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EverQuest: Progression Server Update

StraddenStradden Managing EditorMember CommonPosts: 6,696

Community Manager Laura Genender has been playing on the EverQuest Progression Servers and takes some time on this New Year's Eve to give us a full report of the good, the bad, and the ugly side of this interesting approach from the makers of EverQuest.

p>On March 16th, 1999, Sony Online Entertainment opened the virtual doors to the world of EverQuest – one of the most successful and popular games of its generation. While comparatively small next to the modern EverQuest world, consisting of over 400 zones and 14 expansions, the game at release contained a large amount of content for such a relatively new genre of gaming. Many gamers began their MMO careers in Norrath, and many still reside there today.

 

On June 28th, 2006, Sony introduced two new EverQuest servers. These newest additions – Combine and Sleeper – operated under a whole new rule set not seen in EverQuest or any other game. Known as the progression servers, Sleeper and Combine opened up with original EQ content exclusively. Ruins of Kunark, Shadows of Luclin – all expansion content had to be unlocked by the defeat of raid targets and the completion of quests.

While my article in April discussed the server (by then Combine and Sleeper had merged)’s first 9 months of existence, I’ve now had a year and a half to form opinions about the concept and the reality of progression.

Read the whole thing here.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • TerranahTerranah Member UncommonPosts: 3,575

    Progression servers sound cool.  It's awesome they have this capability. 

     

    Maybe it's possible to have Precu SWG servers after all

  • qbangy32qbangy32 Member Posts: 681

    The Progression idea drew me back to EQ but at a stage where I was too far behind the main guilds to actually take part within the unlocking of content, so I would be extremley happy if they went with another Progression server based on the idea of each guild unlocking the content rather than server wide, this would bring some real challenges to each guild and perhaps draw in more players as they won't feel they are going to be left behind by the big guilds.

     

     

  • DelamekoDelameko Member Posts: 200

    Originally posted by Terranah


    Progression servers sound cool.  It's awesome they have this capability. 
     
    Maybe it's possible to have Precu SWG servers after all

    The thing with Progression, though, is even right at the beginning with no expansions unlocked, the Progression game was exactly the same as the standard game.  All the bug fixes, tweaks, updates and upgrades were present, they just locked off expansion territories and features.

    I think PreCU SWG would be impossible to do now.

  • joeybootsjoeyboots Member UncommonPosts: 628
    Originally posted by Delameko

    Originally posted by Terranah


    Progression servers sound cool.  It's awesome they have this capability. 
     
    Maybe it's possible to have Precu SWG servers after all

    The thing with Progression, though, is even right at the beginning with no expansions unlocked, the Progression game was exactly the same as the standard game.  All the bug fixes, tweaks, updates and upgrades were present, they just locked off expansion territories and features.

    I think PreCU SWG would be impossible to do now.

  • jinxitjinxit Member UncommonPosts: 854

    From what i remember sony devs never kept the code from pre-cu and cu swg all they did was write over it which is why swg nge is so bloody hard to  change basic things like the ui and makes it near impossible to add fresh content..unless offcourse they recycle from the existing game *cough cough* new ships cough cough.

  • VesaviusVesavius Member RarePosts: 7,905

    A classic EQ server asap plz.   

  • Lunar_KnightLunar_Knight Member Posts: 292

    Nice article.



    Nostalgia is a very tricky, and some would say fickle, thing to work with. Sometimes it clicks with people and some times it doesn't.



    I started playing on the Classic Dark Age of Camelot servers with, admittedly, too high of expectations that it would be just like the good old days. While not having ToA expansion did indeed help, too many other things had changed and I couldn't make myself like the changes.



    From what I've heard from others Everquest had a similar problem. It was a lot like the old, but not enough. It didn't feel like you were back in 2001 playing old school Elf crack.



    If you want to give your old player base a nostalgia shock, I suggest saving the game exactly like how it is on launch and bring it back after a few years (fatal or really crappy glitches aside). More then likely, these developers have no need or want otherwise to keep the game in it's completely original form.

    I'd go back and play original versions of any of these:

    Dark Age of Camelot

    Asheron's Call

    Everquest

    PlanetSide

    Star Wars Galaxies



    ...I'm sure the list has a few more, but I got to head out. Peace!

    .....................................

    ...but time flows like a river...

    ...and history repeats...

