Age of Discovery is an expansion that makes EverQuest II feel new again.
December 6th, 2011 is going to be a big day for EverQuest II players. That’s the day Age of Discovery, the latest expansion for the long running MMO EverQuest II launches, along with Game Update 62, Freeport Reborn. Did we forget to mention that EQII goes Free-to-Play on that day as well? It’s a lot to take in, so ZAM Staff Writer Patrick Do went on an in-game tour in EverQuest II to see what Age of Discovery will bring.
The Age of Discovery expansion will see the long awaited return of the Beastlord class to Norrath. The interesting thing about the Beastlord class is that players will have the opportunity to tame wild animals throughout the world and summon them into battle. The Beastlord class plays a lot like a combination of Scouts, Coercers, and Brawlers and brings yet another dimension to one of the deepest MMOs on the market. It’s also a class that appeals to the collectors amongst us, as you can go about taming many types of animals to suit your needs.
Also coming out in the expansion is another feature known as Mercenaries. These mercenaries can primarily be found in Freeport and Qeynos, and serve as an NPC party member to fight by your side. You’ll be able to recruit mercenaries of several different classes. SOE was quick to point out that these mercenaries would scale to match the player’s level but would overall be slightly weaker than a real player of the same level to encourage partying with real people.
Also included in Age of Discovery is a fully featured Dungeon Maker. Players are given the ability to populate various collectable dungeon layouts with monsters and a cavalcade of decorative options. There is a ton of collectables to be had here and has the potential to be something you could easily lose an afternoon or two messing around in. The feature seems like a bit of a misnomer considering you won’t actually be able to manipulate the layout of the dungeons themselves and playing the same dungeon layouts repeatedly may take away some of the long-term appeal of the function. However, this looks like a great first step, and one that SOE is willing to throw a lot of energy into developing further.
Item Reforging and the Tradeskill Apprentices are two more new features launching in Age of Discovery. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much of a chance to check out Item Reforging or the new AA limit possibilities (new max limit of 320 was announced during tonight's webcast), but you can get all the information at our Age of Discovery page when it releases.
The city of Freeport has received a long needed makeover. Freeport Reborn sees the return of Overlord Lucan D'Lere to Freeport as well as a host of new things going on in the city. The city itself looks sharp and deadly; there are even public executions being held in the middle of it all. It’s a veritable gong show voiced by the actor who played Sarumon (Christopher Lee). If you look around the city there are many new quests to be found and completed. What you won’t find, however, is a single loading screen — the major portions of Freeport city are now zone-free.
The core game (free through the Sentinel’s Fate expansion) itself is switching over to the F2P model that has put DCUO back on the map. The EQII traditional and EQII Extended subscription models will be merged into a new and improved version for the upcoming Free-to-Play transition. You can see the new subscription model on our EQ2 Membership Matrix.
If you’ve ever had even a passing interest in the world of EverQuest or enjoy content-rich MMOs in general, you owe it to yourself to experience EverQuest II. There literally is no better time to start or return: the game will have a Free-to-Play model, is deep in features and content and is well supported by a passionate development team. The move to F2P should boost an already dedicated player base. Mark the date on your calendars: December 6th, 2011 will herald a new Age of Discovery.
Patrick "BakersMan" Do, Staff Writer.