15 November, 2006
EverQuest 2 just released its latest expansion Echoes of Faydwer. Congrats to the team!
Of course, if I’m blogging about it then there’s something to complain about. Oh, yes, there will be complaining.
Online game developers got really clever and figured out that players could make better user interfaces than they could. It started with the venerable EverQuest, then spread to WoW and EQ2. In fact, the player-made interfaces are generally superior.
Until it comes to patch day….
What happens is that the custom UIs break. Sometimes in very horrible ways, to the point that you (*shiver*) have to use the default UI again. It’s ugly. You have to move and resize everything to make it fit like your custom UI does, but even then it doens’t look right. Sometimes you lose a quest reward because the “old” custom UI didn’t show you the quest reward window after you completed it. Not that I’m bitter.
C’mon, developers, you can do better than that. You freeze the client before the expansion date in order to send it off to duplication. During that time, freeze the UI elements as well. That way the custom UI developers can finish the work and players can enjoy the game properly on expansion day. Instead of having to fight with the default UI and/or lose a quest reward. (Okay, maybe I’m a little bitter.) Patch day should be happy for the players; do everything you can to make the process easy on the playerbase. They’re going to be irate enough when the inevitable problems start and interrupt gameplay anyway.
Of course, the exact same thing also happened in WoW, so don’t think I’m just upset at EQ2 here. It was equally frustrating to have to wait some time for the custom UI authors to work on the new version. If you were lucky and used a popular UI program you might get an update later that day. Using something obscure? You’ll think about changing sometime soon, especially if it takes a few days to get your UI back the way you like it. In general, I think EQ2 does handle updates more gracefully than WoW does, it’s just that the expansion brought about major changes and broke some of the old stuff.
And, while I’m complaining, what’s with the 3 hour patch for the game when I didn’t even buy the expansion for EQ2? No way to cut that down for people that haven’t bought the expansion yet? I know you’re not a bunch of n00b developers; think of something clever.
Anyway, good thing I’ll be out of town for a bit. Gives the author of my favorite UI a few days to play catchup, then I can go help the guild level by completing my heritage quests. Assuming the beefed-up monsters don’t kick my ass something fierce.