    -Leader of "The Fighting Irish" in DAoC on Hib/Kay-

  • TaeraTaera Community ManagerMember CommonPosts: 1,078

    Yeah, there were a lot of things that slipped through the cracks, and a lot of things that were intentionally left different.  For example, old-school EverQuest meditation (mana regeneration) required the caster to open their spell book, which blocked their entire screen.  Later in the game they allowed casters to meditate via the /sit command, without blocking their view...but the progression servers started out with /sit meditation.

    When I'm sitting, I like to be able to at least watch everyone else fight.  I'm glad they left this change out - while more hardcore veterans wanted spellbook meditation back.

    Laura "Taera" Genender
    Community Manager
    MMORPG.com

  • cmgangrelcmgangrel Member UncommonPosts: 152

    Unfortunately you can be caught in the catch 22 situation of having to cope with bugs that shouldnt be there, or imbalances that only got resolved later on in the game.

    Actually if you resolved those bugs/balance issues then what content do you miss out of including in with the game for these standalone 'classic' servers.

    The only time in which something like a 'classic' server could work would be if some GAME changing took place (Starwars NGE being my only experiance with). And although the code might not be there, 90% of the time, the game changes get rolled through several patches... and unfortunately you are then left with 2 or more SAME games to develop for (unless of course you allowed people to transfer characters from 'classic' to 'current' servers)

  • VesaviusVesavius Member RarePosts: 7,905

    Originally posted by Taera


    Yeah, there were a lot of things that slipped through the cracks, and a lot of things that were intentionally left different.  For example, old-school EverQuest meditation (mana regeneration) required the caster to open their spell book, which blocked their entire screen.  Later in the game they allowed casters to meditate via the /sit command, without blocking their view...but the progression servers started out with /sit meditation.
    When I'm sitting, I like to be able to at least watch everyone else fight.  I'm glad they left this change out - while more hardcore veterans wanted spellbook meditation back.
    I hear you Laura, but, like many things we take for granted, this was to be earned through playing to me. It was a major milestone to get to the level you dropped the book and on a RP tip marked the passing from novice to master spellcaster. At least thats how I always saw it. :)

    Lets not forget the book thing didnt last forever. :)

    Whether it's nostaliga or not, no other game contected to me like EQ1 did. And theres always a market for nostalga right?

  • BuzWeaverBuzWeaver Member UncommonPosts: 978

    As far back as 2002 when the EQ forums were more frequented you would see sporadic threads discussing a possible concept such as the Progression/Combine server. At the time the idea was more fanciful than a possibility, but the fervor grew and old school players like me felt that it was worth a shot to keep this concept alive.


    Around 2005 and with a lot of community momentum SOE seemed to have taken notice. It wasn't just a few sporadic threads now, but a rally of players who were really wanting this idea to come to fruition. I can still recall the excitement I felt when I received my Station News Letter and was reading that SOE was going to open a Progression server.

    I hopped on the forums and saw an elated group of players and more importantly I saw old schoolers coming out of the woodwork. People I knew from old guilds and real life friends were considering a return, most of them did.

    As some of you may recall SOE had the best subscriber base in June/July 2006 than they had experienced in several years. Anyone who logged in opening night saw over 400 players in Greater Faydark alone, when you weren't crashing from the sheer volumes of people.

    It was an incredible time, a wonderful time! Norrath was alive again, crafting was viable again, questing was fun again, trading in the EC tunnel was soon to follow and that was the thrill well worth the subscription alone.

    Times couldn't have been sweeter in those first three weeks, however it wasn't long before we saw Misty Thicket Picnic Baskets and Qeynos Afternoon tea being sold, which garnished some amazing stats for just 1 silver per and so the tyrannical rush of Uber Guilds to completely tear through content began.

    I've never objected to how people play as long as they followed the rules, but I felt that the speed and tenacity at which the raiders were slowly affecting the game was turning a 4 year old dream into a end game nightmare.

    One of the more disappointing elements was that SOE naively admitted they didn't anticipate that 'end-game radiers' would be interested in playing as this was a walk down memory lane, smell the roses environment, a claim I found very difficult to believe.

    The whole idea was to allow players the luxury of reliving the 'good'ol days'. It was fun while it lasted (all of two months for me), would another Progression Server work, maybe, but not with the same fan fair as the first Progression Server. I admit I miss the game, however I'm not sure if I'd make another return. SOE would really have to stick to their guns, outline the progressions process and expansions clearly so that we could have a smell the roses game play.


