The More Things Change

We are fast approaching the first anniversary of Everquest II. I thought I would review the past year with a few posts. First, I’d like to remember all the things that are different now from the way they were at launch. So here they are, in no particular order:

  • At launch, guilds had level decay. A guild’s level would decrease over time, so some work, writs or Heritage Quests was necessary to just maintain a guilds level.
  • At launch, guilds had patrons. If a patron left a guild, or stopped being a patron, the guilds status was lost. (The patron lost personal status too, but that was a bug)
  • Only patrons could spend status to buy stuff from status merchants.
  • There were few or no solo-rated mobs in the game.
  • Harvesting in Antonica and Commonlands required a skill of 40(it’s now 20). The tier 1 zones were so crowded with people trying to skill up that it was hard to find some nodes at all.
  • Harvesting nodes didn’t guarantee 3 drops, they only guaranteed 3 tries at getting a drop.
  • The Glowing Black Stone Heritage Quest didn’t use up your palladium torque, so you could keep it in inventory, check off that step of the quest and pass it on to the next person.
  • There were no skill books for Apothecary (or Weaving, Geomancy, or Timbercraft, for that matter.) so you had to trade for your WORT.
  • No one knew what Vitality was, and it wasn’t shown.
  • Combats were locked, and no one could interfere unless someone in the combat yelled for help.
  • Heroic Opportunities were hard to start, because the wrong spell during the starter chain would cancel them. But they were easier to finish once the wheel was up, since they had much more time to complete.
  • Most items and spells improved as you leveled, up to a point. Jewelry had mitigation.
  • Breeze was cast only on individuals, and only lasted 3 minutes, thus giving all Enchanters repetitive stress injuries
  • The Language Drops were tradeable but only dropped in chests in one zone, for example, Chirranite Threat Totems only dropped in chests in Blackburrow.
  • Sneak and invisibility used to slow you down from normal running rate
  • The guild tool didn’t have events or a place to make notes about Alts (and silly nicknames).
  • You needed to complete fairly elaborate access quests to be allowed to go to Enchanted Lands or Zek before you were level 30. And many other zones.

Wow, things really are different now. If there’s a theme to these changes, its that the hand of the game designers lay a bit too heavy on the players at launch. Many of the restrictions seemed a tad artificial, and could be viewed as a means to force a particular style of play, or to slow down the really gung-ho types.

Over the summer particularly, SOE has walked away from that approach. In a sense, there is less of a need to slow down leveling now, since many players have reached level 50 even with all the obstacles. Group play is still strongly rewarded with better loot and experience, but not forced, since there are plenty of quests and mobs for the solo player. Power leveling is now possible, though I haven’t seen much of it, since a knowledgeable player can level an alt pretty fast without it, as long as the vitality holds out.

Next, I’ll be writing about the things that are still there-the good ideas that Everquest II had and still has.

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