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EverQuest II Game Update 51
As we prepare for the coming of Game Update 51, and the sweeping changes to the aggro system, we got to take a look at some nifty new content, new zones and yes, some new factions to play with in the upcoming update to the system.
GU 51's new content revolves around the newly revamped Lavastorm zone. I can hear the groans now: Lavastorm? c'mon - all that trekking back and forth just to get to the instance? SOE has heard your lament and the beginning of the zone has been changed dramatically. Off the docks, the annoying agro-goblins have moved on to other work, allowing you unfettered access into the bulk of the zone. These gobbies are now also less prone to attacking you 55 and under players as most of them are no longer agro (unless , of course, you stray too close to the buggers that are actually working - they remain hostile - seems interrupting their work is a no no).
For ease of travel, speedy horses made of molten magma, and similar to the ones in Faydwer, are now available to take you to key locations within the zone. Unlike Faydwer however, you will not need to do a quest or hit their destinations first to use them. All stops are available from the get go. There is a large chunk of content for the 44-55 crowd in this update. Several faction merchants have been added and the questline begins in the tent/hovel of one Blisterzonk , located on the southeast coast of the zone and quite easily gotten to - who is the start of the questline. He offers a few repeatables as well. These quests help you reduce faction in order to buy from his tentmate, Kabcar Tapista. Wait. what? reduce faction?
Yep, seems old Kabcar sees you as a friend, and accordingly, he wont sell to you. Make your faction a bit worse, and he will see you as "family" and be a bit more hostile, but still wont sell. Eventually, through repeatable quests, you will lower you faction with this "bizarro-goblin" and he will label you a "customer" (the most hated of all) and happily sell you his wares.
There are a few house items for sale but I suspect the two most eagerly pursued will be the magma armor molds and the lava cow mount. No, that isn't a typo, there's a cow, and you can ride. Made of lava. (Ok so it uses the Rhino graphic - but they do, oddly, call it a cow). Yes, the tinfoil hats EQ2players previewed a couple weeks ago are real. They are here as well.
The real draw here is the magma armor. For the first time, armor is animated directly on the piece, as opposed to particle effects floating around it. The little veins of still molten armor pulse and glow , giving the impression of movement. Its considered level 5 cloth armor, so its intended purpose is clearly to give us something nifty for our appearance slot. You buy a mold, and then go to a special forge in the zone to create it. Pictures don't really do it justice, its pretty cool in action.
The remainder of Lavastorm for the 44-55 crowd has remained largely unchanged, content wise, but has seen a few graphical upgrades. Lava elementals, formerly just sort of orange sparkly golems, are now geared up with partial magma armor and carrying weapons. And the temple of Solosek Ro has been tweaked, with new mob names and appearances, though their function seems to be the same as previous incarnations. Some nice graphical scenery has been added here and there for a fresher look to the zone.
The beach extends around to the left and into an area called Najena's Cove . Here we discover that Lavastorm has become the newest incursion point for the forces of the void. There's a void anchor here and several 81+ void beasts are here, corrupting the magma wyrms into something a bit more sinister. It is here that the lvl 80 content begins for this GU. The devs have chosen an interesting path for this GU, a large chunk of solo content, which eventually will lead you into the "golden skull cave" (I couldn't resist humming the Indiana Jones theme when I heard that name) which in turn will lead you first to an x 2 raid and then ultimately into this updates new x 4 zone, the Ward of Elements.
The foreboding entrance to the Cave of the Golden Skull
The quests progress in difficulty and lead you into becoming more and more raid capable. This seems to be the direction SOE is taking the game in general. Unfortunately, at press time, the raid zones were not populated with more than a few mobs, (one of whom rather promptly stomped me but good) and details of the zone are still being finished up, I suspect. The into movie to the WoE zone is a nice touch as well.
Our tour of the zone concluded in the Dev Lounge with a few Q and A's being asked of GM's Timetravel and Kaitheel. The highlights of that conversation are as follows:
* There WILL be a new tradeskill zone. It will be accessed via airship from the moors and will be located in the Void.
And that's it , folks, a pretty complete picture of GU 51 which is...
sound of screeching tires
Oh? what's that? You wanted to know about the AGRO changes? Well, so did I. As did the majority of the press with whom I attended this event. Sadly, my one question asked on the topic was euthanized before it could receive an answer and we were told such questions were not allowed for this particular tour/ Q&A session. We were asked to save those for another day. Will that day be prior to GU51 going live? Time will tell. GU51 is coming, as you might suspect ... Very Soon.
Overall, content wise, this is easily the largest GU we have had in a while and should certainly add quite a bit of fun to the game. I'm certainly looking forward to it.
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