Thursday, July 21, 2011

A look in to the looking glass

Thanks to the guys over at EQ2Wire, I have a nice list of things that we can expect from the Devs in Eq2 from now until the new expansion has hit and beyond. GU -61 promises to be one of the biggest updates we have had for some time and sees some truly game-play changing items on it’s agenda. I have supplemented the full list below,. My initial thoughts / comments on each section can be found in red.

Game Update 61 – The War of Zek

Dynamic Dungeons
* New versions of Silent City and Djinn Master’s Prism.
* Encounters are randomized when you enter
* Dungeons scale dynamically 60-90
* Test bed for a new flavour of content creation.

- Sounds interesting. I’m intrigued by how they will achieve a correct balance to a dungeon when they will be randomised. I guess they will not be totally randomised but probably more like, operating within set parameters.

The War of Zek
* Plane of War content
* New dungeon (normal and hard)
* New raid (normal and hard)
- New stuff is good, as long as it is good

Itemization Changes
* Stats revision
* Increase # of stats
* Add auto attack for casters and priests
* increasing headroom on old stats
* Re-itemize 20-90
* Major AA revamp
* Class focus revision

- WHY WHY WHY??? The rest of the suggestions are great, but there is no need to mess with the level 20 to say 75 itemisation. It just isn’t worth it and messing about with that could have some pretty nasty knock on effects. Leave the re-itemisation alone and concentrate on some of the other decent and required stuff in the above list.

Tradeskill Crafting AAs
* 3 rows of abilities — 10 points each row. max 25 points for crafting AAs
* Progress, Durability, Double Harvest Chance
* Crafting Stats Progress, Durability, Success Chance
* Increase chance of harvesting a rare

- Me no tradeskilly really, although I can see how this would be like mega useful, so gets a thumbs up from me.

House Rating System
* Decorate your house, publish it for others to see
* Leaderboard (48 hour falloff)
* Awards for staying on leaderboard
* Hall of Fame system
* 5 star rating system

- This is going to be fantastic. Those of you who know me know I love to decorate and create. Already I have some rather special ideas about what I am going to create.

Dungeon Finder System
* Any size group can queue up
* Matchmaker system. you can disband if you want.
* Any Dungeon
* Get XP boost for being flexible
* Initially same-server only, cross-server later

- I’m really liking this. I love what they are doing with dungeon design too (see later). This should make PuGs pretty darn easy to get balanced and should see an end to that horrible moment when you realise there’s a Zerker, Pally and Brawler in your group...and you’re an SK. Things should be a lot more balanced with this matchmaker system where PuGs are concerned..

GU61 More stuff
* Fae/Arasai Flying (level 85, must complete a quest)
* New content in Eastern Wastes
* Beastlord prelude event
* Velious signature line update

- Arasai / Faes get to fly. About time really imho.

Game Update 61 is released in AugustVery soon really, since latest expansion. Not sure if that’s good, or if SoE rushed things.

Freeport — Lucan Gets Serious
* Lucan’s Lore — Lucan was kidnapped
* His captor was killed
* Lucan crushed his usurpers, levied a new army, and now seeks to dominate and control
* Freeport revamp will have a ton of lore related to it

All (Evil) Roads Lead to Freeport
* Evil starter areas lead to Freeport, not Butcherblock Mts
* Multi-level questing hub
* Race and Class specific quest lines
* Instances within the city (hoods, sewers) — some quests will cause NPCs to attack
* Public quests in Commonlands
* Special Guards watching the area around Freeport (leapers and gliders, juggernauts)
* Exploratory content

Freeport Unification (in progress)
* Entire Freeport city can be explored without zoning, excluding the suburbs

- I’m really liking all of the Freeport ideas. I generally play evil toons and as such I know the zones well and have a particular fondness for them. Pièce de résistance will be the new quest hub and hopefully smooth running of the now BIG instance. Freeport should be a buzzing city once more! Check out the design differences expected after the revamp...

The Age of Discovery expansion

Chock Full of Features
* The Age of Discovery focuses on features that open up new ways to play the game.
* Game Updates is where the content/zones are.


