We want to thank all of you for participating in our last thread. We got a lot of good ideas from you and while we can't implement all of them (especially the ones that contradict each other), they're all important, and we are keeping many of them in mind for the future.
Q: Which versions of zones will be on the server?
Like the previous two Progression Servers, zones that were graphically revamped (Freeport, Commonlands, Nektulos, Lavastorm, Ro) will be in their revamped form. Our Progression servers have to co-exist with live servers, so we need to have the same geometry running on all of them. In cases where the geometry was the same but population changed, we will use the original populations where possible:
- Splitpaw - Will begin in its first revamped form (with the Ishva Mal).
- Cazic-Thule - Will begin in the form after Rubicite was removed.
- The Hole - Will begin in its first form (with Master Yael).
- Plane of Hate - Will be in the current layout, but with population much like the original zone after the first loot revamp.
- Plane of Fear - Will have population the same as the first loot revamp.
- Droga/Nurga - Original population.
- Firiona Vie - Original population.
- Veeshan's Peak - Original population, but no death restrictions.
- Plane of Mischief - Original population. The "easy" entrance will not be active until it changes to the current version.
- Grimling Forest - Original population.
Zones that are set up in this manner will transition to their current datasets in roughly the same timeframe as they originally changed.
Q: What about the Sleeper?
Kerafyrm will be in stasis when the server opens.
Q: Will you be removing changes you have made to game functions?
In most cases, no. For instance, the UI will be current, you will not leave your items on your corpse when you die, coin will not have weight, and the enhanced loot system will be in place. If it is a modern system that is enabled on live servers for everyone, it will be in place.
Features that were added with expansions, such as the Bazaar (Luclin), armor dye (LoY), out-of-combat regeneration (TSS), and mercenaries (SoD), will mostly be unlocked when those expansions were unlocked, with the following exceptions that will be enabled day one:
- The Raid window
- AAs (though most abilities still are restricted by level or expansion)
- Saving recipes in tradeskill containers
- Audio Triggers
- Many Achievements (but not kill or collect achievements)
- Hotbar revamps (but not item clicking in bags)
- Guild rank customizations
Because leadership AAs were introduced as an expansion feature but later added for free to everyone, they will be available upon launch as well.
Q: Will classes or races that were not available at launch be available on this server?
Not until the server progresses to the point at which the race, class, or combination was added.
- Iksar will not be available until Kunark is unlocked.
- Beastlords and/or Vah Shir will not be available until Luclin is unlocked.
- Frogloks will not be available until Legacy of Ykesha is unlocked.
- Berserkers will not be available until Gates of Discord is unlocked.
- Drakkin will not be available until the Serpent's Spine is unlocked.
- Froglok monks will not be available until Veil of Alaris is unlocked.
Q: Will the tutorial or veteran rewards be enabled on the server? What about holiday events like Fabled mobs, or Hardcore Heritage?
Not at launch. These features and events will be enabled at approximately the time they were introduced to the live game.
Q: How will you be handling the rush of players at launch?
As some of you may have seen when the current Tutorial zone was released, we have a form of load-balancing that can spawn another version of a zone when the current zone gets too full. For the launch of the new Progression server we are able to announce that we have extended this function to many newbie zones that meet the following criteria:
- The zone is primarily for new players (levels 1-15). The number of zones available to players in the 15-25 range is nearly double that of levels 1-15.
- The zone does not contain significant content for mid-level players (levels 30 and up, ish). Increasing the availability of low-level treasure is an acceptable consequence of the system, but not mid level items.
- The zone is not a dungeon. Unique items appearing on unique creatures in a shared environment is, we feel, vitally important to the feel of early EverQuest.
These are the zones that we're setting up to load balance:
- North Qeynos
- Surefall Glade
- Qeynos Hills
- West Freeport
- Misty Thicket
- Steamfont Mountains
- Greater Faydark
- Butcherblock Mountains
- Innothule Swamp
- Toxxulia Forest
- Field of Bone
Once those zones reach a certain threshold of players (it varies based on the size of the zone), it will spawn another version of itself. You will be able to choose which version of the zone you want to enter upon zoning in, or you will be able to use the /pickzone command to choose another version of the zone you are in. This should let people group up with friends but still be able to find things to kill and see plenty of other players.
