The legions of Kerafyrm have marched on Skyshrine, and the only hope for the dragon city's salvation are the heroes of Norrath who survive long enough to join the battle. So goes the high-fantasy set up for EverQuest II's Game Update 63: Skyshrine, slated to extend The Destiny of Velious storyline on April 17.
Kera-who? Sky-what? Worry not newbies, for while EveryQuest II's next expansion will reward long time followers of the (now) free-to-play MMO, the devs at Sony Online Entertainment insist the experience will be welcoming to players of all different skill levels and class types.
“The team has done an amazing job of really making some immersive events that really make you part of the story. It's not just raiders who are going to be able to see these awesome models and then be able to fight dragons. It's going to be accessible to everyone,” said Holly Longdale, a producer with EQII and Skyshrine's seventh expansion, which promises to raise the level cap to 92, introduce tons of new quests, and bring epic closure to Kerafyrm's saga.
Above: Check out some footage of the new expansion
This week, Longdale and EQII game designer Carlos Mora led members of the press on a guided tour of the incoming update. The demo began with a walkabout through the Withered Lands; the corrupted environment players must first traverse before they take part in the conflict at Skyshrine. As the story goes, Skyshrine's dragon masters have mysteriously disappeared, leaving the Withered Lands to rot under the influence of dark corruption. Here, players will navigate dragon graveyards and encounter new enemies while beefing up their character with over 100 new quests. Mora hinted the Withered Lands will also play home to mercenaries who will aid adventurers in their journey, and receive significant stat boosts upon entering Skyshrine.
The next stop on the in-game tour was the city of Skyshrine itself, home to the dragons and more than a few life-threatening dangers. Upon arrival, players will find themselves in the center of a contested zone wherein the prismatic dragon Kerafyrm (aka "The Sleeper"), a resurrected baddie from EverQuest I, has all but transformed Skyshrine into a forward operating base for his hostile Norrath takeover. Soon after arriving, players will be enlisted by Skyshrine's Lord Yelinak to travel back in time to both track down the dragon masters and end Kerafyrm's invasion before it begins.
Such are the circumstances that will lead players to more civilized, pre-war Skyshrine. Here, Mora explained players will be able to earn the trust of Skyshrine's dragon overseers in time, letting them slip through the gates without the aid of an illusion. Skyshrine will also play home to a new Golem models, some of which can be hired as mercenaries; fresh dragon models; and a cameo by Vyfkudra, whom seasoned players might recognize from earlier adventures.
Speaking of eagle-eyed players, Mora hinted there will be secrets to uncover in the expansion, noting, “We don't usually put out content without a few Easter eggs. I can't tell you where all of them are, but I did put in one quest where Beast Lords will be able to get some special appearances for their pets if they're very observant.”
Above: Watch a dragon being born
Packed with new quests, Drakota mounts, upwards of 15 instances, and other surprises, EQII's Skyshrine update looks to give fans plenty to chew on, as well as some resolution in the ongoing Destiny of Velious saga.
“As far as updates do, this is the biggest that's ever been published,” said Holly Longdale, adding, “And, after all, it's a high fantasy game, and everyone wants to see and fight dragons.”
EverQuest went free-to-play earlier this year. Read what a free membership entails in EverQuest II gets wings, finds free-to-play success, and witness one of those EverQuest II dragons being born in Exclusive: Watch as EverQuest II's upcoming dragon is brought to life.