    The Old Timers Guild
    Laid back, not so serious, no drama.
    All about the fun!

    www.oldtimersguild.com
    An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it. - Jef Mallett

  • NadiaNadia Member UncommonPosts: 11,798

    I played the progression server on launch in summer 2006

     

    it was a blast with TONS of players in the newbie zones and beyond

    (I lost interest after POP opened)

     

    - would happily do this again if they started a new classic server

  • SenanSenan Member UncommonPosts: 788

    Amazing post Laura ^_^, it pin-points what happened with the progression server perfectly. It seemed like SOE catered much more to the hard-core players than to the casual, nostalgia seeker. Wether it was intentional or just coincidental, I have no idea.

    I played on one of the progression servers also (The Sleeper) and honestly, even with the modern game changes left in, I had a blast. It was, without a doubt, the most fun I've had in an MMO in years.

    As for the classic server idea, I've kind of got mixed feelings about it. Don't get me wrong, I truly love the old world and classic content more than anything in the game, but I also like being on the proactive side of things when it comes to development. I want to see everything the game has to offer - past, current, and future.

    With that said, what I'd really like to see as a new server in the future (if they do, in fact, decide to create a new one) would be a progression server with much longer time locks for unlocking expansions. That was my biggest disappointment about The Sleeper; I felt like I was being rushed in order to see and do all of the things I always wanted to do in the old world. And for those playing for nostalgia's sake, I'd guess that they were the most disappointed of us all. One month per expansion just didn't seem long enough (or was it longer? I can't remember exactly.) With the super guilds racing each other for fame and glory, it left the rest of us in the dust as we watched the old world fade back into obscurity and become that which it is on normal servers. I just wish that there could've been more time to bask in the greatness that was classic EQ. Aside from that though, it was a very memorable experience, and I'd gladly do it again.

    Here's hoping SOE considers a 4-6 month time-locked progression or classic server in the near future ^_^.

    -Alacres

    image
  • miticmitic Member Posts: 16

    sony online entertainment is plain stupid. someone would say that a companies goal is to earn money. well, it looks like they got way too much money since anyone else with half a braincell would have opened already several DIFFERENT ruleset servers (pvp included).

    its about time to get braid mc quaid back into buisness to show em what the vision actually is

    current everquest sucks big time...every new expansion trivializes everything beyond that.

  • pencilrickpencilrick Member Posts: 1,550

    The multitude of expansions is not the problem.  The problem has been and always was the POK (Plane of Knowledge) and in-game tutorials.

    POK and in-game tutorials killed off the old world, for there was no longer any reason to hang out in Freeport, Qeynos, Halas, or East Commonlands.  The game sort of died for a lot of us when POK went live.   (And the in-game tutorials made things even worse).

    I am all for out-of-game tutorials as existed in the original release of EQ.  Folks do need to experiment with movement, casting spells, opening inventory, etc...  But to throw folks into some contrived tutorial instance for the first 10 levels really kills any reason to hang out in the wondrous newbie lands of pre-expansion EQ.

    The thrills of EQ were numerous, but among those included having the home starting cities as safehavens and places to train and sell, and to have cross-continent journeys and the excitement of risking getting caught in Kithicor Forest after sundown.  Stuff like that gave the old world a culture and a feel to it.  (And yes, high level players could still buy a druid port if they didn't want to make the journey.)

    But today, EQ feels like Dungeons and Dragons Online or Guild Wars where you hang out in one city (POK in EQ) and wait to get a group so you can port to where the fight is.  Lame, lame, lame.

    Why have a POK?  Why not place an auction house and trainers in every major starting city, with a few cities having spells others do not, so some travel is mandated.  Let the cities of Freeport, Halas, Qeynos, Kelethin, and Felwithe LIVE.  Nothing more cool that seeing living folks in Freeport.  (Instead, Freeport looks like a set from the movie "I am Legend"; just empty and grim).

    And one other thing, I loved Jay Barbeau's original midi music and thoroughly despise Laura Karpman's jazzed up versions of the EQ themes.  The latter sounds like the tired music track of a TV sitcom and is just annoying.  Jazzed up themes generally blow.

    Sony needs to give us EQ classic and restore the original music.  At least give us ONE server like this.

    Thanks.  Happy New Year.

