My third venture into EQ2: Part 1

With all the talk last week about Everquest 2, I decided it was time I took fresh look at the game.

First some history

I played a lot of Everquest. I was never a raider nor did I make it to max level, but I played a lot. I was excited about EQ2, so much so that when I got a chance to play in the beta, I stopped playing the wow beta I was in to focus on EQ2.

At launch I bought 2 copies of EQ2, so I could attempt to lure my wife into playing, and helped convince my online RP friends that EQ2 was the game (over wow) that they should be playing.  Two months later, shamed for what I had wrought upon my friends I left the game.

While I have some good memories from that time it was an experience that really deserves its own post. For now lets just say they game did run well, or play well, for the majority of how my friends and I could play the game.

Fast forward a few years to November 2007.

A co-worker of mine was (is still I suspect) a huge eq2 player, and guild leader. I was feeling some serious WoW burnout, so I had stepped away and was decided to give EQ2 a peek.  I did not know anyone on my old server (which made me sad) so I decided to roll up my new character on my co-workers server.

I played for a the free month and after week and posted some thoughts, heck I even made a post about a few mods I liked.  Yet after that month I did not make any real connections with players at my level, and without the social connection I moved on to another game.

Now eighteen months months later, people are discussing the game and I feel as though I am forgetting details.  I want to be accurate and honest with my comments, so I figured it was a good time to take a quick peek.  Since I am a cheapskate, and I wanted to look at the game from a “new” players perspective, I created a new Station account and installed the trial version of the game.

Installation and launcher

First thing to note, the trial took most of a day to download. I suspect its actually the full game installer, and I urge SOE to figure out a way to get players into the game faster.   If you want to give eq2 a try, start the updater before you go to sleep or work, and it should be ready to go when you get back to your computer.

Other than the time to update, I really like the functionality of the Station Launcher. One login for all the SOE games, one app to keep them all updated. Handy, so much so that I suspect blizzard will be doing the same thing once SC2 or D3 hit.

Opening screens.

There was an epilepsy warning screen, that would not go away on its own. I had to click on it. Bug? I am not sure, but it was annoying. At least it only appeared on the first launch of the game

The cinematic is the one from launch. Hmm, ultimately I guess there is no need to spend time/resources on a new cinematic for each expansion. It had been a long time since I watched it , so I did and realized that the game does not really match up to the cinematic.

There is no symbolic art style to the game style referenced in the cinematic, which is not “that” big of a deal.  Though what I thought was a big deal was the Conflict represented in the movie does not match game mechanics at all (at least from what I recall). I vaguely recall ‘good’ and ‘evil’ characters being able to group, guild, and raid together.  If that is in fact the case, then that opening movie just does not match the game at all. *shurg* I will simply skip it in the future.

After all the title screens a dialog box popped up. Keyboard Layout selection, huh? What the heck is this? This is really only a quest for EQ1 users or advanced EQ2 players, new players should not have this screen presented in their face before they even make a character.

Character Creation

Either I missed a point where a new player gets to pick their display or the game simply defaults to a very low resolution, since I entered character creation at 1024×768 res. which is a bit uglier than I was expecting on my 1920×1200 screen.

Lots of races to choose from. I am not sure what impact this choice will have on my character. Why is there not a short bullet point list of bonuses each race gets?

I had pre-decided I wanted to play one of the lizard races, so I did not worry too much about bonuses and instead looked at how they looked. The Sarnak where a bit to goofy looking for me, so I went with an iksar.  I clicked random all a few times, found a ok looking set up and then saved it.

Yep. I love this feature you can create saved sets of race body features so you can apply the same features to other characters. Or come back if you had leave mid creation. Handy.

There are a lot of customization options, not as many as some other games, but more than I think a game really needs. Seriously, most of the time I am zoomed back so far that I can not see another character’s eye color, or cheek height.

Clicked Next, and got the Class list. Umm, ya that is quite a list. As a slightly more advanced player I liked all the options, but the list does not do a good job of helping new players. What I mean is there is no indication of what role the each class is, and no quick list of what the limits / bonuses are.

With my Iksar, I wanted to play a melee class, that inflicts lots of damage. My quick look at the class list filtered down to few. Below are quotes from their descriptions and my thoughts about them.

  • Brusier – “Bruisers are relentless juggernauts of strength and intimidation who have transformed their bodies into vicious weapons to inflict pain and suffering upon their enemies
    • That sounds great!
  • Assassin – “The assassin is the master of sinister stikes and opportunistic attacks. Exceptionally skilled at surprising unwitting opponents, they strike suddenly and inflict massive damage.”
    • Ah, the sneaksy killer class; excellent. But it does not really match the look of my Iksar.
  • Brigand – “Brigands are crafty rogues who employ intimidation and force to subdue their enemies. The Brigrand maintains an element of unpredictability to arouse discomfort, fear, and confusion in an opponent.”
    • Advanced player in me reads that as “debuffer” more than DPS. So I pass, but the newbie in me things ahh DPS with style.
  • Shadowknight – “In addition to their formidable martial skills, Shadowknights conjure dark magic which they can enhance their abilities and drain away the life force of their enemies.”
    • I don’t want any “casting” or magic for this character, so I pass.
  • Beserker – “The berserker is the personification of unbridled aggression and fury.” [cut] “Berserkers stand at the forefront of battle, unleashing their devastating rage upon the enemy while keeping unwanted attention away from their allies.”
    • Starts good, but ends sounding like a tank.

In the end I went with a Bruiser, but one of the first abilities I gained in game was one to increase my threat. That does not sound like an ability a melee dps would want. Nope it sounds sort of “tanky”.   Which made me think that SOE should put some role key words in the class description boxes, maybe like; Tank, Melee, Caster, Pet, Healer, Buffer, Debuffer.

Naming and server selection where the last step in the creation process. Of course naming, as in most games , and there is no way to test a name before being sent into the game, if accepted. After a few attempts I was sent into the game with the name “Reflect”; a quick footed Iksar looking for a fight.

Next time I will chat about Reflect’s first seven levels, but here is a sneak preview:

Reflect the Iksar Bruiser at Level 7
Reflect the Iksar Bruiser at Level 7

3 responses to “My third venture into EQ2: Part 1”

  1. You’re right that the Brigand is “dps with style.”

    And a debuffer 😉

    But it still does a lot of dps. And it can even tank in a pinch.

    Haven’t read your next 2 installments yet, but I’m getting there.

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