A Look at EverQuest: The Darkened Sea & Beyond

We take a look at EQ's upcoming 21st expansion and future updates.

This past year has been exciting for EverQuest! We've seen the addition of Heroic characters, new race/class combinations (Froglok Monks and Wood Elf Beastlords), player designed missions, and new zones such as the Plane of War, Tower of Rot and Argin Hiz. To top it all off, players celebrated EQ's 15th anniversary this past March with additional in-game festivities. EQ is expanding their player studio categories to include robes, and according to Senior Producer Thom Terrazas, players will be able to customize robe templates and he predicts that guilds will love being able to display their own designs. Check out a short video showcasing the robes after the jump.

Later this year, players have even more to look forward to in the game's 21st expansion, The Darkened Sea. The expansion will pay tribute to a previous expansion pack, The Buried Sea, revisits some storylines, as well as the characters Firiona Vie and Lanys T’Vyl. In a classic story of good vs evil, Firiona will try to help the emperor as Lanys creates havoc and destruction.

The Darkened Sea increases the level cap from 100 to 105 and will also include new tradeskills, items, spells and AAs. Players can expect to see the introduction of a spell focus AA for casters and the option to auto-grant AA from the House of Thule expansion on.  The Hero’s Forge armor system will also feature a new Tribal and Combine set. The expansion will include new quests, missions and raids for a variety of content, as well as a new feature, a mount keyring. The mount keyring will actually be a new tab on the inventory window that gives players an area to collect their mounts in one spot and save bag space. Key to this feature will be the ability to use a mount for stats, but have the option to use another mount for appearance.

The Darkened Sea expansion will also introduce eight new zones available right at launch. These zones include: Tempest Temple, Caverns of Endless Song, Degmar - The Lost Castle, Thuliasaur Island, Combine Dredge, Arx Mentis, Brother Island and Katta Castrum: Waters Rising. Taking a closer look at some of these zones, we can see that this is something to really be excited about!

Tempest Temple

Here, a group of Karana worshiping inhabitants have lifted the coral forest from the sea and shattered the dormant volcano in the middle of the zone in an effort to impress their god by creating the perfect storm.

Caverns of Endless Song

This zone is series of submarined caverns located underneath the coral forest adjacent to Tempest Temple and home to a "jilted and jealous" siren. According to Creative Director Akil "Lyndro" Hooper, there will be “Some swimming back and forth between passages, but a lot of the fighting you’ll be doing in open air.”

Degmar, The Lost Castle

This zone consists of a castle on the bottom of the ocean that was translocated by the Combine in an effort to preserve the Dwarves who inhabit the castle. Unfortunately, the Dwarves have been driven to insanity due to the isolation. According to Akil, "The castle at the bottom of sea has a magical barrier around it that keeps the pressure of the sea waters and all the sea life at bay. The dome really protects it so you’re still going to see all of the intricate stonework and beautiful designs and all of the areas around the castle."

Thuliasaur Island

EQ Designer Jonathan Caraker has stated that Thuliasaur Island is "out in the ocean, near the Buried Sea. [It is] a lost, isolated, tropical jungle full of prehistoric creatures: giants, dinosaurs, a lost tribe of lizardmen. This was the original home of the Drogmar. So, aside from the occasional pirate ship that comes by to pick up Drogmars and sell them in Gunthak as mounts, they don’t have much contact with the outside world. Even the lizardmen here who built this Temple to Cazic Thule have forgotten who their god is."

Combine Dredge

This zone is a series of magical mining platforms connected by mana conduits that the Combine built. Its purpose was to harvest resources from the bottom of the ocean for the Combine; Lanys has shown up here with her forces and has a much more nefarious purpose.

Arx Mentis

This is a floating fortress filled with Combine, their creatures and their cohorts. The fortress represents the pinnacle of Combine technology and magic. Even here, Lanys has joined forces with a splintered group of the Combine and is working to thwart the goals of Firiona Vie.

Later this year, players can also look forward to an Advanced Looting Feature hybrid system that is sort of a combination of random rolling and master looter. Terrazas described it as an adaptive system that you will be able to teach and set loot preferences. For each item, players can tell the system to remember whether or not they always want an item, don’t want an item now, or never want an item. From that point on, rolls can be processed efficiently and loot is automatically placed in the winner’s bags.

Beta testing for The Darkened Sea is predicted to begin September 1, 2014, so keep an eye out for registration soon! The launch date for All Access members is October 28, 2014 and for Free to Play members on November 11, 2014. Remember to check out the highlights from the Dev Q&A session as well!


