EQ Traders Corner

Fan Faire 2009 Review

Please remember when talking of future changes to the game that nothing is ever set in stone. Things can/will change in the months between when this information is being announced (June 2009), and when the release dates for the features are scheduled. Nothing is ever set in stone when working with such large and long-reaching schedules.

This document was edited the afternoon of July 1 to include a note in the expansion section regarding tinkering and transmuting.

Welcome to my (not so) quick* little Fan Faire 2009 writeup, also known as:

Farewell Loam, I Shall NOT Miss You!

Out of all the lovely news I heard, out of all the fabulous folks that I had a chance to chat with, out of all the fun events that I experience while at the 2009 SOE Fan Faire, of course I have to focus on a rather small little change as my favorite! I wouldn't be Mum if I didn't approach things a tad creatively! (Don't fret, though, I'll include lots of other stuff from my notes once I've gotten this out of my system!)

WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Huzzah! Hurray! W0000000000000t! Yippee!

When the next expansion arrives, there will be NO Tier 9 loam. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Tier 9 Scout and Fighter arts will, instead, use resources off the gem nodes (gem for one, soft metal for the other), and the Tier 9 ore nodes will be just ore.

Let us be perfectly clear here. This is just for Tier 9, which, of course, tells you that, yes, there will be an increase in the level cap with the expansion, since Tier 9 does not yet exist in-game. It is expected that the lower tiers will still use loams, just as they do now. (For those of you wondering, Domino said that while she was interested in going back and changing the lower tiers, it isn't likely to happen any time soon, if it happens at all). The sheer number of recipes - combat arts/spells, foods, furniture, potions, & poisons - currently using loams, would put far too much of a strain on QA, requiring that they test thousands of extra recipes during a very busy expansion testing schedule.)

Other "Gravy" Before the Meat & Potatoes of the Review

I handed out over 40 snack size baggies of DenMother's Trail Mix at the Faire. As always, folks had been so busy that they often ran out of time (or simply distracted enough with all the events and people that they forgot) to eat properly, so it was great to see some of them perk up a bit when I was handing the trail mix out. (Mind you, I should have remembered to bring a bag or two of it to the Saturday night Grand Banquet, as, between the food allergies and the fibromyalgia-related food sensitivities, there was practically nothing on their buffet that I could eat, but at least I'd snacked earlier that evening!)

They had a fun little green screen photography setup to plop folks into an image from their favorite SOE game (including LON cards, etc.) Silly me decided to wait until I was in costume on Saturday to get my picture taken, not considering the issues with wearing a green skirt and bodice when they're using a green screen. As you can see from the below, the dark green bodice had enough blue in it, and the green leather bracers had enough brown, to come out, if a bit oddly shaded. My green skirt, however, came out with some interesting shading. I think I like it, though, in an odd sort of way!

Gooooood dragon, nice dragon {fingerwiggle casting animation}
Go burn up all that loam now, ok?

Like most redheads, I can really blush. Easily. Lots. Jethal, Elquinjena, several folks from Legion of Kithicor on Antonia Bayle, and Bristlebane only knows who else, got to see this quite clearly on Saturday. I walked up to say hello, and several of them burst into Jethal's parody song "Den Mom Has Got It Going On". I turned deep magenta, and then started laughing so hard that it took me a couple minutes to recover. (It took long enough and I was red enough that I worried poor Elquinjena, I fear.)

While Bally's in Las Vegas had a good convention setup, their beds are not very comfortable. I don't sleep well in the best of times, but that was ... ow. I almost grabbed all the blankets and slept on the floor at one point, but I didn't want to wake the hubbyogre up once he finally managed some sleep.

Beware of stray pins when fingering a hand-crafted costume! Rijacki created a phenomenal Freerealms bixie queen costume, but due to health, time, etc., it still had a couple pins here and there tacking bits together. And you thought it was her stinger that you had to watch out for! :D

Ok, enough gravy, for the moment. Let me tackle a few things that are going to happen in the next couple of months before I tackle expansion information ...

Game Updates - Longer Cycle, Meatier Goodies

SOE has moved to a longer development cycle for game updates, putting more TLC and more features into each update, but having them occur less frequently. Due to this fact, we can expect to see GU53 sometime around September-ish.

Friday's adventure panel gave us a look at some of the features expected with GU53. While not always tradeskill in nature, they are still worthy of note.

