UPDATE: Servers are now up!!
Table of Contents
- So what’s new in the expansion?
- How do I jump into the new expansion content?
- Why am I not gaining levels?!
- Are the new overland zones and dungeons re-skinned/re-textured versions of existing zones like we got in the past?
- Is there a new harvest tier for the expansion, or does level 90-100 become a tier?
- What material do I use to make Grandmaster spells?
- Are there new Alternate Advancements (AA’s) or Prestige Points in the expansion?
- What’s up with the new Ancient spells? How much better than Grandmasters are they?
- What new Contested Heroic zones can be found in the Altar of Malice?
- Can’t I just go grind levels 96-100 in Skyshrine, the Hole, High Keep, or Kael Drakkel?
- Why do I no longer have 20% bonus to XP for each of my Veteran characters?
- What new Heroic zones can be found in Altar of Malice?
- What about Solo or Advanced Solo dungeons?
- What Raid content is there in Altar of Malice?
- How do I get into Castle Highhold?
- Help! There was some really important information on the Altar of Malice beta forums but they’ve disappeared!
- What itemization changes have there been in the expansion?
- What about Critical Chance/Critical Avoidance?
- If I buy the Altar of Malice expansion (either standard or collector’s edition), Do I Get All Past Expansions (Chains of Eternity, Tears of Veeshan)?
- Do Guilds get any new Guild Hall Amenities for levels 96-100?
- Adventure, Tradeskill, and Guild levels can now all go to 100.
- 100 new Quests including new Signature line for the expansion
- All new level 96-100 harvestables, spells, recipes, armor, weapons, etc.
- Two new Tradeskill questlines by Domino
- Two new Overland zones (The Phantom Sea and The Tranquil Sea).
- Ten new Heroic zones with 4-5 bosses per zone.
- Five new Event Heroic zones with a single ring event and boss (10-15 minute zone!)
- Two contested Heroic zones for leveling from 96-100 (if you prefer to grind).
- Six raid zones, many of which are tuned for entry-level raiding
- Avatars of the Gods gets 4 more Avatar raid fights
- New PvP Gear
- Nearly all spells can be upgraded to Grandmaster from level 1-100.
- New “Ancient” spells/combat arts.
From the EQ2 Forums:
EverQuest II’s 11th expansion, Altar of Malice, launches today for All-Access Members! Are you ready to take up arms and unravel the mysteries of The Shattered Seas? This expansion is packed full of adventure and brings a ton of exciting new features to players! Let’s take a look at some of the things you can look forward to in Altar of Malice.
The Altar of Malice expansion is now available for purchase for All Access subscribers!!
Answers to Frequent Questions
- If you Free-to-Play, or wish to purchase on the Steam platform, then you will be able to purchase the expansion on November 25, 2014.
- If you attended SOE Live, then you can verify that you have been granted the standard edition of Altar of Malice by visiting this hidden EQ2 Entitlements page and looking for “Entitlement: Altar of Malice“.
- Some users are receiving the message “You are not eligible to purchase this product. Please check available products below.” If you did not attend SOE Live and you receive this message, try a different web browser like (shudder) Internet Explorer.
- If you attended SOE Live and wish to upgrade to the Collector’s Edition, then DO NOT BUY THE COLLECTOR’S EDITION!!! Instead click on the “Standard Edition ($39.99)“ button and you will be presented with this screen offering to sell you the upgrade for $50:
After some initial confusion, the downtime for tomorrow’s big update for the Altar of Malice expansion has been announced. ALL servers will go down at 5:00am PST tomorrow.
Time Zone Conversions — Downtime for ALL SERVERS (US, EU, RU, JP)
- PST: November 11 @ 5:00am til Noon
- EST: November 11 @ 8:00am til 3:00pm
- GMT: November 11 @ 13:00 til 20:00
- CET: November 11 @ 14:00 til 21:00
- AEDT: November 11 @ Midnight til November 12 @ 7:00am
Today is the last day to run the Altar of Malice solo quest lines, heroic zones, or do the tradeskill questline and get rewards for your live characters.
From Afista on the EQ2 Forums:
The Beta server will be coming down tomorrow morning with the game update. It will not be coming back online after tomorrow’s All-Access launch of Altar of Malice.
