Being that this is the year of EverQuest, with EverQuest celebrating its 15th anniversary, and EverQuest II celebrating its 10th, SOE definitely wasn’t going to skimp out on the EQ updates. The big news in the EverQuest II camp at this year’s SOE Live is the 11th expansion, The Darkened Sea. With Altar of Malice, the SOE team shows no signs of slowing down content to their flagship franchise, which is always a good sign for those of us who are more than casually invested in the series.
Many news sites reported last month that SOE had trademarked the ‘Altar of Malice’, so it really comes as no surprise that that was the title of an upcoming expansion. But what will we see with the next big update to the game? Altar of Malice will feature one of the largest updates to come to EverQuest II, a laundry list of features begins with an increase in the max level to 100, which brings it in line with the original EverQuest, who will actually be jumping up to 105 with The Darkened Sea. Six new raids and advanced zones, 2 overlands, 4 new avatars, a tradeskill apprentice, grand masters and rare ancient spells are also coming.
Some of the more interesting updates will include a brand new race, the Aerakin. The Aerakin are like nothing we’ve seen in the game yet, a dragon-like race who is born with a set of wings that level up and become stronger as you progress through the game. But what’s a set of wings worth if you can’t fly with them right? Of course, they thought of that too. When you reach level 85, your wings can finally be used to fly, which will probably be well worth the effort. Additionally the Altar of Malice will see several new enemies join the fray. Dinosaurs will be found in a new prehistoric-like zone, Pygmies, which are these very unique looking tribal people who worship the dinos, are also scheduled to join the fun. Another interesting new race are these non-undead undead, for lack of a better term. They are a living race who want to become undead-like, which means that they flay their skin to simulate the non-living, pretty morbid stuff. OH! And we can’t forget about the bear-spiders, or are they spider-bears. More spider-like than bears, this new enemy should bring a bit of terror the first time you stumble upon them in-game. (Correction: Separate from the expansion content itself, the Aerakyn are a playable race to be released for purchase later this year)
The developers talked at length about a few of the new zones. One in particular is a pirate themed town, with lots of verticality and some really cool looking narrow pathways lined with high-rise pirate homes. And another interesting zone is a temple that had fallen from the planet Luclin, unfortunately landing upside down. The inhabitants of the temple had tried to re-arrange a lot of the items inside to make it more habitable, but still the zone has that feeling that you’re never really sure which way is up.
The EverQuest II team seems to be more dedicated than ever, and after a brief interview, it’s clear that they have no shortage of content and ideas for the future of EQII and the EverQuest franchise. EverQuest is here to stay.