Community News - January 2014
Future Content: A Letter from Director of Development Dave Georgeson01-31-2014
Hail, Fellow Norrathians!
We’d like to talk to you about how we’re delivering new adventures and new features into your worlds in both EQ and EQII.
We’ve listened to you on the forums, across social media, and face-to-face at our many events. There have been some common topics that come up about the things you like and don’t like with what we’ve been doing, and we’re using that information to customize our new direction.
Our approach so far:
- Up until now, we’ve been focusing on major content releases all year round in both games.
- Essentially we have planned four big updates a year, with one of those updates being super-sized as the expansion.
- Plus, bunches of little updates scattered throughout the year.
Your reaction to that approach:
- Mostly “meh”. The quarterly updates were high quality and cool, but not big enough to really feel expansion-ish. Plus, casual players often fell behind and felt disconnected from their friends.
- Generally negative on the consequence that had on expansion sizes. Because we were releasing large chunks of content quarterly, the expansion got compressed into a shorter time schedule, which meant that its features had to fit within a shorter cycle also. We were often able to create many, many hours of gameplay in those expansions, but that didn’t really substitute for the feeling of sheer zone quantity. (And zones take a loooong time to make, so they were a natural victim of the shorter expansion schedule.)
- NOTE: This was a “good intentions” change. Lots of content spread around the year seemed like a really good idea. It even seemed that it was at first as players got excited with the big pushes. The negatives didn’t start to show until we’d been doing it for a year or so.
So how are we fixing that? Basically, we’ve decided to release regular improvements every week, then every month we’ll push something cool to you. Beyond that, we’re focusing the rest of our efforts into making great expansions!
Here’s a bit more detail:
- What sorts of things will come out weekly?
- These will be things like straight-up feature refinements, holiday events, short adventures, or pretty much anything that doesn’t merit being in the expansion or being a big monthly highlight. But something of this sort comes every week.
- What sorts of things will you deliver monthly?
- Each month, we’re going to do something interesting and fun, like aging a cool existing dungeon up to end-game levels and itemization, or adding a series of quests for players to find and explore. Maybe even a new zone sweeper or random world event, or that sort of thing. Something new and fun to experience with friends and guildies.
- How will this impact the quality of the expansion?
- We’re putting a huge emphasis on how important the expansion pack is to you. The feedback on that has been almost universal. “Make Our Expansion Matter.” So that’s what we intend to do.
- Is SOE locked into this schedule? Do we mean EVERY week and EVERY month?
- Answer: Yes, we mean it. We’re going to work hard to make it happen regularly and dependably.
We like this new strategy as a whole. The EQ and EQII team Producers (Thom and Holly) have created detailed schedules of how the rhythm of this stuff will play out across the coming months. And my reaction, as a player of these games, is that it all sounds pretty fantastic.
Again, this doesn’t reduce the amount of content we’re delivering to you. The EQ and EQII dev teams are robust in size and are constantly overhauling tools so that higher quality content can be created in even less time, so we can deliver even more. They work tirelessly throughout the year making our Norraths better because we (the dev teams and SOE) all love these worlds.
But what do you think? Does this sound like fun to you too?
- Weekly and monthly improvements and adventures
- Major focus on the annual expansion content and story
Let us know! Thanks!
Director of Development