Tag Archives: MMO Expansions

The Renewal of Ro Expansion Launches for EverQuest II Tomorrow

You would think that the EverQuest II team might retain some institutional memory about launching straight into the teeth of World of Warcraft. But here we are, 18 years down the road and EverQuest II is launching an expansion not just in the same month as WoW, but pretty much the day after WoW is launching its latest expansion, Dragonflight.

On the other hand, the days when anybody realistically viewed these two games as being competitors in any but the most vague, genre based sense, are long gone.  We had five years or so of “what if” discussions around bizarro world scenarios where EQII came out ahead in that match up.  The odds were never going to favor anybody but Blizzard in that fight.  SOE made a lot of mistakes, but even if they hadn’t, WoW was going to win big.  I mean, they converted a lot of EQ stalwarts.

So the reality is, it doesn’t matter if EQII launches an expansion tomorrow, today, or yesterday.  The overlap in customers is probably minimal.  A lot of people pick their game and stick to it.  So tomorrow Renewal of Ro will launch and there will be a whole new range of content available in EverQuest II.

Renewal of Ro

This will be the 19th expansion for EQII, putting it well ahead of WoW on at least one front.

EQII expansions are a lot more focused than WoW expansions tend to be.  They tend to be much more about a change in the scenery, story, and villains and much less about borrowed power, class revamps, and throwing the game up in the air to change things up in an attempt to keep things fresh, a strategy that has not always served Blizzard well.

So tomorrow EQII will go back to the Desert of Flames, the first expansion, to unearth some new tales and explore some additional terrain.

While on a valiant quest to help aerakyn return to their original thread of reality, adventurers find themselves going back to the brutal island of Ro, but this time on the southern half of the flaming desert. Here, with the help of a local tribe of Hizite nomads, they will make their way across the unforgiving Raj’Dur Plateaus, to explore what is left of the Elddar Empire’s cursed city, the long Buried Takish’Hiz, before finding themselves within the renewed Takish Badlands, as they are led into the treacherous Sandstone Delta by the machinations of a notorious foe. They will come face-to-face with Raj’Dur bandits, power-hungry djinn, desert madmen, cursed Elddar, Dunetooth goblins, the Mhyt-moo school of Yha-lei, the Stormfury and Swordfury cyclops clans, and the Ortallian zealots of Ro, not to mention the glorious heroes they will team up with along the way.

There is more information available on the expansion page.

The content falls into most of the usual categories.  There is no adventure level increase, but the game has several parallel progression paths, so they can skip bumping the level cap.

  • Rise above the rest with 5 new Ascension levels and spells.
  • Epic Spell Quests – Embark on an adventure to discover and upgrade an all new powerful epic spell for your class.
  • Discover new Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests in the unexplored regions of the deserts of Ro.
  • Conquer all new Solo, Heroic, and Raid content. Return to the flaming desert! Rediscover Takish’Hiz!

That means more of all the things for the regulars.  For me, not so much this time.

I do like to go back to the game now and then, and each expansion comes with its own catch up mechanic, so it is possible for me to skip an expansion or two and still get up to speed when the mood strikes me.  This time around it really doesn’t.

But Dragonflight doesn’t strike my fancy either, so I won’t be playing either in the near future.

WoW Dragonflight Arrives Today

Today is the day for retail WoW, that rare bi-annual event when Blizzard ships an expansion to the cornerstone game of their portfolio.  Today sees the launch of WoW Dragonflight.

WoW Dragonflight

Today at 3pm Pacific Time or Midnight Central European Time, the world-wide launch of the expansion kicks off.

Dragonflight World Wide Launch Times

Dragonflight is the 9th expansion in the eighteen year life of the game… again, bi-annual is the pattern here, though there is some variation in the times between expansions.

  • WoW Launch to The Burning Crusade – 784 days
  • The Burning Crusade to Wrath of the Lich King – 667 days
  • Wrath of the Lich King to Cataclysm – 754 days
  • Cataclysm to Mists of Pandaria – 658 days
  • Mists of Pandaria to Warlords of Draenor – 779 days
  • Warlords of Draenor to Legion – 656 days
  • Legion to Battle for Azeroth – 714 days
  • Battle for Azeroth to Shadowlands – 832 days
  • Shadowlands to Dragonflight – 734 days

But saying “about every two years” is close enough to the mark to cover it.

And there is quite a bit riding on this expansion.  I don’t think it is exactly controversial to suggest that the previous expansion, Shadowlands, was less popular than previous entries in the series.  There are a few reasons for that.

