A new server named after that new shady 'hero' of ours, Mordin Rasp, has gone live. The reason for the new server was explained by over-population due to Gates of Discord. I don't think technical limitations on players-per-server exist, at least not in numbers we like to think about, so we can only assume this is to spread out some of the higher-end guilds who may be butting heads for higher-end content. Considering Gates of Discord has a lot of new high-end content to spread out the existing uberguilds anyway, those numbers must be quite large.
While one could argue about the results of a consolidation of servers, the prophets of doom will have to put away their "Everquest is Dying" sandwich boards for at least a while. Dying games don't bring up new servers for overpopulation problems.
Rod Humble was kind enough to stop by our previous article and explain that server stability was due to the casino. The casino was shut down, supposedly for some bureaucratic Shadow Haven alcohol and hem-line ordinance, but server stability has continued to be an issue all weekend. People are going linkdead upon zoning and are often stuck at the server select screen because of login-server flooding. Again, we can assume that the amount of returning players are creating a larger load, but hopefully we will see this fixed soon. It doesn't do well to have such instability so soon after a large expansion release.
I tried the casino before it was boarded up and lost two hundred plat in perhaps four seconds. I decided my days as a high roller were over and went back to hugging trees for a living.
Tribute modifications are another big topic. Here's the text from Friday's patch message:
"The Tribute system as it was released has caused a greater variance in favor distribution than was intended. In order to make the system more healthy, fair, and balanced, there will be changes made over two updates -- one today and one next week.
The following changes have been made today:
- Favor Maximum: There will be a maximum limit of 200,000 favor that a player character can have available at any time. If a player has accumulated more than 200,000 favor at the time of this change, the character will retain its favor, but will not be able to add to it until it falls below 200,000.
- Favor Value Adjustments to Items: Some items have had their favor value adjusted to be more appropriate. For this update, this will not affect the favor amount that a player has gained by handing in items that have had their favor values adjusted.
For next week's update, we will be adjusting each character's favor amounts based on any items that were handed in to Tribute Masters that have had their favor values adjusted.
We hope you continue to enjoy the benefits of the Tribute system and Gates of Discord.
In other words: Play, raid and be merry, for tomorrow we nerf."
Before the change I had turned in two LDON items for 45,000 points total. When I checked today, a third LDON item was still receiving 17,000 points. A newly dropped LDON item, however, only gave me 1000 points. Though far lower, I can understand why most items were given new values.
200,000 tribute points can give you four focus effects and Flowing Thought for about two hundred hours. If tribute points were too easy to get, everyone would have them all of the time. The increased costs let people get the effects they want but at a high cost. Too low and it simply increases everyone's power for no loss and no work and devalues static items with those same effects. Why buy a Healing Improvement item when you can get the tribute for next to nothing?
There should high, perhaps painful, cost for tributes. You should have to feed the dragon to gain his powers and now the dragon is hungry.
Illia of Allakhazam's has added tribute points to Lucy. You can look up the current tribute points on items such as the Greatstaff of Thunder, Planar Lance of Torment, and Delightful Orb of Forgotten Magic (which doesn't appear to be nerfed yet).
People are upset about these changes and they have a right to be. We would have hoped that tribute values were stable on release. Nerfs are always far more vexing than increases in low-powered problems.
An unannounced option to show spell effects for only you and your beastly target was added recently. Pressing ALT O and clicking "display" shows you the new spell effect options. If you haven't tried the new spell effects yet, do so. They are beautiful.
It is too early to report on the content of Gates of Discord. Server wide channels are buzzing with links to some powerful items and we hear reports of many zones and many of the mobs in them without much to base fact against fiction. We will watch to see what content the high-end guilds gain as well as the casual single-group adventurers. In the coming weeks we will see how it plays out. Keep reading.