EQNext : Do You Hear the Ratonga Squeak?

Ratonga in EQNext

EQ2 : New Erollisi Day Achievements

Today I noticed a couple of completed achievements in Maltheas’ log that I had no recollection of getting. “A Rose By Any Other Name…” and “Make That A Bouquet”. After a little rummaging, it looks like these were received for my rose-throwing efforts in the Erollisi “My Romantic Reputation” quest over the past few years. I gained the achievements automatically when I logged in after the patch on the 17th, and just didn’t notice. Hurrah for achieving things without even realising, and that new achievement track has company! There are now a range of Erollisi achievements. At least I *think* they’re new. I don’t remember them, and the web has no mention of them to be found. I’ll feel quite silly if they’re from last year..

Winter may still hold Norrath (and Norwich) in its icy grip, but the joys of Spring are not far away, and soon the thoughts of Adventurers everywhere will turn to love. For Maltheas, that will be love for whatever new quests and recipes come in as part of the Erollisi Day event! He has taken part in every step of the Erollisi saga, through her many years of absence, to her triumphant (and tragic) return. He’ll try to find the time to complete some of these new Erollisi Day achievements though.

EQ2 Erollisi Day Achievements

Three of these new achievements give furniture rewards, though the rewards themselves have apparently not yet been patched in, and I couldn’t view them.

Cherished Confections

  • Bake up a batch of Erollisi cookies
  • Bake up a batch of Erollisi cupcakes
  • Bake up a batch of Marssipan (their spelling)
  • Cook up some taffy
  • Craft a box of assorted white chocolates
  • Assemble a basket of perfect pomegranates

Reward : Bow Mounted Red Rose Garland


Lovely Laquer

  • Craft an Erollisi Day bed
  • Craft an Erollisi Day chair
  • Craft an Erollisi Day tapestry
  • Craft an Erollisi Day couch
  • Craft an Erollisi Day rug
  • Craft an Erollisi Day table

Reward : Heart Mounted Purple Rose Garland


Rose-Tinted Obsession

  • Craft ten Erollisi Day decorations featuring roses

Reward : Heart Mounted Red Rose Garland

EQ2: A new way to pay. Krono go live.

I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon, but an announcement just turned up in my mailbox. They were discussed at Fanfest, but Krono are already upon us, and with any luck will cause some gnashing of teeth in the illicit-RMT trade.

They work pretty much like PLEX in EVE Online, and the peculairly similarly named Chronoscrolls in TERA. Someone with real world money buys the Krono, and then can trade them for ingame money/goods/services to another player, who can then redeem the Krono for 30 days of subscription time. Technically, they could use the Krono themselves, but that would be a pretty daft thing to do, as Krono cost more than just subbing for a month, or the gamecards available in retail stores.

30-day gamecard: $14.99
30-day subscription: $14.99
1 Krono: $17.99

What they are is a way for cash-rich players to buy gold ingame, without filling the pockets of scammers. If you do it sensibly, making sure that the payment and Krono are both very much there in the trade-window, it should be quite secure and risk-free. SOE has been allowing people to trade gamecard codes for gold for some time, but that is fraught with dangers for the buyer, with little recourse should the code you buy “mysteriously” not work.

However, I do take issue with them costing more than gamecards. That feels as if SOE are placing a premium on security and safety for their players, which is something no company should ever do. It calls into question whether this is being done to protect players from scammers, or just to make more money. With no cut for the retailer, Krono would still be more profitable for SOE than gamecards, even if they cost the same.

Only EQ2 will be using Krono for the time-being. If the experiment proves to be a success, they’ll be rolled out to other SOE games. Eventually, I expect this method of game-time acquirement will spread widely throughout the MMOsphere.

Everquest 2: SOE remove subscriptions from the marketplace.

As of today, we can no longer buy a month’s subscription to Everquest or Everquest 2 for Station Cash in the marketplace.