Every expansion shakes up the meta of the game to some extent, though it at least appears at first glance that those that change the least seem to do better than those that go all out to be different.  And, in that spectrum, Shadowlands was one of the more extreme examples.

To start with, it was built on top of the great level squish, which made the rest of the game a level 1-50 experience… or a series of parallel 1-50 experiences… that still has me wondering if the whole thing was worth the effort.

Then, of course, there was the usual borrowed power mechanics, this time involving pledging yourself to a faction, which generally negatively effect all past content and builds you up into something that is going to be taken away from you the moment the next expansion drops.

Finally, Blizz decided to toss the normal leveling experience in the air and try something new.  The traditional multiple zone effort to work through that might take a couple of months of casual play to make it to the ten levels to cap was discarded.  Instead they made the journey to level cap a short run for even very casual players and bet the farm that everybody would just love doing faction dailies and running the same instances over and over again for the next 18 months.

It was the ultimate “we’ll make raiders out of all of you” by making even you solo play a raiding-like daily grind.  As with the Battle for Azeroth “we’ll make all servers PvP servers” debacle, this did not work out as planned.  (And at least BfA didn’t mess with the normal 10 level casual curve.)

So, as I said, there is a lot riding on Dragonflight.  Did Blizzard learn the right lessons?  The historical trajectory of the game tends to favor the answer “no,” and the whole “let’s go all-in on everything dragons” doesn’t fill me with a ton of confidence.

But I also haven’t been interested enough to read up on the expansion or join the beta, even though I was extended an invite without even opt-ing in.

That is largely because I am playing Wrath of the Lich King Classic, the last expansion to hold its numbers rather than having a second summer… or first summer… population crash.  I am enjoying that and Blizz is getting my subscription money, but I have no interesting in buying Dragonflight on day one.

I am sure that a lot of people will buy it however.  I am equally sure that we will get a post-launch press release that will frame the launch in a way to show it was the best launch ever.  We will see if they have to come up with a new metric to do that… my skepticism abounds since Blizz stopped talking subscription numbers and adopted MAUs across all products as their metric. (Though even that went down regularly since they adopted it, so good work on that front.)

People will enjoy it.  Despite my not sticking around, I enjoyed Shadowlands quite a bit for the month it took me to get to level cap.  Then the prospect of 23 more months of faction grinds and instance dailies left me cold.  And while I won’t be playing, at least initially, I will be watching to see how the new round of Blizzard ideas, from UI changes to another round of class revamps to flying for everybody from the moment of launch, plays out for them.

The Uprising Expansion Comes to EVE Online

The big day is here, the return of the mighty, full-blow expansion for EVE Online.  It is Uprising day!

Uprising is here today

As noted back at Fanfest, CCP’s plan has been to return to the big, feature rich expansion in order to drive player interest in the game.  That has cut two ways.  On the downside, it meant extending the year of disappointment even longer, rather than giving us some features along the way.

On the other hand, interest in the game does seem to be rising nearly six month down the road from the announcement.  This past weekend the peak concurrent user numbers exceeded 25K on both Saturday and Sunday, something that hasn’t happened in a long stretch.

Anyway, a big expansion has a lot of features and I am barely going to be able to scratch the surface, so expect a lot of links out to further information.

Empires at War – Faction Warfare

The cornerstone of the expansion is the updates to Faction Warfare, long in need of some attention.  There are a range of new mechanics including the Frontlines system that is an attempt to focus the conflicts and lead to more destruction by incentivizing players to fight there.

As part of the update the Gallente Federation invaded the following star systems, which will no longer be a part of Faction Warfare.

  • Intaki
  • Vey
  • Brarel
  • Annancale
  • Agoze
  • Ostingele
  • Harroule
  • Dastryns
  • Uphallant
  • Iges
  • Covryn

New Navy Ships

I posted about this the other day.  The full set of new navy issue ships is now available in game.  They include exploration frigates, battlecruisers, destroyers, and dreadnoughts.

Heavy Assault Cruiser Rebalance

The changes to HACs was based on the following plan:

  1. Reduce heavy HAC dominance in fleet combat which has persisted since their 2017 balance pass.
  2. Make room for other ship types to step into the spotlight, such as battleships.
  3. Not nerf HACs into oblivion – find and retain healthy use-cases.
  4. Maintain HAC identity as a high-damage / heavy tank ship option.

