Don't those emulated servers usually have some kind of exp bonus applied to them? I haven't played on one in years, but I remember that being a perk.
I'm curious why this is? I could understand it if people wanted the EQ + Kunark + Velious experience, but in all the emulators I see, none of them really give that. They seem more likely to give the "EQ + RoK + SoV, but change this cause that's stupid, and oh, I hated that thing, so change that, etc. etc. etc."
So without this turning into a trollfest, I'm curious what people think the reasoning is? And why do we need SO MANY DIFFERENT emu servers?
Oh, and I get the EQMac, old-school vibe. I do. I wish we could snap our fingers and make it happen.
And just in case people don't know who I am, I'm the Assistant Lead Designer on EQ. And I'm 100% seriously asking this question.
Don't those emulated servers usually have some kind of exp bonus applied to them? I haven't played on one in years, but I remember that being a perk.
I've played on a few emu servers. Always for the PvP / old(er) school feel.
Take EZserver. It's a fun server to dink around on once in awhile (and feel like a God), with a end game that can actually have some depth too it. (At least I think it did. Haven't touched it in years).
Others like The hidden forest or SoD give a "EQ feel", but bring an entirely new game.
And of course you got P99, the closest thing to a server that a lot of old school EQ players have been screaming for. (Sony won't give it to us, so someone took the initiative to create one as best as possible).
And a lot are just servers that people put together to test/learn, or to dink around with with a few friends.
Honestly it's just people wanting to play EQ, but play it in their own way.
One reason that I see is some players want God mode. Ability to solo raids and see all the things they never got to.
Another big thing is custom content. Many emu use it.
Lastly emu is the only option for playing older content. You can say do it on live but the reality is that level 100s still farm it. If there are no new progression servers, those people usually go to emu.
Comparatively, classic EQ and modern EQLive are two totally different games. Anyone who played or is a fan of classic era EQ is going to log in to EQLive today and be bombarded by a million different gimmicky features introduced since their departure, and a vastly different gameworld. This is why the most popular emulated server is the closest approximation to classic anybody has been able to achieve outside of time-traveling to 1999. At a ~1.1k population during peak times no other emu comes close and this is even more impressive considering other servers allow multi boxing and P99 does not. It's (for the most part) the game those players are familiar with and enjoy. I think the bit about most emus altering their settings is just an ode to some amateur game designers or people having some fun screwing around and sharing it with the emu community, because that's what it has always been about.
Keep in mind I played only until Underfoot, but when I quit it felt like the game was almost unrecognizable compared to its original/early coveted classic form; and while I enjoyed some of the updates made to the game over time, I still like it the old way.
You are right though, most emu servers don't offer vanilla, and when one came along that did, it became a success.
All of this is just my opinion and experiences. I consider myself a pretty die-hard EQ nerd, and some of my fondest gaming memories all came out of this world. I play on p99. I can tell you the reason I play it over live is for several reasons. My experience on live was in a very active raiding guild from launch to PoP.
- Less unused content - what I mean is that almost all areas of the world are populated.
- Smaller, tighter community - I played on Fippy from RoK - PoP and it had that feeling of everyone knowing everyone. When I came to play on Live, it was filled with bots and spammers and there was so much to do it was overwhelming, which eventually led me to play on Fippy, and ultimately P99.
- Guild Drama - no instancing means fights, backstabbing, bullies and white knights.
- Specifically for P99 - the exp is about as close to live as I can remember it, including penalties.
- I quit live during PoP, and came back a few years ago to find old zones changed (New Freeport sucks...seriously). I personally play EQ to enjoy a world that for me, was completed in Velious.
For many of us on p99, I'm sure it's a similar set of circumstances. I've made more friends in my 12 months on P99 than I have in any other MMO since EQ live (and I've played just about all of them, some for more time than I did EQ).
Theres something about starting over that for many of us, is just really fun. Having a smaller community (although I'll bet P99 has more active, unique players than some live servers), packed into less content means more confrontations, connections and experiences. There's less isolation than in current MMO's.
While there are many EMU servers, only P99 really has a large playerbase, and it's about as close to classic as any of them have ever been. I suspect this has lended largely to its success.
My best friends to this day are people I met in EQ. I communicate with maybe 1 or two people I played every other MMO with since. And this coming from someone that games an average of 6 hours a day.
A lot of folks stopped playing around PoP.
You logon to EQ for some old school fun and there's people everywhere in alien illusions with Expansion_46 gear that 9m hitpoints and every piece of armor glows a different color.
Emus give a more familiar experience, the same way old Rolling Stones fans haven't bought any of their new albums in 30 years.
I'm thinking the biggest problem with the EverQuest Emulator community is that they don't know what they want until they find what they want. And there is no answer to the question "Why do we need more than one emulated EverQuest server?" - it simply needs to support different playstyles between all players. People play the game their way and EQLive pidgeonholes you into a single vision of what EverQuest should be. People turn to multiple emulated servers for different types of gameplay in the same engine.
For the longest time, Elidroth, EQEmulator was on its last legs in 2006-2007 and we were all in a similar position to where EQ1 is right now, asking the same questions you are. What did people actually want?
I made a few servers, none of which held interest until I found a friend of mine, Ailia, who had an excellent idea of making stats simplified. INT increased damage, WIS increased healing, etc. We plopped that server in there as an experiment to hone our coding/database skills. I learned a lot through the experience that made me 'somewhat competent' as a designer, and a coder. Cue 2008 when ClassicEQ was launched and the influx of classic enthusiasts.
When ClassicEQ (now known as EQClassic) launched, people wanted to relive the glory days - this was apparent on the SOE EQ forums, where a 163-page thread was made - and if SOE wasn't going to bring them the product they wanted, they switched to EQEmulator. Myself included; I primarily got interested in EQEmulator development in 2004-2006 because I was dissatisfied with EQLive/EQ2 at that point and wanted to make my own game in an already existing engine that solved the things I hated. But see, here's the thing: I didn't know WHAT *I* hated about EQ1, only that the game was less than desirable to play.
Personally, I think the biggest problem with EQ1 is the amount of time it takes to get relevant, and the amount of content that is simply unused is abhorrently silly. If you cut EQ down to the zones that were only relevant, the client download would be somewhere around 800MB. That's a ton of content that you aren't using, a ton of content people have to voluntarily play.
That being said, my opinion differs from a majority of the EQEmulator community. There's three or four types of gameplay and henceforth server players/ops that exist in EQEmulator:
In terms of what players actually want? They want whatever they are most vocal about - currently, the numbers do not lie, players want Classic EQ with no boxing. This means that you need to remove all the content without any bells and whistles such as augments, downgrade the UI to the old one prior to the XML based UI, and essentially have the game in a pristine state as it was in 2001 with Velious, Kunark, and the original box set.1) Classic Enthusiasts. These people are classic purists who are either EQMac refugees, people who quit around post-PoP era EQ due to the content direction it was going in, or people who simply want a challenging MMORPG to play in an environment that fosters community. Project 1999, Red99, EQClassic, and Roflon Zek fall under these categories.
2) Custom Content People. These people are coming to EQEmulator in search of making their own server, people who have been outcast from EQLive due to MQ2 bannings, or the occasional player who has played EverQuest in the past who are looking for something new and unique. Most of the people in this category are okay with having programs like MQ2 available, and tend to box 3-6 characters and sometimes more. EZ, THF, Storm Haven, and many other custom servers fall under this category.
3) EQLive/EverQuest purists - These people are primarily coming from EQLive to either contribute to the project of preserving EverQuest, or to have a boxing army that they are unable to perform on live due to SOE's crackdown on MacroQuest 2. A majority of these types box or develop for EQEmulator. PEQ/PEQMac/EQTitan fall under this category.
With a close second being custom servers that they can create their own armies and take down content with - I would say the community is split in that regard, some players like that kind of thing, and you need to support all types of players. Different players like different types of gameplay. I can't stand playing more than one character, so I play on servers that support playing one character only like Project 1999 and Enlightened Dark.
