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EverQuest

EverQuest's 21st expansion, Darkened Sea, is now live

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE

EverQuest
EverQuest's 21st(!) expansion is now live, quite a feat for the 15-year-old MMO. The Darkened Sea raises the level cap to 105, adds six new zones and two re-imagined ones, and features the usual assortment of new quests, items, and raids. SOE describes the storyline:
On a mission to restore balance to Norrath, heroine Firiona Vie travels to Katta Castrum, a city in the Buried Sea, to heal the Combine Emperor, Tsaph Katta. However, a corrupt splinter faction of the Combine, along with the treacherous Lanys T'vyl, attacks the city and kidnaps the Combine ruler. It is up to the heroes of Norrath to track down Lanys and her compatriots, rescue the Emperor and put an end to whatever designs Lanys has planned for Norrath.
Check out the new screenshots below.

[Source: SOE press release]

EverQuest: The Darkened Sea officially launching on November 11th

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Launches, Lore, Free-to-Play

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While All-Access members are currently enjoying EverQuest's newest expansion, The Darkened Sea, non-subscribers are still twiddling their thumbs waiting to get in on the fun. The good news is that the wait will be over soon, as the expansion will officially launch on November 11th for all who purchase it.

To help drum up excitement, SOE posted a brief story dev diary to set the scene for the expansion. "The Darkened Sea hides many secrets," the team teased. "A coral castle, enchanting sirens, watered-down dwarves, and even dinosaurs! On a remote island in the vast ocean is a mysterious city with an intricate citadel floating above it."

For a full grasp on what The Darkened Sea has to offer, check out our in-depth look into the game's 21st expansion.

EverQuest: The Darkened Sea expansion is live today

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Interviews, Free-to-Play

We got our first glimpse of EverQuest's 21st expansion back at SOE Live, with its impending new features, a slew of new zones, and the promise of the return of two classic characters. For the past month, some folks have even been testing these things out in beta. Now with launch finally just around the corner (as in today!), Designers Jonathan Caraker, Alan VanCouvering, and Doug Cronkhite joined Producer Thom Terrazas and Creative Director Akil Hooper to talk shop while zipping through the newest zones of The Darkened Sea on a tour of what players will get to dive into.

The Darkened Sea actually builds upon a previous expansion, The Buried Sea. "We have some stories and characters... that we liked back then that we wanted to continue," Terrazas explained. "So we're bringing back some familiar characters that have been off the grid a little bit the last few years." The story itself also takes place in the Buried Sea, starting off on a little tucked away island called Tempest Temple.

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SOE provides Halloween makeup tips

Video, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), Humor, DC Universe Online, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, H1Z1

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File this under "No, we are not making this up." The team at Sony Online Entertainment has put together a series of five instructional videos to show you how to use makeup to look like your favorite in-game characters this Halloween, including EverQuest's Firiona Vie and an H1Z1 zombie.

We've got all five videos after the break, although by the looks of some of them, you'll probably best be served by having a professional makeup consultant from a special effects company on hand -- and a lot of cold cream for afterward.

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Halloween makes the rounds in SOE's line-up

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2, Dragon's Prophet, Landmark

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'Tis the season for spookies and crawlies, and SOE is not above appropriating Halloween for its own ghoulish ends. Pretty much every one of its MMOs is hosting Halloween festivities this month with events, prizes, and macabre decorations.

DC Universe Online is bringing back the Witching Hour and Midnight Masquerade with a few new rewards, Landmark is hosting a spooky building contest, Dragon's Prophet is reprising its Styx Festival, and both EverQuest and EverQuest II are reprising their infamous Nights of the Dead.

Out of the bunch, PlanetSide 2 is the only one with a truly new holiday: Nanite of the Living Dead. With this event, players will be scouring the planet for "space pumpkins" to destroy for fun and profit.

Your worship of EverQuest Next's deities will shape the world

Betas, Fantasy, EverQuest, Lore, Free-to-Play, EverQuest Next, Sandbox

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The gods of Norrath are slated to return for EverQuest Next, and who players choose to worship will have a profound effect on the game itself.

Lead Content Designer Steve Danuser penned a lore blog to introduce Veeshan and the Nor'I for the upcoming fantasy MMO. He said that the team is striving to stick to the "thematic core" of Veeshan for her reimagining: "Veeshan looms large in our story. It wouldn't be an EverQuest game without her!" And while Veeshan is well known by fans, the Nor'l is a new figure, the world spirit of Norrath. The Nor'l gives birth to mortals and flows through the entire world, communicating only through song.

