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EQ II Launch Party Coverage

Richard Cox Posted:
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EQ2 Launch Party

Thursday, Nov 11, 2004

Its me again, you know, your favorite roaming reporter, that guy who gets to fly all over the place and experience all kinds of cool events and then write about them for you to enjoy vicariously through me. It's a tough life, let me tell ya. Anyway, I just recently returned from San Francisco where I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Everquest 2 Launch Party. Having never been to San Fran, I thought this would be a great chance to do some sight-seeing and such. Boy was I ever wrong. Oh well, lets get into the tale.

For those of you who don't know, I live in Texas, about 90 miles or so outside of Houston. Nothing great ever really happens here, seems all the cool events are off on the west coast or east coast or somewhere other than Texas at least. This naturally leads to lots of traveling, which if you've been following along through my previous reports, you'd know I have little to no luck with the traveling bit. This trip was no exception. All of my travels start from my local regional airport. It's a tiny little place, I could easily drive Houston and start from there, but I like our airport. It's tiny, the only place you can fly to from there is Houston, but it's so handy. Parking is free, it's like 10 minutes from my house, and security is almost non-existent. Well, correction, the lines are non-existent therefore it makes all the security a breeze to go through. You can almost literally go from the front door of the airport to your plane seat in about 15-20 minutes. This is great because you don't have to be at the airport 2-3 hours early like you do in Houston and the other big airports. So anyway, I left home with enough time to get to the airport with an hour to spare, which apparently wasn't enough time...

On the way there I got stuck behind a wreck, apparently someone thought it was wise to go flying through a construction zone at about 70 where he QUITE abruptly realized there was a lot of stopped traffic. The resulting pileup had both lanes blocked for about 30-40 minutes. When I finally got past there about 3 miles down the road I had a flat. After setting what I believe to be a world record for changing a flat tire I got back on the road and sped off for the airport once again. Amazingly enough I made it to the airport in time to catch the flight. Well, I would have made the flight if not for the most incompetent person in the world working the ticket counter. The lady at the counter was helping this elderly couple, the only people in front of me, when they announced the final boarding call. Unfortunately this couple wasn't checking in, they were looking for lost luggage. I informed the counter person that I needed to get on that flight that was about to leave and asked if she could zip me through real quick so I could make the flight. The elderly couple was eager to let me past, knowing full well that their luggage wasn't going anywhere in the next 2-3 minutes that it would have taken me to check in. The counter person was having none of it though; she insisted that she had to help the people who were there first, regardless of why they were there or what my predicament was.

So... 30 minutes later after the lady at the counter searched through every flight which had come in so far that day looking for their luggage and no finding it; with my flight LONG gone, she got around to checking me in, which meant rebooking me on a flight 2 hours later. So I called and informed the PR folks at SOE I'd be late and would need my driver rescheduled etc and proceeded to fume for the next 2 hours. Well fast forward a couple hours, I land in San Fran after being stuck circling the airport for like 10 minutes or something, either way, I made it to the baggage claim area 15 minutes late, along with everyone else on my flight, it wasn't like I was just screwing off or something, but apparently 15 minutes was too long for my driver to wait. But then again, with everything else that had gone wrong that day so far, I really should have expected it. Heck, I was half expecting my luggage to not be there either as it was. I was almost proven right, my bag was the last one to come out, I almost gave up on it. Anyway, after collecting my bags and tracking down a cab to the hotel, I finally get there at almost 9pm; I should have arrived in San Fran at about 5pm and had a couple hours to my own designs before having dinner with the PR folks and members of the team at 7pm.

The actual party itself was due to start at 9pm so I rushed into the hotel, hoping to get checked in real quick and get changed and dash to the party, not being too late. Well, honestly, who here sees that NOT being the case? If you thought I made it to the party on time you haven't been following along very well... Let's see, what else could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah, not being able to check into the hotel for one reason or another... Bingo! For some reason the machine wouldn't read my credit card for the incidental charges. After an hour of fighting and arguing with the guy about the fact that I would barely be in the room at all; I was going to a party immediately, probably wouldn't get back to the room until 3-4am and would then be sleeping until checkout time when I'd be getting back on a plane and going back to Texas. Eventually he gave in and let me check in without the card on file for incidentals. So I rushed upstairs, pulled a Superman-like changing job and rushed down to the party, which was only about half a block from the hotel.

Well they definitely hooked the place up. The outside of the Ruby Skye club had been transformed into a castle. The medieval theme continued to the inside where there were stone pillars with Dragons posed on top; the waitresses and bartenders were in costume, everything looked great. The serving wenches, aka waitresses, circulated the room with huge platters of extremely tasty appetizers. And of course my favorite part, the open bar. Also scattered throughout the club were some fifty odd computers all with EQ2 running for people to try the game out. Speaking of people, here's a brief list of some of the celebrities in attendance:

  • Andrew Firestone (The Bachelor)
  • Brande Roderick (Playboy Playmate of the Year 2001)
  • Traci Bingham (Baywatch)
  • Bai Ling (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow)
  • Todd Pratt (Phillies)
  • Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls)
  • Summer (Penthouse Pet of the Year 2004)
  • Teyo Johnson (Oakland Raiders)

There were many more in attendance as well. A large number of the development team was in attendance as the party was primarily in my opinion for them in appreciation of a job well done. I can only imagine how nice it must have felt to them to be able to kick back and enjoy the night after the hectic schedule and mass amounts of overtime they had to have put in during the last couple of months to ensure the game was ready for launch.

Speaking of the launch, I have to take some time here to congratulate the team on what was in my opinion the absolutely smoothest launch in the history of the genre. Having followed the genre from the beginning I can honestly say I have been a part of each games launch. I have had a copy of the game in my hand and was playing, or in some cases, attempting to play on launch day. I know there were some problems with people not receiving their copies on time and such, but I have to label those as shipping problems and not launch problems. Some stores went out of their way to make sure their customers had their game as early as possible, others didn't. I know the manager of my local EB drove to Houston and met the plane at the airport and brought them back to the store rather than waiting on UPS to pick them up and send them through the whole delivery process and not receiving them until the next day at the earliest. When the servers went live they ran smoothly and continued running for well over a day with no problems. The first time they went down unscheduled was due to a power outage, not exactly something SOE could have predicted or countered. All in all an excellent launch, I picked up my copy of the game, installed it, logged in, started playing and played for the next 12 hours or so straight without a single hitch or hiccup.

Anyway, back to the launch party. An outstanding time overall, my only regret was that I didn't have more time in San Fran for site-seeing and such, but oh well. The bash that SOE threw more than made up for the horrible traveling experience and I was very glad to have been invited out and that I had the opportunity to pat the members of the Dev team on the back in person and tell them Job Well Done!


Richard Cox