EverQuest 2 has had what can only be described as one of the fastest announcement to release cycles in not just MMO history but videogame history. Chains of Eternity, the ninth expansion for EverQuest 2, was released in November of last year only a month after its October announcement at SOE Live. Last week I was joined on Wayback Wednesday by SOE Producer Holly Longdale and Designer Akil Hooper and we had a very in depth conversation about the reasons behind the quick release as well as the lore behind Chains of Eternity.
This is the second time I have covered EQ2 in Wayback Wednesday and both times I learned more about the history of Norrath than I ever imagined possible. Also in keeping with Wayback Wednesday tradition I died... many times. The first of which you can view about 9 minutes into the interview.
Without a doubt my favorite part of the tour was Wurmbone’s End and Wurmbone’s Crag. The level of detail in this area surpassed anything else I noticed in game. The background ratmen running the roofs of the gulch and jumping from point to point doing their best parkour added that special touch to keeps players going back to zones again and again. Also, how cool are giant ratmen that get stronger at night and survive by hunting and eating the marrow out of dragon bones? Everything from the bones acting as support structures for the caves to the twin snakemen holding a giant crystal (38:40) worked together to make this one of my favorite zones in EQ2.
Holly made it very clear that one of the top priorities of the team in this expansion was to make it very solo friendly. All of the story quests in Chains of Eternity can be completed either solo or solo with a mercenary. Akil expanded upon this and explained that they did not want to hide a lot of the story behind group or raid encounters. By doing so they would only prevent a large portion of their player base from ever seeing this content. This is a topic that has been under much debate lately on the MMORPG.com forums and one that Bill and I recently talked about in a MMOFTW Live episode. Group content versus solo content and what people prefer. I believe that there are times that players should have to work together to tackle some of the tougher challenges in a game. However, I cannot find anything wrong with allowing all players to complete the main narrative by themselves.
During my tour of Wurmbone’s End I asked the team what was the biggest thing that surprised them this expansion that the players were doing. After thinking about it for a few moments Akil said that it was, “How much people have taken to solo dungeons, they are kind of a hit.” I think this helps justify Holly and SOE’s decision to take a more solo friendly approach in Chains.
At the 56 minute mark of the video Holly talked about SOEMote and the impact that it has had on the roleplaying community. While they are not focusing on it further in EQ2 from a development perspective, there are other projects at Sony that are working on it. We also briefly showed off the Player Studio (58:25). There are currently 5 items in the game. The nicest of which is the Cloak of the North Star. SOE is working with players and supporting them so they can create items that meet the quality standards of EQ2. This week we should see weapons and shield templates added so players can make those for the Player Studio. Finally we talked about Kronos. Kronos are much like Plex in Eve or Chronoscrolls in Tera.
Kronos are an item that when used grant your character 30 days of gold playtime status. They can be bought and traded. Holly even hinted as players using them for rewards for player vs player duels. Earlier that day Kronos had been added into the original EverQuest as well. Items that can be bought for real money and traded in game for in game money are usually a polarizing topic. Personally I think they are a great idea. If you have a lot of time to play your favorite game and can pay for your in game time with currency you earn in that game and someone else can get gold out of the deal instead of having to farm for it: I call it a win-win.
Finally if you have a love for Everquest 2 and want to learn more about the lore of Chains of Eternity I strongly encourage you to watch the video in it’s entirety.
Quick reminder: Everyone has until February 13th to sign up for a chance to win a 30 day time card to Dark Age of Camelot. All you have to do is follow this link here to last week’s recap and answer the question,"What is your favorite memory in Dark Age of Camelot?" in the comments section. The winner will be chosen at random from all the entries. For those of you that go above and beyond with your stories I will see if I can get Talal to provide you with something extra.
There will not be an episode of Wayback Wednesday tonight. Path of Exile has entered open beta today and the third act has been added to it. I plan on going on a good old fashioned dungeon romp with my friends exploring this title from Grinding Gear Games and you are all welcome to join me. It will be streamed on MMORPG.com’s twitch channel.
Next week Wayback Wednesday will return and it will feature EverQuest and I will be joined by SOE Producer Thom Terrazas. The action will kick off at 9:30 EST on our MMORPG.com stream channel. If you have any questions about Everquest or comments about Everquest 2 please leave them in the comments space below. You can follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook. If you want to do what all the other kids are doing these days you can join us on G+ which you can find here. As always, thanks for watching!