We have also enabled technology to dynamically increase (or decrease) the maximum number of characters allowable on a server at any given time. Between these two new systems we expect to be able to handle most of the players who want to play on the new server on the first day.
Q: So why not instance raid content?
The load balancing system is relatively uncontrolled and does not have any of the safeguards that are built in to our current raid zones. It does not lock content to any one raid or guild, and has no capability to assign or give raid lockouts. Due to these limitations, we feel it is not technology that can be applied to any zone where "end game" items are available.
Besides all of that, creating instanced versions of raid encounters wouldn't be true to the original experience of EverQuest. This playerbase formed raid rotations or other rules on its own before, and we would like to believe that it is capable of doing so again.
Q: Will Recruit-A-Friend or other account-based bonuses apply to this server?
No. This is a new ruleset server and account bonuses will not apply to characters on it.
Q: Will experience rates be reduced on the new server?
Yes. We will be testing out a different method to adjust this experience modifier that should hopefully fix the problems people had with the most recent Progression Servers. When we open Beta we will need your help to test the new method.
Q: Will there be a Beta?
Yes. There will be an open Beta to test out the new experience system and load balancing system, as well as to get input on anything else that may need to be changed before we launch. Keep an eye out for an announcement regarding this.
Q: Will there be a Beta reward?
Yes. Our goal is to incentivize beta participation, especially at low levels, without providing an unbalancing boost. Our current thought is some no-trade backpacks, which everyone needs on a new server but are not so inherently valuable that they could trivialize content or provide an insurmountable boost to a player who has them. If you can think of some more low-powered but useful reward ideas, let us know.
Q: When you talk about expansions unlocking after a certain amount of time, does that mean killing raid targets isn't required?
No. Any time we mention that an expansion unlocks after a certain time period, that time period starts when the previous expansion's progression targets are defeated.
Q: Why can't you make a Progression Server that does X? Lots of people like X!
There is a very wide selection of people who are interested in our new Progression Server, and the startlingly similar distribution of votes in our last set of polls showed us that there are a very wide range of opinions about what a Progression Server should be.
Very roughly, the last poll had 40% in favor of long duration locks, with 20% favoring each of the other three options. That is a clear plurality that is leading us in that direction, but it also means that more than half of you would have preferred something else. We are not in a position where we are able to please everyone, but we are doing our best to please as many of you as we can. We hope the next poll options make that clear.
Q: What are all of these new poll options, and what do they mean?
You're either from the future, or reading this in the future, so that's pretty cool either way. We're going to have five polls, listed below. While feedback is welcome, we're going to use the in-game poll results to determine the direction we go in, so please make sure you vote there in addition to posting.
Poll Question 1: Should the new Progression Server require a vote to unlock new expansions after all raid targets have been defeated and the time limit has passed?
This one is pretty simple. Once all raid targets have been defeated and the time limit has passed, do you want people to vote on whether or not to unlock the next expansion? Never don't not vote against what you least dislike!
Poll Question 2: Which expansions should be unlocked on the Progression Server when it first opens?
This is a bit of a ruleset change, but breaking it out like this makes it simpler. When the server opens, do you want it to just be Classic EverQuest, EverQuest and Kunark, or EverQuest, Kunark, and Velious?
If we were to open the server with more than one expansion unlocked, we would greatly extend the amount of time before the next expansion could be unlocked. For instance, if players choose to open with Kunark, and also choose (in the next question) to go 4 months between expansions early on, it would be 8 months before Velious could be unlocked. Under the same rules, if Velious was unlocked on day 1, it would be 12 months before Luclin could open.
If some strange combination of rules wins here, we will probably run another poll to clarify rule sets and lock down numbers.
Poll Question 3: What schedule do you prefer for unlocking expansions on the Progression Server?
Poll Question 4: If your preferred schedule were not available, what would you make your SECOND choice for unlocking expansions? Be sure to choose a different option from the previous question.
These two questions will be used as an Immediate Run-off Vote (IRV) system. Under this system, if there is not a clear winner from the first poll, we take the people who voted on the least popular option (or options if there is a significant falloff) and use their results from the second poll to supplement everyone else's results from the first.
While nothing is preventing you from choosing the same option in both cases, if that option is eliminated in the first poll you will still not be counted in the second (because you're voting for an eliminated option).
Here's an example in ABCD form:
I vote for C in the first poll and D in the second.
Elidroth votes for A in the first poll and D in the second.
