In this week's Tattered Notebook, Senior Producer Dave "SmokeJumper" Georgeson was kind enough to take some time to talk about the future of EverQuest II. In a bit of a surprise, he discusses how the team will continue to release Velious content in the form of regular updates rather than a larger part II as originally planned. He also gives some detail on highlights from the next update as well as future plans. Multiple housing, deity changes, the Freeport revamp -- Georgeson sheds some light on all that and more. Read on for the interview!
Massively: The upcoming Game Update, Children of War, includes quite a bit of new content and game improvements. Is the plan still to have a Part II of Velious launched later on, or will players see it gradually unveiled through these substantial game updates?
Senior Producer Dave Georgeson: There will not be a Part II for the Destiny of Velious product. Instead, we're going to be releasing the continued saga of the Age's End Prophecy and expanding out the DoV content and areas for a very long time. (Something like seven or eight parts, I think.)
Velious is one of the most beloved, and largest, of the original EverQuest's continents. We have a really big story to tell with the Age's End Prophecy, and we want to use Velious as the vehicle to tell that story. So we're going to be releasing it in chunks over many months so we can do each area justice and enlarge the saga to nicely epic proportions.
This is really great news for DoV owners, because by the time we're done with the content releases, Destiny of Velious will go from being a solid, quality expansion to becoming the biggest, baddest expansion ever made for an MMO. One single price of admission... and then content for a looooong time.
On test right now are the changes to allow players to maintain up to 10 different houses. Can you give some details about how multiple housing works and what you think players will enjoy most about this new change?
Sure! Up to now, players could only own one house at a time. With this change, we make it so that you can own up to 10 houses, if desired. But wait, there's more. You can also acquire/purchase smaller homes called Prestige Homes. These homes have portal stones in them that can be used to create two-way portals to any of your other homes. But wait... there's more. You can also connect to homes that any of your friends own as long as they give you trustee access. Cool, eh? But wait... there's more. You can also create portals to your guild halls. The complexity of network, and what is done with such extended, massive houses, is up to the players. It'll be fun to see what gets created.
One thing you mentioned in the recent producer's letter is the revamp of Freeport (and later, Qeynos). Will the racial hamlets be affected by the revamp, or is it just the cities themselves that would be changed?
We have lots still to decide on the Freeport revamp. The artwork changes have begun, but the content changes are still being designed. Let's put it this way... everything inside the walls of Freeport is fair game. And some of the stuff outside the walls, as well.
With that revamp, you also mentioned that Freeport (and Qeynos) would be "multi-level adventure hubs with instanced content at many levels." Can you give any details on how that will work?
Not too many right now, but the original idea for the revamp was to create natural quest arc loops that would return a Freeport citizen to their home city at various points in their level progression, experiencing new instanced content and quest chains at those times that tie into their city's objectives and create a real feel of citizenry for those that live there. But like I said, there's lots of design going on right now. Things might/will change.
You also talked about the gods of Norrath returning once again. Does that mean a return of the contested avatars? A revamp of the deity system? Or something else (and if so, what)?
It's extremely likely that the deity system will get revamped. But to be honest, we've been concentrating on the continued Age's End/Velious saga and Freeport more recently, and the gods stuff is only roughly fleshed out. I'll have to beg off and tell you more later.
The upcoming Children of War update brings some exciting changes to battlegrounds, particularly the new game-type, Vanquish. Can you share some details on what the objectives will be for this new battleground?
It has escort and protect elements in it as well as capture and hold elements. The write-up is fairly extensive, so we'll get something out publicly soon, because I'm sure you're not the only one wondering.
The addition of Drunder gives players three new instanced dungeons and three new raids. Will these generally be more challenging than the current Velious raid zones? And if so, does that mean a new tier of gear will be available?
Yes on both. Your gear has progressed as you've gone through the current DoV content, and it will continue to grow through the new content. And yes, our goal is to present new challenges as the players move through the new content -- some of it more challenging, other stuff presenting new kinds of obstacles/puzzles instead.
DoV is (currently) slated all as level 90 content. The Caverns are set up as heroic (group) content.
You've hinted that the team is working on some new features that are going to be very different and "outside the box." What new features are you most excited about?
Hehehe. Not yet. It'll probably be August or September before we tip our hands on that stuff. We've got more prototyping to do before we're firm enough on it to announce. But we're excited so far!
Thank you for taking the time to speak with Massively, and good luck on the Children of War update!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.