We only managed to take in a couple of sessions today but, between them and the announcements from the keynote tonight there’s going to be a lot of new stuff coming for SoE games. I’m just going to go through my note book and give you the stuff that I remembered to write down along with some impressions.
The first session we made it to was a what’s in store for Legends of Norrath session. The big news was they’re coming out with a new expansion that will be the final part of the trilogy that started with the Ethernauts expansion. The goal of this trilogy was to provide some of the back story for what was going on in EQ2 with TSO so if you’re interested in the lore it might be worth it for you to play through the scenarios to get the story. They also mentioned that there would be 2 new loot cards, 1 each for EQ and EQ2. The EQ2 loot card will be a new frost themed mount that seemed to be on par stat wise with the mounts you can get from Lava. Looks wise it reminded me of the invite-a-friend horse but with a frost/ice skin. For EQ the loot card is a dragon illusion and they mean a real dragon – you know giant lizard with wings type of thing. I didn’t catch the stats but come on you can fly around as a dragon!
Next up was a session on how quests are built in EQ2. See Lore’s post below for most of the details. I will say that, having worked with Hero Engine – the engine being used in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – their design tool looked extremely flexible but it’s that flexibility that can allow the bugs to creep in. This is especially true the more complex the quest gets. They showed the dialog tree for the tradeskill tutorial and it looked like a plate of spaghetti with all of the interconnections between the nodes.
Next up was the EQ2 game mechanics session. Again Lore talks about that below but I’ll rehash my notes. First up they announced Achievements. As part of the achievement system they’re revamping the journal window to be side by side to allow a better display of information. They’re also revamping the Persona window so that they can show he info from achievements. Achievements will be things like kill 10,000 rats – much like the slayer quests of today which will be retroactively added to your achievements. There will also be exploration and tradeskill based achievements as well as potentially Class specific achievements such as heal 100 people. Achievements can also be “meta”. The example given was a test one called “Love the Humans but hate the Goblins” which you got if you completed both the “Hug 100 Humans” and the “Kill 100 Goblins” achievements. None of these will give you anything game changing. They’ll mostly be titles if anything though I do think they might consider adding a house item for some things. They did say that there are no plans for giving a buff like rewards such as you get from the Lore & Legend series. These are supposed to be about bragging rights and not something that you feel you need to do to make your character better. Oh, and I’ve heard several people mention that EQ2 isn’t WoW or that they stole this from WoW etc. Remember WoW took this from XBox Live and they did it for a reason, players love it. The good news is if it’s not your cup of tea there’s nothing that say you have to participate other than by accidently completing an achievement. Oh, and the best news is that these are per account not per character since the idea is to show the achievements of the player. This means that if you get the kill 10,000 orcs achievement you only have to do it once. So, yes, it’s possible you’ll see a level 1 running around with a title that indicates he’s slain every raid boss in Kunark but so what, the player behind that level 1 earned that title.
The second big announcement was the Auto-Mentoring system that Lore described below. The interesting part was the idea of putting together a group of people and all auto-mentoring down to say 30 and doing one of the lower level raids. Since level 80’s mentored down to 30 are going to be way over powered that group could do 2x raid encounters and possibly even 4x. This will allow you to complete those encounters at the appropriate level.
Bullet points that I gathered from the keynote tonight:
- At launch the Station Cash system only had about 5% of the players use it in both EQ and EQ2. Now about 20% of EQ players make use of it and 30% of EQ2 players.
- A new Station Cash feature will be the partnership with HP to deliver art prints of the in game artwork to your home. They plan on having the ability to buy prints of many of the current in game paintings in July and in the near future add the ability for you to get a print of your character as well.
- Another addition to Station Cash will be the ability to do an automated server transfer for $25. This should go live in 2 weeks.
- They should announce 4 Million registered users for FreeRealms next week.
- FreeRealms is adding full progression for both Demolition Derby and Race driver professions. This will include quests and equipment. Also adding the ability to customize your car so putting in garages as well.
- New soccer mini game is coming as well. It’s no FIFA but it looked like a decent arcade soccer game.
- FreeRealms TCG is adding a Card Creator system that will allow you to create a card featuring your avatar. You’ll then be able to get 10 copies of he physical card, each with a claim code, that you can give away to your friends so they can use your card in the digital game as well as the physical game.
- SW:G will be adding some user generated content as well. The Star Wars chronicle system will allow you to create player quests that feature the Iconic characters such as Luke and Vader.
- Everyone was expecting the EQ2 expansion was going to be Vellious, boy were we off base. Looks like it’s going to be Odus instead. Hopefully they’ve done something to improve lighting in Tox Forrest but other than that I’m looking forward to checking out Stonebrunt again. Wonder if The Hole is still there.
Any questions please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try and answer them.