     

     

     

  • quixadhalquixadhal Member UncommonPosts: 215

    Originally posted by pencilrick


    The thrills of EQ were numerous, but among those included having the home starting cities as safehavens and places to train and sell, and to have cross-continent journeys and the excitement of risking getting caught in Kithicor Forest after sundown.  Stuff like that gave the old world a culture and a feel to it.  (And yes, high level players could still buy a druid port if they didn't want to make the journey.)


    That sums up the change in genre between early games (from text muds on up through EQ1) and the modern games.  EQ1 required the player to do a lot of bookkeeping by hand.  It was the last game I drew maps (with the original multimedia design tool... graph paper!) while playing.  It was the last game where I would spend an extra hour after intending to quit because I *had* to retrieve my corpse before it decayed.  It was also the last game where I got to know the layout of the game world like the back of my hand.

    In-game maps destroyed so much of the feeling that EQ1 had, it's really a shame.  The reason Kithicor was so terrifying was that it was dark (I mean dark as in you could see 20 feet ahead of you, and that was it... unless you didn't have a torch, in which case you could see almost nothing).  But dark alone isn't enough... you also had no in-game navigation beyond typing /loc to get your coordinates, and a little compass which wasn't always 100% accurate.  No in-game map with little radar dots, no gowing trails to waypoints.  Just you and your knowledge of the game, or your printout of eqatlas's maps and a notepad.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm not a young kid these days.  I don't have the patience (or time!) to draw maps and try to remember which similarly-named mob I got a quest from (to turn it in... you had to remember!), and which one would sell me stuff.  But I also know nothing will have the same kind of intense feelings because nobody will give up those comforts.

    It's a real shame that Vanguard failed the way it did.  If they had stuck to their original "no teleporting" and "no maps" concepts, and had released a game that wasn't so bug-riddled, it would have given you that same feel.  The fact is, instant travel and maps makes the world itself redundant.  It doesn't matter how far across the uncharted oceans a city is, if you can buy a ticket to take a safe ship which goes through a portal.

    As for pre-cu SWG... Only way that could ever happen is if SOE dug out a copy of the server code from that time (cvs, svn, source-safe... they must have one somewhere) AND dug out a copy of the client from that time as well.  You'd have to suffer with all the bugs of the old client AND server, since I gather the changes to the code infrastructure were significant, and they wouldn't stick any developers into back-porting bug fixes unless they could prove it would be a significant source of income.

    Happy New Year!

     

  • brostynbrostyn Member Posts: 3,092

    I would not play on a server that was capable of unlocking the mess that is Luclin and beyond. Aside from LDON, LOY and Kunark the rest of the raid crap can rot.

     

    Now, if they had a EQ server with just Kunark, and the new regen changes that would truly rock. I'm not interested in getting 50 people together to zerg some poor mob to get a reward that trivilalizes the game.

  • FlummoxedFlummoxed Member Posts: 591

     

    Originally posted by quixadhal


     Just you and your knowledge of the game, or your printout of eqatlas's maps and a notepad. 

    I used to have reams of those maps tacked up on the wall behind the monitor so i wouldn't get lost. 

    God there were so many great areas in the game to just screw around in and it's amazing how vividly i remember them after all these years.  and who can ever forget the exhiliration / terror / furor whenever you heard :

    !!! T R A I N !!!      waaaahhhh!!!    bwahahaha wheee! what a damn fun game it was.

    edit: oh yeah back on topic - Progression.  fwiw Horizons had an excellent progression system where masses of people had to work together mining and defending the miners to unlock new playable races, and construction to unlock new land masses.   I remember coordinating defense efforts with dozens of other fighters every day over a period of weeks in order to free a race.  In addition to the normal spawns, every so often the GMs would intervene and throw in a mass attack that would have us fighting for our lives!  great fun and there was actually some global Goal to work towards, ie there was actually something Going On in the world.

  • rich0077rich0077 Member Posts: 5

    This is a great thread.  Very intelligent, I agree with so much of what is said here.  I used to have all the eqatlas maps in a huge binder too, read the book guide before really playing. 

    { Mod Edit } after Luclin Garbage came out, the ugly models and the dumming of the game, the uber raid zones that invalidated old content. This might have been the greatest game of all time, and SoE choses to mess with it.   

