By MerryQuiteContrary, OnRPG Journalist
Yesterday I attended the press event for the 66th game update for Everquest II, titled Scars of the Awakened. Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Directive Akil Hooper were our tour guides with designer Carlos Mora aka Gninja (the G is silent) behind the “driving” in game. With this game update a new zone is introduced as well as a new dungeon. There have also been some class updates along with new tradeskill quests and collections added. Scars of the Awakened will be available for play this afternoon (April 30th PST).
Cobalt Scar is a new (to EverQuest II) advanced solo zone for players 93 to 95 though Akil tells us at 93 this zone would be a challenge. Advanced solo is what EQII likes to call zones meant for one to two players or one very well geared player. Cobalt scar is part of the EverQuest legacy and has several mob types the player may recognise from EverQuest such as the Othmir – an almost otter like creature. The difference in EverQuest II is that they seem to be zombies. Osh is also here and meditating with pretty new particle affects.
Siren’s Grotto is the new dungeon with this game update and features, you guessed it, Sirens. And the model used for the Sirens is gorgeous. I am not sure I’ve seen a prettier model in EQ2. This dungeon has solo, party and raid content and comes in two parts: The beautiful underwater feeling of the Sirens and then the fear touched part with the “fights focusing on the nature of Sirens” according to Akil. This new dungeons also introduces new NPCs such as the octopus-headed mobs, Tavalan. Holly states that the Tavalan are a direct reference to D&Ds Illithid or mind flayers. There is also continued use of voice overs in this dungeon as seen with the new content for EverQuest. This definitely seems to be a trend for both the EverQuest and EverQuest II teams.
As with EverQuest listening to focus feedback from players, so too is the EverQuest II team. Primarily I’m talking about some class changes. Those worried about their class though can rest easy knowing the changes are more of the fixing annoying things variety rather than major overhauls.
In addition to the new zone and dungeon, an outdoor raid encounter (a big serpentine dragon also from EverQuest) has been added. There is also a new PvP set called Chaos Bringer which can be purchased in Champion’s Respite. New tradeskill quests are also available and can be identified by the very bright green feather over the NPC’s head.
The overall goal of this update is to “create moments for players” and being “focused on immersing players” according to Holly while Akil mentions “focusing on supporting our storyline with strong visuals”. From the look of things, it would appear they are right on track.