Overall the trend in this pass on HACs has been to reduce their engagement range, perhaps in an attempt to reign in all that “kitey bullshit” they get used for.  I’ve been in a 3K m/s Cerberus spewing missiles at extreme range as we skirt past large groups of hostiles.

The biggest change is to the Muninn, the most common hull of the HAC meta, which will now be a missile hull.  Just one turret slot and five launchers now, and its bonuses are all to missiles.

But everything else got a pass, and Cerbs, Eagles, Vagabonds, Sacs, all got a range nerf.  We’re going to have to get in close to shoot things.

Navy and Other Ship Rebalance

Some of the navy issue battleship hulls are getting some tweaks as well as a few other hulls, including the Rifter, long the iconic hull of EVE Online.  Perhaps it will get used a bit more now.

The Paragon Corporation

A new NPC corporation has landed in New Eden, The Paragon.

The Paragon is the conduit through which we will be able to obtain corp/alliance logos for our ships.

  • Emblems are available for purchase at Loyalty Point Stores within all new Paragon Stations.
  • Similar to SKINs, emblems correspond to a specific type of ship hull.
  • Emblems for over 100 ship types are currently available in the first iteration with EverMark redemption rates varying by type.  The current hulls supported:
    • T1 Frigates
    • Navy Exploration Frigates
    • T1 Destroyers
    • Navy Destroyers
    • T1 Dreadnoughts
    • T1 Haulers
    • T1 Freighters
    • T1 Battlecruisers
    • Navy Battlecruisers
    • Corvettes and Shuttles

Once you acquire an emblem:

  • Purchasing a specific emblem is limited to one per character.
  • Purchased emblems are not tradeable and are immediately injected into the redeeming character.
  • A new Personalization tab on the fitting window will allow you to equip both emblems and ship SKINs.

In order to get these emblems you must run missions in high or low sec.  Missions are available in the following systems.

  • Jita
  • Ourapheh
  • Amarr
  • Dodixie
  • Hek
  • Rens
  • Amamake
  • Assah
  • Aubenall
  • Yehaba
  • Hakonen

Mission parameters:

  • During the mission, IRIS will request a specific type of ship and reward EverMarks based on that type.
  • After completing a mission, that character must wait 23 hours before another mission will be offered.
  • Omega Capsuleers will have considerably enhanced rewards upon completing Paragon missions.
  • A separate tab has been added to the wallet to track Evermore balance.
  • SKINs and emblems are now managed through the new Personalization tab in the Fitting window.
  • Ship fitting is now managed through the new Equipment tab in the Fitting window.
    • This is the default tab when opening the Fitting window.
    • All old Fitting window functionality, excluding applying SKINs, is encapsulated within this tab.

So it is great that we’ll get corp/alliance logos.  I’ll never have one on my main because the we’re always under war dec so the high sec trade hub stations are always camped and the low sec stations will be hot targets now as well.  But I might be able to manage it with a neutral alt.

(There is a whole “why not sell this and, you know, make money CCP?” discussion around this, but whatever.)

Security Status and Abyssal Filament Changes

I referred to this in a post a while back.

The issues being addressed here by CCP are:

  • Griefing of new players and low value targets
  • Risk vs Reward dynamic of Abyssal Deadspace filaments
  • Shortage of legitimate player targets in high security space

The solutions involve:

  • Limit tethering for players with low security status in Highsec
  • Docking restrictions for outlaws in high security space
  • Changing the security settings for Alpha accounts and removing the option to disable safety (“Safety red”)
  • Updated rulesets for Abyssal Deadspace filament activation

I have linked the related dev blog, but the short short is suicide ganking is a little harder, but people running Abyssal Deadspace filaments will be forced into lower security space (no running in 1.0 or 0.9 at all) to give gankers fat new targets.

New Skills

We get two new skills with Uprising, both of which have been long sought.

  • Advanced Contracting
    • +4 Contracts per level
    • Rank 10
    • 250 million ISK at NPC schools or 325 million via skills on demand.
  • Elite Infomorph Psychology
    • +1 jump clone per level
    • Rank 12
    • 500 million ISK at NPC schools or 650 million via skills on demand

I am already training the second one because I never have enough jump clones.

Visuals, Audio, and Little Things

Better graphics (some of which will cause motion sickness and will need an off button), better sound, and a lot of little fixes, like being able to clone jump without having to get out of your current ship.  We also finally get alliance ship fittings and more slots for corp and personal fittings.  There are also some fixes to career agents, including changing out a few of the dumber rewards for missions.

The list is long and I have barely scratched the surface.  But it is all there now.

