Expansion Preview: Seeds of Destruction
Caralyn Koh was in attendance at this year's SOE Fan Faire in Las Vegas, and she brings us the low down on EverQuest's next expansion, The Seeds of Destruction, which takes players on a trip through time to play the history of EverQuest.
John Smedley in his keynote address at the SoE Fan Faire mentioned that the Living Legacy celebration increased the population of EverQuest and EverQuest 2 by 20%. He also officially announced the next EverQuest Expansion, Seeds of Destruction to be available October 21, 2008. All players attending FanFaire would get into the beta, and would also received a digital copy of the expansion for free. Seeds of Destruction brings players back into historical periods of EverQuest through a number of portals. The lore behind the story is that the Riftseekers have used the Plane of Time to corrupt the essence of the world and rend Norrath into millions of pieces. On the largest is found a seedling tree and the fallen god Zebuxoruk, tending that tree. Only he knows the secret to mending the world, but to do that, he needs assistance. That of brave adventurers such as yourselves, who will venture through the portals he tends, to crucial moments in Norrath’s history. To make sure they unfold without the interference of the gods of Discord. We were shown a sneak peek at the expansion at Fan Faire. Accessed through the Plane of Time, players will step through various portals to find themselves in zones such as the Void where Void creatures spawned by the destruction caused by the Riftseekers will have to be destroyed; Bloody Kithicor where they may join in the battle between the armies of Lanys T’val and Firiona Vie. To the Oceangreen Hills and Oceangreen village before the founding of Qeynos. We visited the fort of Antonius Bayle, the ruins of which Pyzjn of the Glowing Black Stone fame still roams and scurries through Blackburrow where we were told that some of the gnolls “did not look right.” This preview was a teaser. These zones are new zones created for the expansion but will be almost identical to the current zones in layout. The infamous tree trap in Blackburrow is still there. Be careful. These gnolls may be stronger than they look. We flew over the Field of Scale; saw glimpses of the mightiest dragons of Norrath, hardly pausing, but I managed to note some names. Trakanon (the live version), Phara Dar, Xygoz and their attendants. Other zones that were mentioned but not shown included the battle of Rathe in the Plane of Earth and the Plane of Discord. All through the tour, we were attended by a Mercenary. I kid you not. Mercenary. The new expansion features 20 new zones, a level cap increase to 85 (but tradeskill caps will not be raised) and mercenaries. Mercs are player controlled NPCs for hire. For a small amount of plat, even you can be a force to be reckoned with, even if you can’t find someone to play with. Mercs will scale to be level appropriate for the character that is doing the hiring, and will function as a member of your group, as far as it’s AI allows, and will suck corresponding xp as a group member. Still, not something to be sneezed at when you need a little support or muscle and don’t have the time to find a group. Potentially, a group could comprise three players and three hired mercenaries. Mercs are designed only to be used in PvE encounters. After the quick and funny video promoting the new mercenary service and the nickel tour of the new expansion, the questions came fast and furious. To the disappointed groans of the crowd, it was confirmed that: Yes, the tiered spell system will still be in effect. Yes, some rank three spells would still be locked behind raid content. Some older rank 2 spells and melee tomes will be able to be created through spell research. For raids in the new expansion, only 1 person needs to be flagged for the raid to be launched. There was a general buzz as players talked about this pronouncement, but no dismay or cheers could be discerned. Sr. Producer Clint Worley talked about increased live event support that players have enjoyed and promised that this will only ramp up, not down. Leading up to the expansion, more Void events will take place. Closer to launch, a preview of two areas will be available for players to try the expansion out before buying. Finally a question about epic quests was asked. Would there be another? The entire dev panel groaned and the answer was “No, no, no, no, no!” Although someone slipped in a “Maybe!” How wise not to tie themselves down to a firm answer. EverQuest will be ten years old come February of 2009, and given the hints that were dropped, big plans are in the works for the celebration.