Woo! Back from yet another slammin' SOE Live. Seriously, FV folks, get off your asses and go. It's a ton of fun, and you get to see me make an ass of myself at the pool party. That alone is worth it!
I'll summarize my time below, including a LOT of info from panels. I apologize for missing some of the big EQ panels, but I had drinkin' and eatin' aplenty to do. Without further ado:
10/18/12 Keynote Speech
This was the first of two keynote speeches and focused more on SOE as a whole and some non EQ stuff like Planetside II. I'll focus on only SOE/EQ relevant stuff or totally new things, but seriously, check out PSII.
Smed's centerpiece to the speech was "Emergent gameplay". The idea that users are both creators of and part of the content, that we in fact bring those games to life in ways a Dev never could because it's original and organic. An example is TwitchTV (http://www.twitch.tv/) which isn't a site I'm completely familiar with. It basically is where users share content and in doing so, grow the basis of the product beyond the gameplay itself.
Another example that's more directly related is the Player Studio, which you've likely already seen the info for in brief. This allows users to create custom content for their SOE games that could then be sold on their Marketplace. For instance, a user could create a certain vase/plant combo item as part of a housing design they want. This allows them to not only do that, but to then offer that content through the SC Marketplace... for cash. You as the creator keep the license and some of the profit, while SOE takes a chunk for hosting the assets/tools and facilitating. This is going to be looked at for every SOE game where it makes sense, because it fits their focus on emergent gameplay.
One of the new announcements on the Keynote was the Kronos (sp?) which is going to be an in-game item that can be traded for plat... but is, in effect, a Game-Time card. Now, before you panic or react, this type of system already exists in MMO's (See EVE Online's Pilot License Extension (PLEX) items which are sold in game). So, what you can do is buy a Krono for real world money, then sell it for plat. The trade does NOT work in the reverse, however. So you can't spend plat, get Krono, then turn and sell them for money (outside of any abuse that already exists in violation of the EULA, I presume). They're still a work in progress, but they're also great for players in a financial bind but with a ton of playtime/cash. As an example, a friend of mine who is an EVE Player was out of work... but being out of work game the time to farm in-game cash to buy PLEX from other players, so they didn't have to stop playing due to their finances. You can also gift these, so if you had a friend/guildie/raidmember in a similar scenario, you could pool some funds and buy em an extra month. The Kronos ARE a work in progress though, so rules can change.
Dragon's Prophecy is a new game by Runewaker Entertainment, who did a game called Runes of Magic. Apparently, this game was very popular, very fun and so SOE invested in their next title. It seemed to be an Action-oriented MMORPG, in a totally open world, no instancing. It's full of dragons, hence the name, and as you kill them it unlocks options that turns the class system from a very basic one (Fighter, Rogue, Mage, Priest) into something far more dynamic. Didn't get to see much on this one, but it looked good and Smed's very excited for it.
Wizardry Online is another new SOE game, this one being basically a foray into the concept of a "Hardcore" MMO. Supposedly, the game simply doesn't f*** around. Permadeath is a basic feature. Not much was shown or discussed, but I have a beta key, so if I get time I'll do what I can to check it out.
EQ Next's announcements were probably the biggest outside of Planetside II's. As some of you may or may not know, EQ Next was touted as the next step in EQ development. However, at SOE Live, Smed confirmed that everything and anything you've seen or heard of it thus far is gone. Wiped and deleted. They simply felt that it was turning into EQIII, and that's not what they wanted. He claimed it's not enough to "evolve" the franchise into another new, good game. He wants to change the MMO Industry as a whole the way EQ did at release. A noble goal, but we'll see.
After the keynote, there was Karaoke, but myself and some of the FV folks skipped it to go drank ourselves to sleep. We did and it was good.
10/19/12 - Day 2:
Planetside II panels - See below. I put them at the end of the guide for easy access for those who want to skip it to focus on EQ.
After the day's panels, I was intending to hit the second Keynote but we had some delays in getting our dinner plans executed and while they went off without a hitch later, it meant I missed that keynote. I did attend the pool party and there was much drinking to be had. So much so that one of our local FV population (not me) had to get CARTED out of the pool area. That's good times.
I opened the day with the EQ: Rain of Fear panel, but a word of caution. Most of the audience and the Dev Panel were in the throes of post-Pool Party hangovers. I myself was suffering greatly. So I'll communicate what I remember and wrote down:
- The Story Summary builds off of VoA, but basically it's the result of what happened in HoT and VoA. The power of the God of Fear, Cazic-Thule, is raining down across Norrath... and as usual this is nothing but trouble. First, some features:
-- Aggro meter: Shows you your aggro on the mob relative to others. Built in by player demand
-- Slayer/Collection Tasks: I didn't get too much detail on these, I think they're... improved variants or some kind of centralized method of getting these types of tasks? Yeah, hangovers are difficult...
