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Return to Norrath! An Interview with EverQuest 2’s Dave Georgeson - Page 3

Updated Wed, Sep 29, 2010 by jeffprime



Ten Ton Hammer: Going back to updating old zones with new content, one of the beloved things and traditions of EverQuest 2 were the newbie islands. Granted, they did get a little bit tiresome because every character you made had to go through them. They’ve been recently removed because you have new, cool newbie experiences all over Norrath now. Do you have any plans on bringing back the newbie isles in any shape or form?

Dave Georgeson: I know that we have a storyline that we want to pursue with the far seas trader stuff. Those islands were closed for a reason, and that reason we haven’t revealed. When we get to the point where we’re mucking around with the Ocean of Tears and some of that stuff will get explained. I think what a lot of people are missing from the newbie isles experience is leaving them to go to Freeport or Qeynos, which are really cool zones. The cities were there and they were very nostalgic, but they were honestly difficult to navigate. They were kind of all over the place as far as content went, and a lot of newbies got confused and they ended up quitting because it was so hard to navigate and you couldn’t remember which one of the 7 or 8 different zones of Qeynos your quest giver was. That obviously needs to be restructured. We’re restructuring them and making them cool, iconic, and story hubs again, all the things that players miss from the newbie isles. Right now, I’m talking six months to a year, but if we get to do what we want to do in the future, and there isn’t bigger and brighter ideas, then the newbie isles stuff will fully get explained also.

Ten Ton Hammer: So there is a purpose to it all then?

Dave Georgeson: There is.

everquest 2 screenshot


Ten Ton Hammer: Going into the developing aspect of things, you have two different projects going. You have EverQuest 2 Live and you have EverQuest 2 Extended. I know that they’re the same game, but you’re looking at different target audiences. When you’re designing new content and new expansions, how do you envision it? Do you focus mainly on that doing this will make it good for Extended, or do you focus on making the Live gamers happy? How do you find a middle road to suit both audiences?

Dave Georgeson: How do I answer this without making flamewars? (laughs) The business model we had before EQ2X, we were forced to continue the expansion pack model, which is, in general, making end-game content and kind of ignoring the things that we know are wrong with the game. We’re always racing to make the next expansion pack; we’re always racing to make the next expansion pack. It was the only way we could make money. It was the only thing bringing in cash. By bringing in EQ2X and allowing the microtransaction stuff to make money for us over time, what it’s doing is effectively freeing up design concepts. Now we can concentrate on Freeport and Qeynos. We can do things like take care of the zones that we know are really bad and need to be revamped and updated. I won’t name any names…Thundering Steppes… (laughs).

There are a lot of things that need to be fixed in the game. There’re a lot of mechanics that have gotten creaky or worse, in my opinion, and are impossible for new players to understand. There is a lot of functionality in the game that most players don’t use because they don’t know that it exists, and that is almost criminal. By taking off some of the burden of the expansion pack model, we can address some of these other issues and make the game better for just not one set of players, but for everybody. The more fun the game is, well, the more fun the game is! If we can go in and create new ways for people to play and be able to revisit content and have fun with it, not just grind through it, if we can add more dynamic capabilities to the game so that things aren’t exactly the same every time you go through them, the game will be better for everybody.

I think that we’ll be addressing content that just isn’t end-game, even though we’ll continue to push that boundary, but we’ll be able to do it in a lot of other ways. We’ll be able to do that more effectively because the burden won’t be so heavy on the expansion pack model.

Ten Ton Hammer: That makes sense, especially with EverQuest 2 Extended. No longer is the game top heavy. My hats off to you.

Dave Georgeson: It’s already a good game. We can make it a great game. We just need to have the time and resources to do it, and by increasing the success of the game financially, we get that. We can go back and create the entertainment that we want to create.

everquest 2 screenshot


Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else you wish to share about EverQuest 2 Extended or Velious?

Dave Georgeson: We’re concentrating on quality for Velious, not necessarily quantity, even though there’s a lot of stuff we’re doing. We’ve made a commitment not to cram in thousands of quests just so we can say that there are thousands of quests. We’re going through everything and trying to make it feel heroic, that there are lots of gee-whiz moments, that there are lots of things to look forward to, and that there’s pacing through the area. That way, you’re not just doing one thing the whole time. I think that we’re going to be successful on that frontier.

I can’t wait until we rip off the beta tag and get to spend some of that marketing money. I’m looking forward to seeing how that will impact the population on both sides. We’re still experimental here, and I can’t wait until I get real facts so that we can tweak it more to make it work.

Ten Ton Hammer: Where do you see EQ2X in today’s massive free-to-play marketplace?

Dave Georgeson: This is going to sound like pure ego (laughs), but honestly, at the top of the heap. There isn’t anything better than EQ2 as a free-to-play model. There just isn’t. I’m really looking forward to people finding out about it and checking it out. If you want to include another competitor that comes close in quality is LotR, but I think that we’re better than them. I think as far as other free-to-play games, their play isn’t as deep, their graphics aren’t as cool, and they don’t have nearly the depth of features. We’re at the top of the heap.


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