From EQ2 Senior Producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale‘s twitter:
Almost to AoM expansion! Servers will come down about 5am and we are aiming to be live at 12pm pst. Purchasing up about the same time. #EQ2
— Holly Longdale (@WindstalkerEQ2) November 10, 2014
Presumably this means we’ll be able to buy the Altar of Malice expansion around the same time servers come up, but possibly ambiguously sooner.
From Akil “Lyndro” Hooper on the EQ2 Forums:
For centuries, Ssraeshza, the last bastion of the Shissar, loomed forebodingly over the gray plains of the moon, Luclin. During The Shattering, Ssraeshza was among the chunks of Luclin that rained down on Norrath. The temple landed inverted within the Phantom Sea, where it formed the island known as Grim Shales. The shattered walls of the temple created a terrible landscape, treacherous to even the hardiest of explorers.
Though the great temple sits in near ruin, a dark force has begun its reconstruction. The Akheva and their subjugated Grimlings have been silently restoring the temple’s focal power, venturing out into the Shattered Seas to procure the necessary components. What mysterious designs do they have for our world? Can they be stopped before their shadow stretches over all of Norrath?
EQ/EQ2 Community Manager Ry “Roshen” Schueller interviews designers Jeffery “Extemper” Bard and Carlos “Gninja” Mora as they give us a sneak peek of the stunning The Tranquil Sea and elaborate Brokenskull Bay, two new zones in the upcoming Altar of Malice expansion releasing next Tuesday for All Access members and November 25th for everyone else.
The Tranquil Sea is the first overland zone players encounter in the Altar of Malice, and contains the Isle of Refuge, Alla’thoa, and much much more. Brokenskull Bay is a swashbuckling instance styled after Tortuga and will be available in a few different heroic versions, an advanced solo adventure, plus a level 96-100 Contested zone to help players who wish to level up through wanton slaughter.
We are now seven months past the “End of Life” date for Windows XP, but you wouldn’t know it from the number of players reporting issues with the Altar of Malice beta. While the crashes being reported are far from exclusive to any particular version of Windows, it’s a little frightening how many EQ2 players are still running a version of Windows which is not receiving any type of security updates and which is limited to just 3GB of memory (with a scant 2GB of that being made available to EQ2).
No game developer wants to release an expansion that renders obsolete the computers of paying customers. However through financial hardship, lack of technical know-how, or just plain inertia, some EQ2 players have been left behind on positively prehistoric versions of Windows on what are frequently perfectly good computers more than capable of running Windows 7 (which, from a user experience, is almost identical to Windows XP). Worse, these players get a degraded experience as nothing cripples a fast CPU, motherboard, and video card like a 12 year old operating system.
All this said, the EQ2 team are working hard to make sure that the beautiful new Tranquil and Phantom Sea zones work just as well on people’s computers as all the existing parts of Norrath. EQ2 Senior Producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale took to the forums to assure players that support is a top priority:
From Akil “Lyndro” Hooper on the EQ2 Forums:
Deep within Kithicor, the Primordial Malice, resides a cult devoted to the Demigoddess Lanys T’Vyl. As a show of dedication to their fallen matriarch, members of the Primordial Malice worship the state of undeath. They desecrate their bodies with bone piercings and intricate tattoos, flaying their skin to the muscle, in an attempt to ride the line between life and death. The Ossuary of Malevolence is the pinnacle of that devotion.
The Ossuary of Malevolence is a massive cathedral built with bones as brick and mortar, constructed to harness and focus the power of necromancy. Members of the Primordial Malice use their temple for dark rites. Lately the power of their magic has increased as they build to complete some new ceremony.
Not sure how we missed this, but Massively posted their sneak preview of the Altar of Malice expansion on October 14th.
From MJ Guthrie on Massively.com:
When EverQuest II’s next expansion, Altar of Malice, was announced at SOE Live in August, we heard about upcoming features, perused concept drawings, and even saw some screenshots. As exciting as all that can be, nothing compares to actually getting in the game and seeing the living breathing world of Norrath. And that’s exactly what I got to do last week on a tour with Senior Producer Holly Longdale and Creative Director Akil Hooper.
