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Bi-Weekly Q&A #3

EverQuest Interviews - By Carolyn Koh on February 21, 2006

Bi-Weekly Q&A #3

Greg Short and Travis McGeathy are on the hot seat

Greg Short, the Director of Web Presence at SOE, and Travis McGeathy, the Lead Designer of EverQuest, answer our questions today in the third installment of our weekly Q&A series. Today we move away from Prophecy of Ro, which launches today, and onto general questions.

MMORPG.com:How well did the EQPlayers launch go? Were there any issues? How well did the players receive it?
Greg Short:

We were very excited at the launch of EQ Players. It’s great to be able to build services like these for a game that’s almost 7 years old and still going strong.

At launch we had a few difficulties with the data that we preloaded for the millions of characters that had been made in EQ at some point or another. We’ve resolved most of these with the numerous updates we’ve been doing since launch. We’ve also added some great new things to EQPlayers in the last few weeks including: automatic paperdoll image upload from game, item discovery, anonymous leaderboard support and more.

Overall we think that players have enjoyed the addition to the service. We also have some exciting new additions coming out over the next two months that players should really welcome. We’ll be announcing more of these at the Fan Faire in Atlanta in April.

MMORPG.com:Gracious… someone who did not reset their profile would be allowing anyone to riffle through their bags and their bank! However, it also allows for a player to be totally anonymous if they wish. Why so much more display and privacy options than EQ2players?
Greg Short:

This is a second generation of the service (even though we are still the only MMO company providing community tools to this level for players). We learned with EQ2Players that privacy display options were a very important feature for our customers. We will be adding this more granular technology to the EQ2Players service.

There’s a good reason for why we launched with all character permissions open by default. When you consider the millions of characters that have been made with EverQuest over the years (and that many people may not come back and update their profiles) we wanted to allow those who do still play, or just wanted to drop by and check out their old friends, the ability to see as much information as possible. As you mentioned, for those who wish to have a little more privacy it’s only a couple of clicks away.

MMORPG.com:What was the thinking behind the Leader boards? Is that well received in the community?
Greg Short:

Leaderboards have proven to be a popular thing on EQ2Players and these are the first step towards doing some even more exciting things with our community (more details to come at Fan Faire in April!). Some players did voice a desire to not participate in the leaderboard system and after working with our players through forum discussions we delivered the Anonymous Leaderboard support which is working out well.

EQPlayers and EQ2Players have delivered, and will continue to develop, interesting and new ways to experience, share and play EverQuest and EverQuest II. We have been listening to the many comments from players since launch and we hope to keep building things that will be fun for all types of gamers.

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MMORPG.com:Are there any plans of an expansion the breadth and depth of “Ruins of Kunark” or “Scars of Velious”?
Travis McGeathy:

The advent of instancing has really changed the way that content is consumed by players. More recent expansions such as Depths of Darkhollow or Omens of War are comparable in the sheer amount of content they have to Kunark or Velious, but much of that content falls within instanced dungeons. The overall number of static zones is smaller even though the amount of content held within them is similar. Essentially, the breadth of the expansions is smaller, but the depth is greater and the content much more focused on the players doing it.

With each expansion cycle, we take a look at where EverQuest is currently and what it needs going forward. Should we decide that a return to a large number of static zones with static content is the way to go, we'll definitely head down that path once again.

MMORPG.com:Looking toward the future, what do players want and what is SoE doing to provide a constantly improving game? Is EQ currently now all about the end game or are newbie experiences being continuously improved as well?
Travis McGeathy:

Every player wants something different. Some want to kill the biggest, baddest creatures possible, some want to solve the toughest quests, some want to discover the history and lore behind great civilizations, some want to be merchants, some want to be craftsman, and some want to be able to just sit around and chat with their friends. When we are creating new content, we try to add a good variety that will appeal to as many players as possible.

Most of the content we add is for the high end players simply because they are the ones that have exhausted all the current content, but in no way is EverQuest all about the end game. The last few expansions have really emphasized content for the more casual mid-range players and we've recently added a brand new tutorial to the game as well as a series of low end armor quests to really help new players get their feet under them. The revamps of Freeport and the Desert of Ro are also areas that are particularly suited to our lower level players.

You can comment on this interview here.
Carolyn Koh / Carolyn has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.