I have been in the beta before you punks (joke) got in with this GameSpot Complete Giveaway, and let me just reconfirm what everyone has been saying, but as an experienced massively multiplayer online role-playing game player. Firstly, the graphics are amazing; they are completely unmatched by any game in the field, be it EVE: The Second Genesis, Asheron's Call 2: Fallen Kings, or World of Warcraft. The water, the particle effects, the high fantasy architecture (which is amazing), the rolling plains, the flora, the coastlines, the sky; it's all beautiful in the most sincere regard.
When you start off, you are on a ship called the Far Journey, owned by the Far Seas Trading Company, which takes refugees from a cataclysmic event known as The Shattering that ripped the continents apart and left only an archipelago-styled world. You arrive at the Far Seas Trading Company outpost, an island known as the Isle of Refuge, which is defending itself from a goblin inroad. After learning the fundamentals of the game on the Far Journey, you begin to experience what EverQuest II has to offer on the Isle of Refuge. You are given tasks to prove your worth, such as killing a number of goblins (known as "gruttooths"), but then the quests get a little more detailed. For example, you are tasked with disrupting the goblin supply chain by destroying five supply crates in the inner spheres of the goblin camp.
Eventually your official task ends with you killing the catalyst of these events, a feared orc pirate. The way this is done is great, because you do not have to wait for him to "respawn" (when you kill a special figure in a persistant world, usually you have to wait for him to spawn again) like you would in World of Warcraft, Asheron's Call, EverQuest Classic, or such. Sony Online Entertainment uses instanced zones to do special events so you do not have to sit around waiting for guys to respawn. You can go in, slay whoever you need to, and get out.
You also have other sidequests that can take quite a while. I spent six hours on the Isle of Refuge myself. Some quests include killing a goblin siege master, and he will drop a book. Read the book and you will learn a nefarious band of goblin saboteurs are going to do some mischevious deed. You are tasked, not by anyone but good morals, to go slay them. If you do, you get a spiffy helmet. I was a mage though, so I just sold it to the local merchant for some coin. Other things include collecting seashells, feathers, learning the intricacies of the goblin, creating new things in the forge under Malvonicus' Tower, and killing the shark Bladefin and doing an aquatic research quest; just for the record, there are more things, but I don't want to list all nineteen quests.
Then it comes time to speak to the ambassadors of the two remaining cities: the human stronghold of Freeport, headed by the fallen Paladin Lucan D'Lere, and the beacon of light under the benevolent leadership of Antonia Bayle, Qeynos. In some cases, if you are an Ogre for example, you cannot become a citizen of Qeynos, at least from the start. However, if you are an Ogre with a knack for the light side, you can eventually do a series of difficult loyalty quests to become a Qeynos citizen. I chose Qeynos because I am an Erudite and the warmongers of Freeport do not want my mastery of the arcane arts. Good, I don't like dark places anyway.
The game plays very well, and there is a lot of things to appreciate. First off, you can get special titles by doing deeds, such as killing a number of goblins: I got the title "Hunter of Goblins" for my persistence at killing the little rascals. The system of branching is also very nice. As an Erudite, I figured I wanted to be a mage, so at level four I chose to be a mage. But when I reached level ten, I was given a variety of choices of where to specialize in. Would I be a sorceror, an enchanter, or a summoner? And at level twenty I will have to choose again from the two subclasses of a sorceror (the profession I chose), the warlock and wizard.
The graphics are undeniably beautiful. I cannot describe the complexities of my statement because there is just too much to describe. The music is epic; any fan of fantastical music will love this game. Intense battle themes play when you enter a combat situation, serene tones play on the rolling hills and cliffsides of Antonica; it is just a fantastic experience.
Will EverQuest II be better than World of Warcraft? Most definetly so. Having experienced both games, I would definetly bank my money in the EverQuest II vaults, and if you look down at some of my previous journal entries, I enjoyed World of Warcraft a lot.