The Shadow Odyssey Beta Tour with Exclusive Pics!

Fansite Folks About a dozen fansite folks milled around excitedly in the Moors of Ykesha as Christine “Kiara” Renzetti summoned us in from all over Norrath for the Beta tour of The Shadow Odyssey.  Moors of Ykesha is the (very) large overland solo-content zone for the expansion.  Current estimates give the number of quests available around 400.  We were greeted by Lindsay Morgan  “Miss Doomcookie” Lockhart, the zone designer and the developer responsible for all the pre-TSO lore at EQII Players.  She told us that the Ykeshan landmass is about the same size as Fens of Nathsar, but there's action in the waters, making it actually larger.  The continent was once attached to the south east of the Desert of Ro, and is where Grobb and Gutka used to be.  It's home to Clan Ykesha and the Rellosian Ogres, who turned from Rallos Zek to Cazic Thule to survive the Greenmist.  It's also home to the Gunthak pirates.  

Moors of Ykesha Morgan also worked on the Signature quest, and tells us it involves some of the toughest zones in the expansion.  At launch there will also be six new Heritage Quests which tie in EverQuest lore, and of course two new Diety quest lines. 

We were joined by Brett “Breb” Schienert as Kiara began taking us through the exciting new group content.  These zones all scale to the level of the first person zoning in (most start at level 50), so remember to mentor down before you zone.  There are a ton of new collection quests, and it was fun watching Niami Denmother scamper from shiny to shiny. 

While it was not on the Tour, we were able to obtain thse two exclusive pics from Miragul's Phylactery. 

Our first stop was The Ruins of Guk: The Lower Corridors.  EQ fans will remember Lower Guk, and the zone delivers.  This zone scales from 50-80 Brett told us the first two Guk zones are set up like Shard of Hate, in that the bosses start simple and get progressively harder.  I quickly discovered the hard way that Lower Guk features fun spike traps that send you flying.  We went to The Ruins of Guk: Ykesha's Outer Stronghold, where the Ykesha tribe lives.  Brett told us this is a very difficult zone.

We then took a romp through the Befallen zones.  Brett told us that Befallen: Cavern of the Afflicted is set up like a zombie movie, with big waves with lots of mobs.  It also scales from 50-80.  We were joined here by Carlos “Gninja” Mora.  They tried to vary the pull rate in each zone to keep things interesting.  Befallen: Halls of the Forsaken features an event, with statues, that activates the bosses, and is of medium difficulty.  Befallen: Necrotic Assylum is the third and most difficult of the Befallen zones.  It's the home of a necrotic cult who came here to try and harness the power of the curse.  They succeeded  “...but then were trapped, fountain-of-youth-except-evil style.”

Then we were off for a fast tour of Mistmoore's domain.  We're told that Mistmyr Manor is Mistmoore's hideout when he's trying to deny his undead-ness, and there's a coffin room spookily reminiscent of one in EverQuest.  His Ravenscale Repository was...  a bit bloody, and promises some laughs.

Najena: The Deep Forge is, as you might imagine, the home of Najena and the Magmamatic Mage Headquarters.  Upon entering Najena's Hollow Tower we were treated to a very cool cut scene.  This zone was designed by Noel “Ilucide” Walling.

The Anchor of Bazzul is in the Void itself.  The new Voidman models and The Bonegrinder (the boss of Befallen: Cavern of the Afflicted), use the new “snap-on” system we've heard about for customization, which apparently saves a ton of development time.

Cloak of the Harvester As the main tour ended and we got ports to various places we found interesting, Niami and I were quietly shepherded aside to meet Emily “Domino” Taylor, the tradeskill developer.  After giving us unicorn mounts, and a variety of gear available to crafters through quests and drops (do take a peek at the Cloak of the Harvester, which Jeff Jonas designed and which will be from a Signature Quest that Emily says both crafters and adventurers can do, ), we were whisked away to the Village of Shin.  Crafting in the expansion starts here and in Innothule.  Purchased goodies are available here with tokens available through the new crafting group instances.  There are four factions as in ROK (Grobb, Tupta, Survival Accord, and the Far Seas Supply Division), with faction goodies from racial furniture to armor sets to new pets.  And yes, there is crafting-class specific gear with crafting stats and effects.  Emily later told me, "Only the latter [Far Seas Supply Division] is a tradeskill faction, but crafters have the option of working on the other three if they want to.  However, the first three are not at all like RoK as there are no real crafting rewards and they are in no way “required”, plus also not so much of a grind."

A Pack Unicorn

We went to the Clockwork Workshop off Steamfont Mountains.  This is one of three group crafting instances right now:  the others are off Commonlands and Antonica, and Domino tells us there will hopefully be a fourth after launch.  In this zone we are to help make parts to create a Clockwork Champion to take out a Haywire Mechanoliberator Mark 3.  Everything you need for the mission is in the zone, and the recipes take special ingredients so you won't be using your precious resources. 

While there are solo tradeskill missions, these instances are designed for groups (Domino notes that someone has solo'd a group mission, but it was agonizingly slow).  Recipes from each of the nine crafting classes must be made, so at some point you'll be struggling with off-class arts (these use real class arts, not the “alt-arts”).  As you make the parts the engineers are constructing the Clockwork (run over and look!), and when you finish it's activated and proceeds to take out the renegade clockwork.  When it's done...  a chest of loot!  Domino says the exact content has yet to be determined, but there will be dropped crafting gear.

The Clockwork Workshop

All in all, this was the most exciting Beta tour I've been on.  I would have taken more notes, but my mouth was hanging open in awe most of the time.  The zones are rich in content, art, and lore.  Scaling zones should alleviate some of the 50-70 XP grind, and give some variation to the existing Norrathian experience.  New gear, including mounts, are available to all playstyles. 




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Not for me
# Nov 17 2008 at 6:24 PM Rating: Decent
Sorry enough in there for me..maybe i've been spoiled by the sheer size and scale of EOF and ROK but this one is poor.

And to think its supposed to last players a year?
Some corrections
# Nov 03 2008 at 8:50 PM Rating: Excellent
Special Snowflake
6,786 posts
Y'all may wish to re-read the tradeskill portion of the write up; Domino threw me some corrections :)
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The Shadow Odyssey is Awesomeness!!!
# Nov 03 2008 at 7:51 PM Rating: Decent
The Shadow Odyssey is Awesomeness!!! Just thought I would Stop by and say that Seeing as the NDA has been lifted. Coolness You Should pre-order the expansion!!!
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