The Tattered Notebook: Highlights from the Destiny of Velious webcast

With Destiny of Velious just around the corner, the team at SOE has announced a webcast schedule to provide details about the upcoming expansion and answer player questions. The first one was this past Friday and was attended by Senior Producer Dave "SmokeJumper" Georgeson and Siliam "Silius" Grant, whom Vanguard fans might recognize. While the show was brief, the duo did touch on many different areas -- from itemization to raids and even to the addition of new public quests. Read on for highlights from the first Velious question-and-answer session.

What's back -- and what's not

The webcast started off with a look at Destiny of Velious compared to previous EverQuest II expansions. This time around, there was a longer beta than in the past, and it gave the team more time to focus on testing and improving what was there. With Velious, everything in the expansion was up and running in the beta, including fully itemized content.

And what content are the devs most excited about? Silius mentioned a few zones that will sound familiar to old EQ players. Kael Drakkel is back, and it's going to be a challenging contested dungeon for players to explore. He said the team made an enormous, "crazy" zone to give proper treatment to the size and scope of the Giants.

Rallos Zek and Velketor are also back, and players will get to see a contemporary look at what's happened 500 years later in the time between EQ and EQII. The webcasters referred to Velk's Lab as "visually stunning." Another favorite of Silius was the Tower of Frozen Shadow, and he felt that players would really enjoy the challenges of the seventh floor, although he wouldn't reveal any further details about it.

They switched gears a bit and talked about gear in Destiny of Velious, which is always a tricky topic to handle. The DoV gear is better than that of Sentinel's Fate, but it's designed to nurture player growth. One difference with DoV is that gear will be a bit more customizable. Players will be able to choose among certain procs and apply that proc to slots in their gear, which is different from the process in past expansions. Silius also mentioned that it will be much easier for players to evaluate gear and recognize upgrades than in the past.

The next area SmokeJumper and Silius looked at was Velious part one vs. part two. The team decided that it would be too much to try to include everything all at once, so it is holding some content back for a later release. Included in that are Cobalt Scar and Western Wastes, the nesting grounds for the dragons.

Raids, faction, and Othmir, oh my!


Raids came up next, and the first thing the 'casters said is that they want to continue to make fun raids like those of Sentinel's Fate. There will be easy- and hard-mode raid content, but this time, the team has added some new mechanics that should keep players on their toes. The devs wanted players to rely on other classes for things like debuffing and to push people to think outside the box when trying to progress through the encounters. They added that they have some raids already prepped and ready to be released later on. Lastly, they emphasized that players would have good reason and incentive for going through the raid progression on top of farming for gear.

Factions were a big part of the original Velious, so it's no surprise that the next question asked about their importance in this expansion. The team felt that it couldn't pull off factions in EQII, based on the type of game it is compared with EverQuest. So while faction will still play a role, it won't have the same presence that it did in EQ. It sounds like it will be similar to what EQII players are used to -- you help the denizens of a particular faction and unlock rewards and adornments as you build faction with them.

The next question was about the Othmir, those quirky, bowling pin-shaped otters from the original Velious. Sadly, they will not be a playable race any time soon. However, this led SmokeJumper to reveal that they're launching DoV with eight special days of events. For the first eight days of launch, players who log in each day will receive a special item. Players who log in on the first day, for example, will receive a 50-charge Othmir illusion potion, complete with special Othmir animations. He didn't reveal any other details, but he did say that "day eight is cool."

Real estate and public quests

Next, SmokeJumper mentioned that players will be able to own multiple houses, gardens, etc. In other words, players will be able to decide on a main residence but also be able to select "prestige homes," which are smaller homes that they can port to.

The last big topic touched on something really exciting for EQII players -- public quests. Warhammer fans will recognize this feature, but for those players not familiar: Public quests are dynamic events in overland zones that spontaneously go off, and anyone in the area can participate. In EQII, they will scale based on the population in the zone, which is a bit different from Warhammer's system. But the most exciting part of the announcement is that one of the public quests will recreate the Coldain Ring War.

We later learned players will reach Velious by hitching a ride on Lodizal, the infamous giant turtle from the original expansion. Also, SmokeJumper confirmed that flying mounts can be used everywhere except indoors and in cities. And when asked about details from Velious part two, he assured us there would be snow and dragons.

Of note, this expansion is similar to the EQ version of Velious in that this is aimed at high-level players starting at level 85. There are no starting zones or low-level content, but then again, over the past year, the devs have added a new starting zone (New Halas) and have spent a lot of time revamping and retooling the game to make a smooth path for new players to level up. It's hard to complain about lack of content for low-level players now anyway -- if anything, there's too much to do.

The EQII team will be doing three more webcasts in February, so hopefully we'll continue to hear more exciting news about Destiny of Velious. The team is also taking player questions, so make sure to submit yours on the official forum thread. Velious is readily approaching, so start packing up your snow gear, and try to resist the temptation to kite-pull Lodizal this time around please!

From the snow-capped mountains of New Halas to the mysterious waters of the Vasty Deep, Karen Bryan explores the lands of Norrath to share her tales of adventure. Armed with just a scimitar, a quill, and a dented iron stein, she reports on all the latest news from EverQuest II in her weekly column, The Tattered Notebook. You can send feedback or elven spirits to karen@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.