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Previews: Expansion Preview

By Carolyn Koh on May 15, 2006

Expansion Preview
Expansion and Adventure packs are coming, Carolyn Koh tells us more

About a week before E3, EverQuest II announced a new expansion, Echoes of Faydwer and an Adventure Pack, Fallen Dynasty to be launched in November and June of this year respectively.

The Fallen Dynasty - 3rd Adventure Pack
“The Fallen Dynasty introduces EQII players to a mysterious city shrouded in secrets and once ruled by a powerful entity. The Whistling Fist, an ancient order of monks, guard its veiled past, but seek adventurers brave enough to explore the mysteries of this forgotten civilization.”

The Adventure Pack was developed in conjunction with SOE’s Taiwan studio and the artwork is quite beautiful. But an Oriental race suddenly pops up in Norrath? When I thought back to the original EverQuest, I recalled the original human male models had a couple distinctly Asian faces.

Brother Qwinn in South Karana is such a monk that belongs to the Whistling Fist.

“The Monks of the Whistling Fist are called the Lost Circle by others. We are an ancient league of monks. Long forgotten and few remaining. Within this realm, there are only two. I and Brother Zephyl.”

But I gave Scott Hartsman’s head another rub anyway. “Come on… an Oriental culture suddenly pops up in Norrath?”

“It continues the actual lore of Norrath! You remember Zebuxoruk? He was the cause of the Gods retreating from Norrath.”

According to Norrathian lore from EverQuest, Zebuxoruk tried to share the knowledge of the Gods with the populace of Norrath but the Gods imprison him to prevent it. During the Planar Progression Quest, players are actually working on going back in time. Zebuxoruk is freed at the end of the quest, but Druzzil Ro intervenes, sending players back in time themselves, to before they freed Zebuxoruk.

Supposedly, when Druzzil Ro messed with time, she also made a split in the Universe and created a parallel universe of Norrath in which EverQuest II takes place. This is recorded by Zebuxoruk.

“… the fabric of time that all beings travel upon unfurled before me as a scroll of exquisite parchment. And I beheld that the parchment neatly tore in twain at that moment of the Matron’s command, but not as two parts of a whole, but as two wholes of the same whoe each containing the same words and symbols as they continued on as before…”

“Zebuxoruk took his writings (which Hartsman called the Codex) to an island where he raised an order of monks to protect the Codex.”

Now that time and the universe has split in two, curled around itself sending people back and back upon themselves this order of ancient monks which was only raised at the end of the Planes of Power Expansion, yet was ancient in the early days of Kunark, has been discovered again in EverQuest II (are we following still??).

Now that we’ve explained the ancient order of the Monks of the Whistling Fist, onto the features of the Adventure Pack. Like the others, it is like a mini-expansion, with new content, quests and tradeskill recipes. Fallen Dynasty features the city of Tanaan with two opposing factions that players 55 – 70 can choose to align with, features a large outdoor zone, a new dungeon – Nizara, the City of the Nayad which are a race of snake women and their fire elemental minions – with a level 75 Snakey Boss Lady, and several instanced dungeons as well.

There’s the usual new solo and group quest lines, heroic and epic encounters and lots of new weapons. No oriental themed armor though. Akil Hooper who was showing the game to me, also showed me the Pig Race on the village commons. You can buy a ticket to bet on a pig, but unfortunately, you can’t buy an egg roll to munch on while watching the race.

Echoes of Faydwer – The 3rd Expansion
The 3rd expansion, and the first with content for beginners to players in the end game (levels 1 through 70). This expansion has been compared to the “Kunark” expansion in scope, as it contains an entire continent with over 20 zones and a new race with associated starting city, quests and newbie hunting areas.

Release is slated for November 2006, so I received few details other than what was provided and many “Yet to be decided / determined type answers.”

Can the Fae fly? “We don’t know yet.”

Where did the Fae come from? “They may have evolved from the fairies or the pixies.”

Will all the old EQ zones be there in one form or other? “Well, a lot happens in 500 years.”

Why the acorn shaped houses in Kelethin? “Influence of the Fae.”

Let’s run through the features then… The Achievement system introduced in the Kingdom of Sky expansion is expanded and will include additional sub-class abilities. New armor, items, with additional effects if you complete a set of armor. New horse mounts, added quests, tradeskill recipes…

I did get confirmation that there would be secondary tradeskill paths available. Such an tinkering, and an adornment system which would allow you to augment your armor and items, but no solid details.

I turned to Scott Hartsman again.

Sooo… now, even YOU can be a Fairy!

“We prefer to refer to them as a new enchanted winged race. But you’ll like them Sylvene… really! The guys are really buff!” exclaimed Scott.

Manly-man fairies with pastel colored wings? You can choose wing pattern and color at character creation right? After recovering from the bad jokes, we went on to speaking about the storyline.

The Gods return. The Fallen Dynasty sets up the story to bring the Gods (and Goddesses) back to the world of Norrath. Players will be able to pledge to a God or Goddess and pick up a new line of quests. If you lose faith in your God, you can change your religion. The temples will also accept donations for blessings. Sounds like fun? It does to me. Scott wasn’t very forthcoming on the details, but again, that was to be expected given that the expansion is still 6 months away at this time and design decisions have yet to be finalized.

We do know some of the zones that will be available. The Greater and Lesser Faydark, Kelethin, Crushbone – Yes, Emperor Crush the 200th lives! Mistmoore, Steamfont with the Clockwork Menace Boss Mob in the caverns… there are over 20 zones. Old Faydwer in EverQuest did not have that many.

This is an impressive venture, an attempt to parallel the “Glory Days” of EverQuest which many opine were achieved during the “Kunark” era. Perhaps years down the road, players will refer to the Glory Days of EverQuest II as the “Faydwer” era.

You can comment on this article here.

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn has been writing for since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.