ZAM attends a developer-led look at the latest update to hit Norrath
Cazic-Thule, the God of Fear, might be dead but his power has been tormenting Norrath for quite some time now. Since Rain of Fear launched (November 28, 2012), EverQuest’s adventurers have been battling against Cazic’s lingering influence. With the new update, Heart of Fear, they will get the chance to prevent the advent of a new terror.
Noble adventurers aren’t alone in their quest to capture the remnants of Cazic-Thule; the most dangerous creatures of Norrath are also hunting for the chance at truly terrifying power.
Heart of Fear is the fourth tier of the Rain of Fear expansion and it launches today. To celebrate the occasion, I attended a livestream tour of the new content, hosted by the EQ team, including producer Thom Terrazas.
Thom explained that Heart of Fear is a very large addition to EverQuest, in size and depth. The team had to make the decision to split it into three parts due to the sheer amount of content available to players. To give context, the impressively sized Shard’s Landing had between 700 and 800 mobs in it, originally Heart of Fear housed over 2,000.
In the update, adventurers will be attempting to assist the Harbingers, a group that is attempting to resurrect Cazic-Thule and put him back on his throne as the God of Fear. This might seem insane, but it’s a case of better the fear god you know as the Alarans are trying to assert their own god as the new God of Fear; which would be exceedingly bad.
Players can enter the threshold of the Heart of Fear from Shard’s Landing. They will be met by a foreboding cavern, a dark and uncompromising terrain formed from jutting, jagged crystals. The words “evil Fortress of Solitude” were floating around my head when Jonathan Caraker, lead designer, mentioned that the Superman homestead from the 70s film was a good visual comparison.
The three parts of the Heart of Fear increase in difficulty as adventurers approach the most powerful relic of Cazic-Thule. Among the ominous architecture, gestation crystals birth the myriad of new, dangerous monsters for players to encounter. These crystals increase in size as you venture toward the last area, meaning larger and more formidable opponents.
We caught a glimpse of the final area in Heart of Fear, a dark central crystal, surrounded by smaller ones of varying colors: the seven aspects of fear. These different elements link back to the original Plane of Fear and Cazic’s guards, such as Terror.
Here is where the story of the House of Thule, which has dominated EverQuest for three years, will come to an end. For David Stewart, the designer of the raid that killed Cazic and the raid that will bring the tale to an end, it’s a poignant bookend to the hard work the team has put in.
Stewart’s input is certainly important in House of Fear as there will be six raids to contend with, including mini-raids that will have interesting mechanics, though perhaps not as strenuous as those in the full raids.
Undoubtedly, players will want to get their hands on the class specific weapons that are available, with versions for those completing group content and for raiders. Thom Terrazas stated that the journey toward getting those distinctive weapons—with eyeball and particle effects included—will begin with content stretching all the way back to House of Thule.
This approach will be a reward for those players who have been playing the game consistently in recent years—and an incentive for those who haven’t taken part in the massive storyline so far.
With the end of the story, a new one, of course awaits. Thom stated that we would find out just what that means when the 20th EverQuest expansion is announced at SOE Live—which ZAM will be there to witness.
Heart of Fear is free—for anyone who has purchased Rain of Fear—and available now. Be sure to bring friends to hold your hands.
Scott “Jarimor” Hawkes, Editor in Chief
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