Phinigel – No Box For You!

Phinigel, our… savior?

Phinigel Autropos
Oh Hai!

So back in August I wrote an article about the possible non-boxing EQ progression server, and the hope I had about such a server. Well, it’s officially official now: Phinigel is upon us!

The new server, will become available in just a few short weeks, on December 9, 2015. As I read the server information I was both happy about most of the details, but also a bit flummoxed about a few of the choices that have been made. Let me sum up the feature list and then I’ll dive into my “WTH” list, which is actually pretty short, for once.

Phinigel is a “True Box Progression Server

Multiboxing done right!
This is actually a pretty sweet setup for EQ… and they could play SFII during downtime between spawns!

This means that ostensibly you will be limited to one active character per machine, like our lord and savior Brad McQuaid intended. The question remains of course, how are they going to limit this? Process snooping that looks for other instances of eqgame.exe running? Unique machine tokens generated at launch time that identify what host a client session is coming from? Magic?

Regardless of the mechanism they use, you can rest assured someone will circumvent it. However I do feel that the overwhelming majority of people looking to multi-box will do so elsewhere, so it should at least help on the whole.

What does this mean for you and me? Well if we want to play more than one character, we will need to do so with multiple machines.

Remember setups like this out there? I remember there being threads on various EQ boards discussing the “ultimate boxing setup” and whatnot.

Raid Instancing

Naggy
I’ll be waiting for you… every 6.5 days!

This is a decision that I have mixed feelings about. Part of the joy of playing EverQuest was always the competition to race for a raid mob. Instancing will almost completely remove that thrill of competition.

With that said, for me and the majority of my friends that would be playing with me, our real life situations have changed so drastically since the “glory days” of raiding in EQ that this will actually be a pretty welcome change for us.

The batphone can go jump off a building. When we’re ready to do a mob and have actually gotten all our grownup responsibilities done, then we’ll go fight that dragon, giant, or whatever other baddie is the target. EQ on our schedule.

The cool part of this is that the mobs (Vox, Naggy, Phinigel, Yael, etc.) will still spawn in the regular world as well, so pickup raids and races for the “extra” mob could still theoretically happen, thereby not

The gotcha to keep this in check is that once you have completed an instanced raid on a mob you will receive a 6.5 day account lockout on that instance. So no hopping onto an alt to re-farm that mob, unless of course that alt is on another account. I really feel this is a good balance that will hopefully prevent complete mudflation from running rampant. At least a guy can hope, right? Right.

The biggest issue I have with this item is that it appears, per the dev notes, that they are keeping the “difficulty adjusted” nature of the raid mobs. Now to be completely fair I have not been part of a raid engagement on Ragefire or Lockjaw, so maybe the difficulty adjustments are just flat-out required to balance the increase in player power that has happened over the years. (IE: a level 50 warrior on the modern engine is far more powerful than a level 50 warrior in 1999 or 2000, for certain.) Assuming that’s the case, I guess my qualm with this one is minor, I just hope it isn’t a drastic change from the original experience. If you’ve seen any of these encounters on Ragefire or Lockjaw, please pipe up in comments to let me know!

Content Unlocks Every 90 Days

This one I just don’t get… at all.

From the release notes:

Players won’t vote to unlock content on Phinigel, and the server won’t wait until all of the raid content is defeated before the expansion unlock timers start. Instead, every 90 days, expansion content will unlock on this server.

That means 90 days of Classic EverQuest, 90 days of The Ruins of Kunark, 90 days of The Scars of Velious, etc. This is a server for players that want to move through the content faster than the previous progression servers have allowed.

The entire point of having a non-multiboxing server, in my mind, is to let players progress at an organic pace, appropriate to the encounters required to unlock the next expansion. I get that voting is a pain in the butt, so fine, do away with it and go with a standard progression requirement as you have in the past. I guess the thing that gets to me is that Phinigel isn’t really going to be a “progression server”, it’s just going to be a forced content-delay server. There aren’t going to be any restrictions in place to keep the next expansion from unlocking, which defeats the purpose of calling it a progression server, in my opinion.

It feels like Daybreak doesn’t fully understand why so many people wanted a non-boxing server. Sure we want community, yeah, totally… but we also want that natural progression where leveling and gearing up for raid encounters is critical to progressing onto the new, harder content. Phinigel is kinda’ not what I had hoped for in that regard, I guess. Not a deal breaker, as this is probably the best situation we’re likely to get, but it is what it is.

Make Friends; You’ll Need Them

This is what EQ has historically been about, teaming up with others, forming bonds through shared experiences and making friends. To this day several of my very closest friends are people I met in EverQuest, be that on live or emulated servers. Some of them I’ve never met in person, some of them I see a few times a year, but the fact remains that EverQuest has been the basis for some of my most enduring friendships. The inability to one-man power through content should provide ample opportunity for folks to chat it up and get to know and depend upon each other. I’m very much looking forward to that!

All Access Membership Required

Good. I’m glad. Now do away with the terrible Krono concept for Phinigel, please. If we are required to have a subscription and multi-boxing is discouraged, then make Krono NoDrop..ahem… “No Trade” sorry, I forget that term got changed at some point… so that the economy isn’t held hostage the the price of a monthly subscription. It’s a terrible basis for an economic system. It’s a glorified Real Money Trading scheme, that if the server is successful, is completely unwarranted in this case.

Ultimately, I’m optimistic for Phinigel to be a success. I do still find myself shaking my head at some of the choices DBG have made, but they aren’t major enough to preclude me from jumping in on this one.

What are your thoughts on the new server? Drop a line in the comments!

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