The Glacial Tarn is a new Level 65 Expedition set in the Great Cleave. Explore a cavernous frozen complex hidden beyond the Empyrean Forge in pursuit of the Varangian Knight Ser Loth. Locate and harness the primordial magic of the Empyrean Flame to overcome enemies and obstacles imbued with Ice Magic, and destroy Ser Loth before his power consumes all of Aeternum.
Players will need the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion to experience this Expedition.
Ser Loth has blocked our path into the depths of the antediluvian complex. Beyond the Empyrean Forge, he harnesses primordial magicks from deep within an ancient pyramid. If left unchecked, his power will grow to unconquerable heights, so you must act quickly to stop his apocalyptic power grab. Thankfully, our friend, Shailyn, has found another path into the complex and back into the forge- but it won't be easy.
A league of ice enchanted ancients stand in our way, and beyond them lie the Varangian horde, empowered by the Glacial Tarn's Ice magic and the Empyrean Forge's primordial flame. Players will have to use these magicks to their own advantage, plowing through ice and snow with the power of fire.
“As the second act of the Empyrean Forge, the Glacial Tarn’s music confronts warmth with coldness,” said Audio Director Jean-Edouard Miclot. “I always enjoy dichotomies that force me to make something completely different and similar at the same time. Contrast can be complimentary so it’s always a great source of inspiration when making sounds, music or any kind of art.”
The Frozen Lake
“I used an Instagram video of a Russian frozen lake cracking under the weight of an ice-skater as a source of inspiration for most of the Eternal Frost aesthetics. The laser-like sounds felt alien but also familiar at the same time, so we didn’t purchase any stock libraries. Because it was a hot summer here in Sunny California, we challenged ourselves on how we could recreate them internally instead.”
Different Interpretations of Cold Instruments
“Kyle Bailey, Michael Finley, Tony Martinez and myself all ended up doing slightly different takes as we interpreted the concept differently but it made the palette richer in the end. Some of these sound effects can also be heard in the music; it clicks, it cracks, it creaks and slaps like a drummer playing on a frozen drum set.”
“One of the coldest instrument I made was simply using a bell EQ tracking MIDI notes. It’s like a wind that whistles in tune along other instruments. It felt pretty dark and isolated so I started using it at the beginning to set the tone.”
“When the player falls down in the crevasse of the Expedition, I went completely literal and recorded a glissando effect.”
Sounds from the Sink
“The glissando introduces a waterphone-like sound. I don’t personally own this beautiful instrument but I accidentally touched the top of my wine glasses that contained a little bit of soap water while I was washing my dishes. It just sounded like a waterphone to me so I placed 4 of them with different amounts of water, quickly tuned them by ear, and then started recording wild takes with my phone not thinking I’d actually use these sounds.”
The Empyrean Forge Connection
“To finally connect the Glacial Tarn to the Empyrean Forge, I re-used the same guitar-like instrument when I needed it to feel “badass” during the final payoff of the victory theme that wraps up the Commander Loth storyline. It pays homage to Commander Marius’ defeat and finishes with a sour note of melancholy.“
Experimentation Through Different Sound Experiences
“Overall, I used a fair amount of synthesizers with high resonant filters to recreate the laser sounds that we heard in the frozen lake video and I know it won’t be to everyone’s taste. Looking back, we’ve recorded over 6 hours of live and orchestral music so far for the game and we don’t want to get stuck with a narrow palette of colors and textures. We want to break the mold and thrive as a new MMO to give you an experience that you won’t get anywhere else.”
“Our sound tenet has always been about pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo so I think we’ll continue using instanced content as a playground for experiments. With the help of your feedback, we might back off if you feel we go too far but we’ll also push harder when you stay quiet because there’s nothing that delights us more than reading your positive comments, it's the fuel that will continue to propel our creativity.”
Art & Design
“The Glacial Tarn is another great example of our aesthetic philosophy—visual uniqueness,” said Expedition Art Lead Daehi Kim. “We want players to explore distinct areas of Aeternum and enjoy everything from epic views to every single corner.”
“This Expedition has a strong visual elemental theme like the Empyrean Forge. Last time it was fire, now it's ice. Although both Expeditions have completely different themes, they are physically connected to each other in the same space. You might be able to re-explore places you have already been or visit previously unreachable locations. Look forward to even more exploration in this half. Keep your body warm and see you at the entrance!“
The Glacial Tarn is an opportunity to improve upon environmental gameplay that began with the Empyrean Forge. Its natural caverns and ancient complex contain their own unique hazards and mechanics.
Chief among them is the Primordial Ice, ice structures that take minimal damage from all attacks and can more easily be destroyed with the magic found in the Empyrean Forge. The Empyrean Flame allows players to progress rapidly through the Expedition, removing the Ice Armor of enemies and doing more damage to the Ice Walls and Blocks that thwart progress.
These three new gameplay mechanics set the Glacial Tarn apart from prior Expeditions.
The core mechanic of this Expedition is known as Empyrean Flame, a buff that players can receive by interacting with Empyrean Furnaces scattered throughout the Expedition.
This buff allows players to remove Ice Armor from enemies.
The buff will eventually fade if players do not reactivate it by interacting with the Furnace again.
Players will have to manage keeping themselves buffed while also fighting enemies.
Frozen Wind/Ice Vents
To block passages from players without the Empyrean Flame, there will be walls of powerful icy jets. These vents remove the buff and deal damage.
Ice Armored Enemies
Ice imbued Varangians and Ancients are strong to all damage types until their armor stacks have been removed. Hit them while buffed from the Empyrean Flame to shatter their armor.
Non-enemy obstacles also need to be destroyed by the buffed player(s). For instance, a switch might be iced over and cannot be activated until the ice has been destroyed.
Let us know which part of the Glacial Tarn you want to experience most when the next Expedition drops alongside Eternal Frost on December 12. Thanks for your support! We’ll see you in Aeternum.