In terms of what EQLive should focus on? If it were me, I would recommend focusing on the ability for players to create their own content, run their own servers, and have the ability to share their creations with the world. If you provide players a toolset to do this (And I'm not talking about EQN where you're able to change the geometry; simply EverQuest mechanics and zones with a scripting engine + NPC placement system) and allow for players to play this content and share their content creations with other players, you'd essentially get rid of the need for a content development team. People could create that classic server themselves by using tools YOU provide to them. Perhaps allow completed zones to be sold for station cash. If there was continuous developer support and interaction between SOE and the developer community, I would guarantee that someone would utilize this. SOE has done the same with EQNext, EQEmulator has already done it to an extent, why can't it be done?
It would require a lot of development time to pull this off, however, It would certainly be profitable by SOE, and would breathe new life into the game in the same way EQEmulator did.
In short, players are unique and don't want one thing; they want lots of things that they can pick from whenever they please. In a sense, EQEmulator allows you, if you don't like the server you are playing on, to spend the time to correct the flaws about the server you are playing on and learn a bit about programming and database management in the process of doing so. That kind of openness ensures that players cannot get bored, and if they do, they can make something that isn't boring to them with the tools provided.
Last edited by Secrets; 04-30-2014 at 07:17 AM.
@secrets- Good post but I disagree with one of your points. You try to label the different types of emu players and you break it down by current interest on the eq emulator site I assume. I would argue that there is an even greater segment of players that are in search of something that neither eq live or emu have been able to provide. That's the experience of reliving the past.
My example is the progression servers of which two sets have been launched to date. The numbers on those servers blew away anything eq emu ever had. These servers were flawed and players had to make many compromises, but thousands played.
I think if you're looking for what the vast majority of eq returnees want? Look no further than reliving the past. Don't say it's impossible because I'm obviously not speaking literally.
I mean that they want to progress through the game again with new communities but knowing what they know now. If any developer came close to that goal, they would have captured the audience.
The ultimate answer to the question why so many emu and not live is because they are unhappy with live and emu offers opportunity. The player is in control to make the game that Sony won't or can't.
My opinion is that no one but Sony can create what we want. No one will ever get the spawns and systems right. No one will ever program content past a certain point making progression a joke. Sony alone has the ability. Not to recreate everquest circa 1999 but to bring a server that is close to the true spirit of reliving the past.
Last edited by Frenzic; 04-30-2014 at 07:54 AM.
I still play eq live on and off, recently had a bout of at least 9 months, currently 2 gold accounts. I started playing since march 99 and like about 90% of all the changes over time so theres your answer!
Only thing i mourn is that itemization has become a bit predictable though chasing after good augs through quests or drops has made it more interesting again.
Also, reduce timers on old raid content and do something about farmers cockblocking old school epic drops!
For the rest, thanks!
Last edited by Treesong; 04-30-2014 at 08:36 AM.
Quick aside Eldiroth - SoE have never sent out mail shots when they do double XP weekends, even for those of us who choose to receive mailshots. Your marketing department needs a wake up call. When I've gone back and subbed for a few months it's usually off the back of a double XP weekend and I've only read about them in passing on here.
As for EQLive v EMU - there's an elephant in the room that is either being overlooked or ignored - Mercs.
EQlive is a conundrum in that for years Mercs have steered players towards being solo but the majority of content in recent expansions is not geared towards that. You have the numbers, I don't, but I would guess that over the years the percentage of people progressing through current content is on a downward trajectory. There are two factors driving this :
i) Over time there are less end game players and less players grouping;
ii) Mercs encourage solo play.
It's too late to 'turn off' Mercs. You're in an impossible position. It's clear from some of the decisions that have been made that efforts are being made to steer people into grouping. It's probably seen a short term spike in numbers doing this due to Heroic characters being new, but it won't work medium and long term and in fact will be more damaging to player numbers.
The majority of the existing population prefer their play style. The harsh choice you need to make if EQ1 is to survive is to cater current content more towards boxing/Merc players.
And this is what the majority of EMUs cater for - casual play with a slice of nostalgia. Without Mercs.
Last edited by Flight; 04-30-2014 at 09:54 AM.
Knowing what I know about the EQ1 client and networking protocol, I could (and many others could as well) navigate the source code and implement a client/server solution for classic gameplay based off of the current EQLive and archived EQMac codebases within a reasonable timeframe.
It wouldn't be that hard to do so based on how much the client has changed in 11 years (from a disassembly glance). The only hurdle that's stopping me right now is the lack of modern GPU support in DX8, the flaws in the old networking code from the EQMac era if I decided to use that windows client, and the missing serverside database/formulas/pathing that would imitate the game back then.
Literally, the only thing it seems like you'd have to do is backport exploit fixes to the EQMac server source code (Hobart did a majority of this in 2006, it would mainly be porting the anti-warp, inventory management, etc, to the server),
Implement the UdpConnection class (which is already partially done, the chatserver uses it for example):
Fix up the database from the Mac era (pre-LoY -> Velious),
Port the code to use the libraries contained in EQGraphicsDX9.dll,
and that'd be it, really.
I actually have it envisioned in my head based off of the reverse engineering I did.
And you're completely right - SOE does hold all of that.
These are all cool ideas that would greatly mimic EQEmulator servers.
However, the problem is, you won't be able to compete with EQEmulator if you keep the way content development as it is right now; there are far too many people that are willing to create content for emulators than it is keeping a traditional development model with the content-on-rails approach. To completely reverse the effects of a content on rails approach, that would take a re-imagining and revamp of the entire game and its many expansions. Thus, embracing change instead of changing yourself is the way to go.
As far as current EQ, if I want to play a game with mercenaries, content, and more solo focused I'll fire up SWTOR or TeSO. The new version of EQ with it's vast mudflation and focus away from it's original design has no appeal to me. Other games do it better, prettier, with more fun.
I play on P99 because it is community and group focused and it is akin to the original 1999 EQ experience, flaws and all. Plus, it's free and no hoops, all access, or management kneejerking.
Mercs have definitely shifted the landscape of the players. What we're seeing a lot more now is full groups made up of 3 players & 3 mercs. So grouping still exists, but it's much easier to create a group than before because you can choose mercs for harder to fill roles at the time you want to play. It also makes it easier for those players who have preferred to play solo over the years.
The Heroic Character topic is a hot one for sure. So far the number of characters created and played has shown very well. We won't have medium/long term data on this for quite some time, but overall I'd say the player reaction has been quite favorable. In fact, there was very little negative reaction to the idea. Much more so than I would have expected. My guess is, it's because there is still so much of the game to play from 85-100.
As for numbers of players completing current content, the raw numbers are down, but the percentage of total players is actually quite a bit higher than in the past. I'm sure that has to do with our decision a couple years ago to cater more to the larger percentage of players, and focus less on the bleeding edge players. No matter which way you go on this one, someone will be upset about it, but so far the high-end raiding population has been pretty understanding of our need to give content to the majority of players. We still try to provide challenging content for the top 1%, but that can't be our focus, and they get that.
Last edited by Elidroth; 04-30-2014 at 01:53 PM.
As Ghecko says, sandbox control, that was our original intent when making EQEmu, the project started long before the game was free to play and it sucked in a group at that point because EQ Live was overrun by numerous expansions and a mutating game that feels far from the original (the classic group). There are other groups in EQEMu such as the Dragon Soul server which is Chinese based and I think that is to allow a group of Chinese players to play together versus EQLive (not sure if there is some restriction or the latency is just too bad to use EQlive, but its semi-popular next to the P99 servers). I am not sure why you posed this question on rerolled (not that I have a problem with this forum) instead of on eqemu's forum, where I would assume you could get a lot of responses from eqemu players. There will also be a day that EQLive shuts down and we all know Sony's stance on server code (SEE: EQOA, among other shutdown MMO's).
As for the EMU culture as a whole, I'm really impressed with what people have been able to accomplish without access to our data. I spoke with a couple guys from the P1999 stuff years ago on this topic actually. I think it speaks volumes to how much EQ means to people.
I can tell you in a nutshell why several thousand people play emulated servers instead of EQ- despite the fact that EQ is free.
