With the upcoming release of the eighth EverQuest expansion, players that invest in the expansion will be introduced to several new zones, a new system for gaining experience and the ability to acquire custom titles. Game Over recently sat down with Alan Crosby of Sony Online Entertainment for a quick tour of the new Omens of War expansion, and what this writer saw during the 45-minute tour seemed to suggest a few positive moves for the five-year-old massively multiplayer online roleplaying game.|
While classifying EverQuest: Omens of War as a sequel to the Gates of Discord expansion released earlier this year would only be so accurate, the storyline that started in the Gates of Discord is continued in this newest expansion. One of the biggest additions to the game with Omens of War is the addition of about 15 new zones on the world of Discord (first introduced in Gates of Discord, obviously). However, for power players that might consider themselves at the EverQuest "end-game," there are new challenges, including the addition of what is generally being referred to as Epic 2.0 quests and the raising of the maximum level a player character can achieve from 65 to 70.
In Omens of War, the tyrannical Muramites are building an invasion army and preparing for war. Other factions on the world of Discord have been added, as well, and the various graphical models of some of the new beings were extraordinary in the beta. Everything from demon-like beings to chimeras to gorilla-like giants has been added. It's up to the player characters to battle the Muramites by delving into their empire.
The new zones looked pretty good from the brief look I had at the maybe half-dozen we toured, but unless a player's character is up over at least 45th level, they won't really have a chance to check out any of the new zones. In fact, some zones are of a power level that would need a group of characters at level 65 or above to have any chance of hunting success. Zones ranged from indoor to outdoor zones, and they ran the gamut from colorful to desert to structurally-interesting buildings.
Graphical additions that will please some players (particularly those with a high-end video card) are the new water effects. Although this writer's video card wasn't able to pick up on the water effects, screenshots from SOE show what some readers should be able to experience in the final release of the product. Fire effects have been added, which were evident on one demonic creature with fire in place of hair. Unfortunately, the shadow effects that should add that extra layer of depth to the game's environment were not functioning during the tour.
As with other expansions, player characters will have the opportunity to gain new items, new spells and new quests. High-level characters will also have the ability to complete new epic quests for "specialized, hand-tailored" epic weapons through the completion of any of 16 quests. According to SOE, each weapon will be unique in design and will have specialized attributes. The tribute system has also been enhanced, and according to SOE, it will allow player characters to turn in loot for favor points, the benefit of which will be felt by the entire guild.
For casters, new Alternate Advancement capabilities will allow them to gain an additional spell slot. That means for the first time since EverQuest launched, casters will have the ability to ready more than eight spells at a time. New disciplines, new AAs and new tradeskills are also being added to EverQuest through the Omens of War expansion. Although most of the content in Omens of War is targeted at high-level characters, one thing will be accessible to all characters over 5th level. The new task system will allow players to take on "tasks" that can be completed at a player's own pace.
Overall, things look fairly good this late in the beta for this new EverQuest expansion. However, it's only a few days before EverQuest players will get a chance to see everything for themselves.
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