SOE Fan Faire 2007===
Fan Faire Panel
EverQuest II: Rising into Kunark
As most players know, Rise of Kunark, the fourth expansion pack for EverQuest II, is currently in development and expected to launch on or around November 13. The Rising into Kunark Panel was heavily attended, and in a large, boxy room that often made hearing difficult, but was a great presentation nonetheless. Like other panels, we started with the development team telling us about the expansion and their roles in it, and then enjoyed a question and answer session.At the end of this article please find a video of the Developer Presentation of this panel; the Q&A video will be added as soon as it is available.
EverQuest II Developers in Attendance:
Scott "Gallenite" Hartsman, Producer; Akil "Lyndro" Hoooper, Lead Content Designer; Liz "Feconix" Sigmund, Raid Designer; Ellery "Saerkin" Jones, Designer; Chad "Lotus"Haley, Lead Art Designer; Noel "Illucide" Walling, Designer and Expansion Supervisor; Steve "Saavedra" Kramer, Zones and Quests "and Stuff"
Akil "Lyndro" Hoooper opened by telling us the development goal is to capture the magic that was Kunark with familiar zones like Sebilis, Howling Stones, an Veeshan's Peak, and classic mobs from Kunark. They want to bring back everything that was familiar and fun about the original EverQuest expansion. They're building on what was learned in previous EQ2 expansions, for example, applying what was learned in Echoes of Fadwyer to the Sarnak startking experience.
One of the new developments with this expansion is an art technique which allows for creating distinct environments within a zone, called Environmental Blending. Using this they have been able to blend what used to be multiple zones into one very large zone. The Kunark zone Fens of Kathsar, for example, is twice the size of Commonlands and incorporates the EQ1 Kunark zones of Lake of Ill Omen, Swamp of No Hope, and Field of Bone. Note that this zone is measured in meters, while EQ2 zones are measured in feet. This is indeed a HUGE zone. Yes, there will be flight paths.Ellery "Saerkin" Jones tells us the player Sarnak are magically altered versions of Sarnak. They were awoken by the Spirok about 50 years ago as intelligent fighting machines, and they promptly overthrew their masters and established their own city. Their alignment has been reported differently several times, and that is because it keeps changing. At the time of this panel they were evil – not a sadistic evil, like the Queen of Neriak, or a contemplative evil like the Dark Elves, but an extreme end-justifies-the-means kind of evil. Right now they are trying to rediscover their past. They know they were created, but they do not know why. Their quests involve that search and the defense of their hard-won city from Spirok and pirates.
Steve "Saavedra" Kramer then described the develeopment of Timorous Deep. His goal was to take all the original areas and make them “100 times cooler”. He started with a nostalgic look at an old map. He then showed us this early version of his development of EQ2's Timorous Deep. It was fascinating to see some of the process involved in zone development, from placement of mob population, flow of the story line through the zone, and even some versions that were scrapped entirely.
From the Q&A Session:
Avatars will always be the hardest things in the game
All zones are persistant. It is safe to say that any instance from here on out will be persistent.
There will be be some two group encounters, but it's mostly four group.
“Some” raid content will be contested. This was asked about several times and they declined to say more than “some”. Scott explained that high end raids are a huge development time sink, and contested raids even more so.
Kunark will be levels 1-20, then 65+.
The new mounts are rhinos. There will be a mount speed increase.
Chardok does have a bottomless pit.
There are no new PvP features specific to the expansion.
Exiles will be able to level past 70.
Epic weapons will be quested in two segments, one group oriented , one raid oriented. One must do the group version to get the Legendary weapon, then raid to get the “maxed out” version.
There will be raid flagging, but not PoP style flagging which led to having to go back and repeat old content over and over, which is not fun.
The overland zones will be all or mostly solo content for a better harvesting experience.
There will be no new AA's this expansion because of the level class raise. Basically, all the AA guys are doing spells.
Veeshan's Peak will take a very very long time to run.
You'll get to Kunark by boat.
A feature unannounced until this panel: You will be able to get a device that will let you save your achievement specifications and swap them out, like a profile. You will have to get an item, which will probably only be usable in your house.
Someone asked about druid and wizard portals and Lyndro said “Ooooops....” He's apparently had forgotten them and will now suffer the wrath of the art department getting them put in.
There are no Heritage Quests this expansion, as there are 24 Epic Quests going in instead.
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