First, to much of the emu audience, the "free" part isn't even a factor. Let's start with the fact that most people playing emu servers are playing P99. Most people playing P99 could probably afford, and would gladly pay, $15 per month to play. The fact that emu servers are free is just a bonus. Take me for example. I would pay $15 per month to play a server like p99 but I wouldn't play EQ if they paid me $15 per month- EQ is simply not worth my time the way it is now.
Second, and more important, emu servers offer things that EQ doesn't. This seems so obvious that I'm surprised you even asked the question in the first place. For example, you simply cannot get the Vanilla to Velious experience with EQ Live now. Period. Not through SOE's half-assed attempts at progression servers or through any other non-emu means. Let's take a look at just a few of the emu servers for examples of other things you can't get with EQ Live:
P99- The server isn't perfect and there are concerns about "customer service" issues, but for the most part, Rogean and the guys did an amazing job recreating the Vanilla and Kunark experience (with Velious soon to follow). Again, SOE simply doesn't have anything similar to this experience.
SoD- While this server isn't truly "EQ", they have done outstanding things with EQ's assets. The level of talent the SoD team has is scary. They have solved problems that have plagued EQ Live and other emus for years through ingenious mechanics and innovative ideas. What they have done with character advancement/progression, NPC AI, itemization, grouping mechanics, and raid mechanics (just to name a few things) is undeniably impressive. Add to those things interesting story and lore, and you can see how they have managed to maintain a steady population of a few hundred donating playing for years now.
EZ Server- As someone already mentioned, the guys at EZ server did a great job at letting you experience EQ at very high levels, but still manage to challenge you.
Guildwars- It's been a few years since Image/Devnoob have run a Guildwars server, but in the old days this was the best emu server hands down for me. They managed to create some pretty awesome pvp mechanics that included pvp points for kills, purchasable items for pvp points, and territory (like cities, camps, towers) that could be taken over by players for plat and buff bonuses. You could even buy and place NPC guards in territory you owned, so that other guilds had to kill your guards before they could take your territory.
Those are just four examples out of dozens of emu servers- all of which offer things that EQ Live doesn't.
Here's the thing. The question isn't why people play emu servers when EQ Live is free. The question is how SOE can have all the advantages they have and still manage to miss capturing a large portion of their target audience. It blows my mind really. Just imagine what some of those emu teams I mentioned could do with the technical infrastructure, the marketing power, and the resources of SOE... These guys have done the amazing things they have done with "duct tape and donations" while SOE, who has a legitimate claim to the IP and all the advantages, wonders what they are doing wrong.
Part of it is that the guys that run those emus are really, really passionate about what they are doing. There is no other explanation as to why they would sink uncountable hours into projects that amount to what is ostensibly zero pay. I really don't see that type of passion at SOE. It's not just because SOE is a "corporation" either. There are several game companies that are absolutely passionate about what they do. SOE on the other hand, has always been somewhat "bloodless", and I think it stems from a culture that trickles down from the upper ranks.
This speaks to the other issue- the failings of SOE itself. I'm going to give full disclosure here. In addition to being a long-time SOE customer, I'm a former Sigil employee. Part of my job at Sigil was to liaison with SOE on some of the infrastructure stuff. My job duties required that I spend some (not a lot) of time at the SOE offices. So, while I'm no expert on any of this stuff, I'm also not completely talking out of my ass. I'm also no SOE hater. Frankly, it's kind of hard to hate a company as bloodless and milquetoast as SOE. There were times in my early EQ days that I hated Verant Interactive (but never enough to quit playing EQ), but I've never felt anything more fervent than casual indifference when it came to SOE. Plus, I know a few of the guys that work at SOE and they are good people.
That said, SOE as a company has an agonizing history of failing at several major things:
1. Failing to read and respond to customer interests and desires.
2. Failure to capitalize on inherently available advantages.
3. Failure to convert challenges into opportunities for growth (EQ Mac, Vanguard, etc).
4. Failure to innovate, think outside the box, and take risks.
To be honest, I could tell you several things you could do quickly and with minimal resources to improve your situation significantly, but I'm not going to bother because experience has taught me SOE is unlikely to do any of the things I would suggest (see numbers 1 and 4 above). The bottom line is that SOE has always been a company that has chosen "safe, rigid, and mediocre" over "risky, flexible, and innovative." Again, I don't say these things with any vitriol. In some ways being cautious has kept SOE alive where lots of other "risky, flexible, and innovative" companies have ceased to exist. But on the other hand, it should come as no surprise to you that a lot of people are pretty desperate for alternatives to the mediocrity that SOE offers.
So now that we've given you our explanations, as the Assistant Lead Designer on EQ, why do YOU think there are so many EQ emu servers if EQ is free to play?
I spent a lot of time on EZServer back around 2009-2011. Our guild at the time was the top tier one, although we only consisted of maybe 6-10 people all quad boxing. We were doing Anguish (although it's since been changed several times I believe) and it was fucking HARD. Like, legitimately MMO hard. We had some absolutely baller gear from it though. I'm sure my characters would still fair decently well if I came back. It's a very different game from classic EQ.
It's not feasible to retro the game for Classic-Velious only to have it slowly change into current game. That kind of thinking is nothing more than a pipe dream. We should be trying to come up with real solutions and create a server that progresses closely to original but using the live client and tools.
As for being safe, vs risky, flexible, and innovative, I would counter with.. It's easy to risk that when you've got nothing to lose. I don't say that to be dismissive at all of the efforts of the EMU guys. I ABSOLUTELY respect the work they've done. But if they go risky, and it falls flat on its face, they've lost nothing but their spare time and effort. Here, we lose jobs, people lose income, and so forth. SOE is very much a business, and can't afford to be cavalier with changes/overhauls to their products. There is a lot we on the team would love to do with EQ. Lots of risky and innovative things, but we have to be VERY careful of our existing player base, most of whom seem unflappably resistant to any change at all.
Appreciate the feedback though. This is exactly the kind of discussion I was hoping for (minus one troll).
Last edited by Elidroth; 04-30-2014 at 03:56 PM.
There is a relatively simple solution to the "early EQ progression" problems that neither P99 or EQ Live is addressing right now. I would love to give SOE or someone else my money to do it right.
Anyway, SOE has a right to run their company any way they see fit. Sure I'd like to see them make some smart, innovative changes that add to their existing product choices without alienating their current player base, but that is their decision.
I just think the old classic Norrath is a virtual world that I enjoy escaping to. It's not about the race to burn content for me, it's a world that's alive and has complete replayability with a great social experience.
I haven't played official servers since EQMac was shut down. I'd play and pay for a classic through velious live server. I miss the old EQ world enough to have even contributed to P99 with hundreds of hours of work.
because live EQ is a single player game.
Your 3 character 3 merc groups? One player boxing.
Last edited by Quineloe; 04-30-2014 at 04:39 PM.
You say you want to "create a server that progresses closely to original but using the live client and tools". By "Live client and tools" do you mean the current Live DB and mechanics? Or do you mean that the progression server is run and CSR staffed by SOE?
I want it run by SoE with their database and client, but make an attempt to get it as close to how it was as possible. We don't need to be using the 1999 UI for it to feel close to it. I think SoE can do quiet a lot if they devoted resources to it, that's always been the issue I think.
How does that prevent you from grouping with people who don't want to box?
Last edited by Elidroth; 04-30-2014 at 05:11 PM.
Stop trolling Elibro
As to your comments above re playing it safe to keep people employed. Yes, it has resulted in a bland boring, hyperinflated, alien world nonsense, single player game. I can't understand why you (SoE) can not make multiple ruleset servers, unique servers, basically everything that EQEmu offers. Give players choice in play. The die hard current players will keep their current content and servers, but you can pull in literally thousands of new players by offering them a real P99 type experience. I would also add that most would be perfectly happy paying subs to keep away from the F2P Station Cash bullshit.
If you're so much in denial, it's no surprise everything SOE shit out in the last decade is not worth playing.
Look at Pirates of the Burning Sea, the game you guys cut out a year and a half ago. That one actually had people grouping all the time, even if the rest of the game wasn't much of a game to look at.
