So what's expansion launch day like? Well, it's a pretty long day for some of the team - key folks including the team leads were in the office from an ungodly early hour in the morning. Greg "Rothgar" Spence, our lead programmer, updated his blog a few times over the course of the morning, starting at aforementioned ungodly hour:
3,2,1, Launch! (2am)
Launch Update (5am)
Sentinel's Fate is Live! (8:15am)
More people started drifting in from 5am onwards, including much of the Community team, who communicated progress (and problems, if we had any) to the eagerly awaiting player base. All remaining devs were expected to be in the office by 8am in case of any issues. (Normal start of work time is 10am, and although a couple people like me are earlybirds and like to be in around 8am regularly, it is definitely uncomfortably early for quite a few of the team.) I woke up at 6 though I didn't need to be in till 8, so I came in early around 7 bringing cookies to the folks who'd been there for hours already. And a rather sleepy looking bunch they were.
Lydia "Zatozia" Pope from the Community team hosted a live web broadcast event where players could ask questions and chat in an online chat forum, while a selection of devs and related people of interest could answer questions live on webcam. Which included me, since I was in early, and you can listen to my incoherent ramblings if you go to the SOE UStream site, click on the "Archived videos" link, and select the "EQII sentinel's fate" link from the list. I haven't dared to go listen to it again, as I'm absolutely awful at public speaking and suspect I was quite incoherent.
So, all went smoothly and the US servers were unlocked super early, and into the game rushed our players, eager and waiting to see the new continent and all it contains. And so far the reactions seem to have been really positive.
It's been rather anticlimatic for the rest of the week. We hadn't scheduled any regular work just in case there was some horrible disaster following the launch that we'd need to work on, but happily there was no such thing, and so we've been doing odds and ends and getting early starts on our upcoming work while keeping an eye on in-game chat channels and discussion forums. Of course there have been a few bugs here and there, but overall I don't think we could have expected better.
This expansion raised the level cap from 80 to 90 for both adventuring and tradeskills, and so far I've reached 81/81 on my dirge/provisioner, and also got my carpenter to 83. And been staying up a bit late in the evenings doing this after work! But I'm having lots of fun, and getting to see the content that other people have been working on which I hadn't had much time to look at in detail before the launch.
Already we're moving on to work on the next big game update (which will contain the new player starting city of New Halas, among other exciting things), and looking forward to the opening of the new PvP battlegrounds that should provide hours of
So anyway! What are you doing reading this? Sentinel's Fate is now up and running. (Free trial here if you aren't already subscribed.) Go play! =)