by Moorgard on 2003-02-11And Then There Were Five
The Legacy of Ykesha site has been updated today with info on the zones to be included with the extension. The new zones will be:
Gulf of Gunthak
Crypt of Nadox
Seems pretty clear why SOE has labeled this an extension and not an expansion. The brunt of this release is really feature-oriented rather than content-oriented. While you do get a new playable race and a handful of zones, what you're really paying for are the utilities that are included. And in that sense, the price is pretty reasonable. But those who are starved for new zones will have to wait for the next proper expansion--or for EverQuest 2.
Invitations to beta test LoY have been sent out already, so Test server should be putting the new extension through its paces.
Proving that nothing is sacred in Norrath, one of the game's original zones saw a rather unexpected change recently. The trolls of Grobb got their asses handed to them by a froglok army that had been transformed by Mithaniel Marr (hence the new frog models) in an event that took place on the live servers.
The butt-scratchers were kicked out of their homes and are currently relegated to a rather small ghetto in Neriak, while Grobb has been transformed into Gukta, an outpost for Marr's amphibious minions.
One has to wonder how long the snobby dark elves will put up with an increased troll presence in their discotheque of a city, or whether dark elf maidens will succumb to their guests' brutish charms and start popping out half-troll bastards in nine months or so.
While the trolls nurse their injured pride at being humbled by short creatures that eat flies, other changes are sweeping across the lands. A new boat has turned up at the dock in Stonebrunt Mountains on Test server that will no doubt sail to some part of the new expansion. Port spells to Stonebrunt have also popped up, which is a good thing, since there are only about two people per server who can tell you how to get to this ill-placed and virtually ignored zone.
Ya gotta hand it to those developers... I don't think anybody saw this Gukta thing coming. Most of us figured frogs would start in either a revamped upper Guk or an entirely new zone. Ah well, not like we'll be losing any sleep over seeing the trolls get whopped.
Me and My Charms
The mysterious new charm slot was revealed last week, and it turns out to be something of a unique approach. Rather than just being a regular item, charms will have some interesting properties:
Charms are more than just simple magic items. They interact with the world around them and often with their owner. Charms are aware of their surroundings, at least in some limited way. This limited perception is usually directed, or aimed at a specific purpose, though that is not always the case.
A charm, for example, may have been created by a druid after a lifetime of battles with the forces of Blackburrow or the Coldpaw Clan. She may have imbued her charms with the power to grant strength to those that kill her lifelong enemies, and that strength may grow with the owner's dedication to the charm's cause. Or perhaps there is an ancient Dwarven charm, blessed by Brell, that grants a boon - but only to Dwarves.
And of course there are rumors that some of these charms only work with arms or armor created by the same weapon or armor smith, and that their magic grows stronger with every piece of the armor set the owner wears.
That sounds kinda complicated. Seems like charms can have bane-type effects that work situationally, or can vary in strength based upon your other gear.
Anyway, I just want a charm of asskicking so that I can administer critical beatdowns to my foes, or maybe a charm of phatlewting so that mobs always drop the good stuff for me. At least I'm hoping charms like these will be in the cards.
Do Your Homework
There's another change on Test server that might make casters with incomplete spellbooks breathe a sigh of relief. There seem to be new research items on the horizon that could make obtaining pre-PoP spells easier.
If this goes live, casters would have an alternate method of getting those elusive Kunark-era spells that seem so hard to find. Research components will probably still be somewhat rare, but probably not as rare as a Malo or Torpor drop.
Here's hoping this system makes it live, because lord knows I've heard enough whining about spells to last me several lifetimes.
Compared to the long key quests of previous expansions, the PoP flag system seemed like a breath of fresh air. There were no components to camp, and you could get flags to deeper zones via your normal guild raids.
It didn't take long, however, for a shadow to loom over the flagging concept. Players complained that flags to most zones could only be obtained via a skilled raid force, rendering all but a handful of PoP zones off limits to the majority of players. Plus there was the problem of some guild members missing one flag in a sequence, thus requiring the killing of the same mobs over and over to try and get your guild on the same page.
While the dev team works on a more permanent solution, some players on the Drinal server have come up with their own approach. The Drinal Flag Rebellion has arisen in an attempt to bring flags to the masses.
Basically, this coalition of players from various and sundry guilds unites to kill flag mobs that might be out of reach of individual guilds, thus granting access to deeper zones. The Magnetic Behemoth in PoI (opens Tactics), Grummus in PoD (opens Crypt of Decay), Aerin'Dar in PoV (opens Halls of Honor), and the three trials in HoH (opens Mith Marr's house) have all fallen before the might of the Rebellion.
Some members of upper-tier guilds look down on DFR's efforts. They see this movement as a zerg army overwhelming encounters that are supposed to depend on skill rather than sheer numbers. Or maybe they just don't want their sweet exp spots camped by other people.
In any case, it's unlikely that the DFR is going to be gaining admittance to the elemental planes anytime soon. The Crypt of Decay cycle and Bertox in particular are bottlenecks in the process, not to mention the fight with Rallos Zek himself. But regardless of these limitations, the DFR has at least shown that you don't have to be in an uberguild to access some of the deeper planes--you just need to be able to cooperate with your fellow players.
It will be interesting to see whether other servers follow Drinal's lead, or if the rebellion will stand alone as an attempt to get around the limitations of the flag system. DFR gets high marks for creativity, at the very least.
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
The uberguilds' march to the Plane of Time(sinks) continues, and of course the deaths of Xegony and Fennin Ro are old news. But now it looks like both Afterlife and Fires of Heaven have made it to the second part of the Plane of Earth (lovingly known as PoEB). While these two guilds are notorious for their disagreements, both share the sentiment that PoEB has issues.
Not only is the Rathe Council--the twiggy gang you presumably have to kill to advance further--amazingly tough, but entry into the zone itself is perilous. The key, which teleports a single group into PoEB, is not soulbound, nor does it go on the keyring once used. Moreover, characters do not receive a flag upon zoning in. Thus, you have the fun and glory that keyrings and soulbound items were supposed to eliminate: the risk of losing your corpses permanently.
Hey, if Veeshan's Peak was going to be the endgame zone of PoP, I wish they would have just told us upfront.
Seriously, though, design decisions like these need to get looked at and taken care of. Nobody who invests all the time and effort to stay at the bleeding edge of the game should have to worry about corpses rotting or jumping through hoops to make a CR happen. As for making the mobs insanely hard, though... you can keep that part in. That's what uberguilds are for; they make the impossible possible.
Please excuse me for going all Don Cheadle on you for a second there. I still miss football season.
Oh, and no uberguild update would be complete without mentioning Tork's latest genital mishap. Just scroll past all the EQ junk to find out why you need to be careful with those electric clippers.
Today we leave you with the latest craze sweeping the EQ universe. What guild couldn't use another cleric? Especially one so obviously talented and... uh, opinionated?
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... the Quon. Poet, prophet, or psychopath? You decide.