I was trying to come up with how much I'd be willing to pay per month for an eq classic server from SOE. I'd probably be willing to pay 3 subs worth :-x. Instead they get $0 from me, while I play for free on P99 and get a half ass version of it.
I've never built a game, or played with the admin side of the EMU, so I can't speak from experience. Maybe that's my disconnect, and why I don't fully understand why this seems like such a hard thing for SOE to do.
Finally, I would GLADLY pay Legends server pricing again to have an SOE hosted p99 style server. I would envision something like a Diablo 2 ladder system - with a reset that has you transfer all your stuff to a server that is locked at maybe Velious or PoP (or both?) at the end of the "ladder" season. Someone smarter than me could figure out the best compromise, but you get my idea.
I wouldn't call eqlive single player however, there is no content outside of raids that I can't do solo. The multiplayer is there but it is no longer required. Fact is that the majority of people will choose to solo because it's easier even if it is to the detriment of the game and their own experience.
I'd love to see multiple rule sets on live. 10 servers with identical rules is not interesting or fun. Players just bleed away over time. 10 servers with 6 being live and 4 being special would be amazing. By special I don't mean stupid shit like 51/50 or fresh blue. I mean alternate rules such as discord, fv and progression.
For the record, shouting LFG in POTBS got you grouped as well.
There's your next answer then, the people playing EQ today aren't fun to play with
Would you consider that within your responsibility or is the type of people playing your game a higher power to you guys, like Earthquakes and tornadoes?
The barriers to boxing were torn down. Some of it was the natural progression of tech: Dialup turned into high-bandwidth cable, $15 per account turned into F2P, and computers that struggled to run one client got powerful enough to run three at a time without breaking a sweat. Other things were game design decisions: Namely Merc's and the loggin server client handling multiple accounts with simplicity.
Once everyone started doing it, boxing became a necessity. It is kind of like an arms race, where nobody had to use machine guns, until one guy started using them. Then everyone started using them just to keep up and the guy with his horse and lance was like, "Guys wtf? Can't we all just agree that poking people with sticks is more honorable? Put down your machine gun and come joust with me!". Yeah... that guy didn't last very long.
You can make groups and you can develop friendships with PUBs, it is just that it is so damn difficult. Instead of 30-50 people actively looking for groups at any given time, you might have 1 or 2. People will default to taking the path of least resistance that current era EQ lays in-front of everyone.
The thing with old-school EMU servers is that the level cap is 50, or 60, or whatever expansion they're up to. You can't level past that, even if you wanted to. You can get the best gear on that server while enjoying your EQ nostalgia. On live, well, you can't do that. You have to suicide yourself to keep your XP at the level you want. You have to compete with people solo farming the old content for shits. One level 100 person can troll the hell out of your 40-person nostalgia raid by just running past your raid force and slaughtering the whole zone himself, or alternately, training the whole zone on you instead.
First is the solo mentality that you created by making content that is soloable by everyone. In Velious almost everyone was LFG because they needed to in order to progress. Now you need to search and beg people to be allowed to join their solo crew. Sure eventually you find friends and group with the same people over and over but that's not massively multiplayer, that's co-op. When I log into the virtual world I expect to find people to play with and who want to play with me. It's not my personality that's the problem, it's that the majority of players can solo and forming groups is more of a hassle than benefit. There are few reasons to group outside of social interaction. In velious there were reasons to group, IE. If you didn't you would be severly limited. In today's game you're no longer limited, it's really that simple.
Keep in mind emulator servers we intentionally run older clients (primarily titanium client, some devs have underfoot on their server, but I dont think p99 does) just to get away from a lot of things that were changed with the live client as well as have a point at which we could even catch up (early on we were on a constant hustle to try to keep up with the live client and it wasn't really worth it). There is even a project called 'eqclassic' which tries to establish the 2003 (legendary client? forget the name), this project obviously has a lot of work to do since all the packet structures/opcodes were not yet discovered). To the rulesets and other server types I have to agree that the variety has been stagnant and what few servers do stand out eventually get shutdown and you are back to the norm (monster server, pvp discord server, pvp team server, etc.).
From the server side of things its not just the client/server code, but also the database part, you are talking quests, npcs, etc that did not yet exist or were modified. There were a variety of changes that took place from beta->original->midpoint to kunark->kunark->velious->so on that while subtle to most others will point out (we have this problem on our server all the time because we frankly do not remember every intricate detail of EverQuest back in the day). You got others who want to see the classic spell effects they don't want the new ones (the list goes on and on). Anyone remember how they broke the boats due to the DX upgrade and never fixed them for all that time? There are lots of different reasons and I think people can just pick off reasons if you don't cover them all.
It sounds like EQ Next wants to offer some sort of sandbox customization, but I don't see SOE putting time and effort back into EverQuest to offer any equivalent when it has so many other projects. Even if they did I ponder if the population would even come back in mass to justify it just because the saturation of the MMO market. I hate to sound so negative, but I think it is a point that should be raised. A bit off topic but while I am thrilled SOE is taking its attempt at the zombie genre, H1Z1, talk about late to the game, it reminds me of how long people were asking for PlanetSide 2, PlanetSide limped to the end. Frankly what I am trying to point out is, EverQuest and Planetside took place, SOE was ahead of the game, now they always seem in the back.
Last edited by image; 04-30-2014 at 06:18 PM.
Speaking as someone who goes back every now and then to put a few hours into the game, I think you already have your answer. People want something that isn't there anymore with EQLive. Cost isn't an issue, not when you can basically log into Test and have all content available to you for $0. But Test is wonky, not the least of which is because it is still a test environment and nothing is guaranteed, not even that you'll have your characters tomorrow. But there is a bygone age within EQ, before the filthy casuals flocked to WoW and changed the landscape of the genre, that isn't found in the game at its current state. There's nothing overtly wrong about that, by the way, but if people within SOE wonder why EMUs are popular, then there it is. Nostalgia can be a powerful drug.
(Had this typed up since Page 1 but couldn't reply because of stupid user moderation).
I think a few people here have covered it pretty well. Everquest 1 is a pretty niche market now, classic everquest even moreso. One of the things I didn't really see anyone mention was instancing, which has been a pretty large factor into the segregation of modern MMO's.
Due to that lack of instancing and a no-boxing policy we have semi-forced together a strong community, combined with the nostalgic drive to re-experience, as best as we can make it, the classic through velious EQ content.
Communities can make or break a game. The competitiveness, and even the drama, which we have certainly have seen our fair share of, is an important part of that experience.
As far as SOE making a P99-Style server, I understand the issues behind it. Some of these are the same issues that drove the decision to close EQMac. A huge game like Everquest is more than just what the player sees. There are massive amounts of systems in the background that are also evolving over time. These systems include the accounting, billing, customer support, etc. Sony can't just whip out an old copy of Everquest and throw it up without significant efforts upgrading these systems. Not to mention client upgrades over time that have resolved compatability issues with modern hardware and operating systems.
What Sony has tried to do so far has been the right path, as imo it is really the only way to accomplish it. That is taking the current client and locking out features and whatnot. The problem thus far is that they haven't fully comitted to it. The progression servers are a good idea, and fun, but we all know they aren't Classic. In order for it to be classic, a ton of effort would need to be put into locking down or reverting mechanics to their old forms, just for that server. It would take a decent amount of time as well as hacking up the current codebase, which leaves open the debate of whether it would be worth it or not.
Well, you got the attention of the EQEmu developers, since Secrets linked this thread in our IRC channel! I couldn't help myself from replying here. Sorry in advance for the length of this post. I could probably write an entire book as a response to your question, but I will try to keep it within the limitations of the max post size on these forums (whatever that may be). Assuming you are who you claim to be, Elidroth, it is exciting to see EQLive take interest in the emulator even if only to get a better understanding of why it has any player-base at all considering Live is F2P.
So many topics to touch on...
