Alongside the Update Notes that were posted today, SOE has a bunch of information to help you transition from the Alpha build stage to today's Closed Beta stage. You can find all of that information here, but I am going to highlight some of the more important pieces in this post.
In the current development stage, the many different biomes are portioned off to their own little "island." You can easily jump from one to the other at the main Landmark hub, but there are many to sort through. Fear not, SOE has created an easily accessible list of all the island names with their biome and tier info (click image for larger version):
If you played Alpha, then the beginning steps after you enter the world have changed a bit. Just to avoid confusion, here's a few starting steps for you! (Also useful for you folks that are completely new to the game!)
IF YOU HAVE A FOUNDER'S PICK!
Mine some copper and craft a pair of Keen Eye Bands (discovery stat ftw!)
Go find some iron and the other resources you need to make a claim flag.
Make that flag at the BASIC FORGE at the Hub. (The hub no longer has a Stone Forge.)
Go stake your claim.
Then go back to the hub, make a Stone Forge, and take it back to your claim so that you can make Iron Ingots and such. (Basic Forge only smelts copper and tin.)
Build an Alchemy Station, then an Iron Pick, then a Silver Axe.
Up to you at this point, but pro tip...consider an Outfitter's Station so you get access to better Discovery accessories.
IF YOU DO *NOT* HAVE A FOUNDER'S PICK!
Start out by building a Copper Pick.
Gather more copper and build a pair of Keen Eye Bands
Build a Tin Axe (not strictly necessary, but nicer than the Stone Axe).
Build a claim flag and plant your claim
Refer to the post-claim steps in the list above!
ALSO! Be warned! You do NOT know the progression steps just because you played Alpha. You'll need to poke around and figure it out, just like you did at the start of Alpha. (Example, the next step after stone forge is NOT saw table.)
Recently, SOE updated their Roadmap to highlight what is left in Phase I, along with some changes/additions to later phases. You can check out the entire thing here.
Phase One tasks still to complete
Claim Ratings : Bragging is fun. Getting comments and ratings from people that stop by your claim can also be fun. Having ratings lets us also add leaderboards and let the best of the creators in our community begin to surface. They’re also critical for our Player Studio presentation later on.[Closed Beta Launch]
Claim Upkeep : Empty and abandoned claims are not cool. So we’re introducing Upkeep which is basically a small amount of in-game coin you have to spend to keep your claim from being repossessed into the world and made available to other players. (NOTE: If you don’t pay your upkeep all you lose is your spot in the world. All your resources, props, crafted items, etc., are saved in your inventory and your buildout is templatized and saved for you.) [Closed Beta Launch]
For the latest EverQuest Next and Landmark news, keep an eye on the EQNext Fans! To learn more in-depth information regarding the latest from the EverQuest franchise, or to lend a hand with wiki content, please see the the EQNext Wiki! [Vendolyn]
Names like Brad McQuaid and Salim Grant are legendary, well known names in the MMO realm. Naturally, you would not believe the absolute excitement at Gamepedia and Curse when, not only did these two join forces again, but this time, they are working on their own terms to create the experience of nostalgia we've been waiting for. This experience is called Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and we couldn't be more pleased to say that the official wiki is here at Gamepedia!
Pantheon is currently in the middle of its Kickstarter campaign, full of reward tiers to please anyone! Original EverQuest and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes fans might enjoy this reward because it comes with a cloth map! To learn about contributing to or editing the official wiki, please check out the Help Wiki for tips on getting started. Recently, Gamepedia and Curse staff sat down with both Salim and Brad, along with Ben de la Durantaye, head of PR at Visionary Realms. You can read the full interview here, or listen to the interview on our YouTube channel. Below the video are a few amazing answers to get you as excited as we are!
[BM] Brad "Aradune" McQuaid - key designer of EQ, co-founder of Sigil Games
[SG] Salim "Silias" Grant - former Creative Director for Vanguard, etc.
[BdlD] Benjamin de la Durantaye - PR for visionary realms
[MC] Michael Comperda - CTO, Curse Inc.
[ZS] Zak Steltz - Product Manager, Curse Inc.
[BT] Benjamin Tarsa - Community Manager, Gamepedia.com, Curse Inc.
MC: Cool. I have a question now regarding quests: So, in EverQuest, quests are fairly rare and are not really a major focus of gameplay. This has really lead to far more player freedom, where grouping happens more organically around personal goals, not questing goals entirely. To a large extent, Vanguard sort of abandoned that design from EverQuest, in favor of offering players thousands of quests, more like World of Warcraft. I was curious, what is your current take on the role of questing in an MMO?
