Below is one of many questions from the Syndicate leader, Dragons, interview about Gates of Discord.
After several days of release, how do you enjoy this expansion so far?
What features do you feel make this expansion more enjoyable or less
enjoyable compared to the other expansions?
A: So far
this expansion has been anti-climactic. The AA skills have been
lackluster, taken as a whole, with only a few that are really worth it.
For example, MAs getting +500HPs is definitely worth it. But clerics
and druids spending 45 AAs on an AE ward spell, that heals very few HPs
and gets killed by AE spells is rather stupid (since AE spells are why
you would use the AE ward to heal people in the first place).
new zones are fine but nothing to shout home about. More monsters. They
hit a bit harder than some we hunt now but offer less experience. The
'instanced' ones are ok and the loot drops are fine. Horror stories on
the top end bosses being unbalanced continue to circulate.
this expansion isnt worth a whole lot. The last GREAT expansion was
POP. LoY was almost useless except for the new bank and maps. LDON is
ok but overall didnt change the course guilds take through the game or
the way most players play. GoD, so far, a week into it, doesnt seem to
add a whole lot either. Time will tell if GoD offers guilds more fun or
if its just more of the same old grind. It may end up being a reason
people move from EQ to EQ2, but then again, that may be the goal to
Q: When Planes of Power was first released, the difficulty of
this expansion was felt to be greater then any other expansion
previously. Many complaints arose about the difficulty of Planes of
Power, but many if not all soon adapted. The next expansion to receive
complaints about difficulty was Lost Dungeons of Norrath as players
again began to raid in this new expansion, and felt overwelcomed with
the new Lost Dungeons of Norrath instanced raids. And now we have a new
phase of difficulty with Gates of Discord, how do you think the
difficulty of Gates of Discord is compared to other expansions and why?
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I think to answer anything to this question other than "of course it
gets easier with time" would be inaccurate. Players get more AAs.
Players pick up better tactics to deal with the monsters different
skills. And if necessary, guilds get larger. Verant stated that for
PoP, one of their goals was to require 2+ LARGE veteran guilds to band
together to take out top end bosses. Instead what happened was guilds
just got larger and didnt band together very often. If GoD's top bosses
are causing headaches for guilds at their current size, then expect
sizes to increase again.
But yes, player complaints will die
down some over time. The question remains will the complaints die down
but GoD zones will be raided? Or will this expansion become as useless
to players as the LoY expansion zones are and never get talked about
again? Only time will tell. My opinion is that guilds will gear up and
players will get a variety of weapon types (to combat the higher end
GoD mobs resistances to certain weapon types) and those mobs will offer
players fun things to do in time. They are fun, currently, only for
very highly geared up guilds.
players have began to complain about the stability of the servers and
of Everquest in general after the release of Gates of Discord. Many
players joked about the release of the 7th expansion as an "Act of GoD"
that would force Sony to finally release a foolproof expansion and not
have to repatch their messy work. Just one patch so far later to fix
the tribute masters, how do you feel the stability of the Everquest
servers and of the newest expansion "Gates of Discord" is?
Overall there has been less reboots with this patch and there isnt a
noticeable increase in lag, in the game. I was actually hoping for a
few more reboots in order to get a couple respawns on a few minor
targets we were looking to get one more time
I think in terms of QAing to keep the servers up without major exploits
or game/zone crashing bugs, Verant did a good job this time around.
Once Sony took the tribute masters down, this showed the expansion
wasn't fully complete - What do you feel else is broken and how much do
you estimate is broken in this expansion so far?
Tribute being nerfed is a big source of player stress right now. That
nerf represents a breakdown in the QA process for Verant and that, in
and of itself, is cause for concern. You would think that someone on
the QA team would have been smart enough to visit a bazaar, on any
server, and pick up every single low cost item they could find and go
trade them to the tribute master. Then, evaluate the tribute given and
balance it out. The fact that they didnt do that nor anticipate huge
tribute scores that needed to be capped, shows a lack of vision and
foresite in that area of the game.
Compared to other expansions, you have to deal with mobs hitting you
for over 1k damage at a time, immune to snare and root, weapon damage
not fully hitting, and several other unique things compared to other
expansions. What are some things you feel should or should not have
been included in this expansion?
A: This expansion is
just "more of the same". EQ is a forumula game. Sure some mobs have
high AC.. some have lots of adds.. some have big AEs.. some do insane
DPS.. some, now, have weapon resistances.. but in general its just the
same old routine. Learn a few new tactics and gear up to the
appropriate levels and fighting the GoD uber mobs is no different than
farming NTOV was years back. The same basic raid procedures work today,
just like they did then. Adjust a few mob specific tactics and the rest
is what it is.. standard EQ.
