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Everquest II: Kingdom of Sky: Overrealm Revealed

February looks to be a big month for EverQuest II. With the game?s second expansion, Kingdom of Sky, as well as new player vs. player servers both being released near the end of the month, just about every player has a reason to be excited. While EverQuest II's first expansion, Desert of Flames was a fine release, Kingdom of Sky looks to improve upon it in every respect.

While Desert of Flames held a fairly limited setting, Kingdom of Sky is fairly expansive. Rather than a single desert island, Kingdom of Sky will take players into the skies high above the surface of Norrath to a place known as the Overrealm. Just as Desert of Flames featured a singular island that had leaked into Norrath from the former Plane of Sky, the Overrealm appears to be where the rest of the isles ended up.

The specific area of the Overrealm in which Kingdom of Sky takes place is known as the Dragon Isles. The Dragon Isles appears to be controlled by a Draconic organization known as The Awakened, who seem to have some evil plans that involve the destruction of all the lesser races on Norrath.

The Overrealm is a very dangerous place and thus players will find no new civilized city in which to find refuge. Instead, players will be able to reach the new level cap of 70 to help them survive in the three regions of the Dragon Isles: The Barren Sky, Tenebrous Tangle, and Bonemire. Each of these regions house a handful of new dungeons, both instanced and non-instanced alike. You will need to be fairly experienced to adventure in these new areas, as Kingdom of Sky's adventure elements are intended for players level 55-70.

Of course, even lower level characters will find aspects that make Kingdom of Sky worthwhile. In addition to the various new areas players will be able to explore, Kingdom of Sky will feature several new additions to the game. The most prominent of these is the new achievement system. Similar, in some minor ways, to AA points from the original EverQuest, the achievement system will offer players new ways to advance their characters. Starting at character level 20, as players find new areas, complete quests, and defeat difficult boss encounters, they will earn achievement levels. (Players will only be given experience for achievements appropriate to their level. Additionally, after reaching the max player level, all experience will go towards achievement levels). Players can then spend achievement points on four different skill lines, each offering various new traits and abilities. Some examples are: area effect taunts, feign death skills for new classes, buffs that decrease the recast timers on skills, and increased chance to land critical hits. Players will only be able to earn up to 50 points and won?t be able to learn every skill, so they will have to pick and choose.

Players have been clamoring for some time now for more distinct looking armor and SOE has finally obliged. Kingdom of Sky promises to offer some new unique class-specific hats and shoulders. While I haven?t seen any of these new shoulders, many of the new hats look quite nice. Animal heads for shamanistic classes, helmets made out of skulls for shadowknights, shiny winged helms for paladins, and large feathered hats for swashbucklers are just a few examples.

From what I?ve been able to see thus far, Kingdom of Sky will also take storytelling in EverQuest II to the next level. While Desert of Flames seemed to actually lack as many story elements as the original game, Kingdom of Sky seems to have active lore around every corner - NPC monsters spouting speeches in the middle of dungeons, boss NPC?s engaging in elaborate conversations before engaging you, and boss mobs who reveal plot elements after death. We can only hope that Kingdom of Sky will have an end game surprise as cool as the original EverQuest?s second expansion did. Those of you familiar with Scars of Velious know exactly what I?m talking about.

Of course, Kingdom of Sky will also be introducing the normal new additions such as 10 more guild levels, new signature and heritage quests, and new titles.

While Kingdom of Sky is the main news here, there are many players who will be far more excited about the news of pvp based servers. These new servers will not be allowing transfers, so everyone must start from scratch and will feature specialized rulesets crafted to make the pvp experience as fun as possible. The two opposing player cities will play a far more prominent role, and players from different cities will not be able to communicate with each other, at all. No speech, no channels, no emotes, not even friends lists or /who. Players will also be able to assault the opposing city, killing NPC?s, etc?

It?s an exciting time to be an EverQuest II player. While the really new players might not find any of this very interesting, they still have a whole game to explore. It?s time for the more experienced players (and those who have been dreaming of true pvp) to have their turn at bat.

-Alucard, GameVortex Communications
AKA Stephen Triche

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