Feedback Request: Stories and Characters in Empires of Kunark

Discussion in 'The Veterans' Lounge' started by Augur, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. Augur Developer

    Hey friends,

    I hope you're enjoying EoK so far. I'd love to get some feedback from you on the characters and stories that you found memorable/interesting in the expansion, and what your expectations are for those characters/storylines in future content.

    We wanted to create memorable characters and get you excited about the stories you're playing a part in, so this will help us understand where we succeeded (or failed) in that goal this time, and also help us plan for the future to make sure we deliver the best content possible.

    If you have the time and inclination, please help us out by answering these questions:
    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion? (What was happening, who was doing it, etc.)
    2. What non-combat characters were most memorable?
    3. What killable characters were most memorable?
    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?
    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?
    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion? (Story content, not "I got sweet loot" or "It was too easy")
    7. Anything else you want to tell us about stories and characters in EOK.

    Thank you for taking the time to give feedback and help us make better content!
    Gyurika Godofwar and Sheex like this.
  2. gotwar Augur

    To preface my response, I would estimate that approximately 187% of the EQ population just clicks through quest text without reading it. It's probably closer to 70-80% but that # sounds far less funny.

    To give further context, even after multiple finishes in TBM, I still have no idea what that expansion is about. A lady with a duck on her head broke the fourth wall between EQ and EQ2 and threw a Dia de los Muertos celebration in a couple minor planes. Some Bokons are involved, many of which are high, led by the highest bokon of all, Boromas, who clearly gets his "stuff" from the dealers in Demiplane of Decay, who happen to be rats. Bertox's followers are somehow involved, likely attracted to crazy duck lady's propensity to shed all her skin and DoT people.

    I loved the story in TDS and was able to comprehend what was going on in that expansion. Genetically modified supermutant smurfs and hawt Lanys action feature heavily, and Firiona Vie's band of adventurers are quirky but with some emotional depth. Also, a tragic love story featuring a Gnome and a Barbarian (spoiler alert for 3 year old content: the Barbarian dies) is something you could only find in Everquest.

    Your questionnaire:

    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion? (What was happening, who was doing it, etc.)

    This is a Kunark themed expansion that sadly doesn't feature Iksars. As such, it was hard for me to get into the lore. In Frontier Mountains, I led a naked, dejected, and downtrodden Iksar refugee to safety. It often screamed for help like a scared child, which made me chortle.

    2. What non-combat characters were most memorable?

    There is a lost Chokidai in Chardok that you form a bond with as it devours various skeletons and goes full on Ghostbusters against spirits. Adorable. Likewise, there is a Burynai (henceforce referred to as "moles") who somehow gives you a mole costume."Ear boops" feature heavily and tickle my extremely manly cute bone.

    3. What killable characters were most memorable?

    Slaughtering Sarnaks is amazing. Dozens of them. Hundreds. Thousands. Every slain Sarnak is a memorable moment for me as the screams of their dying breaths are only matched by the lamentations of their women.

    I also enjoy massacring Giants, and enjoy charming them to slay their own kin and then nuking them for full XP after I've expended all their life force smashing their brethren into tiny, XP shaped pieces.

    Gorenaire in Lceanum is pretty freaking awesome.

    I like moles. Boop.

    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?

    Really difficult to answer this because it was hard for me personally to find interest in a combine storyline. See answer to #5 below. If I had one personal desire for the next expansion (assuming it would also be Kunark themed) it would be to see more "Kunark things" like Dragons, Iksar, and their associated storylines.

    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?

    To be blunt, not a fan. Tsaph Katta seems like an alright dude, but maybe a little apathetic to be in stasis so long with so many world shattering crises going on (PoP gods, timeline shakeups, CT dying after aliens invade, etc).

    Hard for me to get excited about the New Combine or the Combine in general. They were really neat when things were all mysterious back in the Classic days. OMG! Who built these portals? OMG! They traveled to the moon? OMG! magic and stuff. Now they just sorta fit into this faceless mob of bipedal humanoids that are easily manipulated despite their ages of combined wisdom and experience. Shouldn't these guys be like, way better at literally everything than anyone else on Norrath? Am I missing some critical story element here?

    This unmitigated Combine bashing is a personal opinion and probably doesn't reflect the majority of the player base.

    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion? (Story content, not "I got sweet loot" or "It was too easy")

    So far? Thrashing Gorenaire in Lceanium after chasing her tail around in the group content.

