There is an interview about the new graphic engine with Robert Pfister, Everquest producer. The engine is due out this spring. One big question is how many people will be stuck without a Direct X 9 card. Even if it is 1% thats about 4000 players [thanks for the math checks].
The other questions are a lot more fun to dream about. Will we see new character models? Will the frame rates for raids get better? Will my uber-Everquest machine run even better now? Can Everquest be played on cheaper and cheaper hardware? There's little information on a lot of these questions but there are some good answers and implications in the interview.
For the Everquest sandwich board "The End is Nigh!" crowd, it would appear they have multiple expansions in the works or they wouldn't bother upgrading the engine. We can expect increased graphic features (fogs, lighting, shadows, better animations) in future expansions due to this upgrade. SOE is working to make Everquest not only the most content-rich
but also one of the better looking MMORPGs on the market. We'll see how it compares to other MMORPGs but right now there isn't much to compare it to.
I noticed that our old friend Moorgard has a weblog on his adventures surrounding Everquest 2. Here's Moogard's adventures in China and here's Moorgard's first blog entry if you happened to miss it. His first entry is an interesting look at his daily life. His second covers a trip to China to spread EQ2's evil propaganda in a country built on evil propaganda. Here's a couple of interesting quotes:
"Knowing that thousands of people are going to be dissecting the minutest aspect of everything I say, I want to make sure my [Lies] are worded in the most correct manner possible."
"While there were some amazingly elaborate booths set up to show off various games, our purpose was not to put on a huge public demo [read: All of our glossy pictures of scantily clad women got confiscated as weapons of terror at the airport ]."
This amazing EQ2 screenshot shows how realistic the environment is, but the models could use some work.
Moorgard failed to do the two things all bloggers must always do: apologize for not posting sooner and swear to keep writing more in the future.
People are still hammering away at the content of Gates of Discord. We're starting to see some three-week reviews popping up here and there. Most angst seems to come from the expansion's high difficulty and low experience reward. I have a friend who was earning 6% of an AA per kill in a full group in Fire fighting mobs that were about half as difficult as the blue mobs in the sewer trials.
People are already referring to the various trials as "timesinks". Timesinks seem to be anything you don't like doing. The whole game can be a timesink. If you like doing something, it's entertaining. If you don't like doing something, it's a time sink. Of course, if you don't like doing something, why do it? Who am I to say. I got torn apart by vampires in a hard LDON adventure last night so I'm a ways from passing those 1200 damage gnat trials.
Aside from the login server croaking on Saturday morning, the servers have been up and stable, so we have the priviledge to be torn to shreds by tiny insects.