19 Expansions Strong
When I first pitched the idea of doing Wayback Wednesday to the managing editor of MMORPG.com I wanted to focus on MMOs that have helped define the genre. 19 expansions since its initial release almost 14 years ago EverQuest clearly fits that description. This is the third time that EverQuest has been featured on Wayback Wednesday and the second time I have been joined by SOE Producer Thom Terrazas. For this episode Thom and I were also joined by Assistant Lead Designer Julie Burness. It was hard but we managed to pull Julie away from killing halflings for a hour.
Last November EverQuest released their 19th expansion Rain of Fear. This is the third expansion in a series that continues a story that was kicked off in the House of Thule. A new god known as the Triumvirate has taken over the power of Cazic Thule. With the Rain of Fear expansion our heros have destroyed the Triumvirate releasing the power of Cazic Thule. This caused a huge explosion in the sky and resulted in shards raining down across Norrath. Players are now racing across Norrath to collect these shards and bring balance back to their world.
Thom, Julie, and I kicked off our tour at Shard’s Landing. At 9:50 into the video you can see what I like to refer to as the Crystal Stonehenge. At 10:42 you can see the giant crystal surrounded by a ring of portals that have been created that will take you to the new zones you have discovered. With Rain of Fear SOE added 6 new zones to the game and reimagined 3 existing zones. The EQ team also took a new approach with how they tried to convey the narrative of this expansion. Instead of players reading in quest text what is happening in Rain of Fear Thom wanted his team to focus on telling the story to players through their actions during quests. Yes, you will have to read the quests to understand what is going on, but you are living the quests by playing not just running from point A to point B to read about what is happening in the story.
In addition to new content being added with this expansion there has also been a new feature added. EverQuest has always had brokering in the game but it has required you to be logged into the game 24 x 7. You can now sell items while you are offline. Also you can now access the bazaar from anywhere in the world. Those items can be delivered to you instantly anywhere in the world. While the first few times are complimentary this is a microtransaction item.
With the latest expansion players can finally reach level 100. Something that is also new with this expansion is that there is a planned game content release expected to come out in March or April that will tie into Rain of Fear. There will be additional alternative advancement changes. While Thom nor Julie gave any concrete details, Julie did hint that mages would be very happy.
As we continued on our tour you can see Grelleth’s Palace, Chateau of Filth at 21:00 minutes into the video. You can see the Chapter House of the Fallen at 32:45. (Which I think is Thom’s favorite zone). The Breeding Grounds are at 44:20 and if you think there are too many dragons blame Julie, she populated the zone. At the hour mark we stopped to take a look at the marketplace and the player studio submissions. While not a feature that is unique to EverQuest the Player Studio does appear to be more popular in EQ than in SOE’s other games. Thom and Julie both have confessed to purchasing items made by players. Julie has bought weapon and shield skins while Thom has bought items for his house. At this point Thom pointed out that they are improving the tech behind Hero’s Forge. The team is working on trimming the fat on the Hero’s Forge armor. While Thom did not give a date and said it has not been previously announced he did say you will see slimmed down Hero’s Forge armor in “the very near future.”
This upcoming weekend is the first Neverwinter beta weekend. Myself as well as some of the other streamers for MMORPG will be playing the game and broadcasting it in all its glory on our stream channel. There will not be an episode of Wayback Wednesday on the 13th. This would have been Dark Age of Camelot’s normally scheduled week but we had to push it. Wayback Wednesday will return on February 20th with DAoC followed by Asheron’s Call on February 27th. The action will kick off at 9:30 EST on our MMORPG.com stream channel. If you have any questions about DAoC or Asheron’s call or comments about EverQuest please leave them in the comments space below. You can follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook. Thanks for watching!