    7. Anything else you want to tell us about stories and characters in EOK.

    Despite the above mentioned bashing, it's safe to say that the story in EOK makes sense and has had a significant amount of time put into its development and implementation. My first run through of an xpac almost always features "quest clicking" with brief skimming of lore text. So my evaluation of the story should be taken with a big helping of salt. That being said, even these brief skims allow enough insight to see that while I personally am not engrossed, that the potential is there and all the framework for a fun romp through lore is present.

    My lack of personal interest in the Combine and the expectation for more Kunark-y things to be present heavily influences my overall interest in the expansions story. Kunark was where I started my EQ adventure way back in the day, and I rolled an Iksar, so I've always been heavily invested in their Kunark involvement, and not seeing them in EoK made me really sad.

    I realize my answers to your questions probably do not help much, so here's Sirene's ear boops as a consolation prize for reading :)

    [IMG]
  3. Augur Developer

    Haha, your response was super entertaining, gotwar -- AND very useful!

    We want the story to be evident and compelling for everyone -- even those who don't read the quest text. So getting your insight is very valuable!

    I really, really appreciate you including your expectations and biases in your response, to give context for your opinions. That's amazing and really helps me understand and make useful conclusions from your feedback.

    Thanks for taking the time!
    gotwar likes this.
  4. Sancus Augur

    I'm probably in that group that doesn't read much quest text, especially the first time I go through things. I really need to do progression at least twice to appreciate the storyline (which I have not done yet), meaning I have a general gist of what was going on but I probably don't remember particular tasks that well. With that said, my answers:

    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion? (What was happening, who was doing it, etc.)

    I remember a few of them like the harried page giving me lots of busy work and then trying to have me killed, Lcea Katta failing to negotiate with the giants, investigating Gates of Kor-Sha and Kor-Sha Lab, etc. I'll probably have to run through them a second time before I figure out the connection between a lot of those events though.

    2. What non-combat characters were most memorable?

    It wasn't really a non-combat character (though I didn't fight it), but I also loved the lost chokadai. A lot of my Chardok experience involved trying to navigate between different parts of the zone and as such I didn't really focus on what the tasks were having me do, but I did notice and enjoy that particular quest.

    3. What killable characters were most memorable?

    Dragons, specifically Gore in the Lcea raid and the Ancient Dragon raid in Kor-Sha (on beta). I also really enjoyed the ancient events in frontier mountains, though they're not necessarily storyline related. I really like that they're in the base zone rather than in an instance, and they're one of the coolest additions to the game in a long time.

    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?

    I'd like to see more Dragons. Other than that, personally, my favorite lore in EQ is discord-related (from OoW/SoD), so I'd be very happy in the unlikely event that ever pops up again. I'd also like to see Atrebe (I believe that's the NPC that's there but we don't fight in the last raid?) more.

    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?

    With regards to the Combine, I personally like them and their architecture, though I would like to see them do more things. Especially after doing the quests to fill out forms, they feel more bureaucratic than a powerful empire. That quest did make me chuckle, though, at least the first time. I think Lcea had more interesting roles than Tsaph.

    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion? (Story content, not "I got sweet loot" or "It was too easy")

    I don't know if it counts as story content, but doing The Foretold Hour was probably the best moment for me. Open world events are cool, especially when they take a lot of people to do. They were also designed well in that they can be triggered rather often, which cuts down on issues rare spawns could cause between players.

    7. Anything else you want to tell us about stories and characters in EOK.

    First off, I'd like to say that you did an excellent job with this expansion. Of the expansions I've experienced while current (CotF, TDS, TBM, and EoK), this is definitely my favorite thus far. I feel a little bit badly answering these questions, because while I want to give feedback I'm sure I missed a lot of detail in these quests.

    I really never played EQ a lot until around 2013, which means I've missed a huge chunk of older lore. While I've been to Kunark zones in the past, I really know almost nothing about original Kunark lore or even much about the Combine Empire prior to TDS. It's probably going to take me a little bit to figure all of that out.

