Generally speaking, when most game players hear "massively multiplayer online role-playing game," they immediately think of elves, goblins, and amassing piles of treasure and loads of experience points by fighting fabulous monsters. Arguably, the game that really started the craze was EverQuest, which is now seven years old and will soon be joined by an 11th expansion pack.
Prophecy of Ro will offer several new features, like a new graphical update to the city of Freeport and its surrounding area, the Ro desert zones. This update will be free to all EverQuest players, even those that don't purchase the expansion. It will also offer some new, high-level zones for experienced players to explore, such as the nether planes of magic, rage, and music, as well as an opportunity to travel back in time and visit the original elf race of Norrath. These new regions will be accessible from the academy of magic in Freeport and will lead to huge, all-new battlegrounds that will show off some of the expansion's other features.
According to producer Chris Lena, the expansion pack isn't just about adding new areas, but rather about expanding on the core of EverQuest by exploring existing game lore, updating existing areas like Freeport, and adding core gameplay changes. To this end, the expansion will add player-created traps, which characters of different classes will be able to create and leave in strategic places for charging monsters to blunder into. The expansion will also introduce "spheres of influence," glowing regions that radiate a certain effect within range, such as regenerating depleted health or magic power. In some areas of the game, spheres of influence will actually move across the landscape, which will make taking advantage of them an interesting challenge.
The expansion will also include destructible environments, which should actually change the way players approach their battle tactics. One of the tougher areas of the expansion will be a huge valley in the plane of rage simply called Devastation. This area will be bounded by destructible walls and will be home to several advantageous spheres of influence--but you'll find competing groups of players and even monsters jockeying for position in this area. As a result, you'll find that groups of monsters camping out at a sphere near a wall might not be as unassailable as they seemed to be, especially if you can smash through and blindside them.
Prophecy of Ro should offer some attractive new content to experienced EverQuest players when it ships on February 21.