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Preview: EverQuest: Planes of Power
 

EQ, man!

Screens


My money's on the hood guy.


And seven for those blue guys in their halls of stone...


Obviously a strict practitioner of vegetarianism.


It drives me batty when I can't think of captions.


Spells by the waterfront.


A lumberjack's nightmare.


He knows the answer to the question.


Purple sparks.


Media
Screenshots
Art

Nothing plain about this power
Platform: CD-ROM
Developer: Verant Interactive
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Rated Teen for Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes and Violence

Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs are all the rage right now, and EverQuest is leading the charge. This is a big game. All the praise and all the critique of this sub-genre have fallen on the shoulders of EverQuest. The praise involves the opportunity to play with people all over the world (people all over the world can afford computers, right?) and endless, open-ended adventure. The criticism tends to focus around the fact that not having a pre-arranged story means that players don't feel like they play as big a role as in traditional RPGs.

Planes of Power, the fourth expansion for EverQuest, has been designed to change that. New story lines will be added which will hopefully cause players to feel more involved. Successful questing will be rewarded with endings! Yes, in an online multiplayer game! This should be happy news for long-time fans of the game, who may feel they have already gotten as much as they can out of EverQuest. In fact, it is these veterans who are the target audience for Planes of Power - all but one of the new planar zones will require players to be at least at level 46 to enter.

New zones? Yes, and much more. The upgraded engine of PofP begs for there to be more and better creatures and environments. Verant didn't slack off, either, and players can expect to see about hundreds of new items and monsters. About 18 new zones are here to be explored. Many carry the theme of meeting the legendary gods of Narrath. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Plane of Justice: Six mysterious hooded deities judge all those who commit terrible crimes.
  • The Plane of Fire: The fire deity Solusek Ro rules this hell-like plane from the Burning Tower.
  • The Plane of Nightmares: A wild forest that is undoubtedly filled with beasts waiting to rock you to sleep.
  • The Plane of Disease: Rotting organisms, stench, decay, sickness and pestilence - you get the idea.
  • The Plane of Tranquility: A peaceful zone, we thank you for not killing fellow players.
  • The Plane of Knowledge: Another peaceful zone, but there's more to it than that. This is the most important addition to the world of EverQuest, and it's one newcomers can take advantage of, too. This city state is filled with new libraries for all knowledge seeking needs, and better yet, a portal nexus that makes travel easier than ever.

Another mechanic is introduced in this expansion as well. Death is no longer the inconvenience it used to be. If this moderate malady should by chance befall you, then your corpse will be transported to a new Graveyard, where you can pick it up at your earliest convenience. This cuts down on having to walk back to the scene of your demise, which more likely then not, was a dangerous place to begin with.

One of the best things about being online is the fact that there is constant change to the game. Of all the updates to EverQuest, this one might well be the best. No additional system requirements required. Look for Planes of Power on the 21st of October.

by Matthew Scribner


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