Racheal "Afista" McKenny, Contributing Writer

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op-ed
# Aug 25 2014 at 7:58 AM Rating: Decent
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264 posts
Trying not to be THAT GUY, BUT....

There's nothing exciting about anything released here. The mount keyring is... ok, meh, whatever. It's cool, I've lived without it for all this time, it's cool if it's there...I guess. Not a feature that has me running out and buying this xpac for 20 accounts the first chance I can like in previous xpacs.

Looting: I was thinking the rumour that mass looting option was going to be true. What they instead gave us...again, not headline worthy. The biggest pain and biggest amount of time sink about looting is trying to right click on that corpse that just will not give up its booty. Mass looting would have solved it, adaptive looting does not.

The zones at first look cool, but when I think about how they look like other zones in the game... and how I LOATHE going to those zones to get the quest items I need and hurry up and get out, I can't help but think this will be more of the same. Admittedly, "Even the lizardmen here who built this Temple to Cazic Thule have forgotten who their god is" is cool. But... meh. Cazic Thule and Lanys have been beaten and flogged at this point.

"The Buried Sea" was a dumb name. They should have put that on the shelf labeled "Fails, do not get inspiration from anything placed herein." Instead, we get today the original name of "The Darkened Sea". Fortunately, this doesn't have much impact on the game, save for the above paragraph about zones. Not looking forward to swimming in the same way I don't look forward to go to Siren's Grotto from Cobalt Scar.

Robes: This is what everyone is really excited about. Players Studio Robes. The highlight of the expansion is robe ornaments being sold in the marketplace. First, let me say ornaments are cool and are always welcome even if they look terrible like the dark elf crap did *ducks to avoid incoming barrage of pitchforks and flaming arrows*. (Yeah, I know, I'm the only one in the universe who doesn't like the look of them~). EQ Dev team has kind of created this monster now where new ornaments will be expected with the release an expansion. Say what you will about CotF, bixie and dark & fire elf ornaments are cool. Cool...but not a reason to buy the expansion. CERTAINLY a nice boost, a good way to +1 the expansion, but can't itself be the reason for generating the most buzz. I don't know for certain that the robes are being sold in marketplace, but being players studio, I would imagine so. If that's the case, that's not even an expac feature, unless they expect me to pay twice for the ability to wear it. (Once for the Hero's Forge feature, Twice for having to own the xpac to use it.)

I hope what they've announced so far are the footnotes of the expansion and they're saving the really cool stuff to announce right before pre-sale to generate lots of spontaneous excitement. There's nothing here to justify paying $40 for this expansion except for my loyalty to EverQuest. That's not enough anymore. SOE reps have stated that expansions are their main source of revenue for EverQuest and that's why they removed the ability to pay for the xpacs with station cash. They're hurting themselves with this price point, though. CotF is not an xpac worth $40. Indeed, I didn't buy it until it went on sale on Steam recently at $30 a shot, still thinking I was overpaying (my previous time with the xpac come on the Test server.) All indications so far seem to point that The Darkened Sea is also not worth paying a full $40. I hope I'm wrong and this is one of the best xpacs to be released in recent years, but that seems a far stretch.
zones
# Aug 23 2014 at 12:12 PM Rating: Decent
10 posts
I'm a Ranger and I hate fighting in water, caves, jungles or any other areas that I can't see in. I like open areas, that close stuff kind of sucks.
Robes
# Aug 22 2014 at 7:30 PM Rating: Decent
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13 posts
I'd be happy if my current robe was visible:
  • http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=113690

  • Oh and while were at it, why doesn't this
  • http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=117232
  • have a visible graphic?

    Edited, Aug 22nd 2014 9:32pm by DaScot
    Robes
    # Aug 22 2014 at 7:34 PM Rating: Excellent
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    1,070 posts
    For the latter, make sure "Show My Helm" is checked off in Options-Display.
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    pre order
    # Aug 22 2014 at 1:46 PM Rating: Decent
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    86 posts
    anyone know of a pre-order date?
    pre order
    # Sep 05 2014 at 10:38 AM Rating: Decent
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    626 posts
    i had heard that because of the early access of all-access players there would not be a pre-order. pre-orders are usually cheaper for collector editions but not regular. I am hoping there is a pre-order because it gives me an incentive to buy that collector's edition right away.
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    pre order
    # Aug 22 2014 at 3:39 PM Rating: Good
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    429 posts
    nope and they should announce if after they figure what cool items will be bundled with the pre-order.
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 21 2014 at 9:36 PM Rating: Good
    14 posts
    Wow. A major female character that is in actual armor, and looking like a warrior instead of some guy's fantasy. Good going!
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 25 2014 at 7:40 PM Rating: Decent
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    17 posts
    LOL
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    Princess depiction
    # Aug 21 2014 at 9:51 PM Rating: Decent
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    60 posts
    Quote:
    instead of some guy's fantasy

