The normally calm coldain dwarf, Agnor, was starting to get very nervous. His employer, one Niami DenMother, should have been back from a quick search mission many hours ago. Instead, there was only silence.
He fretted, he paced, he even (for him) babbled to the lady gnome that he fancied rather more than he felt he should.
"She told me she just needed to make a quick check of the Isle of Refuge to find a missing quartermaster. After all, the island wasn't that big, and it was likely the quartermaster just got busy and forgot to check in. 'Back afore lunch.' she said! Pfaugh! Here it is nearly dinnertime, and she's still not back." His habitual frown deepened as he peered around, as if hoping Mum would appear at any second.
"Mum's pretty resourceful. I'm sure she's fine." Gnormajean adjusted her spectacles and tried to smile reassuringly at Agnor. "But, since she hasn't checked in, it can't hurt us to head over there and check on her, can it?"
Agnor paused before saying that he'd go check on his own. Gnormajean not only wouldn't appreciate the protective coddling, but she was a skilled illusionist, and would be handy if they got attacked by something unfriendly. "Perhaps you could prepare some dinner that we can eat along the trail, if worse comes to worst, my lady?"
He almost cracked a smile as she blushed prettily and bustled about packing a picnic dinner for the two of them. With Mum missing, it didn't seem the time to act like a romantic fool.
As a native of Thurgadin, he'd never seen the Isle of Refuge before it was closed to visitors. He had, however, heard various stories from Mum and others, and thought he knew what to expect.
Nothing had prepared him for the grim reality, however.
He wasn't sure what had caused the tower to do that ... whatever that was. The tower was in pieces, pieces that slowly floated around the remains of the tower. Former Far Seas crewmembers were roaming around, acting violently crazed.
Suddenly, his fears for Mum's safety didn't seem so farfetched.
The pair grimly began retracing Mum's path, all the while hoping they weren't too late. She wasn't in the tower, though someone had seen her nosing around it earlier in the day. She wasn't at the Far Seas base camp, though several there remembered seeing her. She wasn't at the digsite, though, again, she'd been seen there, with explosives, no less!
Gnormajean instinctively bit back several excited questions at the mention of explosions. There would be time to satisfy her gnomish love of explosions after they found Mum ... if they found her.
Spurred on by worry, they flew to the island to the northeast, since they'd heard mention that Mum had been sent on to visit the pygmies there while looking for the missing quartermaster.
Eyeing the sight that greeted them, Agnor frowned mightily. "You don't think she ..."
"... tried to ride one?" Gnormajean finished the half-spoken query. "While that would be just like her, given that she was on a search and rescue mission that is looking more dangerous all the time, I hope she'd have refrained!"
Still they worried, however, and chafed at the delay as the locals refused to answer any questions until plied with ... pickles.
While Gnormajean was a talented provisioner, she didn't have anything but the local harvests on her at the time, and their picnic didn't contain pickles, either. Rather than head home to make or buy some pickles, she began taste-testing the various foodlike harvests that she'd found, trying to make up a local pickle recipe on the fly.
Agnor, on the other hand, headed straight for a Far Seas Supply Division representative who was lurking nearby, in hopes that the prevalence of pickle loving pygmies intent on trade would mean that the FSSD had already learned how to turn the local foodstuffs into proper pickles.
In short order, he handed over the recipe to Gnormajean, wincing in sympathy as her eyes watered from a too-large taste-test of the local kith peppers. Hyggin soon had his pickles, and Gnorma and Agnor had the reassurance that Mum hadn't been smished by a rampaging deino, but had been seen heading still further north.
So, north they flew, and north some more, as twilight painted both sky and ocean in ever-darkening shades.
Eventually, they saw more islands ahead of them, and headed for the larger, western one.
While Castle Highhold loomed up on the horizon, looking lovely even in the deepening evening gloom, they decided to bypass it for the moment, and, instead, head for Wanderer's Dock. There was a Far Seas encampment there, and they were praying that they'd also find Mum there.
Of course Mum wasn't there, and Agnor almost kicked the mailbox there in frustration at the silent reminder that Mum hadn't even bothered to send mail saying she was delayed. He wanted to rail about irresponsible women, but, given his present company, decided silence was a wise move.
Apparently, Mum was up at Castle Highhold. At least, that's where she said she was heading next.
Before Agnor and Gnorma could head out, though, they were given one final warning, that increased their worry for the irrepesible halfling. "The Ghorkaal village north of us has some extremely unfriendly dark elves in it. They like knocking people's mounts out of the sky if they fly too close. You may want to swing a bit southeast before you head to Castle Highhold, or swing wide over the ocean before you go north."
