Between my birthday and Thanksgiving, I’ve had enough time taken up. I wanted to spend more time posting this week but the announcement of the release of Everquest 2: Age of Discovery on November 30, 2011. Leading up to that starting on Thanksgiving, Sony had a double XP weekend. This has been a big draw I couldn’t pass up this past weekend which caused a conflict between gaming and posting. Obviously, the gaming won out. I figure I should at least post abut what’s going on with this area of my geekiness.

Sony tends to put out an expansion of Everquest 2 each year. Usually, this expansion will include at least one of the following possibilities: level cap increase, new zones, or new races. For a change, none of these are being added. This expansion is different from the others in a lot of ways. For the first time since the initial launch, a new class is being added. A whole new application is being added to the game structure. Characters will be able to have NPCs to assist in game play. The only “normal” change is an increase in AA points.

People have been been looking forward to this expansion and the main reason is the return of Beastlords to the game. As one of the most popular classes from the original Everquest game, people were surprised that the class wasn’t part of the original Everquest 2 release. In recent months, quest lines have lead up to the return of Beastlords to the land of Norrath. I’ve never played the original EQ game so I don’t know the details of how Beastlords originally worked. Given that the open beta that was supposed to occur didn’t seem to have occurred, most people don’t know what to make of the new incarnation. In 4 more days, we’ll find out though. I know I’m looking forward to playing the new beastlord. I have a slot waiting for it right now.

Along the lines of City of Heroes’ mission architect, EQ2 will be soon including a dungeon maker. People will be able to collect different tools and decorations that can be used to design their own dungeons. I’m not sure how these will be connected to Norrath but I’m interested in seeing what this will be like. Some people have predicted that people won’t use the dungeon maker but I’ve seen a lot of people use the same tool in City of Heroes so I’m betting people will in Everquest 2 as well.

The 2 types of NPCs that are being added to the game are mercenaries and tradeskill apprentices. The mercenaries will be for-hire characters that can be found throughout Norrath to assist your team or just help you solo an area you need help in. The tradeskill apprentice is someone you take under your wing who can research new recipes for you and help you gain XP as you help him level. Both should make things interesting on both the adventuring side as well as the crafting side.

Rounding out the expansion additions are the increase in AAs beyond the current 300 and some changed in crafting to include reforging of items. The latter is something that has been talked about for a long time and is finally making it into the game. All these changes should make thing interesting and will hopefully pull some more interest back into the game. If anyone plays on Crushbone, let me know and maybe we’ll run across each other.

UPDATE: Turns out the expansion date is actually going to be 12/6/11. Can’t wait until it gets here.