We spoke to Longdale about current and upcoming servers for both EQ and EQ2.
E3 doesn't stop when its doors are closed for the day. We snagged Executive Producer Holly "Windstalker" Longdale at this year's Daybreak after-party (and again this week in a follow-up), chatting about some recent changes that hit EverQuest's progression servers as well as the upcoming progression servers and merges for EverQuest II.
Holly talked about how the EverQuest progression servers are doing very well so far. "We're not making it easy anymore," she commented. "Right now we won't be instancing raids for a lot of reasons... it would take away from work we are doing for our campaign. We are hoping the load balance additions, and the buffed raids we added this week provide more access and a greater challenge for those who enjoy raiding. We added some other changes to curb some unfriendly tactics, too."
Introduced in yesterday's update, the Ragefire and Lockjaw servers saw their raid mobs buffed to provide more of a challenge. In addition, progression server raid bosses had their spawn times increased yesterday. "The one thing—with Ragefire specifically—there's umpteen times what a normal population should have, so the loot per capita is not what it should be. We think doubling the [raid boss] spawn times, and Plane of Fear and Plane of Hate, will help. It will be awesome chaos... I hope."
Just announced on Tuesday, the Ragefire expansion unlock time will be decreased from six months to three months, with the Kunark voting period now falling from August 23rd through September 6th. Lockjaw will remain on the six month schedule and the team is looking into the possibility of free server transfers between the two prior to an expansion unlock. Once Ragefire is settled into the Kunark era the speed of expansion unlocks will be re-evaluated.
A solution for illegal warping is being worked on, though Holly can't discuss how this will work currently. While the upcoming campaign details are still hush-hush, she did hint at a couple of instanced level agnostic zones that will be quite the treat for players.
With EverQuest II, the upcoming progression servers will be a first for the game. In-game voting for time-locked and marketplace options has already come and gone, and for a short time players can still get their votes in on server names. For those not familiar with what a time-locked progression server is, Kander has posted a thorough FAQ on the forums.
"We'll poll each [progression] server separately so they determine their own destiny. We think the PvP server will lock themselves to a time permanently. Same for PvE—if they want to hang on with Kunark, or stay at the base game for a while, they can."
"The team is doing all of these things... they're re-adding heroic mobs into the overlands, buffing all of the NPCs because they kind of explode when you poke them right now—they're just way too weak—too easy, we're disallowing a bunch of stuff like Channelers and Beastlords to start with. Prestige housing and guild halls won't be there. We're doing all the special, as much as we can, and still [have time to] launch."
Beta testing for both the PvE and PvP versions of these servers is expected to begin on Tuesday, July 7th, with the launch planned to hit before the end of July.
Holly: "I'm stoked about seeing a new crafting community emerge where everything matters."
ZAM: "Oh no, are we going that have to go back to WORTs?"
ZAM: "In crafting, where we had to make the resins and such..."
Holly: "I'll have to check to see what they're doing. All I remember was getting killed when I was making something, and people are asking us to put that back in... it sounds funny, until it happens to you!"
Server merges will be next up following the launch of progression servers. "Not for everyone, but the servers that need it," Holly told us. "I know we said we were going to do cross-server dungeon finder, and we still will, but this seems way more important to get the health of the community taken care of." More details about the merges can be found here.
Our thanks to Holly Longdale for taking the time to speak to us at E3 about EverQuest and EverQuest II!
Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor