If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a fan of the whole nostalgia retro server thing when it comes to MMOs. I have found them to be a fun, if imperfect, way to take a visit back to what things were like. Not the actual launch experience, but an incredible simulation.
It is also very much an accelerated experience, as the people who show up are generally looking to relive the early days, and know where they want to go and what they want to do. On the various generations of EverQuest progression servers people knew what zones to visit, what mobs to camp, which spawns to farm, and what groups were needed for any given boss.
It is something like compressed nostalgia. All the stuff you took months to do now accomplished in a few weeks.
But it isn’t just the nostalgia that is compressed. A very swift path opens to all the usual MMO problems as well. Again, as we have seen on multiple iterations, people have problems with groups and spawns and multi-boxing and contested open world bosses and raids and even being able to log into an overloaded server.
However, the most contentious issue of all is content pacing. There is always a conflict between those who burn through the content quickly and want the next expansion unlocked at the soonest possible moment, and those who move at a more leisurely pace or who showed up late (along with that persistent, classic server sub-group that wants no expansions unlocked ever), who want to hold off on the new stuff.
And so it has come to pass on the remaining EverQuest II time locked expansion server, Stormhold (the other server, the PvP focused Deathtoll, was shut down earlier this year due to lack of interest) that the content pacing wars have begun to burn bright.
Unlocks have not been automatic on Stormhold up to this point. The pace of votes, which come every 30 days, is such that they must seem too quick to some segment of the population, and so first unlock votes seem to fail regularly. But the second vote has generally gone in favor of releasing fresh content. The current vote revolves around the Rise of Kunark expansion.
However, the Rise of Kunark expansion, which raises the level cap to 80, has already failed its on two unlock votes, and the third one is in progress, being set to end this Friday.
Players will have the option to vote to unlock content on Stormhold (PvE) and Deathtoll (PvP) servers every 30-days. The voting period will last a week, and if the server votes not to unlock the next expansion, the vote will start again after 30-days.
If the server chooses not to unlock content three times in a row, the votes for the next expansion will change to 90-days in-between votes. This will reset back to 30-days in-between votes after an expansion is successfully unlocked on your server.
Players must be within 20 levels of current content cap to be eligible to vote.
If the unlock vote fails this Friday, the voting will move to an every 90 day cycle, and won’t go back to every 30 days until an unlock vote succeeds. (Also, my “no” vote in the screen shot apparently doesn’t count because I am only level 30 and you need to be level 50 for your vote to count according to that quote.)
This naturally has the quick content consumption faction seeing red. In the post over at EQ2 Wire, Feldon has points out three threads up on the forums where players are issuing dire predictions should the vote fail, one of which includes a pro-unlock video.
Of course, there is no telling what Daybreak will actually do should the unlock vote fail. The company seems to have a history of bowing to the will of the loudest voices in the forums. Just about a year back they overrode the rules set down for the EverQuest Ragefire progression server and let players vote in an early unlock… a situation that also happened to revolve around the continent of Kunark.
I will give even odds, should the unlock vote fail, that Daybreak will disavow the 90 day vote cycle clause and keep with the every 30 day pace. Anyway, we shall see what happens come Friday. Maybe the vote will pass and everybody will just move on.