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EverQuest Interviews: Jose Araiza, Project Manager

By Carolyn Koh on October 18, 2006

Jose Araiza answers some questions on the launch of The Serpent Spine

The Serpent's Spine ilaunched not too long ago and we follow up on that launch with five questions answered by Jose Araiza, the Project Manager over at SOE.

MMORPG.com:This expansion also includes a new race, the Drakkin and basically, with new race and new content path to level 75, invites new players to try out EQ. Have you seen an upswing in new subscribers or much re-activation of dormant accounts?
Jose Araiza:

Yes, we actually started seeing this upswing when we launched the Progression Server. That was the start, and it seems The Serpent's Spine continued the trend because of what you just mentioned. I also think the new changes to downtime had some part to play in this.

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MMORPG.com:Would you say that with all the improvements that the barrier to entry to EQ has been lowered over the years? i.e. It's easier for newcomers to the game to learn how to play it / less of a time-sink?
Jose Araiza:

I personally think there's no better time to enter the world of Norrath. I think in the past, the enormous amount of content the game has was a little intimidating to people. That can be scary, especially if you come from more linear games where you don't have multiple choices or what to do next, or where to go hunt. I think that scares me, not necessarily all the options, but to think you may pick the wrong one... But, now, with The Serpent's Spine, a new player has a very focused progression path that provides new and exciting content. You can in fact go from level 1 to level 75 without ever leaving The Serpents spine Mountains. Now, mind you, the rest of the world is still there, so you don't have to JUST stay in The Serpents spine Mountains, but for those new to the game, I think this focused progression path takes away some of the entry barrier stress. And of course, there are the changes to the death system and overall playing downtime. Between this and The Serpent's Spine I really think new and returning players find EQ is the most fun it's been in a while.

MMORPG.com:Where are you with the new cultural system. Can you give us some details yet?
Jose Araiza:

It's going to happen for sure... I can't really give an exact date since we have other things on our plate. Hopefully sometime soon.

MMORPG.com:Which is your favorite zone of this expansion? What levels was it designed for?
Jose Araiza:

That's a tough question... I can't just pick one because we really covered a lot of ground (no pun) with the zones in this expansion. I think a few of my favorites would be Crescent Reach because it's the starting city, and then Stonehive because of its look which is unlike most dungeons (level 35+)

MMORPG.com:What would you say you were most excited about in this expansion?
Jose Araiza:

Launching it! Seriously though, now that we have launched, I look back and it's a little scary to think we were able to include everything we wanted into The Serpent's Spine. Aside from the new character creation screen, the huge amount of content, there was the new stating city for all races, and the level increase, oh yeah, and a new player race with a brand new player character / armor system... Oh yeah, and the changes to the downtime systems. See? Seeing everything come together thanks to all the hard work / late nights the team put it was the most exciting thing.

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