EverQuest II Fan Faire Report

As usual, a ton of information was presented at Fan Faire about upcoming features and changes to the game.  This is a summary of information gleaned from four panels and the Annual Address.  We will be reporting on specific panels througout the week.

Expansion Information

The next EQII expansion, as most folks know by now, is Sentinel's Fate, and is planned for release in February 2010.  This is planned to be a level 80 - 90 expansion.  It will take place in Odus, known to EverQuest players as the home of the Erudite and Kerra.  It will include level cap raises to level 90 across the board and 50 more AA points.  There will also be new Guild Hall Amenities.

Fan Faire: Free Realms Lore Explained

If you've been getting your Free Realms news at ZAM for a while, you may remember a Free Realms lore preview that we published the week before launch. The information we published has kept us interested in the inter workings of the Free Realms universe; so we made it a point to find the most knowledgeable lore developer at Fan Faire to ask some questions.

Terrence Yee: Hi, my name is Terrence Yee and I'm the World Lead Designer on Free Realms.

ZAM: Let's start off with Briarwood. Can you give us some history on the area and then the Fairy Princess Lavender?

OK, this assumes you know the main plotline. The fairy princess Lavender, when she was exiled by her sister, she was hurt and distraught. So, being a little bit more melodramatic, she holed herself off to this dark, creepy and mysterious area known as Briarwood, which has always been known to be the scary place where people don't go. So, her being the more emotional - she kind of blended in well in there. So she holed up in there, she was an excellent druid so she was able to wield her magics and form protective barriers around the area. It's kind of indicative of the thorns you may see creeping around her, they're actually her symbol. So, as you get in, you'll see the thorns growing in. So as you get closer to her, that represents her - protecting the area. The interesting thing about Lavender is that, at first glance you may think she's a maniacal and crazy person, but really, she's just hurt. The thorns you think of as a dangerous mechanism, but they're meant to be defensive for her.

Fan Faire: You Asked Questions. We Got Answers.

This year we decided to try something different, so we asked our community what you wanted us to ask the EverQuest Development team. You responded with a variety of questions, and we caught up with Senior Game Designer Ryan "Rytan" Barker to get some answers.

ZAM: Limited bag space is a huge player issue for both personal and guild banks. Are you currently happy with the amount of space, and would you consider adding more space as part of an update in the future?

Ryan Barker: So this one we talked about a couple times yesterday. People brought up various versions of that, essentially. There are a couple different things. There's a significant technical hurdle of adding more bank space. We're not opposed to it, it's just that there's some serious, serious work that has to go into it to make the character file big enough to hold more bank space. The other thing that got brought up was that some of the things should be stackable in larger numbers. We're open to that, as long as it makes sense. There are some items that we're not comfortable stacking in hundreds because of balance reasons, like potions and click effect things like that. For the most part we're OK with trade skill items and things like that stacking in the higher numbers, so if there are any specific examples, we'd love to take a look at which items aren't stacking as high as they should.

Fan Faire - Day.... Wait, it's Over??

Wow.  That was intense. Two days of mingling with nearly 2000 gamers, developers, fansite people, and game characters.  I have a spiral notebook full of notes and four hours of panel audio recordings to go through.  Sorry folks, some of this will just have to wait until I get back to Alaska (but I'll be working on it on the plane).

My impressions of Fan Faire are still a blur.  I spent time talking to Paul Molina, EQII Lore guy, about the new expansion (I had to swear on my NDA.  This is going to be SO COOL!).  Dan Kinney and I chatted about the Station Launcher.  I hung out with the Free Realms guys and talked hard core gamers into giving it a try. 

Friday I went to the EQ2 Potpourri panel, which was largely Q&A and much to my amazement the devs hardly said "Ask me after Smed's address."  Then of course we had the Annual Address, followed by a party.

You Have Learned: Destroy Everything.

Last year at Fan Faire, Vanguard players got a chance to watch movies made by Lenny “Tiraslee” Gullo, which gave us a sneak peak at things to come in Vanguard.

This year, things took a different turn.  Tiraslee was without his nicely edited movies.  Instead, he sat next to Lead Developer and recently promoted Producer, Salim “Silius” Grant, who let us see the up and coming for Vanguard directly from the game's Test Server.

