Tag Archives: Chaos Descending

EverQuest II Launches Chaos Descending and Celebrates Another Anniversary

The regular pattern of annual autumnal launches for EverQuest II expansions fits in nicely with the history of the game as they tend to hit pretty close to the original launch date, so you get some new content and a celebration of the history of the game all at once.

And so it goes this year, with today being the launch date for Chaos Descending, the fifteenth full expansion for EQII, and that doesn’t include the various adventure packs that SOE and Daybreak have tried now and again.

Chaos Descending the Library Staircase

While I wrote a bit about the expansion before, along with the various purchasing options, the bullet point summary from Daybreak is:

  • New Adventure Quests
  • New Signature Tradeskill Quests
  • New Signature Adventure Quests
  • New Achievements
  • New Zones
    • One Quest and Services Zone (Myrist)
    • 4 Outdoor Zones (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Detroxxulous)
    • 4 Dungeon Themes (Doomfire, Vegarlson, Eryslai, Awuidor)
    • 13 Solo Instances
    • 12 Heroic Instances
    • 7 Raid Instances
    • 1 Contested Raid Dungeon
  • Mount Equipment Feature
  • Mount Equipment Bundle
  • New Mercenary Equipment

That is a pretty nice chunk of new content being delivered, and on par with what the combined EverQuest & EverQuest II team delivers annually.  There is none of this “every other year” talk for expansions, and they still deliver a sizable mid-year update along the way as well.  They might be the hardest working team in the genre.

In addition, EverQuest II just celebrated its 14th anniversary last week.  The official launch date was November 9, 2004, with the Europeans getting their launch two days later, on the 11th.  And the anniversary brings out the Hero’s Festival for players in Qeynos and Freeport.

No Firiona Vie on EQII boxes

But wait, there’s more!

While the game launched on November 9th, my own anniversary with the game actually falls on November 13th.  That is when SOE, no doubt expecting the same rush for servers that they experienced with the EverQuest launch back in 1999, rolled out their second wave of servers for US players.  So on that date the Crushbone server went up and and what ended up being our guild, a mix of players from EverQuest and TorilMUD, started making plans for how we were going to attack post-cataclysm Norrath.  We were the Knights of the Cataclysm.

Our day two guild on Crushbone… I left in 2005 and came back in 2006

And so began a year of playing… and fighting with… the new game as both we and the in-game systems evolved.

My earliest screen shot of EQ2 – Nov. 14, 2004

It was a strange time.  I have fond memories of it, though I am sure I have blocked out many of the problems and irritations that plagued the game back at launch.

Well, I can certainly recall some of them.  I could go on about crafting, no off-line selling at the broker, locked encounters, dupe bugs, experience debt, five minute buffs, the tiny quest log, having only four character slots, guild leveling, mounts, the experiments with risky boat travel, and that graphical processing bug in Qeynos Harbor that made you machine slow to a crawl as you came and went from using the bell positioned out at the end of the dock.

So yeah, if I remember all of those right off the top of my head then there were probably a lot more I’ve forgotten.

But it was still exciting and new and probably all the more so since I had stopped playing EverQuest actively a couple years before, only popping in to visit now and again, so there was very much a new to MMOs again aspect to it.  And having Meclin along, who had skipped EQ so was really in his first MMO experience made it a pretty special time.

Meclin swinging for gnoll necks… original gnoll models

And the game looked good.  Well, it looked better than EverQuest in any case, if you could run it with the graphics settings turned up enough to appreciate it.  I recall tales of people coming for EverQuest and finding the system requirements for the new game so onerous that they had to turn down the settings to the point that they couldn’t see the faces on character models.

I think this was called “future proofing” or some such, but it seems to sacrifice the necessary today in favor of a theoretical tomorrow.

Fortunately I had a decent rig… a big purple Alienware box with an okay nVidia card in it… so I could appreciate some of the graphical quality of the game.  I couldn’t go full settings, but enough to get a decent screen shot.