    combo chip on the shoulder and closed mindedness (cause no girls like girls on this game,,,,,), stench of manhater attitude, but hey preach on friend

    anyways back to the actual game, ill be watching for more details and features of the expansion like always
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 22 2014 at 9:13 AM Rating: Default
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    363 posts
    Naw bro close mindedness is putting women in scantily clad cloth all the time to appeal to the male masses. Its like yeah hey im gonna go up against a (insert monster) let me wear my bikini of protecting nothingness. Firiona is wearing more in that picture up top then she ever did in any other expansion promo pic. Maybe you thought the guy you were replying to was being sarcastic. I don't think he was. This is the first expansion pic that i have seen of Firiona not wearing a bikini.

    Edited, Aug 22nd 2014 11:31am by Rickymaru
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 22 2014 at 12:00 PM Rating: Decent
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    60 posts
    Conan the Barbarian

    if you need a reference of armor he wore over many illustrations (yrs), pretty sure the ratio of that characters lack of being properly armored vs Firiona are a little lopsided.

    btw thats one example you can research Boris Vallejo for other art that may bother you....
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 22 2014 at 1:48 PM Rating: Decent
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    363 posts
    I don't really get your comment. The artwork doesn't bother me. Im guessing english isn't your first language. Why would he be close minded and some how have a chip on his shoulder by thinking it was a good thing for Firiona to actually wear armor instead of her normal bikini outfit? Unless like i said you thought he was being sarcastic.

    I also don't understand the Conan the Barbarian reference. What does that have to do with anything?
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 22 2014 at 3:24 PM Rating: Decent
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    60 posts
    really an engrish shot, so sorry teeheee teeheee...

    the Conan point is you have a reference to compare a few shots of Firiona vs the decades of other FANTASY characters portrayed for the sake of art, since you seem so obtuse and incapable of plain engrish maybe this will help, its fantasy and art, if you ever run across women in real combat roles being sent out in bikinis, then by all means get your own panties in a bunch
    Princess depiction
    # Aug 22 2014 at 4:51 PM Rating: Decent
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    363 posts
    Quote:
    really an engrish shot, so sorry teeheee teeheee...


    It wasn't a shot at your english. You seem to be misunderstanding things and i figured it wasn't your first language. Sorry if i offended you.

    Quote:
    the Conan point is you have a reference to compare a few shots of Firiona vs the decades of other FANTASY characters portrayed for the sake of art


    Um okay. eqenchanter wasn't commenting on decades of other FANTASY characters. He was mentioning how Firiona vie was actually wearing armor and that it looked good. In case you are new to Everquest all the previous expansion art always depicted her in a bikini.

    Quote:
    since you seem so obtuse and incapable of plain engrish maybe this will help, its fantasy and art


    I think you need to re-read that part and try again. Maybe you can even answer the question on why you think eqenchanter has a chip on his shoulder and is closed minded.

    Quote:
    if you ever run across women in real combat roles being sent out in bikinis, then by all means get your own panties in a bunch


    Umm wtf does that have to do with anything previously mentioned? I didn't say anything about real combat. You are talking about FANTASY artwork and real life things and that has nothing to do with the actual topic.

    Edited, Aug 22nd 2014 6:54pm by Rickymaru
    new robes
    # Aug 21 2014 at 5:41 PM Rating: Good
    So brand new expansion, and the top thing to talk about is new robes? Seriously?
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    new robes
    # Aug 22 2014 at 1:44 PM Rating: Excellent
    Empress of News
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    Chronological order of release ftw.
    Other two zones
    # Aug 21 2014 at 1:57 PM Rating: Good
    2 posts
    Confirmed by the Everquest Twitter QnA, the last two zones of TDS are:

    Brother Island
    Katta Castrum: Waters Rising
    Other two zones
    # Aug 21 2014 at 1:59 PM Rating: Excellent
    Empress of News
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    2,219 posts
    Trapezious wrote:
    Confirmed by the Everquest Twitter QnA, the last two zones of TDS are:

    Brother Island
    Katta Castrum: Waters Rising

    Thanks!
    Robe dye
    # Aug 21 2014 at 8:35 AM Rating: Decent
    Scholar
    33 posts
    would be nice if we can get robe`s that are able to be dyed the latent etheric robe for necro cant be dyed neither the helm`s ive tried posting this in bunch diff places why have the dye option then makes no sense
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