We break down a summary of the highlights discussed during the panel.
The EverQuest II Systems and Mechanics panel revealed many exciting things in store for the upcoming expansion, Altar of Malice, and beyond.
Grandmaster & Ancient Abilities
One of the first topics discussed was the capability to upgrade abiltiies to the Grandmaster quality, which was previously only reserved for the once-per-tier class upgrade. Grandmaster abilities will be obtained by loot only. Starting with Altar of Malice, some spells will be able to be upgraded to a new Ancient rank, which will also be loot-only, extremely rare and only be scribed by All Access members.
The upcoming 6v6 Battleground, Balance of Theer, was discussed. This battleground introduces the deathmatch game type and is a dynamic arena, changing every few seconds, with tiles that you stand on giving either buffs or debuffs. There will be a penalty for dying in the battleground.
Level Agnostic Dungeons
Level agnostic dungeons are coming, which allow level 20-89 characters to group together. These dungeons--starting with 10 of them--will be added to the dungeon finder, use classic zones and have no lockout timers. Each player will receive individual loot drops that are scaled to their real level. Regardless of your level, you will be equally as effective as everyone else within the dungeon.
Altar of Malice
The team dove into the upcoming expansion next, covering what the different features entail.
Level Increase to 100
The increase from 95 to 100 includes tradeskill, adventuring and guild levels.
Adventurers will earn 25 new prestige points, which can be spent in the new prestige tab. This new tab offers direct stat improvements and brand-new abilities. You will unlock the second row with one point spent, the third row with five points spent and the endline row with 20 points spent.
Tradeskillers get the same treatment as Adventurers in their prestige layout, with a new tab and 25 points to earn and spend. Some of the prestige abiltiies will allow gathering of special resources only available through manual harvesting of nodes (yes, that means no goblin, pony, or guild hall harvesters). There will be new uses for lower level resources, utilizing every resource tier available through the current gameplay. All play-styles will be included for crafters in the expansion; best-in-slot item recipes will be available for raiders, decorators will receive new furniture recipes and, in general, adventurers will desire new crafted items. Additionally, there will be enhancements coming to refining and salvaging.
New Critical System
Critical Avoidance is on the slate to be disabled. There will be three new types of critical hits added (percentages subject to change): Legendary (25% increase), Fabled (100% increase) and Mythical (200% increase). The border around the overhead combat number will represent the type of critical hit you scored. "Special things" will happen when you land certain types of critical hits--but the team won't divulge their secrets yet.
The Beastlord class is being evaluated for its damage versus its utility. More pointedly, they're looking at having Beastlords score higher damage when in their DPS stance. The "Master of Beasts" will increase the amount of damage of a Beastlord's abilities.
No item revamps will occur and the Tears of Veeshan style of itemization will stay. Armor will continue to receive "upgrade gems" and cyan adornment slots will be added to weapons. Ethereal events are expected to continue. Removing all adornments should now be easier.
New armor rune sets, made up of purple adornments, will issue set bonuses in AoM instead of the classic armor sets. You'll be able to see what bonuses are active by examining your armor pieces.
New blue armor adornments will be added to PvP and the Toughness and Lethality stats will move from armor to adornments.
A new ability, Observe Enemy, comes from the new prestige "opener" ability and will show recommended stats for battling an enemy. Included information will be recommended health and resists, weapon info, max health, as well as attributes and potency. This ability can be used in combat and will make sure that the mobs are being debuffed properly.
Panel Q&A Summary
- The new prestige ability, Shadow, will stack, as the shadow counts as another "player"
- With the boost of health from Chains of Eternity and beyond, the healer mercenaries have been lackluster. The devs will look into this.
- Agnostic dungeons will return you to Qeynos or Freeport upon exit to keep low level chars safe
- Ancient Spells: If you go from All Access to F2P your ability will temporarily revert to its previous quality (Adept, Master, etc). Re-upping your subscription will reinstate the Ancient rank. Content will never be balanced around Ancient abilities.
- Temporal Mimicry: You aren't the one actually casting the replica. An invisible doppelganger will be casting the spells for you. He can't die, so if a necro casts lifeburn, he won't die by mimicking it. Only copies hostile spells exclusively. Healers that have hostile spells that heal can be copied, and it'll help heal. Channeler's arrow heal is a combat art, so it won't be copyable.
- Mobs will not get Legendary/Fabled/Mythical crits
- Observe Enemy will work in PvP; undecided where the output of info where read out to
- House actors don't talk via chat bubble because they're items, not NPCs. To get them to talk with chat bubbles, it has to be coded into the house actor item itself, they can't just give it the ability that NPCs and players have without "Rebuilding" specifically for them.
- The devs would like to add more tradeskill apprentice models
- Guild hall harvesters will have their menus split into sub-menus, like the pack pony and goblin
- The devs will look into adding more guild symbols and colors