7 Free Days of Omega Time and Login Rewards

For those reading all the way to down here, if you go to the New Eden Store, the in-game store, you can grab 7 days of Omega time for free per account.  I am sure this will cause a boost in online numbers.

There for the taking

You can at least grab it so you get the full set of login rewards currently available, an event which happens to run for seven days as well.

If you setup your accounts to all have the same contact email you will also get a Special Offers pop up when you log them in, if they are not Omega.

What can these be?

These are the discounted Omega time deals for alts as well as the usual “catch up” skill points offer.  In the case of one of my alts the offer was 8.1 million SP for $200.  No sale.

Anyway, the expansion is up.  Time to see what it is about.

Related

EverQuest II and the Renewal of Ro Expansion

Meanwhile, over in the land of Norrath, Daybreak has started giving us glimpses of the next EverQuest II expansion, Renewal of Ro.

It came up as a bit of a tease with the EverQuest II producer’s letter last month, but there wasn’t much to go with it other than a splash screen, so the time did not seem ripe yet.

Renewal of Ro

But things are starting to move along.  The roadmap that they put out in January, and have stuck to admirably (most roadmaps begin to fall apart at the six month mark in my experience) has October slated as the beginning of the Beta, the start of pre-expansion events, and your chance to pre-purchase the expansion.

And you can’t start selling an expansion without telling everybody what it is about, so we have the initial description:

While on a valiant quest to help aerakyn return to their original thread of reality, adventurers find themselves going back to the brutal island of Ro, but this time on the southern half of the flaming desert. Here, with the help of a local tribe of Hizite nomads, they will make their way across the unforgiving Raj’Dur Plateaus, to explore what is left of the Elddar Empire’s cursed city, the long Buried Takish’Hiz, before finding themselves within the renewed Takish Badlands, as they are led into the treacherous Sandstone Delta by the machinations of a notorious foe. They will come face-to-face with Raj’Dur bandits, power-hungry djinn, desert madmen, cursed Elddar, Dunetooth goblins, the Mhyt-moo school of Yha-lei, the Stormfury and Swordfury cyclops clans, and the Ortallian zealots of Ro, not to mention the glorious heroes they will team up with along the way.

There is more available on the expansion page.  I’m honestly not sure what all of that means, but we seem to be going back to the Desert of Flames setting, which was the site of the first expansion… only things seem more green.

Tropical looking

As for what is coming with the expansion, the bullet points are very familiar:

  • Rise above the rest with 5 new Ascension levels and spells.
  • Epic Spell Quests – Embark on an adventure to discover and upgrade an all new powerful epic spell for your class.
  • Discover new Adventure, Tradeskill, and Signature quests in the unexplored regions of the deserts of Ro.
  • Conquer all new Solo, Heroic, and Raid content. Return to the flaming desert! Rediscover Takish’Hiz!

Going back to the Desert of Ro does stoke a bit of nostalgia in me.  I was playing EverQuest II semi-seriously back during Desert of Flames.  But my experience with the last expansion wasn’t great… though the joy of EQII expansions is that you can just skip over the old stuff and start right away in the new.  There is always a chest of catch up equipment at the entrance waiting for you.

As for what it costs, the price ranges from reasonable to outrageous, depending on what you really want.  From the expansions order page:

  • Standard Edition – $34.99
  • Collector’s Edition – $69.99
  • Premium Edition – $139.99
  • Family & Friends Edition – $249.99

The standard edition will get you in the door… and comes with a level 120 boost, while the friend’s and family gets you a whole truck load of stuff, including an extra copy of the standard edition that you can trade in-game.

The expansion itself isn’t due out until December, so we have a while to go yet.  But the march to launch has begun.

LOTRO Announces the Before the Shadows Mini-Expansion

The lesson from EverQuest and EverQuest II is that having some new content to sell every year is a money making deal.  Even now EQII is warming up for its annual fall cycle of events leading to this years expansion.  I’ll get to all of that later for both titles.

Since Turbine sold off Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online to Daybreak under the guise of the Standing Stone Games deal, both titles have been trying to get on the regular expansion content train.

And so we have the Before the Shadows mini-expansion coming this fall.

Before the Shadow and after the summer

And which shadow exactly are we speaking off… or where is it in any case?  Well, the blurb for the expansion says:

Reveal the mysteries of the One Ring as you venture through the reedy fens of Swanfleet and the moors of Cardolan.  Journey alongside Boromir to Rivendell, and run afoul of the Witch-King and Nazul in their pursuit of “Baggins” and the peaceful land of the “Shire” as shadow begins to pour forth from the land of Mordor.

