Any time a list of genre-altering MMOs is made, it is nearly inevitable that the EverQuest series will make its appearance. With almost seventeen years of continuous development since the original game was planned, EverQuest and EverQuest 2 are perennial favorites of many players. With EverQuest Next looming on the distant horizon, it's clear that Sony Online Entertainment is vested in its flagship property.
During SOE Live, both the EverQuest and EverQuest 2 teams were on hand to talk about each game's upcoming expansion. EverQuest will be seeing its nineteenth major expansion with Rain of Fear arriving on November 28th. EverQuest 2 will be growing with the Chains of Eternity expansion set to be released on November 13th. Let's also not forget about the much-anticipated EverQuest Next which, while information during SOE Live was scant, did create a few stirs when John Smedley spoke of the upcoming title in his Thursday night keynote address.
So what have we learned?
We had the opportunity to listen in while Thom Terrazas and Adam Bell spoke about the grand old dame herself, EverQuest. The first game in the series has been in development continuously, as mentioned above, for almost seventeen years with nineteen expansions and more. The latest, Rain of Fear, is a new type of expansion for the EQ team in that the focus is more on lore and storytelling than on content. Don't get me wrong: There is content galore but the story, the reasons behind the way things are is paramount in RoF.
Rain of Fear will bring a lot of new and exciting features to the game, many of which players have been asking for. One thing was abundantly clear from what the team was saying: They are listening to and responding to the community and what it wants.
Check out a few of the new features coming with Rain of Fear:
- Level cap increase to 100
- Aggro Meter to help players assess how much aggro they and their party members are drawing.
- Hunter System that sends players throughout Norrath to collect items and gain rewards.
- Slayer System that sends players throughout Norrath to kill monsters in ever-increasing numbers to gain rewards including a spell that will work against a certain type of monster whose Slayer Quest has been completed.
- Autonomous Brokering that allows players to buy things from anywhere in the world without having to run to another zone to get it. Items can even be delivered straight to inventories right where players are but that will also incur a delivery surcharge.
- 1800 new spells
- 3500 new items
- A LOT more
Players purchasing Rain of Fear will receive all of the content from all expansions prior to its arrival. Let's just say that that's a metric ton of content that players will not be able to burn through in a day!
What was the most fun was listening to the team talk about a game they so clearly are vested in. It's not just work for them but is truly a labor of love to keep EverQuest fresh and progressive.
Everquest 2 will also be expanding in November with the arrival of Chains of Eternity. Holly Longdale and her team are as enthusiastic as the EQ bunch with what they are doing to and bringing into the game. Chains of Eternity is the ninth expansion to EQ 2 and will require all players to go to Ethernere, the realm of the afterlife, to a kind of Purgatory-esque location. As ever, players will be working to save the world yet again.
CoE is poised to bring a ton of new quests and lore into the storyline and all players will have a chance to participate if they find themselves tough enough to handle the new material.
- Adventure and Tradeskill levels will rise to 95
- Subclasses will now have access to Prestige Abilities
- Tradeskills will now have access to Prestige Abilities (!!!!)
- New avatars will be made available. None of these have been seen in game before.
- A super secret event will take place just prior to the expansion's release
- Nine new instanced dungeons will arrive with Chains as well
Chains of Eternity is expected to officially launch on November 13th. Players prepurchasing the expansion will gain access to content from Destiny of Velious forward.
During Thursday night's keynote address, many were hoping to hear some positive news about EverQuest Next. While the news wasn't negative, it was disappointing to many who hoped that EQN would be arriving sooner than later. However, when John Smedley proudly showed a slide with EVERQUEST NEXT written on it and said, "Here's the news about EverQuest Next...", the susequent sound was (literally) crickets. There really is no jaw-dropping news.
What we were told, however, is that EQN is definitely in the works though the team has scrapped the original plans in favor of trying to create something literally groundbreaking and never-before-seen.
"We have blown up the design for EverQuest Next." Smedley said. "We have spent the last eighteen months making something completely new. We're not ready to show it yet."
"What we are building is something we'll be proud to have EverQuest on. It will be the largest sandbox MMO ever made. Content will be delivered in a new way. You've never seen it. The MMO world hasn't seen it before. We simply didn't want to do more of the same."
"At the next SOE Live, you'll get to see it and touch it. We're remaking Norrath like you've never seen it but you will recognize it."
That was pretty much the sum total of what we know about EQN.
What I find amazing is the longevity of the EverQuest series, a series of games that quite literally spans the history of MMOs from its earliest days to its upcoming innovative days.
Have you played EQ or EQ 2? Are you hopeful about EQN? Let us know in the comments!