In a market that lacks alot of depth. EQII Delivers alot to the table, but fails to deliver at some points too.
When I look back on Everquest, one of the first things that always comes to mind was how amazing it was. I remember the feeling I got when I first casted a spell on myself. I swear I spent a day trying to find out how to memorize and cast my spells lol. Or the feeling you got when you made your very first platinum piece (or pp for the EQ players). Since EQ I had played many MMORPGS; SWG, FFXI, CoH. None gave me the feeling that Everquest gave me.
When I first heard of EQII I was in disaray. All I could think about was how EQII was going to ruin the original EQ. I thought for sure everyone was going to leave me alone in EQ, and switch over to EQ2. It just so happens that wasn't the case. But still even after all of my paranoia, I still couldn't resist picking up EQII. Infact I bought it the day it came out.
When I first started playing I was amazed. I got the feeling that I had when I first played EQ. That feeling of adventure, and disovery. Once again I was on the fast track to MMORPG addiction. Now that i'm more mature I can control myself much better, and don't let get out of hand, but trust me, I still played alot! The first character I made was a priest archtype, I then chained off into a shaman, and then a mystic. But i'll get back to the class later.
Now I wasn't putting in insane hours, but I was still playing alot. Aproximately 6-7 hours a day. I was really picking things up quickly, and was one of the top shaman/mystics on my server. I was the 3rd mystic to reach level 27 on my server. (you can tell what number you are by the EQ2players.com website, it keeps track of all achievements). So needless to say I was enjoying the game. But enough of EQII story, lets get on to the review. I'll divide it up into 4 sections; gameplay, graphics, sound, and replayability.
Without a doubt, SOE lived up to their promise on graphics. For a MMORPG they are amazing. Uncomparable even. Everything in the environment looks great. Now the character models are somewhat....plasticy. They don't look that real, they kind of look like figurines. Don't even get me started on the elves, and how much they look like women.
Everyone said you had to have such a high end machine to run this game, but that was very untrue. My computer at the time wasn't anything special. I had a 2.0 ghz processor, 1.0 gig of ram, and a Radeon 9600 128 MB. Nothing extrodinary. Of course if I ran the game on high settings, with max lighting, and shadows, I lagged. But as long as I adjusted it some, it ran fine, and looked fine. Of course it didn't look as good as it did on the tweaked up graphics, but it still looked better than anything i'd seen.
Some parts of the world seemed a little bland, especially in the Thundering Steppes, but that was the only problem I ran into graphic wise.
Sometimes just for kicks, i'd tweak my graphics up a little just to get some screenshots.
But still to date, EQ2's graphics are unmatched by any MMORPG in my opinion. Which reminds me. I remember when EQ2 was first coming out, they talked about how it was built for PC's in the future. Which is why they had some graphic settings that no one could have set. They were saving those for the future. But now that i'm looking towards the future, i'm not seeing EQ2 as a big player, and start to wonder what their views are on that.
When I first started in late November I was blown away. There seemed like there was so much to do. There were so many people playing at the time, and it seemed like there was an endless amount of quests. I like how they had classes that branched off into others. But to my understanding they changed that lately, and you just start off as a main class. But as I moved on in the game, I ran into one of the problems i had with EQ. It turned into a huge grind, I sat in this one dungeon (I forget the name, it's in the Thundering Steppes) for 5 levels, just grouping and killing the same monsters over and over again to level. Also one of the problems i had, was with the community. Unless it benefited them, no one wanted to help you. I was always stuck trying to do quests by myself, which sucked on some, because they were impossible without a group.
The zones were neat, it was fun seeing some of the old zones that you encountered in the original EQ. They all lived up to the lore, and style of EQ.
Item crafting was really deep, yet complicated. I remember not being able to find resources for some of the lowest level recipes. But if you can get the crafting down it's neat. Just the animations your character does when crafting is enjoyable to watch.
Plus the game was too focused on grouping, if you didn't group you were screwed. I think they changed that in the past year, and added solo content, but I can't comment on that, because I havn't experienced it.
I ended up going to WoW about a month after the EQII release, and realized how much I enjoyed PVP, which EQII lacked. And how simple things were to pick up. Everything seemed complicated in EQII, but so simplified in WoW.
I lost my interest in EQII very fast. I really did enjoy it when I first started, but found myself wanting more towards the end.
I can't comment on what they've added since then, and i've been tempted lately to go back and try it out.
I hate reviewing sound, because there is so little to say, but i'll do my best.
This game had the best sound in any mmorpg. Most noteably is the voice overs. EVERY Npc in the game had a voice over. Some were voiced by top notch actors, such as one of my favorites; Christopher Lee. Who of course plays Saruman in Lord of the Rings. For the most part the VO's sound fantastic too. The music was superb also. I'm not sure what orchestra does the music for SOE, but they do a great job. It really draws you into the environment, and makes it feel like a fantasy setting.
There is alot to do in the game, it's just a matter of finding people to help you. If you can find a group of friends to play, or get into a good guild, the game has alot to offer. There are TONS of quests, alot of classes to try out, raids, item crafting.
So if you enjoy MMORPG's, then you should atleast give EQII a shot. It's enjoyable, especially if you can find some people willing to help you out.
I've been playing so much WoW lately, i'm kind of getting bored, and am even thinking about going back to EQ2 myself.