There was this server, called Tallon Zek, which was intended to be Everquest’s answer to the problems and pitfalls of PvP in EQ. It went up the same day that Siege Perilous went permanent in UO.

I had planned on checking out Tallon Zek sometime, but I was pretty busy on Siege, and at any rate, it seems I didn’t miss much. Apparently Verant (a) has no way of actually limiting how many people log into a server, (b) over 5000 people logged into Tallon Zek, and (c) Verant, um, didn’t think people would want to play on Tallon Zek. Of course, (d) ensured with thousands of very pissed-off would-be race warriors flooding the EQ chatrooms when Tallon Zek was taken back down. John Smedley, Verant’s President, went online to announce that “we had no idea it would be this popular” and that a new server was on order, but until then Tallon Zek would stay down.

Meanwhile, that sound you hear? Lord British in his castle, laughing.

This is just completely pathetic, and points out one of the primary differences between Origin and Verant. As much as we like to flay GMs and mock the programmers, Origin listens to the community. They have people whose job (Hi Neve!) is to monitor the various community web sites, to find out what the UO players are concerned about and to relay those concerns to the development and management teams. Verant, on the other hand, reads EQ Vault once in a while. Verant ignores their community, and in fact actively discourages it, by changing key elements in gameplay without notice, specifically to “neuter” “spoiler” sites. It’s an ugly thing.

EQ is sure pretty, but I’d be very surprised if anyone that began playing EQ at its launch is still playing after a year (the time Verant estimates it would take a dedicated player to reach level 50). Meanwhile lots of folks are still playing UO, 2 years after launch. There’s a real difference here, one I am busily writing about (you may notice those unlinked rant titles to the left).

But this TZ fiasco is just inexcusable. Verant just displayed how completely, unutterably clueless they really are.

Not that I care, I’m having a blast on Siege Perilous.