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EverQuest: New Underfoot Expansion Preview

Updated Sun, Dec 06, 2009 by Dalmarus

EverQuest was the birthplace of more than one online gaming obsession (mine included) more than a decade ago. Despite being one of the oldest MMOGs on the block, it's still running strong. With the December 15th release date for its 16th expansion, Underfoot, right around the corner, some may even say it's running stronger than ever.

Last week, I had the opportunity to go on a guided tour of the new zones and I'm here to bring you all the good news. Like many that have come before it, the new expansion is loaded with goodies and if you've been away from the game for a number of years and want to catch up, now's the perfect time to do it.

The Telmiran

Underfoot includes all 15 previously released expansions. That's right - every single one of them is included. So, if you're behind by just one expansion, or all fifteen, it doesn't matter. In the past, SOE (Sony Online Entertainment) has had a habit of releasing an EverQuest compilation set shortly after a new expansion releases. The compilation would include all of the previous expansions *minus* the latest. It was a good deal if you'd been away for a while, but it still stung since it felt as though you had to make a substantial investment in the game again. Fortunately for everyone, it looks like they've seen the error of their ways and have taken care of new and veteran players alike this time. Let’s hope this trend continues into the future.

The Underfoot expansion may not be designed with the new player in mind, but the EverQuest veterans will find a lot to be happy about. The expansion will introduce two new systems, a plethora of crafting items, twelve new zones to explore, and new races to encounter. The quest progression throughout the zones will throw the players directly into the middle of a conflict of godlike proportions – literally.

EverQuest’s Underfoot expansion will bring one major new feature to Norrathians everywhere--the achievement system. Similar to those found in other games, this system will track the progression of explored zones, gained AAs (Alternate Advancement abilities), quest completions, and more. When Underfoot launches, players will be able to track their General Achievements along with their progression in Underfoot. The team intends to bring all the old EverQuest zones into the Achievement system eventually as well. Once it’s finished, those of you that are completionists can say goodbye to any spare time you had in the past because the number of zones alone in EverQuest is staggering.

That's no statue. 

The other new feature is a highly anticipated Extended Target Window which will allow you to track both friends and foes with greater accuracy than ever before. You can choose to track who you want, when you want. Tired of always having to remember which function key to hit in the heat of battle in order to target the main tank so you can provide some much DPS support? How about struggling to target the overzealous rogue that won't stand still? All of these concerns and more will be a thing of the past with this new window system. Assign who you want to the window and then click away to keep track of them. Thanks to the design team, your life in raids just got a whole lot easier.

The Underfoot expansion includes the usual myriad additions to current content that players have grown used to over the years. Crafters can create new armors, weapons and more with thousands (yes, I did say thousands) of new recipes. This includes new cultural armors, poisons, research spells, and everything in between.

Knowing that players are always seeking to improve their characters, the EverQuest team will also be introducing a number of new AAs with this latest expansion. As a side note, I find it a little bizarre to this day that other development companies haven’t adopted such a method to keep gamers playing for years. The degree of character customization made possible by AAs may not make much of a difference in some MMOGs (such as EVE, which is practically built around a similar system), but for others, like Vanguard, I think it would stem the tide of impatient players always begging for new content. Such a system would buy many development teams some much-needed breathing room.



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