"Your actions in the world determine who controls territory and resources, and one of those key resources is the belief of Norrath's inhabitants," Danuser said. "How strong will Veeshan's influence grow after the Combine return to Antonica? Will the Nor'I be protected or exploited? These are questions that you'll get to decide through the choices you make in game."

Perfect Ten: Terrible, terrible MMO names

EverQuest, Opinion, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, Dragon's Prophet, Elite: Dangerous, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

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A catchy, vivid title is essential to getting your game noticed and establishing a strong brand. Yes, we as gamers will get used to pretty much any dumb name (unless it's Daikatana), but a great one allows us to mention it in polite society without getting spat on or rejected for dates.

The best MMO names in my opinion are single words that sound cool or conjure up a strong association. I'm less fond of ALL CAPS ACRONYMS and any game that can't be more inventive with its title than to put "Online" after it. For the most part, MMOs play it safe and boring with titles, with only a few outliers in the awesome or terrible fringes. Today, we're going to examine the latter.

I want to make a couple of quick qualifiers here. I'm not judging these games by their names; an MMO can be good or bad independent of how silly its name is. And while I know that some of these names make more sense in context, I generally feel that if I have to have it explained to me, then it's a fail.

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EverQuest begins Darkened Sea beta

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Patches, Free-to-Play

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While The Darkened Sea, EverQuest's 21st expansion, debuts in a little over a month, you can check out the beta as soon as... well, right now.

Producer Thom Terrazas posted a letter on the forums yesterday informing players that the beta would begin today and continue through October 24th. Terrazas also put out a call for raiding guilds to sign up to test the expansion's raid content on September 22nd. Following that, the early access launch for The Darkened Sea will start on October 28th and the full release will follow on November 11th.

There will not be a pre-order for the expansion. "We are also working on an easy way for players to purchase the expansion plus a monthly subscription to get in quickly and avoid getting left behind. Stay tuned for those details very soon," Terrazas promised.

Coming next week to EverQuest is an update that will include a robe category for the player studio and a way to transfer large amounts of currency at a time.

One Shots: The big plunge

Screenshots, EverQuest, Culture, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, Miscellaneous, WildStar

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For someone like myself who is mortally terrified of heights, MMOs are not a good form of immersion therapy. I still feel my stomach clench when I fall from a ledge or, in the case of our first screenshot of the day, witness someone else doing it.

"This was my first jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2," Reader Chiara said. "You don't forget those things. I was all excited when I found a secret passage -- I wasn't even aware of the existence of jumping puzzles back then -- and as luck would have it, I found one of the toughest ones. Of course. My character is always camera-ready, as you can see -- even when she's plunging to her death. I think she was trying to wave, actually."

What happened next? In my mind, she'll always be falling, falling. Well, we all might as well take the big plunge into the rest of these screencaps!

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The Game Archaeologist: Ironman modes and elective permadeath

Asheron's Call, Dofus, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars Galaxies, RuneScape, The Game Archaeologist, Miscellaneous, Wizardry Online, Star Citizen, H1Z1

wizardry online
One facet of video games that's been around almost since the very beginning is the difficulty level. This has allowed the player to choose how hard or easy a game would be from the onset, influencing factors such as the number of enemies, hardiness of bad guys, fragility of the player character, and available loot (or lack of it). I used to love how some of those '90s shareware titles would mock me for picking easy, sometimes portraying my character wearing a baby bonnet and sucking its thumb. Real gamers, the devs implied, go tough or go home.

With a few exceptions, MMOs operate on a fixed level of difficulty for all of their players. Instead of assigning blanket difficulty client-side, the game world portions difficulty into areas, usually according to level or activity. Some games have instances with adjustable difficulty levels, but past that what you get is also what I get.

This might be changing. A very fringe but dedicated group of players have championed such ideas as elective ironman and permadeath modes for their MMOs, and at least one studio is responding positively to that desire. Would you choose to make your MMO experience harder than everyone else in exchange for nothing more than a bigger challenge and a more "realistic" experience?

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SOE Live 2014: EverQuest will release The Darkened Sea expansion October 28th

Fantasy, EverQuest, Expansions, Free-to-Play, Events (Massively's Coverage)

As is custom, the next EverQuest expansion was announced at SOE Live 2014. And while Thursday's keynote shared the title, The Darkened Sea, it divulged little else. Players were going to have to wait until EQ's individual keynote address later today to get any actual details. However, for those who just can't wait that long, I sat down with Senior Producer Thom Terrazas and Creative Director Akil Hooper to get an early scoop on the game's upcoming 21st expansion and more.

What do players have to look forward to? How about the return of the classic characters Firiona Vie and Lanys T'Val, a personalized looting feature, a higher level cap of 105, a new mount storage system, and eight new zones! Oh, we can't forget the dinosaurs! And did I mention that The Darkened Sea launches on October 28th for All Access members?

