Tag Archives: Visions of Vetrovia

Riding Out Panda Summer in Norrath

For whatever reason the announcement of the Visions of Vetrovia expansion for EverQuest II and the pre-expansion events got me stirred up and in the mood to go back to visit post-cataclysm Norrath.

I got in there and did the warm up quests, earned yet another currency for yet another vendor… I don’t think I have ever stopped to explore the number of currencies that game has accrued, but it is a substantial number… bought myself a jaunty pirate hat with a hope that it would make me look at least a bit like a pirate you’ve heard of… and then sort of ran out of steam.

All of which took me about two days, by which time I had pirate hats on five of my level cap characters.

All dressed up and no place to go really

Fortunately, there was still the annual Panda event to run, though I am beginning to suspect that the change over from “Days of Summer” name for the event might have been a bit last minute, given that the quest rewards still say the latter.

It must still be summer somewhere

The event isn’t exactly a huge effort.  It involves a weekly quest that sends you out to various location in Norrath in order to fetch a few things for Mei Lan.

In order to prolong the experience I decided to travel the old fashioned way… not that spires and bells transport system is all that slow, but it isn’t quite so direct as the map travel that subscribers get… and to make a serious effort not to look up any of the quests until I had least put in some serious effort into figuring them out on my own.

That mean a lot of flying about old zones, which is a bit like a walk down memory lane.

Swooping low in Butcherblock

As for the quests, well, I did okay.

Each week points to a specific zone and you have to go find three different things to complete the quest.  Most weeks I was able to get two pretty easily based on the quest details, but the third seemed to elude me.  A couple of times there was no real indication as to where that third item might be in the zone.  One time, in the Enchanted Lands, there was a clue in the name, but it was a name that corresponded to five locations, four of which I knew.  Failing with those I looked up the quest and found the fifth location… just a stone’s throw from the spires where I entered the zone.

Too many things named after Seamist around here

This week’s quest sent me off to Lavastorm, an original launch zone that was pretty fearsome back in the day, when the game was trying to make it clear that you shouldn’t be wandering out alone past level 20 or so.

The name is no lie, there is lava out there

But the quest clues for the zone were right on the money this time.  I was able to find them all without resorting to the web… which is probably a pretty low bar, but I’ll take what I can get.

These places are all on the map even

I collected all the items as well as picking up a few sparklies along the way, then headed back to the Sundered Frontier to turn in the quest to Mei Lan.  There we exchanged the usual end of quest banter that is almost, but not quite, humorous.

He is a bit of a literalist at times

That has a couple more weeks to play out, after which it will likely be time for the new expansion.  I am still thinking about jumping in to play it.  We’ll see how I feel when the date is closer.

The EverQuest Expansion Machine and the Future of WoW

I was a bit surprised to see a post over at Blizzard Watch which, as the name implies, is mostly about Blizzard and their games, musing about the fact that EverQuest was warming up to launch its 28th expansion, Terror of Luclin.

The Terror of Luclin approaches

And it is a nice smooth read, not too deep in insight, but respectful of what the EverQuest team has managed to pull off over the 22 years the game has been around and how it continues to put out annual expansions.

Of course, it isn’t all that surprising that they are expanding on the topics they cover.  Blizzard is both a mess, wracked by its own internal issues and a government investigation, and doesn’t really have much new on the horizon.  Since the launch of Burning Crusade Classic in May and Diablo II Resurrected in September, there hasn’t been much to write about.  You can can’t go on forever on the stagnation of the Shadowlands expansion for WoW or some tidbits about Diablo IV.

It says something that the big news out of Blizzard this year… erm… the big product related news that is… has been about remakes of a 20 year old title and a 14 year old expansion.

You can see why somebody at Blizzard Watch might glance over longingly at the Daybreak stable of games and wonder what it might be like to write about some titles that are actually planning to ship some new content.  LOTRO, EQ, EQII, DCUO, they all have new things on their plate this year.  And EverQuest is the king of that pack with its 28th expansion landing later this year.