    Regardless, thank you for your work on the expansion!
    Augur likes this.
  5. Augur Developer


    Thanks for taking the time, Sancus :) I really appreciate it! Don't feel bad at about your answers at all -- this is exactly the sort of feedback I'm looking for! Thanks for the kind words as well.
    Sancus likes this.
  6. Lily Augur

    I fall into the camp of generally accepting tasks w/o reading. But Gwizilwerkz Cogswin definitely got my attention, and his hideaway is my favorite place so far. I held up my group from continuing on with the quest as I clicked on everything I could find. As far as zones, I like Chardok and the Laboratory particularly well.
    Augur likes this.
  7. RPoo Augur

    In the Sneaky Sarnak Partisan of Lceanium, on the step where we talk to the sarnak after putting the pheromones on, that was hilarious to see what crazy thing they would say next.
    Augur and Slippry like this.
  8. Sirene_Fippy Augur

    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion? (What was happening, who was doing it, etc.)
    - Sarnak:
    I love Kunark lore and all the lore we got about Atrebe in Chardok and Kor-Sha Lab is awesome. I liked the notes in Kor-Sha Lab (Research Notes with lore flavor). The Royal Historian in Chardok gave some good lore also. The sarnak storyline is so good (I love sarnak), investigating the Kar`Zok was fun and I'm glad I got my face stomped in by those mobs.

    - Iksar:
    The iksar are in a sorry state in EoK. LoIO is one of my all time favorite zones, it's blocked off and just refugees are left. We get a glimpse of some of them with the Atrebe lore. So sad iksar :( hopefully they get revenge.

    - Burynai vs Centaur:
    These quests in Scorched Woods were neat. "Burrowing Desecrators" vs "Bad Horses" :p I like how the burynai are kind of stupid and adorable, and just like digging holes. I also like how the centaur are very eloquent and struggling to defend the last bit of green left in the forest.

    - I really liked the stories of these quests:
    - Hermit's Paradise: The hidden camp is so creative, the items are all interactive, really funny and thoughtful. Magic mushrooms :p
    - A Lost Chokidai: Cutest quest ever made
    - The Last Grove: I felt sad for the centaurs
    - On Nobody's Side: I felt sad for the giants when Lcea 1-hit-KO'd them.

    2. What non-combat characters were most memorable?
    - Does Atrebe count? Maybe not :p
    - a frustrated fisherman / Ralla Merow`shu in Chardok. The secret word to remove the disguise, and the story ending with her getting trapped in sarnak form. Pretty neat.
    - Jrah Shu`bit
    Jrah Shu`bit says 'Your chosen outfit appears to be assembled by 3 blind hags who only had use of one combined arm, and that arm had previously been mangled by some hero who had come by previously to torture them and could only find a rusty spoon and boiling acid to do the job. And, even then, the hags would've been TRYING to sabotage you to end up with the [patchwork] atrocity you're wearing.'

    [IMG]
    Everything about this NPC is perfect. Especially the free burynai illusion you get from his quest.

    [IMG]
    NPCs with sub-headings like these

    3. What killable characters were most memorable?
    - The Ancients in FM, so awesome, I wish they were harder to kill
    - The special mob in Atrebe mission (Garssilor), awesome NPC model
    - The lorenado in Atrebe's Vault mission. When I first saw it I just laughed
    - Warlord Kal`nuuz in the Destabilizing Chardok quest. That guy is a beast

    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?
    - Atrebe, sarnak, iksar stuff
    - Lore based off of Kunark, continuing those stories. Likewise for the Combine, some Luclin/old Katta related stories would be fun as well. I really enjoy new content that is inspired by older parts of EQ. I don't want to relive 2001 over and over, but I love the nostalgia and newness of the EoK zones and quests. It's like the shiny new Kunark.
    - Whats the deal with the huge meteor in Scorched Woods? Now the burynai are digging it up. :p
    - Really hoping to see some more awesome Kunark dungeons

    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?
    - Tsaph Katta seems like a pushover, needs to do more cool stuff. Maybe we need a quest to give him some sarnak steroids. Maybe he's supposed to be a pushover, and Lcea will take over then start a war with the new iksar empire (I'm on team iksar). He was asleep for so long, he should be super dangerous now that he's awake. I guess him fighting the sarnak army is kind of cool, but it felt more like Commander Galenth (doofy guy in CotF WK raid).
    - Lcea Katta seems like a bit of a Mary Sue, super powerful for no reason. I guess cause she's old. It would be fun to learn more about how/why she became so powerful, maybe a flashback quest. Katta Castellum is a really neat zone.
    - The Combine are ok, I don't get really excited about them but I don't hate the story. I think part of EQ needs a super-magic/technology line and the Combine are a good outlet for that. It makes sense for them to want us (players) as allies. I don't know that their "reunification" plan is going to go so well, assimilate everyone and kill the resistance. Sounds like typical humans. :p

    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion?
    It's really hard to pick, I have had a lot of fun so far in EoK.

