On a previous episode of Wayback Wednesday, I had the opportunity to cover Everquest and talk to the team from Sony Online Entertainment. This week after some begging, pleading, and promising SOE I would do a better job they agreed to show up for another episode and talk about Everquest II.
This time I was joined by Dave Georgeson aka Smokejumper, and Kyle Vallee aka Kander. Dave is the creative director of the Everquest franchise. In this role Dave is the steward and protector of all things Everquest for SOE, not just EQ2. Kyle is the Assistant Lead designer for Everquest 2 and is the primary person responsible for the latest update Skyshrine.
The first twenty minutes of the episode I spent talking to Dave about his role as the creative director and what he was most proud of in EQ2. Dave is one of the most direct people I have ever had the chance to talk to since I started hosting this show. While talking to Dave about MMOs chasing the single player experience he had this to say, “If you want to play a single player game there's better single player games. If you want to be around people, play an online game." While this may seem very obvious to most players you find that to many companies try to be everything to everyone including a great single player experience and end up missing the mark on being a good MMO. Dave is also very proud of the work his team did converting EQ2 from a pay to play game to a free to play model. Change can always be uncomfortable but the EQ2 was up to the task and since they completed their transition we have seen EQ convert to F2P with Vanguard on the horizon as well. It was great to hear from Dave and he did tease Everquest Next but informed the audience that he would have to fire himself if he really talked about it.
The next part of the show I spent about an hour and a half on a guided tour of Skyshrine with Kyle. Kyle informed us of the lore behind Skyshrine and used his mystic GM powers to show us all of the interesting bits. We saw a lot of drakes, dragons, Dracota. I was very impressed with the artwork in the new areas. One of the first things that caught my eye was the banners hanging from the walls. The music was also very nice and matched the new areas very well. The next thing that jumped out and caught my attention was the Golem constructs patrolling the city. While his is Kyle’s favorite NPC I found one that I like more a little later. 24 minutes into the second video you see a golem that is created by the enemy mages. This is one of the best animated NPC’s that I have seen in any game to date and it is not even a boss.
I really enjoyed my time going through EQ2 and it is still a great game that is being built upon and made better all the time. In addition to the most recent content that was added in with Skyshrine not long ago the team added in one of the most unique features I believe that EQ2 has the Dungeon Maker tool. The addition of player generated content is always a good thing for an MMO community. Watch the videos and find out even more about what Dave has to say about building communities in MMOs and the social glue that holds them together as well as find out what really geeks Kyle out about Skyshrine