I’ve been hard on SOE and Daybreak in the past, and justifiably so for some of their missteps, but I always given them credit for their ability to package up an expansion annually for both Norrath franchises.

They may not be as grandiose as they once were… the Visions of Vetrovia has four zones (not far off from how many as a recent WoW expansion generally has, delivered in half the time) while the Gates of Discord, the EQ expansion on which that content is being based, introduced 18 zones into old Norrath… but they still deliver expansions annually, with a major mid-year update as well.

And they wouldn’t be doing that if it wasn’t making money and keeping people subscribed.  I joke about expansions for the two titles being a bit of a commodity, with a requisite number of zones, dungeons, raids, collections, house items, pets, AA levels, and whatever else bundled up in those annual releases.

But the Norrath team is a content machine, able to turn out those expansions year after year while not having anything close to the resources that a title like World of Warcraft has available.

And the Norrath teams also launches special servers every year too.

Which does make one wonder what is really going on at Blizzard.

Yes, they have a different culture and a different view on how their IP ought to be presented and probably look down their noses a bit at how much the Norrath team reuses locations and how chaotic or easy to ignore a lot of their lore can be… I mean, I played through Blood of Luclin two years back and couldn’t really tell you much about it now beyond the fact that it was on the moon of Luclin and it looked pretty good… and how often a new expansion just leaves the old one behind without much in the way of transition, but there has been a whole additional expansion since I played Blood of Luclin and another one is arriving soon.

Blizzard has always prided itself on quality and polish and getting this just right, while SOE and Daybreak have had a much less intimate relationship with those qualities at times.  And the success of WoW enabled them to live on that reputation and the huge user base it built early on in the history of the game, even when they were annoying their base or letting the game drift without news or updates for months at a time during their two year expansion cycle.

Now, however, with content droughts becoming the norm for WoW, I have to wonder if they couldn’t learn a lesson or two from the Norrath team at Daybreak about content pacing and what they ought to be able to deliver.

After two lackluster expansions in a row and a the whole hostile work environment fiasco that broke loose earlier this year, it might be time for the WoW team to think hard about what they really need to do to keep their user base engaged and happy.

It has been more than three years since we saw the end of Legion, the last strong WoW expansion, and it will be at least another year until Blizzard can deliver a new one.  A two year expansion cycle feels like a long time when you get a lemon that doesn’t keep you invested.

I may not like all the Norrath expansions, but I will tell you true that knowing another one will land come the holidays takes some sting out of that.  I am not sure that the WoW team can managed that.  For all the pain of being understaffed, a small team can also be a more nimble team.  Too many cooks can slow things down.  But it feels like Blizzard needs to do something to get themselves and their WoW fan base on board and invested and looking forward to something new.

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:

Pandas and Gear Up and Level Up Events Hit EverQuest II

With the announcement of the Visions of Vetrovia expansion last week I opined that we might soon be seeing Gear Up, Level Up events as well as the possibility of the now usual Days of Summer event.

The 2021 Expansion

And this week saw both get announced, though not in that order.  The Gear Up, Level Up event news hit the EverQuest II site late on Tuesday announcing the usual array of pre-expansion bonuses.  For live servers we will get:

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, September 27, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double loot drops, double experience for members, double status for members.
  • Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double loot drops, and for a limited time: mount training drops.
  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double loot drops, and for a limited time: spell research.
  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 18, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double loot drops, for a limited time: spell research, double experience for members, double status for members.

For those on the Kaladim server, there are some lesser bennies… but they’re paying to walk to school up hill in the snow both ways, right?  I guess they do get a bit of double XP.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, September 27, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double status for members.
  • Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double Destiny of Velious Hunter coins.
  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double experience for members.
  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 18, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double Destiny of Velious loot drops.

And then there is the Tarinax PvP progression server, which I am reminded is even still a thing, has its own set of bennies.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, September 27, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double status members.
  • Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 4, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double Cobalt coins.
  • Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 11, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double experience for members.
  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. PDT until Monday, October 18, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. PDT
    • Double Kingdom of Sky loot drops.