GU61: BYOD (August 2010)
GU62: Freeport (November 2010)
GU63: Velious (February 2011)
GU64: Velious (May 2011)
GU65: Qeynos (August 2011)

Tradeskill Apprentices
* Acquire an apprentice via quest at level 30
* Customizable (race, name, gender, clothing)
* Set tasks, the longer the task the greater the reward
* Train your apprentice over time
* Able to make best-in-slot items over time but Heirloom

Item Reforging and AA Limit Increase
* Reforge your powerful items and a shift stat bonuses around
* Allow player customization of particle effects on powerful weapons
* Additional the AA limit gets boosted to add more AA choices

- Liking this very much. It’s a discussion I have had previously with Jahf. We both thought this should be approached. Let’s just hope they get the setup right and don’t unbalance everything once again, I’m not holding my breath.

* Hired help for small group or soloing situations
* You pay them gold/platinum
* They help you destroy stuff
* They take a small cut of coin and XP gained
* One mercenary per character
* Choose from any of four combat types
* Healer, tank, melee DPS, ranged DPS
* But here’s where it gets fun….

Mercenaries are Varied
* Just because there’s only 4 merc types doesn’t mean the variety stops there
* Different AI brains
* Different stats
* Different spells
* A healer you get in Neriak may think differently, have different spells, even different stat emphasis than one * you get in Qeynos.
* And you can assign them behaviors (like pets).
* Mercenaries are Visual.
* Races are city-specific.
* Customize appearance.
* Some are merchant bought.
* They’re your Perma-Pals.
* They level up, you never outgrow them.

- So, Mercenaries are an awesome idea. I’m particularly impressed in that they have not just launched Mercs on their own. If you think about the dynamic they are addressing here, it’s solo, vs. group content. But more importantly the gap in between the two. Those situations when you and your duoing partner really could do with being a Quattro rather than a Duo. SoE are aware and have long been so, concerning the fact that most folks solo their way to at least 80 and sometimes 90th level. This was, using the Mercs and in addition, using the Dungeon Finder System above a great great idea. One of the big bugbears of the game (solo play and the lonesome feeling!) has been addressed. No longer are you alone! More options have opened up to fill your nights with pseudo company!

World Lore Mercenaries
* Some mercenaries aren’t available from merchants
* You might be able to hire Lucan for 1000p per hour
* Hirable for a time
* Characters from Norrath
* Extremely rare spawns

- Ohhh, this could be good. I would love to have someone famous cruising around with me. Imagine that! “Hi, how you doing. Let me introduce you to my friend, Fippy Darkpaw”....”This is my buddy, goes by the name of Mayong...”

* Vintage character class with new emerging gameplay
**What you are about to hear about the Beastlord is subject to change!!!**

* Beastlord Lore
* The Truespirit retreated when the gods did
* Beastlords faded away, unable to bond with spirits
* Beastlords are Scouts
* Leather wearers
* Brawler like weapons
* Melee DPS class, on par with other top-tier DPS
* Beastlords are a Pet Class (Warders)
* Pet class on Steroids
* Should always use a Warder to be effective
* Can collect and use many different types of Warders

Beastlord Warders (pets)
* Different Warders have different abilities, hotbars, AA lines
* More utility, damage, combat
* Use stances to affect what abilities become important

- I’m keeping my opinion closed at the moment on Beastlords. I really do need to have more of a look at them when they go live to get a proper impression of gameplay and how they will fit in with the rest of the EQ2 clan. I left EQ1 just before they were released and never did get to play one.

Design Your Own Dungeon
– a feature so powerful, it deserves its own presentation
DISCLAIMER — Mock-up art, this is work in progress

Be a Builder
* Dungeon Maps, Creater Spawners, Traps, Decorations you have to go out and quest, raid, tradeskill to get them
*Come back and build with the enhanced housing system. You teleport into the dungeon and you get an extremely advanced housing interface. Housing will eventually get the new design system.
*Intuitive UI and experimentation modes

So you’ve built it, now publish it!
* Publish your dungeon
* Watch your NPC minions slaughter real players in real time
* Compete against other Builders on leaderboards for player ratings
* Earn builder tokens redeemable for builder-only items. BYOD items only available for Tokens

Builders get Reputation
* Ready to Play? Find your Dungeon
* Shows up in the Dungeon Finder System
* Review leaderboards, screenshots, player ratings
* Play solo, or woith a group. all part of the dungeon finder system
* When you enter a dungeon, you are collecting adventurer NPCs to run the Dungeon. The NPCs have a limited set of abilities. You cannot play a player-made dungeon as your own character. (groan)
* Tokens to buy loot for your real characters.
* How do you keep from exploiting these zones by making an easy zone with just mobs?
* When we launch, there will be one game type, Survive through the dungeon and kill boss at the end.
* Automated Challenge Rating system to determine rewards for finishing the dungeon. Difficult to exploit. The creator script detects the difficulty of the zone by determining the shortest path in the dungeon.