-- Improved Brokering system: The real meat of the changes, this includes the ability to bazaar while offline. Yep, you can turn OFF your PC and walk away after setting up your trading. Now, since it is account-based, you cannot set up an alt as a trader, then log into your main on the same account. The bazaar bot IS an active login, in essence, but you can turn the game client off. You will also be able to search/buy bazaar items anywhere in the world, not just the bazaar (how the delivery will function I forgot to ask)
-- Level cap raise to 100, new AA's, spells, etc. All standard
-- Over 3500 new items, and ALL non-visible armor will be all/all. This doesn't mean that it's a good idea to wear any given item, some will be obviously be tank focused or caster DPS items, but they won't be limited by use. This seems to be in an effort to ease collection of loot
-- The Group/Raid gear gap will be pushed out a little bit in this expansion. They acknowledged they feel they closed it too far, but it's better than when the gap was too wide. I wouldn't expect this to be terribly noticeable.
-- Raid Design: Raid design in RoF is being done differently than a lot of recent expansions. Previously, each Dev did some raids independently, only bringing in another Dev as they wanted/needed to. As a result, there was wild fluctuation in raid design, philosophy and even difficulty. So even within a zone, events could spike wildly between overly easy and impossibly hard. This is what causes all the later tuning. For RoF, all devs got together and worked on a singular concept to try and keep the difficulty and progression curve much more logical.
-- Over 100 quests, 13 raids, 9 zones and 19 missions. Now, the nine zones, which I'll list some of, we got a walkthrough of a few of them. Freaking. MASSIVE. They are HUGE, so don't worry about landmass/content ratio. There's plenty to go around.
-- New Zones, some of which are (lore-wise) new areas and others are new versions of old zones (old zones stay as is): Eastern Wastes, Crystal Caverns: Cavern of Fear, Kael Drakkel: The King's Madness, Shard's Landing (Central Hub zone), Evantil, the Vile Oak, The Chateau of Filth, Chapterhouse of the Fallen (Befallen), The Breeding Grounds (Dragon Necropolis) and the Valley of King Xorbb.
-- All the zones seem constructed with a fair amount of dungeon crawling involved.
-- And a raid-only zone - An upgraded version of NToV. Yes, Elidroth got to re-do NToV as a level 100 raid that's most on par with Tier 2 VoA raids, except Vulak. He's significantly nastier. The trash has been upgraded with, so Level 100 flurry drakes, etc.
-- A quest shortly into the expansion will allow you to get enough Alarin to do anything needed in RoF.
There were a significant number of "Player Panels" this year. Player panels are where the people hosting the panel are, as you would guess, players. So other players, and the Devs, get to ask them questions. The one I attended was hosted by three members of Realm of Insanity: Qulas (Guild Leader), Mykaylla (Priest/Healing officer) and Beihmeith (wizard). RoI is currently one of the top progression guilds in EQ, and they dicussed their views on certain mechanics, answered raid questions, etc. I think the folks from Fire and DruidsCan'tHeal got more out of it mechanically, but I think what it enabled some of the Devs who attended, including Absor (SMASH!), to see was how our community pulls information from it's other members to develop our own strategies. So it was good in that sense.
After that was the Open Q&A. I'll repeat some of the questions that weren't so abjectly stupid (read: AE Rez. STOP F***ING ASKING!)
-- What's the RoF raid difficulty? A: Harder than VoA, but should be a smoother progression. (See prior note about team development)
-- Mass Production is available in other games, where you can choose to repeatedly make the same item over and over in large batches, can this come to EQ? A: Will take it under consideration, but not yet.
-- Was creating a bunch of dungeon crawls a mandate or did it develop organically as the team did zones? (Croix question) A: More of the latter. Each dev focused on having fun, and they all gravitated to that concept.
-- Are you locked into selling with new barter system? A: Yes, account can either be selling or playing, not both at the same time. Once selling, however can turn off game client/computer.
-- Some clerics (editor's note: morons) use a rez/drag hotkey to drag and rez corpses at once. if the corpse is too far to drag, it rez's them where they are. Can they be tied together? A: Supposed to be risk in getting a corpse, particularly now with summon options. So no, not changing.
