EQII's Scars of the Awakened highlights the story through art

A devguided tour of EverQuest II's Scars of the Awakened
With Scars of the Awakened going live today, EverQuest II fans are counting down the hours until their first trip into Cobalt Scar and its many adventures. And who can blame them? New content for crafters and adventurers alike is inbound. Along with the new Cobalt Scar overland zone, GU 66 also brings players a new dungeon filled with some brand-new creatures, a new tradeskill quest line along with hot-off-the-presses recipes, some class changes based directly on player feedback, and more.

I got a sneak peek at what lies in store thanks to a tour guided by Holly Longdale, Producer, and Akil Hooper, Creative Director. From walks on the beach among the Ulthork to hordes of undead Othmir to a look at the second half of Sirens Grotto, this tour showed off how the art and the stories blend to create an immersive experience for players.

Scars of the Awakened intertwines the story arc from Velious (players will meet up with Osh the Speaker again) with the storyline of the Awakened Legion in Skyshrine. When players forge ahead into Cobalt Scar, they will find themselves learning and exploring right alongside the New Combine army, which only recently breached the borders of this zone.

The tour started with a look at the beach where the Othmir have met up with the Ulthork. Then, we moved off to an area populated by undead Othmir. Yes, undead! And those furry fiends follow you around! While playing through the story, players will learn about the conflict between the Othmir and Ulthork races and the circumstances that led to the unfortunate state of the undead Othmir. Next up was a look at the New Combine army's staging camp, Scar Stone, where players can literally shoot dragons out of the sky.

EQII official screenshot of Sirens Groto
The final destination was Sirens Grotto, where unlike the first peek inside, we got to continue on and get a look at the second half of the dungeon -- Tavalon Abyss. Unlike the watery allure of Sirens Grotto, Tavalon Abyss is fear-tainted and more earthy. However, like the first half it's also home to new creatures.

Both Longdale and Hooper remarked how the details in the art of this update essentially helped to tell the story visually. From corrupt dragon bones as building materials to drakes flying over the nest far in the distance, the surroundings are more than just a backdrop -- they are an actual part of the ongoing story meant to draw players in. "Our artists have done a great job tying this all together," Longdale stated. "The team is very focused on immersing our players in the story every chance we get."

Another point made during the tour involved the incoming changes to classes. Although the alterations don't necessarily involve balance, they address little things that have annoyed players; Hooper explained that the focus team that worked on these changes did so directly from player feedback on the official forums. One change players will notice is in swarm pets, which now have greater survivability, do more damage, and will spawn behind mobs instead of in front of them. Other changes are also incoming, and players can experience them all along with the rest of the new content once the update goes live at some point today.

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This article was originally published on Massively.