EverQuest: Gates of Discord (GoD), the seventh expansion for the popular MMORPG EverQuest, introduces a plethora of new features and game content including the new continent of Taelosia, a new PC playable ‘Berserker’ class and several other in-game enhancements like spells and advanced player abilities. In addition, several in-game systems have been introduced or improved, including a new system called ‘tribute’ where players can donate items or money in return for skill bonuses, an updated trade skill interface with tons of new recipes, an in-game casino where players can gamble to win prizes, and leadership abilities where players are able to gain new skills by leading multiple player groups and raids.
Gates of Discord continues to expand upon the storyline that started with the previous expansion, Lost Dungeons of Norrath. In GoD, the Wayfarers Brotherhood discovers a new continent across the seas from Norrath and sets up a base in the new lands of Taelosia, as well as providing the transportation system that allows players to teleport to the new continent quickly. Twenty brand new NPC models bring this new land to life and the story unfolds as you arrive in the new lands and discover that the former inhabitants have practically disappeared and evil creatures are roaming abroad. Prepare to take a journey to discover who or what is behind this new evil that has inhabited Taelosia.
In addition to twenty new zones, there are also ten dungeons that are instanced, allowing multiple groups of players to play in that zone by themselves to accomplish a mission. In these instanced zones, the dungeon maps are the same each time but the monsters are freshly generated to make it continuously challenging. Prior to instancing, players would have to take turns to do a mission, but now they can all attempt the same mission simultaneously since they will each be placed in their own separate instance. Overall, the new zones are hard enough that you really do need to work with other players as a group to progress. There are some areas where solo experience can be had but not many.
Along with a storyline comprised of some extremely challenging adventures that test the most weathered and experienced players, several key features have been introduced in this expansion that make gameplay more fun and interesting. The new tribute system and the casino will keep players coming back for more fun but keeps them spending hard earned cash as well. I’d advise anyone with an affinity for gambling to steer clear of the casino; it’s a great way to blow your hard earned money fast. Casino tokens are purchased from a bar waitress in Shadow Haven and turned in for prizes. If you get lucky, you’ll win a golden ticket that can be turned in for an especially rare prize. The tribute system is another way to part players from their money and items but at least there is a guaranteed reward. In exchange for donations that players make to their tribute master, they can select from several special benefits that they can imbue on themselves such as improved hit point and mana regeneration.
The GoD expansion focuses a lot on high-end game content for players of levels 50 and above (lower level characters can visit city zones in GoD but the combat zones are really for level 50+ players), and brings players new alternate advancement skills for each character class, allowing them to become more powerful by diversifying their experience points to learn new skills. The last time new alternate advancement skills were added was two expansions ago in Planes of Power so this is definitely something that higher level players will be interested in to make their character more powerful.
A new melee class called Berserker has also been introduced that is playable by races including Barbarian, Dwarf, Ogre, Troll and Vah Shir. Berserkers are a battle hardy class that has skills using 2-handed weapons along with the abilities to double attack and intimidate their opponents, as well as going into attack frenzies. It’s definitely a class that is designed to take and put out a good deal of damage. Berserkers start off with the Corroded Axe combat skill for summoning throwing axes and a 2-handed Axe, so you can get right into combat at level 1 without delay.
A ton of new tradeskill recipes have been released for players that like to create items for fun and profit. There are all kinds of nice weapons and armor to be made among other things. The new ship city zone of Abysmal Sea is a tradeskill paradise complete with vendors and merchants to procure new GoD items from. Tradeskill combine containers have been upgraded substantially to include recipe lists and also allow players to combine items without opening up inventory bags to find the components. This is one of the most player friendly features that have been implemented recently as it allows players to quickly make several tradeskill combines in a short amount of time with almost no effort. The new tradeskill containers are available whether you have GoD or not, but the items for the new recipes can only be found in GoD zones.
To encourage players to take the initiative for leadership positions in groups and raids, a new reward system has been introduced. Group and raid leaders can choose to have 20% of their regular experience go toward leader skill points that they can use to purchase new abilities that will enhance play when they are the leader of the group or raid. These skills are certainly useful and can do things like showing the health of a monster, marking players, assisting lost players by drawing a path to them, and also giving bonuses for health, mana or regeneration. Since leadership abilities have been implemented, people have become more proactive about forming groups and leading them, which is a positive change for the game.
The documentation included with this expansion provides information about the new Berserker class, tribute system, player and leadership abilities, storyline and other new features in ample depth. For most players, like me, you’ll probably just install it and start playing rather than reading the manual.
Overall, this is an expansion that caters mainly to the higher level players. For those players, I would say that GoD is the most extreme add-on for EverQuest to date, in terms of being challenging, and it’s a must have. Players will need to use every trick in the book to really explore the content in this expansion. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a whole lot for the lower level players except for leadership rewards, tribute bonuses and the capability to play the new Berserker class. The tribute system can be a boon for lower level players, giving them skills that will help them to level faster. At the very least, GoD is an expansion that lower level players can look forward to once their character reaches a higher level.