Dzarn votes for B in the first poll and C in the second.
Absor votes for B in the first poll and B in the second, because Absor.
The results for the first poll are as follows:
- A: 13%
- B: 12%
- C: 40%
- D: 35%
A and B are clear minorities and are eliminated. Here's how our votes then work:
My vote for C in the first poll is still valid, so my answer in the second poll is discarded.
Elidroth's vote for A is discarded, but his vote for D in the second poll is counted.
Dzarn's vote for B is discarded, but his vote for C in the second poll is counted.
Absor's vote for B is discarded, and then his second vote for B is also discarded.
Now that we've explained why there are two questions asking the same thing in the first place, let's explain the options in more detail:
Maximum Nostalgia: Kunark, Velious, Luclin, PoP, and Gates each open 6 months after raid targets are defeated, all later expansions take 3 months each to open after raid targets are defeated.
- This is more or less unchanged from the previous post, but with the additional option to start with more than Classic open it gets a little bit more complex.
- Any expansions that are opened at launch would add their time to the time required to unlock the next, so the earliest Luclin could unlock would be 18 months after launch.
- Kunark: 6 months
- Velious: 6 months
- Luclin: 6 months
- Planes of Power: 6 months
- Ykesha: 2 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 4 weeks after PoP
- Gates: 6 months (after PoP)
- Omens and later: 3 months
Accelerated: Kunark opens 2 months after Classic raid targets are defeated, Velious, Luclin, and PoP each open 8 months after raid targets are defeated, all later expansions take 3 months to open after raid targets are defeated.
- This option spends more time in Kunark and Velious in order to avoid an extended logjam with a lot of people in the more limited end-game in Classic EQ.
- Again, any expansions that are voted to be open add their time to unlock the next expansion. If Kunark were opened at launch with this option, it would be 10 months before Velious could unlock.
- Kunark: 2 months
- Velious: 8 months
- Luclin: 8 months
- Planes of Power: 8 months
- Ykesha: 2 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 4 weeks after PoP
- Gates: 3 months (after PoP)
- Omens and later: 3 months
Level Cap Bias:Expansions that offer level caps up to 70 are targeted to open 8 months after the last level cap expansion's raid targets were defeated, and expansions in between have shorter unlock periods. Level cap expansions above 70 open every 4 months.
- This is the most nebulous and we'd probably do another vote to settle on an exact schedule afterwards, but it would have roughly the same proportions as what's outlined below.
- As always, expansions that are open at launch would still add their time to the next expansion's unlock period.
- Kunark: 8 months
- Velious: 3 months
- Luclin: 3 months
- Planes of Power: 3 months
- Ykesha: 2 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 4 weeks after PoP
- Gates: 4 months (after PoP)
- Omens: 4 months
- DoN, DoD, PoR, TSS: 2 weeks each
- TBS, SoF: 2 months each
- SoD: 4 months
- Underfoot, HoT: 2 months each
- VoA: 4 months
- RoF: 4 months
- CotF, TDS: 2 months each
Half Speed: Once the raid targets are defeated, expansions unlock in half the time they took in real life. Kunark opens after 6.75 months, Velious 3.75 months after that, et cetera.
This option simply takes the original time between expansion launches and cuts it in half.
As always, expansions that are open at launch would still add their time to the next expansion's unlock period.
- Kunark: 6.75 months
- Velious: 3.75 months
- Luclin: 6 months
- Planes of Power: 5.5 months
- Legacy of Ykesha: 4 weeks after PoP
- LDoN: 10 weeks after PoP
- Gates: 7.75 months (after PoP)
- Omens: 3.5 months
- DoN: 2.5 months
- Depths: 3.5 months
- PoR: 2.75 months
- TSS: 3.5 months
- TBS: 2.5 months
Poll Question 5: Which of these names for the new Progression Server do you like best?
A lot of you suggested Quarm, which we like very much... for another purpose. We're going with a mix of the existing dragon list, some suggestions from the forum thread, and entities that haven't gotten much attention. Here they are in alphabetical order:
- Anashti Sul
- Opal Darkbriar
Q: When can we vote on these?
Very soon. Expect them in game next week at the latest.
We appreciate the feedback that everyone has been sharing with our team on our official forums and Reddit. We’re pretty excited about the new progression server coming this summer and we can tell that you are too!