Odus Comes to EQ2 - A Sentinel's Fate Expansion Q&A with Alan Crosby

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Remember Odus from EverQuest? It was a small continent, but it packed a punch. If you had reason to go there (apart from starting an Erudite character), you knew you were going to be in for something challenging, fun, and rewarding. Now, Odus comes to EverQuest 2 with the upcoming expansion, Sentinel's Fate. We spoke with EQ2 Producer, Alan Crosby to get the skinny on this exciting new expansion. We were able to get info about new armor sets, raids, and how the Hole comes into play.

Ten Ton Hammer: SentinelÂ’s Fate takes us back to Odus. Are we going to see old favorite zones like The Hole, and Paineel?

Alan Crosby: Actually, both of those that you just listed are there. We really worked hard to capture that nostalgia; to have those things that players love. ThereÂ’s also Toxx Forest. We all loved getting lost there in the original EverQuest. Paineel, The Hole; theyÂ’re all there.

Ten Ton Hammer: Previous EQ2 expansions have also taken us back to old zones, so weÂ’re well familiar with the concept. However, some zones like KarnorÂ’s Castle were more reminiscent of the old zones than others, having similar geography and textures. Will players immediately recognize these zones as appearing much the way they did in Classic EQ?

Alan: Well, they are revamped. For example Paineel is a city that thrived for a while after original EverQuest and then it fell into disarray and decay, and youÂ’ll understand why as you get into the story line. So there are things that are reminiscent, but itÂ’s not the same city. The Hole, as well. YouÂ’re going to see a lot of the same monster types, but it also has changed a lot.

We want to have that touch of nostalgia. We want to have it so that you recognize it as the place you once knew, but weÂ’re not going to have it like, as you pointed out, KarnorÂ’s Castle, where you still get the great trains that people enjoyed in the original EverQuest.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there actually a hole to The Hole as there was in the original game, where you could fall to your death from Paineel?

Alan: (laughs). No, thereÂ’s not. Especially not if youÂ’re a Fae or an Arasai.

But as far as is there a hole there? Well, you know, the original Hole eventually led to the Underfoot and you may see some influence there from that.

Ten Ton Hammer: So Underfoot does come into play then?

Alan: I think youÂ’ll start to see a touch of the Underfoot and perhaps some of its influence on areas throughout all of Odus.

Ten Ton Hammer: EQ1 is also launching an expansion soon, which also deals with the Underfoot. Are these expansions related, and was it planned?

Alan: I would like to say that it was brilliant coordination but it was mostly just fortunate happenstance. Our expansion got moved up just to get some more live work and things just kind of synched up.
There may have been some cross pollination of ideas because both teams were fleshing out what they wanted to do for the next expansion. But no, there wasnÂ’t a coordinated effort to have them link together.

Ten Ton Hammer: The seal at the bottom of The Hole had always been a thing of mystery in the original EverQuest, and its lore is now being revealed through their expansion. It doesnÂ’t have any significance in SentinelÂ’s Fate?

Alan: You may see it. EverQuest has wanted to do Underfoot for a while. Even back when I was on that team it was something we were talking about doing. So, IÂ’m glad they finally got to.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you give us any hints about the new Heritage Quests?

Alan: No. (laughs).

TheyÂ’re being fleshed out. The design docs are being generated. WeÂ’re just starting to nail them down, so there really isnÂ’t much to talk about just yet.

Ten Ton Hammer: The level cap is going up to level 90. This means the crafting cap is going up as well?

Alan: The crafting cap is going up. YouÂ’ll also see that guilds will now be able to reach level 90. WeÂ’re working on new amenities for guild halls to add to that. And new AAs. So everything that you can possibly advance is going to advance a bit thanks to the level cap.

Ten Ton Hammer: So, just new amenities; no new guild halls or housing?

Alan: Well, we are working on new housing for Halas, and weÂ’re talking about ideas for additional housing and guild halls later on; but as far as this expansion goes, no there wonÂ’t be any new guild halls.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are we going to see new group tradeskill instances?

Alan: Yes, you will have new tradeskill instances.

Ten Ton Hammer: Will we have new armor sets?

Alan: Yes. In fact our art team is working very hard on whole kinds of assorted new armor sets.  With the new snap-on system we have, which allows us to just add individual pieces to give armor different looks, our goal is to have more new looks for armor than we currently have. Hopefully, if we get everything in that we want to, youÂ’ll see more new types and appearances for armor than there currently are.

Some of it is all new armor, all new textures. YouÂ’re going to see the variations, but then weÂ’re going to be able to add, say, different shoulder pieces, or different belts, or different snap-ons to the front of the breastplate to give it a distinct appearance; so it doesnÂ’t look like just the same armor with a different color.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you tell us anything about the raids?

Alan: We have a few planned – both contested, and non-contested. Some of the early raids are going through their testing right now. Roger Uzun, who is our raid master and guru, is plotting those out. We’ll be pushing some of those out when we open a beta here in the next few weeks.

There’s going to be quite an array of new raids. We’re looking at all kinds of different mechanics to make raids interesting. We heard the players. They didn’t necessarily like some of the console-style things in the past, like ‘click on x object’ or ‘figure out x puzzle.’ So we’re trying some other options.

If you tried the variable difficulty raid we introduced with GU53, MiragulÂ’s Planar Shard, youÂ’re going to see a lot of that mechanic used going forward. Most of the raids introduced in the next expansion will have that mechanic.

If youÂ’re not in the best uber guild with all the best gear and all of your mythicals, youÂ’ll probably still be able to go in and encounter all of these raids. If you are in the uber guilds, then you can go in and fight the tougher version and get better loot.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are the harder versions the same bosses, just harder, or different bosses all together?

Alan: Different bosses.

For example, you make your way into a dungeon, and this dungeon is run by a dragon. If you are on the lesser raids, you pick that path in the conversation, you may end up fighting that dragonÂ’s harbinger rather than the dragon itself. So you would get to fight their minion, take part in the raid, get some great rewards, and the only difference between you and one of the uber guilds is that theyÂ’re going to actually fight the dragon. TheyÂ’re going to have a much harder time, and get greater rewards for it.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there anything else youÂ’d like to tell readers about SentinelÂ’s Fate?

Alan: WeÂ’re really excited. We think itÂ’s going to be a great expansion. The team has been working hard on it. WeÂ’ve done a lot of live updates over the last year and have added a lot of content and now as we gear up for SentinelÂ’s Fate youÂ’re going to see that trickle off a bit as we focus fully on getting the expansion out there. But weÂ’re really excited about the prospects.

We have a lot of things tied into it that we havenÂ’t announced yet. So along with the expansion, thereÂ’s going to be a lot of live features that we think all of our players are going to enjoy. Some very new things for EverQuest 2; some new mechanics, some new play styles, and itÂ’s an exciting time.

Ten Ton Hammer: When is it going to beta?

Alan: WeÂ’re opening up beta here in the next few weeks, before the Christmas holidays.

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