While we have to wait a bit longer to hear more about the Aerakyn (the new winged dragonkind race) and what special goodies will be included in the collector’s edition, the tour of the zones allowed me to bask in the beauty of the artwork while weaving through dinosaurs, pygmies, and my favorite-yet-long-lost starting zone. And it definitely made me even more excited for the upcoming release of Altar of Malice!
Sales/Marketing set a price of $90 for the Altar of Malice Collector’s Edition which has led to some concerns. So the EQ2 team — now currently between a rock-and-a-hard-place — are trying to make lemonade by adding some stats to the Pterodon mount which will ship with the Collector’s Edition. Here are the stats as per Afista on the EQ2 Forums:
Striped Savage Pterodon Mount
Each level 85 character on your account will be eligible to use this flying mount which grants 100% ground speed and 150% flying speed. At level 95 this mount will give its rider the following benefits:
+20% Crit Bonus
+115 Crit Chance
+10,000 Max Health
+3000 vs. arcane, noxious, and elemental damage
Just for comparison’s sake, here is the 300,000,000 status mount added just prior to SOE Live– Alberich the Wise. You can see the stats are roughly comparable:
Alberich the Wise
• Increases Crit Bonus of caster by 17.2%
• Increases Potency of caster by 17.2%
• Increases Crit Chance of caster by 120.0
• Increases Max Power of caster by 5,500.0
• Increases Max Health of caster by 17,500.0
• Increases Ability Modifier of caster by 10,000.0
• Increases your ground speed by 75%
• Increases your air speed by 150%
In a promotion that is sure to confuse more than a few players, I’ve just received an e-mail from SOE for EverQuest II:
If I’m reading this correctly, then all EQ2 players with inactive accounts (no idea what qualifies as inactive but presumably a few months without logging into EQ2) are being temporarily granted All Access membership until November 10th, 2014, as well as receiving two 4 hour 100% XP potions and one 2 hour 50% Group XP potion just for logging in in the next 14 days.
This promotion looks to expire the night before the Altar of Malice expansion launches — if you are a paying All Access subscriber. At this point, you can decide if All Access is worth it to you and go ahead and sign up, thus being able to play the expansion early, rather than waiting until November 25th!
From Akil “Lyndro” Hooper, Creative Director for EverQuest and EverQuest II on the EQ2 Forums:
Overlooking the Phantom Sea, in the shattered mountains above Kithicor forest, sits Castle Highhold. For many years, Castle Highhold has served as the heart of the Far Seas Trading Company on Norrath. The walls of the castle have protected the vaults within from countless attacks from the Brokenskull Pirates and other foes. However, now it is besieged by a new adversary, the Akheva.
The Akheva, the four-armed children of Luclin, are battering the walls of the castle with spell and sword. They hope to breach the innermost sanctums to find Captain Greymast, and pry from him the secret they fervently seek. Will the Akheva succeed in their attempts to penetrate the castle, or will their attempt be thwarted by courageous adventurers?
Update: This issue has now been resolved.
Having issues loading the non-streaming Altar of Malice Beta? You’re not alone. Starting about 6 hours ago people have been experiencing an error when trying to patch the non-streaming client for Beta.
Holly “Windstalker” Longdale just confirmed on Twitter that they are aware of the issue and are testing a fix. She’s also written this on the forums:
“True, true. Sorry folks. We are updating a lot of code to handle memory issues better. There were a few unexpected results…which were bad, obviously.”
If you can’t wait for the fix, the streaming client seems to work if you uncheck “Full Download”. You can get the streaming client here: http://launch.soe.com/installer/EQ2_Streaming_setup.exe
Update: Windstalker just posted this on Twitter:
Full Download patcher errors on Beta may not be fixed until tomorrow. We don’t want to interrupt players on server. Streaming works.
So if you want in before tomorrow, here’s the long version of one option for streaming.
Here’s the short version:
- Download this and run it: http://launch.soe.com/installer/EQ2_Streaming_setup.exe
- When it asks where to install it, add ” Streaming” to whatever it says and install it.
