While the lore of EverQuest Next’s Norrath will have some familiar names and places, it’s not the same as the lore of EverQuest past. Think of this Norrath as a sort of alternate universe, with familiar locations and people, but its own distinct events.
The timeline of this “reboot” of Norrath runs deep, spanning 20,000 years broken into four eras, each with several distinct ages. The history that directly affects EverQuest Next begins with the Dal Era.
The elves of Norrath are not exactly like the ones you remember from EverQuest. Rather than being divided into specific races, they are separated as different social subsets or factions--the Koada’Dal, the Feir’Dal, and the Teir’Dal.
The Age of Ascension
The Dal Era marks a period of about 2000 years of elven dominance that began with the Age of Ascension. Before this age, Norrathian society was primitive, and struggling to survive. It was a dark time, filled with evil creatures, where no organized society existed. But as the elves rose to prominence, they began founding kingdoms, and eventually built empires. As their society grew, they formed allegiances with the other races of Norrath.
The elves eventually befriended even the dragons. Through this allegiance, the elves' magical knowledge grew, and the speed at which their society developed increased by great leaps. It was a time of prosperity--a golden age, where the races generally thrived. The citizens of Norrath were happy, and things seemed to be moving in a positive direction.
But all good things eventually come to an end, and the end of this peaceful period began with the arrival of the snakelike shissar. At first, these creatures appeared cooperative, so the elves trusted and befriended them. But the shissar attacked, betraying the elves. They laid waste to cities, and nearly succeeded in conquering Norrath. The elves were only able to withstand their assault with the support of the many allies they had made. Their combined efforts turned the shissar back and sealed the spires that led to the shissar world.
The Takish Age
Because of the betrayal and devastation they suffered as a result of befriending the shissar, the elves became increasingly distrustful. What if their allies, those who had aided and saved them during the shissar war, were wolves in sheeps’ clothing, merely biding their time waiting for a window of opportunity to open so they could drive the elven society to its knees?
Over time, racial tension began to divide the empire and sparked the Koada’Dal movement. The Koada’Dal were, at first, a positive force. They were the best of society--Kings, dukes and war heroes. But eventually, these highborn elves came to see themselves as superior to other races. This would prove to be their downfall. The Koada’Dal were able to develop powerful high magic that even the dragons feared. Their magical supremacy allowed them to form the Takish Empire, which imposed an oppressive regime over the other races.
Although the elves didn’t have magic powerful enough to truly subjugate the dragons themselves, they were able to oppress other draconic races such as the kobolds, drakes and wyverns. This caused the dragons to flee, and they isolated themselves on Velious for a long period of time. The Takish Empire stood for hundreds of years, and probably would have stood for hundreds more if not for an event called The Sundering. [During the SOE Live lore panel, Jeff Butler noted that the name of this event might be subject to change before EverQuest Next launches.] For reasons unknown, one of the teleportation spires exploded, burying the elven capitol of Takish’Hiz under miles of rock. [This is the region currently called Ashfang in EverQuest Next.] The elves high magic also, for some reason, stopped working. Civil wars broke out, with various nations vying for power, and society fell into decay.
Eventually, the rebellions were put down and a strained peace existed. But, with the elven empire in ruins, the dragons seized their opportunity to avenge their years of oppression at the hands of the elves. They swept in and wreaked devastation, conquering Faydwer and wiping away the last remnants of the Takish Empire.
The Age of Exile
The Fier’Dal, an elven social subset that was welcoming toward other races, joined with some of the races the Takish had oppressed--including the ogres, dwarves and kerrans--and formed an alliance of equals called the Combine Accord. The Combine struck back against the dragons, ushering in The Dragon War. The battle was long and costly. Unfortunately, no matter how strong their spirits, or how fiercely they fought, the dragon forces proved too powerful. The Combine suffered death and devastation on a massive scale, and were finally forced to flee.
As The Combine prepared to make their exodus, the Teir’Dal, an elite force of elves, fought to buy them time by making their last stand at Bastion, led by Keramore Thex. [These events are told in the ebook, The Last Stand of the Teir’Dal.] The allies fled to Kunark, an unexplored wilderness, where they could attempt to regroup and reestablish the remnants of their society.
But the shissar were also on Kunark. And they were not alone. They had subjugated the local iksar, and bred a race of soldiers. Their forces swept in and enslaved the Combine races. Eventually, the iksar longed to be free of the shissar’s control, so they allied with the Combine to drive the shissar back. But old habits die hard, and a large subset of the iksar society couldn’t help but fall back on the ways of their former masters. An iksar named Venril Sathir rose to prominence, and soon certain factions within the iksar became determined to possess the old knowledge of the Combine. They intend to use the Combine for their selfish purposes, but the Combine refuse to yield. Once again, they were forced to flee. Along with some iksar who were sympathetic to the Combine's cause, they made the decision to return and retake their homeland.
The Age of Heroes
Present day in EverQuest Next begins in the Age of Heroes. The Combine races have been oppressed for centuries. Their society has been decimated, and they’re clinging to fragments of history. As they make their way back to their former homeland, they are aware that all they know of this place comes from the tales of their forefathers. They have no idea what they will find there, or whether the dragons of the Ring of Scale still lurk.
The Combine races go forward and found the city of Qeynos. But they’ve come from nothing, and they have nothing. They’re forced to quickly amass resources to get their city off the ground. The Qeynos of EverQuest Next will be a rugged, frontier town struggling to survive. Players will witness and participate in its evolution over time. Will the Combine Accord become a force for good, or will they be beaten down again? This is the tale that EQNext players will tell.
Karen became hopelessly hooked on EverQuest when she wandered into Norrath for the first time, immediately fell off one of the Kelethin platforms, and had to ask a Bard to find her mangled corpse. She's gained a few skills since, and logged more hours than she cares to count playing all kinds of MMOs. The EverQuest franchise remains her favorite. Relying on her druidic wisdom, she pens a weekly column, Ask the Druid, every Thursday. Send your questions to her at shayalyn [at] tentonhammer.com.
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