Last year was truly a remarkable year for EQII. We work on expansions all the time, but last year it was the little and not so little things that went out before The Shadow Odyssey that have made a big difference in my game nights.
It was less than a year ago that we introduced voice chat into EQII. Before that, like many people, I would use a third party program in some groups and raids. Having that voice chat right in the game has simplified things so much it’s become second nature to hop in the channel instead of a hassle to set up.
There were two things that I take completely for granted now and had forgotten were only added in the past year until I looked them up. The first was the additions to the group loot: Round-robin and Need before Greed. The second was all those added bells, carpets and amenities to the docks and the cities. I used to have to run from Qeynos Harbor to North Qeynos every time! Or run all the way out to the middle of Darklight Woods if I wanted to find a carpet out of the Neriak area. There is some serious mileage savings now compared to back then.
The most exciting thing for me last year was, hands down, the addition of the guild halls. These were so long in the making with so much hard work from many people on the team and turned out so gorgeous in the end that I still get a smile every time I log into one. I’m also one of those people who goes around and tours other guild’s halls just to see how they decorated them. There are some seriously skilled decorators out there.
On the topic of decorating, something that made a big (or small) difference was the ability to scale items in your home and guild hall. Suddenly my barbarian could have chairs her size along with the tiny ones for my arasai. And mannequins for houses and guild halls, those were only released early in ’08 but already people have made some amazing shops, chess boards and other just totally off the wall creations with them.
On the more nitty gritty game mechanics side we had a big change in how players level in the game. Along with decreasing the leveling time between 20 and 70, we also added a bonus to all characters on an account if you had reached max level with a single character. But those level 80′s didn’t just get to sit around and help level up alts, they had new epic weapons to go after. Even the tradeskillers got some epic loving with their epic cloaks and earring.
The list of stuff we added last year was epic itself, but the last one that was on my star list was the change to harvesting items. Items that make you harvest faster/better now apply a buff, you used to have to equip each one before you’d harvest that type of node. This change cleared up some pretty convoluted macros I was always fiddling with.
There is a lot of stuff I know I’ve missed but it was a busy year and everyone has a few favorites. I know we have a lot of great stuff planned for ’09 and we’re aiming for getting better every year, but it’s going to be really hard to beat guild halls!
Jen “Kirstie” Gerull