EverQuest II - Expansion: The Shadow Odyssey
MMORPG writer Carolyn Koh was at the recent SOE Fan Faire where a new expansion was officially announced for the well known game. Today, Carolyn files this report, giving us a few details about The Shadow Odyssey.
Senior Producer of EverQuest 2, Bruce Ferguson had several things to announce at the opening Keynote speech. The first was the launch of Guildhalls in the fall, the second was the upcoming zone that would be released for free, Vexar, and the third was that the fifth EverQuest 2 expansion, The Shadow Odyssey would be released on November 18, 2008.
The announcement was followed up the next day by a preview panel in a ballroom. Every single seat was filled, and players lined the sides and the back, standing or leaning against the walls or sitting on the carpeted floor. A total of 15 developers were in attendance to answer questions and as each introduced themselves, the crowd showed their appreciation with the Tradeskills designer receiving the most applause including hoots and hollars.
Bruce started off by telling us a bit of trivia. The expansion was "The Shadow Odyssey" and not "The Shadow of Odyssey" as many fans had speculated.
"I don't know how you guys manage to find these things out," he said. "Do you lurk on the trademark board and domain registrar or something?"
Somewhere between the Producers and SoE's marketing and legal department, an "of" crept into the title. Only to be taken off after the players mentioned it.
"So, it's thanks to you guys that we got the correct title."
The announcement that there would not be a level cap increase but 60 additional Achievements points to a nice round 200 was met with loud applause as the new AA tree was shown, with the Devs refusing to hover the mouse over the icons despite the encouragement and pleading of the crowd. Instead of requiring players to buy up a tree, making them spend points on AAs they may perhaps prefer not to have or do not value, the new plan is that 10 points would have to be spent in a tier before moving to the next. There are three tiers, a tier for each class rank.
The Shadow Odyssey will have a land mass larger than that of Kunark and the new lands are accessed by airship. There will be 20 single group instances, including Befallen, Droga/Nurga, Guk, Miragul, Mistmoore, Najena and the Void. Former EverQuest players will find the dungeons "where you expect them to be." Dungeons and missions will be level scaled to the levels of the outdoor spaces. All will go up to level 80.
Four new raid zones will be available, with three of them progressing in difficulty similar to the progression in Shroud of Hate and one shorter single boss zone. We were given a quick tour of several dungeons and former EverQuest players were quick to recognize the familiarity to the old dungeons.
A new Dungeon Delving mission will be put in place to allow players to replay missions with some variation and mission rewards will be in the form of Void Shards which are then tradable for items. Archetype based and some specific class items will be able to be purchased from a group of mysterious Erudites. Players will be able to play in one mission per day per mission dungeon. Mission dungeons are designed for single group, and although described as similar to the EverQuest LDoN (Lost Dungeons of Norrath) system, will not scale if you have less than a full group. Dungeons are more puzzle oriented in this expansion, and we were told "We like puns!" and, "Of course there will be tradeskill missions." Puns, puzzles and tradeskills? Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Five new Heritage quests are promised, although we were told that more could possibly be put in, suggesting that design of Heritage quests are an ongoing function at EverQuest 2. Events have already been put in the game. Void beasts are the harbingers of The Shadow Odyssey. The Gods continue to return to Norrath and Rodcet Nife makes an appearance in this expansion, together with a Goddess, Anashti Sul. Worship of Anashti Sul will be unlocked on a per server basis but no further information would be released.
As the preview panel closed, FanFaire participants were once again reminded that they were shoo-ins for beta and that they would get a digital download of The Shadow Odyssey for free.