I would have personally liked to
have seen a whole new way of doing raids. Clear to Uber Mob... Setup
Heals and Tanks... Kill Uber Mob... is all getting a bit old. But with
Verant splitting its resources between EQ2 and EQ, you really cant
I would have appreciated better AAs and perhaps
even new levels. But if Verant did that, it would have made the current
mobs that much easier and made getting through the Planes much easier
and within the reach of many more guilds. That, in turn, would have put
more guilds into the GoD zones and more stress on the servers and more
focus on those mobs. It would have tossed a host of balance issues onto
their plate at a time they can ill afford to deal with that level of
This type of expansion was the best we could hope for
given the current reality of MMORPG development and the projects Verant
has going on. EQ is probably not going to take any new and innovative
steps forward in the genre. It will maintain the level of offering it
has now and leave the innovations to EQ2 and beyond.
In Planes of Power we have the lead up to Druzzil after you've defeaten
Quarm and conquered the Plane of Time in which you are again led back
to the start as if nothing has happened. What do you feel the lore in
the Gates of Discord will lead up to, with these many quests and
trials, if anything at all?
Much like in the last interview
we did, my answer is that Lore if for the developers and for a rare few
players. The vast majority of EQ cant tell you the lore of any part of
the game. The 'hot chick' on the cover art, for many players, is just
an elf in next to no clothes. Who she is and what role in the lore she
played has 0 bearing on EQ, the game. Similarly the lore for any other
part of the game is just window dressing. Its something developers
right (and sometimes get far too attached to such that they cant
deviate from it at all even if it is what players want) but that has no
bearing on the mechanics of playing and winning the game. Nor does it
factor into most players thinking. Very few players think about the
Lore that leads them to Quarm. Instead
they think.. ok.. need to
get SolRo flagged.. need to kill RZTW.. ok now I need to conquer the 4
elemental planes.. ok then I get my own instance of time.. etc.. etc..
Its just a series of steps to reach the top boss. Saving the world..
defeating the evil of the lore.. making the kingdom safe from killer
orc pawns, has no bearing on most players thought process. So as for
the GoD lore will lead to? I dont think most players really care.
How do you feel the encounters differ from the Planes of Power
encounters? The mobs hit harder, do not have as much HPs, but that is
from a small amount of exploring in the new zones. Do you also feel
that we might have to rethink our current strategies, why or why not?
The main difference that players have noticed so far is that some mobs
regen very fast AND are immune or very resistance to certain weapon
types. That invalidates entire groups of classes and their role on
raids. But players wont stand for that. To have half your DPS classes
watching or doing next to no damage isnt acceptable. So likely we will
see alot of re-gearing of melee classes such that everyone will end up
with their main uber weapon from hell, and then a secondary weapon of a
completely different type. Its far better to do "good" DPS with a
lesser weapon than no or low DPS with the uber poke stick from Time
that was just effectively nerfed for some GoD mobs.
Suddenly Tier 2 and 3 PoP bosses have a new purpose. They drop some decent weapons that a player could get as a "backup".
And sure, any time you bump DPS on a mob, it takes new tactics (and
HP gear) to deal with healing the MA and keeping them alive long enough
for the melee, with their backup weapons (in some cases) and then
nukers to kill it.
Q: Many guilds bragged
and boasted when reaching Rallos Zek the Warlord in the Plane of
Tactics, many guilds have bragged and boasted when they awoke The
Sleeper in Sleeper's Tomb, and many guilds have bragged and boasted
when they killed Emperor Crush in Crushbone. What is one major
accomplishment would you gladly brag and boast about achieving from
Gates of Discord so far and what is one of your most favorite or most
memorable moment in the new expansion?
A: Its too early
in the expansion to brag or boast about much. I didnt get nerfed, much,
by the tribute nerf! Go me! errr but seriously, we arent even a week
into it yet so alot hasnt been done yet. In a few months there may be
some cool goals that will have been achieved.. or maybe we will all
have moved to EQ2. Although that remains to be seen as some "inside
intel" we received was that despite public statements everything is
going great! in reality, it isnt. it seems EQ2 is hitting the same wall
SWG did in that it promised more than it can deliver. Decisions have to
be made soon about cutting features from the game. And in order to
combat doing that, many QA testers have been rerouted as programmers to
try to get features finished in time to ship. So that means less QA
testing (i.e. more bugs on release) and probably cut features as well.
It will be interesting when Verant finally decides to announce the cuts
or if they just silently let features slide and hope players dont
In the expansion, Planes of Power, there was many things for the casual
players to do, including flags upto the Rallos Zek in Planes of Tactics
level if not higher. In Legacy of Ykesha, there was many more things
for the casual players as this expansion was aimed towards the middle
crowd of casual players, allowing the whole expansion to be explored by
what we call casual players. Lost Dungeons of Norrath was casual player
heaven for the casual player. He had a time limit to complete his
dungeon, and even if he didn't finish by then - it's over. What do you
think or have seen that Gates of Discord has in store for the casual
A: GoD hasnt totally stepped away from the casual
gamer although its clear more attention was paid to hard core raiding
than in LDON. But the casual gamer still has a whole series of new,
instanced areas to go into where they can only enter them with a
limited number of people. Raids of 70 people wont be entering those
areas so a casual, small group of friends can still enjoy them. That
same group will never kill the top end bosses but they will still find
some fun in GoD. Although if things stay as they are now, they will get
more exp elsewhere although the drops in GoD are higher quality in many
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