There are some very exciting features coming with Shards of Destiny, planned to hit the live servers on September 23. One of the more exciting is the introduction of the Shard of Love!

That's right, folks. We finally get to see what the Goddess of Love has been up to all these years. And who better to tell you all about it, than the man who designed it? Nathan "Kaitheel" McCall shares with us the story and the design that went into bringing Erollisi Marr's Shard of Love to Norrath.

Folks are reading a lot into the story that unfolds in the Shard of Love… What do you want them to take away from the zone about Erollisi and her brother?

Whoa, I don’t want to ponder what they may be reading into the relationship between Erollisi and Mithaniel.  Uncomfortable!  But it is clear that the siblings have always had a very strong connection with each other.  They were not just siblings- they were twins.  As such, they came into this world with a strong bond, and that bond grew stronger as they both struggled against agents of evil, embraced mortal traits with their divinity, (Mithaniel chose valor and Erollisi chose love), and more importantly, as they found themselves the godly parents of the barbarian race due to the trickery of Morell-Thule.  Now, within the Shard of Love, we learn that Erollisi sacrificed herself to save Mithaniel at some point between EQ and EQll.  Mithaniel took her death hard, simply as the surviving sibling.  He blamed himself for it and is reluctant to let her go.

He wanted to return her to the Plane of Love in honor of her memory, but also to allow the occupants of Love, her dedicated worshipers and protectors, the right to mourn her.  But that was a long time ago.  Keeping love’s spirit hostage, even unwittingly, and overwhelming the plane with sorrow and righteous anger has tainted the population, while the plane has been allowed to dip into disrepair.  At times he even convinced himself that he was protecting the power of love by keeping her essence collected.  Her sacrifice and his reaction is evidence of how strong their bond was.

Are we going to see more stories spin out from the Marr twins now?

Guaranteed!  This is not the end of their story, simply another chapter of it.  There is still plenty of mystery surrounding Erollisi’s sacrifice and the threat that was within the Plane of Valor, not to mention the future of the Shard of Love and the apparent hole this leaves within the pantheon.  There’s also plenty of story to explore on Norrath, now that we mortals have learned of the Goddess of Love’s sacrifice.  

Everyone loves the wings (not to mention all the other nifty rewards from the zone)!  I am getting them for all my characters!  How did they come about?

Those are beautiful, aren’t they!?  Chris Atkins, one of our amazing artists, crafted those based upon a simple request to make one of the fae wings white.  He went above and beyond, (which is a growing trend, by the way) and crafted all new wings to give them the feathered appearance.  It blew us away!  And then he did it two more times when a simple request for a shield turned into the beautiful Tower of Love shield and the breathtaking Buckler of the Broken Heart.

The zone art is stunning as well!  What inspired it and what were the thoughts behind the construction?

Isn’t it gorgeous!?  When I first envisioned the zone I saw an ethereal version of Greek and Roman architecture with trailing vines, similar to some of the paintings by Joseph Gandy, an English artist and visionary architect in the 18th century.  Things may have crumbled a bit since Erollisi reigned there, but I wanted the architecture to be no less romantic.  It was to still carry a sense of what it must have been like while she was still alive.  I mapped out the general layout, and handed it to the zone artist, Amanda McNair.  She took the scribbled map and the inspiration art files and created something completely original and truly fitting for EQll.  It was so exciting to see such simple and elegant architecture in such an open feeling zone.  I thought it captured the feeling of the Shard of Love much better then I could have hoped!  I immediately saw items and said, “We’ll want that for a house item!  And that!  And that!”

This is the first time that anyone has seen the Plane of Love in any form.  How did this come about?

This zone has been a long time coming, let me tell you.  Some of my first notes on this are dated December of 2007, during which time Kyle “Kander” Vallee and I were working on several of the Epic Weapon Quests.  We had taken note of one sentence written by a senior designer that said, “Current Status of Erollisi: Mithaniel Marr is mourning Erollisi's death right now.”  And we started brain storming on what may have happened and how that could come to play in the future.  At this point, the only hint as to her death given in game was the extremely vague statement by Bayden Cauldthorn, “Sadly, I do not know what has become of her or her realm.  She was not by her brother's side when he returned to Norrath.  I have asked the Truthbringer in prayer concerning the whereabouts of the Queen of Love, but so far he has not given me an answer.”

Then came Erollisi Day of 2008 and I had the Swornlove siblings state their concerns by saying, “I am... heartbroken, for lack of a better word, by her continued absence.  Her mighty brother, Mithaniel, has returned to us, as have so many others, but Erollisi has yet to make her presence known.” And “I do wonder if she has encountered some type of trouble.”  Next came Erollisi Day of 2009, by which time Amanda was working on the Shard of Love and Kander had vowed to help me do whatever was needed for its population and boss fights, so I was confident enough in the zone’s imminent completion to make a big quest line in which we all learned that the “The daughter of hate, crowned in treachery, sealed the fate of Valor's twin.”  And that the Lord of Valor missed Erollisi saying, “It's as if a hole were to have been burned within my very core.”

Mithaniel looks a bit different within the Shard of Love as compared to his Avatar upon Norrath.  Why is this?

Ah, ha!  That’s because you are encountering the deity, himself.  He can shape his avatar to appear the way he wishes it to, but his appearance within the Shard of Love reflects his true persona.  Upon Norrath he is clean shaven and helmless, but within the shard you find a Mithaniel that is much more reminiscent of his appearance in EQ.  He has a mighty beard, as well as his iconic, winged helm.

The Shard of Love is a group zone, scales in level and awards appearance items.  What was behind this decision?

This is a highly interesting story which we thought would attract a great amount of players and thus we wanted it open for them to enjoy.  If you limit a zone by level range, or by making it a raid, then you impact the amount of players that will be able to run through it.  By making it scale, we knew even more would be able to enjoy it.  And a good way to reward everyone, no matter their level, is through appearance and house items.

We've also got some awesome desktops for you!