E3 2002EverQuest: The Planes of Power impressions

The next EverQuest expansion will primarily consist of content suited only to high-level players. Read all about it.


One of Sony Online Entertainment's forthcoming products on display at E3 2002 is the next expansion to its hit online role-playing game EverQuest. Scheduled for release this fall, The Planes of Power will introduce 16 new adventure zones to the core game, and it is designed primarily to provide a good experience for high-level players. As a matter of fact, the designers stated that 90 percent of the expansion's new content will be high level. However, one of the other goals of The Planes of Power is to make the high-level EverQuest game a little friendlier and less punishing than it has been in the past. Beyond that, The Planes of Power won't be adding anything in the way of new player races or character classes. It's purely a content-driven expansion pack, similar in that sense to The Scars of Velious.

An interesting twist in The Planes of Power is that it will initially be a linear experience for players. The designers are making sure to give this expansion pack a lot of context and story, to give players a better sense of purpose. When they step into the planes for the first time--these are otherworldly realms where gods dwell--they will soon learn what is at stake. They will then begin a long quest that takes them from one plane to the next. Access to some of the more dangerous, higher-level planes will be unavailable until certain other conditions are met. So it'll be a long, tough battle--one that will require large groups of players to team up. One of the most popular aspects of EverQuest is the player raid, where dozens of players assemble and take on some of the game's tougher monsters. The Planes of Power is structured in a way to help encourage this.

After players finish their business in a certain plane, they will be able to easily return there. The Planes of Power also introduces a central hub area that allows easy access not just to the various planes, but also to many other key points of interest throughout the world of Norrath, such as all the various starting towns in the game. The Planes of Power also offers graveyard areas in its new zones, where players' corpses will automatically appear after a while. This minimizes a lot of the risk associated with high-level encounters in the game, since the possibility of getting killed and then losing all your hard-earned equipment is basically eliminated.

The Planes of Power matches the visual quality of last year's The Shadows of Luclin expansion, though it will introduce improved particle effects into the game. What we saw of the new monsters and zones looked quite good, and the expansion itself should provide plenty of new challenges for EverQuest players.

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