So it sounds like we’re getting a bit of a prequel adventure, which is to be expected I suppose.  There is only so far you can go once you’ve thrown down the dark tower… though I don’t think we’ve scourged the Shire yet.  But they’ve added some areas to the Shire, so maybe we’ll get to that at some point.

The actual meat of the expansion is fairly thin:

  • New Regions & New Early Leveling Experience
  • New Skirmish and 6-player Instance
  • New Delving System
  • New Themed Missions Wrapper
  • Go Further with Expedition Supplies
  • Upgrade Your Experience with the Ultimate Fan Bundle
  • 10% VIP Discount

However, the base price for the content alone is just $20, which is a bargain these days.  We’ve finally hit the point where the base price for a big studio title is going to be $70, and that is before you get to the deluxe edition and the season pass and the cash shop.

Of course, if you WANT to spend more on Before the Shadow, if you have money to burn and a desire to support your favorite MMORPG set in Middle-earth, you can throw as much as $100 at your screen with the “recommended” ultimate fan bundle.

Before the Shadow pricing options

That, of course, is another thing Daybreak has been good at.  But I cannot begrudge them their pricing scheme.  Some players want all the possible goodies and if it keeps the game alive and the studio afloat… and it isn’t mandatory or game breaking… then good for them I suppose.

Anyway, you can find more details over at the LOTRO expansion page, which is a reminder that unlike EverQuest, they don’t just roll up that last expansion into the current one’s content.  They still have older stuff for sale.  It doesn’t go all the way back to Mines of Moria.  I think that is all free now.  But If you want to get into Mordor, there is still an expansion for that and a few more after.

Addendum: Also, there is a coupon pack that will get you additional content. It expires Oct. 31, 2022.

CCP Announces the Uprising Expansion for EVE Online

Back at Fanfest in May CCP talked about… a lot of things really.  But one of them was the return to expansions, that being seen as a way to drum up excitement and anticipation in the community in a way that quadrants and other smaller content delivery methods were failing to achieve.

And yesterday CCP made good and announced the first new expansion for the game.

Uprising – is this CCP making a joke about r/eve?

Named Uprising, it will be arriving at some point in November.  Between now and then there is the promise of a narrative arc where players can help shape New Eden, new ships to be “discovered,” and the introduction of the heraldry system that CCP spoke about at Fanfest.

The plan for the coming months

What we don’t have is much in the way of details so far.  We haven’t heard much beyond what was talked about at Fanfest, and that was four months ago with a pretty long interval of not much at all going on.  I know, CCP goes on vacation during the summer.  But you would think they might want to sow the seeds of excitement… even the trailer is a whole lot of style and very little substance.

Fine, they want to play coy, that is their business.  Though the guy at the camp fire in the wizard hat at the 37 second mark (image here) has caused speculation about a Tolkien cross-over event or the return of The Mittani.

The problem is we’re still in that year of disappointment, of missed expectations and undelivered upon promises.  I mean, the last big promise they tried to deliver on was the New Dawn quadrant, and that was, to put it bluntly, a big fat lie.

Prosperity promised, then denied

So we know so little about what is coming that I can find leverage for neither excitement nor disappointment.  The Uprising announcement itself refers back to the State of the Union announcement last month, which itself was little more than a rehash of what we heard at Fanfest.

Things are still focused on Faction Warfare, which is good.  Low sec and FW deserve the attention.  But my second account lapsed last night, having just flown my last stray ship home from the war in the east, and I can see no reason to subscribe it until we know more about what is coming.

Related:

EVE Online and the Return to Expansions

There is a joke about business consultants that says if they go to a company that has a diversified portfolio of products that they will say the company should focus on its core competencies, but if they go to a company that is focused on their core competencies they will say the company should diversify their portfolio.

Distilled down, consultants often get paid to tell you that the grass is measurable greener, complete with supporting data, case studies, and customer interviews, on the other side of the fence.

But some times we don’t need a consultant to make us change course.  Sometimes we run off in pursuit of that greener grass all on our own.

Which brings me, in a round about way, to CCP’s decision to return to the idea of expansions, which was something that CCP announced at Fanfest.  Expansions are back.

Those who have been around for a long time remember that twice annual expansions used to be part of the EVE Online experience, and many of us remember those expansion names with a mixture of fondness and dread. (I have a bunch of those splash screens here if you want a ride down memory lane.)