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SOE Live 2014: Thursday keynote liveblog announces EQ and EQII expansions, more

EverQuest, EverQuest II, Expansions, MMO Industry, Events (Massively's Coverage), EverQuest Next, Dragon's Prophet, H1Z1

Are you looking forward to getting a hint of what's to come for your favorite SOE games this next year? SOE Live's Thursday keynote has just kicked off, and SOE notables like John Smedley are taking the stage to give fans a hint of the announcements coming over the course of the weekend. We're here live to give you the scoop directly from the devs, and we'll be keeping this post updated as it progresses. You can also can watch the presentation streamed live below.
  • Keynote announcements on Friday have all the juicy details, so don't miss them!
  • Four awards for Player Studio: Highest creator - BeastBuster with over $25,000 to date; Most Prolific creator - Rollen; Most Improved Creator - Jerry "Rawl" Dechant; and Most inspirational - Neko Zero.
  • Player Direct awards -- you can see all full-length film on the official site.
  • H1Z1 is coming out on the PS4.
  • The Play it Forward initiative is gamers helping others, in game or in life.
  • Tournaments: Prize money on the line for participants.
  • Dragon's Prophet is introducing a new system where you find and raise dragon hatchlings.
  • EverQuest is introducing a new category to Player Studio.
  • EQ working on a new advanced looting feature.
  • EQ's next expansion is The Darkened Sea.
  • EverQuest II's 10th anniversary in November, the 11th expansion Alter of Malice is launching on 11/11.
  • New classes for EverQuest Next will be announced tomorrow.
  • A touching video tribute to EQII's Ribbitribbit was presented.
  • SOE encouraged support for AbleGamers, Gamers4Life, and Military Gamers.

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The Daily Grind: Should old MMOs retire gracefully while they still can?

EverQuest, Culture, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Miscellaneous

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You can't deny that certain MMOs from the dawn of the genre are getting a bit long in the tooth. Heck, some of them lost their teeth a while ago and replaced them with wooden dentures of power. Take EverQuest, for example. Even with a free-to-play transition, numerous updates, and a dev team that's pushed that game engine as far as it can go, it's still an old title with a high-water mark that peaked before most current players started on their first MMO.

So here's a contentious question for the day: Should games like EverQuest retire? Should they go out with some dignity right now rather than face future humiliation by becoming increasingly obsolete? Wouldn't studios be better off focusing resources on new additions to their franchises? What do you think?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

SOE Live player panels include support for military gamers

Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Events (Real-World), Free-to-Play, DC Universe Online, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Landmark, H1Z1

soe live
SOE Live posted its list of player panels today for its convention, with topics ranging from supporting military gamers to fansite management. The full list is as follows:

Friday, August 15
  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm -– EQ2U & Dragon's Armory
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm –- Live Together, Die Alone: Surviving H1Z1 as a Group
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm –- Inter-Outfit Operations in PS2
  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm –- Become Your Character: Tricks and Tips for Cosplay
  • 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm –- Military Gamers: Taking Care of Each Other
Saturday, August 16
  • 10:00 am - 11:00 am -– Social Media/Steaming & Fansites
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm -– Effective Guild and League Management
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm –- Improving Your EverQuest
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm –- DCUO – Advanced Raid Tactics
  • 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm –- The New Conglomerate
  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm -– Hardcore Decorating in EQII
  • 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm –- EQII Game Macros, ACT Triggers, and You!

The Daily Grind: Have you ever volunteered for an MMO?

Fantasy, EverQuest, Business Models, Culture, Events (In-Game), MMO Industry, Opinion, Ultima Online, The Daily Grind, Roleplaying, Miscellaneous, Player-Generated Content

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A few weeks ago in my Working As Intended column, I brought up the role gamemasters and officially appointed player helpers had in fostering communities, directing roleplaying, and aiding newbies and event organizers in early MMOs. We're not talking about just floating a HELPER tag over your head (though most modern MMOs lack even that); old-school games literally ran programs that traded game time (or just a hearty thanks!) to players who would log into special accounts or robed characters and lend a hand, officiate a wedding, or help a clueless nooblet find the bank.

While I was focusing primarily on Ultima Online in that article, just a few days later, SOE tweeted a post about the EverQuest franchise's alive-and-kicking volunteer Guide program. Participating player Guides are now expected to run dynamic events and quests rather than interact in chat, but the concept is the same, even in 2014, however strange it must seem to newcomers to the genre.

Today I'm wondering how many of our readers have ever volunteered in a semi-official or official capacity within their MMO of choice. How did it treat you, and do you want to see programs like these become more widespread?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

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