EverQuest II at E3 2007
by Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
Scott Hartsman, Senior Producer of EverQuest II, took 15 minutes from his hectic E3 schedule to show us what SOE has planned for the game's late 2007 retail expansion, "Rise of Kunark." As the name suggests, this expansion is all about the new Sarnak race and their destiny to grow in stature and prominence on the troubled continent of Kunark. The expansion will include low level (1-20s) content for new Sarnak, as well as high level content for all players.
If you're not at liberty to check out the video, here's a brief text overview of Scott's presentation:
- The new race, the neutral Sarnak, begin in a large zone which will bring back plenty of fond memories for EQLive players: Timorous Deep.
- Timorous Deep will cover level 1 through somewhere in the 20s for new Sarnak, and the thrust of the zone is to help the Sarnak discover who they are as a people (a lizardpeople?) and point them towards their place in the new Norrath.
Zones (not an exhaustive list, this is just what was presented):
- Timorous Deep - Mentioned above, Sarnak starting zone
- Chardok - where most of the Sarnak live, a bastion against the dragons.
- "The power of the reveal" - coming around corners and going "wow".
- Kylong Plains holds the old Dreadlands and the Burning Wood (now Stone Wood), and even Firiona Vie (though it may not be the outpost of good races you remember).
- Veeshan's Peak, which is "very much about the cool boss fights."
- Sibilis exists, but the Iksar city no longer exists as such even though some of the city survived the Shattering intact. Swimming remains an important method of transit through the city.
Features (not an exhaustive list, this is just what was presented):
- A smoother overall experience - fewer zone barriers
- New feature - dynamic combat music which varies as the tide of battle turns.
- Persistent combat instances. No longer need you run an entire raid instance at one go.
- The bitter, race defining rivalry between the Sarnak and its airbourne nemeses, the aviaks and dragons, continues.
- Rise of Kunark is about improving on what was learned from "Echoes of Faydwer" - which was in iteself regarded as an incredible success by the EQ2 team. "We're trying to one-up that."
- The "Kingdom of Sky" tie-in - the droags have teamed up with their dragon brothers again.
- Very content heavy - not just short-lived whiz bang features.
- Silverwing, Zygoz, Nexona from EQLive are elder dragons in this age.
- In general, it's about making EQ2 more accessible, more replayable.