E3 is in full force and
Ten Ton Hammer is there getting all
the latest news from all the biggest game developers. One such developer is, of
course, Sony Online Entertainment and our men on the front lines caught up with
EverQuest II Senior Producer Dave Georgeson to talk a bit about where EQ2 has
been and where it is going.
What comes to mind when you think of EQ2? Do you think of
the WoW competitor of 2004 or do you think of the still kicking and very
different game of today? Whether you are a fan of the Norrathian sequel or not,
there is not much argument that EQ2 has grown and changed immensely over the
last five years. It is this reinvention and constant evolution that has kept
EverQuest II on the list of popular MMOGs in the face of new competition that
has landed in this loved genre year after year.
These handsome men are our very own Jeff "Ethec"
Woleslagle (left) and EQ2 Producer Dave Georgeson (right) chatting it up
Dave Georgeson, a new face on the EQ2 team, has plans to
not only continue the evolution but also reinvigorate it with new ideas to raise
the level of fun and interest. All we need to do is make a lot of this stuff
intuitive again and give a reason to go back and play through a lot of the
content again. There is a huge amount of really cool stuff with nobody in it
because they are all racing to be at the end game because thats where everybody
is. Thats broken! Its not just true of us; its true of most MMOs and were
going to change that.
How will Dave change that? Unfortunately all the super cool
announcements will be made at this years Fan Faire in August but the goal is to
bring new people in. Ideas such as dynamic content that isnt the same every
time you experience it and a focus on making the world more engaging and more
interesting are all up for discussion on how they will bring new players in.
While the EQ2 team is working on how to spruce up the
current content, we all still want to know about the future new content. We have
our own predictions regarding the next expansions but Dave drops some
really telling hints mentioning the expansion that no one knows the name of at
the end of the year pointing to a 2010 release after a February 2010 release of
newest expansion, Sentinels Fate. We still cant pry an official Velious
confirmation but the snow and ice jokes may indicate that players might be
getting what they hope for. Dave does touch upon the type on content that will
be making it in game soon sharing We are definitely adding some serious high
end content, in fact it will be extraordinarily enviable to be high end when we
release some of the new stuff, but we really need to take care of the rest of
the game too.
One of the most recent, and probably less than welcome,
changes that EQ2 has experienced is the closing of Qeynos and Freeport as newbie
cities upon character creation. Veteran players who have fond memories of
playing through this content were saddened to see the end of an era and many
would like to know what is next for the beacon cities of Norrath. Dave addresses
this saying Qeynos and Freeport are really important to us but not necessarily
as a new user experience. We dont have detailed plans yet but we really want to
do something cool with those cities. Wed like to revitalize the cities, make
them easier to navigate and generally more useful.
Part of this revitalization will be making evil more evil
and good more good. A lot of the good versus evil has been bled out of EQ2 and
Dave agrees I think the business as usual model needs to change. It would be so
much better if we can put back some of the richness into the game so we dont
have the empty world syndrome. Were going to be offering some new things here
in the future that are really going to shake things up a bit.
Battlegrounds have turned out to be liked, but widely
Players have had a love/hate relationship with instanced
dungeons and while these have been making it in game heavily, there are still
those who much rather see static and contested dungeons in game. Will the trend
of instances continue? Dave will have to leave that up to incoming feedback it
seems Id love to make a lot of scaling content so that you can replay it, just
have fun, and have more toys to play with in the toybox but the reactions are
always really mixed and sometimes really negative. Its something that we really
need to feel out with the players before making a decision. This leaves players
to voice their own opinions and hopefully well be seeing a healthy mix of both
instanced and contested dungeons in the future.
Probably the biggest news of the year has been the
implementation of Battlegrounds which have been well received for the most part.
Dave mentions that while people like them, not enough people are playing them.
I think that people who are just casually going in are getting worked by people
who have a lot of PvP gear and because of that we are seeing that people arent
going in without a full board commitment. Because not a lot of new people are
going in we basically have the same set of people playing over and over again.
Battlegrounds is a really good feature and we will continue to support it, we
like it a lot; its just under performing for the amount of effort we put into
it. I dont like to throw things away, Id rather fix it and well get to that
eventually. I believe Dave hit the nail squarely on the head with this as
Battlegrounds are a great feature but far too scary for the casual PvPer.
While not much news has been available regarding EverQuest
II, players can expect to read and hear a lot of exciting announcements in the
next three to four weeks and as Fan Faire approaches. Ten Ton Hammer thanks Dave
for taking the time to talk with us during the very busy E3 and Id like to
close with my favorite Dave quote from the interview, Its a damn good game, as
you guys know; we just need to make it a little more approachable and let people
know that it still exists. This fangirl agrees!
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