1. EQNext (not directly related to this topic):
As mentioned in this thread already, it seems like EQNext is taking an amazing leap into player created content to an extent that has not been seen on an MMO level before. If things work out the way they are sounding so far, we may see the first real revolution in the gaming industry since EQ1 hit the market and introduced MMOs to the world. Something that changes the game so much that players logging in for the first time don't even comprehend what is going on at first. I remember being blown away the first time I logged into EQ1. Landing in West Freeport and seeing dozens of players running around and even chatting with me to help me get started. No game I had played prior to that could compare. EQNext (or at least Landmark) has that kind of potential in my mind. It isn't just the building stuff, which we have seen in dozens of Minecraft clones (granted, nowhere near the same level of quality). It is the future additions of being able to create models and even some basic scripting functionality to govern them. It sounds to me like it will be a sandbox that allows players to create their own mini-mmo of their own to an extent. The dev team has already been surprised multiple times with what the players have been able to create, and I think the future holds many more surprises for them. I don't even believe they fully grasp the potential of what they are creating.
I wrote a long-winded post on the old SOE forums back in 2008 (or so) that is no longer available, but covered many of the ideas being put into place for Landmark. It was about player created content in EQ. I almost feel that it was actually read and discussed by the EQNext devs.
2. EQEmulator Centralized Community:
The Everquest Emulator stands out from many other emulators out there. We have a centralized community due to our global Login Server and Forums that allows all players to quickly see what servers are available and how popular they are. Many emulators run individual login servers for each server or small group of servers. That divides up the community and requires more advertising for any particular server to gain a player-base. It also makes it more complicated for players to switch from server to server, so it is less likely that players will try something new. In EQEmu, it is fairly easy to switch between most servers. Even if they require a few custom files to be downloaded for the full experience, at least anyone can try it out easily before deciding if they want to take the extra time to get the custom files. Other emulators also have many different favors of server code, which further divides the community. Without the centralized community of EQEmu, our project would not exist other than the Project 1999 server, which is extremely popular on its own due to the nature of the server. Even though P99 holds the most players by far on a single server for the entire project, the rest of the servers in EQEmu still double (or more) the total EQEmu player-base.
3. EQEmulator Server/Player Types:
As mentioned already in this thread; one of the most common types of EQEmu players are those who want to have the nostalgia of reliving their first days in Everquest. This is something they can't do on Live currently. I can't blame them, as I have very fond memories from the good old days in EQ as well. I just don't have the time anymore to invest in it all over again. Also, a big part of what I enjoyed most was the mystery of EQ and exploring the world. Doing it all a second time would not be the same.
Many EQEmu players join with the idea of playing on a server in God-Mode. This type of play is of course very short. Players will join a server and use commands to level themselves to max level, and summon the best gear in the game. Then they run round to a few zones they had always wanted to check out, but never had the time to invest to make it to on Live. They will kill a few bosses solo and then leave the server and never return. This type of server is created from time to time, but generally does not last for more than a month before the players and the server owner get tired of this style of play. The only good thing about this type of player is that they may come to our community for God-Mode style play, but end up as permanent players on one of the custom servers that are fast paced but still have enough content to retain them as players for a good amount of time.
This type of server tries to mimic Live as closely as possible. They generally work their way through populating content in the order that expansions were released, but are fairly far behind Live because they can't keep up with the pace or a paid SOE team. A Live-Like server would have been a good alternative to paying to play on Live before it went F2P. I am not completely sure how they retain decent player numbers since Live is now F2P, but I am sure some of it has to do with community. Once you spend a ton of time building a character somewhere, it is hard to say goodbye and start elsewhere from scratch. This is a very important type of server, as almost every EQEmu server is based off of the database and quests provided by a server of this type.
The custom servers of EQEmu are by far my favorite type. I am probably biased because I have ran one for about 6 years. I am not sure you quite understand the extent of how much we can customize the content. It isn't just that some servers allow different expansions, or even different rulesets. Some servers completely redesign the content and story from scratch, only utilizing the existing available models and zones. Many servers have dozens of zones that have been completely respawned manually with different NPCs, quests, tasks, loot tables, scripted events, and so on. There are custom items (different stats from Live), custom spells, AAs, Titles, and just about anything else you can think of other than the models, zones, and icons themselves. We also have custom features that aren't available on Live, or at least that weren't when we first created them. For example, years ago I implemented something we refer to as Saylinks on EQEmu which look like item links in NPC quest text that you can click and it will make your character respond with the appropriate quest text. I believe something similar was added to Live recently (about time!!!).
Custom servers allow the creators to make something fresh, or even simply build upon someone else's ideas to improve game-play (or attempt to do so). Most custom servers are inspired by Live or by other custom servers. They then build upon those ideas to fit the style of their own concept of how it should be. There are many failures due to lack of the skill, time, and persistence that is required to create a lasting project. The few that remain over the years, are all impressive in their own ways.
Nearly every EQEmu player has played on Live at some point in the past. The ones that play on EQEmu Custom servers do so for various reasons, but one of those reasons is to experience something fresh. By joining a custom server, you are once again able to relive that time where the world was unknown and mysterious. Where you don't know all of the good places to hunt, or what the optimal path to level and gear up are, even though you are in the familiar EQ world that you love. It can be like experiencing a new EQ for the first time.
4. EQEmulator as an MMO Engine:
In EQEmu, we are all there because we love Everquest. The cool thing about the emulator is that it allows server owners to create their own world in whatever way they wish while still retaining that cool Evequest feel. Some do take it to extremes, and basically use it as a way to create their own game only using the data from the client to do so. In this case, it is more like an MMO engine similar to the Hero engine, but where most of the work is already done for you. I envision Landmark as being similar to this idea in the end. Players could essentially use it to create their own little section of the world for others to enjoy their vision. There is a 2D IOS version of a similar concept to this in an app called Growtopia. It is very primitive and limited in comparison to how I envision Landmark being in the end, but the basic concept is there. Players get their own little instances of worlds, and they can build it however they like. Many players have developed their own worlds to fit certain types such as the very popular Parkour world where they create courses for players to try to survive their way through it. Players have basically created their own mini-games within a game. I believe there is huge potential in this type of system, which could be heavily expanded on with combat and other common systems.
5. Player Created Content:
All emulators are proof that there is huge untapped potential in player created content. There are many skilled people out there willing to spent endless hours working for free to create something that they believe in and that others can enjoy. Many are able to rival even the top studios in my opinion.
I could line out nearly every aspect of fully implementing a system in EQLive to allow player created content with the flexibility of what we have in the emulator, but that would make this post way too long. Please feel free to contact me if you want a huge write-up on the concept. If implemented correctly, it would probably make the emulator completely obsolete and pointless. Being a part of the emulator team, I definitely do not wish for it to die, but if done right, I think our project would be happy to move under SOE's wings.
Having a system similar to EQEmu that is supported by SOE would be beneficial to both parties. SOE would be able to leverage a development team with a size that they could not otherwise afford. They would also be able to take risks (through player created content) that they could not otherwise justify to the business side of things. In this case, if a player fails to create something great, SOE would be at little-to-no loss. But, if another player is a huge success, SOE would also benefit from that success. The emulator project would benefit by being exposed to a much larger player-base that could easily switch between different servers to find the right fit for them. This would definitely increase the player numbers for every server over what we can currently strive for on eqemulator. The emulator project would also benefit by not having to work to emulate Live or work on compatibility and availability of clients that work with EQEmu. The focus could be moved to purely content generation.
If SOE was willing to share the money that the player created content generates, I can imagine highly organized teams of player content developers working together to create some amazing content. They already have similar stuff in place with the player studio, so I don't think it would be hard to rework that system into something that could cover player created content similar to what is found in EQEmu.
EQEmulator is big enough to take notice of, but our community is still relatively small. Imagine what it could do if a similar project was supported and promoted by SOE. I would not be surprised if it doubled or more the number of players on Live. If done right, it could be a huge success without impacting the existing Everquest players in any way.
My main concern with this system would be the legal aspects and unfortunately I am not very knowledgeable in that. For example; a player who creates a server with content that breaks copy rights (such as using a Starwars theme). I am not really sure how that situation would be dealt with other than maybe having policies in place to restrict this, and maybe a report system where players could report content that breaks policies. The reports would then need to be reviewed and acted upon by an SOE employee.
