EverQuest: Omens of War Impressions - First Look
We pay a visit to the soon-to-be-released expansion pack for Sony Online Entertainment's EverQuest.
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Massively multiplayer online games let you create a character and go off on adventures in a persistent online world with other players, fighting monsters, recovering treasures, and chatting with your comrades. One of the most consistently popular massively multiplayer games, at least on US shores, has been Sony Online's EverQuest, which launched in 1999 and has, since then, continued to captivate thousands of players with its promises of bringing down dragons, giants, and even otherworldly deities with war parties of bards, necromancers, and paladins. The next expansion pack for EverQuest will add an entirely new realm to explore to the game's already-huge world, along with the ability to make an already-powerful character even more so.
Omens of War will feature an all-new supernatural realm to explore as part of the expansion's new story-driven quests. In order to begin this quest, you'll need to speak with one of EverQuest's old favorite characters, the Priest of Discord (a character who appears in most major towns in the game and has the rather useless function of enabling "player-versus-player" status). Once on the quest, you'll explore different (and extremely hostile) environments, including ice caves inhabited by frost spirits and a huge and desolate fortress out in the middle of nowhere. Omens of War will feature an all-new graphical upgrade that makes for far-better-looking environments, including huge outdoor areas and huge indoor areas, like the gigantic Fallen Palace of Anguish. The upgrade also allows for improved texture and shader support--several of the game's new areas will actually support bump-mapping to help make dungeons look even more dank and grimy.
Over the course of your primary journey through the expansion's main adventure, which includes a mostly linear trek through the different new zones, you'll be guided by various quests along the way. These adventures will not be for beginners--the expansion will actually increase the character "level cap" from 65 to 70 (meaning you can have a character at experience level 70--a far cry from the game's original cap of 50). Fortunately, it will also add some 3,500 "task" quests for lower-level characters. In fact, you'll reportedly be able to advance a character from level 5 all the way to level 65 doing nothing but tasks, though some characters may need more help than others in certain areas.
In the meantime, the basic game of EverQuest continues to keep bringing players back for more. Sony Online has redoubled its efforts to improve EverQuest by holding a player summit to address specific issues in the game as reported by players from devoted guilds--persistent player organizations that play the game regularly. The studio also has plans to hold future player summits to cull even more feedback, and in the meantime, the expansion pack's graphical upgrade will be made available to all players, even those who don't purchase the expansion. Sony Online also plans to launch "epic weapons 2.0," a full set of remodeled "epic" weapons (high-level weapons for each character class in the game that must be quested for), this week. Those interested in exploring the realms of discord and getting to level 70 will be able to play the expansion when it comes out later this month.
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