These days when someone talks about an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game for those of you just emerging from having lived in a dark cave), usually only one title comes to mind… “World of Warcraft”. It wasn’t long ago however that a different name graced the lips of gamers, a title so addictive that it was deemed “crack”, and given the nickname “Evercrack”.
Of course, I am talking about “Everquest”. After years of restless nights, the Mountain Dew fueled minions of the MMO gaming community have a new chapter to add to a beloved franchise. Taking place in a parallel world, EQ2 plays a lot like the first did with a number of marked improvements.
To start, you are in a training level with some easier battles and quests to get you used to the way of the Everquest world. Here you’ll find your standard training quests, opportunities to advance a few levels, and tutorials about the game’s interface. Even for an advanced gamer, I’d still recommend you taking a little time in this first section, as there a few idiosyncrasies which you’ll pick up on that will aide you in later sections of the game.
After the training village, you’ll need to declare your alliance with either good or evil. Good will start you in one city; evil will start you in another. Aside from battling in the game guild system, there is very little PVP use of this new dynamic, which was very disappointing. The evil or good affiliation does afford different quests and game dynamics, so the replay value of this game is great. There is a definite and obvious push to lure you in and keep you hooked, because most of the revenue that Sony hopes to generate from this game comes from residual income gained through the monthly fee you’ll pay to subscribe to EQ2,
Quests seem to be pretty linear. Granted, you don’t have to complete specific quests, and you do have free range movement, but everything seems rather sequential from level to level. As you adventure, new areas become open to you as you are able to venture out beyond your starting town (The only thing really holding you back is the difficulty you’ll have trying to venture out to tougher areas with less experience under your belt. I (personally) found it difficult to progress without making sure all the available quests were complete in a given area. Some players may not mind skipping around, and if you play that way, you’ll probably have a less linear experience than I did.
Speaking of quests, there are MANY more quests in EQ2 than in the first. Granted, quests don't differ much from other MMOs. You spend a lot of time running errands, gathering information, collecting or repairing different items. But the availability really spices up gameplay, especially considering how much more time you spent in the previous iteration of this game just running around and killing monsters. For objective oriented gamers, this new style of gameplay affords a more rewarding gaming experience, especially since you hit a ceiling pretty quickly with regards to the frequency that you obtain new levels. While this is nice, it also causes you to have to run around quite a bit, which does get a little annoying.