Quest Journal Revamp

One of the features of GU53 will be a revamp of the quest journal. This will include a side-by-side layout, so you can see your quest list at the same time you are examining the details for one specific quest. When asked, they seemed agreeable to looking into the possibility of being able to examine details of more than one quest at a time, but no promises are made as to when or if that feature will be available. In addition to also tracking such lovely things as which druid rings you have access to, it will also include a tab for the new achievement system.

New Achievement System?

The current Achievement point system will be renamed to AA (Alternate Advancement) points. The term "Achievement" will be used for a new Achievement ("trophy", "accomplishment", "feat", what have you) system.

Waitasec. Huh?

You're going to want to read this carefully, as it changes how you view some terminology, and I predict it is the explanation most likely to be garbled if you receive the information second or third-hand while chatting with others.

What EQ2 has always called Achievements, has also been known as AA, due in large part to them being referred to as Alternate Advancement points in EQ Live. Well, now we need to get used to them being AA points for real, as they will be called that from now on, and the term Achievement will take on a different meaning altogether.

The new Achievement system will be a way of tracking various accomplishments across your account. Bragging rights, as it were. Things like killing specific mobs, killing X number of specific mobs, exploring x number of spots, finishing x number of collections, completing a certain number of heritage quests and so on, to give a few random examples. (There are plans for some achievements to be crafting related as well.) The current Slayer system will be rolled into the new Achievements as well, and kills from all characters on the same account will add together for the total.

In some cases, most likely including the Slayer info, since it is already tracked, the achievements will be retroactive, counting what you have already done. In many cases, however, the achievements will only start counting once this system is in place with GU53.

Some of these new achievements may include some small (likely fluff) reward or title, but these are mainly achievements for bragging rights, as it were. (Each achievement will be worth points, and your achievements and points will be visible to other players via a new tab on your persona sheet.)

At the current time, somewhere between 500 and 700 achievements are expected to be available when the achievement feature is released, and these features should include harvesting, crafting, pvp, killing mobs and more. (Including the possibility of some secret ones that you won't know about until someone completes them.)

We will, of course, know more before the system is launched in September. However, details are still being worked out, so don't expect a lot of answers to a flood of questions regarding this system quite yet.

Revamp to Character Inspect Window

There are plans underway to revamp the character inspect window. Not only will it be updated to include the appearance-slot weapons, but it will also include, as mentioned above, achievement information.


Grey quests and grey-con named mobs can be frustrating. Finding an appopriate-level person either in the right zone, or willing to travel to the right zone, to lurk around as a mentor target can be even more frustrating. With GU53, auto-mentoring will be introduced which should make it much easier to go back and tackle such content in a level-appropriate manner. (It will also make it easier and more rewarding to visit zones that you skipped over while leveling, or zones that received revamps after the content was greyed out.)

Players will visit an NPC in their home city (players have already requested a guild hall amenity mentor NPC, which will be considered), and have the option to mentor down, in 5-level increments, to their desired level, without need for a player mentor target. They can then head directly out to their target adventure area, or they can grab some level-appropriate mission-style quests. (Missions are currently planned for level 80 adventurers, mentored down appropriately, and will award some sort of tokens. As with everything else in this writeup, that plan can change in the next couple of months.)

You will be able to obtain city adventuring writs while auto mentored. You will not, however, receive the triple AA boost that you receive from mentoring a friend.

News on the Raiding Front

A new 4X raiding zone will be added with GU53 that will also introduce a new feature for future raid content. As with anything to do with raiding, of course, it met with mixed reactions, and there were almost as many conflicting opinions flying around as there would be with an equal number of avid crafters discussing a major change to crafting! ;)

Designing raid content takes a disproportionately huge amount of man-hours when compared to percentage of players who will actually ever see that content, and this feature is intended to allow and encourage more casual players the chance to experience some of those zones, content and story arcs that previously were only seen by the more elite raiders.

What is it, you ask? A way to tune the difficulty settings of new raid encounters (remember, this is for future raid content, not for existing raid zones). Raids will be able to, by a mechanic that wasn't fully explained in my hearing, to set the raid encounters to slighty easier settings for casual and pick-up raids, and harder settings for the hardcore raiders. Based on what they choose, the encounter (and the mobs that they fight), may be totally different, and the loot tables will vary accordingly. (So the hardest settings will have the boss mob(s), and the best loot, lower settings may end up fighting some of the boss's minions and get lesser loot, etc.)