The catacombs under Qeynos back in the day…

It was also an awkward time for video cards, with the horrible, power hungry nVidia 6800 GT series ruling the roost and burning out motherboards and power supplies in the name of graphical fidelity.  The 6800 design stayed around for ages, being continuously improved as time went along.  I never went for the initial mode due to its horrible reputation, but had a couple of the follow-on 8800 GT boards (LOTRO burned out two of those), then a GTS 250 and a GTS 450, both of which had their roots in the old 6800.  At the time though I stayed with the more reliable 6600 GT and then an ATi 800XL.

It is amazing the amount of little details that lurk in my brain and yet I still can’t remember somebody’s name ten seconds after they’ve been introduced to me.  And I’d have to check the settings to tell you which video card I have installed now.

So it is something of a triple, the 15th expansion drops, the game celebrating its 14th year, and I celebrating my 14th anniversary of joining the game.  Though, if I look at my character, it actually puts me in line for the 15th anniversary present in another ten days.  I wonder what we’ll get.

SOE gave me time

Of course, the timing is all off as well.  Last month I was playing and writing about EverQuest II.  Now LOTRO has captured my fickle heart with its Legendary server.  Still, I might have a post or two left in me this year about Norrath.

Chaos Descending Expansion Coming November 13th with Pre-Orders Available Now

In its way it is a bit more interesting to be talking about a new expansion when I am actually playing EverQuest II pretty regularly at the moment.

Of course how I get from where I am now, which is somewhere in the Destiny of Velious expansion from 2011, to the new stuff isn’t at all clear to me.  Given how far behind I am, and that I just picked up last year’s Planes of Prophecy expansion for half price in last month’s sale, it is pretty unlikely I am going to be in a rush to pre-order.  But I will go on about it all the same.

Just a month away

After announcing the upcoming expansion in the middle of last month, along with the half price sale, Daybreak was finally ready to reveal more information about what to expect.  This came in the form of a live stream using Facebook, a choice that, along with its mid-morning timing, made it extremely unlikely that I would watch it.  Fortunately they had the foresight to record the whole thing and upload it to YouTube so we could review it at our leisure.

Given the advent of video editing software like 30 years ago, once wonders why we much endure more than four minutes of “Broadcast Will Begin Shortly,” but I guess that gives you the full streaming experience.

When the stream does start nobody begins talking about actual game content until the 13th minute, spending the opening time with the underwater prestige home and other items that you get when you order the premium edition.  Have to pimp the upsell I guess.

Eventually they start in on the hub area and the new zones, though the whole thing moves along at such a leisurely pace that I wandered off at some point after the 25 minute mark. Everything doesn’t have to be a snappy, well-rehearsed BlizzCon style announcement, but this was very low energy and life is too short for videos that can’t even meet me halfway when it comes to engagement.

I was probably better served by the blurb on the pre-orders page.

The Elemental Planes of Order have been thrown into chaos! Thrust in the middle of a mystery of Celestial proportions, you must return to the Planes of Power to help restore balance to the Planes of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. Accomplishing this will be no small feat, and you will need to make new allies such as Maelin Starpyre, the Grand Librarian of Myrist, who resides within the Plane of Knowledge, as well as learn the fate of infamous characters from Norrath’s past by traveling to the Plane of Justice.

I could see how they were getting to some of that on the stream now.  There were some bullet points to go along with that.

  • Face the trials of the Elemental Planes with all new adventure, tradeskill, and public quests!
  • Get ahead with new achievements, collections, and more.
  • Conquer all new Solo, Heroic and Raid challenges, including a new contested Raid Dungeon!
  • Mount Gear – Mounts can now be equipped with gear to bolster their rider’s power!
  • Mount Levels – For the first time your mounts can now level! They can level to 10.
  • Ascension Levels – Ascend 5 levels to 20.
  • Mercenary Levels – Gain another 10 levels, for a maximum of 20!

Some of that is the same thing you could say about every expansion.  And Ascension levels going to level 20 doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t have any Ascension levels yet so far as I can tell.

