EverQuest II Review


EverQuest is arguably the game that made MMORPG gaming what it is today. The game has stood the test of time and is still played religiously by gamers around the globe. However it has begun to show its age, as its graphics do not hold up against today’s games and it has not been able to take full advantage of advances in the genre that have occurred since its release back in 1999. Now Sony Online Entertainment is bringing EverQuest back to the cutting edge of MMORPG gaming with the release of EverQuest II (EQ2). Updated graphics, greater depth, deeper immersion, and a number of enhancements resulting from years of experience with the original game make EQ2 a significant step forward in the EverQuest universe.

If you’re an EverQuest veteran, you’ll find that Norrath has gone through a significant transformation when you enter the world of EQ2. The gods lost their patience with the creatures of Norrath and tore the world asunder in an effort to remake it. The land was transformed, the moon shattered, and the intelligent races scattered across the land. After the cataclysm, the civilized world gathered itself into two camps and managed to build the two great cities of EQ2’s world. The races divided themselves along good and evil lines, and the two cities of Qeynos and Freeport reflect the alignment of their makers.

Screenshots
Freeport is dark and forbidding to reflect its nature.

As with all games of this sort you start by creating a character. EQ2 gives you a degree of control over your character’s appearance, allowing you to make subtle tweaks to the facial features to the point where you can create a character with a perpetual smile or frown. However it doesn’t really go far enough to allow you to create a truly unique look, so you’ll see a number of players who could pass as your kin when you start out in the game. When creating a character you’ll need to choose your race and profession, as well as make a decision regarding your alignment. EverQuest players will recognize all of the game’s races which range from diminutive dwarves and gnomes to ogres, with elves, humans, half-elves, and the like in between. Initially you’ll have four professions to choose from – fighter, mage, scout, and priest – but you’ll be able to specialize these professions at level 10 and again at 20. As for alignment, choose good and you’ll be on your way to Qeynos, pick evil and it’s off to Freeport.

The world of Norrath is still in recovery mode, and new players enter the game as refugees from the consequences of the upheaval that has occurred in their world. In fact, the game’s tutorial places you on a ship that has plucked you out of the sea. This setting is a clever mechanism for giving you an overview of the interface and some of the more common actions such as conversing with NPCs, fighting creatures, and trading goods. In a nice touch you’ll have your own private ship to work with, so you don’t have to try to jockey for position against other newbies to talk to the ship’s captain or compete with them to find a rat to slay. Another nice thing about the tutorial is that it is entirely optional so that you do not have to suffer through it with your second or third character – EQ2 allows you to keep up to four characters per account.