-- Can rogue poisons be changed to last through death so that they don't have to use several per raid wasting charges? A: Believe it was "will consider, but likely no changes"
-- Can we get a house item that's a mannequin that displays old armor sets? A: Would love to do, need to prioritize so don't know when it would happen but it would be cool.
-- There seems to be some variance between the number of raids and how long they last, can we have shorter raids but more so they are more diverse? A: Raid design doesn't tie the two together, any issues are due to designers doing things independently. Absor, for example, took one on the chin for a raid he did that was way too long because he wound up doing it on his own. They feel the team raid design mentality will prevent a lot of this and lead to better event design.
-- Can Alchemy be given Curse and Corruption Cure options? A: Consider for the Curse side, but a flat no on Corruption. That needs to remain in player hands for a bit longer.
-- Rangers appear to level/AA too fast and this is taking some of the fun out of creating characters, can this be looked at? A: Aware of issue, looking at ways to reduce this effect.
-- Druids are the only priest class that lacks in group cure options, can this be corrected? A: This is intentional to create class distinction. It adds seperation that while all priests cure, Druids get some more powerful single target cures while the shammies get better group options. Note: A shammy asked about the reverse about... 3 questions later. People can be VERY stupid.
-- Can memory use be looked at, regular crashes in certain zones. A: Three things: Firstly, it's always a work in progress. Second, if it's the same zone every time issue is less in the game client than the zone itself. Third, EQ is a 32-bit client, so always a 2GB limit.
-- Can there be a way to toggle pet models off or /hide pets? A: This would take heavy code work and could create other issues, so hasn't been done yet, but it's on their radar.
-- Can a check be added to Station Cash Exp pots so they can't be wasted when Lesson is up? A: This probably should be done, but Devs think it would be better more generic atm, such as "if any exp effect is up, click shouldn't work to prevent potion loss". They will look into it.
-- Can fellowship #'s be increased? A: No, we like them at 12, over that it's a second guild (Note: This was asked several times, every time same answer).
-- Can druids get sortable tracking? A: Not at this time, being preserved as a ranger specialty.
-- Can we get a group rez? A: No, code issue at this time, but it's been thought about.
-- Currently, if a guild earns a trophy, and the character with the Trophy leaves, the trophy goes with. This doesn't seem fair as the guild collectively earned the trophy, can we change this? A: Have to look into how to code this, but devs definitely seemed to think this was unfair and should have a solution.
-- Will the Coldain Shawl ever be available as an aug/transmute into an aug? A: Still on the table, but no more than "on the table".
-- Can we create a weapon to allow necro's to retire Duck Stick 2.0? A: The whole necro focus thing is a known issue, looking at ways to fix it without destabilizing thing further.
-- Tradeskills take a lot of minor items and they can be spread out, is there any way to get a vendor in Guild Hall where you pick what they carry? A: Not exactly, code-wise and there is a vendor limit of 80 items, BUT, can we look at having more choice in Guild Hall NPC's that carry different TS items. Nothing guarenteed, but will consider it.
-- The Hero's Forge armor makes my character look too fat, can this be looked at? A: Feedback already received, Hero's Forge isn't done evolving.
-- Can we add a notes column on Friends list so you can keep minor notes (SoandSo's alt, etc)? A: Seems reasonable, have to look into what it would take to code, but not a bad idea.
-- Is there a way to retrieve all or otherwise send whole bags through Parcel Service? Difficult to get items between alts retrieving one at a time. A: Some code limitation issues, but will look at it.
-- Generic Focii Degradation Question 002? A: Aware Focii Degradation creates concerns, always looking into ways to mimize without creating further issues, etc.
-- Is there a way to later allow people to re-do pre-release events? This was specifically asked for an example where a player on overseas deployment missed a pre-event. A: Will think about it, but it revolves around how to run the code.
-- Certain LoN items were flagged as heirloom, that got removed due to exploits, can this ever be reversed? A: Active consideration, but making sure it's secure to do so.
-- Is there a way to immortalize a certain guild event with a screenshot by posting it as part of a frame in a guild hall/house (Note: The person asking this actually had the gall to insinuate it should be "very easy" to code)? A: Sounds nice, but could be a coding/CS nightmare for the controls, hosting, etc. Might be viable through the Player Studio.
-- Can we get a plat storage method in guild bank? A: It's a surprisingly significant change to guild banking code. if it can be done/prioritized, will add to list but takes resources.
After that, it was the closing ceremonies. I did not, unwisely, opt for the Dev brunch this year. Hopefully, those who did can post their notes.
I'll post the Plansetside II stuff later.