Desert of Flames -- EQ2 expansion pack

I love it, absolutely love it. The changes to my main toon, a 49 Illusionist, are great and I can finally, finally solo now, something I never could do before.

That said, technical issues with the server kept the guild from exploring the new zones too extensively. Took multiply attempts to get logged in, to zone, and the server finally crashed hard about an hour ago and is still down. Hopefully SOE gets this resolved soon since it’s something of a first for me since joining the beta last October.

At first I read that as ‘Dessert of Flames’, thought it was some kind of Charlotte alla Milanese food-buff or something.

Yeah, I’ve found that moving between zones is basically not working right at the moment. I failed to do so twice and I’m going to just wait a day now and hope they fix it quick. Otherwise, I like the changes, yes. I’m playing a Predator and it was obvious that I was doing more damage in regular combat now just like the patch claimed I would.

–Dave

I really like the combat changes too. There was a lot of critique and hysteria within the community and outside it (proclaiming the doom of EQ2) when the changes were first introduced on the test server, but everything seems to be working well upon release. I guess that is why they have test servers.

You do have to check the con more carefully, however. People were proclaiming the death of soloing but I have been able to carry on in the same areas that I have explored before without missing a beat.

I lost some of my character’s abilities that were not really related to being a fighter type, but gained others that round him out nicely. Insofar as Sony stated their goal was to make the character archetypes more distinct I really think that they have achieved their goal. Good stuff.

I am really glad that Sony has opted to continue the development of the game according to their vision, and continue to make adjustments in response community needs (encounter locking gone etc) as opposed to jumping on the WoW bandwagon. There may be a lot more WoW subscribers that EQ2 subscribers but I am glad the the devs have finally chosen to address the needs of the EQ community, as opposed to trying to make EQ2 more like WoW. Both are great games, but I really think they appeal to two completely different groups.

Haven’t yet been able to reach the new city, as zoning was taking to long due to heavy traffic (apparently this was not a problem in beta), so I will probably wait until tommorrow as well.

My server, Najena, crashed hard last night. But logged in this morning and the zoning issue seems to be resolved.

I really like that Maj’Dul is one zone.

So, what are the big combat changes? Patch notes anyone?

Here they are:

http://eq2players.station.sony.com/en/news_ff.vm?FeatureName=combatchanges&section=development

As well as the rationale:

http://eq2players.station.sony.com/news_archive.vm?id=582&section=News&month=current

Just fiddled around last night with one of my 8 or so characters and was pleasantly surprised. Brand-new abilities, a sharper feel to combat. . . again SOE keeps improving a game that was good to begin with.

The hysteria in the forums and in the game is darkly amusing to me. When the dust has settled I think we’ll see that the overhaul (which is not Desert of Flames, but concurrent to it) is objectively a great improvement. Much better rewards for upgrading skills, etc. I’m a very happy camper at the moment.

I like it so far. After a respec, I took my 22 Fury into the Thundering Steppes for a quick test. The mobs I used to solo there, which were white- and yellow-cons before, are now “blue, one down arrow” cons. I think if I were to try to solo a yellow-con now, I’d get stomped in nothing flat. Which is as it should be.

I have a 19 Enchanter that I’m eager to take for a spin as well.

What the hell did they do to break the graphics? The game looks like shit now. Everything is all washed out.

I’m curious – How would you define those two different groups? I ask because I quickly grew bored with WoW.

I think it is related to this Freeport storyline:

http://eq2players.station.sony.com/news_archive.vm?id=586&section=Development&month=current

It is raining almost all the time, wich is making everything appear drab and washed out, but I think it is supposed to stop soon, and Freeport will become more vibrant. I know there has been critique by people that Freeport was too drab and dingy. Perhaps the devs are taking the creative way of addressing this complaint.

I don’t think anything has changed with the engine, as I made a quick visit to the new “Desert pf Flames” city M’ul J’an and surrounding area (pretty cool magic carpet ride by the way) and the graphics are sharp, colorful and vibrant.

I’m curious – How would you define those two different groups? I ask because I quickly grew bored with WoW.[/quote]

Good question, and depending on who you ask, it is likely that you will get different reasons as to why a person would choose one over the other. I always felt that EQ2 was more a “virtual world” that WoW. I think EQ2 acheives this stylistically by the more realistic (albeit dark and dingy) graphics, and with various mechanics like housing, in depth crafting system, voiceovers, wandering NPC’s that motion and hail you to come over.

