February 3, 2006 by Tim

So I’m not sure how to start something like this, so I guess I’ll come out and say it.

Hello, my name is Tim. I’ve been playing Everquest 2.

(insert gentle sympathies and welcoming nods here)

But I’ll get to that in a moment. Everquest 2 underwent a pretty major patch yesterday that changed some fundamentals of the game. First of all they completely removed their archetype progression system. For those of you unfamiliar, it worked something like this: you arrive fresh in the world, and decide what general role you want to play. Fighter, Priest, Mage or Scout. Pretty simple.

You then progress for twenty levels and then narrow down your choice. What type of Priest do you want to be? Do you want to be a Cleric or a Druid? Then twenty levels later you get to narrow down your choice even more.

While I thought this system was pretty cool, I also see where problems arise. Say if you wanted to make an alt and try a different path. For the first twenty levels you’re experiencing exactly the same gameplay. That’s sort of rough.

Well with yesterday’s update you now choose your class right off the bat, for a more immediate introduction into the playstyle you’re looking for.

And to accomodate the new progression, the beginning of the game has been changed now too. Anyone who ever played EQ2 or experimented with the free trial will remember starting out with Captain Varlos on his ship, The Far Journey on their way to the Isle of Refuge. Well no more. Gone is The Far Journey, and gone is the Isle of Refuge. Characters now start directly on an island specifically tailored for good and evil, with all new quests and items. It’s pretty neat so far.

One change I really disagree with is the way they altered crafting. Previously EQ2 had one of the most complex crafting systems in MMO’s. Now apparently they’ve gone and dumbed it down. It’s a real shame.

So anyway, why have I started playing EQ2? Well, it’s no secret that my first impressions of the game were less than stellar. I was in the beta, and tried it at least half a dozen times after release, and I just could never get into it. And the primary reason for this was that the character models were so goddamned ugly.

Well, a couple of weeks ago I caught wind of the new Soga models that had been added to the game, so I checked them out. And they were leaps and bounds better than the originals. So I thought to myself that maybe with the new graphics I’d actually be able to spend more than ten minutes in the game without wanting to vomit. So I gave it a shot, and lo and behold, I’m enjoying the game.

Now, it’s by no means perfect. No MMO is. EQ2 does some things better than WoW, and WoW does some things better than EQ2. But that’s an entirely different conversation alltogether. What I do find is that EQ2 is a bit more mature than WoW. Barring the recent changes to make crafting more simplified, EQ2 is a more complex system with a steeper learning curve. There is actually a penalty for death, and fights gone wrong are very unforgiving. It’s more of a serious MMO, which just so happens to be what I’m in the mood for.

So yeah, I’m playing EQ2 at the moment, which will account for the occasional mention of it on the website. RF Online was terribly disappointing, and Vanguard doesn’t come out for quite some time, so Norrath is where I plant my free time. Again.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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