Mobhunter: Loral's Evil Agenda, Spring 2006

With every SOE Fan Faire and every Everquest Community Summit, it is important to take a look over the entirety of the game to see what areas currently need the most attention. This season we look at the five issues facing Everquest after the release of Prophecy of Ro. Let us begin our recommendations to SOE's Everquest development team.

Add New Player Models.

With the release of more and more new massive online RPGs, the EQ models continue to look clunky and dated. Half-finished animations, strange clipping issues, and poor performance plague the Luclin models. Senior executives at SOE should consider allocating the money needed to build new player models in Everquest. With the excellent look of new zones and creatures since Omens of War, new player models would give an entirely fresh look to Everquest.

Rebuild Plane of Knowledge.

Since the release of Planes of Power, the Plane of Knowledge continues to act as a hub for players of all levels and play-styles. The layout and graphics of the Plane of Knowledge do not show Everquest's best face, nor does it include features to help players find groups. A rebuilt Plane of Knowledge with new quests, missions, monster missions, new graphic enhancements, and a layout designed for performance would help players find groups faster and begin having fun. While every other city should represent their original races and cultures, New Tanaan should be the city of the adventurers.

Add Quests and Missions for level 20 to 60.

Since Dragons of Norrath, new quests and missions have helped high level players focus on instanced group adventures with one to two hour goals. However, little has been done to enhance the mid-level game using these new tools and techniques. SOE should reevaluate the entire game from level 20 to 60 focusing on a clearer progression path, offering progressive rewards, and helping new players feel the same sense of adventure they felt in the tutorial and high level players feel in the Dragons of Norrath, Depths of Darkhollow, and Prophecy of Ro missions. Use newly discovered storytelling and gameplay techniques to make the game as good at level 20 as it is for level 70.

Add cross-server missions, monster missions, and pickup-raids.

A cross-server grouping feature would help Everquest capitalize on the vast number of players across all servers. Players could go to a set location in Norrath, such as a new tavern in the rebuilt Plane of Knowledge, and find players seeking groups on other servers. Groups would be transported to a mission, monster mission, or even a small 18 to 24 person raid instance. By disabling player to player trading, economies would remain unaffected. Players would go from a few dozen LFG players to a few hundred.

Remove Equipment Loss on Death.

With recent MMOs avoiding full equipment loss on death, it no longer makes sense for Everquest to hang on to this archaic practice. Equipment loss on death does not make the game any more difficult but instead creates the perception of great loss for new and inexperienced players. Further, bugs still threaten players' equipment as corpses disappear in crashed instances or under the world, forcing a player to wait until customer service representatives can reimburse his or her equipment. Replace equipment loss on death with a new "death effect" that reduces movement to 75% until the player receives a resurrection or 15 minutes pass. This evens out the detriment to character death for players at all levels. Removing this outdated feature also fulfills the longstanding request for a "loot all" button and removes exploits based on leaving equipment on corpses.

A Few Other Good Ideas.

- Add large experience rewards for doing missions the first time to reinforce a variety of missions.

- Help close the equipment and damage output gap between non-raiders and raiders in relation to single-group content.

- Add more instanced rewarding content between Creator and monster missions and MPG Trial, DODH missions, and POR missions.

- Add more three-person or non-ideal group instances.

In its seventh year, Everquest continues to show its strength compared to all massive online games. SOE can reinforce this strength by adding new player models, rebuilding the Plane of Knowledge, reworking the content for level 20 to 60, adding cross-server content, and removing equipment loss on death. These changes will help Everquest continue to be competitive, challenging, and fun.

Loral Ciriclight
1 April 2006