Tomorrow, Shards of Destiny is going to the Test server!  Woo Hoo!  We hope you are as excited as we are to see the new content and try it out for yourselves.  I encourage you, if you have time in your busy schedules, to jump onto Test and try the new content out.  We would love to hear your feedback and the more people that take part, the more solid we can make sure this update releases.

One thing you will notice missing from the update notes are the Shader 3.0 changes.  Unfortunately the work is turning out to be a little more time intensive than our initial estimates.  We did not want to rush it out, as it is a far reaching change that can impact many players and systems, so we are going to let it bake a little longer.  Working with it and testing it internally on as many system configs as our compatibility lab can put together, and they can put together a TON, to make sure it causes as little disruption as possible.  We want everyone to enjoy the vibrant lighting and shader changes this brings to the game and we hope you can be patient as we continue to tweak it until the next game update, which is tentatively scheduled for early December.

One of the new systems we are really excited about is the Chronomagic, formerly Auto-Mentoring, system.  This allows you to level down your character and experience lower level content that you may have missed, want to play over, or experience with new friends.

Houses are getting room upgrades! How exciting is that?  Most housing will soon have at least one additional room added to their architecture.  Maj’Dul housing gains multiple new rooms, I may finally up and move there.  Along with the new rooms, there is a modest increase in the number of items a house can hold, so we hope that you decorators out there make good use of the added space.  If you are a decorator and have something to show off, we encourage you to show images on the forums or even send them to us as we love to see the imaginative things you create.

There are a good deal of additional features and content pieces coming too, so check out those Test update notes and let us know what you think.

You may have noticed a hotfix this morning with a couple of small code changes.  One of which was a small change to the Welcome Screen.  Nothing huge, just a single new field in the lower right corner.  The welcome screen now displays each days Daily Mission!  A welcome and useful change I hope!  Above that you will see a new field that simply says Hot Zone.  “What is that Brenlo?” Well I am glad you asked!  Our brilliant coders and designers have come up with a new feature that each day increases the fabled drop rates in one dungeon.  The welcome screen will display which dungeon currently has the increased drop rate.  “But Brenlo, right now it says None!  I want my Hot Zone!” Do not fret my friends, we will be turning it on soon.

In fact. . .  Because we were unable to provide our European and Japanese players with GU 52 at the same time as our North American servers, we will be turning the Hot Zones on for those servers this weekend!   Look for an announcement from Kiara on the specific time it turns on and then watch the welcome screen.  For our North American servers, you will get this new hotness, yes I just said new hotness, let the hate mail begin, the following weekend.  Just in time for Labor Day.

We have lots going on here in the EQII laboratory so we will continue to keep you updated and keep that feedback coming as we love to hear from you.  Well most of you, you know who you are . . . Kendricke.  =P

I hope to see you in Atlanta at Dragon Con.

Alan “Brenlo” Crosby
Senior Producer EverQuest II