This is based on my notes from the hour-long panel on the upcoming EQ2 expansion "The Shadow Odyssey".
As with any expansion preview, especially one not yet in public beta, this highlights things that the developers plan/intend to do. Things can/will still change up to launch day. (And, as with any MMORPG, can even continue to change after launch.)
This will be EQ2's fifth expansion. It is due to be released on November 18, 2008.
By now, those of you who are regularly playing EQ2 should be aware of the Void Storms, and their increasingly aggressive presence in Norrath. Strange creatures continue to wander out of them, and the sages are becoming quite concerned.
These storms have been seen in the past, however, though it has been over 4000 years since the ethernauts managed to close these portals into the Void.
Adventurers may be walking partially in the footsteps of those long-forgotten ethernauts, but, before all is said and done, they will need to blaze their own paths, and find their own way to deal with these storms from the Void.
While there will be no level cap increase with this expansion, so folks that were lagging behind their friends have some chance to get more caught up, there will be plenty to do and see in terms of higher-end content.
There will be twenty single-group instances going in, including Befallen, Guk (Upper and Lower), Nuroga (Nurgan/Drogan empire, such as it were), Najena, Mistmoore and several more. These zones may have a wider level range over which they scale, based on the zone that contains the entrance to the instance, but expect the upper range to be level 80 on all of them. The number on the lower end will vary, as mentioned above, and I heard numbers as low as level 50 thrown around, for at least one of them.
There will be one overland zone, the Moors of Ykesha, in an area that used to be the Innothule Swamp. It will include level 77+ solo content and quests. For the raiders, they will find new content in Befallen, Mistmoore, Guk and the Void.
60 new achievement points will be available to earn, to be spent in a brand-new achievement tree. While full details are not available at this time, there was mention of one for harvesting, among other things.
Two new dieties will be included in this expansion. The first, Rodcet Nife, will act much as our current dieties do, with an avatar, etc. The other one, however, is going to be unlocked on a per-server basis. For the lore-hounds, there is apparently mention in one of the Desert of Flames timelines about someone who was banished to the Void ... sounds like someone is trying to make a return now!
At least 5 new heritage quests will be included in this expansion. While they hope to have more, they are unsure if they will be able to do so or not.
A mission system will be introduced, complete with quite a bit of lore. Through these missions, players will earn shards and status. The shards will be used to purchase a variety of items, including armor and weapons.
There will be tradeskill missions, that are small-scale cooperative projects. These are meant for level 50 to 80 crafters, and designed for groups of six. (You can have less in a group, but it will take longer to complete.) This will be covered more in my writeup from the tradeskill panel.
Also partly on the crafting front, we will reach the new lands via airship ... once we build them. Crafty little gnomes will have us busy with a world event to build the airship, platform, etc. It sounds, at least on the surface, that it will be very similar to the spire or griffon tower building.