Incarna – June 2011 – That guy looks more skeptical every time I see him

But back in 2014 CCP decided that expansions were not the thing anymore.  The era of the Jesus feature was over. Instead they attempted to go to a ten release a year cadence.  Incredibly, in hindsight, they tried to give each of those ten update a name… and theme music.

A new musical theme used to be a feature of every expansion or update for a long stretch.  those were the days.  It was a time of many things.

That proved to be too much work… names fell away and music stopped being a thing… but at least we were getting timely updates.  One of the downsides of the expansion era was often large gaps between any fixes as the company preferred the expansion to be the release vehicle.  And once the expansion hit, updates were often focused on fixing things broken in the expansion as opposed to other areas of the game.  And not every expansion was a big splash feature event.  I think we ended up with Revelations II because it was mostly fixing what was shipped with Revelations.

Revelations II – June 2007

CCP eventually opted for the quadrants idea, where each quarter of the year would have a theme and would feature updates based on that theme.  That was a bit more reasonable, better suited a modern development cadence, and still delivered fixes and updates on a regular basis.

And it wasn’t like we didn’t have some expansion-like releases.  I called the Invasion update an expansion, as it introduced the Triglavians to New Eden.  Kind of a big deal.

The Invasion was May 2019

So, in my way, I get why CCP wants to go back to the twice annual big expansion format.  It hearkens back to the peak years of the game, when growth was continuing and it seemed like CCP had the potential to conquer the world.

And believe me, some part of me wants to relive that era.  Amazing things were happening.  Huge wars, new features, crazy new ships, new areas of space, it seemed an endless bounty if you just squint hard enough through those rose tinted lenses.

But there was a lot going wrong, a lot of dropping features and moving on, a lot of broken things left unfixed, and not a lot of focus on quality of life.  The end of the expansion era saw a team show up dedicated to just fixing things, and we liked that a lot too.

Finally, while I haven’t gone and done a study of the time between announcements and launches like I have done with WoW, even years later I am left with the distinct impression that the time frames there were short, that we got 6-8 weeks build up before an expansion.  That is almost nothing compared to a WoW expansion or a new Pokemon game release, which we might be fed tidbits and updates about for a year of more.

Which is pretty similar to the build up for big features we’ve had since the end of the expansion era, so I fail to see much of a difference… unless they plan to announce things much earlier.

Anyway, I don’t have a hard point to drive home here.  It is more of a question as to whether or not CCP can recapture player enthusiasm with expansions again.  If nothing else, an expansion implies the company is bringing something big to the game.  You can get away with tuning and adjustments with quadrants, but for an expansion to land it needs to bring something new.

We shall see.  It was another of the things at Fanfest about the future rather than the present.

The TL;DR

  • The expansion era had its own set of issues.
  • CCP has been able to deliver expansion-like content with full fanfare since that era.
  • So what are we solving for by going back?

EverQuest gets the Terror of Luclin Expansion Today

Daybreak will launch the Terror of Luclin expansion, the 28th for EverQuest, at some point today.  That is the plan, though after EverQuest II went late into the night resolving database issues with its expansion launch last week, I might feel a little tentative on exact times.

The Terror of Luclin

Though, to be fair, the EQII was remapping a bunch of items into something else, so there was some room for error on the database front when some of us had piles of things like infusers sitting around in the bank.

Luclin, one of the moons of Norrath, has been a location in EverQuest since the Shadows of Luclin expansion hit back in December of 2001, so I suppose this expansion also celebrates 20 years on the moon for the franchise.  The story lead for the expansion is:

The shadows cast by the light of Luclin have been whispering of intrigues. The Akheva are on the move, striving to reassert their power and rebuild their moon-wide empire. Amidst the turmoil of their actions, rumors abound. Mayong Mistmoore has been seen on Luclin. The only known truth is that the master vampire has since disappeared into the shadows and even his devoted followers and sycophants have begun to worry.

Clearly something is stirring on the moon of Luclin. What secrets or magical power was the Lord of Mistmoore seeking? Is he trying to usurp another god? Do you have the strength to peer behind the shades and track down the vampire lord to prevent whatever evil he is plotting?

The vampire lord Mayong Mistmoore on the moon? Up to no good I am sure.

The expansion announcement lists out the features coming with it.  This time around there is a boost in the level cap, bringing that to 120 levels.  Otherwise, aside from the teleport item key ring, it is more of all the things that traditionally make up an EverQuest expansion.

