EverQuest has been a staple in the MMORPG world for 14 years now. The amount of content already in the game is nothing short of mind boggling. Despite this, the team at Sony Online Entertainment refuses to kick their feet up and relax. Instead, they released yet another massive content update today. Heart of Fear is the culmination of a three year old story that started in 2010 with the House of Thule expansion pack and is completely free to Rain of Fear expansion owners. Confronting the final remnants of Cazic-ThuleÂs power, players will discover whatÂs become of Cazic himself and come to realize what real fear is.
To get an idea of just how bad things are in the world of Norrath, check out the Heart of Fear trailer. According to the ominous voiceover by Xaric, the previously unseen fear in the world, Cazic-Thule was weak, had become familiar to the inhabitants of Norrath, and that could not be tolerated. According to Xaric, you canÂt fear what is known. Only fear of the unknown is pureÂ and he intends to bring it into the world.
There are new zones, new quests, new raids, class-specific weapons, and more in Heart of Fear. One point of interest to note is that the design team took some liberties with the concepts of fear and some of the mini-bosses in the original Plane of Fear. While there will be opportunities to encounter new aspects of Misery, Dread, etc, players will also encounter previously undiscovered aspects of fear. For example, players will encounter the Fear of Spiders, a mini-raid with (you guessed it) spiders galore! Let me tell you, I do not dig spiders. At all. After getting the scoop on exactly what this mini-raid entails, I knew I would have a nearly overwhelming compulsion to set my computer on fire afterwards. Actually, IÂm not sure I would even make it through the entire encounter before hunting for gasoline and a match.
To get to the heart of Cazic-ThuleÂs power, youÂll need to go through three zones, each created solely for this expanded content. The first of these zones is massive. How big, you ask? ItÂs bigger than most other zones in the EverQuest. Even the largest of zones normally have 800-900 mobs populating them. But the new zones contain almost 2,000, so be prepared for some epic fights.
Along with their impressive size, the new zones are also reminiscent of the Fortress of Solitude (think Superman), but with one major difference. Where SupermanÂs fortress is one huge dome, this fortress is a virtual maze. Why am I not surprised? After all, this is a quest to conquer the Heart of Fear, so what better way to amplify that sensation than by adding the distinct possibility of having to flee for your life while completely lost?
Scattered through these new areas are gestation crystals, spawning various aspects and creatures of fear into the world. With over a dozen different types of mobs that can be spawned, players will have plenty of creatures to keep their attention as they attempt to battle their way down to the heart of CazicÂs power. To stir even more fear into the pot, the mobs will continue getting bigger the further down players travel.
A content update like this wouldnÂt be complete with something as ÂsimpleÂ as new zones, and SOE doesnÂt disappoint. TheyÂre also introducing new class-specific weapons for every class in the game. The weapons are powerful, awesome looking, and come in different varieties. For example, there are group versions and full raid versions of each. And in an exclusive scoop, I have confirmed with EverQuest Producer, Thom ÂPhathomÂ Terraza, there are no, I repeat, NO duckbill Necromancer weapons. Personally, I was secretly hoping to see them tossed in as a bit of an Easter egg for old players, but alas, the duckbill is not destined to be resurrected.
Fortunately, there are some secrets of old hidden within the new content though. An ongoing tradition in EverQuest has been a secret method of killing Halflings. Never one to let an opportunity to rid the world of these evil beings in ever-increasing ways slip through their fingers, the design team has once again come through. Hidden somewhere within the new zones for Heart of Fear there is a secret method of killing Halflings, so have fun hunting for it! (PS Â When you discover it, be sure to send me a message letting me know how as well. ItÂs not that I really have anything against them, but itÂs every NorrathianÂs duty to clear the land of these bastards and my Dark Elf Necromancer is always happy to lend a hand.)
As a reminder for those who may not be aware, EverQuest is free to play (I believe the free download version includes the first 17 expansions), so be sure to hop back in and give it a try! Things are definitely different than in the days of old, but IÂve hopped back in for the past few weeks and IÂm having a blast.
Also, SOE Live is just a couple weeks away. Along with some incredible EverQuest Next announcements, SOE will also be revealing the 20th expansion for EverQuest. Can you believe it? Twenty expansions! ThatÂs no small feat. For years, IÂve heard the constant cries of, ÂOh no, does this mean EverQuest is going away?Â I think itÂs pretty clear to see that EverQuest has no intention of going anywhere.