Friday, March 6, 2009

New Flagship MMO for SOE

SOE recently advertised they are seeking a Lead Game Designer for what they are referring to as a New Flagship Project. Their use of the term "flagship" has me curious what they might possibly have planned. I would consider their current flagship to be Everquest, versions 1 and 2. John Smedley did mention in a previous interview ... "when we say "the EverQuest franchise," we'll be visiting that world again, and we're definitely in development on some things."

So if it is another version of the world of Norrath, how would they do this differently? They will want it to be more profitable than the other two, so most definitely not as hardcore as EQ1. And I would also think it would be less graphic intensive than EQ2 to cover a wider audience. And based on SOE's current trends, it might not be a subscription model.

If not Everquest, then what else would they have up their sleeves to warrant being referred to as flagship? The other themes they have in the works are action spy, comic book hero , and DisneyWorld. Might they do something fresh and new or use a pre-existing ip? Fresh and new is always a risk. With all the current and upcoming offerings, it really will need to offer something unique. But pre-existing ip's sometimes put limitations on where the game can go due to lore or franchise restrictions. Inquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"And they call it a mine. A mine!"

While we were braving blizzards in Forochel, the dwarves had been setting up bases inside Moria and making it a bit more hospitable. So with legendary weapons in hand, we decided it was time.

While we've spent several play sessions in Moria already, we've only seen a very small fraction of the place. My feelings are a bit mixed at this point. Visually, it's an impressive place to see. And aggressive mob placement is reasonable so that you're not constantly having to fight just to take a few steps. But getting around has been a challenge. There are steps and ramps in all directions. While you might see your quest objective in the distance, good luck figuring out how to get there. We've wasted quite a bit of time just running in circles and not getting anywhere.

One quest hub in particular, which contains the npc's needed for upgrading legendary weapons, has been a hot bed of player activity. The zone in general is pretty crowded with players, some not always on their best behavior. And it's a bit laggy. But overall, it's been a neat experience and definitely something different than anything I've ever seen before. I think if we can get a better handle on the zone layout, we won't be quite so frustrated.

In other news, I finally maxed my Rivendell faction. This is the only faction I've bothered with since I was able to gain faction by turning in scholar-created items. I wanted Rivendell faction purely for cosmetic reasons. I was able to purchase an elven dress, along with a couple statues to place outside my home and a map table for the inside. Yes, I like my fluff.