  • Level increase to 120.
  • 7 Expansion Zones
  • New Raids, Quests, and Missions
  • New Spells, Combat Abilities, and AAs
  • New Collections
  • Teleport Item Key Ring – every character on your account will get a 10-slot Key Ring to store teleportation items! You can add slots with marketplace items as you need them.

As with its younger sibling, the expansion options run from the base package at $35 to the friends and family extravaganza that rings in at a very hefty $250.  I will say that EQII throws in so much more with its expansions that I find it a bit hard to find justification for anything beyond the base price… but I haven’t played a new EverQuest expansion since The Serpent’s Spine back in 2006, so my opinion on the value may be less than well informed.

The downtime plan at Daybreak is to commence the upgrade at 6am Pacific time, with an eye on a noon launch.  But if things are settled and ready to go by the evening so players can get in after dinner it will be counted a success I am sure.  MMOs are complex and getting all the parts updated an in sync isn’t always a sure thing.

EverQuest II Visions of Vetrovia Expansion Available for Pre-Order

This years expansion for EverQuest II, Visions of Vetrovia, is now available for pre-order.  That means we also get some more information about what to expect from the game’s 18th full expansion.  The expansion is expected to be available on December 1st of this year.

What will we see in Vetrovia?

We got a bit of a tease about a month back when the pre-expansion events started and indicated that the new adventures would involve setting sail for new lands across the Shattered Sea on Norrath.  Speculation as to what it meant… I mean, they gave me a nice pirate hat for doing a few quests… was all over the place.  Now we get a few more details.  The new update gives us the following lead:

Inspired by mystical visions, a crew of explorers—sailing the uncharted waters beyond the Shattered Seas—has found an isolated continent plagued by dark curses and discordant energies. Ruins of an ancient civilization are scattered across the landscape, while the imposing silhouette of an opulent castle rises from the highest point of the land for all to see. Whispers can be heard in the native villages found along Vetrovia’s coast of its supernatural master and the horrors it contains. But are any of them true?

So perhaps it won’t be pirates after all… or much of a nautical adventure beyond sailing to a new land.  But it looks like dinosaurs might be on the menu.

The big news is that we’re up for another increase in the level cap, bringing the number up to 125.

There are new quests, new instances, new raids, new trade skills, new collections, and four new zones being added with the expansion.

  • Svarni Expanse
    • Located along the western shore of Vetrovia, lies what is known as the Svarni Expanse. The Svarni Gateway was once known as “Natimbi, The Broken Shores”, by the indigenous population.
  • Karuupa Jungle
    • Encompassing the entire southern half of the continent of Vetrovia is Karuupa Jungle. Much of the floor is covered by dense and twisting vegetation, making travel by foot a challenge, and particularly dangerous.
  • Mahngavi Wastes
    • Mahngavi Wastes encompasses the majority of the north-eastern most section of Vetrovia. This section of Vetrovia was the hardest hit during the Shattering and Rending, sending large sections of the landscape tumbling into the sea.
  • Forlorn Gist
    • The mysterious village that lies at the center of Vetrovia was once the location of a great city known as Qinimi, but nothing of the original structures remain, nor the structures built in their place by the invaders, known as the Muramite. No, what stands here now is a village without mercy, charity, or trust.

As with its EverQuest sibling, there are the usual four packages available if you wish to purchase the expansion.

Standard Edition – $34.99

  • Character Level 120 Boost

Collector’s Edition – $69.99

  • Everything from the Standard Edition
  • Legendary Mount: Artox, the Phantom Steed (for every character)
  • Legendary Mercenary: Villax Sneed (for every character)
  • Legendary Familiar: Svarni Painted Stork (for every character)
  • Prestige Home: Vacrul Castle (for every character)
  • Furniture Recipe: Vacrul (for every character)
  • Svarni Expanse Teleporter (for every character)
  • Visions of Vetrovia Painting (for every character)
  • Akashic Familiar Training Potion
  • Visions of Vetovia Weekly Overseer Adventure

Premium Edition – $139.99

  • Everything from the Collector’s Edition
  • Celestial Mount: Abzhu, the Evader (for every character)
  • Celestial Mercenary: Dakshesh, the Displaced (for every character)
  • Celestial Familiar: Floraform Gorilla (for every character)
  • Akashic Familiar Training Potion
  • Akashic Scroll Case

Family & Friends Edition – $249.99

  • Everything from the Premium Edition
  • Tradeable Standard Expansion
  • Tradeable Character Level 120 Boost
  • Tradeable Character Slot
  • Tradeable EXP/Vitality Potion
  • Tradeable Legendary Mount: Artox, the Phantom Steed
  • Tradeable Legendary Mercenary: Villax Sneed
  • Tradeable Legendary Familiar: Svarni Painted Stork
  • Tradeable Tradeskill Level 120 Boost
  • Akashic Familiar Training Potion x 2
  • Akashic Scroll Case x 2

In addition, for pre-ordering you get a feathered stalker pet and access to beta.

