GATES OF DISCORD

(GoD)

 

 

Gates of Discord is the seventh expansion to Everquest, released in early 2004.

I, personally, loved this expansion and feel it was one of the best overall expansions ever... primarily due to the way it was so well put together by way of quests intertwined with progression. Completing these were, in fact, "trophies" to be proud of (true bragging rights)!

However, John Smedley (Sony President) has been quoted as saying the release of this expansion was, "SOE's worst mistake in five years," even though the next expansion continued with the same basic theme/look. Players complained as well, but usually the most vocal complainers seem to be the entitlement-minded players (they want it easy or even simply handed to them on a silver platter) rather than the challenge-minded players (you need to go do it, see it and beat it.... I came, I saw, I conquered).

The biggest issues, really, was what SOE called a "changing of the guard." It was at this time that there was a number of changes in the the staff behind the game (read that designers and developers) and that some of the content was, in fact, actually designed for Level 70 (Level 70 was not included with this expansion).

The complaints were that, like Luclin, it was and unfinished product, that the content was too hard (unbeatable, yet guilds did beat it), pre-existing content became bugged and that there were issues with the graphics and the geometry. This so-called controversy may have also been fueled by a bit of propoganda -- or as an "excuse" if you ask me -- when several of the most influential and high-end guilds saw their numbers decimated, as many left EQ and ended up play-testing a new game called World of Warcraft (many did return later).

In my opinion, the player-base decimation was contributed to by Sony itself.

World of Warcraft saw it's release in 2004 and greener-pastures-players did in fact go play that game, which I have always felt was a minor league version of EQ (easier to play, easy to progress, less challenge, etc.). In response to WoW, Sony also released Everquest II, rather than simply re-tooling Everquest. As a result, you also had players abandoning EQ for EQII. The result was blantantly and immediately clear. EQ populations were decimated. It was not just the high-end guilds that were affected, but all guilds and all servers.

My opinion is that the time/money spent to develop a new version of EQ, rather than to re-tool and fix the existing EQ, was a huge mistake. Elements of EQ2 (and other games like WoW) have, in fact, made their way into EQ. In the long run, SOE called a summit in 2004 to hear the concerns of the player base. I am not sure any real changes actually resulted (content remains broken, profits remain the focus over quality long-term products, etc.)... but they did delay the release of the next expansion by several months, reportedly to allow time to better develop the expansion (Omens of War).

This expansion introduced the 1.5 Epics, the continent of Taelosia and a host of MOB's I have always felt were inspired by Clive Barker movies (think Hellraiser).

It was with this expansion that the Berserker class was introduced. A class I call the "Ernest T. Bass" of Everquest (remember the character on the old Andy Griffith Show that liked to throw rocks?). The Berserker class has proven not to be very popular, at all.

The expansion did fall short in one area, for sure. The storyline involves the Wayfarers first introduced with the Lost Dungeons of Norrath (those of the Magus' who teleport you camp to camp...). While new Wayfarer camps were established, new and updated LDoN adventures were not part of the package. Once again, Sony had left behind an element of the game introduced in a previous expansion... despite the fact they continued the same story-line!

It was with this expansion that Sony officially introduced gambling into the game, in Shadowhaven. Why it was not included in other obvious city zones (i.e. Highkeep, where there are pre-existing gambling rooms), is beyond me. The ultimate prize in gambling is the "Golden Ticket," which can be traded in for rare desirable items (items that don't drop in the game anymore), but some of which have now become available via the Loyalty Vendors.

The reason gambling was introduced was to create yet another "money sink" for perceived game economic issues. In my opinion, the true cause of EQ "mudflation" (economic situation that cause items to devalue) was not, and never has been, because of too much platinum in the game. The real reason is because of Sony's decisions with in-game items and the rarity of certain in-game items (some are ridiculously rare).

As an example... tradeskills should be a profitable venture, not a loss. In that players have to do combines in order to increase skills, it means the purchase of a lot of vendor items. It also means a lot of farming or buying components from other players, as well as lost components from failures. Therefore, to save time and money, players will go for the combines that use a combination of both the cheapest items to acquire and the easiest items to acquire.

This means the market is overwhelmed with such items, which translates into the items being worthless and of absolute zero interest to other players. In short, there is not a player market for these items. Thus, the tradeskillers are generally left with selling the items to NPC vendors. Unfortunately, NPC vendors often may not buy the item at all. If they do, they pay less than the components cost to make them to start with (even if you consider only the vendor purchased items). Having them sell back for at least equal to the vendor-sold component costs would be a step in the right direction (tradeskillers would still suffer a loss on failed combines).

