March Patch Preview

Daybreak Games has given all of us Everquest players a teaser of what to expect from the upcoming patch next week!

(From the EQ Forums)

The March patch is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, 2016 (the day of EverQuest’s 17th Anniversary!). Here are some highlights on what players can expect from this patch:

DoTs Improvements

Over the past few months, we've been reviewing the way DoTs work and how we would like to improve them going forward. As most of you know, there's a limited number of debuff slots available on any given NPC, which conflicts with DoT classes wanting to layer as many spells as possible on any given NPC in order to maximize damage. This layering has contributed to a lot of problems over the years; most notably, it takes a lot of spell slots away from players who want to maximize DoT damage, and it uses up many of the limited debuff slots available on raid targets.

In order to improve the way this works, we're starting this process with Beastlords, but we're planning to continue with it through all classes that use DoTs regularly. Here's what we did for Beastlords:

  1. We went back to the first DoT in any given line, and doubled it (or more). This step may not happen for every class, but Beastlords in particular haven't been able to use DoTs for as much reliable damage as we'd like, so they needed the boost.
  2. We looked at updates to those lines and increased their damage in a much more aggressive scale than we used to. This should mean that a new DoT will perform better than itself plus two previous levels of the same spell under the old scale.
  3. We increased damage/mana efficiency over the entire line in a progressive manner. At each level you should be getting more damage per mana than before.
  4. We categorized the new DoTs into lines which will prevent the same player from stacking multiple levels of the same DoT line on the same target. Other players can use DoTs in the same line on the same target, and the same player can use DoTs in the same line on different targets. The increase in damage should mean that a single player is dealing more damage with one DoT than they formerly did with three spells.

 

Everquest 17th Anniversay Producer's Letter

Taken directly from Daybreak's official forums:

 

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"Hail Norrath!

It’s anniversary time for EverQuest and its 17th year!

The past year was fantastic, and we thank you for that! This year is also shaping up to bring healthy doses of Norrathian delights!

Coming next week with the anniversary, the team has created the Gnome Race event for everyone to enjoy on ALL servers! To participate, you'll need to create a new gnome in Ak'Anon. Look for Tipsy Teena near the exit from Ak'Anon to Steamfont Mountains and be prepared to drunk-dash and get flung across Faydwer all the way to the Estate of Unrest! Keep an eye out for world broadcasts when the race is about to begin because the prizes include brand new, awesome gnomish clockwork Hero's Forge armor pieces! For those not as adept at drunk-dashing, we will have an alternate set of clockwork Hero's Forge armor available in the marketplace.

What else? A fabled Legacy of Ykesha raid is coming for our players that raid on live servers for the anniversary! Woot! This raid and another bonus (wink, wink) will start on March 16th, so stay tuned for an announcement about that. Given the popularity of the dog and cat pets, and being true to our legacy, we felt it appropriate to bring you Gnolls in a Barrel. Do a barrel gnoll! This pet bundle will also be available starting with the Anniversary update on March 16th.

You have all shown us how much love you have for EverQuest, just like us, so we want to keep exploring new ways to enjoy this incredible game. Heading into summer, we have some big and fun plans in the works. We are still finalizing the details before we make any grand statements – and there should be a grand statement as we inch closer. The expansion for this year is well under way and looking incredible on the art front as well as design. We are really jazzed about where are new adventures will take you, and we’re excited to see what you think when we are ready to share more!

On top of all the stuff you will see, there’s some stuff you won’t! We are making some backend changes to improve server stability while also minimizing the loss of progress due to rollbacks. These changes will be mostly transparent, but it will help us to provide a better experience.

So, to all Norrathians, happy anniversary and thanks for all your support and commitment to EverQuest! Get ready to get your Gnome on and join us as we celebrate the anniversary with a drunken Gnome race on the Vox server on Wednesday, March 16 at 3PM PST.You can also join our team in a Twitch livestream on twitch.tv/everquestlive!"

 

 

A Legacy of Ykesha raid... that could be interesting. Some of the funnest lore/zones in the game in my view, but from the least impressive "exspansion" (it wasn't called that originally... just an extension) in EQ history. Now if they had made LoY a bit deeper (and have drops useful to the upper-tier population) and maybe completed it (there is a lot of evidence that it was nowhere near a finished product for quests and such). Anyway, I digress... Yay anniversary!

Daybreak Games: Game Wide Maintenance

In a move designed to bring all Daybreak Games to a screeching halt, DBG announced this afternoon a GAME-WIDE general maintenance that will affect ALL of their games, including Everquest, Everquest II and the rest of their stable of MMOs.

Maintenance will begin Tuesday morning at 0-dark hundred (5:00AM PST), March 8th.  There is no ETA how long downtime should be expected; it varies depending on the game and service needed.  However, according to DBGs, if downtime extends for more than four hours, check the official game forums for an updated message.

 This general maintenance will likely impact the following DBG services across all games:

  • Game Logins for all Daybreak Games
  • Forum and Web logins for all Daybreak Games *
  • Commerce and Account Management for all Daybreak Games.

Because this is a non-game specific maintenance, there will be no patch notes available.


(*yeah, so good luck checking the official forums for extended downtime)

Yep.. still here and and so are EQ Events!

Don't get wiggly, the Zam site may have changed but our beloved and favorite EQ website is still here!  And speaking of Everquest, here's the latest directly from Roshen on the EQ Forums:

War Games, the Plane of War anniversary event, is back for a limited time! This event is active NOW on live servers, and will be available until Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 11:00PM Pacific Time.

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This mission scales to your level, and can be requested by players that are level 65 and up from Commander Gorok who can be found in the Plane of Tranquility. Don't miss your chance to get a head start on collecting Commemorative Coins that can be used for special EQ Anniversary rewards!

