That thread seems pretty inconclusive because it does not have any dates on the items, as to when they were put in. I will keep researching so we can have an objective conclusion.
Ah, healthy skepticism
What proof I can find still floating out there on the internet, then:http://mboards.eqtraders.com/eq/showthr ... t=cultural
A thread from EQTC in December 2002 in which "old" and "new" cultural are listed. The "old" cultural items are the mid-level imbued/enchanted pieces. The "new" cultural items are the rec 45 items, sometimes referred to as "BD (blue diamond) cultural" because blue diamonds are used in crafting the components.
Unfortunately, the EQTC archives don't go back to the date of the new cultural recipes' introduction (in fact, the post I've linked above is the oldest existing post in their general forum), but you'll notice in the thread I've linked and in several others they refer to the "new" cultural items as having gone in in May 02 (Luclin).
Cultural recipes have since been consolidated and moved on the EQTC site, but the link to the DE (to pick an example) cultural armor used to be this: http://www.eqtraders.com/secrets/recipe ... arkelf.htm
Now if we plug that into the Internet Archive, we find that the closest saved pages to the date of the introduction of new cultural are Feb 3, 2002 and June 3, 2002.
February 3: http://web.archive.org/web/200202031655 ... arkelf.htm
No rec 45 armors. DE recipes include only the mid-level imbued and enchanted adamantite armors.
June 3: http://web.archive.org/web/200206030101 ... arkelf.htm
Same as the old page, but we have a new section on Tier'Dal (unimbued) and Dark Prince (imbued) chain and plate recipes. These are the rec 45 armors for Dark Elves.
Although the patch message introducing the new cultural doesn't seem to have been archived either with the searchable patch history or at Allakhazam, this patch http://www.tski.co.jp/baldio/patch/20020605a.html
from June of 02 refers to a change made to certain "new" cultural items:
"# Changed several of the new cultural chain skirts from Leg slot to Waist slot."
Now take a look at a smattering of the rec 45 pieces on Allakhazam's and their earliest comment dates:http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=12695
Dragonkin Heraldic BP - June 21st, 2002http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=12086
Dark Prince Regent BP - May 31st, 2002http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=13530
Dark Prince Sovereign BP - July 19th, 2002http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=12710
Fulvous Steelweave BP - June 24th, 2002
Compare to a few of the old cultural items:http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=2026
Tier`Dal Adamantite BP - Dec 22nd, 2000http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=6200
Imbued Koada`Dal Mithril Cuirass - June 15th, 2001http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/item.html?item=4919
Dwarven Plate BP - April 20th, 2001