I'm sure we'll hear plenty more about this feature between now and the expected September release of GU53, so if this topic (or any of the other items mentioned in this writeup) is of interest to you, I'd recommend keeping an eye on the SOE forums.

For the Lore Hounds

There is often lore trickling to the players via multiple channels, and this practice will include some lore quests on the SOE forums that will send players in-game to search for information. I am a bit fuzzy on how this works, but it is apparently something that had been done in the past, and is being resumed now. Keep an eye on the SOE lore forum for more details. (Also be sure to speak up in that forum if there is specific lore that is of great interest to you, as they sometimes use feedback from there when deciding what lore to write/release.) There was also mention of new information concerning the fate of Erollisi Marr with the Shard of Love, but I am unsure if that is the name of the x4 raid instance for GU53, or some future (expansion) offering.

Shader 3.0

A new shader system will be implemented with GU53 that has to be seen to be believed! The before (Shader 1.0) & after (Shader 3.0) images from Nektulos Forest were quite stunning. It is still being optimized for high resolution setups, but it is already boasting of performance improvements in lower resolutions.

The Expansion: Sentinel's Fate

As mentioned above, the next EQ2 expansion will be released in February, will be called Sentinel's Fate. It will reveal to us the continent of Odus, complete with lots of fascinating lore.

In no particular order, here are some of the details that we now know:

  • Level caps will be raised to 90 for adventuring, crafting (complete with a new tier of recipes for all classes, of course!) and guilds (no, there is no information available about any new guild perks yet - give it a couple months! :D)
  • There will be 50 more AA to earn and spend, but there will not be any new trees added. Instead, lines will be added to existing AA trees
  • Domino is working on an Odus-based crafting questline. She is hoping to have the push from 80 to 90 as a crafter rely a bit more on questing and a bit less on crafting grinding.
  • There will be no new deities in the new expansion. However, the current abilities and miracles will be looked at to see if any balance tweaks are needed
  • There will be new heritage quests added with this expansion
  • Stonebrunt Mountains will be included as one of the zones, including pandas! ("omg, squeeeeee! So adorable!" - we got to see some of the animations that are being worked on for them, and they look great!). No, we're not going to be getting them as a playable race. :P
  • The expansion will bring to a close the end of the Void storyline
  • Details on the Erudite race and how/why their appearance changed so much will be included, as will some Ratonga lore
  • Odus is apparently quite pivotal with regards to the future of all of Norrath, and we will learn more about how/why this is so
  • The Hole will be a contested zone
  • Two overland, one contested, as well as "a dozen or so" group instances were mentioned
  • There are more new armor looks going in with this expansion than currently exist in-game ... that's a lot of new looks!
  • I missed this being said, but it looks like players will be able to become both tinkers and transmuters on the same character, when the expansion is released. (As per this comment found buried in a post on the SOE forums).

Did You Know?

Storage Space in Player-Created Books

I had been curious as to why there wasn't a hard & fast page or word count given to us with regards to player-created books, and Rothgar was kind enough to explain it for us.

There were two options for storing the contents of a player-created book - storing it separately and linking it in, or storing it inside the item itself. The second option is what is used, which makes it hard to guess storage size, due to the compression used.

If the data had been stored separately, any books that ended up being moved from one server to another via a character transfer would lose their contents. This is not a happy thing.

Instead, the text of the book is compressed and stored in the item data for that item. This limits the size of the book, though the compression helps us squeeze as much as possible out of the storage space. (Increasing the item data storage space is not an option, as it would require increasing it for every single item in the game.)

Item Limits in Guild Halls

While most of us would adore a higher item limit for our guild halls (especially with the way some decorators have gone wild with item count in some of their more impressive interior decorating binges), it isn't something that they want to consider at this time. The current item counts in those halls are already responsible for loading issues, some chat lag issues, and more. Until they can find a way to solve the performance issues involved, item limit increases are a no-go.

Crafting Events and Special Recipes

Domino mentioned that she has been working on some of the special event recipes (Erollisi Day, Nights of the Dead, etc.) to have some new beneficial effects when properly countered. (I also saw some popping up with the one Tinkerfest quest recipe, that we will see when that Live event is finally released.) She mentioned that we should keep an eye on Test server for news of such happy tweaking. (Happy, as in, changes to add beneficial effects, NOT any new penalties for failed counters.)

