SAN DIEGO, Calif. – January 27, 2006 – Sony Online Entertainment announced their preparations for the 19th update to EverQuest II, slated to launch on game servers February 2. This update will bring significant changes to the game, and is a precursor to the launch of the new Player vs. Player game servers, scheduled for late February.
The most noticeable addition to this update is the new Character Progression system. The gradual Archetype progression has been changed, and players will be able to choose their final class at the beginning of the game, rather than working their way up to level 20. This change means that the class system will be a more unique experience for players at low levels, and give players access to unique spells and abilities that set their class apart. Newly-created characters will also begin with new class-specific gear that will further differentiate players and make the world feel more diverse.
The game’s Tutorial section has also been dramatically changed. SOE would like to bid a fond farewell to Captain Varlos and the good ship Far Journey, as new players will now begin on one of two new islands, either the Outpost of the Overlord (evil) or the Queen’s Colony (good). The islands still serve as a “newbie” introduction to the game, but are much different from each other and contain a number of quests to get players started.
In addition to benefits for new players, one of the best dungeons in EQII, Solusek’s Eye, is receiving a content overhaul, with new high-level action and rewards for players in the late 40s – 50s level range. This awe-inspiring dungeon is now the home to new, powerful items, including fiery red equipment to match the dungeon’s theme. Additionally, the new quests create a foundation for the storyline that will develop in Kingdom of Sky, the next EQII expansion scheduled for February 21.
Additional changes in Live Update 19 include: changes to Mentoring to make it more fun for those helping their lower-level friends; the ability to send cross-faction mail (good characters can now send items and coin to evil characters and vice versa); a cleaner and clearer Adventure writs system; expanded vault storage space in some of the premium player housing; and tons of tweaks to the game’s user interface.
Since EQII’s launch in November 2004 there have been literally thousands of changes and augmentations made to the game. SOE is very excited about the upcoming live addition of PvP to Everquest II, as well as the arrival of Kingdom of Sky, both scheduled for February 21.
The following information provides a detailed description of the additions in Everquest II Live Update 19:
*** New Character Progression ***
New characters now choose a profession at character creation. Your alignment (good or evil) determines which class choices are shown. As you progress through character creation, your current choices (gender, race, class) are shown. Characters begin with several key pieces of class-specific armor that are visible in character creation. There are new portraits for every race and gender that you will see when selecting your race.
New Tutorial Islands
The original boat tutorial is no longer used. Instead, new characters immediately arrive on one of two new islands. Evil characters explore the Outpost of the Overlord while good characters visit the Queen's Colony. Each island has unique inhabitants and feel very different from one another. All new quests await to train new adventurers for the challenges that lie ahead. Visit trainers on the island to learn about combat, harvesting, banking, and other gameplay elements.
You can remain on the island for as long as you wish without a restriction placed on your ability to level up (though of course the population will eventually grey out).
Players now select their profession at character creation instead of moving from archetype to class to subclass. For example, you can choose to play a Wizard at character creation. When you arrive on the tutorial island, you will be a Wizard--not a Mage. Distinct spells and arts designed for each profession are now given immediately in place of the more generic archetype and class versions. You feel like your profession right away instead of waiting 19 levels to do so.
Previous class and subclass quests have either been removed or modified to provide flavor. They are not required to progress in your chosen profession and will no longer restrict your level growth.
Existing characters that were at the archetype or class level will be prompted to choose a profession before logging into the game. Existing spells and arts will be replaced (at the same quality level) by the new profession-specific abilities.
Racial Quest Paths
Upon leaving the island and arriving in your home village or district, you will begin a new series of quests designed specifically for your race.
These quests will provide a greater understanding of your race's history and how it fits into the fabric of your home city.
Adventure Yard Quests
Completing your racial quest path will guide you to your city's adventure yards. The adventure yards have new population and quest lines that feel more a part of each city. New rewards await those who complete these quests!
The citizenship quest is gone. You earn citizenship on the tutorial island and become a citizen when you leave it.
There is no longer a cap on your ability to level up due to a citizenship restriction.
The city betrayal quests currently remain as they were. These quests will be changing significantly in a future update. For example, you will be able to betray your city at any level.
*** Dungeon Exploration ***
A new group of residents have been spotted setting up camp in Solusek's Eye, at the site of the Solusek Mining Co. of old.
Check out this highly dangerous, highly rewarding dungeon for new quests as well as high-risk adventure!
*** Mentoring ***
Your high level spells are now useable (at a reduced effectiveness) when you mentor a lower level player. No more messing with your hotbar when you want to help out a friend! Most spells will no longer drop or suspend when you start mentoring a lower-level player. Instead, they now adjust themselves accordingly.
*** Writs ***
You can now select from a list of all writs you are eligible to embark upon when speaking to a writ giver.
Characters who are not in a guild can now do writs for their city's faction. The amount of status awarded by writs is now based on your level in relation to the writ's level rather than your guild's level.
Writ givers will now display quest icons appropriately.
*** The Norrathian Express ***
Much to the chagrin of both Antonia Bayle and the Overlord, the Norrathian Express has expanded its services.
Citizens of Qeynos and Freeport can now mail each other items and coin.
*** Housing ***
The Qeynos Exchange and Freeport Reserve have expanded their business and now allow those with more prestigious homes access to expanded vault facilities.
*** User Interface Improvements ***
The default performance profile now varies according to the hardware on which the client is running. New installs will use this default performance profile.
There is now a /load_uisettings command that allows you to load the UI settings from one of your existing characters. If you type the /load_uisettings command with no arguments, it will prompt you with a list of UI files to select from. You may also specify a specific file as an argument when using this command.
Scout tracking abilities can now be filtered more specifically by name. It just got a lot easier to look for specific NPCs for the scouts of the world.
