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Journeys Into Subterranean Norrath

Ann Hosler Posted:
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The ancient kingdom of Maldura, not heard from since before the Shattering, has made a desperate call for help to those residing aboveground. Their messages, unclear by the time they reached the surface, prompt the heroes of Norrath—those who have achieved level 100—to take action and delve into the unknown.

EverQuest II’s 12th expansion, Terrors of Thalumbra, introduces new content for level capped adventurers and tradeskillers. A plethora of new dungeons (13 Heroic, 6 Advanced Solo, and 1 Contested) and four raid zones can be found within the vast underland zone of Thalumbra, the Ever Deep and the city of Maldura. The local denizens, dwarves and gnomes called the dhalgar and gnemlin respectively, are wary of outsiders but desperate for help.

On the surface, the adventuring questing experience appears quite shallow; there just over 30 regular quests in Thalumbra (including repeatables) and 12 obtained from Maldura (two of which are Heroic and Epic difficulty). These quests don’t offer much depth to the region; instead, the Underdepths Saga signature series delves into the expansion’s story.

A major change in questing this expansion was the discontinuation of Regions of Interest (ROI) on the map. ROIs were first added during the Destiny of Velious expansion and would highlight or pinpoint quest updates on your map. The removal of the feature from the new content may frustrate at times—some of the quest text is nearly useless when it doesn’t even tell you which general compass direction to head off in—but it also adds back in the joy of exploration and a sense of accomplishment when you don’t have the game handholding you through the updates.

Prodding deeper into the underland, it’s evident that the EQ2 team had a great idea to keep bodies in Thalumbra: the addition of timed triggered quests that reward chest keys. These gold, platinum, or umbrite keys unlock matching chests in Thalumbra, rewarding players with solo, heroic, or raid quality gear. Warm bodies hanging around even weeks after release is always a positive step for a new release, and it’s a nice alternative to the token grinding present in previous expansions.

Crafters saw the return of Emily Taylor, aka Domino/Pentapod, as EverQuest II’s tradeskill developer. A new signature quest (which has an amazing reward) leads you through the new content and gives its own abbreviated delivery of the core expansion story. A number of subquests spread out between the Far Seas Trading Company, the Duality, and a couple of locals in Maldura will have crafters dodging fathomlurkers, harvesting a new tier of materials, and pitching in to protect the city from a danger known as the immolated.

Recipes in Terrors of Thalumbra are acquired from Maldura faction merchants. There are a handful of generic artisan books (available at 30K faction) which allow crafters to create green and purple adornments, as well as the new infusers (more on those in a bit). Each tradeskill class also gets its own recipe book (available at 10K faction), so a whole new tier of gear, food, potions, and house items can be created.

Several fish plushie collections can be completed out in Thalumbra, two red shiny crafter collections are available for crafters in Maldura, and regular collectibles are available in the expansion zones. Players who have achieved level 100 in both adventuring and tradeskilling, and have completed the new crafting signature quest, can see special shinies in the Advanced Solo dungeons. Many new beasts are found around Thalumbra; as a result, there are three Lore and Legend quests—Fathomlurker, Poxfiend, and Cepholex—to add more trophies on your wall.

There were a few itemization changes in Terrors of Thalumbra. Weapon delays had been all over the place throughout EverQuest II’s history, but the new minimum delay is 4 seconds, with dropped weapon modifiers allowing you to change your weapon between either a 4 or 6 second delay. Three new attributes were added: Infusable, Relic, and Prestige. Prestige items require an active All Access subscription to equip, while only one Relic item can be equipped at a time. Restricting Relics in this way allows the devs to create superior items while not trivializing future items for that slot.

  • A lot of group and advanced solo content
  • Core storyline is entertaining & wide open for future updates
  • New infusion mechanics allow players to delve into equipment customization
  • Gear continues power creep, which could be an issue if the level cap increases in the future
  • Side stories offer their usual humor, but otherwise aren't very compelling
  • Solo quests offer only a few hours of entertainment

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Ann Hosler