Our tour of brand-new content in Game Update 49 begins in the dunes of the Sinking sands. Raising the Banner is the latest chapter in the Void Storms live event, and puts you in the service of the gnomes of D.I.R.T.Y. The gnomes are desperately searching out information on the buried relics in the Sands, and they need stalwart adventurers to help them out.
Unlike the Guild Hall Construction element of 'Breaking Ground' from GU 48, players won't be tasked with harvesting. Instead, they'll go on a series of quests asking them to craft items or slay monsters, all in the cause of raising ... whatever this is from the earth. This excavation will tie directly into the events surrounding the expansion and (unlike the Guild Hall event) player progression on individual servers will dictate when the 'end phase' of this event kicks off.
Crafters and house hunters alike are sure to love one of GU49's more 'fun' features. Housing items can now be changed in size! This enormous chair was originally sized for a gnome.
Items can be shrunk by up to 50%, or can be increased by up to 3x their normal size. Many duplicate items, whose only difference was that they were differently sized, have been removed from the crafting books ... hopefully to make room for more variety in future patches.
Even house-placeable quest items can be increased in size! The only items that can't be enlarged or reduced are the musical holiday snowglobes. They each have an animated scene inside the glass that simply won't scale well.
It's worth noting the beauty of this in-game home. Put together by the crafter Naitani, it's a testament to the power of the housing system even prior to the addition of item scaling. Attendees of the tour were intrigued by the possibilities the new functionality would offer them as regards house decoration.
The biggest (literally) additions to EverQuest 2 in this update are the biggest-sized guild halls. Available only to the topmost guilds with money and status to burn, these massive fortresses are the ultimate expression of guild power in the game.
This is the Qeynos guild hall, and brings to mind the grand fortress of a benevolent lord. This massive dais in the main courtyard would be the resting place for the 'three knights' amenity statue. The hall is so large that one of the purchasable amenities is a set of teleportation pads to move you about the structure.
The central hall has flickering faerie fire above and a cool marble floor below. An endless combination of decoration possibilities would seem to stretch out before the dedicated guild - some 1500 items are placeable in these massive structures.
Despite their generally huge size, the guild halls have numerous nooks and crannies that high-ranking guild members will want to claim as their own. This small side room was just paces from the main entrance to the fortress, but seemed secluded by a maze of passageways.
Here lies the imposing Freeport guild hall, just off the coast of the commonlands. Tipped by a massive chunk of glowing lava, this fortress will play host to the scalliwags and brigands of Norrath.
This is the main courtyard of the Freeport guild hall, with all of its statuary in place. Statues are just one of over 50 amenities guilds can choose to purchase for their mighty lairs.
Statues enslaved to forever hold aloft braziers adorn the central hall. An endless swirl of hallways and sidechambers flair away from this room. Whereas the Qeynos guild hall brought to mind the keep of a just lord, the ever-changing elevations and twisting passages of this hall seem designed to confuse and oppress invading armies.
The Freeport hall has two very definite advantages over the Qeynos keep: wizards towers. Viewable in the initial overhead shot of the hall on the left and right of the main structure, the towers feature a glowing sphere of energy and a high chamber from which to do fell magicks.
Yes, that's water you're seeing. There are not one but two sub-basement levels to the guild halls, with the lowest featuring this enormous dock on the water. Don't worry Qeynosians, you have one too.
You'll want to check out the list in 'high rez' mode to read the full list of amenities that the guild hall can offer. Every one of them is on this list (or the two lists after this).
Amenities include everything from a stylist that will allow you to change your appearance at will, to guards for the hall (up to 50!), to a personalized mailbox.
Guild can even purchase their own Druid rings, complete with druids, for easy access to the far-flung reaches of Norrath. 'Mariner's Bells' can be purchased for the subterranean docks as well.
The 'Domination' statue presides over the Freeport courtyard as we take our leave of this magnificent estate. If you have a guild that can afford this extravagant expression, you'd be missing out not to take the opportunity. The sheer scope of these buildings almost defies the imagination, and makes you wonder if the EQ2 team has been cribbing notes from their ambitious Vanguard brethren. Either way, these enormous player-run mansions are sure to please when they go live later this month.