It was with huge sighs of relief that they touched down in the courtyard of the castle, to spot the flame-haired Mum loudly scolding, apparently in fine fettle.
"Twas verra irresponsible o' ye, Roberta-lass, tae nae check in wi' yuir boss an' tell him ye were safe. He's been verra worried aboot ye, an' I've been on a wild goose chase trying tae follow ye tae be sure ye were safe!" Mum, still unaware of Agnor and Gnorma standing in the evening shadows, plunked her hands on her hips and stared up at the barbarian woman. "Verra irresponsible indeed! Twas a guid thing that ye did here helping th' defenders, but next time, check in, eh lass? I'll go an' pass word that ye're safe, sae folks will stop worrying."
Before Mum could port out, however, Agnor had winked at Gnormajean, cleared his throat,and proceeded to give Niami a taste of her own medicine. "Mum! Thank Brell you're safe. When you didn't check in several hours ago, we feared the worst, and have been on a wild goosechase trying to retrace your path. One might even call it irresponsible of you to ignore several mailboxes along the way, and not warn us that you were taking longer than planned, and to not hold lunch, much less dinner on you."
"Irresponsible? But, I was jus' help- ... och."
They could practically hear the quartermaster's eyes rattle as she rolled them.
Welcome to the Altar of Malice, the 11th expansion for Everquest II! This expansion is released to all-access members on November 11, 2014 and to free-to-play members on November 25, 2014.
As with past expansion previews, this page is going to be updated in chunks, as time and energy permit. The bottom of the page will include a list of updates, with time/date stamps, so you can easily check and see what has been added since the last time you checked this article.
Also, as with past expansion previews, this is being written during the beta testing phase, so information can/will change without notice (including once beta is done, and we're waiting on the launch patch). Every effort will be made to update these articles with current information, but things can change without notice.
Some things will need only a quick note, others will be detailed enough that I'll split them out into separate pages. For now, I'll get things started with some of the quicker notes.
Tranquil Sea will be available from any world bell. Crafters should check their mail for the tradeskill quest starter from Captain Ethan Darani. Adventurers will want to check in Qeynos Harbor (Rosalinda on the docks), or East Freeport (Viminy next to the bell) for the signature quest starter.
You will also find some waterspouts in the Shattered Seas, to make travel from island-to-island in the same zone a bit faster. Simply fly low over them to be given a bit of a speedboost.
Phantom Sea is north of Tranquil Sea and can be reached by flying north and north some more.
Additionally, if you're a level 20+ crafter, you can buy lore, single-use port baubles to "Return to Highhold" and "Return to Refuge" baubles from the Far Seas Supply Division vendors in Mara and on the Isle of Refuge (IoR). The IoR vendor, Shazra is to your left on a hillock, once you pass the first arch in Tranquil Sea. Isn't she ... um ... lovely?
Phantom Sea requires a bit of travel awareness when visiting Kithicor Island. You see, there's Wanderer's Dock (A on the map below), and Castle Highhold (C on the map below). You'll also need to visit the Blessed Knoll during the crafting timeline. (D on the map below.) Then there's the grumpy dark elves in Ghorkaal. And by grumpy, I mean they have NPCs specifically planted to knock you out of the sky if you fly too close. That'd be B on the map below. Yeah, squishies will want to avoid them, and you can swing wide on the water side, or swing a bit more south when flying over land. On the plus side, Ghorkaal is pretty, in a dark, hate-filled kind of way!
Along with the crafting and adventuring caps raising by five levels, guild levels also will increase. One totally new depot, a scroll depot, will be added as a new level 100 amenity. This depot will hold both recipe and spell scrolls (adepts, masters, what have you), and can hold 1000 different unique items. While these recipes and spells stack to 10 in inventory, they stack to considerably more in the depot.
In addition, several existing depot amenities will have larger versions become available at level 100:
This appears to be going in with the expansion- houses on beta now recognize any of the owner's alts that are on the same account as trustee with regards to adding/removing and moving items. These auto-trustee alts do NOT show up on the access list, so visiting using the guildhall portal is still out unless you place them manually on the trustee list as well, but this is still a happy thing for many of us!
