E3 06: Everquest II Echoes of Faydwer Impressions

Faydwer, Faydwer, Faydwer...yep, it echoes. We take a look at Everquest II's third expansion pack.

LOS ANGELES--We got a behind-closed-doors look at Everquest II's Echoes of Faydwer expansion pack today at Sony Online Entertainment's booth. Although the expansion is still a ways away from release, the developers at Sony seem to be hard at work on providing a good amount of new content for its contingent of dedicated players.

Echoes of Faydwer takes place in the land of Faydwer, of all places, which was featured in the original Everquest games. Many of the areas will be familiar to players of the original Everquest, but most of them will have undergone changes of some sort or another. One of these is the gnomish city of Ak'Anon, which has been abandoned by the gnomes and overtaken by Clockwork enemies of various sorts. One of these is actually an outdoor raid boss called the Clockwork Menace, a huge, hulking robotic dragon that breathes fire. Other popular areas such as Steamfont and Butcherblock Mountains make their return in the expansion, as well.

The new expansion pack will be the first to extend the amount of new gameplay to include players of lower levels; the goal is to have a full amount of new content to support a character starting at level one and working up all the way to level 70, which will remain the level cap in the expansion. To encourage players to try out this new content, there'll be a new playable race in the expansion, the Fae, along with their own new starting tree city. The Fae will be a neutral race. The new content is designed for players of any orientation, from solo and small group to full raid content.

In addition to the new content, other upgrades have been chucked into the game with the expansion. For instance, the guild-level cap will be raised to 60, and there'll be new PVP quests. One of the most intriguing of these new features is the deity-alignment system. Since the game will build upon the return of the gods, which is the storyline players will experience in the upcoming Fallen Dynasties adventure pack, you'll be able to choose a deity to worship. Your choice will open up new abilities and quests to your character.

It looks like Sony Online Entertainment is creating another compelling addition for Everquest II. While we didn't learn of any new specific gameplay mechanics, a la climbing or movable objects, the expansion isn't coming out until November, so there's still plenty of time for more surprises to be announced; stay tuned to GameSpot for all the details.

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