E3: RPGFan Talks Shop With SOE
05.20.05 - 5:49 PM

We here at RPGFan had a chance to talk shop with Sony Online Entertainment here at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and had a chance to see EverQuest II: Desert of Flames, Star Wars Galaxies Episode III: Rage of the Wookiees, and SOE's new Station Exchange auction service.

Desert of Flames introduces some new content to EverQuest II and also raises the level cap to 60. Desert of Flames introduces nearly 100 new zones, instances, and areas that includes new, vertical movements. At least 50% of this new content is geared toward solo avatars and small groups of players. The new expansion also features a PvP arena and a PvP rewards system. Voice Emotes will be added when Desert of Flames launches later this year.

Players of Star Wars Galaxies already know about Episode III: Rage of the Wookiees, as it launched on May 5. A retail box will be available next week, but digital downloads are already available. Rage of the Wookiees is said to be very story driven, and takes place on the planet Kashyyyk. The game adds a new battle engine that is faster and also adds to the space game that was introduced in the last expansion, Jump to Lightspeed. Mining has been added, and the expansion adds more multiplayer ships. Players will be able to take space missions from the Civilian Protection Guild no matter what faction they belong to.

SOE also showed us a prototype of their Station Exchange online auction service. First, and most importantly, SOE has stated that current servers will never change to exchange-enabled servers. When the first two exchange-enabled EverQuest II servers are introduced, players will have a 14-day grace period to transfer characters for free. After that, characters will have to pay a fee and will be stripped of all tradable items, so that these players cannot farm on other servers to sell on the exchange servers. The physical exchange works much like eBay, in that reserves can be set, as well as a Buy-It-Now-like option. When a player purchases another player's item, character, or coin, their credit card will be charged, and almost immediately the seller's PayPal account will be credited. Sony Online Entertainment has slated the prices for selling items at $1 each, coin at $1 per stack, and characters at $10 a pop.


John McCarroll