Mobhunter: Pretty in Pink

Sony Online Entertainment opened dozens of new forums on the Everquest Live site. They created forums for all classes, servers, and a new Veterans lounge to offset the wildly off topic Newbie Lounge. Brenlo, the Everquest community relations manager, posts often on these new forums. SOE has added a handy dev tracker to help us track what's being said by the official folk.

One of the reasons that SOE replaced the forums is to combat the purchase of community forums by Internet Gaming Entertainment. IGE is a company who sells in-game equipment, characters, and plat for real world money, a direct violation of the Everquest end user license agreement.

I could write a few thousand words on this topic but most cool heads recognize that the developers didn't design Everquest with the purchase of in-game products for real world money in mind. Selling Everquest commodities for real money ties the virtual economy of Everquest to our real-life economy. Factors in real life economy, such as cheap off-shore labor, effect in-game economy by lowering the value of plat and thus raising the cost of items significantly.

By creating class forums within the SOE website, Sony offers a discussion area that is not supported by a company that helps users violate their license agreement.

While these official forums help battle the hideous tyranny of IGE, they may harm solid and honorable community forums such as Graffe's and the Safehouse. Forums such as Graffe's and the Safehouse offer a lot of support to the Everquest community. They offer excellent discussions and details of the game moderated by an outside party.

Creating an army of new forums opens SOE up to Big Brother conspiracy theories but they have shown their objectivity and speak often on difficult topics.

How this will conclude isn't clear but in the mean time we have some fast forums that are ad-free and use your normal Everquest login.

On the Future Plans page, in a message that appeared and then shortly disappeared, SOE hinted at more Lost Dungeon of Norrath adventure zones:

Yearning for adventure? Can't get enough LDON goodness? Then rejoice, as we plan to add more adventure zones to the Legends server, Stormhammer! Go to for details on the Legends service.

I went to the EQLive website - as I do every day - and didn't see any more information about it. The spies reporting back from Stormhammer say that the new LDON zone released last week restricts players below level 50. By creating zones that dynamically populate themselves with creatures from level 20 to level 65 SOE created one of the greatest innovations in Everquest history. Gates of Discord includes no such zones and this LDON freebie zone doesn't seem to follow the same model as other LDON zones. I hope that the adventure zones mentioned above will offer the wide level range of original LDON zones. This fellow posted some excellent ideas for new adventure types.

SOE released a patch this week along with the required prime time post-patch patch. Here's the message:

"We have improved collision checking.
System perfomance should be improved.

Rogue Combat Abilities
We have made the following changes to the rogue Sneak Attack line:

Sneak Attack will now make your next backstab attempt always hit and do extra damage. You may only use a Sneak Attack ability after being hidden for a few seconds. Once you become visible, you must attack quickly or the advantage will be lost.

This change affects the following abilities:

Sneak Attack
Thief's Vengeance
Assassin's Strike
Kyv Strike
Ancient: Chaos Strike

Patching during prime-time hours upsets a lot of folks. Some nights it is nice to get a break and know that I'm not missing anything. In perhaps the worst nerf in history, Sony released and then a few hours later destroyed our glorious pink-bordered spell icons. Sony fixed some other strange bugs that had creatures getting stuck in trees or falling through the earth in the later patch.

Rogues received the biggest change in this patch. SOE gave rogues what some have described as a laughably worthless skill that guaranteed critical hits with ranged weapons, a skill most rogues care little for. SOE replaced this with a skill that gives them an automatic hit on backstabs under certain conditions. Rogues gave the new skills mixed reviews.

The latest Fan Faire starts Thursday. It has some excellent panels including a panel on Everquest fiction hosted by R.A. Salvatore. I dream of panels like this. I am a huge fan of his books and have written Everquest fan fiction for the last four years. Unfortunately I live on the east coast and will not be able to attend. If you are attending the Fan Faire, please take excellent notes and post as much information as you can.

So ends this weeks update. I expect some excellent information to come out of the Fan Faire for next week. Keep an eye on early April for the new graveyard zone and give those new forums a try.