6. EQEmulator and Money:
Naturally, one would think that players turn to emulators to avoid a subscription fee or other costs from playing on a Live server. This is surely the case for some, but certainly not for all (or even the majority).
As groups become more difficult to find, many players resourt to multi-boxing. As someone who did this back in the subscription days, I can attest that that the cost of doing this is hard to justify. In the new F2P model, I don't really know the details, but I imagine a similar monetary burden for multi-boxers. In the subscription model, I would have loved to have seen a multi-account discount. I am sure that could have been abused to an extent, but it would have gone a long way for multi-boxers IMO. In the F2P model, maybe some similar discounts could be applied (assuming they aren't already, as I don't really know).
On the emulator, there is generally no fee for multi-boxing on servers where it is allowed. Some players box as many as 20+ characters at a time on some emulator servers (we call them Big Boxers). Being able to see more content and progress at a steady rate without having to wait for groups and raids is very desirable to some, and drew them into the EQEmu scene. While you may not want to see that extreme on Live, if you are still generating money from each account, it will limit the players to a reasonable amount of accounts in most cases and still allow extra earnings from them.
Many players prefer to play solo and/or don't have the hardware to support multi-boxing more than a couple of accounts. Some joined because it was free, but many also joined because they wanted to see new and different content or faster drop/leveling rates, or any number of other reasons that make EQEmu stand out from Live. There are also servers that are balanced around solo or small group play, which fits this type of player's style of play.
A large number of these players are willing to spend money even playing on the emulator. Players see the amount of work put into the servers and most are more than happy to support the server they spend so much time on. They aren't just playing there because it is free, which should be abundantly clear now that Live is F2P and EQEmu didn't even take a notable hit to the player-base after that change.
7. Personal Experiences:
My own server has hardly any players on it at this point due to the lack of time that myself and my co-developer have had over the past year or so to continue developing content for it. It was one of the top custom servers for a good amount of time in the past on EQEmu. As I am sure you are very well aware of as a developer/designer, it is very difficult to predict the success of content. We designed much of our content with the idea in mind that our server would have a large player-base that wanted very challenging and unique scripted events. Unfortunately, without the large player-base, the balance of our server is not stable and so it doesn't sustain itself very well. It is in a paradox of not having enough players to properly support the content we created, and without high player numbers it is not easily attracting more players.
Again, I am sorry for the length of this post. Believe me when I say that it could have been much longer. Once you get me started, I have trouble stopping! There is so much left to say...
Lastly, I highly recommend checking out a few EQEmu servers if you really want to get an idea of why the emulator is as popular as it is.
I'd love to know why Sony EQ people dislike P1999 EQ people :-)
But to answer your question more directly, the emulator code has gone through so many changes over the years, it's not anything that it used to be. The efforts by original coders to reverse engineer opcodes, structures, etc, have to be redone almost every time there is a change to a new client.
Image was one of those original developers (He's posted in this thread) and can give you an idea of how the project as evolved.
Some of the other EQEmu devs have brought up a lot of good points, but didn't really touch on things from a player's perspective. Personally I've tried numerous times to try to get going on EQLive but it has always resulted in a sour taste in my mouth and eventually doing something else or playing on PEQ again. For me, the sour taste is from the F2P model sucking. It could be worse, but it could also be better. (There are some games that are FAAAR worse) To me, Rift probably has the best F2P offer (unless it's changed drastically since I played it ..) but I found the game sub-par and wanting more EQ :P. The thing I find the worse about Live's F2P model is probably the prestige gear. I made a few heroic toons to enjoy some EQ and gather some data to improve EQEmu/PEQ. But I quickly found myself up against a wall of not really being able to upgrade my gear, which is probably the funnest part of an MMO :P. I set out to get tier 2 group HoT gear, since that's probably the best I can get without forking over a bunch of cash each month (to pay for multiple accounts), something I can't currently do. But I'm about to pass the intended level range for that gear, which will make the content much too easy IMO, I mean, whats the point of reward without a little risk. I know I could pay for an AA cap increase so I could lock my level in (also, does buying the AA cap on a heroic toon allow you to get more AAs, or does it just increase the bottom number which would result in me not being able to get any? I'm sure this is answered some where, but I've been too lazy to actually look ...)
I have no issue with the newer content being locked behind the pay wall of buying the expansion, but I feel I would be much more willing to pay that price once I've progressed through some gear tiers, but I can't because the gear is prestige and I have no idea if I would be able to do VoA group stuff without buying gold to finish off HoT group stuff or not. So I'm stuck here with a sour taste in my mouth, not wanting to give SoE money. EQEmu has none of these restrictions, but development is slower and I already have 12 toons pretty much max geared on PEQ and they're all maxed AA'd, so I need to find something else, and EQ Live just makes me not want to spend any money.
TL;DR EQ Live F2P isn't free :P
EDIT: Also a lot of the servers started before EQ went F2P (at least the note worthy ones that are still up and running) and they've built communities that aren't directly exportable to live now.
Last edited by demonstar55; 04-30-2014 at 08:01 PM.
The perception that P99 is the alpha and omega in which is EQEmulator is not correct. It is a fork but still cooperative in efforts to share code and best practices amongst everyone. EQEmulator is simply a centralized community as Trevius pointed out that encompasses all sub-projects small or large. It is a community that takes all levels of seriousness to respect the EverQuest name and not tarnish the integrity and all the efforts we make to remain respectful of all property.
As Rogean stated, everything has been reverse engineered and continues to be at each and every snapshot in clients that we have the opportunity to do so. We don't do this out of spite for EverQuest, we do it out of the love of EverQuest. We love and appreciate the opportunity we've had as a community to be able to work on the things that we have to get it to the point we have from the sheer force of a community, it's fairly remarkable that the project has sustained since the early 2000's as it has.
To answer the EQ Dev OP's question, the thing that makes EQEmu appealing is the ability to express yourself with using the passion for a great game such EverQuest as your medium to express your creativity. I remember when I had first started 6 years ago, I was like a kid in a candy shop, that I could express my own way of how I would like to play EverQuest and try different things and use my once a passion to develop video games to have my sandbox to express my ideas. This has nothing to do with EverQuest as its own Live entity or anything to do against or for it. I had been playing EverQuest Live for 10 years with my father and real life friends.
On a similar note, I see ideas that have made its way onto EQ Live that have had no way to source from anywhere but EQEmu as these ideas were on EQEmu's codebase long before they appeared on Live. This is a cool thing! With the entire EQEmulator community's attitude of open source (Minus the trolls) it is cool to see these ideas have made their way to Live EverQuest.
It is another point that some of us on the Emulator perspective take for granted, but others from other perspectives may also be curious about is that EQEmu is not in anyway to compete for any commercial aspect of anything and that any and all efforts to remain respectful to EQ as an entity is the reason we've been able to graciously stay around for so long.
We've been publicly recognized by Smedley, Brad McQuaid and they think nothing other than how cool it is that such a thing has been able to be achieved, and it really is.
Once again, you've got all of the EQEmu Dev's eyes on this thread if you want to take this discussion in any way
Last edited by Akkadius; 04-30-2014 at 08:31 PM. Reason: Cuz
Elidroth you're obviously aware from a couple of your posts what one of your biggest issues is - the EQLive community being resistant to change.
Now I'd suggest that it's actually a small - but extremely vocal - subset of the player base who are an issue. Who's that guy in the Warrior community who's always blowing off in every conversation on how our place is using shields etc ? That guy just pisses me off so much he alone is a reason not to play. I've played a Warrior in EQLive since launch and every time I resub I go around the forums to get up to speed and that same guy is still there dominating every meaningful conversation the same way he has for the last 10 years.
EQlives forums are a poisonous environment controlled by an extremely small, extremely vocal number of individuals and have been for the least decade.
i) consider closing down the forums - many MMOs today do just fine without them.
ii) don't bother with class reps or at least restrict their input so one guy isn't speaking for anyone else but himself.
