Mobhunter: Loral's Evil Agenda

Next week SOE is hosting a visit for guild leaders and community representatives to talk about the state of the Everquest and get feedback. This article outlines the evil agenda I plan to bring to San Diego and hand to the Everquest developers.

I cannot speak for the entire community. I read the message boards every day. I play hours every night. I talk to low level players, high level players, raiders, casual hunters, trade-skillers, and everyone in between and I have no doubt that I am missing the majority of opinions. We have no idea what all 400,000 players think. Few players post to message forums. Few players send feedback. Few players even bother to read websites like this one. It's impossible to know what they think needs to be fixed. I can, however, give my view on the state of Everquest and the features I believe will help the game.

Lets begin Loral's Evil Agenda:

Focus on single-group content. The six-person group was once the single unit that all content was balanced against. Planes of Power and Gates of Discord put raiding and raid-equipped players above moderately equipped single groups. Increase content for single groups. Increase high-end equipment opportunities for single group hunters. Use adventure merchants, expeditions, and instanced zones to bring more content and progression opportunities to single group hunters. Make the six person group the focus of Everquest again.

Offer easier corpse recovery for old world and Gates of Discord zones. Planes of Power and Lost Dungeons of Norrath offer excellent escapes for nasty corpse recoveries. Befallen, Blackburrow, Kaesora, Dalnirs Crypt, and all other old-world dungeons offer no such option. The Plane of Fear has a higher risk than any raiding zone in Planes of Power. Don't punish Befallen hunters with horrible corpse recoveries while Plane of Fire hunters recover in 20 minutes.

Offer quest, adventure-point, or vendor alternatives for level 65 and GoD spells. For single group hunters, level 65 spells are rare and gates of discord spells are almost non-existent. Offer quests or adventure point systems for high level spells. Give casual hunters a clear path to these spells. Place level 65 and GoD spells on LDON adventure merchants or add a similar system to GoD.

Offer progressive content in 30 minutes or less. Many players have limited play time. There is little progress anyone can make in thirty minutes. Many people solo and work on trade skills when they have limited time. Improve solo content; improve trade skill content; add adventure-point based task systems.

Add higher-end equipment to LDON adventure merchants. Lost Dungeons offers a fair and consistent method for acquiring equipment. Players are able to progress towards powerful gear in small steps. This equipment lacks power when compared to Elemental, Time, and GoD equipment. Add high-cost equipment with two slot 3s, higher power melee weapons, and augments with the higher-end focus effects such as Marr's Gift, Preservation of Xegony, Mana Regeneration +3 and +4, and Faerune.

Add more Lost Dungeon content including zones, adventure types, and rewards. Many players love Lost Dungeons and want more adventure types, zones, and lower power raid content. Add new adventure types and rebalance the rescue and assassination quests. Increase the cash and experience rewards. Use the expedition feature of Gates of Discord in Lost Dungeons so people can come and leave in the early parts of an adventure.

Make the Sewers, Vxed, and Tipt easier to get to, easier to recover from, easier to battle in, and offer more significant rewards. These zones are very hard for their current rewards and many powerful groups fail in the last few minutes of a four hour hunt. Tune these zones for high level characters without raid-level equipment.

Minor Quips and Suggestions:

Fix sitting animations for male elves. Why do I still look like a statue when I sit?

Revamp Sky and Fear. Fear is the only zone left where people cannot get a safe summon at the zone in. It is the hardest of the Planes with the worst loot. The time for three-day sky raids is over. Let Call of the Hero work in Sky.

Debug quests. A lot of people fail on quests when they hand in stacks. The rat whisker quest still eats stacks of rat wiskers without returning them. Buggy quests frustrate players of all levels. Add better quality control to quest and trade skill content.

Support dual-monitor systems. I'd love to put my buff and extra chat windows on another monitor while using my main monitor for the world view, target, and group windows. Duel monitor support adds a lot of capability for high-end systems.

Offer partial refunds on adventure-merchant augments. A 50% refund wouldn't unbalance the game and would give people some points back for future gear.

No more rats, bats, and spiders. I've fought these throughout my 65 levels and 260 AA points. Its time I fought nothing smaller than a armadillo.

Loral Ciriclight
31 May 2004