EverQuest is as responsible for the MMORPG craze as any other game in the genre. Not surprisingly, a sequel has come. The original being over 6 years old, many were ready for a new Norrath. EverQuest II, just like its elder, delivers another immersive experience, improving the formula in many ways.
EQ2 brings EverQuest into the new generation of PC gaming in multiple ways, the most readily apparent being the grand visuals. The game's world looks awesome, with high detail in every location--big cities, dungeons, indoors and outdoors alike all look amazing. Other technical aspects aren't so special, though. Load time during area switches can get irritating (and I'm usually a patient guy) and running the game to its full potential requires a pretty uber system. The system part can be overlooked, but that load time and framerate slowdown get more and more annoying every day. At least the music is charming.
|Fight for your life!
The next thing players will take note of is the tremendous amount of content placed before them. Often time, MMORPG publishers simply want to get the product out and start making money as soon as possible. Not so with Sony Online Entertainment and EverQuest II; this game has obvious polish, and spent just the right amount of time in development. There is more content accessible right from the get go in EverQuest II than any other MMORPG I can think of, but SOE doesn't just sit back and feel content with what's there--it keeps adding to it, giving "ever quest" new meaning. There's more and more completely free content added to EverQuest II all the time, in the forms of new quests, dungeons, and all kinds of other things. For example, since the November release, 15 new dungeons have been added to Norrath...for free.
A mail system has also made its way into the game, as a free addition. Much like other games that already have the feature, it allows for players to send email-type messages to each other. A normal message costs just a few coins, but an item can be attached to the message for a higher fee. This system works great, but it sure would be nice to attach more than 1 item to a message. Speaking of addition, EverQuest II doesn't expand the way normal MMOs do. There are 2 types of expansion packs: a regular expansion and an "Adventure pack." The standard expansion packs (none have come out yet, but the first will in the fall) are expected to be just like those of normal MMORPGs, while Adventure Packs are smaller, story-driven content upgrades that come at a much lower price. "The Bloodlines Chronicles," the first Adventure Pack, added new monsters, 5 very fun new dungeons, and some enjoyable story bits. The innovative system of expansion in EQ2 has been mocked by some, but it's a good thing for sure.
|Standing around town
While the structure is mostly the same as a common MMORPG, EQ2 plays noticeably different than its predecessor. In the first EQ, hunting was almost you're only option for ways to gain levels, and most players I knew would avoid quests. But in EQ2, quests are genuinely fun to do and have great rewards. Patches made after release have also made solo and small group leveling a lot easier, which is always a good thing.
Taking the aforementioned quests will be to support whichever of the 2 factions the player has joined. You see, in the 500 years between EverQuest and EQ2, the world has been ravaged by disaster and almost completely destroyed. Now, survivors from Qeynos (good) and Freeport (bad) are competing to claim as much of this world as possible. While this story premise seems to set up Player vs Player combat, there is none to be found within EQ2. This can be good or bad, depending on whether or not you're into that, but it is something to note, either way. For people that like PvP, EQ2 may come off as boring, especially considering that after a few hours, the combat gets somewhat repetitive and stale. This problem is by no means exclusive to EQ2, but the fighting here doesn't pack anything special.
Coming home from work or school and ending the day with a few hours of EverQuest II is a worthwhile endeavor, especially for hard core MMORPG fans. This game's community is very friendly (from my experience) and takes the game seriously. The game isn't meant for casual players, that's for sure, but those who love MMORPGs and are looking to start a new one can feel safe in choosing EverQuest II.
Out of 10
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