Coyote Sharptongue, Ten Ton Hammer's Resident Funnyman
Let me start by saying that I don't tend to do a lot of press tours.
This isn't by my design or intent, but more of a side effect to a
genetic condition that is only know as "simply being me."
there are no obvious poop jokes in The Shadow Odyssey.
Simply is our key word here.
I am a man of simple pleasures and because of that I tend to laugh at
life and take nothing too seriously. This is kind of the opposite
mindset that things like press tours require. These tours are set up to
show off an up and coming game or expansion and get the word out to the
community. There are high hopes of gaining a fair review
written by informed and experienced gamers.
I - on the other hand - like to screw around and assault the crowd with
a barrage of high velocity poop jokes.
Simple man, simple tastes.
When I was asked if I would be interested in attending the Beta Tour
for SOE's upcoming fifth expansion to href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/35"
MMOG of choice), I was immediately overwhelmed, honored, and
suspicious. Deeply suspicious. You see, the folks over at SOE know me
and they know me well. We've had a long history of interactions and
conversations and meetings, and if they were asking ME to go on a press
tour, I figured it was either a cruel joke or an elaborate prank.
Either way, I couldn't say no to the possibility of seeing style="font-style: italic;">The Shadow Odyssey
before release, so I quickly agreed.
Much to my delight, it wasn't a hoax or trick, but an actual
opportunity to walk through the expansion and see the ever changing
world of EQ2 for myself.
Our small group consisted of four other members from the EQ2 community
including: Brasse from "thebrasse.com" (expect some cartoons), Calthine
from Zam, Dellmon from Online Gaming Radio, and Atrox from Stratics. We
gathered in a circle around our tour guide, SOE's Community Manager
Kiara, and were given items and buffs that ensured we could not be
killed (which turns out to be incorrect under the stress of my testing)
or attacked as we were lead through the new zones and instances that
make up the bulk of the expansion.
We were also given new mounts to ride that will be available to
crafters who complete one of the many new crafting quests, including
raids (I kid you not, crafting RAIDS). These high run speed mounts add
yet a new beast of burden to EQ2's already impressive list of
ride-ready pets, and come with only one tiny little draw back:
They're frigging unicorns.
This makes me a pretty, pretty Princess [ style="font-style: italic;">With a capital P!--Ed.]
much to the delight of the screenshot snapping group. With our
sparkling mounts prancing along, granting wishes to the six year old
girls brushing our tails and manes, Kiara whisked us away to begin our
first instance tour.
The new instances are scaleable group encounter zones very reminiscent
of the Lost Dungeons of Norrath adventures from the original href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/38"
They offer private areas of play for adventurers looking to do
something different without the threat of showing up to an already
wiped clean zone. Starting in the caverns of Guk, we ported in and were
greeted by roughly 9,000 angry undead frogloks who didn't seem to care
that they weren't supposed to attack us.
atmosphere in the next EQ2 expansion seems very dark, unless you count
They poured from tunnels and crevices by the dozen as they all fought
for a chance to smack us around. Luckily the "invincible" portion of
the tour was working correctly, and we quickly made short work of the
rotting frogmen before continuing the tour, this time no longer "aggro"
to the mobs.
Guk is everything you'd expect for a frog haven. It is wet and swampy
and the ambience (which seems to be a focal point of this expansion)
absolutely set the mood. We were lead through the zone and
shown new characters and key plot points that I cannot get into because
I was too busy looting all of the chests that dropped in hopes of
seeing what the loot is going to look like.
Because let's be honest, at the end of the day it is ALL about the
Is it overpowered? Is it underpowered? Do we have to worry about
current gear being obsolete with the new expansion, or are we going to
be given gobs of "vendor trash"? These are the constant and hard
hitting questions that I can safely answer because I am a the world's
biggest Shameless Lootwhore.
I kid you not when I say that I looted EVERY chest. Having not set
group options to "lotto", it was first come first served on whatever
dropped, and I constantly elbowed my way to the front of the line.
Unfortunately, not a lot of the named were taken down, although I was
able to transfer aggro to Calthine (constantly), and feign death so
that the group was forced to engage whatever mob Kiara was trying to
give us the history on. Most of the encounters played out like this:
is Ultra-cool-looking-uber mob. His armor was constructed piece by
piece so that it flows around him in a realistic manner and-
"What does he drop?"
"Calthine, I think he likes you!"
[Mob is aggroed by me,
hate transferred to Calthine. Once engaged, I feign and wait until
they're forced to kill the Mob using ULTRA UBER SOE POWERS. Once the
mob (and most of the group is down) I unfeign, and during the chaos I
run over and loot the chest]
Everyone in group:
[Swear filter symbols]
Through this method I was able to sample gear drops through most of the
instanced zones, and I'm happy to report that you will not be
disappointed. While most of the gear drops were legendary, the stats
were either on par or slightly better than what I was already wearing.
Nothing devastating in power, but nothing meager or under powered, so
it is safe to say that the ramp for better gear will be a gradual
incline and not a wall that makes your current gear seem obsolete.
As we moved through the different instances such as Ykesha's Outer
Stronghold, Befallen, Guk, and a LOVELY place called the Necrotic
Asylum, I had to stop and actually take full notice and appreciation of
the zones. As I stated, ambience seems to be a key to the new
expansion, and these zones brought nothing but delight. Melding sound,
particle effects, and moving objects, each zone seemed to wordlessly
tell a story and I found myself actually being drawn into even the
simplest of corridors. The attention to detail, not just in zone or
room design, but the mobs and objects found within was breath taking.
Horror mixed with mystery, and even humor as we stumbled into both
Captain Hamyr and Wilhem Horrorbile. I was honestly impressed at not
only the levels of artwork, but the depth and creativity of each zone.
I was also surprised to find out that I COULD indeed die, despite the
"magic buffs" the were supposedly keeping us alive.
the protection of GM buffs, Coyote still managed to die.
Sure, I had to work at ending myself, but the confusion and surprise
echoing from the lips of our tour guide made the death absolutely worth
it. As I laid there, dead to the world, I took the time to play with
the new attribute system and redistribute my 200 AA's (that's right, 60
more AA levels!) over the now THREE ability trees available. A third
option has been added for each core class, allowing even more
customization to the already seemingly endless choices a player can
We ended the tour in heart of The Void itself. The sky spun with rock
and debris as we moved through a castle in a vortex in the middle of
the cosmos. Giant void beasts lumbered by as we jumped through portal
after portal, searched the level for clues and quests, and proved time
and time again that hate transfer and feign death equal endless
In the end I found myself deeply impressed and eagerly anticipating the
expansion's release on November 18th. style="font-style: italic;">The Shadow Odyssey
only promises to add even more fun and excitement to my already beloved
game, and I cannot wait to jump in and throw my hate on Calthine.
Because I NEED to see what that next named drops.
thanks to SOE and Kiara for the Beta Tour. It was amazingly well done,
and greatly appreciated, and I will remember it fondly - by necessity -
because I'll probably never be invited on another one.
style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">
YPP, Coyote. (Your Pretty Princess.)***
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