DYOD has Fringe Benefits for the rest of the game:
* House rating system
* Dungeon Finder for regular dungeons

- Design your own dungeon is so funky. I’m looking forward to this a great deal. It can add an element of uniqueness and obviously lets those who are good at this sort of thing create genuinely fun content. In games such as Company of Heroes, map design has long been a part of the fun. If they can make it work here, there are bound to be some wonderful creations. Think of all the creations that will be based on fun genres/franchises and other fun stuff that we already know. Fancy a Star Ship Enterprise? A copy of the Alien vrs Predator Pyramid? Jabba the Hutts Palace? Sounds like fun anyhow. having said all of that, there is one huge huge thing I have failed to mention. Roleplayers. How amazing will it be to create your own little instances to back up the roleplay story you are running for your guild. The Dungeon where your guild leader has been imprisoned, the Tower where the antidote to the poison that your guild strategist has been given! this has the opportunity to really open things up for those who like to R.P and will add some real substance to the ongoing in guild storylines out there. Great stuff.

Be well!


  1. You have to admit, when it's laid out in this manner the immediate future of EQ2 looks impressive. It had better be with SWTOR & other mmo's on the not so distant horizon.

  2. I very much agree mate. To think that the panel at Fan Faire ended with the comment 'That's not all, there's loads more to come', I really do think the future of EQ2 looks rosey, as long as they can egt some of the critical stuff sorted as well as implementing cool new stuff. When I say 'critical' things, I mean like the general ethos of the game. For example, the fact they seem to change the combat and stats system every bloody expansion. It's like it's a pre-requisite to them releasing content. Once silly stuff like that stops, progression of the game in quantity and quality content should be smooth and hopes.

  3. Wow, thats a lot of great stuff!

    I think they may be pushing to get it out for August because of the onrushing train that is The Old Republic coming down the tracks. Expect to see WoW and other MMOs rushing out new content in a similar period.

    The crafting apprentice idea is great; obviously stolen from SWTOR, but its one of my favourite features about that game.

    Designing dungeons sounds great. Let's hope it actually works out that way in practice. Could be issues with quality control though... players, despite what many of them think, do not make great game designers.

    I do have some concerns.

    1. re-itemisation - seems like a huge waste of resources. In my 76 levels so far I have never felt underpowered or in need of different items.

    2. cross-server group finders - do NOT like. Fine if its same-server only, but will destroy server communities in much the same way it did in WoW. So many discussions on dungeon finder in WoW, but many, many people think it's evil.

    3. Again, looks like a cross between SWTOR companions and Guild Wars mercs. Could be good but could also make the game even more anti-group and pro-solo than it is now.

  4. Your concerns Mere -

    1. Agree 100%, as mentioned in blog above
    2. I can see what you are thinking here. BUT, there are + sides too. Like the fact a load of our raiding syndicate left for Splitpaw. Would be fun hooking up with them again! But I agree that anything that splits a community can be hazardous. Guilds and guild halls are the worst offenders for that though imo..totally segregated the game in to cliques.
    3. I'm looking forward to this just to see how they manage it. If it was released on it's own I would agree with you 100%, but they will also be releasing the matchamaking group thingy..which is a nice counter balance and promotes grouping. Will be interesting top see how these work out.

  5. I'm actually 100% in favor of the cross-server grouping. It gives you a much larger pool of people to group with at any time & nullifies the cliquish mentality of grouping on 1 server with the same people to a certain extent.

    It will also help to alleviate the guild group only mentality as Adurj pointed out.

    Re-itemisation I honestly could take or leave but it provides a linear path as you level up to understand your stats archetype-wise.

    I'm torn on the Mercs, I can totally see the benefits of them in regards to logging in & attempting content I can duo but not solo, but I honestly prefer groups of pc's to an npc or 2-3 pc's & 2-3 mercs.. time will tell there.