    I kind of wish I had logged on to the progression servers the first couple weeks they were up.  That sounded really fun just to log in for those couple weeks.   Like a reunion. 

    But I think that the stupid tutorial zones? would have made me delete the game right off my pc.  Do I get this right you did not just pop into Quenos or whatever as a level 1?  There were breadcrumb trails showing waypoint, and in game maps.?? it sounds to bad to be true.

    *Side note there is an emulator server that is in the works that might be real fun,  http://www.eqclassic.org/ there is also http://www.eqemulator.net if you would like to make your own server, or play on someone's private server.   Its not very hard to run a server. 

    Still it would be nice if SoE could provide the original game the way Verant intended on one of its servers.  Many of us still have the original CDs still even.

  • TaeraTaera Community ManagerMember CommonPosts: 1,078

    I didn't play EQ the first time around, but this time I've been on board since the launch of the Sleeper :) I've a 70 cleric with almost 700 aas these days; I have my critisms about the server but overall, it is really fun.

    As a note, an earlier poster asked about other server rulesets; there is also a PVP server (Zek) and an RP server (Firiona Vie).

    Laura "Taera" Genender
    Community Manager
    MMORPG.com

  • U-TurnU-Turn Member UncommonPosts: 164

    How many subs does Everquest1 have?

  • OzmodanOzmodan Member EpicPosts: 9,726

    You really have to be a masichist to play a game today that was designed in 1999.  Especially when it was mediocre to start with. 

    People through around the community as an excuse, I suppose if your friends all play, but I found communities in other games that were as good if not better.

    EQ is just not worth bothering with in this day and age.

  • GoldknyghtGoldknyght Member UncommonPosts: 1,518
    Originally posted by jinxit


    From what i remember sony devs never kept the code from pre-cu and cu swg all they did was write over it which is why swg nge is so bloody hard to  change basic things like the ui and makes it near impossible to add fresh content..unless offcourse they recycle from the existing game *cough cough* new ships cough cough.



    I wouldnt rule your theory out but as a person who knows a little about code and codeing you dont just write over your old code and not have a back up saved somewhere. You may have to revert back at any point in the coding process so they will always have a version 1.0 somewhere. The problem that can easily be solved would be the actual file that had the combat upgrades on it. They would have to make a whole new executable that read which server you went to and use combat version 1.0 or the new NGE combat version. Will they do this probably not because they probably dont want to mess with the main executable because a bug could make a mess for NGE servers or you could get NGE in some instance on the PRE-CU server. But it can be done.

  • GoldknyghtGoldknyght Member UncommonPosts: 1,518
    Originally posted by Taera


    Yeah, there were a lot of things that slipped through the cracks, and a lot of things that were intentionally left different.  For example, old-school EverQuest meditation (mana regeneration) required the caster to open their spell book, which blocked their entire screen.  Later in the game they allowed casters to meditate via the /sit command, without blocking their view...but the progression servers started out with /sit meditation.
    When I'm sitting, I like to be able to at least watch everyone else fight.  I'm glad they left this change out - while more hardcore veterans wanted spellbook meditation back.

    the only reason they changed this was because of the new UI. Yes at level 35 you didnt need to use your book to meditate. but when they went to this new UI the spell book doesnt block the whole screen. So they changed it. And personally i could care less about the Meditate it shouldnt of been there in the first place. My problem was the HELL LEVELS. when they took this out (after i did all mine) that was very dissappointing time in my EQ career.

  • miticmitic Member Posts: 16

     

    Originally posted by Taera


    I didn't play EQ the first time around, but this time I've been on board since the launch of the Sleeper :) I've a 70 cleric with almost 700 aas these days; I have my critisms about the server but overall, it is really fun.
    As a note, an earlier poster asked about other server rulesets; there is also a PVP server (Zek) and an RP server (Firiona Vie).

     

    taera, current zek is a joke, you can not compete there if you start new ....there have been 4 pvp servers which have been merged...wana know why? cause trivializing expansions ruined the whole pvp system, planes of power with those fu**ing books sealed the demise of real pvp in everquest. natural save zone (old citys) started to be ghost towns, everyone and his neighbour chilled in POK.

    current zek is a carebare server, it simply sucks.....one of my best pvp experience in the last 2 DECADES was everquest pvp 2000-2002, sullon zek RIP.

    planes of power and any other expansion beyond that ruined it.....and, imo, pve too on this note

     

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