EverQuest's Veil of Alaris - An Interview with EQ's Producer and Executive Producer

Updated Fri, Jul 15, 2011 by B. de la Durantaye

We sat down with EverQuest Producer, Thom Terrazas and Executive Producer, David Georgeson, to discuss the future of EverQuest and its newest expansion due to launch in November, Veil of Alaris.



TTH: With the new Veil of Alaris expansion, we understand that there’s going to be a new guild housing. Where will the guild housing be placed?

Thom: We’re trying to make the neighborhoods a viable place for guilds so they can have a little bit more creativity within the zones or if they want to buy their own zone. We’re going to have one or two spots in the neighborhood where they can place the new guild hall. The new lots as well as the current one currently take place in the neighborhood zones.

Obviously, the social aspect of PoK is huge, and we don’t want to take that away so we’re looking at putting the entrance to the new guild halls in the same location where everybody hangs out. We want people to come together.

everquest

We did a little experiment with allowing guilds to buy their own neighborhoods and it was fairly popular at first, but, like everything, it had a spike of interest then trailed off. So I think that it’s not as big a draw to players as we thought it would be. It could just be more additions we that need to look at inside the neighborhood and the tools that we create. In the neighborhood zones, right now, you can place objects in your yard. You’ll also be able to get guild halls that are in one or two specific places, kind of on a cliff side, so it kind of stands out. But we also want to look at doing events and allowing them to decorate the zone and give them tools where they might be able to place trees, different kinds of foliage that we have, and different points of interest that they like to use throughout the zone. You know, just to have parties within their own zones.

TTH: So it's basically the same kind of housing concept in HoT?

Thom: As far as the functionality and the tools go. Guild halls are probably what we wanted to do first, but we couldn’t do that without creating all the tools for the houses. We knew that we had to do the one before the other, so we were marching towards that starting last year with these tools and functionality for the guild halls; we had to do the houses first. We didn’t have the time to focus on the guild halls and get them created at that point.

TTH: The level cap is being increased to 95. When that was announced at the Opening Ceremonies at Fan Faire it sounded like that there were quite a few people who were unhappy with it. That surprised me.

Thom: Yeah, it didn’t get as big a “RAH” that I thought it would.

David: I actually understand this--why they would get depressed.

It seems like they would be excited because there’s all this new stuff to explore and new skills to get and more power and all that stuff. But people have climbed the level 90 mountain and they get to the top of Everest and they’re all: “Yeah! We made it to the top of the mountain!” And then the mountain grows! And that’s the reaction we got, which is perfectly natural. They’ll get used to the idea, but right now it’s, “Dammit! I just got here! I don’t have any more oxygen bottles!”

everquest

Thom: Two years ago when we launched Underfoot, we didn’t have a level increase and we announced that at Fan Faire. I got cornered right after the announcement, basically just as I was coming off the panel, and a player asked, “You guys aren’t raising the level cap?” I started to cringe and get into my defensive stance, so I said that’s correct and he went, “Hell yeah!” They really wanted to focus on getting to the top of the mountain and now expanding on that…their AAs and all their spells and abilities. I think you’re right. Once you start to elongate the entire experience…the playing population feels the social network of staying together slipping away when we raise it.

David: It’s also very interesting when you don’t raise the level cap. The cool thing is that all the content you make at the level cap never grays out. So with the Velious stuff [in EQ2], honestly the loot does make you more powerful so eventually you do squish the stuff towards the beginning, but it’s all still white, yellow, and orange. It’s still all valid combat terrain. It’s pretty cool. But eventually you do want to increase the level range.

TTH: Tell us about the new hot bar.

Thom: You can resize it. It’s kind of like the bags now. You can make it thin all the way across if you want, up and down, any size you want. We’re also allowing you to have more hotbars and we’re increasing the number of buttons you have within the hotbars. We’re going to give you right-click menus on the hotbars so you can manage it really easily right from there.

David: How was the reaction of the Fan Faire panel when you gave the details?

everquest

Thom: There was clapping. The biggest thing is being able to click on items in your hotbar from your inventory. Items that were in your bags that you always had to grab, swap out with an item in your hand slot to cast a spell or get the clickable action or effect…now no more hotswapping. Just drag it into your hotbar and you’re done.

TTH: That’s pretty sweet.

Thom: I was getting frustrated doing that all the time and I said that we have to change that. We were trying to come up with features for the expansion and wondering what to do, what do the players want?

It’s a good step for us to gradually change the UI as well. We might not have the new beautiful UI for the hotbars, but we’re getting there. It’s another first step. We’re going to get the functionality down before we start changing the look and feel.

You can also resize all the buttons, so if you don’t want this size, you can shrink down even more.

EQfranchise

This announcement is so full of win we could hardly wait to tell you about it. Today EQHammer announced its User-generated Content System. In the spirit of EverQuest Next Landmark, where players are the superstars creating cool things, we’ve decided to give you - the players, the dreamers of dreams and the makers of guides - a platform.

Network FYIs
Tue, Mar 18, 2014
Shayalyn
Dave-Georgeson-SOEmote.jpg

EverQuest franchise Director of Development Dave Georgeson updates on the future development plans for the series

News, Official Announcements
Mon, Feb 03, 2014
Martuk
TTH-Weekly-News-Jan-17-2014-news.jpg

This week in the news, Wildstar drops info on guilds, Pathfinder targets April for alpha, and SOE commits wholesale slaughter.

Features
Sat, Jan 25, 2014
Martuk
EverQuest-Franchise-Logo

It’s a big year for the EverQuest franchise and the team at SOE has a lot in store to celebrate.

Video, News, Official Announcements
Thu, Jan 23, 2014
Martuk

News from around the 'Net