But the new zones aren't just rehashes of old ones. "We like to get some original dungeons in so everything is not just retooled from EQ1," Hooper said. One entirely new dungeon is Chelsith, an epic alien dungeon in the Kunzar Jungle. It contains a race of fish-men who worship a Behemoth. It has strong alien and horror influences and a bright, wacky color palette that is unlike much of EQ2, but definitely "fits." There are eyeballs in the floors, tentacles, pools of ooze, etc. Unfortunately, Hooper was not able to show us the Behemoth, but did say that in a raid, he can be fought.
He also showed us the Sebilis dungeon and its Babylonian-inspired theme, which once again harkens back to EQ1.
The big cherry on top of Rise of Kunark for elite achievers is Trakanon. We didn't see it at the event, but this is an epic series of raids, the culmination of their raid progression. There are six raid zones with 12 raids in the final zone. And yes, Sarnak do get to meet their old creators, as the big enchilada here is an epic dragon.
To make raiding a bit more accessible, SOE has recently added the ability to save. This means players can progress through an area for a time and then take a break. They'll have a finite amount of real-world days to finish, a number the developers can tweak on a zone-by-zone basis. Players can also invite in new people, for those who can never get their healers online in time. This is a feature they hope to eventually retroactively include in all their raid content, but at the very least, is available in each new raid they unleash.
Rise of Kunark is the first in their new annual expansion strategy where they take more time to do bigger and more polished updates, a move SOE said comes at the request of their community who felt, at times, overwhelmed at the rate of new updates. Both EverQuest 2 and the original plan to update each year, ideally on November 13.