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Return to Norrath! An Interview with EverQuest 2’s Dave Georgeson

Updated Wed, Sep 29, 2010 by jeffprime

With the soft launch of EverQuest 2 Extended, 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 of EverQuest 2, about the state of the game, Freeport sewers, and many other topics.



Ten Ton Hammer: The EverQuest 2 Extended soft launch seems to be going very well. Has the response been in-line with what you expected?

Dave Georgeson: We’re 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.

everquest 2 screenshot


Ten 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?

Dave Georgeson: 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.

Ten 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.

Dave Georgeson: Yes. 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you give us a hint on what you’re planning with your marketing?

Dave Georgeson: I really 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.

Ten 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?

Dave Georgeson: 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.

Ten 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 feels alive.

Dave Georgeson: Yeah. The dungeons are actually contested!

everquest 2 screenshot


Ten 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 had the soft launch with just that one press release and no big marketing campaign. What happens when the official launch comes around then?

Dave Georgeson: 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.

Ten 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?

Dave Georgeson: We’ve 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.


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