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EverQuest 2 Producer's Letter E-mail
Monday, 18 December 2006
Scott Hartsman, Senior Producer for EverQuest II, in a new letter to the Community talks about the current status of the game after an important expansion, and gives some anticipations on what is planned for the next future with Game Update 30, but also in the mid-long term.

Once again, the holiday season is upon us.  A brand new expansion has been released to much fanfare and the EQ2 developers are all nestled in for an extended, hard-earned winter’s rest in hopes that the Gigglegibber Grump doesn’t arrive to make too much trouble this year…

Wait, no.  Sorry.  That’s fantasyland.  We’re still here hard at work, and it’s been far too long since the last Producer’s Letter.  

For starters, thank you all very much for making Echoes of Faydwer our most successful expansion yet, by every means we have available to measure “success.”  For our part, we’re thrilled that people think we did this fabled continent justice. 

Since its release a month ago, Echoes has been the best-selling expansion to date.  That’s probably not too exciting for most people to hear, but it’s also meant the most in terms of both new and returning users coming back onto the scene.  That’s where everyone wins.  We’ve all seen guildies return and faces we haven’t seen in a while suddenly show up to check out what all the excitement’s about.   And being able to spend time with old friends is very fitting for the season, on top of it.  To all of you new and returning folks: Welcome!  We’re glad to have you. 

If you have even more friends that you want to get into EQ2 with you, now’s a perfect time for it with the launch of Play the Fae.  Point ‘em in that direction, have them make a new account, and they can be playing right beside you in Greater Faydark.

Speaking of the season, back by popular demand with Game Update #30, the celebration, quests, decorations, and events surrounding Frostfell will soon be making their return to the world.  In store for you are new contests, new prizes, and new ways to have fun in Norrath.  This year we add the debut of what we hope will be the first of many games inside of EQ2 that have their own scoreboards and rewards.  Gigglegibber Enterprises is proud to present Frostfell Candycane Grab’n’Tag.  For more details, head on over to the Game Update 30 Preview and check it out. 

Also, don’t forget that each day that you log in during the celebration, you’ll be able to collect a Frostfell gift.  This year brings rumors of new Goblin magics that can shrink entire worlds into tiny orbs of snow, ready to play music and entertain those who come near.

So, what’s coming up for the future?  I’ll talk in the general sense, since we have a lot of specifics in the works that we’re just not quite ready to start trumpeting just yet.

After the success that Echoes has been, we do plan on continuing the trend that we began here and taking our time in shipping the next expansion.  The big win for everyone, both for you and for us is that we can take the right amount of time to ensure that with each release, the quality of EQ2 continues to improve. 

The flip side of that, of course, is that some folks might see that as a cause for concern, since shorter cycles does mean more “new stuff” coming in all the time.  It’s a completely valid question to be asking, and I’d like to address it very publicly:

Our current plans give us the ability to be much more flexible in terms of how the “next’ expansion gets done.  We’re structuring the development such that we’re better equipped to provide even more places to go, and new things to see as a part of our normal, no-extra-cost live releases.  We’ve been planning out the specifics for the coming year to make sure there’s something new and interesting going on, as frequently as we can make it happen, all as a part of our normal live service.

That’s the general theme of our development.  As we’re able to talk about specifics, we’ll be doing more frequent, smaller write-ups (like this one) both in this space and in the Game Update Previews as we’re ready start getting into the details.

As for the farther future, it’s way too early to talk about our next expansion, but there are some themes that we tried out in Echoes that will most definitely be continued.  You have spoken, and you like a lot of what’s there.  

  • A whole lot less zoning.
  • Big, interesting areas to adventure in.
  • Finding out what’s happened to the places you care about the most in the last 500 years.
  • New and interesting races.
  • Nostalgia. Finding out what specific, interesting personalities have been up to.
  • Sense of familiarity without knowing what’s exactly where, everywhere.
  • Strongly themed dungeons with quests.

I welcome everyone who reads this message to join the thread. Let us know if you think we’re on the right track, and also let us know about the things you’ve enjoyed the most, and hope we continue doing.

From all of us to all of you, have a very happy Frostfell, and we’ll see you in Norrath.

Good hunting,

- Scott

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