Heaven's Hope Review Impressions

 

Every year when I was a kid, my mom would buy me a new “I Spy” book, with pages filled with photographs of cluttered item search puzzles. Find five pins or find 10 owls. We would settle in my bed after Christmas Eve dinner and go through a few pages. After she tired out and left me for the night, I would still sit upstairs, trying to find the last piece to finish the puzzle. There is a joy of finding that solution, to discovering that one thing you missed.

It was this kind of memory that led me, when I started playing video games more frequently, to try out point and click adventures. They function with the same concept. Shouldn’t be too difficult, right?

However, what I found in many of these games, especially in more recent titles, was that they  seemed drawn to using too many variables. Whether it’s relying on randomness to entertain the player or having too many objects or solutions to explore, they can become more frustrating than fun. Where is the joy of clicking everything in your inventory? This is what I felt playing Heaven’s Hope, a new German puzzle game from Mosaic Mask Studios. The developers wanted to create a challenging experience but couldn’t get all the pieces to fit.

Heaven’s Hope is charming enough in its art style and story. You play an angel named Talorel, who, after falling to Earth during the 19th century and destroying his wings, needs to explore the town nearby to get help. It’s called Heaven’s Hope and it’s run by a tyrannical nun that wants to bring back the Inquisition (naturally, there are quite a few Monty Python jokes). 

Talorel is helped along by a mouse who has experienced death, a man from Tennessee, a mad scientist, and an adorable homunculus, among other characters that you would normally find in a British village. 

The watercolor-style backgrounds and Tim Burton-esque character designs add flavor and humor to the game, which could’ve otherwise gotten bogged down by its heavy themes and dark motifs. Heaven’s Hope is a town trapped in religious oppression, and setting the player as an angel in that scenario begs a few moral questions. 

Talorel is also constantly surrounded by death. One task has him trying to help a ghost by finding her remains and burying them in a cemetery that’s full of talkative company. It’s dark, but there are enough jokes that manage to land and lighten the mood. Considering this game was originally in German (and to play it any other language you have to make sure you tweak your settings first), it’s impressive how well some of them translated. It helps when a lot of them are pop culture references though. 

The problem with Heaven’s Hope though, is that it has too many of these attractive elements. Talorel is a bland character and any moments we may have to explore him are wasted. I kept getting washed up in solving another puzzle or wandering around the town. Heaven’s Hope is small, so backtracking is mandatory, and gameplay gets repetitive. 

There isn’t enough variety in movement and dialogue to keep you involved when puzzles take a while. There’s only so many times I can hear a “I collect spores, molds, and fungus” joke before I want to put the game on mute. The stilted voice acting doesn’t help when you have to hear the same options over and over again.

Combined with some bugs that can make you think you’ve solved a puzzle when you haven’t, or solutions that don’t activate because you already had an object in your inventory, and Heaven’s Hope is both the best and the worst of the point and click genre. There’s a fine line with classic point and click adventures: I can see the appeal, but I can also see when they’re trying too hard. Heaven’s Hope sadly falls on the latter side.


Carli Velocci is the editor of her webzine Postmortem Mag, and is a culture and technology writer seen at Paste Magazine, Motherboard, the Boston Globe, and anywhere else brave enough to publish her. You can read more of her work on her website or follow her on Twitter @velocciraptor.

Project X Zone 2 Review

Project X Zone 2 is a mess in theory. It’s crossover strategy game featuring characters from Capcom, Namco, Sega, and Nintendo that exists almost entirely as a vehicle for jokes that make up the bulk of its 50-hour runtime.

Roshen Loves EQ Players!

Another direct pull from Roshen over at the Daybreak Official boards:

 

We’re having a Bonus Week here in Norrath! What does that mean? From 12:00PM (Noon) PST on Wednesday, February 24th through 12:00PM (Noon) PST on Wednesday, March 2nd, we’ve got two special opportunities happening in game.

MEMBER MARKETPLACE DISCOUNT INCREASED

Is there an item in the Marketplace you’ve been eyeing? Are you on the Phinigel server and planning on leveling up for the upcoming Kunark unlock? Good news! During Bonus Week, the Member Marketplace Discount will be raised to 30% OFF! That’s a significant increase from your standard membership discount (10%).

Not a member yet? This would be a great time to become one! Find our more details about the benefits of membership and purchase at https://www.everquest.com/membership.

DOUBLE RARE SPAWNS

If you’re on one of our regular servers, get ready for the fruits of your labor to be sweeter than ever. Why? This week, there are Double Rare Spawns!

(Sorry, TLP players – double rare spawns do not apply on Ragefire, Lockjaw, or Phinigel).

We'll see you in Norrath!

Kunark Unlocks On Phinigel Server!

Taken directly from Roshen's Post on the official Daybreak Boards:

 

The Ruins of Kunark content will unlock on the Phinigel progression server on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 @ 12:01PM (noon) PST*

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Special note: Some NPCs, boats, or other game features may require an hour or so to appear correctly in-game after this content unlocks.

Is this the first time you've heard about the Phinigel progression server? Learn more about this special server where content unlocks to players every 12 weeks!

*convert this to your local time

The Flame in the Flood Review

I'm beginning to suspect that I'm not very good at surviving

Devil Daggers Review Impressions

Hooo boy, Devil Daggers. Devil Daggers. My longest gameplay session in Devil Daggers is eighty-six seconds long. From what I can tell, this is a pretty OK score.

Devil Daggers is a first-person arena shooter with a gothic retro artstyle and only one game-mode: survival. There are about 2460 people in the world who are better at surviving in Devil Daggers than me. The best player, as of this writing, has survived for only 483 seconds, which is eight minutes.

Devil Daggers is extremely hard.