We look forward to the upcoming expansion pack
"Welcome to the Overrealm."
With those words, my tour of the new EverQuest II expansion, ‘Kingdom of Sky’ began. They were delivered to me and the others in our media tour group by Ryan “Blackguard” Shwayder, EverQuest II Community Manager, bon vivant, and general voice of reason in the EQII forums. I was hoping to get someone important, someone who knew what they were talking about, but we play with the cards we’re dealt (/sarcasm mode off).
Cradling a recharged cordless phone on my shoulder for the conference call, full glass of soda on the desk, second computer fired up and ready to take notes, I was prepared for my exploration of the new, soon to be discovered lands in the skies of Norrath.
Our tour began with a brief overview of the features in the expansion. We will now be able to Adventure and Tradeskill up to level 70, and Guilds can reach level 50. There are new profession specific hats and armor, Blackguard was himself decked out in the new Swashbuckler attire. There are new Heritage Quests, a new type of quest called Signature Quests, over 30 new Collections to attain, and four new Arena Champions with two new arenas. We also get new titles, the usual new areas and new monsters, and the much anticipated Achievement system. More about that later.
We started in Tenebrous Tangle, an entry point to the Kingdom of Sky. It's one of the main large region zones and consists of a number of floating isles inhabited by various creatures. The zone is intended for characters in the 56-62 level range. And they’re not kidding. As soon as you zone in, and go through an archway, you are beset by various Droag, Bixies, Carnivorous Plants, Beholders, and many more fearsome creatures.
The Tenebrous Tangle is home to the Temple of Scale and the Sanctum of the Scaleborn and is considered holy ground by many of the Awakened. It's floating islands exist within the Overrealm skies between the Bonemire and the Barren Sky. This is a very dangerous place. You will find few allies here, or anywhere in the Overrealm, pretty much everything wants to eat or crush you. There are some recently escaped Frogloks nearby who are among the few friendlies, to get to them and access to other areas requires a leap of faith, literally.
We visited a few more locations in the Dragon Isles including the Breeding Grounds, where you’ll find drakes, droag breeders, and other wyrm creatures, and Bixie Isle that is inhabited by you guessed it, Bixies, along with a lot of bees.
Ryan took this moment to reiterate one of the new features, the level increases for Adventurers, Artisans and Guilds. Along with the new levels, it also brings all new items, including equipment, furniture, guild rewards, and for the Carpenters out there, a lot of new level 60+ furniture, including some rares. He explained that not all expansions will necessarily include a level cap increase, but they felt that the content in Kingdom of Sky justified one. After all, these isles are thought to have bled into this world from the fabled Plane of Sky, not to mention there are Dragons here.
We next visited one of the zones accessible from Tenebrous Tangle, called the Sanctum of the Scaleborn. It’s a zone intended for groups levels 62-67. The dark stone corridors and holy rooms are filled with Wraiths, Droags, Silent Sentinels, and other creatures. We explored the Oratorium and the Audience Chamber, where an unfriendly Dragon could be found, if one knew how to look. There is also a raid version of the zone called the Temple of Scale, which is home to the high priestess of the Awakened named Harla Dar.
The next zone we visited was the Barren Sky. On this group of barren desert islands live winged creatures known as Aviaks. You can also find basilisks and beholders lurking about. The zone is intended for players 62-68, and is located between the Bonemire and Tenebrous Tangle. There are two major factions of Aviaks, the Strifewing and the Blacktalon. They both fight over control of the Barren Sky, while the Blacktalons are loyal to the Awakened, and they fight to protect the Palace of the Awakened which is found here. There is also a third faction known as the Windgazer that lives in hiding on Whisperwind Isle, avoiding the other two factions that want to destroy them.