EverQuest Progression History
Back in May of this year (2015) I did something I hadn’t done in a decade: subscribed to EverQuest.
The Ragefire server was built as a Time Locked Progression Server. The quick and dirty on what the hell that means is this:
A progression server is one that requires certain tasks be accomplished before the next expansion can be unlocked. Generally this means killing certain/all raid bosses in the currently unlocked expansion. On a time locked server that idea is pushed even further, with a minimum time line established in which the next content can be unlocked. For Ragefire, that meant 6 months per expansion as a minimum.
Then came the hardcore crowd; people who pay for and run 6+ accounts at once (using 3rd party programs that once upon a time would have been against the rules) and steamroll the content. Within a week or two, I believe it was, the first “vanilla EQ” raid targets had been killed. Messages would broadcast to the entire server along the lines of “Congratulate SoandsoMageFour for defeating target XYZ!” Mages were totally broken and people would roll up a full group of them to play. Mages were so overpowered that I made one after getting my Paladin to level 40 and passed him within a week or two, the time line is a bit fuzzy a few months on.
Daybreak Games (DBG) decided that the raid targets weren’t hard enough and adjusted the difficulty so that it was more difficult in general and additionally harder to multi-box the raid content. I understand where they’re coming from on that, but the fact remains that it alters the “Classic EQ Experience” by changing 17-year-established game content.
The hardcore raiders were still able to defeat the encounters and people started to complain about waiting until November or December for Kunark (the next expansion) to release. This comes from two schools of thought: 1) The hardcore want more raid targets 2) the casuals want the hardcore to move on to the latest content, hopefully leaving behind the current content for them to finally try out.
This approach is the complete wrong answer though, for the large percentage of people who resubscribed to EQ for the classic experience and here’s why. The solution DBG laid out was to hold a vote about voting. This literally meant there was a poll about “should we open up voting about Kunark early”, which flies in the face of the “Time locked” portion of “Time locked Progression”. 6 months was the minimum time slot for “Classic EQ” before Kunark could unlock. But the people paying $90/mo for 6 accounts didn’t like that, so they wanted to have said “Vote to Vote”. (Yes, I get that a lot of multiboxers pay for their subscriptions through Krono, but someone somewhere is buying that game time.)
The votes were tallied and on both Progression servers (Ragefire and Lockjaw) and the majority of players selected “leave the time line alone, we don’t want to vote” – which I fully expected; after all this rule set was the whole reason many people subscribed. Here’s where it gets a bit messy, though. Daybreak then took the fact that both servers voted to keep the current time line and threw it out the window, deciding to change Ragefire to a “vote in 3 months” schedule and keep Lockjaw at the normal 6 month vote. If you don’t like that you will be allowed to move from Ragefire to Lockjaw for free, but the fact remains a) that’s not how voting works and b) I argue that that’s not the right solution!
Here’s the solution that would’ve made me happier (and still subscribed): Stand up another “TLP” server and let the people who want to have stuff unlock sooner transfer to it, allowing the majority that voted to keep the original time line to stay where they are. Anyhow, I won’t bore you with the details, but if you want to read a great summary of my feelings on the topic check out Keen and Graev’s writeup here.
This treatment of the community along with the often unpleasant environment due to trains and having camps taken over (with no recourse) by fully boxed groups drove me away in early July. I made sure to voice my reasons in my unsubscription comments, but knew that it was a matter of financial investment for Daybreak – it makes money to allow people to 6+ box on these servers, since that’s 6+ paying subscriptions / Krono consumers.
Time Locked Progression 2: Electric Boogaloo… ?
I was so disappointed at the situation that I essentially walked away from EQ and didn’t look back. I resumed playing on Project1999 (which recently had the launc of the Velious expansion) and have been having fun with some friends over there. On a whim today I popped over to read the EQ Live dev notes from recent weeks and noticed a post that included the following:
We have been listening to a lot of feedback and discussing some options so we are starting a plan for a special rules server for winter for those people looking for a different experience. We are working on the details, but it seems like a No Bot/No Box Progression server could be a lot of fun (and we might explore some other additions as well). It requires some coding to enforce a single client per computer, so winter seems likely for that release, after the upcoming Campaign.
My first reaction: THIS! SO MUCH THIS!
My second reaction: “I wonder how this will be screwed up?”
I really, truly want to believe this will work. At the same time I fear that it’ll be screwed up somehow. I 100% would resubscribe if we could get a true Time Locked Progression server with a no bot / no box rule set that actually worked. Otherwise I’m just not interested anymore and will continue to play on the emulated servers I already enjoy.
Would you play on the new no-boxing Progression server(s)?