Mounts get gear and levels though, that is new.  I wonder what that really means though.  Is this just a new way to inflate player stats as a way to gate content in the usual overkill method?  I guess mounts have had stats for a while now.  But gear and levels… I don’t know.

And I guess I know what mercenary levels are, having just blown a good chunk of my Daybreak Cash reserves boosting one of mine to level 10.  I will likely use the “set and wait” method for those additional ten.

So there are your progression options, in addition to the usual gear inflation.

In addition, when you buy the expansion you will get access to all previous expansions.

Last year Daybreak was saying something about maybe not including past content along the way with new expansions, but I guess that madness has passed.  Their web site only allows you to buy the most recent expansion.

As noted, pre-orders are available now at the usual price points.

Premium packages available for premium prices

I get to use that same graphic every year since they don’t change the pricing, though the higher priced packages now say “Buy or Upgrade Now” in a nod to the fact that some people might change their minds later and want that under water house, maybe as a memento to remember the 2008 financial crises or something.

As usual, All Access subscribers get 10% off the price, which always makes me wonder how many non-subscribers actually buy the expansions.  Whatever.  Probably best not to think too hard on that.

The standard edition gets you the new content and a character boost to get you to level 110.  Given the way of the world, that is not a bad deal for the content you’ll get plus the inevitable mid-point game update mini-expansion that will likely show up next year.

The pricier collector’s and premium editions get you additional boosts for things like trade skills and ascension levels, plus an array of other items including the under water prestige home that featured so prominently at the start of the video above.  I am less inclined to favor those choices for the price.

In addition, if you pre-order you get a special cosmetic illusion as well as access to the beta, which is happening right now and which offers all sorts of rewards if only you’ll come test the expansion.

As somebody who just got the last expansion at half price, and who is nowhere near that content, much less the coming content, I don’t have much incentive to pre-order.  Had I not, I might have considered it to get the content I do not have yet, but now I’ll likely wait until this time next year when the pre-order for the next expansion is available… if there is one… and skip this one entirely.

Unless I keep on with my Norrath adventures and actually finish the content I have.  But since I’m still back in 2011, I am not sure how likely that is.

Anyway, there it is, EverQuest II expansion number 15 going live in about a month.

EverQuest II Chaos Descending Expansion Announced

Daybreak started off being a bit coy by announcing on Thursday that pre-expansion events had started and calling on adventurers to fight an onslaught of raging elementals without ever mentioning the actual expansion.

However, they could only stay mum for a day it seems, as yesterday they followed up with a short Producer’s Letter announcing the upcoming expansion Chaos Descending.

Featuring E’ci

Details about the expansion are pretty scarce.  We know the name, that it will carry on from last year’s Planes of Prophecy expansion in exploring the planar realms of Norrath, that you’ll encounter E’ci the Wintery guardian (because half of the names in original EverQuest were just something spelled backwards), and that it will launch in November.

Beyond that… well… I suppose we can guess about zones and raids and such.  There will certainly be three flavors of the expansion, normal, collector’s, and premium, if the past is any guide.  But we do not know if they will raise the level cap or not.  There is some mystery in that I guess.

the Producer’s Letter has a few other items to follow on the expansion announcement.

Last year’s Planes of Prophecy expansion is currently half price and will remain so until October 1, 2018 if you want to catch up.

The Days of Summer event is still going, having a good four weeks left to run, which will put it into autumn for all practical definitions of the season in the northern hemisphere.

Finally, there will be a “gear up, level up” event starting on September 24th to help you get ready for the upcoming expansion.

Not to be down on this, but it sounds like the usual expansion plans complete with the unpredictable announcement cycle.  I expect we should be hearing something soon for EverQuest as well.  Still, any game still getting expansions after fourteen years (or nineteen in the case of EQ) can’t be doing that bad.

We’ll see if the rumors from May end up coming true.  A couple have already (Just Survive is down and PlanetSide 2 is getting a new map) but I haven’t seen anything indicating that these are the last expansions for the current Norrath franchise yet.