The Tattered Notebook: New executive producer, new wishlist

Georgeson and Longdale
I was all set to sit down and talk about raiding and the big news of critical mitigation disappearing from gear, and then some even bigger news appeared. Executive Producer Dave "SmokeJumper" Georgeson has handed the reins over to Holly "Windstalker" Longdale. She is new to take the lead on EverQuest II, but she's not new to the team; in fact, she worked on EverQuest in the past under the name Vahlar.

What's the first thing to do when there's a new leader taking over? Form a wish list, of course! EverQuest II has come a long way since its bumpy launch, but there's always stuff that would make the game that much more fun. Let's look at a few ideas, and then you can add yours to my list.

Itemization

I know I sound like a broken record, but I'll repeat it anyway: There are just too many inconsistencies when it comes to gear. The news this week that critical mitigation is being removed from items just adds to player frustration. Progression-minded players had focused on building up the stat in order to survive certain encounters, and now that's all been turned on its head. Over the years, there have been layers of stats added to gear, and the recent addition of adornments has made gear a pretty complex experience. I'm not calling for a complete dumbing down; gear and stats can actually be a fun game within the game, but there needs to be a clear vision for gear once and for all so that going forward, gear will fit better with level increases and mob encounters.

Sidekicks!

One of my favorite things about EverQuest II is the mentoring system because I'm all for anything that removes the barrier of levels to allow players to do stuff together. With free-to-play across all servers, I'd love to see the team take it a step further and put in a system that allows lower-level players to temporarily mentor up to higher-level players in a group or raid. It would be something similar to the City of Heroes sidekick system and would definitely help to provide a hook to new players. Leveling is a lot faster than it used to be, but for someone starting out fresh, someone who might not have the benefit of account bonus experience, potions, and two-boxing, it still takes some time, and he's probably going to have to solo most of the way.

It would be great to allow a low-level player to temporarily level up and play with higher-level friends. I've always felt that the low- and mid-tier content in EverQuest II is high enough quality that players will want to do without needing extrinsic rewards, so letting low-level players join their friends for an evening here and there shouldn't change things other than to allow new players to sort of skip around a bit.

EverQuest II
A name for my sword

We have player-made books, and more recently, the ability to label signs for our homes and guild halls. I'd love to see this used for items as well. EQII gives players an infinite number of options when it comes to customization, but it would be fun to give a name to our sword or inscribe our shield and armor. We could even attach a brief story to the weapons and gear we've obtained; players could inscribe a message into their jewelry ("One ring to rule them all..."). There's always a concern about people abusing that and inappropriately labeling items, but I don't think that would be an issue because it hasn't been with the player-made books and signs so far.

Flying combat

This one's a bit of a stretch, and I know it could be a potential minefield with PvP in particular, but now that we have flying mounts and even wings, we should have the ability to fight while in the air. Even if it's not something viable for all zones, there could be one or two instances where we're allowed to use flight while in combat. Some encounters could be built with vertical space in mind. Over in Vanguard, one of the coolest dungeons I did was Xennumet, where we received power suits that enabled us to fly around the room. Some of us had to activate certain things in the room, while others fought the boss directly. We've done similar fights in EverQuest II, such as in Obelisk of Ahkzul or Ward of Elements, but in those, flight was limited to players bouncing off of launchpads and floating back down. It would be a blast to enter zones where players need to fly in order to interact with locations and engage mobs, and I can only imagine what it would be like to have a Battleground with flight enabled.

One problem, of course, is that players can't fly until they're level 85 and up. But at the lower levels, there could be instances that incorporate the leaping and gliding abilities of lower-level mounts. Players could still leap and glide to interact with certain points in a zone or avoid traps and mob effects during combat. It would add a different kind of challenge to dungeon crawling and raiding and hopefully liven things up even more.

Player-made objectives in the Dungeon Maker

Right now, there's only one goal for every single player-made dungeon, which is to get to the exit and zone out. Players have created some amazing dungeons so far and have taken the tools and features to come up with things that few could even imagine. But it would be even better to let those players also choose from a variety of objectives, which could also be tallied into the overall dungeon rating. Perhaps the dungeon is on a timer and needs to be completed before the clock runs out. Maybe players need to defeat certain bosses for updates, get through a maze or obstacle course, retrieve and successfully bring back a certain item, or rescue a creature. There are some really interesting stories behind some of these player-made dungeons, and if the designers had the flexibility to choose among several different objectives, they could really emphasize the story as part of the dungeon crawl experience.

No matter what the future holds for EverQuest II, it should be interesting to see what direction Holly Longdale chooses to go with the game. Likewise, now that Dave Georgeson is apparently focusing much more on EverQuest Next, we can only hope that means we'll start getting some tidbits about what the game will be like. Best of luck to both of them!

From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.