Everquest 2 hit the shelves on Tuesday and the world didn't end. Few people know exactly what will happen over the next six months but numbers in EQ will no doubt be low throughout the next few weeks. For the raiding guilds that require 54 people all night every night, this might end up causing a bit of trouble but for the single-group pickup hunters, life shouldn't be so bad. There will be less groups overall but each group still needs six members. Spots that were once over camped may open up. The great hoards of treasure falling out of the lands of Kuua should distribute to fewer people, giving each one a greater chance for a nice item or rune of power.
Not all communication methods are up and running yet between EQ and EQ2 but cross-game tells and EQ2 channel joining from EQ1 works. From within EQ you can send a tell to your EQ2 friend by typing "[tell eq2.antonia_bayle.pavlen hail" where antonia_bayle is the servername he or she is on and pavlen is his or her character name. You can send a tell from EQ2 to Everquest by typing "/tell eq.quellious.loral hello". I hoped that this would be a little easier. With all of the various / ; [ ways to send tells it is easy to get confused. One would think, with the various server names, that we wouldn't have to put the game title in front to send a tell. "/tell antonia_bayle.pavlen" has enough information to tell the vast self-aware machine farm at SOE that I want to send a tell to EQ2. "[tell eq2.antonia_bayle.pavlen" makes me feel like I'm writing my own email headers.
Moorgard announced that you can also send tells to Star Wars Galaxies characters using the same method: "/tell swg.servername.charname message". I don't know anyone playing SWG so I couldn't test it out.
Everquest 2 players cannot yet subscribe to EQ1 channels but you can subscribe to EQ2 channels within EQ1 by typing "[join eq2.servername.channel" (there's that stupid bracket again). Hopefully we'll see EQ1 channel subscribing from within EQ2 soon.
I plan to write a full review and comparison of Everquest 2 during a slow news week but I love it so far. It won't drag me off of EQLive any time soon, but the quest system is very rewarding and I hope we see a system like it in EQLive sometime soon.
SOE released the details of the backflagging solution this week. Some mobs, like those in Plane of Time, drop items that let previously unflagged players become flagged. Some zones require a single-group quest once an unflagged player acquired a quest piece from a raid-level mob inside the zone they wish to enter. Most zones will soon have an 85-15 rule, allowing 15% of a raid to enter a zone without needing a flag. There will be a variety of other quests to backflag people for lower-tier Planes of Power zones. Read the full backflagging report from my summit friend, Emil.
This is a fine solution for backflagging. It will not help unflagged groups get flags, however. At this point in the game's life, I don't know that that matters. Unflagged raiding organizations now have a wide range of unflagged raids to conquer. Gates and Omens offer a lot of unflagged raid-level content with rewards higher than Plane of Time. I still see many guilds or raiding groups banging their heads on the walls of Time and losing members in the process. With the probable drop in members due to EQ2, Grand Theft Auto, Halo 2, WoW, and the holidays in general, an enterprising raid force would be wise to try new targets with greater rewards. It is also a good time to open your doors a little bit and let some typical non-raiders into your raids.
Grumbuk, SOE's resident coder at the Fan Faire, wrote a lengthy report on some current collision changes. We can expect a few performance tweaks in areas that previously gave us a bit of trouble and getting out of that chilly water should finally come a bit easier.
A series of strange new spells, all available to level 20 priests and casters, hit the dark pages of Lucy on the 9th. These spells, called "blessings" each correspond to one of the known gods. When cast, these spells summon a strange unknown item. If I had to guess, and it is probably wishful thinking on my part, I would say they could summon a single-charge, no-rent gate device usable by typical non-gaters. If it isn't, well, it should be.
Caster's Realm, one of the more popular EQ websites, underwent a change of command. Baelish, the previous administrator, moved on to help SOE develop the Station Players website for EQ2. My friend Gemdiver, the previous administrator of the wizard community forum, Graffe's, now maintains Caster's Realm and plans to take it to all new levels. He recruited a few community writers to write content for the site including your favorite cleric who started with a Raidleader's Guide to Raiding posted late last week. Now if I can just convince Gemdiver not to burn Plane of Knowledge to the ground, I could make real progress.
It's been a slow couple of weeks since the Fan Faire but in December we can expect a patch or two with some exciting changes. In the mean time, help save the Dragorns from the plight of their Muramite overlords and get some fine armor in the process.
11 November 2004