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Journeys Into Subterranean Norrath

Ann Hosler Posted:
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Infusing is a new mechanic that introduces a way to further customize your character by enhancing the stats on gear. Any piece of equipment with the Infusable attribute can be modified, but once infused, the change is permanent. Infusers can be acquired from crafters or as mob drops, or alternately, players can spend their platinum by infusing an item through the new deity window. Most infusers have a chance of failure, but there are special no-fail ones available currently as a Premium Edition bonus item or expansion achievement rewards.

The deity system, long due for an overhaul, finally got some attention with Terrors of Thalumbra. As players gain adventuring experience they will also increase their tithe points and experience. The points are then spent in the new interface, which features expendable miracles from all of the worshipable deities of Norrath. All players can purchase from any deity within their faction range (neutral is available to good or evil), regardless of whether or not they have chosen a deity, but those that have can purchase their deity’s miracle at a discount.

Though characters remained at level 100 this expansion, guild levels received an increase to level 150. The caveat to the new levels is that adventuring and crafting writs no longer contribute toward guild experience once it reaches level 101. These writs were a major way to level guilds in the past, but players now must make due with venturing out to complete regular status quests and fork over the new status items to city merchants.

Terrors of Thalumbra falls a bit flat on the adventure questing front, but once you delve into the itemization changes, new dungeons, and crafting additions there’s quite a bit to look forward to in this expansion. Amazing zone design is always a highlight of EverQuest II’s releases, and Thalumbra’s areas do not disappoint with its eclectic underland environments. Key chests keep us coming back for more and the new infusion mechanic has opened up fantastic customization opportunities for players. If no level increases continue to be the standard in future expansions, Daybreak will need to keep enticing players with more adornments and customizable gear.

Gameplay: 7 – Lots of new dungeons and some terrific additions for crafters, but the amount of quests compared to previous expansions is sorely lacking. The introduction of timed key reward quests will keep Thalumbra relevant for some time; removal of ROIs is a mixed experience.

Visuals: 9.5 – The new zones feature a wonderful mix of mechanical and underground elements. A wide variety of mobs fill open areas and dungeons with life. Daybreak’s artists deliver on all levels.

Polish: 9 – Some typos (my bane) are stuck in the gnemlin cogwork, but the developers have quickly squashed bugs and continue being vigilant in their weekly updates. Not all quests are created equal—without ROIs, some of them are sorely lacking in any direction, which can lead to frustration.

Longevity: 7 – The amount of new heroic and raid content will keep players entertained for quite a while, but once you’re geared up there isn’t much else to look forward to aside from gaining guild levels and obtaining infusers.

Value: 7.5 – $35 will get you Terrors of Thalumbra and all previous expansions, including the Rum Cellar campaign released this past spring. This is great for players who need to play catchup. The Collector’s and Premium editions take a dive off the deep end, clocking in at $90 and $140 respectively.

  • 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