Of course, those aren't the only incoming changes. Others include increasing in the level cap to 95, alterations to the mentoring system to prevent AFK XP farming, and new prestige abilities.
Although many of these changes elicited cheers, the tradeskill ones really struck a chord with players. To start with, tradeskill AA skills are being removed from the adventuring AA trees and put into their own tree; players will be able to earn crafting AA to spend in the special tradeskill tree. What good is a skill tree with very few branches? Not much, so it's a good thing new prestige lines are also being added. These are salvaging/refining, mass production, and experimentation.
With salvaging, players will be able to deconstruct items to get raw material; the higher the quality of item that is deconstructed, the better the salvaged materials. These crafters also get mobile crafting stations, a boost to harvesting, and harvest node tracking. Players focusing on refining will be able to turn rare resources into a pure ones; crafting with that pure resource will then boost the stats of the crafted item. One of the most popular announcements of the evening involved a special gathering goblin in this prestige line that works like the pack pony but can actually harvest rares for players!
Mass production is pretty much self-explanatory. Crafters will be able to make more than one item at a time. There will however, be some restrictions (we'll have more info later after an interview). Besides saving time, this tree will allow you to save materials; in this line, crafters will also get material conservation, so they will be able to get a percentage of their build components back.
The third prestige line for crafters is experimentation. After crafting an item, crafters will be able to experiment on it. Successful experimentation can boost the stats, add a decoration, or add a proc. Unsuccessful experimentation results in the item blowing up (as one dev joked, "If you shout 'No whammies! No whammies!' in your mic as you're doing it, you;ll have a better chance of success.) Interestingly, when folks in the room asked if said explosion would hurt a player and the devs answered no, the audience actually expressed great disappointment! An item can also be experimented on multiple times; however, the difficulty increase with each subsequent experimentation attempt. The number of successful experimentations will be noted on the item when examining it.
Just like adventuring prestige skills, these open up at level 90 and points are granted at the 20% marks. Players who are already max level when the expansion launches will automatically receive the points when they log in.
Guild halls are definitely a home away from home for many EQII players. In fact, many amenities that are available in cities can be acquired by guild halls. However, some cannot. With Chains of Eternity and the increase in guild levels, that number of unavailable amenities is reduced; when the expansion releases, guilds will be able to add Chronomages and functioning deity alters for members to use without traveling into the main cities. Producer Holly Longdale also noted that an upcoming amenity would include something to reduce the status cost of guild halls. Hooray!
Adornments and removers
The adornment feature of EverQuest II is going to experience a couple of changes with the expansion. For one, there will be new adornments called Spirit Stones (green adornments) that grow and gain experience and power right alongside the wearer. As the Spirit Stones gain XP, new abilities open up. These adornments, restricted to just the neck and ring slots, will be available for every level. There will be dozens to choose from, and players can see at a glance what the future abilities would be to determine which adornment would be better for them.
The devs also noted that tinkerers will be able to create some of these green adornments, but conversely, adorners will not be able to create tinkered items without actually acquiring tinkering. Other Spirit Stones will be rare drops.
Even with these two changes, the one that brought the loudest applause was the introduction of adornment removers. For a price, players will be able to remove either one or all of the adornments on a particular piece of gear, with the latter being significantly more expensive than the former. It should be noted that when the adornments are retrieved from any item, that item is destroyed.
Mentoring and groups
Noting that mentoring is currently the optimal way to level (and that is bad!), the devs announced that there would be some adjustments to the system.
For one, XP for green mobs and the encounter bonus are being removed for mentors. Group experience is also being altered so that everyone who contributes to the group will gain experience as if they were solo. The trick is that players must contribute to the group -- either through hitting or healing -- and register on the encounter's hate list in order to receive the full XP.
These tweaks will help limit AFK autofollow bots farming XP by removing the bonus XP. As one dev put it, "If you are Joe Autofollow with your five bots, you're not going to get the experience bonus; you're going to get what you normally get."
The expansion is also bringing a level cap that will increase to 95 for adventuring, tradeskills, and guilds. A hearty cheer went out when devs assured players that there would be no need to return to Chelsith (at least the one players are familiar with!) for those additional levels as new content was also being introduced. Besides the new lands of Obol Plains and the Eidolon Jungle (Norrath's lands in the Ethernere, or afterlife), there are nine new instanced dungeons as well as all-new quest lines. me fo the new instances include Temple of the Faceless, Chesith: The Ancient Vault, Wurmbone Crag, Sleepers' Tomb, The Dreadcutter (which is a ship), and Harrow's End.
With the level cap increasing to 95, new prestige abilities and new PvP are also being added. The new PvP gear can be obtained through Havok marks or by switching tier three gear to PvP. And there will be over 300 hundred new abilities spread out between all the various classes.
With the level cap raised again, SOE really wants players to be able to experience the new content. However, there is one snag that often holds people up from experiencing post-90 content: AAs. To help get more players to the new content, SOE is giving special bonus to all players who get the Chains of Eternity expansion. This bonus is that players will receive two special baubles that will automatically grant 280 AA to any level 90 character on the account, allowing that character to gain experience beyond level 90.
Another bonus with the collector's edition is a werewolf mercenary. During the EQII Future panel, it was announced that players will have the choice between a Paladin and a healer for this merc.
Keep an eye out as Massively brings you more information and details on the systems and features of Chains of Eternity.
What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporters MJ Guthrie and Karen Bryan to this year's SOE Live, from which they'll be transmitting all the best fan news on PlanetSide 2, EverQuest II, DC Universe Online, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.