Join Gazimoff as he goes on a tour of the new Game Update 63 content with members of the EQII development team!
As we pushed onwards through Holgresh Pass the trees appeared withered and broken. The Holgresh – large flying monkeys – had picked clean almost everything in the area. The only other living creature we saw was Honvar the Earthcrusher, a squat and lumpy dragon allied with The Awakened. Our guide informed us that he’s expected to be quite a challenge, requiring two full groups and plenty of coordination to defeat.
Not all of the Withered Lands have fallen to the taint, with small pockets remaining free of the advancing corruption. Groups of satyrs have banded together to push back the tide, but need help from the players to erect monuments that will provide a more permanent ward against the taint.
Our tour of the Withered Lands ended in the Tears of Tunare, a swampland thick with elementals and mud monsters bubbling just beneath the surface. These towering slime creatures are also available as player illusions, should you wish to terrify your guild mates. The New Combine was also in the swamp, with supply caravans becoming lost and stuck in the mud. It’s a recurring theme, with players working to support the war effort as part of their own journey. The outdoor zone contains over a hundred new quests, which should put a reasonable dent in the journey towards level cap.
We were then brought to the dragon citadel of Skyshrine itself, the Awakened attack in full swing. Fires burned everywhere, with a statue to the dragon deity Veeshan being the only thing undamaged in the courtyard. Awakened bone golems patrolled the area, with Mona describing how they were able to dismantle and shift into a variety of forms during combat. But without any clue of how Kerafyrm’s forces managed to breach the formidable defenses of Skyshrine and enter the citadel, players are sent back in time before the attack to investigate.
Going from tour guide to time traveler, Mora then brought us to our final stop on the tour. With characters taking on the illusion of being dragons themselves in order to blend in, they need the help of Lendiniara, an elder dragon gifted with foresight, in order to help unravel the rest of the story. Solo, small group and raid content also await players eager to see the end of the chapter and finally confront Vyskudra the Ancient. There are also several immersive story events lurking in Skyshrine just waiting to be discovered.
It’s at this point that our tour drew to a close. Holly Longdale added that mercenaries will also be unlockable through questing in Skyshrine, with some of them having a unique buff that makes them stronger than normal while in the citadel. New tradeskill apprentices will also become available, including an elite one available through raiding. There will also be a new ‘Poet’s Palace’ dungeon maker layout and items, along with new Dungeon Maker adventurers. Both Longdale and Mora also highlighted the huge amount of feedback they’ve had from the community using the Test Server, much of which has been incorporated into the update.
It’s clear that the EQII development team is wasting no time in making sure that the 2nd book in Destiny of Velious starts off with a bang. But, while we take our first steps beyond the storm barrier, the game update leaves one large question: what will be Kerafyrm the Awakened’s next move? However the story plays out, one thing is clear: Longdale, Mora and the team are just getting started. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Gareth "Gazimoff" Harmer, Staff Writer