EverQuest 2 has been a little quiet since SOE became Daybreak Games, but that changes today. We spoke with Holly Longdale about the first new Campaign (a $15 DLC) due out on April 28th: The Rum Cellar. Read on to find out all about the drunken monk mercenary and a woman who attacks you with her own severed arm.
The Rum Cellar is the beginning of a new philosophy when it comes to EverQuest 2’s paid content upgrades. Instead of the usual once a year mega-expansion, the team’s decided to put out multiple campaigns throughout the year, starting with two in 2015. The Rum Cellar is the first, with another larger DLC due out later in the Fall. The reasoning behind the change? Simply put, Holly said that the development time between concept and output often put the expansions behind the times when it came to what players wanted.
With the new approach, they’ll be able to turn things around in development much faster, offer more agile development to meet the needs of EQ2 fans, while still putting out smaller content updates between the larger DLC pushes.
The Rum Cellar is tied directly to the recent Altar of Malice expansion, and thus begins in that part of Norrath, at level 100. Yes, you’ll need Altar of Malice to play the Rum Cellar, but Holly did mention they plan to package the two together in multiple ways for people looking to jump in with both feet when the Cellar launches at the end of April.
Sillier in tone than Norrathians may be used to, Rum Cellar has players supporting the Far Seas Trading Company by working with the Broken Pirates to help prevent the Rumpocalypse… yes, the Rumpocalypse. The pirates know that if their brethren aren’t drunk most of the time (or all of it), it means bad things for the rest of Norrath. But that’s just where the story begins.
The DLC begins with a solo event zone, accompanied by an Undead Parrot being controlled by a shaman. Your goal is to infiltrate, the Cellar and prevent the Rumpocalypse from happening. This main story mission is an hour or so in length, and opens up the Event Heroic and Standard Heroic zones, as well as a brand new raid zone. You don’t have to do them in this order, but the story is told along those lines. Solo players should be happy to note that they don’t have to do the group content to get the rewards. There’s a special vendor for Rum Cellar owners only that will let you trade in the Altar of Malice currency to get the new mounts, gear, and weapons.
There are over 100 new items in the campaign, plus new collections, new achievements, a rare drop in the Drunken Monk mercenary as well as a Pirate Ship Zeppelin mount.
Oh, and there’s one particular mob that Holly’s quite proud of: an old woman who chases players around while beating them with her own severed undead limbs. Yeah, it’s kooky.
We ended with Holly reiterating that the campaigns and DLC are the new approach that EQ2’s team is taking, but that they’re also sticking to level 100 for now without level cap increases planned for the immediate future. They want to work more on horizontal progression including bringing back the Deity system in the Fall, tweaking Alternate Advancement, and making the overall level capped progression experience more compelling.
And while players might not notice the hard work being done, the back-end team is working hard on getting the servers ready for cross-server dungeons in the late summer. At first the NA and EU regions will be separate, but they hope to eventually make them cross-realm down the road. There are even performance updates coming, as the team finds new ways to work on the code-base almost 11 years into EQ2’s life. The Scout, Summoner, and several other classes are getting loads of changes this year as well. But as for those long-wanted new character models? It may not be a complete overhaul a la WoW, but Holly said to expect some surprises this Fall.
The Rum Cellar goes live on the Test Server next week on April 6th, and will be available to purchase for its April 28th release date soon. Head over to EverQuest2.com to learn more.
How does one get involved in the Rum Cellar once it goes live? Good question and one that Holly answered herself:
Join us in The Rum Cellar Campaign which starts in the Phantom Sea zone from the Altar of Malice expansion behind Castle Highhold. You must speak with an ogre named “Groo.” You will work with the Brokenskull Pirates in order to prevent the Rumpocolypse – an end to rum production! Sober pirates would be devastating for Norrath. You must take on the harrowing mission to gather intel from the Far Seas Distillery while being guided by a shaman’s undead parrot named “Nibbles.”
You can get the entire story of the campaign through the solo and heroic zones and the raid story is complimentary to the storyline. There are 10 raid events! (Nine plus a one-shot boss!)