Gen Con 2002EverQuest: The Planes of Power impressions

We get a look at the latest version of Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming EverQuest expansion.


Sony Online Entertainment was on hand at this year's Gen Con convention with a working version of its next EverQuest expansion pack, The Planes of Power. The Planes of Power will be an expansion pack for Sony Online's popular fantasy-themed online role-playing game, which will focus mainly on adventures for high-level characters (level 46 or higher). However, the game will also include a handy addition for players of all levels, including beginners: the entrance to a new plane of existence known as the Plane of Knowledge. This new area will feature portals that will lead to all major cities in EverQuest's world of Norrath so that new players who start new characters of different races in different towns can quickly join up with each other by jumping through a portal, rather than having to risk a lengthy and often fatally dangerous journey just to be together.

As we've seen and mentioned previously about the expansion, Planes of Power will consist of a total of 18 distinct zones, each of which will be a different plane of existence. The 18 planes in Planes of Power will contain numerous quests for high-level characters to complete, though the first two planes, Tranquility and Knowledge, will be completely free of any fighting, both between players and monsters and between rival players. Characters will begin Planes of Power in Tranquility, then explore the Plane of Knowledge, a huge arcane library that contains the back story for each of the game's quests and can be perused at any time. Characters will face a linear adventure by going from plane to plane solving each major quest, though to prevent overcrowding, several of the major quests will consist of multiple parts that can be completed in any order so that players won't all bottleneck at a single quest. In addition, some of the expansion's quests will feature "virtual areas," which will essentially be duplicate versions of the areas you will need to explore and conquer to complete your quests.

Though we had seen several of the game's zones previously at E3 2002, we were able to see the newly implemented Plane of Innovation at Gen Con. Innovation will be a plane of tinkerers--in fact, player characters that have studied the tinkering trade skill should be able to find a few extra quests to perform. The plane itself will be characterized by animated fixtures in the backgrounds--mechanical arms and pistons constantly in motion on bookshelves and walls and ceilings. The plane will be divided into two areas: the factory, at which all new technology is developed, and the junkyard, where obsolete technology is dumped. Unfortunately for players, much of the plane's obsolete technology is in the form of huge, mechanized monsters, like the junkbeast, a grotesque metallic creature made entirely from simple parts, like cogs and wheels, with a rusty, bloodstained bear trap for a head.

We also got a look at the Plane of Justice, an interstellar prison for some of the universe's worst criminals, held prisoner by the divine Tribunal (a trio of three gods of justice and a selectable religion choice for player characters). The Tribunal consists of three gigantic black-robed figures that preside over the prison, and depending on your character's alignment, you may actually find yourself at odds with the deities, since some of the plane's criminals may charge your characters with helping them escape as part of a quest. To move on from the Plane of Justice, you will have to duel and defeat the Seventh Hammer, a giant robed figure not unlike the Tribunal, who wields a huge ivory mallet inscribed with the sign of the Tribunal--a set of scales--on the head. You will need to battle your way through 16 such zones in your quest to conquer the Planes of Power, though you'll be able to cool your heels in the peaceful planes of Tranquility and Knowledge--the latter of which will be a hub area that transports you not only to different parts of the world of Norrath, but also to the expansion's different planes.

EverQuest: The Planes of Power is scheduled for release later this year. For more information on the expansion, check out our previous coverage .

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