Norrathian Notebook: EQ Next's 'workshop collaborations'

MJ Guthrie
M. Guthrie|10.09.14

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Norrathian Notebook: EQ Next's 'workshop collaborations'
Last month we embarked on the journey of corralling the remainder of the EverQuest Next Round Tables for you, adding the fifth installment to the previous four. But that last roundup did not quite bring us up to date. Why? It wasn't just a matter of space: There was a fundamental shift in the round table discussions that I felt warranted a separate Norrathian Notebook.

The next section of round tables were focused on the collaborative efforts of the devs and the community in building and shaping EverQuest Next. While there is a smattering of other topics sprinkled in, the bulk is dedicated specifically to the Norrathian races and building collaboration. As such, many of the polls were more time-sensitive; some have closed, and some were just more relevant to determining design direction during the specific The Workshop Show series. However, the information is still valuable, and opinions can still be shared on a number of the proposed questions. If you have an opinion on coloring, racial mounts, and architectural styles, this is the collection of inquiries for you.

41. Which of these races should we start with?

This poll is one of the few times you won't be able to add input after a specific time. The building and collaboration polls close after a week of voting. How else would the team get to start on the collaborative process with the players and initiate the building contests in Landmark that will help build EQN? This round the choices were:
  • Dark Elf -- 53%
  • Dwarf -- 47%
Despite Brasse's stumping for the stocky bearded folk, the Dark Elves won this first round. I'll admit, I was one of those who voted for the pointy-ears.

42. Does our initial Dark Elf architecture style guide fit in with your ideas for Dark Elves?

After the Dark Elves won the vote, devs presented the community with an architecture style guide for the race. A follow-up to the previous poll, this question asks for player feedback on that guide. Because of the nature of this question, this poll is also closed.
  • Yes! This is exactly how I want to see Dark Elves in EQ Next!
  • Mostly, but I have some minor tweaks I'd like to see.
  • Somewhat, though I feel there are a few major revisions needed.
  • I have a very different direction in mind. Let's discuss!
Most felt it was either right on the money or needed only a few minor adjustments; combined, those choices took 90% of the vote. Below you can watch the first Workshop Show that delves into this.

43. Which player-made Dark Elf Design is your favorite?

To answer this poll, you first have to study the provided pictures. Each one has a definite style, but which one seems more fitting to the Dark Elves to you?
  • Hawkear: Interior Castle Entrance
  • Fugazi: Tower Top
  • Ahnzul: Dark Elf House
  • Thelandir: Claw Bridge
As of this posting, the interior cave entrance made by Hawkear is the fan favorite, securing almost half of all votes.

44. Which color palette works best for Dark Elves?

If you've been in game anytime recently, then you probably already know which of these choices was the most popular! It is still worth seeing the images the devs provided for comparison though. It seems like I fit in with the crowd here.
  • Blue
  • Purple
  • Red
To me, red signifies more of a hot and wild anger, whereas the Dark Elves always exuded more of a cool and calculating nature, thereby equating with a cooler color.

45. Which skin tone do you find most appealing for the Dark Elves?

This question is quite intriguing because it offers the choice of an albino look for a Dark Elf, something you certainly don't see often. Although that seems almost a contradiction, what about the logic of having pale skin as an underground dweller?
  • Very Light
  • Medium
  • Saturated
  • Dark
Honestly, I studied these pictures a while, finding each aesthetically pleasing in some way. In the end, my choice was on lowest end of popularity while the original EverQuest hues clearly ran away with the vote.

46. Which ground mount do you think Dark Elves should use?

Your ride says a lot about you, right? So what mount should the Dark elves be parading around on? I know what the popular choice for those who follow Drow literature would be, but what about the EQ-specific race?
  • Reptilian (lizard, serpent)
  • Arthropod (spider, insect)
  • Avian (flightless bird, raptor)
  • Feline (bigger than SOE Cat!)
If you were hoping an upset by a less traditional mount (as I was), you're going to be disappointed; the Arthopod is in the lead with 43% of the votes.

47. What should the second race be for The Workshop?

The next closed poll is the second race vote. The Dwarves, who had a strong showing the first time but couldn't quite pull off a win, were given a second chance.
  • Dwarves - 48%
  • Kerrans - 52%
Unfortunately for those Dwarf supporters, the Kerrans won by just a slight margin. Next time hopefully, and I'll be there supporting you (unless they offer Fae and Arasai!).

48. Which of these would be the MOST important improvement for future workshops?

After this first run through the workshop series, devs wanted to know what could be done to improve this collaboration experience.
  • Have a week or more break between Workshops
  • Extend the time to submit to competition entries beyond 2 weeks
  • Provide additional lore
  • Something else! Read my idea in the forums.
  • None of the above. I thought the Dark Elf round was perfect.
While there have been some close votes throughout the round tables, this is not one of them. Respondents overwhelmingly requested additional lore! None of the other choices even broke 5% of the vote.

