Sony began accepting applications for beta-testing Everquest 2. It's no surprise to hear that thousands of people submitted applications. Would-be beta-testers hammered the application servers resulting in some typical page request errors, duplicate applications, and a host of other problems. In order to sign up for the beta, one must apply from the computer one plans to play on. This prevents people from applying on most work machines.
Moorgard and Faarwolf have been keeping people well informed on the process and procedures of beta signups.
Sony released a small patch today. The changes included one's ability to change his or her surname, hitpoint regeneration improvements, and /rewind.
The ability to change one's surname comes as a small surprise. GMs will cease to be flooded with requests to change surnames. It is now easier to annul the many failed in-game marriages we often hear about. It's a small change but I see no disadvantage.
Hitpoint regeneration now improves the longer you sit. This regeneration allows players a chance to solo and recover a bit easier. Wizards, Druids, and a few other classes have an easier time soloing than rogues, warriors, and other melee classes. This regeneration gives other classes at least a chance at soloing successfully. The problem shows up when we consider grouping.
Grouping builds relationships. Grouping teaches people new skills. Grouping helps people learn more about the game than they would find out on their own. Grouping helps people find guilds. Grouping builds social skills, both in-game and in real life. To throw that away for soloing is to remove the whole reason to play Everquest.
Everquest offers many advantages for grouping. Grouping is necessary for Lost Dungeons of Norrath. Grouping offers a large experience bonus over soloing. Most of the game's content below level 65 is tuned for single group hunts. The single group is the most common unit of gameplay in Everquest.
These hitpoint regeneration changes are good, however. This change helps individuals and groups without healers alike. I don't expect it to harm the game at all.
Our Neriak spies returned with reports that Sony is retuning Gates of Discord. Tuning changes include experience boosts, tuning of Natimbi, Qinimi, Barindu, Riwwi, and Ferubi, NPC max damage mitigation so clerics can tank (relax, I'm kidding, I meant knights), increased spell drops, easier zone travel, NPC innates (I have no idea what this is), and the inclusion of some non-agro animal mobs. All of these changes look excellent and I applaud Sony's attention to these problems.
Afterlife, one of the top guilds across all servers, quit on Wednesday. Their post was the first negative posting I can recall seeing on their website. They felt strongly enough to break two metaphors in one sentence. I had always enjoyed Afterlife's objective and clean updates and its a shame to not only see them leave but to see them leave with such a poisoned tongue. At least they didn't post a count-down.
I'd be surprised if every member of Afterlife cancels their subscriptions and stops paying. I imagine the guild may disband; I imagine many of them will go to another game; I'd even expect some to return. It would surprise me if every member felt as strongly as the post stated.
Obviously if that many people have been having no fun since The Rathe (an encounter they defeated a year ago), I have to question why it would take so long for them to quit. It sounds like we all need a reading of the divine article Why I Play Everquest by one of the most highly respected writers of Everquest news, lore, and editorials. Remember the golden rule:
Have Fun Every Day You Play.