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Bill Trost and Stuart Compton stood in front of a screen which displayed gameplay footage of their pride and glory, EverQuest II. Stuart, the art director was talking into a microphone, while Bill Trost controlled the game as everyone watched.
The first thing that is displayed is the character customization screen. Many different aspects of customization are shown using a human male as demonstration. According to Stuart, you can customize skin color, ears, facial features, scars and tattoos, hair styles, and more. In fact, there are approximately 40 bones in the face which allow for extreme customization. It will be very difficult to find two characters that look alike. They opened an age selection window which had a vast list of selections. Stuart showed both the "baby face" and "old man." Character customization was extremely impressive. The most detailed we have seen, mind you.
After character customization, they entered the city of Freeport. They were in a dockside bar called Seafarer's Roost. Several race/class combinations were shown. A kerran necromancer, a female wood elf (quite appealing at that), a female human monk, a dark elf, an ogre, and the all new Ratonga were all standing in the bar.
Aside from these characters, there was an NPC bartender behind a counter. The Ratonga had been talking to the bartender and happened to trigger a quest. In this quest, the ogre outside had been starting some trouble. The human female monk starts to talk to him, but they couldn't settle their differences with words. They began to fight and two unique fighting styles were displayed. The monk is using monk style martial arts, while the ogre is using a pugilist (or boxing) fighting style. Look out Mike Tyson.
After the fighting was said and done, they left the bar and began exploring the city of Freeport. This was not the Freeport you and I are familiar with, but rather, a much larger and more complex Freeport. You wouldn't recognize it if you weren't told what it was. In the sky you could see the remains of the moon, Luclin. According to Stuart, a massive cataclysm destroyed Luclin and rained its debris across the land. Most of the cultures of Norrath have been destroyed or seriously damaged. The humans of Freeport and Qeynos were the only cultures that were left unharmed. Freeport has become a monstrously sprawling city so much to the point where it has become a very unsavory place to be. Qeynos was not heavily mentioned, but they did say that it has also grown tremendously.
Stuart began to talk about the tradesmen and mentioned that some of the best equipment can only be created by this class. He then changed his words and even went as far as saying "most" of the best equipment can only be created by tradesman. However, it is a group effort which requires the cooperation of many to retrieve the materials the tradesman will need.
Next, they entered the theatre of Freeport. The theatre will host countless player controlled events, some of which include gladiatorial combat, poetry readings, and of course theatre. Players will be able to schedule them, charge admission fees, sell tickets, and more. All of these tasks will be completely controlled by the players.
After getting a quick glance at the theatre, a caster of some sort casted a teleport spell which sent them to Nektolus forest. It was unsure whether the caster was a player or an NPC, but we'll assume it was a player. While Nektolus forest loaded, we spent a few short moments viewing a progress bar which quickly filled up and sent us to our new destination.
Nektolus looked truly amazing. The waterfall in the back looked explicitly realistic. The crystal clear water rushing down, the sound of the river flowing, birds chirping, everything was truly delighting. Suddenly, one of several trees came to life and attacked a nearby player. This wasn't your average forest dweller, this one was a treant. The player casted two fireball spells which quickly traveled from him to the treant. Each fireball set the whole treant ablaze. The wood crackled, leaves fell to the ground, and even the bird flying around the treant caught fire. The player quickly ended the battle and looted his latest victory.
Bill then moved us towards the waterfall where we found an old zombie. We attacked it and it quickly fell to the ground. The bones separated and the skull rolled off of its head and thumped onto the soil. The animations were excellent. We then located a mage with an earth elemental. The pet was a very high level one, an earth elemental lord. The mage ported us to Nectropos Castle.
The castle had an interesting storyline behind it. Lord Everling's 7 daughters were tragically murdered. He attempted to bring them back to life with dark magic which twisted the stones of his castle into a cursed dungeon. A white mist slowly emerged from the ceiling. We approached the courtyard where we found a group of players fighting Nagafen. His fiery breath, the shadows on the wall behind him, the heat waves rising from his head, smoke from the swish of his tail, everything looked very realistic.
Now that the gameplay had come to an end, Bill Trost took questions from members of the audience. We won't get into what the specific questions were, since it was difficult to hear them. However, we will let you in on what Bill Trost was saying.
He discussed the dynamic quest system and instructed us that no typing was involved in quests. There will be a dialog tree system which is widely used in today's single player RPG's. There will also be a quest journal to keep track of quests.
Tradesman will have a ledger that will allow them to keep track of their best customers, their expenditures, their profit margins, and much more. They also discussed the possibility of an in-game bestiary which will allow players to keep track of different creatures they have encountered.
Player housing was also mentioned from inn rooms to guild houses. The interiors will be entirely customizable and you will have keys that will allow you to set permissions on who can enter. They will be totally secure and no intruders will be able to gain access. According to Trost, sea travel will also be a large part of the game.