Contrary to earlier information, there will NOT be a new apprentice with this expansion. There is research to complete for the new tier of grandmaster spells. In addition, at level 100, you will be able to research a bunch of purple adorns and some essences that appear to be raid-oriented (example image below of essence of disease research results). These recipes will take 20 days to research. I'll have more details on these later, as I'm still trying to wrap my brains around them, and am waiting to hear back on a few nigglies. Your apprentices will also ask 96+ crafters to make a new tier of baskets, toolbelts and what have you, using the new tier of resources. As it stands currently, the level 96-100 apprentice tasks will award you with 20 commons or 1 rare, or 1 crafting potion.
It appears that the fragments are raid drops, but I have no further details at this time.
There will be new resources available for the new 5-level tier from 96 to 100. These resources will be able to be harvested in both Tranquil Sea and Phantom Sea, and your pack pony and harvesting goblin will also be able to bring back resources from this tier. There will also be a new spellshard and foundation to be harvested in this tier.
For those who have earned their Earring of the Solstice, you will be able to spot two new red shiny collections - one in Tranquil Sea, and one in Phantom Sea. The Tranquil Sea collection rewards a lovely Far Seas Fountain, and the Phantom Sea collection rewards a Far Seas Snowglobe. (The globe is not musical, but the outer ring on the Far Seas emblem inside it rotates.) Due to the nature of how water previews, I have also included a closeup on the insignia that is at the bottom of the fountain (reflections are from a Qeynos guildhall, since it was more fuss than it was worth to try to fully get rid of reflections.
This tier is is only 5 levels, and some of our "traditional" standbys in the various tiers have been left by the wayside. Before we get into some of the details on who gets what in this tier, there are a few things to note.
The first thing to know is that all weapons and armor follow a set naming sequence. Level 95 handcrafted gear will be named Tranquil _ of the ____. (Yep, tailors will get a bit confused about the tranquil cloth sets of the past 10 tiers and the totally unrelated Tranquil gear sets, but if you sort by descending level, you'll be able to find the new stuff easily enough.) Level 100 mastercrafted gear will be named Phantom __ of the ___. Level 100 mastercrafted gear will be named Xiocite ___ of the ____. This sort of results in a bewildering array of names, but at least if you remember the Tranquil/Phantom/Xiocite naming, you'll be in the right ballpark when searching for stuff.
The second thing to know is that the mastercrafted gear, while very yummy, also tends to take multiple rares. Don't go into too much sticker shock, as, at last check, it was very worth the expenditure. Note that if you want to create a refined mastercrafted item, ALL the rares going into the creation of the item will need to be refined.
The third thing to note is that there's a bug with recipe pricing. This bug WILL go live due to cut-off deadlines for the final expansion build, but will be fixed with the first hotfix after the expansion goes live. Until then, recipe books are going to cost more than they should. (A multiplication error apparently happened when the books were made stackable so they could fit into the new scroll depot. The fix is in the works, and waiting for the first hotfix.)
Currently on beta we are testing two different sets of questlines. One is the actual AoM quest series for level 95+ crafters. The other is not tied to the expansion and will be a new series that offers one quest per crafting tier, starting at level 5. Since it may be released at the same time as the expansion, I figure it is a good idea to clarify the colliding emails you might see. The mail from Captain Ethan Darani will contain the quest starter for the AoM crafting line. The mail from the Harbormaster, containing a message in a bottle is the new Shipwrecked series for all crafters.
In addition to some lovely recipes as quest rewards, the completion of the level 100 portion of the Shipwrecked line allows you the ability to hire a new furry fury mercenary.
Crafters will be able to earn 25 more prestige points as they level from 95 to 100 in their chosen tradeskill profession. These points may only be spent in the new Far Seas prestige tree, which is a new tab under the Tradeskill Prestige button. Additional information on this new prestige tree can be found here.
There are a large number of adornment recipes this time around. The Lesser and Greater versions of the Incandescent adornments will be found in the Essential Adornments Volume 11 book from adorning trainers and guildhall recipe vendors. (These vendors will also sell you the dilutions and distillations books, so you can convert to/from the 4 types of adornment materials.) The Superior versions of these adornments will be from a dropped recipe book Advanced Adornments Volume 11. Londiar, in your home crafting society, will now also ask you for T10 and T11 adornments for the daily adorning task, where appropriate.
In addition, there are several purple adornment recipes that can be either researched or purchased with Far Seas Supply Division tokens. More on those will come as time permits.
Sadly, we have seen neither hide nor hair of any new tinkering recipes, and queries have gone unanswered. If this changes, I will post more information here. My guess, though, on this last day of beta, is that the closest we get to new tinkering is being able to blow up a gnome in the AoM crafting line. :P