Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Savanja
EverQuest II - "Echoes of Faydwer" Interview with Ten Ton Hammer
by: Elisabeth"Kiara" Grey
Ten Ton Hammer's very own Kiara, interested in Echoes of Faydwer, asked Jason "Dymus" Roberts, lead content designer, some very pointed questions about the upcoming expansion. Join her for an exclusive look at some of the upcoming features!
Kiara: How much of Faydwer is being taken from EQ1? Will some of our old favorites, like D'Vinn, be making a cameo?
Dymus: Faydwer as a continent was able to avoid or more quickly recover from the disasters that shattered much of Norrath. A lot can happen in 500 years, but many places within Faydwer will be quite familiar to those who have traveled the continent in the original EverQuest. Some of the familiar characters have more than just cameo appearances and have not been sitting idly by in the last few centuries. The hope is that a balance was struck between the familiarity of Faydwer and the changes and progression of story that the game has been striving for.
Kiara: Can we get a little more detailed look at how Tinkering and Transmuting will work in the crafting system?
Dymus: Both Tinkering and Transmuting are secondary tradeskills which any character can select. Only one can be chosen and advanced as an addition or augmentation to a character's primary tradeskill class. Players will have to choose carefully as they are quite different from one another.
Fundamentally, Transmuting is what allows players to create adornments by breaking down items into their elemental components. Every crafting class will have specific adornments they can create but they need the raw materials that only a character with transmuting skill can provide.
We've implemented Tinkering as a more lighthearted and fun skill where players can create unique gadgets and gizmos not yet seen by everyday Norrathians. Tinkered items can range from useful effects such as a gnomish ring press which increases success in jewel crafting to anti-camo goggles which allow the user to see stealth when activated.
Kiara: With the addition of a new starting city and playable race, will we see things like there were in Desert of Flames: city factions, etc? Will people be able to relocate to the new starting city if they so choose, and will there be a new binding quest?
Dymus: Kelethin is a united city allied with Qeynos instead of one full of internal strife and conflict as Maj'Dul was in Desert of Flames. The citizens of Kelethin understand that they owe their survival to their unity and thus do not have many factions within the treetops. There are specialized groups responsible for certain areas of interest but political struggle for favor such as found within Freeport are mostly unheard of here.
Anyone who wishes to move to Kelethin will have that as an option though evil aligned characters are not truly welcome within the treetops without first proving their desire to turn over a new leaf. The Qeynosian citizens and allies of Kelethin and the Fae queen will have an easier time with any transition to a home in the trees.
Kiara: With the return of the gods, will their planes, indeed be reopening for exploration? Will the selection of one's diety be race or alignment based? Will it be possible to be a Freeport aligned character and worship a "good" aligned god?
Dymus: After having their realms and seats of power invaded and plundered by adventurers in the past, the deities are very reluctant to allow that to happen again. All the previously known gateways to the planes have been closed to mortals for quite some time. This is not to say that they will remain closed forever but do not expect the deities to grant a warm welcome for treading on holy ground.
The selection of deity is alignment based. Evil aligned characters from Freeport will only be able to follow evil or neutrally aligned deities while good aligned characters from Qeynos or Kelthin will only be able to follow good or neutrally aligned deities. Exiles are free to follow whomever they choose but they pay a high price without a proper home city to call their own.
Kiara: Will there be new heritage quests? What sorts of items can we look forward to?
Dymus: There are several new heritage and signature quests. I would hate to spoil the surprise for those who look forward to discovering these things on their own. However, I can say that there are at least a couple cloaks which have made their way back into the world.
Kiara: Could we have an example of what the new armour sets will be like? The benefits to having a full set of whatever sort of armour, other than the obvious benefit of, ya know, matching colors?
Dymus: The new item sets do not just cover armor though armor sets will be the most commonly seen. The benefits are varied but they range between things such as focus effects, increases in certain types of damage, critical hit percentages, beneficial reactive effects, overall increases in statistics, hit points, or power. The goal is to make having a complete (or even partial) set very rewarding and desirable.
Kiara: Can you tell us a little bit more about the solo quest paths that will be available?
Dymus: Each of the new solo content quest paths tells a story, though the characters you are helping (or hindering) about the area and the history or current events that are unfolding within Faydwer. They are your best window into the events that took place after the cataclysms and into what events are just starting to unfold.
Kiara: How do you feel about this expansion in relation to the other two? Did having more time to work on it give you guys a more relaxed feeling or let you feel like you could spend more time developing the story line and additions to the world than a tighter development window would?
Dymus: Personally I feel that this expansion will be the best of anything we've created to date. I'm excited to see what the reactions are and how people will view the combinations of familiar and completely different within the content.
Having more has been a big help in what we wanted to accomplish with this expansion. It has made Faydwer as large as the prior two expansions combined and given us the time we need in order to refine all that content to fill its potential. The extra time has also allowed us to experiment a bit more and take some larger risks with the features in Echoes of Faydwer.
Kiara: With three expansions and three adventure packs under your belt now, which of the six would you say was your favourite to work on, and which put the stuff you most wanted to see into the game?
Dymus: For me it is a fairly close match between The Splitpaw Saga and Echoes of Faydwer both for very different reasons. Within Splitpaw we were able to experiment with level scaling, heavily instanced stories, and introduce some new gameplay elements that the game did not have prior to the adventure pack. We learned a lot from that adventure pack and many of the better elements have made their way into the rest of the content over time.
Echoes of Faydwer allows us to provide an entirely new experience for players with the new race, new starting city, full level range of content, and the largest continent to date. The expansion has also given us the opportunity to add things to the game which players have been asking for and it combines the total sum of experience from all prior expansions into one enormous addition to the game.
Kiara: What direction would you like to see the game go for the next round of adventure packs and expansions? Are there any particularly favorite old-school spots that the development team is trying to find a way to work into things?
Dymus: There are a few, and we'd like to add a strong twist into the mix. Faydwer has many things that are familiar because it did not suffer the catastrophes as severely as other places on Norrath. Moving to another side of the wheel there are several things we'd like to do in the future which illustrate just how bad some of the magical disasters affected the world. It opens up the potential for fantastic scenes and stories which can bring quite a bit of excitement to the game.
Thank you to Dymus and SOE for giving us a bit of insight inside this coming expansion!