Launchers will automatically upgrade to LaunchPad 4.
UPDATE, DATE CHANGE: The new Launcher will go to Beta tomorrow (Wednesday, November 30), and to Live on Thursday, December 1, 2011.
Starting on Thursday (December 1, 2011), the EverQuest II LaunchPad will be updated automatically for you when you log in. This version is LaunchPad 4. It's important to note that all previous launchers (the retail patchers, Station Launcher, and the current full/streaming LaunchPad 3) will become entirely non-functional. Be prepared!
There are a number of improvements in this version of the launcher:
- It no longer requires a Flash installation.
- Much faster patching speed (as much as 10X faster if you're still using the original Station Launcher).
- Less data gets patched (smarter differentials between versions).
- A general aesthetic upgrade.
SOE has provided a FAQ on EQ2 Players and a Knowledge Base Article with complete, step-by-step instructions.
UPDATE: According to a FAQ posted by Dan Kinney on the Station Launcher forums, the Station Launcher will continue to work but for EQII will launch the new launch pad. We've published that entire FAQ below the jump.
Is this the version with the Flash-ectomy?
Yes. No Flashes were used or harmed during this production or operation of this LaunchPad.
Does this still use Internet Explorer?
In previous versions of the LaunchPad, we relied on system-level components to display web content. While this isn't really "IE", it had so many interactions with IE that it might as well have been. I would submit that this caused way more issues than the use of Flash for the UI.
In the new version, we are still using web technologies for user interface, but it is based on WebKit. In fact, it is a branch of the same code used in Google Chrome.
I currently launch from my web browser...can I keep doing this?
The LP3 URL from here will continue to work for a short time, but it will be shut down once we complete the transition. If you are using this method, you probably had to because of issues with Flash and its network security policies.
You should try using the new LaunchPad from your desktop shortcut (pointing to the LaunchPad.exe in your game directory) or by re-installing from the installer (get them from this page) as the new LaunchPad has resolved these issues. While the new LaunchPad still uses web technology, it does has expectations that it is running as an executable.
Does this support all of SOE's games?
The underlying technology is not game specific, but we are rolling this out for EverQuest II *only* at this time. Others will come in due course.
Does this support all of the features of the previous LaunchPad?
Well, that depends on which LaunchPad you are referring to - we have so many.
This version supports basic "patch and play" functionality. It does *not* have support for the following features:
- Character Select
- Friends List and Chat
- Support for Station Voice
- Background Updating
There are also features that have been added from many, many interactions with customers. These include:
- Detailed listing of files that are changing (click on "Advanced Tools", see "Updated File List")
- Server status
- Game Uninstall
- Account Switching
- Save Password for Multiple Accounts
I use Station Launcher, will I have to change to this?
Sort of. You can continue to use Station Launcher, but it will launch the new LaunchPad instead of the game directly. This allows you to continue to use the Station Friends feature for now. Station Launcher is going away and this is the next step towards that inevitability.
I am still on the old, beta version of Station Launcher (version 1.0.9) that has stopped updating.
As you know then, it will not update itself. This version will soon stop working altogether. You really should upgrade to the new LaunchPad to prevent any inconvenience later.
I really like background updating, why can't this be done in the new LaunchPad?
To support background updates, the application would have to be running all the time. Many of you have told us that you would prefer that it not do this. There are other ways to skin this cat, that we can approach later.
I use the old LaunchPad (the one with the black loading dialog). Do I have to upgrade?
Yes. This version of the LaunchPad technology is well over 10 years old and has serious issues that have been resolved. You will also find a significant increase in speed and reliability of patching. The new system is very modern and has a TON of new features that allow us to track down where things may be failing. We are going to be shutting down the old system entirely.
Has this been tested?
Yes. This release is the culmination of a development effort that has been almost a year in the works. Along the way, we have been making incremental changes and testing them extensively. Some parts, such as the patching process have not really changed in that time and are (dare I say) rock solid. There are other parts, especially the final UI, that have been changing much more dynamically. We have had many, many QA testers on this from all different angles.
That said, there may be some issues that have not yet been found or addressed. This product has the opportunity to be used on almost every permutation of PC configuration that could possibly exist. If your particular installation has a problem, we will try to resolve them as quickly as possible. We want you playing the game and not stuck in the LaunchPad.
What do I have to do to upgrade?
Nothing - the upgrade should happen seamlessly (unless you are on Station Launcher 1.0.9). If you have issues, please raise them immediately and we'll jump on them immediately. We want this to be a great experience and we will do everything to help make it smooth and pain-free.
I absolutely LOVE the streaming client version of Everquest II...does this LaunchPad support that?
Yes. This part hasn't changed really. It will behave the same as the flash-based version (LP3) by downloading a very small amout of game files in order to get into game, streaming the rest on needed. It also supports the "preloading" of assets after these files have been downloaded and before you hit the "Play" button.
I absolutely HATE the streaming client version of Everquest II...does this LaunchPad support that?
Yes. This LaunchPad also supports the full download mode of playing the game. You still cannot switch dynamically between the streaming and full-download versions. If you want to switch, please use the reinstall/repair option from the installer (available here).
Will this version redownload the entire game?
It should not. The LaunchPad is intended to be run from the directory where you installed your game assets. If you reinstall/repair the LaunchPad using the installer, please ensure that you choose the location of the game carefully. Wherever you run LaunchPad.exe, game assets will be downloaded there. If you find that it is re-downloading, there is probably a mismatch in how it was installed.
How do I know where it is installing?
From the "Advanced Tools" button (left side of the progress bar), click on the "Open Game Directory" item and it will take you directly to the game installation directory.
Why does this go into a non-standard location on my hard disk?
The "standard" location is very dependent on the administrative privileges of your Windows user account. This location has moved around a few times in order to keep up with Microsoft's recommendations, but they should be correct. By default, this location is now in \Users\Public which allows multiple Windows user accounts to share the files properly.
You may absolutely install the game anywhere you wish on the hard drive. However, some locations (such as \Program Files) require administrative permissions to be updated. SOE games are very dynamic and they require constant changes and updates. In order to update your files in locations that Windows considers to be "protected", you may have to run the LaunchPad.exe as an administrator.
How do I move the location of the game?
The easiest way to do this is to use Windows Explorer to drag the game directory to a new location. As soon as you run LaunchPad.exe from the new location, it will wire up all of the moving parts to update to that location. If you then use the "Add/Remove Programs" utility (or the installer) to uninstall the game, it should find the files from the new location.
Can I multi-box with this version of the LaunchPad?
Yes, as long as the game supports it (most of SOE's games do). However, you will have to switch to another account as you can only play once per account. If an account is already playing and you re-launch the LaunchPad, it should show as "Playing".
The new version of the LaunchPad has a spiffy new "Switch Account" feature which will allow you to be able to switch between accounts without having to log all the way back out and back in.