Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
EverQuest II announces major changes

In a producer's letter, EverQuest II announces major changes to all skills, spells, and how combat works. It seems that groups are only fighting red mobs, everything else being too easy, so combat will be made a lot harder. Especially stacking of different buffs will be limited. Many people will probably consider the whole combat upgrade to be a huge mega-nerf.

Or as the announcement says: "We understand that changes of this magnitude, even when many of them are positive, can be disconcerting."

To me it reinforces the impression that EQ2 wasn't anywhere close to ready when it was released. EQ2 has 400,000 paying beta testers, which were subjected to major "disconcerting" changes from day one. I just hope that all these changes end up making the game better, although I have my doubts that making combat harder will win them many fans.
I'm optimistic that the change will make for a more enjoyable game.

There are also a bunch of other changes going in today as well. No more fish chasing you across land; every guild member can contribute to the guild since patrons are being removed; group XP debt is gone.

One thing I see clearly blogging about EQ2 - I never write about combat. It's just not interesting to write about your battles most of the time. I actually write about tradeskilling, but never combat! If they can change that and make combat more interesting they're on the right track.
WoW may not be doing this to the same massive level, but there is definately classes in WoW that weren't up to par.

Obvious by the constant changes.

Grabbed a quote off ya Tobold for my writeup on the SOE effect.
Interestingly enough CoH has done pretty much exactly the same thing as far a combat rebalancing goes, not once but twice. And yet CoH is frequently lauded as a well run game.

I think the SoE effect is nothing more nor less than the effect whereby people will use the slightest excuse to bash SoE.

Anyone who believes that WoW was in some way "more ready" than EQ2 is living in some kind of bizzarro alternate reality. EQ2 gets the better of WoW on bugs and server stability, WoW gets the better of EQ2 on initial content and class balance.

WoW is just a better game than EQ2 in my opinion.

Personally I've gone back to the pure uncut crack that is EQ, ironically because I can achieve something with a group in an hour of playtime, which I can't do in WoW, where instance runs seem to take 2 hours plus, with the emphasis on the plus.
No you are choosing content in WoW that takes 2+ hours. And wtf are you smoking about EQ 1 hour content? EQ takes an hour at least just to form a group... let alone get to where you are needed and do what you want.

Maybe EQ1... where players have years of experience on content... but not EQ2.

If you are logging in for an hour of EQ and have a group sitting ready for you... then you can do the same pre-planning in WoW and run any of the smaller instances in the same amount of time. The extreme raid content dungeons require the hours and hours and emphasis on +

This is something Blizzard is filling in with middle ground content... less people and less time for epic rewards. ZG 20 man raid dungeon for example. Also smaller and faster BGs for PvP content. Also WoW you can log into solo and actually get something done anytime of the day unlike the group forcing EQs.

World of Warcraft was ready for launch. It had content and balance. The combat, crafting, and other systems were fleshed out and finished.

All that was left was bug fixing, minor balance. Like I stated before... there was some WoW classes that were not up to snuff for Blizzard and they are fixing them, but overall they were very playable at launch. EQ2 IS COMPLETELY REBUILDING THEIR CORE SYSTEM. They are changing how the game plays... that sir is sign of a problem.

And server stability in EQ2... coming from the game that golds the record for conesecutive downtime of 2+ days and handles 1/30th of the traffic of WoW. WoW is far from perfect, but it has performed remarkably well for the volume of players playing every minute of the day.

And SOE has provided two great examples of their craptacular process... and if you've played Planetside you could essintially say three major games for SOE have been launch now and fix later.
heartless, I'm going to ignore the points where you agree with me but put a WoW fanboi spin on things.

I didn't say EQ2 is a good game. Its a terrible game. What I said is the combat changes are no more or less drastic than the changes made to CoH. Take all the class/talent changes in WoW that have gradually gone in and it adds up to some changes at a similar level also (although in general buffy rather than nerfy, which is very smart of them). Warlocks and Hunters would not describe their buffs as minor balance. Neither was the 30% nerf to paladin dps.

Let's compare EQ to WoW on the specific points I mentioned:

Finding a group:
EQ: global search and LFG tool
WoW: be in a good guild or spam in capital city.

EQ: click stone or use guildhall. then maybe a 5 minute run.
WoW: Get on a zeppelin, then a griffon ride. then a run. 5-15 minutes depending on where you need to go.

Time taken to get _genuine_ progression at high end with a single group:
EQ: PG trials or Creator take under an hour. Both give access to high quality items.
WoW: Instances that give worthwhile rewards take 2 hours plus.

What smaller instances are you talking about? At my level everyone was doing Zulfarrak and Sunken Temple. Forming a group wasnt too bad, but both of them took several hours. I'm aware this isn't the highest of high ends, but I didn't get the impression there was some easy level 60 instance you could run through in half an hour.
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