We are pleased to announce our next Game Update titled “Darkness Dawns” coming on July 30! For our 67th game update we have great stuff in store for you!

We are really excited about a new story quest line that will pick up from our last game update in April (GU66: Scars of the Awakened). We can tell you that there is an EPIC event brewing in Cobalt Scar that could turn the world on its head and YOU are the catalyst. SPOILER: At the end of GU66, players uncovered an artifact of power -- a Tear of Veeshan -- that will lead into the story quest line in Darkness Dawns. The events you will experience are jaw-dropping and the team has been pouring its energy and passion into making this very special -- from art to dialogue. You, our hero, will be central to the story that will change the world!

Here are some of the features we have lined up for Darkness Dawns!

1. Fabled dungeons: We've taken some dungeon favorites from the very first EQII expansion “Desert of Flames” and created additional versions of them with current high-level content and loot. You can experience Clefts of Rujark, The Djinn Masters Prism, Scornfeather’s Roost, and Pedestal of Sky at a high level range!

2. Character Advancement Templates (CATs): With the vast amount of points to spend on Adventure and Tradeskill Alternate Advancement and Prestige Abilities, it can be very tedious to spend all your points and decide the best way to specialize your character. We have a great new feature to solve all that!

With Character Advancement Templates players can select fully completed character builds that will spend advancement and ability points as they are earned with a scrollbar that shows how all past and future points are allocated. Each character will have access to pre-built templates from us that can be exchanged and rebuilt at will with no need to pay any re-specialization fees. The player can also save three custom templates on our servers to be used anytime, anywhere the player logs in. Not only that, players can save unlimited builds locally to upload and share. Changing templates requires a cast time and for the player to be out of combat.

The data format (xml) of the templates will be made available soon for fansites and players who may want to start tinkering with CATs in advance. (Meow.)

3. Three New Contested Avatar Raids: Pit yourself against three new contested avatars in the overlands – Prexus, Solusek Ro, and Drinal!

4. Arena of the Gods: The Arena of the Gods is a raid instance that allows 24 players to challenge any of the 9 avatars that are in game (includes the new contested avatars released in this GU). Once you kill an avatar and are rewarded, you can continue to practice the encounters as much as you want (there is a 3-day lockout timer for rewards).

The loot from the arena avatars is not as powerful as loot found on contested avatars, but worth getting. The arena avatars are the identical avatar fights from the overland zones so you can train your raid force for the real deal!

5. Tradeskill & PvP: We’ve got new high-end tradeskill apprentice goodies and new PvP rewards too.

I’m so proud of this team! They give their all to bring you new content at this unprecedented pace of updates. We are working on a few things for SOE Live too and will have some cool expansion and feature announcements and previews. We’re putting some final touches on the heroic Dreadcutter tournament zone right now too that will be a lot of fun with a prize pool of $10,500! Join us for SOE Live: www.soe.com/soelive.

And finally, on June 21, we’ll be starting our Summer Gold Rush promotion. Until Sept. 21, existing and new Gold members will get access to a 4-hour daily spell (in your spell books or in an available hotbar slot) that gives you +15% Coin Loot, +10% Experience, and +5% Mount Speed while it’s active!

We will be talking a lot more about Darkness Dawns and SOE Live over the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more details.

See you in game!

Holly Longdale aka Windstalker
Sr. Producer, EQII