Yesterday, we were fortunate enough to catch up with some of the key players in the EverQuest franchise team at SOE. EverQuest is nearing its 15th anniversary this week (FIFTEEN!) on March 16th, and each of the EQ games in the pantheon have something happening to celebrate. We met with Dave Georgeson (Director of Development), Thom Terrazas (Senior Producer on EQ1), Holly Longdale (Senior Producer on EQ2), and Terry Michaels (Senior Producer on EQ Next and Landmark) to chat briefly about what each game has in the works for the coming weeks.
Like Thom said exuberantly on the call, EverQuest’s 15th anniversary of existence is upon us! This week level 85 Heroic Characters will go live. They’re a way for players new and old alike to jump into the game and skip the older content they may have done over and over and get right to the latest and newest content that’s been created and released in the past few years. Beginning this week, anyone can get one free heroic level 85 character, and you can make it a brand new character or boost one of your lowbies too. This applies to any single account established before November 8th, 2013. If you’ve created the account after the announcement of these Heroics back on November 8th, you’ll only get one per household.
EQ is also putting out two brand new race and class combos. The community voted when these were announced, and they selected the Wood Ellf Beast Lord. The dev team also held a vote, and they decided on Froglok Monks, whose animations for the class are truly a sight to behold I’m told. In two weeks from now, the player-designed missions from SOE Live 2013 will be let loose to the masses, and a so will the Planes of War – the long awaited zone that everyone’s anxious to dive into for the first time.
EverQuest 2 is turning 10 this fall, but they’re also going to be having a bunch of in-game events around the anniversary for EQ1 this week. They’ve been going full-steam ahead with weekly meaningful content since February. There’s a new PVP warzone for the Nagafen PVP server, the Erollisi Day live event with new content around Valentine’s Day, the Heroic Level 85 Channeler was added, and Brew Day’s live event has begun as well.
But coming in March and April, Holly’s team will also be adding two new heritage quests to honor EQ’s anniversary: Zlandicar’s Heart and Hero Bracer. They’re updating the Chronoportal events based on original EQ themes, adding 10 more AAs to set the cap at 350, and adding the High Keep dungeon as a level 95 contested zone with brand new content and loot within for all. Heck, there’s even a new Heritage Quest coming that’s tied to High Keep – the Bloody Shank. The EQ2 team is definitely moving at a lightning pace with the additional things for folks to dive into.
EQN AND LANDMARK
Finally, Terry took the mic to update us on Landmark’s alpha progress. Five weeks in, there’s been a lot added, tweaked, fixed, and more and more to come with EverQuest’s building and crafting MMO. Just last week, they added two new biomes and twelve new islands on each alpha server. That means they’ve now expanded the landmass on each server to twofold of what they were when alpha began.
They’ve also recently introduced attached claims, which means you can have up to three times the space for your work. They’ve also added new crafting plans for natural items like rocks, trees, and more natural looking items. Coop building is coming later this week too, allowing anyone to build together merely by altering the permissions on your claims. In the coming weeks we’ll see new social features like friend lists and grouping too. Groups will get harvesting bonuses, so it’ll make sense to go out and whack away at trees and mountains together. This will only get more interesting once combat’s in too. Speaking of combat, it’s coming! As quickly as they can get it in there, they want it… but not half-assed. It won’t be fully baked and will of course undergo changes once it’s in alpha, but they want it to look and feel good from day one when it’s put in.
And that’s about it, folks. Nothing much right. That was sarcasm, because you know… type doesn’t translate well. Congrats to EQ on a huge milestone, and the whole franchise for continuing to keep things updating at such a swift pace. Will you be checking out EQ’s anniversary events?