Sony released a new patch today with a few interesting new features.
Sony released new adventure zones on Stormhammer and on the regular servers. The zones sound interesting except for their restrictive level limitation. The rest of Lost Dungeons included zones scaled for levels 20 to 65 so I don't understand why these zones were not scaled the same way. The zones are not restricted by time limits or adventure goals but also do not offer adventure point rewards. Besides being instanced, they don't sound very different from normal zones. I only wish the level limits were less severe.
This patch included the first release of "Hot Spots". Certain zones offer experience rewards for a limited time in order to get adventurers of various levels to travel around a bit more. Like the Fabled mobs for the anniversary, this offers a reward for those who take the time and energy to explore these hot zones. Like the new adventure zones, none of these apply to level 65 players, but the 65 level folks did just get Gates of Discord.
All players now have access to the Plane of Knowledge. The Plane helped all of Everquest become a lot more accessible to new players and this is a good improvement. I am surprised Sony doesn't bundle Kunark and Velious into the core game and give these two aged expansions to everyone. Sony could then release expansions with these two previous expansions in mind. I'd love to see a Lost Dungeon expansion released in Kunark and Velious.
Oh yes, we received one nerf today. The named mobs in the GoD sewer and mountain trials no longer spawn on creation, they spawn later in the hunt. This prevented named farming by respawning the dungeon over and over. I can see why they did it but a nerf is a nerf.
The Fabled mobs and their gleaming new treasure no longer spawn. The new beasts and their gleaming treasure breathed some life back into old zones and hopefully the new hot spots will do the same. Under-population of old-world zones worries a lot of people. Many new players never hunt in places like Runnyeye, Paw, the Gorge of King Xorbb and Dalnirs. Of course, I blame this on a lack of reliable corpse recovery, but I blame my lower back pain on the lack of reliable corpse recovery. The real reason of under-population is a higher risk for a lower reward than populated zones. Fabled mobs fixed this for a short period of time and only in very select camps at very select zones.
Sony begins accepting beta test applications for Everquest 2 in May. The beta itself begins in June. With those dates, it seems likely that Everquest 2 will be released on schedule at the end of the year. It wouldn't surprise me if we see an announcement for a new expansion around the same time. No one knows how Everquest 2 will affect Everquest. SOE will want to show their continued support for Everquest, support I expect to see continue as long as it is profitable to do so. Some see Everquest 2 as the doom of Everquest. Many said the same thing about Dark Age of Camelot, Final Fantasy XI, Star Wars Galaxies, and others. While the release of Everquest 2 has more impact than those will, I do not see much changing for at least another year. As long as Everquest is a fun and fresh world to live in, we will want to live there.
It would not surprise me to hear about a new expansion soon. With the unknown fears of Everquest 2 making many nervous, Sony will want to quell any thoughts that Everquest 1 is doomed. I'm hoping for a "Lost Dungeons of Norrath Part II" with dungeons in Najena, The Gorge of King Xorbb, Old Paineel, and a giant's lair in Raithe Mountains.
The debate on tank status in Gates of Discord rages on. Some don't seem to understand that this only affects about four discovered zones. Only on certain Gates of Discord expeditions does warrior tanking appear to be required. These trials are required for progression but so was the Plane of Justice and many people were stuck there for weeks.
Paladins and Shadowknights tank hard adventures in Lost Dungeons and hunting groups in the elemental planes all of the time. The problem isn't that paladins and shadowknights aren't good tanks, it is a problem with the difficulty of a specific and small set of content.
Loral's rant of the week: Where in Hate are my 65 GoD spells? I love the Lost Dungeon loot system and while I'd love to see something like that in Gates and every future expansion, I'd especially like to see it for spells. A wayfarer merchant offering up spells to those who have completed X number of Sewer and Mountain trials would give more people a chance at those spells without reducing the difficulty in acquiring them.
The Adventure Merchant system reduced the randomness of loot distribution without making it too easy to get them. It is the same as the dragon kill point systems that most uberguilds use today. It shouldn't replace dropping loot, but it could easily augment it.
So ends the rant and so ends this week's update.