With the soft launch of EverQuest 2
many new players began to pour into Norrath to begin their adventures.
As that Ten Ton Hammer loves all things EverQuest
our own Benjamin J. de la Durantaye talked to Dave Georgeson, Producer
, about the state of the
game, Freeport sewers, and many other topics.
Ton Hammer: The EverQuest
2 Extended soft launch seems to
going very well. Has the response been in-line with what you expected?
very happy, especially in the fact that we did just the one press
release. We’ve had a really good response and the population
increase has been great. It’s what we were hoping for. When
you do a regular subscription-based service, people go in, play up, and
work themselves towards 90, so you tend to end up with a lot of empty
newbie zones and stuff. One of the beauties of a free-to-play service
is that you always have new people coming in and trying it out. Now,
there are always people in those early stages and it’s worked
out very well. It’s very easy to get into groups;
it’s easy to find like-minded folks that are trying to do the
sort of things that you’re trying to do, whether
you’re exploring, grinding through stuff, or pressing to 90.
It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve gotten a lot of
good feedback from it.
Ton Hammer: We know that you can’t talk numbers, but can you
give us an idea of how many new players you’ve seen coming in
or coming over from Live?
I can give you a
percentage. Out of the people who are playing EQ2X
fully half of them are completely new to the game. They’ve
never registered a credit card; they’ve never made a
character before; they have never played EQ2
as far as we can find out. So that’s cool. We’re
getting some fresh blood into the mix. As far as people who are
transferring over from EQ2 Live
the numbers have actually been very low. That was expected because
people have so many ties to the existing server, with their friend
circles and guilds. The numbers have been pretty low. There has been
some transferring over, but not a significant percentage.
Ton Hammer: So that seems to work out for both sides of the population
then. The Live side doesn’t
seem to be suffering too much from it, and you’re getting a
bunch of new people in from one press release.
We’re very happy with the end results so far. The kid gloves
come off in a little bit. Not too long now, we’ll take the
beta tag off of it and we’ll start spending some marketing
money. We hope to see some good effects on both sides of the fence.
Ton Hammer: Can you give us a hint on what you’re planning
with your marketing?
don’t know all the details yet. In fact, I have some emails
pertaining to that in my inbox right now. (laughs) I do know that
we’re pretty serious in getting the word out there. Like I
said, we’ve done really well with just the one simple press
release, so we have high hopes for what could happen for the franchise
if we go ahead and spend some cash to let people know.
Ton Hammer: With the success of the server, every time that I log in to
create a new character, I’m seeing big red letters saying
that the server is full. Which is good because that means tons of
people are playing. What the community wants to know is do you have
plans to add another server?
Actually, the red
letters are kind of an error. I’m actually going to talk to
one of the programmers to see if we adjusted it. We have more robust
hardware than in the past and the population limits have not been
raised from the old hardware. So, we’re not maxed out on
people yet. It’s probably more of a yellow light, and
I’m going to get them to change the number and
we’ll see. We know what our max population is, and before we
see any performance issues, we’ll open a new server. But
until we get enough people to warrant spinning a new server, we
don’t want to do that because one of the good things about EQ2X
is the population density. If we spread people out too thin, we
won’t get that effect, and people won’t be having
that same fun experience. That’s one of the reasons why we
want to do mergers on the Live
side. We’re working to get better hardware before we do the
mergers, but we want to merge some of that stuff down because when
there are more people around, the game is more fun.
Ton Hammer: Absolutely. Even though, as you stated, those red letters
are an error, having all those people are good. It doesn’t
feel overcrowded, but there are always plenty of people around. It
Yeah. The dungeons
are actually contested!
Ton Hammer: Imagine that. It’s great stuff. Now,
it’s not over yet. I hear the official launch of EverQuest
2 Extended is coming up. You
soft launch with just that one press release and no big marketing
campaign. What happens when the official launch comes around then?
Well, not a lot
except that we’ll start spending the marketing money.
We’ll take the beta tag off so it doesn’t say beta
anymore. People can then stop worrying about if we’re going
to do a data wipe, which we’re not going to do. As far as the
game itself, it has effectively been launched since we put it out with
the beta tag on it. It’s just that we were reserving the
right to make changes. As that it is an MMOG, we’ll still
make changes, but we’re confident enough that the model works
and so we’ll take the beta tag off.
Ton Hammer: Since you had the soft launch, how much have you adjusted
the game? For instance, I was doing a lot of crafting and there
weren’t a lot of resources out there. So I went into town and
bought the resources and spent a lot of money. Now, I’ve
noticed that the prices have really come down, which is awesome. Is
that something you’ve been tweaking in beta? Are there other
things you’ve been doing as well?
been watching the prices really carefully, and I’ve talked to
a lot of people in-game about what they did and what they
didn’t do. We talked to a bunch of people that were serious
crafters, and they said that they would spend money on the marketplace,
but it’s costing us x to craft these items and recipes, and
that’s too much for them to consider. We went back and looked
at the model and that’s why we changed that. We’ve
lowered some of the housing set prices. We’ve lowered prices
on some of the stuff that people may not care about, such as pets in
the house. We’ve changed prices back and forth based on
feedback. We may end up occasionally raising a price here or there, but
in general, the model we had before, except for things like broker
credits, we haven’t changed it a huge amount. We’re
very seriously considering selling character slots soon.
We’ve also added the ability to buy classes, which were
formerly restricted to just gold. We’ve listened to the
players a lot. We’ve seen what works and what
doesn’t work in the game. We’re looking at data
every single day figuring out what works and what doesn’t.