    Not sure if this counts as story content, but the most fun part of EoK for me so far was working with guildies figuring out how to spawn the Ancients. We were fighting BigBear in FM and this guy KS'ed me at 10%, took the loot and ran away:
    [IMG]
    I've been playing EQ a long time and this was totally unexpected.

    For lore/progression content there are a lot of really good moments. I think my favorite was doing the "Hermit's Paradise" quest. After I clicked the thing to spawn his invisible camp, I immediately wanted to make everyone do that quest and be there when they get to see it appear for the first time. :p

    7. Anything else you want to tell us about stories and characters in EOK.
    I think it would be cool if the bad guys win an expansion, or if we could side with them. (iksar!)

    After thinking about all the quests and things that are really fun in EoK, there is one thing I noticed common between them.

    The most fun quests have things/events happen before our eyes, instead of only in the chat/quest windows. Things like NPCs changing names, or changing model/graphic. NPCs that move around and do stuff as part of the quest. NPCs that you have interesting conversations with. EoK has a lot of flavorful NPC emotes and quests where you feel invested in the story and what is going on. Instead of leaving it up to the player's imagination, I think it helps to have inserted that creativity into the story for us, it makes the world more dynamic.
    Kravn, RPoo, Slippry and 3 others like this.
  9. Schadenfreude Augur

    This guy has caused SO much drama on FV. :D
    Augur likes this.
  10. Jyve Augur

    Still slowly grinding through stuff, molo'ing/badly boxing, not got too far (and unlikely to see the raids so it'll be group stuff only).
    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion?
    So far, cool chasing Gore about. Spending so much time trying to find to get my white scale for my epic1.0, it's an npc that I've long had issues with. This aspect of her hiding in other forms is very cool.

    2. What non-combat characters were most memorable?So far, the Page that seems untrustworthy. Even through quest text, got a good sense that the Combine has a huge about of bureaucracy and there's npc's caught up in all this.

    3. What killable characters were most memorable?So far, the Drachnids. Suckering them into running into the middle of the Combine camp to be taken out by the guards has been solid. that they change con I find interesting. Not much else yet as mid-way in Scorched Woods storyline, nothing obvious yet.
    (quick edit, the 'witness me!' comments when you kill Sarnaks... )

    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?Less is more perhaps. My most fun expansion was LDoN because of the amount of content that needed a decent puller at the time. I don't mind having an expansion that's not Norrath changing/timeline changing if it meant that we could have some old fashioned dungeon crawling. Some mini-quests with a few themes of zones, ending in a named, whatever, and raids relating, but it'd be fine to have something a bit less cataclysmic for one expansion

    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?So far... a /bit/ disappointing. Was expecting a bunch of people who created the spires to be more impressive. The TDS stuff under water I saw as remnants of a civilisation that had mostly left, this feels a bit more like a small outpost only having lceium being as small as it is. Katta in TDS was more a huge city, albeit falling apart, but gave a hint of the size of the wonders they were capable of. I'm not feeling it this time (though sure the raids help this)

    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion? (
    So far, the Npc's responses, they are impressive and giving a good hint on what's going on. Not much more to report here as so little through it.


    7. Anything else you want to tell us about stories and characters in EOK.Not at this time, more into it should be able to give more. Cleared Lceunium on main/2 alts eventually, partisan/merc, and was solid. Scorched Woods I'm curious on why my main (bard) can get both moles and horsey quest, but the 2 cleric Drakkin can't get the horseys quest. Not sure of prior faction as all 3 toons have been doing exactly the same quests/killing in the zones.


    One other note now I'm 'grinding in anger' in the expansion... Pathing in some of the zones at the edges. Scorched Woods, the entire northern area seems,with the earth ramps leading up, that there was going to be something else there? The pathing trying to drag a mob to that area is nutso. Can do the 'take one step to the left' to get them running off into the distance thing.

    Will update as I do more.
    Augur likes this.
  11. Kecpa New Member

    1. What storylines do you care about/remember from the expansion? (What was happening, who was doing it, etc.)
    The lost Chokidai was great, I didn't want to give him up but he looked so happy with his old friend.

    4. Which storylines or characters are you expecting/want to to see again in the future?
    Lord Inquisitor Seru

    5. What do you think of Tsaph Katta, Lcea Katta, and the New Combine in general?
    I think they are loyalist scum and the Lord Inquisitor needs to bring his forces to cleanse the world of their influence. I welcome the return of The Question.

