Wednesday, November 28, 2007

RoK, The Honeymoon is Over.

I think it happened over the weekend or maybe just earlier this week, but undoubtedly the honeymoon period is over with EQ2's latest expansion Rise of Kunark. Ogre among others are reporting the raid content is too easy, Kendricke claims it is the lack of story. Massively is reporting on both of these stories lending their credibility to the rumors that RoK isn't all it was last week.

This is a trend that occurs with nearly every expansion and it is something I like to think of as the "Laporte curve" based on a well known tech journalist/podcast-overlord Leo Laporte. Leo has this nasty habit of once a product is released lavishing praise upon it regardless of the documented flaws, only to later come back and say it wasn't that great, and give a negative review. This is common amongst tech journalists but Leo is a good example. The time period between when journalists write a positive impression, and later a negative review is the Laporte Curve(this is not really a curve at all, but everything great has a curve associated with it, so why not). And this Laporte curve certainly applies to MMOs. Not weeks ago I was reading rave reviews and gushing first person accounts of how awesome RoK is. So what happened in a week? Well in short people sat down with it, got in depth, and found the flaws, no big deal, it doesn't mean it is a bad expansion. Only after a few months will we really understand the full impact of RoK, but for now it seems we are having a bit of RoK hangover.


(Side Note: Is it just me or does it feel like Massively is turning into the Valleywag of the MMO world?)

To clarify it was not my intention to paint Ogre or Kendricke as anti-RoK, just that we are now coming into the sober realities of the post-RoK game and gripes are popping up which is natural.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hartsman jumps ship?

/rumor_monger on

There is a heated rumor going around the MMO circles about the revered Scott Hartsman(the proclaimed jesus of eq2) has left SOE and headed for parts unknown. As Ogre said in his post, this makes sense in that if one were looking for an opportunity to move on, after shipping a successful product is ideal. Massively is also reporting on this rumor started by the head admin over at EQ2Flames forums in this post.

Now I don't really enjoy commenting on rumors(actually it is kinda fun, especially since I have none of that so-called "integrity"), but it does seem to have some weight to it. Now Hartsman is a stand up guy and in many players minds he has played a major role in rescuing EverQuest2 from mediocrity. Hartsman(aka Gallenite) I remember very well from this years FanFaire for being a straight talker, that really leveled with players. Hartsman always made me feel like he really played the game, that he understood the concerns of the player base and could articulate those concerns very well, and in what must be a first for MMO devs he sees things through the users eyes. While I sincerely hope that this rumor is false for all of use EQ2 players, a part of me does hope that Hartsman can move on to an up and coming title that he can get in on the ground floor of. Whatever his fate I hope that Hartsman stays in the MMO industry for the benefit of all of the players out there. We love ya Scott!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sarnak Growing Pains

Well I've managed to get Boourn my Sarnak Brigand up to level 24 the other day. And let me tell you it has been a challenge with all of the downtime the Antonia Bayle server has been experiencing lately. Now I'm not really upset with SOE as it is my understanding the AB along with Nagafen are the two most highly populated servers around, but its still a frustration for me on my vacation.

Anyways downtime is not something I wanted to talk about right now. My primary irritation(and it is most certainly not just me) is that once out of Timorous Deep I get pretty darn lonely. There is a nice flight path from Gorowyn to ButcherBlock Mountains, but really it just isn't the same experience. The transition is bumpy and though there is a nice small quest hub at the landing point, afterwards there is this gap between RoK content and EoF content. EoF introduced a lot of great content, and I really like some of it, but it just doesn't flow well. I felt pulled out of the context and reinserted into a new and slightly confusing world. EQ2 really does feel at least to me as three parts for the new player, Original World, EoF/post, and RoK. They do not blend well together right now, and that is something I fear will not be addressed anytime soon.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

End Class, Begin RoK

Well finally classes are over for the Fall Quarter at RIT and I've been able to sink my teeth back into Norrath. On release day like many I spent watching the patcher crawl as RoK was being downloaded. Then finally at around six pm I was able to log in and create one of them fancy new Sarnaks. At first I created a Shadowknight which I played up to level 16 or so when I realized that half of the other Sarnaks that I've been seeing around are also SKs. So I rerolled as a Brigand, as people say it is indeed a fun class. My Brigand's name is Boourn and is now level 17 and almost finished with the Mok Rent series of quests. I am having a ton of fun in Timorous Deep, which is incredibly well designed and polished(mmo word of the year!) with a very Warcraft like solo quest progression. Which for me is fun, I enjoy always having a full quest log to plow through and it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing things at a very fast pace. Also the quest rewards are incredibly compared to the old world or even GFay and Darklight. They are keeping new players at a very fast gear replacement rate as opposed to prior newbie zones. I have to say after experiencing TD, I don't think I'll want to start a character in any other zone.

So all in all RoK is a very nice package for the new player or even if you are just re-rolling a new Sarnak. I can't say anything about the higher end instances as I have no characters above level 37, but it seems people are out enjoying it as there were something like 7 instances of Kylong Plains on release night on AB, and I see more people everyday. Well I'm going to head back into Norrath to finish up some quests, if you are on AB and want to friend me, my name is Boourn and right now I'm level 17. See you guys around Kunark!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Happy Birthday EQ2!

Well a few days ago EverQuest2 celebrated its third birthday! Its hard to believe it has been so long since the game first hit the shelves. Alas time has a way of getting away from us. Anyways to celebrate there were many a blog post and a cake. Also with the celebration came the drop of the NDA for Rise of Kunark, which is fantastic as I've been avoiding playing the beta, but just wanted a glimpse of what I will be digging into come Tuesday. For some awesome screenshots and other info check out Ogrebear, who has been doing a series of posts about Kunark.

Well I must get back to work, group project due Monday. Oh the stresses of higher education. See you guys in two days.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Two weeks 'til Freedom!

Well it has just been one heck of a couple of weeks. School work is just dominating my life, which at the moment has little room for anything else but eating, and the occasional nap. Good news though, the flash game I am working on for my Digital Media class is almost finished. The game is very simple as it is really an intro to Flash, and basic game design/dev course. The game is based around this comic:

XKCD Comic

It is simple hack and slash action, with a fun premise. I will post it when I'm complete sometime next week.

In MMO news, this article floated around the webernets this week. It is a neat step through the creation of a mob in EverQuest. How things move from concept drawing to finished model. It is really neat how closely the finished product mirrors the drawing. Just some neat insight into the behind the scenes, that I always enjoy.

It seems Weblogs Inc. has finally made the leap into MMO news(WoW Insider doesn't count!) with Massively. Which has so far been pretty darn good, though I did not really enjoy their 24 Hours in Tabula Rasa, as it was more annoying than informative. Though this week they are giving some pretty neat prizes away, such as RoK and Secrets of Faydwer beta keys away and some WoW stuffs, so check it out. Anyways back to work for me. I'll be posting again soon, I hope...