Greetings, Norrathians! As we're already heading into April, there are still so many exciting things on the horizon that we can't wait to reveal. (Expect us to drop a hint or two along the way, of course. We usually can't completely contain our excitement.) Before that though, in keeping with our 2023 Roadmap, let's rattle off some of the things we've already accomplished. We’ve unlocked all of the Night of Shadows raids (which has been going very well so far with the new content being tackled by many and several new raids unlocking), added new content to the Erollisi Day event, "ship'ed" completely new content for Brew Day, and, of course, celebrated our 24th Anniversary. If you haven't gotten all your party gifts from the anniversary celebration, be sure to login before April 20, 2023, 11:00 p.m. PDT. <Jchan launches fireworks into the air.>
As we enthusiastically embrace springtime and move forward toward the summer months, we have so much planned that will both improve the game and entice all of you. Let’s look at what we’ve accomplished so far here in 2023.
And now I get to share with you what’s happening in the coming weeks and months. First, the new UI Engine is almost here. In the beginning, it's going to launch with the engine running with a few windows already ported. This will allow us to make sure the base of the engine works and is hooked up with everything it should be. Once that is stable, we'll continue porting the remaining windows until every part of the original engine has been ported. That porting process is expected to take a while. Second, Tempest Festival will receive new content. June will see the return of Pride Month familiars with a new set of friends.
Upcoming later this year:
- New UI Engine Initial Launch - Full engine launch with some of the windows ported to the new engine.
- New Content for Tempest Festival
- New Evolving Ruleset Progression Server - Oakwynd
- New Pride Month Familiars
- Throughout the Year
- Porting More Windows to the New UI Engine
- Zone Performance Improvements
And now, what many of you have been waiting for, our brand-new Progression Server named Oakwynd will launch on May 24, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. PDT.* as an Evolving Ruleset Progression Server.
"What does that mean?" you ask. As mentioned in passing before, this will be a truly experimental year. It starts out at launch with something we call Legacy characters and encounter locking. Then at each expansion unlock, an additional bonus will be added to the server. Note: the details of these rules are under development and may change before release.
Legacy characters allow your characters on the same account on the server to receive a semi-permanent experience bonus.
- When players reach max level (for the current era) with a character, their account receives an experience bonus for all characters on that server.
- e.g., When a player has 1 max level character, their account receives a 10% bonus EXP buff.
- When a player has 2 max-level characters, the buff stacks. They now get 20% bonus EXP.
- This bonus caps at a 100% bonus.
- When the server's level cap increases, players will lose the buff until they get one of their characters to max level again, and the bonus starts again at 10%.
Additionally, this server will be our first attempt at encounter locking. In short, once an NPC is engaged, it will be locked to that character, group, or raid. Characters not part of the lock cannot contribute damage. Spells from outside characters will not land on the NPC. If an actively locked NPC loses aggro for a short time period, the NPC will go home, reset, then unlock.
Now onto the Evolving part. For each expansion unlock, we're planning on adding the following benefits to the server. Each benefit will add to the existing instead of replacing the benefits active on the server (unless it's a higher value of an existing benefit). For example, using the list below, when The Scars of Velious unlocks, Legacy Characters, Encounter Locking, and a 125% modifier to the normal loot rate will already be unlocked and with the unlock a 125% modifier to the normal faction changes will be added. These are currently what we have planned for the unlocks:
- Classic - Legacy Characters and Encounter Locking
- The Ruins of Kunark - Loot Modifier - 125%
- The Scars of Velious - Faction Modifier - 125%
- The Shadows of Luclin - AA EXP Modifier - 125%
- The Planes of Power - Coin Drop Modifier - 150%
- The Legacy of Ykesha - Lowered spawn timers on all NPCs - 85%
- Lost Dungeons of Norrath - Alternate Currency Modifier - 150%
- Gates of Discord - Tribute Donation Modifier - 200%
- Omens of War - Rare Spawn Modifier - 200% - Relax Truebox to 3
- Dragons of Norrath - Faction Modifier - 200%
- Depths of Darkhollow - Evolving Item EXP Modifier - 150%
- Prophecy of Ro – Chance to Increase Skills Modifier (includes Tradeskills) - 200%
- The Serpent's Spine - Loot Modifier - 200%
- The Buried Sea - Alternate Currency Modifier - 200% - Remove Truebox
- Secrets of Faydwer - Faction Modifier - 300%
- Seeds of Destruction - EXP Modifier - 125%
- Underfoot - Tribute Use Reduction - 75%
- House of Thule - AA EXP Modifier - 150%
- Veil of Alaris - Alternate Currency Modifier - 250%
- Rain of Fear - Collection Spawn Time Modifier - 75%
- Call of the Forsaken - Mercenary AA EXP Modifier - 200%
- The Darkened Sea - Lowered spawn timers on all NPCs - 70%
- The Broken Mirror - EXP Modifier - 150%
- Empires of Kunark - Rare Spawn Modifier - 300%
- Ring of Scale - AA EXP Modifier - 175%
- The Burning Lands - Luck Modifier - 125%
- Torment of Velious - Evolving Item EXP Modifier - 200%
- Claws of Veeshan - AA EXP Modifier - 200%
- Terror of Luclin - EXP Modifier - 200%
- Night of Shadows - Rare Spawn Modifier - 400%
Oakwynd will have the "Standard Unlock" schedule as many other progression servers. This is where new expansions unlock automatically every 8-12 weeks with the early expansions unlocking faster.
- Eight weeks and a day after launch: Ruins of Kunark
- Eight weeks later: Scars of Velious
- Eight weeks later: Shadows of Luclin
- Eight weeks later: Planes of Power and Legacy of Ykesha
- Twelve weeks later: Lost Dungeons of Norrath
- Four weeks later: Gates of Discord
- At this point the schedule becomes consistent. Enjoy expansions for twelve weeks when a new level cap is unlocked, and eight weeks in expansions where the level cap stays the same.
- This server starts with standard True Box. Only one EverQuest client may be run per computer.
- When Omens of War unlocks, we will move to a Relaxed True Box. You may have up to 3 clients per computer logged into the server at the same time.
- When The Buried Sea unlocks, True Box will be removed.
Did you know we're hiring? Have you ever dreamed of building something amazing in Norrath? Darkpaw Games is recruiting! We are a content-creation guild on the San Diego server! We raid Monday through Friday (times vary) and use a DPH (Dollars Per Hour) Loot System. We are currently looking for aspiring Equilibrists (systems designers) and Bards (artists), but all classes are encouraged to apply! If you’re interested in joining, please contact our recruitment officer here. We look forward to meeting you!
We can't close this Producer's Letter without acknowledging our 24th Anniversary. What an absolute thrill to celebrate two dozen years of bringing our EverQuest family entertainment that has sustained so many for so long. Regardless of when you joined us, we sincerely appreciate all of you. Here’s looking forward to our Silver Jubilee! (Fun fact: A 25-year anniversary is also referred to as a quadranscentennial. We probably won’t use that term next year.)
Time to get back to working on the things listed in our Roadmap and the next expansion!
Be the heroes Norrath needs,
Head of Studio