The Request Line

Several requests were made during the question & answer segments of various panels. In cases below where they say they'll take a look at it, it means just that. They'll look into it, see if it is something easily feasible, see if their schedule is such that they can squeeze the change in, etc. No promises, no ETAs, these items may or may not happen at some point in the future.

Those Doggone Doors!

Not all of the South Qeynos 3-room houses have double doors upstairs that both open at the same time. When a player mentioned that in some of these homes you have to click on first one, then the other door, in order to enter the upstairs room, one of the devs made a note to take a look at it.

Crafting Durability & Progress to Logs?

Every crafting round has +/- numbers that appear over your head while you are crafting, indicating progress and durability. While these numbers have never been anything we can access from a log, a request was aired to have a coder look into the possibility of adding them to log output.

Guildhall Harvesters

It was requested that guildhall harvest NPCs be allowed to drop their resources directly into the harvest depot amenity, if the guild has one (as opposed to a player having to hail them, receive the resources, then manually drop them into the depot). This will be looked into. A similar request to log harvest depot transactions is not something that can be considered at this time. (Same argument/reasoning as the guildhall item count increase request - it would add wayyyyy too much lag into an area where they are trying to find ways to reduce lag.)

Personal Torches?

One of the things we noticed with the new shader system that is going in with GU43 is that those of us with night vision issues are going to want a light source once again, if we enable the shader system. Thankfully, it seems that a personal torch feature that does not take up an equipment slot has been discussed by the devs already, and we've been told it is on the "to do" list. (This means there is no ETA that we know of, but that it is something that they want to do as time/priorities permit.)

Quest Mobs With Excessive Timers?

One concern was raised regarding automentoring and already-existing issues with long camps for some quest mobs (such as some HQ mobs still). If you have examples of mobs with such issues, please keep an eye on the SOE forums for a thread (that may or may not have already been started), asking for further details and examples, so that these may be looked into.

Crafting Mission Instances?

There are no plans at this time for the addition of any new crafting instances for Far Seas Supply Division missions. Domino has her hands full with the 10 new levels of recipes, Odus crafting quests, etc.

Community Address

John Smedly made a community address on Friday night (which was the reason why Friday panels were not allowed to talk about the expansion, before the evening address that revealed expansion information). I scribbled a few quick EQ2-related notes during the address.

Over 275,000 accounts have been banned since the start of 2008 in relation to the whole mess that is spammers, plat sales, and the like. Often, the accounts that are reported in are not immediately banned, as the special team that handles such things goes into action, watching the account in question in order to find more accounts that are tied to the same pipeline - the various spammers, mules, farmers, etc. that are involved in obtaining the plat, shuffling it around to hide the source, delivering it to the customer, etc.

Station cash will have yet another new feature soon - the ability to order things such as high-quality prints of your character, other special game-related art prints, etc. Watch for more details in the coming weeks.

Everquest 2 server transfer requests for $25 (via Station Cash) are expected to be offered in another 2 weeks.

Fan Faire attendees will receive the expansion, Sentinel's Fate, free as a digital download, when the expansion is released in February 2010.

Around the same time as the expansion, a new good starting area, Frostfang, will be released. (It seems that Halas was totally destroyed, and some are referring to this area as New Halas.) This area will be a free download (not tied to expansion purchase).

The next set of LoN cards will include a new loot card that will, once per day, completely repair your gear. Yum!

{click} {whirrr} {thud}

That seems to be it for the brain dump from me, so I'll leave you with one last mental image (maybe I'll have to see if someone can fling me one of the pictures from the event in question) ... Mum in skirt, bodice, leather boots and all that jazz, standing with one foot propped on the back of a faceplanted lad by the name of Venoch, to the cry of "Ranger Down!" (I must say, he toppled far more gracefully than my own kerra ranger does, but she's had far less practice at it, since I rarely let her stop furniture-making long enough to adventure!)

There already is, and I'm sure that there will be floods more Fan Faire information from others on the SOE forums as well as on other sites (Calthine from 'Zam was one very busy lady at Fan Faire, for example, and I'm sure she's going to have tons of information going up this week.)

* All right, it really was supposed to be a "quick" little writeup, as I eyed my own little crafted book containing Fan Faire notes, but once I started having to explain everything, it got rather large, rather quickly!

Created: 2009-06-30 01:31:57          
Last Modified By: Niami Denmother          
Last Modified on: 2009-07-03 02:15:42          

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