Piestro has stated on the Everquest forum:

Hey folks,

Just jumping in to let you know this was indeed an intentional change. This decision was partially based on the very limited utilization of this feature.


I had laser eye surgery today, and can barely see straight, so I’m going to make this quick and blunt.

Do not lie to me. Just don’t.

It has been done so that players cannot buy their gametime using Station Cash that they have purchased during sales, allowing them to get their subs at a discount.

I know a great many players who pay for their gold subscriptions that way. I am one of them, as I’ve been working through my pile of Station Cash before I get forcibly transferred to ProSiebenSat against my will. Actually, if not many people use the option (which I doubt), that would be an argument for keeping the feature, not removing it.

Regardless of whether SOE’s own decisions on whether to ever permit it were a good idea or not, we bought our Station Cash on the understanding that it could be used for that purpose. Quietly removing that option, particularly without warning, is a classic bait and switch manoeuvre, leaving us with practically worthless corporate scrip. I didn’t purchase that scrip for buying fluff items.

As players, we cannot allow companies to take our money for their fakey magic currencies, and then completely change the rules. It is utterly disrespectful, and quite likely illegal in certain jurisdictions that actually give a damn about consumer rights. Whether or not you play EQ or EQ2, you should be concerned that this sort of behaviour could become commonplace in the MMO industry if it does not meet with sufficient pushback.

I suspect we’ll be discussing this nonsense on next Tuesday’s Three MMOsketeers.

EQ2: From Norwich to Norrath, it’s a Brief Maltheas Update!

I’m not very good at staying mad at EQ2. I *am* still rather bothered about the ProSiebenSat business, particularly the complete radio silence we’ve had from SOE since their statement a month ago. Their reluctance to post has been only matched by my own, for which I beg your indulgence.

However, I have a rather Celtic temper, in spite of living here in the fine city of Norwich, and while I’m quite good at getting annoyed, I tend to cool down just as fast. Not to mention that I’ve had a rather beastly time in Wurm recently, as Stargrace has written about, and being angry at two completely different games at the same time is exhausting. I kind of needed a safe haven away from all that unpleasantness, where I could be sure my home would still be in the same state it was when I logged out.

So, aye, Maltheas has been out and about, doing what he does best!

Maltheas and Fippy enjoy a quick sparring session before tea and cheesecake.

The Chronoportals are back, and I managed to catch the end of the Brewday festival, snagging the content added for this year. I rather liked the new Brewday game where you ride arounds like a mad thing on a carpet, attempting to run over as many goblins as possible. Joyously chaotic.

The new EQ2players site does not allow questing leaderboards, and none of the 3rd party sites are doing a suitable one to work with yet either. I’ll do an Extreme Questing leaderboard update when the data becomes available to me, for I think Malth is doing quite well at the moment!

He’s in a bit of an odd patch at the moment. At level 48, with most of the level-equivalent stuff done, an awful lot of quests have level requirements that prevent an attempt, even though the little chap could probably handle them, or at least have a splendid time dying gloriously. I know minimum level requirements are there to protect players from biting off more than they can chew, but the only thing being protected right now is evil-doers, from a sound drubbing at the hands of Ratonga Justice.

At any rate, it means I have to grit my teeth and let him level to 50 pretty soon. That’ll open up the end game of the original content, and much else besides. I pottered through the only available quest-chain in Lesser Faydark this evening, and I guess the rest of them will open up at 50 too.

The most annoying time of the year, Bristlebane Day, approaches, and Maltheas must prepare for the indignities that that rascal of a god will heap upon adventurers of all stripes. Be sure to log in on the 1st of April, when particularly pesky things will be afoot. Maybe we’ll get to expand our polyhedral dice pet collections!!

EQ2: Who are ProSiebenSat.1 anyway?

As you know by now, SOE is selling its European players, to a company called ProSiebenSat.1. OK, technically, they’re selling them the exclusive rights to run the games within Europe (including the UK), but that includes all the characters on the European servers, and the details of anyone with a character there. The value of the playerbase has certainly been accounted for in the deal, and so we have been passed like chattels to a new master.

