How do I get it?
First off, it's important to note that the update is free to anyone with the Destiny of Velious expansion. Included in the update is a level cap increase, Skyshrine, the Withered Lands, access to the new prestige point system, new tradeskill content, and a drake mount. If you own the Age of Discovery expansion, you'll also get some extra perks, including the new Poet's Palace dungeon maker theme, tradeskill apprentices with new recipes, an elite mercenary, and new tamable Beastlord warders.
The Withered Lands
For those who love questing, the Withered Lands will offer over 100 solo and small group tasks. You can reach the zone by talking to the New Combine Flightmaster on the Thurgadin docks, and there are several quest hubs scattered throughout the zone. The Withered Lands is also where players can zone to Skyshrine, the second major zone included in the update. Lastly, the announcement describes the Withered Lands as having solo, small group, and raid content. Might we see a new overland raid boss with this update?
Old EverQuest vets will recognize Skyshrine, the home of the Claws of Veeshan dragons, although it was originally located in the Wakening Lands (according to the lore, they've been corrupted by some sort of magic). The city is under siege, and players will have the chance to help the dragons and save the city from destruction. It will include solo, group, and raid instances, so it looks like there's something for everyone.
It might seem odd to have a level cap increase of only a couple of levels, but there are several reasons it's not the usual five or even 10. Since there hasn't been a level increase in quite some time, it makes sense to raise it a bit in order to make endgame content more accessible to those that have been struggling with it.
Level increases bring all sorts of problems, though. It takes that much longer for new players to reach the cap, and with EverQuest II inching closer to 100, that can seem pretty daunting to someone thinking of trying the game out. Big level increases also tend to come with new abilities, AAs, and gear, and that usually trivializes older endgame content. By moving the cap up a mere two levels, SOE makes current raid content a little easier but still worth doing. Lastly, it means that Naggy is still safe (although he's now an orange con instead of red!)
One thing to note is that you can't begin the process of leveling from 90-92 unless your character has at least 280 AAs. The reason the devs set that bar is because they want to avoid pick-up groups of players who are level 91 or 92 but can't pull their own weight because they're missing important AAs.
This one had a lot of players doing a double take, but it will be interesting to see what it all looks like when it goes live. Not to be confused with Prestige homes, Prestige Points are actually a new skill-point system that will make each class a bit more powerful. EQII Lead Designer Akil "Lyndro" Hooper did an interview describing how it works. As you level up from 90 to 92, you'll gain a new prestige point, for a total of 10. So why didn't the devs just extend the current AA system? One reason they have kept it separate is that they want to tie it directly to the two new levels, and since they've gated the last two levels behind the AA requirement, it would make sense to give it its own tree. There are feedback forums over on the official site so you can catch a glimpse of what players are saying about each class' points, although it's possible that things might change between now and launch day.
New tradeskill quests and items
Tradeskillers will be happy to see new quests available with the update. And for those worried about needing 280 AAs, it looks like that requirement is only for leveling up to 92 in adventuring, so tradeskill levels aren't affected.
This is a bit off topic, but a new Marketplace item was recently previewed on the EverQuest II site, and it caught my eye. It's a backpack that also displays your guild cloak design. I love the idea, and it's nice to see that SOE took the old system and used it in new ways, first with placable guild banners and now with the backpack. Plus, I'm a huge fan of the old Kurosawa movies, and I'm looking forward to running around with a litle flag sticking out from my back.
If you're itching to see the new update and you can't wait for April 17th, you can actually head over to the test server right now to check it out. You can either copy over your character or roll a new one to get a feel for many of the new changes that are on the way. If you do, make sure to post feedback over on the forums!
Lastly, I have a couple of follow-ups to last week's column about Ribbitribbitt. Massively reader Jaedrian created a character to attend the server event and livestreamed the day, so if you missed it, you can head to his channel and see the amazing turnout in support of this young player. Also, Myrose posted an update on the forums, noting that Ribbitribbitt has qualified for a clinical trial and has been completing tests to get started right away. She also wrote a touching thank-you post in which she reveals how helpful her friends in game have been, not just for this event but over the years of this challenging journey. We continue to hope for the best for this brave young boy and his family.
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.