Another aside : the reason tanks are so hard to play on EQLive vrs emu is that you need the latest/best AC augs in every slot, so very few players actually bother keeping a tank current. Solution : remove AC from augs and just factor it into armour. You need to do something like this if you want enough competent tanks around for grouping.
Last edited by Flight; 04-30-2014 at 08:57 PM.
The short of the long is that SOE refuses to offer what thousands of EQ fans want. So even though the emus have their problems, they are the only place we can go. As numerous people have already stated, most of us would prefer SOE deliver what we want and we would gladly pay for it for the benefits (real CSR support and the accountability of an actual company). But SOE has continued to be stubbornly intransigent.
I can see the execs in the SOE board room opposing a reverse engineered (or strategically limited) client on the basis that they want to move the company forward, not backward. But that's the type of shortsighted pretzel logic and lack of perspective that continues to make SOE a company that exemplifies mediocrity.
If game developers tried to create a game that fit everyone's wants, it would be complete trash and a failure. The majority of EQEmu servers that get created end up as failures for that very reason (as well as other reasons obviously). The ones that remain are just lucky that they hit the right formula to retain players. The exceptions are the Live-Like and Classic style servers, which thrive because people already know what they are getting into before they join the server, and their content has already been tested and very successful on Live through the years. Different people have different wants and needs. Not many people want to have an experience grind or extremely rare drops, but systems like that are what make the rewards that much more rewarding. I surely didn't want to raid bosses multiple times back in the day taking loss after loss, but when the guild finally beats the encounter it is a great feeling and somehow justifies all of the time that was wasted along the way.
One thing I think almost all MMO players have in common is that they dream to be a top player that is recognized in their community. Or, maybe just to "beat the game" by attaining the best gear and completing all content. On Live, this is an extremely hard and time-consuming goal to reach due to the massive amounts of other players with the same goal and an insanely larger amount of time to accomplish it. The amount of content and the rate at which it is released also makes it hard for anyone but the hard core players to keep up with.
With EQEmu being a smaller community, that goal is very reachable by a larger percentage of the players. Instead of trying to be the top player across all servers on Live, you only have to try to be the top player on your own server, which may have only a fraction of what a Live server may have as far as player-base. Content is released at a much slower rate (in general), so it is very possible that you could "beat the game" on most EQEmu servers. It may still take several months to do so, but it is possible even for most players that consider themselves casual. The smaller community also makes it easier for most players to know each other, and to help people out or group up with them more often.
On Live, I think there is something like 600+ zones. That is a crazy amount of content and isn't really avoidable due to mudflation. I am sure the majority of those zones sit dormant most of the time. On most custom EQEmu servers, only a few dozen zones are available, which helps to funnel players together and simplify the progression path without limiting it so much that it isn't fun.
I don't think there is much that really needs to be done with how EQLive currently works. I am sure there is always room for improvement, but they are going down a path that is basically a formula of what has worked in the past. I am sure many players still enjoy how things are going, and will continue to do so for a long time to come. What I do think is that there is room for experimenting with new concepts for additional server-types, and that player-created content is the way to go for it. You can't meet everyone's wants and needs with a single server type, but you can reach the majority of them if you have several server types available.
I will give you a perspective from an EQ player - not an EMU admin or anything.
When I try to play current EQ - it feels nothing like the EQ I remember from it's golden era. The UI has a million boxes that popup telling me what to do and where to go. There is a line I can follow to tell me where to go. The map system while nice totally destroys the world exploration and adventure that comes with getting lost in a new area.
Usually on P99 the zones have people traveling through them. The world seems full. I'm not travelling through 20 different zones of emptiness from long forgotten expansions nobody gave a shit about even when they launched (Prophecy of Ro is a good example). Not only are there empty zones everywhere but even the classic zones have been destroyed in horrible revamps. Original Freeport had character. The new one is lame. Nobody asked for a changed Freeport yet it was pushed on the player base anyways, even after tons of complaints. Do you think people still playing EQ really give a crap about graphics?
What it really comes down to is P99 seems like Everquest more than EQLive does. I can enter a zone and find groups grinding away in camps and people talking in chat. People are forced to group because there is no boxing and mercenaries do not exist. Also, the way EQLive plays now is too easy. The changes to spells and damage mitigation basically made it into a single player game. Having NO DROP on everything destroyed the fun of EC tunnel and buy/sell/trade. That was a highlight to EQ that the developers seemed to have forgotten a long time ago.
Last I heard EQLive just got done nerfing damage shield/headshot/decapitation power leveling. Why? What's the point? To stop people from leveling their 100th character quicker? Maybe they do it because there is nobody to group with anymore anyways.
Oh wait, it's because you want to sell level 85 characters now instead. SOE has basically sold out their game and in doing so nerfed things that allowed people some freedom and enjoyment to make a quick buck off what little of a player base they still have.
So if you want to know why people play P99 and emu's, it's because SOE killed what made EQ... EQ.
Last edited by kudos; 04-30-2014 at 10:19 PM.
As far as the changes to the game go, most of them are things players still playing the game had requested in one way or another. I get that the feeling of old EQ is gone. As the saying goes, "You can't go back again" and on one hand, it's sad for the nostalgia many look for, but on the other, I think things have to progress or they get stale. I won't pretend everything we've done is the right move, but it hasn't all been wrong either.
Clearly the EMU community is looking for a wide variety of things, and also clearly, there isn't a single project that could incorporate them all. That's fine too.
One thing I did take issue with though, is the idea that we've taken ideas from EMU servers and incorporated them into EQ Live. Sorry but that's just not true at all. I AM curious what you think those features are though. I don't think any of the EMU guys have taken/stolen/acquired any EQ source.. that's just nuts. A competent programmer or team can put together systems from scratch to mimic old EQ stuff pretty well.
The thing is that the LFG tool worked wonderfully during PoP/GoD era. That's because people were actually LFG.
Last time I logged on there were 3 people using it and none of them ever responded.
Suppose you use a really conservative number for the amount of people that would be willing to pay a $15 sub monthly sub to play a professionally run classic progression server done right. Let's put that number at 2,500, which is even fewer than the total people that play the emu servers now. I suspect a server as described above would generate far, far more interest, but let's stay really conservative.
2,500 subs at $15 a month is $450,000 per year. Now keep in mind this is a conservative estimate.
SOE already has an infrastructure that could help with a lot of the overhead costs of the project. The primary costs they would be dealing with would be the initial investment of building/modifying the DB, setting up the server, paying the staff to run it.
These numbers are all conjecture (and I'm sure they have changed since I was in the industry) but suppose you dedicate resources worth two CSR employees, a coder, and a producer to the project FULL TIME at the following rates:
2 X CSR= $65,000/year
1 X coder= $85,000/year
1 X producer= $100,000/year
These are reasonably generous salaries. You can probably find people willing to do those tasks for less, but lets assume you want to hire good people and good people cost more.
Now add the cost of the DB/server setup, we'll say $150,000 in resources, to the personnel costs, $250,000, and you get a first year cost of $400,000.
This means after the first year you are only making $50,000 profit, which for a big company like SOE is peanuts. However, when you consider the fact that a smart manager could probably whittle the costs down and the interest in a server like this would probably be a lot higher, it's at least a pretty safe bet.
Moreover, it's a worthwhile venture. Presumably (if done right) you could keep interest in a true progression server going for several years. After you take away the first year costs, even at MINIMUM sub levels, you would be clearing $200,000 a year in profit. While $200,000 in profit is still hardly mentionable for SOE, I think you could argue it would be a worthwhile project- ESPECIALLY when there is a reasonable chance that you could get more like 4,000 to 5,000 subs, which would bring the profit upwards of $500,000 per year.
You can always quibble with my numbers and there will always be costs I'm not taking into account, but I'm convinced it would be worth the effort for SOE considering the clear market that exists out there.
I'm sure there are probably some other ideas that are similar to stuff implemented on EQEmu first, I don't think they are stolen or anything though.
It's cool to see players decked out in old-school gear, but these emulated servers are hardly providing the classic EQ experience. The blue server has 1,000 players max and the pvp server is a ghost town.