In the A Look Into the Future of Vanguard panel, a packed conference room got a chance to be walked through what is on the horizon for Vanguard.

What is that horizon? Pantheon Part B (PotA-B), AAs, new dungeons, new loot and new overland raid bosses.

Address Reveals EQ Expansion, Info on SOE Games

Members of the ZAM team are currently at Fan Faire in Las Vegas and got to see Sony Online Entertainment President John Smedley deliver the third annual Community Address. It was announced that the 16th EverQuest expansion will be called Underfoot. It's coming out in November, but you'll be able to participate in events beginning in July that will give you credit to get Underfoot before anyone else. It will launch with 12-15 zones, with bonus zones being added through April 2010. It will include a new achievement tracking system and double the amount of weapons of any other expansion.

UPDATE: To clarify, Eldiroth has stated in the official SOE forums that there is no level increase in Underfoot.

As Calthine has already reported, it was also revealed the new EverQuest II expansion, Sentinel's Fate, will explore Odus, and Free Realms will introduce the Soccer Star job and more content for both driver jobs.

Star Wars Galaxies is celebrating its six-year anniversary today at the convention with a bunch of panels, and attendees are getting a Dianoga Dumpster in-game item that eats your trash and spits out random items. As Tamat reported, the Chronicle Master profession was also announced at Fan Faire.

Keep an eye out on the DC Universe Online Myspace page for information on a new video contest that asks players to explain which hero or villain is their best friend or foe. Fans at the convention are also checking out a service that allows players to purchase SOE art prints and have them delivered to their home, which will launch later this year. Keep reading after the  jump for more information.

And the Expansion is.....

ODUS!  Details are sketchy at the moment, but the expansion will explore Odus, what happened to it, and the lore lines of Kerra and Erudites.  The level cap will be raised to 90, with more Achievement Points available to put into expanded AP trees.  Sentinel's Fate is planned for a February 2010 release date.  All Fan Faire attendees will get Beta access and a free digital copy.

Planned for release at the same time as the expansion will be a new starting city:  Halas. 

EQII is now on a three month Game Update cycle.  GU53 will feature auto-mentoring, where one can down-tier one's character without mentoring another toon.  This will allow players to explore grey content for experience and achievement points.  GU53 will also open up the Shard of Love, where players might discover the fate of Erollisi Marr.

In LoN News, the final set of the Ethernaut saga, Stormbreak, is scheduled to be released in July. 

And in Station Cash news, Character Transfers will soon be available via the Station Marketplace.  You'll be able to get your transfer for $25 worth of Station Cash.

Soccer and More Coming to Free Realms

Here's your Free Realms Fan Faire news, fresh from John Smedley's Annual Address:

The highly anticipated soccer game is coming!  This will be a full 3-D game in the manner of racing, and is due "this summer".  There will be a full Soccer Star job that can be leveled to 20 like most jobs. Speaking of racing, both driver jobs will soon acquire full progression and be levelable to 20.  The Driver enhancements will also include a garage where you can customize your Kart.

Even more fun, we were treated to concept art of a new area, which is home to Dwarves.  This will be a desert playground with it's own minigames and quest series. 

In TCG news, soon you will be able to have your character on a playable TCG card.  You will customize a card, submit it to Topps, and receive 10 real playable TCG cards.  Each of these cards will also have a redeemable code for an in-game virtual playable card. 

Fan Faire attendees will receive an in-game t-shirt and one month Membership in Free Realms. 

Mayong 51/50 Server Launches

Big news coming out of Fan Faire ladies and gentlemen. The 51/50 server that players voted on as part of the 10th anniversary of EverQuest celebration has officially gone live. Unfortunately for everyone who couldn't make it to Vegas this weekend, it will only be available to attendees of Fan Faire. We're forming a raid to kill Lord Nagafen as I speak. Wish us luck!

Chronicle Master Profession Announced at Fan Faire

After the release of Hoth: The Battle of Echo Base, the Star Wars Galaxies team began thinking about new ideas to keep players engaged. The team arrived at Star Wars Galaxies Chronicles, a player generated content system. In this new system, SWG players will be able to take on a new profession to create Solo, Group and PvP quests to share with other players.

Didn't make it to Fan Faire? Don't worry, we have you covered. Check out our summarized panel write-up with all the information about the Chronicle Master and let us know what you think in our forums.