something I personally would have requested or made a priority? Probably not, but remember that SOE didn't just decide to do this to improve selling functionality (although it has that result). They are trying to end the exploits which keep forcing them to take offline selling down. And the fact that they went about doing that by creating a cool system which is actually better is great. So I'm definitely looking forward to it (no idea on the ETA), assuming it works properly, of course.
Okay, wow, that's only one item I covered today but I'll have to continue tomorrow. But before I end this post, I did want to post a picture of a sticker which was handed out at FanFaire. It appears to be a puzzle of some kind. I'm sorry I can't seem to take pictures which show the detail clearly (EQ2Ogaming has a pic of it too) but maybe you can figure it out anyway. It might have some clues about some stuff going on in EQII. Or it might not.