Saylinks have just been in EQEmu for a long time, and we just think its neat things that eventually make their way into EQ Live regardless of how it ended up there.
No different than: Window Drop in Replacement for say - YouTube - though I'm sure you guys could do a lot cooler shit with it given that you can modify the client and we choose not to touch it for obvious reasons.
15 years old MMO veteran here, played a ton of them and also spent quite a lot of time on emulated/private servers. While a lot of servers are managed by not so great staff, some have very solid team of dev/coders/scripters and come up with brilliant ideas. I have said it before, but it's worth saying again, the first company that will design a game and give tools/support to the community to build/design/manage their own rulesets of the game will have a huge playerbase. The 3-4 basic ruleset we had for 15 years isn't cutting it for a very large proportion of the playerbase.
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Some of the reasons.
Desire for a finite amount of content to work against.
Desire for a less time intensive play style.
Desire for a low mudflation game.
Desire to not be a lowly peasant hopelessly behind the social status standing curve because they haven't been playing for 15 years straight.
Dislike of EQ content starting with GoD.
Dislike of Mercs.
Dislike of Market Place
Dislike of absence of any non highlevel grouping.
Last edited by Siddar; 05-01-2014 at 05:07 AM.
As a long time EQ2 player I can confirm that clickable links in chat were in there for the longest time to perform ingame actions. It's possible SOE could have got the idea from that. I don't doubt that.
From Akkadius' post it doesn't seem like he's claiming credit to the idea, instead, he's saying we have that too, long before SOE implemented a version of it.
What you're really asking is why people want to play classic EQ vs. modern EQ since the vast majority of EMU players play a classic server.
I'm sorry but I pretty much hate everything SOE did to the game post PoP. Literally everything minus shared bank slots.
Classic EQ was a challenging game. Challenging from day one hour one. Level 1 mobs could make you run to guards and level 2 fire beetles would kill you. You had to con shit from the first kill. Easy games are boring. And the tired 'the game begins at the level cap' line is crap. No, the game does NOT begin at the level cap-- it's NOT an excuse to make leveling tediously easy and fast. Leveling on p99 is more fun than the actual raiding. Challenge makes the long level grind fun, else why would they play the game? Contrast this with warrior mercs soloing 3 reds at once.
F2P is ALWAYS P2Win. Always. Anybody who says otherwise is wrong. Much of the fruits of victory in a MMORPGs is looking badass, and if you just pay money to look more badass than the people who earned it legit then you take away from their win. Artists start devoting most of their time making unicorn mounts instead of making god kill items look sweet. Flight's post about boxing being an 'arms race' is also 100% correct. I knew somebody who 18 boxed on EQMac and macroed CH rots because, why not? Subs limit this.
Instancing is terrible and lazy game design. Designers can't make enough content, so they just duplicate existing content infinitely at the expense of diluting the 'massively'. Instancing in and of itself is a huge deal breaker to many players.
Forced grouping was discussed already and I agree with the posts here about it. The easier it is to solo the more you turn me off. Just because I choose to solo when given the option doesn't mean I want the game that way; you have to force grouping on me.
Downtime. People don't understand how important downtime is. I WANT DOWNTIME. The entire concept of out-of-combat super regen kills the entire concept of resource management and any desire to seek out regen enhancing abilities from other players. Even if you could solo, it was generally far less efficient resource wise and hence downtime heavily encouraged grouping.
Modern EQ loot is terrible. Why on earth do you put every stat on every item? I want gear without shielding on it for data collection purposes and it's just not available past like level 70. You've even started just making all/all items with every stat on them; wow it's bad. Every item is just +gooder. None of it has the thrill and charm of getting a BBC in befallen or an Oracle robe in OOT. Just amazingly lazy design.
Gear upgrades in classic EQ were rarer and more significant. When you completed a quest, you got an item that was created by the dev to be a logical reward for what you did in the quest, instead of just a 'here's your random meaningless upgrade from an exp quest to replace your previous meaningless upgrade from 1 level ago'. Time equivalent gear drops from trash mobs because... the lower level game isn't important anymore in the minds of the designers. Gotta get players to the latest expac in a week.
All players starting out in a cave and dragon tree town. Bleh.
I could go on. But in short, SOE fails to understand just how different modern EQ is from classic. They are entirely different games. Adding something like mercs is just a HUGE HUGE change that alters the basic experience of the game and you guys don't seem to realize this. It amazes me how you guys just make a completely different game (EQ2, EQN) slap EQ's lore on it and proclaim it to be EverQuest. It's not EverQuest-- not to me anyway. People keep telling us that we play p99 for the nostalgia (which is why I STARTED playing, not why I continued to play) but it's SOE that's on the real nostalgia trip.
You guys have taken the game to a place where people like me did not want to go, and we all jumped ship a long time ago, leaving a small remainder of players who like what you did, because players have different tastes. P99 and the other classic EMUs are the only ones even trying to bring us what we want-- and what we want isn't the lore or nostalgia, it's the gameplay. P99 wouldn't have the population it has it a real classic EQ successor existed.
To be fair though, classic EQ's design forced some design choices. You can't expect new players to grind earlier levels at the exact same rate as people 14 years ago. However instead of increasing the exp per kill, you've decided to increase the power of players, which turned the game into 'run into packs of mobs with my god-merc' and wait until it kills them.
Everyone saying they hate that SoE turned EQ into what it is now fail to understand (or maybe just don't remember) that SoE was literally forced to change their game once they saw the mass exodus to WoW back in 2004. I played EQ right before WoW launch and I can tell you that a vast majority of players were clamoring for many of the quality of life changes that vanilla WoW brought (yes that includes instancing). That's why people couldn't wait to get out when November 2004 rolled around. SoE has been in this position of constantly trying to adapt a 15 year old game to reflect the market because that is what the market wants. The people wanting a classic/original EQ experience are so miniscule in the grand scheme of things is makes zero business sense to continue to keep their game stagnant as every other product in the genre has evolved.
Just becaue people were clamoring for things like instances doesn't mean they knew the effects instancing would have months and years down the road.
@Vandyn Where do you get your evidence that the population for something like this would be miniscule? Also, what's the number needed to make this a good business decision? You've made this same type of post over and over and I'm just wondering where you get your numbers from.
I remember prior to Planes of Power release that there was a plan to have PoP gear have lower stats when it was being used outside of the planes.
I do sometimes wonder what would have happened to EQ if it had taken that path.
I'm really curious if SOE redid the graphics of EQ to todays higher standards, fixed the game to be similar in design to P99 <no boxing, no botting etc>, and pushed a group centric non-instanced world based on the original Everquest design with some improvements based on quality of life, but still focused on the world and not on instancing or soloing.
It takes an artist about a month to revamp a single zone into a new version of it. There are now over 700 non-instanced zones in EQ.
Each player model has over 120 different animations that need to be created for any new version. Now multiply that by 2 (male & female) times 16 races.
Once new player models have been created, you have to then create armor for those new models. It currently takes about 6 weeks for an artist to develop a completely new set of armor (for all races/genders).
You'll obviously need to create new particles/effects for spells as well.
I'm not saying it CAN'T be done, but it's truly a mountain of work, and has to be balanced against how much money it might actually return.
People who still remember early EQ choose to play (mostly) classic rule sets on emulators rather than EQ live 'F2P' because the classic EMUs still demonstrate what EverQuest's competitive advantage used to be: forced grouping for progression through contested content, that promotes a more vibrant in-game social experience.
We have beaten this horse to death over the years. What would you say your competitive advantage is now? You offer similar gameplay & features to almost every MMORPG on the market. Your tech and graphics don't stand up to other games. The IP isn't as strong as the Warcraft universe... Is it world size? Lore? Why SHOULD I play EverQuest in 2014? The 1999-2002 product has a much stronger identity and is a far more interesting experience.
I think the survival-horror genre is on the verge of a renaissance of this concept, and I'm so happy that myself, and a whole new generation of gamers, may get to experience what I did in early EQ.
Last edited by Quaid; 05-01-2014 at 06:38 PM.
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