The base edition seems like a reasonable deal for more content, and if you’re behind there is even a level 120 boost to get you into the new stuff.  EverQuest II is the most scrupulous game I have seen when it comes to making sure you’re ready for the current expansion.  There is usually a chest of gear first thing upon arriving in the new content, just to make sure you’re geared up and ready to go.

The other editions… well, you have to decide what is worth the money to you.  I always love the painting of the expansion box art that you can hang in your house, but perhaps not for double the price of the base expansion.

I will say though, that all the tradable items in the Friends & Family edition makes it more attractive than its EverQuest counterpart.

The expansion is on its way.  Expect more warm up events to come along.

Related:

The Terror of Luclin is Coming to EverQuest

The next EverQuest expansion, the 28th in the series, will be Terror of Luclin as the elder Norrath title takes its turn getting back to the moon.

The Terror of Luclin approaches

The lead in for the expansion says:

The shadows cast by the light of Luclin have been whispering of intrigues. The Akheva are on the move, striving to reassert their power and rebuild their moon-wide empire. Amidst the turmoil of their actions, rumors abound. Mayong Mistmoore has been seen on Luclin. The only known truth is that the master vampire has since disappeared into the shadows and even his devoted followers and sycophants have begun to worry.

Clearly something is stirring on the moon of Luclin. What secrets or magical power was the Lord of Mistmoore seeking? Is he trying to usurp another god? Do you have the strength to peer behind the shades and track down the vampire lord to prevent whatever evil he is plotting?

The Mistmoores on the moon I guess.

The expansion announcement lists out the features coming with it.  This time around there is a boost in the level cap, bringing that to 120 levels.

  • Level increase to 120.
  • 7 Expansion Zones
  • New Raids, Quests, and Missions
  • New Spells, Combat Abilities, and AAs
  • New Collections
  • Teleport Item Key Ring – every character on your account will get a 10-slot Key Ring to store teleportation items! You can add slots with marketplace items as you need them.

A lot of that is what one might consider the standard boilerplate of an EverQuest expansion.  They have been sparing with the level cap increases, doling them out every couple expansions, but the rest is par for the course.  More stuff to do, more places to see.  And when you’re on expansion 28, who is to argue with success?

The expansion is also now available for pre-order and available in the four packages that have become the standard.

Standard Edition – $34.99

You get the stuff listed above and a shadow weapon cosmetic item if you pre-order.

Collector’s Edition – $69.99

  • Standard Edition items plus:
  • Contract of the Stonegrabber (for every character)
  • Umbral Plains Mushroom (for every character)
  • Goblet of Adventure III x 2
  • Terror of Luclin Painting
  • Bloodbound Satchel
  • Zelniak Saddle
  • Metamorph Wand – Lightcrawler
  • Teleport Item Key Ring Slots (5 Slot Packs) x 9

Premium Edition – $139.99

Collector’s Edition items plus:

  • Umbral Plains Scrying Bowl (for every character)
  • Bloodbound Satchel
  • Ten Perfected Augmentation Distillers x 2
  • Shared Goblet of Adventure III x 2
  • Owlbear Saddle
  • Metamorph Wand – Rockhopper
  • Visage of the Akheva

Friends & Family Edition- $249.99

Premium Edition plus:

  • Bloodbound Satchel
  • Shared Goblet of Adventure III x 2
  • Tradable: Terror of Luclin
  • Tradable: Heroic Character
  • Tradable: Zelniak Saddle
  • Tradable: Owlbear Saddle
  • Tradable: Teleport Item Key Ring Slots (5 Slot Packs) x 9
  • Overseer Pack x 30
  • Halfling Heritage Crate x 5

Now, if you ask me, I am going to say that $250 is a tall price to pay for an EverQuest expansion.  I don’t know that there is $215 worth of fluff in that package over what you get with the base expansion.

However, the fact hat Daybreak keeps selling the Friends & Family Edition likely means somebody is buying it… a couple years back it was reported that half of expansion buyers splurge for something above the bask pack… and you don’t have to sell that many to make it worthwhile.

Anyway, that is the expected EverQuest expansion for 2021.  It is already in beta and will no doubt ship some time between now and mid-December.