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EverQuest's Shadow of Fear lets you hear the voice of Luclin


EverQuest's Shadow of Fear just launched; it's the update and second part to the Rain of Fear expansion that released in November. Yes, you read that right: This is the old-school MMO's 19th expansion. If that's not impressive enough for, the list of content that comes with the patch should hold over vets for a long time. If you're level 100, you'll be able to enjoy new zones and content and brand-new mechanics.

The essence of fear is literally raining down in the form of crystalline shards. While players fight to restore balance, an ancient city has been resurrected with no explanation. Mysteries? New content? New spells, items, missions, raids quests, and storylines to discover? Yeah, we wanted in on that. We hung out with producer Thom Terrazas, lead designer Jonathan Caraker, assistant lead designer Julie Burness, and assistant lead game designer and Douglas Cronkhite for a video tour of the new update. Read on to hear what we thought and catch the brand-new trailer too.

Gallery: EverQuest Shadow of Fear expansion screenshots | 13 Photos

EverQuest's Shadow of Fear screenshot
Be warned: As you enter the new and mysterious Shissar city of Chelsith Reborn, you'll be arrested. And oh yeah, you'll also be sold into slavery. Don't worry; it's all part of the questline. The Shissar are enemies of the Iksar and will kill anything that gets in the way. You'll have to figure out how to escape as you discover the secrets behind the city's appearance. There's a massive arena that will occasionally spawn mobs to take on, but that will not be an easy task. Each spawn will drop loot that should make up for the difficulty in the encounter. In fact, the entire zone is tuned for level 100 players and offers many quests for players to go after alone. As we were led along on the tour, it was obvious that a lot of time was put into the design. Everything is large, foreboding, and dark.

The Plane of Shadow is a huge zone, described as "one of the most kickass." It's also a dismal zone that was once divided between two imposing races until they decided it was easier to bind together. Terrazas commented on how players have requested that raid content be more accessible for smaller groups, so the new update will welcome smaller group missions. Still, don't count on it being a stroll through the park.

That brings us to the driving force behind the update: the god Luclin. Sound familiar? Well, she has reappeared and taken the largest fear shard for herself, and she really wants to protect it. Luclin is described as a watcher, a balance between dark and light, and for the first time you'll hear exactly how she feels about the situation. That's right, Luclin will be fully voice-acted. You can hear and see her in the trailer, and she is impressive. Does this mean that voice-over might be something we'll see more of in the future? The developers indicated that now they have figured out how to animate the NPCs and pulled it off successfully, so it's possible that voice-over will continue to add a dimension to EverQuest that wasn't there before. The voice-over and new Luclin content will allow players to interact with a god.

We asked about player feedback; even though the update just launched, the dev team says it has received more feedback in a shorter time than during the lead up to almost every other update. The EverQuest community is still very much alive and packed with dedicated players, some of whom have never stopped playing over the course of 14 years. That's a very impressive feat for any game, especially for an MMORPG.

The team commented on improved communications between itself and the coding team while both groups listened to all of that feedback that poured in from the players. This meant that decisions and tweaks could be implemented more quickly, resulting in one of the shorter beta periods for an EQ expansion yet. Players will also have new collections and achievements to go after with this update, so it looks as if there will be plenty to do. You know, in case escaping from slavery and defending yourself against a god isn't enough for you.

This second half of Rain of Fear is available for free as part of the original purchase. If you want more information or even want to start this classic game as a brand-new character, head to the official site for more information. We'd like to thank the team for hosting us and showing us just how evil a god can be when fully voiced!

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

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