Before we dive into the questions, I have to say I was somewhat surprised to see the familiar name "SmokeJumper" answering questions. Several months ago, Producer Dave "SmokeJumper" Georgeson moved into the role of overseeing the EverQuest franchise, turning over the keys to Producer Holly "Windstalker" Longdale. But even though Longdale's the EQII boss right now, Georgeson is in the background and seems to be as up to speed on the state of the game as anyone else on the team. He fielded several questions and gave enthusiastic answers in reply.
A few weeks ago, we talked about the issue of player models in the game -- specifically, how they've always posed a problem when it comes to animations and itemization. But despite the talk at the time of scrapping both the original and the SOGA models for a fresh, new, unified set of character models, we've now been told that it's not an option. As SmokeJumper put it, SOE would love to redo the models, but it would take at least a year and end up being hated by too many players, so it's off the table.
Station Cash... recipes?
One of the pre-submitted questions that the dev team chose to answer revolved around the possibility of recipes on the Marketplace. SmokeJumper replied, "Yes, sort of! Other way around though. Clarify: We're going to turn a bunch of SC items into recipes. Moving recipes into the tradeskilling community. Much design still to do, but we want this stuff made instead of SC."
This is a surprising answer that leads to many new questions. Will the items still be available as well as the recipes so that non-crafters can still purchase consumables? What skill will be required to make the items using the Marketplace recipes? Will the finished products from the recipes be sellable on the broker? And will the tradeskilling community be happy with the fact that some of its recipes are now for sale with Station Cash? As we learn more about this change, it'll be interesting to see what exactly the Marketplace will feature when it comes to consumables and how it will affect what's put up for sale down the road.
So far, not much is known about Ethereal Weapons, which were added to the game recently. We do know they exist, have dropped in the game, and can drop from both low- and high-level mobs, although the drop rate seems to be insanely low. Given the general lack of information about them, we're not surprised to see them crop up in the questions. Lead Designer Akil "Lyndro" Hooper shed a bit more light on them, explaining that when it comes to lore, "ethereal weapons are tied generally to the lore that [the team will] be telling with the expansion. Specifically, they are all related to memorable encounters and events in the game." When one player posted that she hadn't yet seen one drop, Windstalker suggested, "Kill more stuff at your level."
The gods have always played a prominent role in both EverQuest and EverQuest II, so players always want to know about the return of killable Avatars and the revamping of the deity system. Lyndro replied by saying, "If you're asking about Avatars... Then maybe... If you're talking about the deity system, we have general plans." It's hard to read the tea leaves on that answer and tell whether there are concrete plans in the works or it's just on the to-do list, but it's nice to hear there are plans for either tweaking or expanding upon the deity system.
Sometimes, an answer says more with its tone than by the words themselves. One player asked whether there would be more crafting content added soon. Granted, it's a fairly general question, but it's also an open door to teaser-type answers and cryptic hints about things in the works. Instead, the reply was basically, we like crafters, and we'll add more content in, but there's no ETA. That's a pretty vague reply to a question that a fairly large section of EQII fans would want to hear answered with some more specifics. A few months ago, the PvP population, which had desperately been waiting for some attention to that playstyle, heard a lot of buzz and hype from the EQII team about changes in the works that would be both exciting and game-changing (and turned out to be battleground tweaks and level-agnostic battleground instances for the pre-90 crowd). If we were to read between the lines of the crafting answer, we might assume the lack of hype and excited tones might mean that there isn't anything fresh or groundbreaking in the works for the crafting profession in the near future.
Overall, it was nice to see the EQII and EQ teams reach out on Twitter to answer player questions. The full Q&A is worth reading, and if you missed it, don't worry because Cyliena from ZAM typed her fingers off to transcribe all of the questions that were answered. The topics covered a wide variety of areas, including some technical questions and one asking which classes and playstyle the developers prefer when in game. As we get closer to SOE Live in the fall, hopefully we'll learn even more about what's been hinted at from this Twitter Q&A.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.