- When the launcher screen appears, change the version to Beta, uncheck Download Full and click Apply.
- While it’s downloading the 200mb or so, copy your Beta_charactername_eq2_uisettings.xml files from your normal EverQuest II\BetaServer folder to your new EverQuest II Streaming\BetaServer folder.
- When it’s finished downloading the 200mb or so, click Play.
- On the character select screen, wait til the little dragon stops running to make things a bit less laggy, then load whichever character you want to play.
Then, once all this is over and the regular version is working again, you can delete the entire EverQuest II Streaming folder and be back where you were before any of this happened.
There are of course other ways to do this, but this was the easiest for me. Your mileage may vary. Some restrictions apply. Void where prohibited. May cause shortness of breath, nervousness, and excess sweating. If any of these symptoms persist after the next patch, welcome to beta.
It looks like Marketing is getting started earlier this year as EQ2 ZAM has already released their Altar of Malice expansion preview with some nice screenshots. No doubt Massively, TenTonHammer, and MMORPG won’t be far behind with their own press tour writeups.
Altar of Malice marks the 11th expansion for EverQuest II. First announced at SOE Live 2014, the expansion will add two new overland zones as well as several new Advanced Solo, Heroic and Raid dungeons. The level cap will increase from 95 to 100 for adventuring, tradeskill and guild levels, and both tradeskillers and adventurers alike can enjoy a variety of new quests and collections.
We recently joined Senior Producer Holly “Windstalker” Longdale and Creative Director Akil “Lyndro” Hooper for a preview of some of the zones we’ll get to visit in Altar of Malice, as well as some extra tidbits of info about the expansion.
Confirming speculation after the pricing for EverQuest’s own The Darkened Sea expansion was recently revealed, today the EverQuest II team have unveiled the pricing for their own Altar of Malice coming this November. As previously mentioned, there will be no Pre-order for this expansion. It’s believed that the team is hoping to avoid the kind of pre-order snafus that players have experienced in the past by just opening the door to purchases on launch day.
All Access customers may purchase one of these two versions of Altar of Malice starting NOVEMBER 11th, 2014:
- Altar of Malice Standard Edition — $35.99 (All Access price)
- Altar of Malice Collector’s Edition — $80.99 (All Access price)
Free-to-Play customers may purchase one of these two versions of Altar of Malice starting NOVEMBER 25th, 2014:
- Altar of Malice Standard Edition – $39.99
- Altar of Malice Collector’s Edition — $89.99
The Altar of Malice Standard Edition includes an in-home painting of the key artwork.
The Altar of Malice Collector’s Edition includes an Elite Battle-Mystic Mercenary, Mage Tower Isle of Refuge teleporter, Pterodon flying mount (NO BUFFS/STATS), Dinosaur house pet, three armor gems for upgrading Altar of Malice solo, heroic, or raid armor, and 80 days of Research Assistant (Spell) time.
After the jump, the official announcement from EverQuest2.com:
From Afista on the EQ2 Forums:
Beta testing for the Altar of Malice expansion is in full swing and now open for everyone to try out! Joining the Beta server for testing is a great chance to take a look at all of the incredible things coming with Altar of Malice, and also an excellent opportunity to give us your feedback about the expansion before it launches on November 25, 2014. In addition to seeing these gorgeous lands before launch, you can also take some loot home to your live characters just for participating in the Beta action! Take a look at the rewards players can obtain for their live accounts by Beta testing overland, heroic, and tradeskill content.
This Char-Ferrin, Hound of Despair ground mount is rewarded to players who Beta-test solo overland content in Altar of Malice. Intimidate your enemies by riding into battle on this ferocious hellhound! If the flaming eyes and spiked mane aren’t enough to scare you, maybe the razor-sharp teeth will awaken your senses.
From Holly “Windstalker” Longdale‘s twitter:
Open Beta for everyone starting tomorrow after our update! #eq2
— Holly Longdale (@WindstalkerEQ2) October 14, 2014
UPDATE: At 5:00pm PDT last night, the Altar of Malice beta finally opened for all players, whether Free-to-Play or All Access subscriber.