So who are they, these folks that we suddenly find in control?

ProSiebenSat.1 is a German media conglomerate. Their main business is German language television for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Most important for us though is a little side-business called Alaplaya, which runs online games such as Argo, Skylancer, and a number of other games that you’ve also only ever seen mentioned in cheap google ads. I’m not hearing good things, either about how they modify their games, nor about how they treat their customers. We can expect customer service done on the cheap.

I was having a bit of a dig around for more interesting info when I discovered that ProSiebenSat have deeper links with the Sony corporation than have been reported in the gaming media so far.

Munich, December 15, 2011. The ProSiebenSat.1 Group and Sony Pictures Television Sales Deutschland GmbH have entered into a far-reaching output deal for the video-on-demand portal maxdome. The agreement covers recent blockbusters, as well as many top movies and TV series. This deal will expand the offering of Germany’s biggest online video shop to a total of 45,000 titles, thereby extending maxdome’s market leadership position.

Recent blockbusters like “Bad Teacher,” “Die Schlümpfe” and “Der Zoowärter,” as well as a large selection of movies from Sony Pictures such as “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” and “Zombieland,” are now available on maxdome. Top TV series like “Hawthorne,” “Drop Dead Diva” and “Breaking Bad,” as well as classics like the children’s series “Die Schlümpfe,” are also available on maxdome. Effective immediately, moreover, subscribers can access movies at least two months before they are broadcast on free TV.

About maxdome:

A ProSiebenSat.1 Group company, maxdome is Germany’s largest video download site and offers a wide variety of feature films, series, comedy shows, sports, music and cartoons – a total of more than 45,000 titles of the best entertainment. Videos can be downloaded from maxdome individually, for rental, with a purchase option, or by subscription. As with a DVD, the program can be viewed as often as desired.

The timing of that announcement is interesting, and it starts to look like SOE’s mothercorp has probably signed a distribution deal with ProSiebenSat for their Netflix-clone that includes multiple media, and SOE has gotten caught up in it. Any claim that it’s a great thing for SOE is just a justification after the fact.

If that’s the case, then there may be nothing at all that SOE can do about this at this late stage in the game. This does not absolve guilt at the corporate level in any way, but it does make it seem pretty unlikely that this is going to be a preventable deal.

Which should not stop us from trying.

SOE has unleashed the dogs of war though. Dissent is being quashed. EQ2Wires writer, Feldon, has gotten banned from the forum, largely for his protesting the censorship of Cheese Pirate’s satirical cartoon on the matter. Long-built (and sometimes overly close in some cases, in my opinion) blogger relationships are being burned all over the place.

What is astounding to me is how complete a revolt is occurring amongst the playerbase against Sony’s highhanded tactics. Will this be enough to change minds, not only at the top of SOE, but their bosses over at Sony?

EQ2: The Three MMOsketeers Emergency Podcast takes on the ProSiebenSat Deal.

I am going to make a much larger post about this later today, once I have been topped up with the elixir which permits my brain to operate at an acceptable level of functionality. Its depletion over the last month is partially responsible for the lack of posts. Going onto a 3-month, instead of monthly testosterone injection has created a rather extended and unpleasant trough. Today, that gets sorted, at least for a while. It should balance out somewhat, eventually.

I would suggest that in the future, SOE time their fresh outrages a little better, so as to not happen right before I get topped up. Because if I’m annoyed enough to write 3 hours before my injection, things may be getting pretty special later.

You’ll be aware by now, I’m sure, that SOE has signed a deal with ProSiebenSat.1 to run their European operations, making the European servers completely separate. I’m not best pleased, and to that end we called an emergency session of the Three MMOsketeers last night, for a breaking news podcast.

Thanks to the CSICON network for hosting the Three MMOsketeers!! I shall be back later, chances are, charged up and with enough functional brain cells to do some research.