We spoke to Holly and Akil about the new Aerakyn player race.
EverQuest II will be releasing its new player race, the Aerakyn, on November 11, 2014. The race is a stand-alone feature, not tied in any way to the Altar of Malice expansion (which releases the same day to All Access members), and will be available for purchase through a variety of offerings in the Station Cash Marketplace.
When customizing your new Aerakyn, you will have the standard wings and horns, but will additionally have an option for facial horns. Holly told us that "We're going to have a lot of variation for color... we're going to let you do just about anything you want." Akil then added "We really want them to have very draconic colors... we'll also have some greens, some purples and some blues, so you'll be able to kind-of color yourself like your favorite dragon."
The Aerakyn will be able to color their skin and their scales. The color chosen for scales will extend to their wings. While regular Aerakyn will only have appearance wings, the Noble Aerakyn will earn the power of flight with their wings.
While levelling up your Noble Aerakyn, you'll automatically unlock three additional wing options, which Holly referred to as "wing mounts." As with normal mount progression, you'll start off with "ground mount" wings, then gain Leaping wings at level 30, Gliding wings at level 60 and Flying wings at level 85. The wing appearances will change based on mount type, and as mentioned above, the standard Aerakyn will only benefit from the appearances, not the mount type/speed, unless upgraded to Noble.
"The appearances are separated from [the selected mount type]," Akil said. "As you unlock a new movement type, you also unlock a new appearance... so you could [for example] use the wings that are associated with flying with your ground mount if you prefer the appearance."
Aerakyn will be available on the Marketplace through several purchasing options. They are:
- 2000SC - Aerakyn: The Aerakyn have vestigial wings, but are of a lower caste and can’t use their wings for travel. Includes 4 appearance wing types that unlock upon reaching Adventure or Tradeskill level milestones. The Aerakyn will use wing attacks when unarmed.
- 4200SC - Noble Aerakyn: The Noble Aerakyn is set apart. With its wings offering benefits as you achieve them by reaching Adventure and Tradeskill level milestones. Includes 4 wing mounts unlocked at level milestones and include run speed, leaping, gliding, and flying. They also have an appearance weapon that allows them to use their wing attacks while wielding weapons.
- 2200SC - Upgrade to Noble Aerakyn. This upgrade adds the ability to earn the 4 mounts on leveling and includes the appearance weapon.
- 4800SC: Discounted Noble Aerakyn Bundle with Character Slot
- 7700SC: Discounted Noble Bundle that includes a Heroic Character Bauble AND character slot
"The Aerakyn will have a unique [racial] ability called Pyrebreath Bulwark that provides an elemental cure and ward ability," Akil shared.
For the first time in EverQuest II's history, the Aerakyn female model will have at least one long-haired option, with the length "reaching her lower back." We inquired whether or not other races would eventually get long hair options now that it's been accomplished with Aerakyn, and Akil replied that "We’d love to, but hair is incredibly expensive in time and resources. To do both model types for one gender of one race takes a LONG period of time. We think there are a lot of other things players have asked us to do that provide more 'fun.' I never say 'never' though."
Akil went on to explain why the team chose the Aerakyn as a playable race, and why they are neutral alignment. "With the conclusion of the Age’s End storyline, we came to see that there are Aerakyn who set themselves apart from the Awakened Legion where they were first introduced. They have lost their original home and we wanted to let the players be the story of their appearance and acceptance into Norrath."
One final topic included the Freeblood race. While nothing specific has been set and there is no timeline yet, the team is looking into making a few changes to the race. When/if the changes are made, all existing and future Freeblood will be eligible for any updates.
The Aerakyn race will be available to all members in the Marketplace on November 11, 2014. Players will have the choice between standard (the race and appearance-only wings) or Noble (race, mount-speed + appearance wings, appearance weapon) plus their associated bundles, and can later upgrade the standard to the Noble if they wish.
Ann "Cyliena" Hosler, Managing Editor