From the EQ2 Forums:
Everyone can now join the Beta server and experience Altar of Malice before it launches. Are you interested in what’s become of the Isle of Refuge? Do you long to discover the treasures hidden in the Phantom Seas? Beta testing is a great opportunity for you to try out the features of Altar of Malice and provide us with valuable feedback so that we can make this the best expansion yet!
Playing Altar of Malice on the Beta server ahead of time also has perks for your live server accounts! There is more information coming soon about the rewards players will be able to earn.
Here is some consolidated information to help you get started in Beta:
How to provide testing feedback:
- Use the /bug or /feedback command in game to open a window and submit information
- Post issues and suggestions in the Altar of Malice Beta Forums
How to copy your character over to the Beta server:
- Log in your character and then type the /beta command.
If you want to get into Altar of Malice beta in 20-30 minutes instead of after 12-14 hours of patching, read our “Altar of Malice Beta Opens” article to see how to quickly copy over your live files to the beta folder.
From EQ/EQ2 Creative Director Akil “Lyndro” Hooper on the EQ2 Forums:
The Pygmies of the Tranquil Sea lived their lives not knowing that they shared their island with a subterranean threat. Deep underneath Dshinn live the lizardkin tribe, Allu’thoa. Using their magic to control the flows of magma, the Allu’thoa carved out their home, a below-ground labyrinth known as Zavith’loa. Worshipping their enigmatic god of lava and prophecy, the Allu’thoa lived for millennia sequestered from the world above.
Members of the EverQuest II Art team including EQ2 Art Director Tim “Hoahmaru” Heydelaar, Dave “Covic” Brown, Tom “Ttobey” Tobey, and Chris “Phatkins” Atkins talk about the upcoming Altar of Malice expansion, and give us a look behind-the-scenes with concept art, clips and stills.
Recorded live on August 17 2014 at SOE Live. Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada. Video edited and produced by EQ2Wire.
By Akil “Lyndro” Hooper on the EQ2 Forums:
Many years ago, while lost in a storm on the Tranquil Seas, the Brokenskull Pirates came upon an uncharted island. The pirates found a secluded cavern to the leeward side of the island to weather the storm. When the seas calmed, they set out to explore the new land, hoping to make a permanent port in the bay that protected them from the storm. Instead they found the urzarach, a sentient race of creatures that are part bear and part spider, who claimed the land as their own.
Continue reading after the jump…
It’s time for another zone preview from this fall’s expansion Altar of Malice, this time the overland Phantom Sea. From Nathan “Kaitheel“ on the EQ2 Forums:
Unswayed in their quest to find Captain Greymast, the heroes sent by the Overlord of Freeport and by the benevolent Queen of Qeynos, arrive in the Phantom Sea, a body of water peppered with mysterious islands that have not been seen by eyes outside of the Far Seas Trading Company since the Age of Cataclysms.
The island of North Dshinn shares a great many commonalities with its southern sister in Tranquil Sea, but here the zealous Allu’thoa have succeeded in decimating the pygmy population. The last few survivors have been forced to flee their village, Gazanti, leaving the revered deinodons on the island to fend for themselves. This abandonment has gained the attention of the Far Seas Trading Company, who has sent a small band of members to investigate.
From master of live events and senior designer Nathan “Kaitheel“, we have our first zone preview for the upcoming Altar of Malice expansion. And before anyone asks, this is NOT repurposed zone geometry, but an entirely new continent developed with the new Terrain Tool.
Long had the Far Seas Trading Company provided Norrath’s displaced citizens a place of refuge, an island where they found respite from the chaos of the Shattered Seas, before being transported to the last great cities of Freeport and Qeynos. But strange tidings came and without another word, the seafaring merchants stopped honoring the Pact of Tserrin. The refugees that should have been arriving at the cities’ docks were replaced by rumors and speculation.
For years, the mystery remained.
Meanwhile, the future of Norrath hung in the balance of Age’s End, forcing tenuous alliances to be forged, and inevitably broken between the kingdoms. When all seemed lost, the great heroes of Norrath pushed the squabbling rulers aside, taking matters into their own hands. Kerafyrm the Awakened, the great Prismatic dragon, fell at last!
Continue reading after the jump…