Our March patch is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16, 2016 (the day of EverQuest’s 17th Anniversary!). Here are some highlights on what players can expect from this patch: DoTs Improvements Over the past few months, we've been reviewing the way DoTs work and how we would like to improve them going forward. As most of you know, there's a limited number of debuff slots available on any given NPC, which conflicts with DoT classes wanting to layer as many spells as possible on any given NPC in order to maximize damage. This layering has contributed to a lot of problems over the years; most notably, it takes a lot of spell slots away from players who want to maximize DoT damage, and it uses up many of the limited debuff slots available on raid targets. In order to improve the way this works, we're starting this process with Beastlords, but we're planning to continue with it through all classes that use DoTs regularly. Here's what we did for Beastlords: We went back to the first DoT in any given line, and doubled it (or more). This step may not happen for every class, but Beastlords in particular haven't been able to use DoTs for as much reliable damage as we'd like, so they needed the boost. We looked at updates to those lines and increased their damage in a much more aggressive scale than we used to. This should mean that a new DoT will perform better than itself plus two previous levels of the same spell under the old scale. We increased damage/mana efficiency over the entire line in a progressive manner. At each level you should be getting more damage per mana than before. We categorized the new DoTs into lines which will prevent the same player from stacking multiple levels of the same DoT line on the same target. Other players can use DoTs in the same line on the same target, and the same player can use DoTs in the same line on different targets. The increase in damage should mean that a single player is dealing more damage with one DoT than they formerly did with three spells. So, let's look at some numbers. The current level 101 Beastlord poison DoT, Glistenwing Blood, currently deals a raw total (with no focus effects or any other enhancement) of 14395 damage over its duration at a cost of 1285 mana. Stacking the previous two levels of that spell will deal a total of 43349 raw damage for a total of 3460 mana. As a superDoT, the current level alone will deal 121154 raw damage for a total of 8532 mana, and will only need one debuff slot to do it. While, yes, that is a very high mana cost, it's also far more damage. It's worth noting that the level 91 spell, Binaesa Blood, will now deal 45210 damage on its own for a cost of 3799 mana. We're planning to make this same transition for all classes that use DoTs over the next few months. Other classes probably won't see the same boost in base damage that Beastlords have, since they have fewer innate boosts to DoT damage than other classes, but we expect everyone to be doing more damage, ramping that damage up faster, using more mana (though more efficiently), and using fewer debuff slots on their targets. Hate's Fury Sails Again For our 17th Anniversary, we've added a hybrid event to Norrath called “Hate’s Fury: Seventeen Pieces of Silver.” Krasnok's ship, Hate's Fury: The Scorned Maiden, has set sail once again, and this time he's got friends. Sixteen of them, in fact. Each of them will give a reward of Commemorative Coins, and if you defeat all of the crew members, you can unlock the door to Krasnok's cabin and face the Captain (#17!) himself for raid-quality rewards. We've added a new gnome race that starts in Ak`anon that runs several times a day on EVERY server during the anniversary and a few new items to the jubilant merchant in the Plane of Knowledge as well. Head over to these spots to have a look! Zone Experience Modifier Changes This part gets a little bit "inside baseball," but bear with me. Way back when we started our first Hot Zone project, we increased experience within the zones by increasing the raw data, and then setting it back down to what it used to be once we rotated to a different set. We did this for the first several years before we realized it was a very error-prone process and developed a better one. A few days ago, some players expressed a concern that Burning Woods had a very high experience modifier, making it outstrip the experience available in any other zone available in that era. We looked into this report and discovered that Burning Woods had its ZEM raised when it was one of the original hot zones, but it wasn't ever reset. A few years later, when it was made a hot zone again, the ZEM was raised again... and again never lowered back to what it was. Under our current hot zone system, on non-progression servers, it was getting yet another boost to the ZEM, in effect making it a triple hot zone there, and a double hot zone on progression servers. So, yeah…we had to change that. As we investigated, we realized this had happened to varying degrees to a lot of zones. Though Burning Woods was the only zone to have been boosted twice with no reset, many other zones had either been set to an incorrect value after being used as a hot zone at some point in history. We ended up with about 20 zones that were set too high, and another group of about twenty that were set too low. With the upcoming patch, we're setting those back to where they were supposed to be. Dungeons in the same era now have similarly higher-than-average ZEMs, and outdoor zones in the same era will have similarly lower-than-average ZEMs. While we know it's not very fun to have to leave a zone you were comfortable in, we're excited that zones like Sebilis, the Temple of Cazic Thule, and Velketor's Labyrinth will be returning to give better experience rewards to the players who are brave enough to enter them. -- As always, we value your feedback on these upcoming changes, but we hope you’ll check them out for yourself first (on test or on live servers) before passing judgement. We’re grateful for your support!