Awesome.Pherephassa Is Not Amused

Posted by on December 12, 2013 - 5 Comments »

I’m hyped for Everquest: Next, and Everquest Next: Landmark. Every time a new video or livestream goes up, I run around in excited little circles at the thought of possible new info. It’s a pattern I’ve been through countless times before, and one that many people have seen. I’d actually thought that I was beyond such excitement, I’ve been burned so many times by games that surely I’m a jaded old gamer by now. But EQN and EQNL bring a new level of creativity to the mix of MMOs that just gets me going every time I think about them.

So when I sat down last night to watch the livestream, it was with vast amounts of enthusiasm. Today they were talking about harvesting! Woohoo! I expected that there’d be things about the system that I wouldn’t enjoy, that comes with all games. What I didn’t expect was to have my excitement cut so badly that I nearly walked away from the computer midway through the stream and feeling remorse at having purchased the Trailblazer Pack.

But before I go into what announcement caused that negative a response, let me go over some of the cooler things that this livestream revealed. Terry Michaels, Senior Producer, Collette Murphy, Community Manager, and Emily Taylor, Producer sat down last night to share a few more details with their fanbase.

Mining. For the very first time, we got to see mining in action! And holy tamoles did it look cool. It was like Terraria digging thrown onto a chocolate sundae and decked out with the works. The entire terrain is actually the ores you’ll harvest, and you can actually see the different types of rocks and veins when they are encountered on the surface. I watched as the miner ran over the mountain until she spotted a silvery patch and then started swinging. As she dug, the ground tunneled out, and she was able to follow the ore vein down into the ground. Just like in Terraria, you can clearly just find a random spot and start digging. Don’t want to go over the mountain? Just go through it! What fun! The system currently has land healing at a ratio of about 20 minutes, although they were sure to state that they are still playing with this number. And fear not – there is no such thing as node camping because the ore that grows back will be random.

We also got to see a little bit about itemization, they showed a picture of two different picks with different stats. We learned that crafting isn’t the same grind to level, buy/learn recipe, grind to level again system, that recipes would be randomly found throughout the world. The bonus stats on gear are randomly generated, which I loved, and one of the stats was ‘discovery’ which increased the likelihood of finding bonus items like recipes or more/better ores while harvesting. I am definitely going to spend vast amounts of time mining my way deep into the earth, in search of adventure, recipes, and raw materials. One of the very cool “stats’ mentioned was pick size. I don’t mean the physical size of the object, but the area the pick will excavate. Want to clear a large area? Or carve a smaller, more accurate path? Yup, there’s a stat for that.

I was concerned by the confirmation that there is no item durability. In order to have a healthy economy that allows crafters to actually sell their goods, there must be something that removes items from the world on a scale that’s comparable to how many items are being introduced. “But I don’t want to lose the sword I worked so hard to obtain” is the usual response to the concept of item decay – but I wonder if that’s not due to the way that items are generally treated. They represent status, accomplishment, skill. But what if the reward from that big uber boss isn’t a shiny powerful sword, but a title? Or a pet? Mount? Cosmetic item? What if items are simply tools, to be used and replaced, with no “status” attached to them other than the very basic tier they’re in?

I’m very much looking forward to seeing what systems the devs have in place to tackle this issue. They seemed to have some system in place that wasn’t being discussed, I’m hoping it’s as creative and interesting as everything else about this game.

If you’re still reading, you’re probably wondering what it was that upset me so much, if I am this enthusiastic about everything else that was said about the game. And that would be – naming. Yup, the old chestnut regarding naming conventions. With a worldhopping game like EQNL, there’s been a lot of calling from players on using a system that allows for people to have the same name, so we can have the glorious pleasure of encountering a thousand Drizzts, Legolases, Wolverines, Katnisses…

[warning, entering rant mode]

But let me explain the naming convention before I move into my full, irritated rant. You see the title above? Awesome.Pherephassa? Yup, that’s the solution. Everyone will choose a unique name, for their entire account. Then each character will have a character name, and the end result will be a name that looks something like Awesome.Pherephassa. Your unique name appears on every character, attached to the character name after a period. So in the case of Awesome.Pherephassa, Pherephassa is my account name, and Awesome is my character name, and everyone sees Awesome.Pherephassa.

Yes, I am repeating it more times than is necessary, because it annoys me so much and I want to emphasize just how ridiculous it looks. Awesome.Pherephassa is not a name. It’s a bit of code, or a formatting error. It’s not something I can look at and use to identify with my character, it’s not something to give my character personality, it’s an abomination that absolutely destroys my ability to have privacy – because anyone who knows my unique account name will be able to identify any of my alts that they encounter in the world, just by looking at my name. And it looks awful, to boot.

Hooray! Now instead of a mad name rush for character names, we can have a mad name rush for account names! Who here isn’t likely to pick the real name you want as your account name, and just use an adjective of some kind as the character name? I can’t possibly take this naming system seriously, so I am likely to have my characters all named things like:

Awesome.Pherephassa
Groovy.Pherephassa
Acerbic.Pherephassa
Vitriolic.Pherephassa

And that’s assuming I even play enough to have alts. Account names always limit my interest in a game, as sometimes I do like to hide somewhere and harvest, and having a way for someone to identify me defeats that.

Here’s to hoping that they will clarify this system further, and that it’s not really as bad as it sounded last night.