Dragons of Norrath to fire up EverQuest

Sony Online Entertainment releasing a ninth expansion to its venerable MMORPG. First screens inside.

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Has it really been almost six years since the original EverQuest was released? In a word, "yes." Since it released its groundbreaking massively multiplayer game in February 1999, Sony Online Entertainment has kept the game's fantasy world fresh with a series of expansion packs. Numbering eight in all--The Ruins of Kunark (March 2000), The Scars of Velious (December 2000), The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001), The Planes of Power (October 2002), The Legacy of Ykesha (March 2003), the Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003), Gates of Discord (February 2004), and Omens of War (September 2004).

However, with the release of EverQuest 2 last year, many in the industry expected the steady stream of original EverQuest expansions to slow or possibly even stop. Did that happen? In a word, "no." Today SOE announced it will release a ninth expansion to EverQuest, subtitled Dragons of Norrath. Like several previous expansions, Dragons of Norrath will be available for direct digital download from SOE as well as in boxed retail form when it is released next month. No exact release date was given, though the retail price of $29.99 was.

In addition to an improved graphics engine, EverQuest: Dragons of Norrath will, naturally, add new storylines and quests to the MMORPG. SOE summed up the expansion's plotline as follows: "A series of events has transpired across the world of Norrath and the familiar faces of Firiona Vie and her nemesis Lanys T'Vyl return to find themselves at the forefront of these events. Unbeknownst to them, a dark influence has seeped into the world of Norrath causing new tensions to arise and conflicts to intensify as the dawn of a new age emerges. The Age of War is upon the people of Norrath and heroes return in this ultimate, unending battle between good and evil."

Against Dragons of Norrath's fantastical backdrop will be a variety of new in-game additions. It will include new zones, such as Lavastorm and the Thundercrest Isles, and new creatures and non-player characters, including goblins and dragons. The expansion will also sport new items like the potion belt, as well as a player barter system and all-new guild hall management tools. The official EverQuest: Dragons of Norrath Web site has a full rundown on the expansion.

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