Some of the talk for EverQuest fans might be about the future, but EQ2 is still going strong, as today's release of the game's 10th expansion shows. EverQuest II: Tears of Veeshan brings several new features, and even a brand new class to the game. We had the chance to attend a special press preview of the new expansion last Friday and are giving you all the details on what to expect from the new content.
Senior Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper took the reins on the presentation, giving us our peek at familiar places and characters made new again, new locations, and even the new Channeler class. There are several other key features, including nine new dungeons, dragons, more dragons, dragon themed AAs, and other additions like tradeskill content, guild hall improvements, and more.
Story naturally plays a large role in the expansion. The premise of Tears of Veeshan starts when powerful prismatic dragon Kerrafym, who is prophesied to have a role in the end of Norrath, steals the Tear of Veeshan. The Tear is an artifact that can amplify magical power and is now being used for no good (as these objects often are!). Yelinak, one of the wisest dragons, has also been killed. Freeport and Qeynos find themselves under attack, and the story will take you through ways to find out just what's happening and to try and stop the assaults. Important to your quest to make sure the world still has a future will be aided by none other than Yelinak himself –in the afterlife.
Yelinak will serve as guide through the signature quest from the Vesspyr, the Eternal Broodlands, which will serve as a hub for the expansion content. You'll be able to grab quests here, do necessary mending, check mail, and all the basics right from this area. Dungeons will also all branch from here. Yelinak will not be alone. Vesspyr will also bring several other dragons slain by players throughout EQ history. The team took advantage of the ability to use voice acting and new characterization to give these dragons personality, sometimes truly fleshed out for the first time.
There is much emphasis on time in this expansion, with the Vesspyr and quest content taking place within vague timelines. The actions that players will see through exist in various “threads” of Norrath and these encompass parts of EQ1 history, EQ2, past, present, and even some hinted-at future, but nothing nailed down in a specific way. There will be degrees of familiarity, but the when is deliberately unclear. The Temple of Veeshan itself is familiar as the setting for one of the largest raid zones from Destiny of Velious, though things have changed for players visiting this time around. It's the setting for just one of the nine new themed dungeons, each instanced to different play styles (solo, raid, heroic, and more). and just what happened will be something to uncover. There are nine dungeons in all, set in the High Keep, Temple of Veeshan, and further locales within those threads. We got a peek at the High Keep and one of the events taking place inside – a Goblin food fight. This is one way the story of the expansion will be told through visual means.
The Temple of Veeshan is the centerpiece, however, with Kerrafym having converted the place into a roving battle station. Longdale mentioned that this is the game's largest-ever dungeon and the first players will even be able to fly in. There are about 21 bosses to conquer, so plan to stay busy for a while should you set out to play through it.
New boss and fight mechanics will emphasize things like the importance of debuffs and attempt to give players some difficult choices to make. This is also seen in the new Dragon-themed AAs in the expansion, which are new for each archetype and feature one of the legendary dragons. As players earn these points, they'll find themselves able to unlock a second end line ability. Yet, filling up these newly-opened abilities will come at a significant cost, with not enough points to fill up all lines. Hence, decision time.