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!
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."
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."
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.
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