As with Mickey Donovan’s favorite jacket, these bennies are “Members Only,” which means you have to subscribe to the Daybreak All Access plan.  $15 a month is all they ask.

Those bennies are all fine and good, though not much there really appeals to me.

On the “Level Up” front  I managed to get six characters to the current level cap of 120 back when we first went to the moon with the Blood of Luclin expansion.  I still have characters that are not at level cap, but I do start to wonder how many level cap characters I really need.  (Also, there is a pile of them in the 40-70 range, which is a long way from level cap.)

As for “Gear Up,” I am already way behind there having not bought the Reign of Shadows expansion.  That means I’ll be depending on the crate of gear that is on the ground at the start of most of the recent expansions.

And then there is the Days of Summer event which, even at its earliest, ran deep into autumn, and has finally submitted to reality and been given a name change.  It is now Panda Panda Panda … because the related NPCs are pandas.

Panda Panda Panda starts in autumn

As with gear up/level up, there isn’t much available that we realistically ready me for the next expansion, though I am sure the gear will be upgrades over what I have.  But the event, which comes in a series of weekly tasks, sends you all over Norrath and is kind of fun.  And there are always some cosmetic items worth having, and this year there is a mount… and ant mount.

I wonder if that is foreshadowing for the next expansion?

Anyway, I’ll be doing that over the next few weeks.  And then when that ends we’ll be in the zone for the launch of the next expansion.

Bhagpuss also has a write up about the event and I am sure we’ll both share pictures of the mount.  It certainly won’t be the worst looking mount in the game.  I wonder if it scales to barbarian size?

EverQuest II Announces the Visions of Vetrovia Expansion

We’re in that last gasp of summer, with autumn on just a week or so away on the calendar, which is when the Norrath team at Daybreak generally starts talking about their next expansions.  EverQuest II is the first out of the gate with the announcement of the Visions of Vetrovia expansion, the 18th for the title.

The 2021 Expansion

So at least we can assume for now that the Enad Global 7 purchase of Daybreak hasn’t broken the expansion stride for the Norrath crew.

While details are sparse so far, the Visions of Vetrovia will take us away from the lunar adventures on Luclin and send us on a seafaring adventure.

I find it a bit amusing that EverQuest has had two nautical themed expansions already while I’m pretty sure this is the first for the younger game, but EQ has an advantage in years. (Though you could argue that the original starter zone was something of a nautical adventure.)

The prelude event for the expansion kicked off yesterday after downtime.  Players can get warmed up for the new expansion by checking their in-game mail for a invite from Douglan Wakerunner, captain of The Swimming Oak.

Invite to adveture

Then it is off to The Village of Shin on the Isle of Mara for the preliminary quests.

The Village of Shin is there

You’ll find The Swimming Oak docked there, but it isn’t ready to set sail yet.

The ship is off limits for now

If you do the daily quests you should visit Aariena Glitterflitter near the docks to trade your bobbing acorn rewards in for some nice items, including a Striped Pteradon mount. (45 acorns, so start saving up.)

Of course, with the announcement that a new expansion is coming, the old one goes on sale.  The Reign of Shadows expansion is 25% off from now until the 18th of October, which I would bet is the date that pre-orders will open up for the Visions of Vetrovia.  Anyway, this is the last chance to get the extras that come with Reign of Shadows, as the Norrath team has moved to a model of having only a single expansion available for purchase at any one time.  (Though you might, at a later date, be able to buy get some of those items in a crate from the cash shop, but you never know when that is going to happen.)

Now is the time when I start wondering if this is an expansion worth coming back to play.  I run hot and cold on EverQuest II, but enjoy it well enough at times.  I’ll have until at least October 18th to think about it.  By the time they have the pre-order available we should have more details and be able to tell if this is a real nautical adventure… pirates maybe, though the foolish would assume them from what we know so far… or just a ship to another continent and the traditional overland adventure.

We shall see.  There are often a series of “gear up, level up” events in this time frame before an expansion, and usually the team gets a late start on the season with the annual Days of Summer event.  Did we get one of those already this year?  I didn’t see it on the news page.

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