EverQuest Online Adventures Review

EverQuest Online Adventures (EQOA) is a lot like a good woman (note to reader, I chose "woman" here to reflect my own particular tastes, if you're of the fairer sex please feel free to substitute "man" for "woman").  It's not the best looking one out there, but there is something about it that hooks you.  There are plenty of games with sexier graphics, but after a while you usually realize that there is not much more there and you begin to lose interest.  EQOA will provide you with a more fulfilling gaming experience, but in order to realize its potential it's going to take a long-term commitment on your part.

Screenshots
There's plenty of combat in EverQuest Online Adventures.

The fact that EQOA is not well-suited to quickie gaming sessions is evident from the first time you start the game.  EQOA has the word "Online" in its title for a reason - there is no single player campaign or offline game mode.  You have to have the Network Adaptor in order to play the game, so the first time you start it you'll need to put in a little time registering your game and creating an online account for it.  The process is pretty straight-forward, but it just takes time.  Future gaming sessions will require you to connect to the Internet, download any game updates, select a server, and then wait for the gameworld to load all before you can start playing.

When starting a new game, you will need to create your online character.  You have a fair amount of choice in the matter since there are nine races in the game and thirteen different character classes.  However you'll have to choose wisely as your experience with the game will depend a lot on your chosen class.  The game allows you to maintain more than one character on a server, but it takes quite a bit of time to build a powerful character and you won't be able to do it by spreading your game time across several characters.  Once you have chosen a race and class you can customize your character's appearance by choosing from several head and hair styles and setting their color.  There aren't a lot of customization options, though, so expect to see your double (and triple...) in the gameworld, especially around your race's home city.

Once you've created your character, play begins in the safety of a city where NPCs will give you a series of short "fetch it" quests.  While you could certainly skip these quests, it is in your best interest to complete them as they serve as a gameplay tutorial and will reward you with some valuable experience points.  EQOA is a traditional RPG in the sense that you accumulate experience points which enable you to advance to higher levels in your class and improve your statistics.  Reaching higher levels gives you access to harder quests and allows you to take on more dangerous foes, earning you even more experience.  There are background stories tied to the quests and there certainly is an overall mythos in the game's world, but this is not an RPG game in which the goal is to progress through a storyline.  Instead the game's focus is combat, and lots of it.  Most quests require you to slay something and in between quests you will be fighting animals and monsters in an attempt to increase your experience level.

Since you'll spend a lot of your time in battle the game makes combat simple to control.  You can lock on and cycle through local enemies and the game will let you know how strong they are in relation to your character.  You'll also see an icon which rates the target's level of aggression.  These two bits of information go a long way in letting you know which enemies you should give plenty of room.  When you find an enemy at your level or weaker and want to attack, you can initiate combat by pressing the attack key or by casting a spell.  Melee strikes are automatic as long as you hold down the attack key - you can't select your swing type and there aren't any combos available.  Magic using classes can draw on their mana power to cast spells during battles.  You can ready several spells for quick casting, but each spell has a recharge time to prevent you from casting them in steady succession.  Combat usually continues until you or the monster runs out of hit points and dies.  Running away is an option, but it's not easy to shake an opponent who has you on the ropes.

Your game won't end should you come out on the short end of a battle.  Death means a return to your last "binding point" and an experience point debt.  Half of your experience earned is used to pay off this debt and it is a disincentive to being too aggressive when picking your battles.