The Tattered Notebook: What to look forward to in GU63

Skyshrine from Withered Lands
So there I was, watching the server status on the EverQuest II official site on my mobile phone and seeing server after server start to go back online. Game Update 63 officially launched this week, and with it came the much-awaited return of the Skyshrine dragons. But this week happens to be spring vacation week, so as much as I was hoping to see things firsthand, I was out of town and offline as I enjoyed some surprisingly pleasant weather on the beach in New England and in downtown New York City.

Although I missed launch, I got a feel for some of the new content while it was on Test, plus I had a sneak peek with the recent EQII tour, so this week I'm going to digest what I saw, pretend that launch hasn't happened yet, and highlight a few things that I'm looking forward to seeing with the patch. If you're already dipping your toes into the content, think of me, face pressed against the glass as I watch helplessly, and see whether there's anything on my list that might be something you hope to see as well (but hopefully not long before I do!).

Solo storyline in Skyshrine that gives you endgame

In the past year or so, I've changed a lot as an EQII gamer. I used to be all about the endgame and raiding because I loved seeing the more serious content that is the apex of each expansion. I didn't care about loot except in that it helped make encounters more survivable. But after Velious came out, I changed gears, primarily because I couldn't wrap my head around the gear reset. We had accomplished so much as a casual-yet-focused raid guild and had equipped ourselves so well that I was taken aback by how big a leap it was to go from Sentinel's Fate raid content to Velious content. Even more surprising was how difficult the X2 was -- this wasn't your mother's Ward of Elements.

Don't get me wrong; I don't believe in loot piñatas, and I don't believe in challenge-free loot. But what I hope for is some consistency and clear transition between raid content, and I just didn't get that feeling with Velious. I've said it before, but gear has made me feel a lot like Marla Hooch, stepping in and out of the batter's box trying to read the conflicting signs. As a result, I stopped hitting raids and found other ways to enjoy the game, but I missed feeling like I was working toward something big.

I'm hoping that Skyshrine will bring back that feeling, with the new solo-friendly endgame storyline. It's still not quite like leading a 24-man raid, but if I can have just a tiny heroic moment in the overarching story, I'll be happy. And at least I won't have to worry about gear resets and gear progression as much.

Aerial collections

This is a nifty little idea, and it's one of a few nice touches that make flying in EQII have more of a purpose. There are spots in the zone that are reachable only through flying, and if you get there, you'll get a shiny automatically added to your inventory for aerial-specific collections. Not only will we fight temptations to run away from our groups on the ground, but we'll also hear that siren-call in the air too. Slaves to the shinies!

Dragon Skyshrine
New furniture

Sure, a Halas home with bearskin rug is quaint, and that Tunare prestige home is an eyeful, but it isn't a house unless it has some dragon decor, and we'll have plenty of that with the update. I enjoyed Kingdom of Sky because we got those nice golden droag pedestals and ghostly white dragon plushies from the awakened questline. I even tried to save up enough status to purchase that golden dragon statue, to no avail. But with Update 63, there is a new tier of harvestables and a whole new line of carpenter items for our homes, including several impressive dragon statues.

Poet's Palace dungeon maker

I always loved the Desert of Flames expansion pack. I loved the Peacock questline, the dangerous city of Maj'Dul, the nomadic music of Sinking Sands, and the twisty paths of the Clefts of Rujark. So when I heard that Poet's Palace is now one of the dungeon maker blueprints, I was determined to finally make a quality dungeon that's worthy of publishing. I've dabbled a bit in dungeon-making and had a few ideas I wanted to try after my colleague Jeremy made a fun little dungeon that starred several Massively staff members.

With the new blueprint and new items, I'm looking forward to finally making a dungeon that's ready for prime time. Since the original Poet's Palace had lots of tricks, puzzles, and surprises, I'll use that as inspiration for my dungeon. But I'll draw the line at Billy: No Billy dolls in my dungeons. Ever.

Even though I'm not thrilled at the timing of this expansion (why can't a game company release new stuff at 9 a.m. on a school day?!), I'm looking forward to seeing what effect it has on the live community over the next few weeks, and I'm already prepping my super-cool dungeon. Of course, as I'm typing this, I see that all SOE games will be down for maintenance on Monday for a 24-hour period, so it seems that we'll all be tapping our feet and pacing around endlessly as we wait to get in game. Misery loves company!

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
This article was originally published on Massively.