SG: We...our current outlook on questing is more like EverQuest or Final Fantasy 11, we don't want you to have a quest journal that's filled with quests that's “just go here, here, here and here” – you're not really experiencing the game. We want you to, like you said, more organically group and just kind of go somewhere and discover things together and, if you go to this spot and you know there's a particular NPC that drops something cool, you want to get friends together and try to get that item. We're definitely going for a feel like that. We feel that EverQuest definitely did well on the social front, because people had – it was kind of a slower pace, and they didn't have...they weren't looking at a UI element that was their quest journal telling them to go from A to B to C to D. Here's XP and here's some sort of a reward. We want people to interact with each other. We want people to talk to each other. We want them to get to know each other a lot better, whether via in game voice or chat. So yeah, as far as the number of quests, this is one of the first things brought to me when we first started having design meetings. We're very focused on fewer quests, but when you do get those quests, they are significant. Things like Epic Quests will definitely exist. I don't think I can talk to any designer on the team and ask them if they want to do Epic Quests and have them say no. That is an exciting thing to put into game, because we understand the player point of view that the accomplishment is so significant, that it creates memories for multiple people, obviously. It's not just a solo thing that you'd be doing.
On Starting Areas:
MC: Cool. Well, the questions related to geography and starting areas. Both Vanguard and EverQuest offer players a large variety of places to start. I know Vanguard kind of backtracked on that recently. But, you know, they were designed around the idea of having many races, different cultures and they really having a completely different experience of where you started. Many current MMOs that are popular right now have abandoned this design in favor of having just a couple of starting areas. What are your thoughts on starting areas for Pantheon?
SG: Our current lore...the way our current lore works, we won't have a bunch of starting areas, but it's just really derived from the way our planet works. Just the fact that there's a lot of these planar collusions, mixed together with what your current character represents. It works within our lore pretty well. But the makeup of where you do start, we want to get across the ocean of different cultures, but our game is really focused on the varying pantheons and how they really mesh together and what comes out of that, whether it be, you know, rivalries, war, whatever. With the way our lore works, it really didn't contribute to having a bunch of cities all over the place. So...I think that answers the question?
BM: Here's something that's important to us, and that is, you will probably hear Salim saying “fewer cities” but, those cities could have areas where you start depending on your race, kind of like how San Francisco has a Chinatown or what have you. We really wanted to get away from spending all of this time creating these places that people just start out in and might use for a merchant or something. That's a lot of work and we'd rather build more dungeons.
MC: Gotcha. That's a good way to put it.
MC: Yeah, so, one of the reasons why we play these games is for some of the cool stuff we get, and specifically, items. So, in EverQuest, the world offered the ability to not only explore the georgraphy, but the items that you would find in these new areas, which were unique. Items were obviously dropped less frequently, and, made getting a drop more meaningful. A more impactful thing. So, I guess, what my question is: what approach are you taking towards itemization at a high level, with Pantheon?
SG: Once again, very much more old school. The number of upgrades, you know, between this level and, you know, level one to level 30, or whatever, you're not going to have a whole bunch of upgrades in there. We want you to, to be able to, at the end of the day, be excited. I got an SMR. And you love the SMR. If someone asks you what items you have equipped, you can name them all by name because you spent time getting them and those items are with you for a long time. You don't get a robe and then the next day, get another robe and (sighs) oh darn. And that kind of goes back to having a bunch of quests and things like that and having to reward people with those. We very much want to, as you described, it's much more like EQ or other games back then of that type where you go find a spot, you see a new mob, and it drops something super cool. Awesome. It's very unique and you made a server first. You got the first person for a little bit and that item is going to stay with you and that item is special. It's unique. It doesn't look like it was generated with something and it was one of four or five items throughout the world that have plus one or plus minus a stat. You earned the item and it feels like a part of your character. A part of you.
MC: So would you say that the loot tables are more deliberately set versus just sort of a random distribution?
SG: Yes. Of course.
MC: Cool. So, I've got a question about dungeons. Zak can attest to my interest in exploring every dungeon in a game, and try to crawl through it and see every part of it. The dungeons in EverQuest and Vanguard both were incredible. Sebilis, Unrest, Kael [Drakkal], I mean, the list goes on. In Vanguard: Trengal [Ruins of Trengal Keep], Dargun's Tomb...I mean, I've experienced them all. I love them, but a lot of games don't get dungeons right. They're very formulaic or they have a hallway here and there and you're done. What are your thoughts on dungeon design going forward?
SG: Once again, you kind of hit the nail on the head, right? Anyone whose been playing since EverQuest, you ask them what are some of their favorite dungeons, Sebilis would probably be on that list. North ToV. And we want to bring that back. I don't want to say that there's, that MMOs today don't have great dungeons, because I don't know if that's a good general statement to make. There's a lot of well designed, cool dungeons in all MMOs today, but we definitely want...you know the fact that we're keeping things open means that we're going to have these huge, hopefully huge, epic dungeons, that you're going to experience and bring back those experiences like Sebilis, like when you were in Kaesora, things like that. We want to bring back that sort of of kookiness back, you know, traps in the ground, and things like that. To have to be careful and slink through the dungeon and knowing that there's other people there. Shouting, you know, “Oh hey, I'm coming to the zone and there's a mob with me.” Things like that. Not that we want to bring a bunch of trains back, but just as an example of the nostalgia. We're definitely looking at it that way. We want dungeons to be awesome, obviously. We want to get some great dungeons out of it. I'm actually really excited about getting in there and seeing what we can do dungeon wise.