Have friends on other servers or in other games? Great! You can now add friends from other games or other servers in much the same way you would send them a tell (For example, you can /friend unrest.blackguard to add Blackguard from the server Unrest to your friends list).
Have enemies on other servers or in other games? Great! You can now ignore players from other servers or games in much the same way you would send them a tell (For example, you can /ignore unrest.blackguard to add Blackguard from the server Unrest to your ignore list).
For those who want to see shorter combat messages, there is now a Hits Mode option (similar to EverQuest) for your chat windows in Options -> User Interface -> Game Features -> Hits Mode.
Minimal: Shows just the damage numbers or in the case of a miss it shows miss/block/parry. Heals will also just show as numbers.
Medium: Cuts down on the combat text a bit by removing the damage type and giving you strict basics.
Full: This is how it exists today.
Note: Full combat info will continue to be sent to your log file. The Hits Mode option only affects what you see in the Chat window.
Anonymous and Roleplaying players will now be filtered properly when others perform a
Anonymous characters will not show up for any specific searches made by players. Roleplaying characters will not show up in class, level, or race searches, but will still show up in LFG and LFW searches. They will also appear in guild and name type /who searches.
If you hear something in a language you haven't learned, you are now told what language was spoken.
There is now a context menu option to select what language you would like to speak in if you right click the Chat window.
"SOGA Models" are now referred to as "Alternate Models," as players who weren't around for the launch of these models don't know what "SOGA" is.
Some merchants will now show you items that you can't currently buy and will describe why you can't purchase that item.
There is now a short pause on the revive window (around 3 seconds) before it accepts any input to prevent accidental revives (or reviving in the wrong location) during combat.
UI enthusiasts, you now have a few more chat window related options that can be defined in eq2.ini. The defaults are listed next to each item:
You can now Buy Stacks or Buy Quantities of items on the Broker window. The Broker window will now show real-time item quantities. If you buy an item, everyone who has that item on the page they're viewing will see the quantity decreasing. To avoid potential purchasing mistakes that might arise if items you see in the window are bought by someone else, items will show zero quantity instead of disappearing entirely. Class information is now displayed for items in the Broker window tooltips. There is now an option to pop up a confirmation box when making expensive purchases from the Broker window. The default price is 10 gold, and the slider for the minimum price can be set from 1 gold to 5 plat. This is to prevent the accidental purchase of an expensive item. The option is available in Options -> User Interface -> Game Features -> Broker Window.
Health, power, and resists have been added to the dropdown in the Broker search window.
Searching for food and drink should now be a bit simpler. For example, if you search for level 40-49 foods, you will now only see food that is appropriate for that level range.
The Broker window will now perform a search if the Enter key is pressed while the
Item Name or Store Owner fields have focus.
The broker window buy/stack quantity is now more like the merchant window for consistency.
ESC will cancel spell casts for new characters. Existing characters can map a key to the option in their Options (Controls -> Spell Keys -> Cancel Casting). The default key for opening the Recipe Book is now "N" rather than "B."
"B" now defaults to open all inventory bags.
"Shift + B" is now the default to open all bags in your bank vault.
You can now quickly change to a different character on your account by using the following command: /camp
Groups and Raids:
Raid leaders who have set group loot options to leader-only will be able to distribute loot to any member of any group in the raid.
Raid leaders can now move a raid member to an empty slot in another existing group by dragging the character name to the desired group.
Raid leaders can now swap raid members between groups by dragging one member's name on top of the other raid member's name.
Selecting a raid member multiple times will now toggle between the raid member and their pet if they have one.
Poison tooltips will now display the remaining proc count of your poison. Haste, DPS, and run speed are now displayed in the Persona window.
Crush, Pierce, and Slash mitigation values will now appear in the mitigation tooltip on the Persona window.
Examining a melee weapon and viewing the weapon's tooltip will now display its damage type.
You can now view the amount of status reduction you currently have from the Housing window.
When examining an item, your character's class will be highlighted in green if the item is useable for your class.
Pet names will now display the name of your pet with a purpose tag below (rather than all on one line).
Durations in racial tradition descriptions will now be displayed in an easier-to-read format.
The class display on item tooltips, examine windows, and broker tooltips has been condensed so it takes up less vertical space. The level indicator has also been separated out to its own line.
Players will now receive item discovery notification even if they aren't guilded. Hunger and thirst messages will no longer repeat every time you zone or log in. They will only display once every 30 minutes.
A message will now display during character creation letting you know if your name is currently invalid and why.
The examine info for a spell will now say if the spell requires you to be sneaking. Examine descriptions for Character Traits and Racial Traditions will no longer include duration, casting time, recovery time, recast time, class, or weight.
Mouse Behavior Modification (No mice were hurt during this process):
The middle mouse button now defaults to auto-run.
When mouse-click selection mode is set to "Single Click Except Attack", right-clicking a targetable object will target that object in addition to displaying its right-click menu.
When mouse-click selection mode is set to "Single Click Except Attack", double-clicking on nothing now clears the target.
In single-click-except-attack and single-click mouse mode, double-clicking something will no longer execute the default action twice.
In single-click and single-click except attack mode, the "Too far away" message will not be displayed if the target is well out of range.
Quest con colors have been adjusted to mirror the NPC con system. Quest experience has not be affected.
Coin rewards for quests will now be reported in chat.
A quest's name and completion text will now display in its reward window.
Wisps will now update more frequently. They seemed to have a mind of their own and a desire to lead lost travelers astray.
You do not have to get as far away from a waypoint wisp for it to re-path to your destination.
In cases in which the wisp could not find its way to the destination and would go through walls or the ground, there is now chat text that provides a compass direction to navigate with.