On the other hand, "reusable" crafted items (potions, poisons, stat foods, stat drinks...) that do have a level player market value, are often extremely difficult to make in any quantity. Example, Juice of Quellious, among other things, requires Emerald Orange, a component that is rare and hard to come by. The Bristlebane Challenge requires Nest Drake Meat (ridiculously rare) and Horse Meat (also rare), among other hard to get components. Thus, both items, if a player spends a chunk of game time and effort in them, are only worth making if they can be sold for extremely high prices -- and they aren't. Even worse, Sony decided to make the Bristlebane's Challenge a No Trade item (it was originally tradable). This further removed the possibility that tradeskillers could make and sell them (granted... you can sell the components, but...).

None the less, GoD did introduce one major thing to help tradeskillers, and that was the tradeskill combine window that lists "known" recipes. Tradeskillers no longer have to manually drop items, one at a time, into the tradeskill device and then hit combine! Rejoice!

GoD also introduced the player tribute system (yet another money sink), whereby players could contribute items or coin in "support" of the Wayfarers Brotherhood. In return they would get "tribute points" that allowed them to activate pre-selected effects (buffs) for 10-minutes cycles, so long as they have "tribute points" to pay for them.

I have always found tribute to be of negligible advantage. You can only use five of them at a time and if you use them at maximum levels (more tribute costs) and "forget" to turn them off, you find yourself out of tribute before you know it. To this day this system is still inherently flawed. If you forget to turn it off, it will run forever... and despite it being set up for 10-minute cycles, you can't simply run it for one cycle... and if you turn it off, the current 10-minute cycle simply stops immediately (rather than finish the 10-minute span you have already paid for). It should be designed to run for 10-minutes and stop, as opposed to the other way around.

In fact, tradeskillers also had the benefit of the Abysmal Sea, a trade skillers haven. Here, players could pursue tradesklill quests and get any skill to level 54, for free. As an added benefit, these quests also granted them the ability to "process" certain raw materials into refined items whch could, in turn, be used in further combines (such as the special slotted jewelry and related augmentations, which, shockingly enough, has generally been upgraded with each expansion to present day).

Lastly, GoD also introduced Raid and Group leadership abilities.

Group leadership is earned by being group leader (requires a group of at least three characters) and sacrificing part of your normal experience towards group leadership (abut 20%). As you go up in levels, you can purchase, with leadership AA's, abilities that provide benefits to your group, so long as you are the leader of the group. If you "max" your abilities, you can "mentor" a group member by funneling part of your experience into their group leadership experience (yes, you are actually transferring 20% of your experience to another player)! In this manner, the group can maintain the benefits of your group leadership, while someone else builds up their own group leadership.

Raid leadership works the same way, but can only be earned with a raid of at least 18 players. Raid leadership will "stack" with group leadership, but they both have the same categories of benefits. Raid leadership, on the other hand, is extremely hard to earn. With 20% of your regular experience (with raid experience already being notoriously slow) going into raid leadership abilities, you must lead endless amounts of raids on a very regular basis, to get anywhere! While I am sure there may a few of them out there, personally, I have yet to see anyone with maximum raid leadership (even as of this typing, seven years later in 2011)!

On a side note, you can't mentor raid leadership like you can group leadership.

Anyway, as usual, leadership (raid and group) was also generally forgotten by Sony (not updated for future levels).

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TOPIC LINKS

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PROGRESSION RELATED

 

WEAPONS

 

 ARMOR

Assistant Researchers Symbol

Tome of New Beginnings

Trimdet's Armor (Paladin Expansion Armor)

SPELLS AND TOMES

 

MISC.

Alexsa's Research Notes 

EXPANSION LINKS

Bonzz's Home Page

Everquest (Original)

Ruins of Kunark (1st)

Scars of Velious (2nd)

Shadows of Luclin (3rd)

Planes of Power (4th)

Legacy of Ykesha (5th)

Lost Dungeons of Norrath (6th)

--> GATES OF DISCORD (7th)

Omens of War (8th)

Dragons of Norrath (9th)

Depth of Darkhollow (10th)

Prophecy of Ro (11th)

The Serpents Spine (12th)

The Buried Sea (13th)

Secrets of Faydwer (14th)

Seeds of Destruction (15th)

Underfoot (16th)

House of Thule (17th)

Veil of Alaris (18th)

Rain of Fear (19th)

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This Page Last updated October 28, 2012