BM: Me, too. I'm the same way. I want the huge dungeon, there's multiple routes, different locations, there may be multiple entrances, multiple exits...we want to bring that back.
SG: Personality's a big part of it, too, right? When you went to the bottom of Kaesora and, where Xalgoz stood, that area's just kind of...when you think of it now, yeah, that's Xalgoz's spot, that's where he spawns. You know, Howling Stones, just like Venril Sathir's image is on the wall and knowing that Drusilla is back there and she just glimpses at you. The nice thing about EverQuest, like I said, is that there's few quests, but the game itself told its story, right? I mean, Howling Stones is just great, when you just think about going through it and once you find out about the background of Venril Sathir and Drusilla and all that stuff, and you go back to the dungeon, and you're like, “Man, this story's kind of being told here. This really cool.” And you can probably say that about a lot of dungeons in Kunark and Sebilis. When you find out about all these things. When you find out about Trakanon. What went on with him and it's organic and all these things. You just kind of learn that organically. You just kind of went through the game and...I'm sorry, I'm just getting really...
MC: Sounds like you guys pretty much have dungeons well under control. That's good.
BdlD: Sorry, just gonna add real quick that as a reminder, too, that the guy who actually made those dungeons, like the Sebilis and stuff, he's actually doing our dungeons as well.
Here are some of the things we can look forward to in the upcoming weeks, as told by Terry Michaels, Senior Producer, above in January's Producer Letter to the community:
Alpha just around the corner!
New ebook coming out, Prison of Fire
New content coming to the Landmark website, including fansite Collective Interview responses, a new contest for EQ players to show off and brag about what they've accomplished in the game
Community Celebration kicking off the Year of EverQuest here at the SOE San Diego Studio on January 31st
New developer diary coming out this month about crafting
For the latest EverQuest Next and EQNext Landmark news, keep an eye on the EQNext Fans! To learn more in-depth information regarding the latest from the EverQuest franchise, or to lend a hand with wiki content, please see the the EQNext Wiki! [Vendolyn]
For us, one of the most exciting things about EverQuest Next is the opportunity to explore a re-envisioned Norrath. We decided to try to guess some of the areas and cities on the map, compared to Norrath in the original EverQuest. How do you think we did?
How do you think we did? Download our map template and city icon, and come up with you own vision for Norrath. Post a comment here with a link to your creation, and see what others think.
When we saw the map revealed at SOE Live, we initially had a difficult time seeing how parts of it fit with prior renditions of Norrath. The zones that we knew and loved have been re-arranged, re-envisioned, and in some cases removed entirely. We're not sure what happened to Faydwer and Odus, but we can only hope they're somewhere in Norrath for us to discover.
The easiest zone to identify is probably Lavastorm. It's the only volcano on the map, so it was a no brainer. Everfrost and Permafrost also stand out, being the only snow covered regions on the map. The area we picked for the Plains of Karana is the flattest, and is consistent with the characteristics we'd expect. The rest of the areas weren't quite as easy though.
Our pick for Innothule Swamp stands out, being covered in rivers. The Desert of Ro could be where we picked it, or possibly in the Southwest of the map. What do you think? The Commonlands were a major hub connected to Freeport in the original EverQuest, on the East coast. Based on the vegetation and its geographical location, we're guessing it's just North of Innothule Swamp. In the original EverQuest, Misty Thicket was surrounded by mountains. Anyone remember Kithicor Forest at night? Nightmares! We went with the center of the map for Misty Thicket, due to the mountain valley.
We're excited to see what SOE reveals in the coming months about this exciting new addition to the EverQuest franchise.
This Friday kicks off SOELive for 2013 and will also be one of the most anticipated reveals in MMO history, when EverQuest Next is shown to the public for the first time. Not much is currently known about EQNext, but it won Best In Show for both MMORPG.com and Ten Ton Hammer! The EverQuest Next Wiki at Gamepedia is ready and waiting for the community to start adding in information as it becomes released over the weekend!
Fans of the EverQuest Franchise can expect that this is the next game in the series, rather than a reboot. Out of what little tidbits that have been released to the public, one thing we have heard time and time again is that EQNext is not only the newest of next generation MMOs, but it will revolutionize what games should be! For live tweeting during SOELive, be sure to follow @EQNWiki on Twitter for information as it is announced!
As it becomes announced, feel free to start editing and adding content to the EverQuest Next Wiki! Our wikis are built from the ground up by the community, meaning that we wouldn't be where we are without help from gamers like you! For information on getting started, please see the help page for tips on contributing. Looking for a place to for discussing EverQuest Next? EQNext Fans is a forum open for fans!