WoW is more colorful and cartoony and although it is exceptionally stylistic the setting lends itself to a more “game like” feel. WoW never takes itself too seriously

Also, EQ2 appears at least to me to be a little more open ended, in that there is more freedom to explore the world on your on. Searching the nooks and crannies of Norath often yields little suprises in terms of quests just off the beaten path. With WoW you are free to do as you please, but if you follow the quest paths and the question marks and exclamation points you are essentially led from A to B on rails. Really clever game design though; you are never in over your head (unless you want to be) and always where the game designers want you to be.

For someone who wants direction and meaning in a MMORPG that is great, but for me that ruins the immersion to some extent. Also the Honor System and Battlegrounds are very gamelike devices in an already gamelike world. For some that gives not only meaning but also a reason to be competative and something to strive for. Very addictive yes, but also the potential to ruin the immersion of the virutal world.

Heh. Well my wife and I picked the game up about a month ago but really didn’t get far into it because we wanted to see how the big patch would affect the game. We went to check things out tonight and couldn’t even stand to play because it looked so crappy. Maybe we’ll wait a few more days.

I just resubscribed, and found tons of little improvements. I’ve done a
few days of the 7-day free return before the combat upgrade was in, and
made a new mage->summoner after the combat upgrade. It’s tons more
soloable than I remember it, even with a gimpy Apprentice II pet.

The patch also added a lot of small niceties outside the combat/character
system, like group members finally showing up on the map. Took them
long enough :)

Crafting is a huge headache to learn, but once you get the hang of it,
and progress into a more advanced craft, it’s good. I think the design
is pretty crap in that department, though. Still no variation in items produced,
apart from the four quality levels :/

Everybody still looks the same, but overall I like it better than WoW :)

Good to hear you guys are enjoying the expansion. Have any of you tried out Arena Champions yet?

This evening on Runnyeye hasn’t been too good :/
The highlevels in the guild reported the DoF areas crashing, but I guess
that’s almost to be expected when expansions are released.

What’s worse is that the mage progress quest is bugged on Runnyeye
(European server), so we’re a hell of a lot of enchantes, summoners and
sorcerers stuck at level 19, waiting for a darn zombie that never spawns :(

No EQ2 playing for the weekend, just bitching and whining in /gu.

This would be interesting to dig.

In WoW there’s PvP that is already the strongest element to make a MMO more like a virtual world. Then the auction systems, the solid and consistent graphic style, the seamless zones and other smaller touches.

I’m not sure which world can be considered more believable and consistent and I’m not sure which one has more breadth and is less “focused”.

Btw, Darniaq recently wrote some wonderful rants that I gathered here and that I thoroughly share.

SOE is focusing on everything BUT the games. Something that even other companies are strategically using to explain a different attitude. This is Blizzard, for example:

Shawn:
Blizzard has no plans for in-game advertisements. They really do not fit the general nature of WoW. The development for WoW is, first and foremost, focused on the total game experience. What the players experience is our key to continued success.

Grimwell:
What of real money trading (RMT) for in game goods? Has Sony’s move to launch the ‘Station Exchange’ caused Blizzard to rethink its stance on RMT?

Shawn:
Blizzard does not condone RMT. We are more concerned about the experience of the players than we are in expanding in other directions.

And this is Square:

FFXI is not created based on real money trading (RMT), thus, we believe this will make our title less enjoyable. This is why we forbid RMT with FFXI by user agreement. It will be easy to eliminate RMT completely when we remove economics from the game, meaning removing trade functions and making all items non-tradable. But this will also remove amusement from the game itself. As SOE has done with EverQuest II, there is a way to create a game considering trading virtual currency or items with real money. However, FFXI chooses a different way.

And Darniaq wrapped it up in the best way possible:

Is EQ1 even relevant anymore? Worse, with the buggy long criticized experience that is Star Wars Galaxies, the obviously not-so-wildly-beloved Everquest 2 and the never-really-played Planetside, is SOE even relevant? Most of their action in the last year has been about business decisions. The publishing of Asherons Call expansions, the absorption of The Matrix Online and Toontown, their relationship with Massive Entertainment. Meanwhile, their games suffer for long-standing apparently backwards-looking game philosophies.

This is a tricky time for the former giant of the genre (I can’t say “darling” because, well, they weren’t really perceived as such). While their portfolio has grown, none of it has been because of any creativity shown in the games. On the one hand, creative and innovative game design can only get you so far. On the other, unless you have creative and innovative games, whatever business decisions got you to that point won’t allow back continued growth.

So I hope to see a new title announcement from SOE soon. I’d almost go so far as to say they need to. How much more money do they have to be able to continually build their Station Pass system through acquisition?

Utter horseshit. DoF is a fantastic retooling of EQ2 combat that’s all about making the game’s action more fun. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it feels like I’m playing an entirely new, vastly improved character when I log in with my 50th level Illusionist these days.