49. Does our initial Kerran architecture style guide fit in with your ideas for Kerran?

Another time-constrained poll, this one requested feedback on the architectural stylings. This is of course a key component that must be ironed out before the collaborative efforts can continue.
  • Love it! This is exactly how I want to see Kerran in EQ Next! -- 37%
  • Mostly, but I have some minor tweaks I'd like to see. -- 44%
  • Somewhat, though I feel there are a few major revisions needed. -- 13%
  • I have a very different direction in mind. Let's discuss! -- 6%
Many felt that it was close to the mark if not spot on. What so you think? Although you can't vote in the poll, you can still add your comments to the discussion by posting.

50. Which aspect of the Kerrans will you consider the most important for your Kerran character?

Personality. Motivation. Those are driving forces on the path of life. So what is behind the wheel for the Kerran? It is a driving force
  • Relentless ferocity and animal instincts - 1%
  • Search for spiritual enlightenment - 48%
  • Embracing family and tradition - 29%
  • Exploration and discovery - 23%
To be honest, I was actually surprised by how poorly the first choice fared in the poll. Not that I expected it to run away with the vote, mind you, but I did think it would garner a few votes! Considering that my only Kerran is a Monk in EverQuest II though, it actually made sense that my selection is in the top bracket.

51. What type of ground mount do you think kerrans prefer to ride?

Although the Kerran are a race that I prefer to see see relying only on their own mobility (just look at the cheetah), it wouldn't be fair if every other race had a special mount and the Kerran didn't. So which do you think would be more fitting for a feline to ride?
  • Goat or large antelope variation
  • Giant rodent (rat, guinea pig)
  • Avian (flightless bird)
  • Canine (wolf, etc.)
  • Feline (cats)
  • Pachyderm (prehistoric rhino or elephant type)
Personally, I would love to see the mount stats be applicable but the appearance turned totally off so that you see the Kerrans traveling under their own volition. Why not make the "mount" a buff like the flight for Fae and Arasai in EQII? And for the ultimate in feline flavor, definitely make the option for sprinting/mount speed to be on all fours like the Firran in ArcheAge!

52. What pelt markings would you prefer to see on the Kerran?

Those who build the EQ games know that appearance is important to the players, so getting appearance questions answered is a big deal. This question, however, threw a few posters off because they mistakenly thought that it was advocating a single appearance. However, Senior Art Director Rosie Rappaport emphasized in the accompanying blog post that there will be a variety and that the devs are looking for the most popular ones to be sure they are included in the mix.
  • Lion
  • Tiger
  • Leopard
  • Cheetah
  • Cougar
  • Black Panther
  • Lynx
  • Caracal
  • Snow Leopard
  • Other - Suggest on the Forums!
To be honest, this was harder to answer than any other poll! For me it is less of a question of what I like in general than what i like for that specific character I am making right then. I have gravitated towards patterns that were not my favorite because they just fit with that character and coloring. So I just hope they offer all the choices!

53. What did you find most interesting from SOE Live 2014?

Breaking away from the collaboration polls, this one focuses on SOE Live. What covered topic did you enjoy hearing about the most? The answer here could possibly influence which information is disseminated next.
  • EQ Next Classes
  • EQ Next Combat
  • EQ Next Lore
  • EQ Next Playable Races
  • Other (Please Discuss on Forums)
Classes was the walk-away winner of this poll, taking over half the vote. I had to choose "other": The Storybricks and AI information was the most fascinating to me and has me even more hyped for the games.

54. Which of EverQuest Next's primary belief systems are you most interested in learning more about?

This final question also veers from the racial building and collaboration. Unfortunately for those who wished to weigh in, it was a time-sensitive vote. With so many players clamoring for more about lore, devs have turned some attention to the deities and belief systems. Which ones should devs share first?
  • Veeshan -- 35%
  • The Nor'I -- 12%
  • The Four -- 23%
  • The Seraphs -- 29%
While the vote puts Veeshan above the rest, it is only a matter of timing; the others will all get their time in the spotlight as well, so no one loses. If you haven't read this introductory blog post that kicks off the discussion of religion in EQN, it is definitely worth it. And in the coming Norrathian Notebooks we'll be focusing some serious discussion time on this very topic.

The EverQuest realm is so big that sometimes MJ Guthrie gets lost in it all! Join her as she explores the franchise's nooks and crannies from the Overrealm to Timorous Deep. Running biweekly on Thursdays, the Norrathian Notebook is your resource for all things EverQuest Next and EverQuest II. And keep an eye out for MJ's Massively TV adventures!
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