    6. What was your favorite moment in the expansion? (Story content, not "I got sweet loot" or "It was too easy")
    I really enjoyed the Droga mission, it felt like the perfect balance of challenge to me. The ritual was an interesting event and it was fun being the wrench in the gears.
    Augur likes this.
  12. Grove Augur

    Just a simple thing, and not overdone. A couple of the wandering NPC in Lceanium greet players.
    Azbaelus and Augur like this.
  13. Grove Augur

    gotwar said
    I also enjoy massacring Giants, and enjoy charming them to slay their own kin and then nuking them for full XP after I've expended all their life force smashing their brethren into tiny, XP shaped pieces.

    But I commented to a companion that it was a shame to kill some of the giants. They resemble someone's grandfather, just a bit more chubby.
    gotwar and Augur like this.
  14. Fian Augur

    I think until EQ has story telling tools beyond text, it is going to be hard to make memorable characters for most. Normally you are just too busy to read more than a few lines of text. If you want it to impact players more, then you have to put a pause in the script while players wait for the NPC to deliver their lines, and ideally have voice acting/cut scenes.

    Having said that, I did find the undead chokidai partisan quest in Chardok to be cute.
    Augur likes this.
  15. Corwyhn Lionheart Augur

    Not disrespecting the attempt to get feedback in anyway. Have to say that first. Played in EoK since the expansion came out but I haven't been running around trying to see everything. Maybe because I have been playing without any significant break for 17 years but none of those questions above registered with me. I haven't felt engaged story wise in years for me its the people in the game and the stories with make ourselves I guess. I do enjoy some of the humorous things like character names but don't recall any in particular.

    I do like the idea of story lines though and am happy to see others are appreciating them. I do enjoy revisting kunark though and would even love to see the next expansion fill the rest of it out. Partly because I was more engaged in the story back then.

    From the other posts I do see a lot of work has been done on the story side though and appreciate that. I just wish I knew why I wasn't more engaged with it myself. I do know TDS went overboard with mission related text though.

    Hmmmm... here is one thing I just thought of. Generally if I am in a guild group things are running to fast for me to take time to indulge in looking at story text such and if I am boxing all I am thinking about is getting through any story line text to get to a mission etc.

    Anway I applaud you seeking out opinions and sorry mine isn't as helpful as the rest. Hopefully no one freaks out because I spoke my mind. :)
    Augur likes this.
  16. Augur Developer

    Thanks for the feedback! Have you done the quest with Lcea Katta in Scorched Woods yet? I believe the event where she confronts the giant leaders is similar to what you're suggesting, so I'd be curious to know what you thought of that if you've seen it yet.
  17. Augur Developer

  18. Imak Augur

    This quest was outstanding. The way Lcea jumped around, violently stabbing out eyeballs while being all condescending and smartassy was just priceless.
    Augur likes this.
  19. Sancus Augur

    [Mon Dec 12 16:33:21 2016] a thirsty soldier says 'Gee, I really do enjoy being alive.'
    [Mon Dec 12 16:36:09 2016] a thirsty soldier says 'I see nothing wrong with this choice.'

    These made me chuckle
    Act of Valor, Brohg and Augur like this.
  20. Imak Augur

    [Sun Dec 11 13:14:11 2016] a thirsty soldier says 'Right after this drink, I'm going to go tell everyone about that gnome's camp I saw earlier.'
    [Sun Dec 11 13:15:06 2016] a thirsty soldier says 'Green and black are my favorite colors. This water's the best!'
    Sirene_Fippy, Sancus and Augur like this.
  21. Rithnok Apprentice

    I actually would love to answer this question honestly. But I still find there is so much to experience. UNFORTUNATELY as other devs may tell you (Or as you yourself may have seen in the past.) I play a dragon who's been travelling the world as an Iksar.

    SO! Finding out Gorenaire has been forced from the Dreadlands as a Human Woman made me grin from earhole to earhole and I immediately set out to find her.

    But in that I tended to make a story of that journey: Rithnok's return to Norrath. Remembering old friends and comrades and telling stories of adventures to people he meets at the various camps on his journey to find her and find out why she's infiltrated the Sarnak.

    Unlike her though... Rithy kicked in the front door of Chardok looking for her and swearing to visit the slaughter of Kael Drakkel if so much as one scale is found scratched by Sarnak claws.

    But if you want, here is the running journal:

    https://forums.daybreakgames.com/eq/index.php?threads/a-letter-to-prathun-from-the-dragon.236448/

    These are my stories of Norrath and the groundwork for my EoK adventures.

    Rithnok Tatsukao Flamespewer
    White Lotus Samurai of The 105th Rank
    High Guardian of Veeshan
    Primal Brood
    Test Server

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