Ribbicus the Conjurer and Frooglefruit the Berserker hitting it up at the Queen’s Colony (long live the Queen!). So far we’re only on our trial periods, but with characters like these what is there not to love? And yes, I decided to give EverQuest II another chance.
Loving The Sandbox, Missing The Fantasy
[caption id="attachment_1547" align="alignleft" width="184" caption="I pwn noobs in space."][/caption] I do love EVE Online, even if some online drama and paranoia over the last week or so made me wonder if I really have the energy to move to 0.0 right now. Application has been processed, roles dropped, assets liquidated and jump clones prepped (more or less) but seeing the true paranoid face of EVE's political alliances and corps is putting me off. If I do the move I will end up in one of the most volatile areas of the cluster as well, straight into a war that will probably spiral ...
A Grand And Pretentious Love Declaration To EVE Online
In this special edition of the EVE Blog Banter, CrazyKinux himself asked "[w]hether you've logged into the game every day since its launch in 2003, or you've taken one or several sabbaticals from your capsuleer career, you've always come back to New Eden don't you. Why is that? [...] To put it simply: Why do you love EVE Online so much?" The EVE Blog Banter invites an enthusiastic group of EVE Online bloggers to address--within a specified time period--a common topic related to EVE. The resulting articles may be short or long, funny or serious, but are always great fun to read! Direct ...
I’m In Your MMO, Reviewing Your Beta
Last time there was any talk about how to (or how not to) review MMOs was around the whole Eurogamer vs Aventurine debacle (often called "Zitrongate" after the reviewer). This was obviously a deep and traumatic event for some people, especially Darkfall fans that still can't stop taking cheap shots at Eurogamer (despite them doing a re-review of the game). To me, though, the question has crept back into the front of my mind, as I'm currently reviewing two MMOs at the same time. [caption id="attachment_1524" align="alignright" width="154" caption="Ensign 418 of 666, codename "Squid", at your service."][/caption] As I mentioned in my ...
Tag everquest ii
With all the SOE-talk recently (Free Realms, EQ3-talk, discussions on Twitter), I’ve considered giving EverQuest II another chance. I played it on and off for about a month last time and liked what I saw, but I didn’t stay past the free time I got with the Shadow Odyssey-box. I wasn’t surprised when I found myself considering a re-sub and up until today I was just waiting for a free evening to start playing again.
Then I started to think about the reasons why I never did stay in the first place. I only did get to level 19 with my shadow knight, so I didn’t get very far, but if I really did enjoy it that much I probably should’ve kept my sub running (right, Tobold?). So I took a look at my old screenshots and tried to remember my impressions of EQII. Why did I leave?
- The PvE seem rather bland. After 19 levels, the PvE-content in EverQuest II seemed like a long series of classic MMO-quests. Go to place A, kill Y, fetch X, etc. Say what you will about World of Warcraft, but at least the quests in that game are rich and varied – Blizzard has learned a lot of lessons since launch. Maybe I’m just a bit spoiled after playing that game for so long. Then again, reaching level 19 in WoW – except for perhaps in the draenei and blood elf starting areas – isn’t all that fun either…
- The graphics look rather old. Again comparing EverQuest II with World of Warcraft, the graphics in the former haven’t really aged that well. The more realistic style of EQII ages much faster than the more cartoony style of WoW – a good, Trinity-style graphics update would be rather nice to see (and will probably never happen). The dark elf starting area, Darklight Woods, didn’t really help show the game at its best side either, even though I really enjoyed Neriak, the dark elf capital.
- The character design can be rather crap. Using the alternate models did help a bit with that problem. Without them, I’m not sure I would’ve made it past character creation. I’m just that picky. Or I’d end up playing a froglok.
- Zoning. I hate zoning, I truly do – especially when it’s done between two zones on the same continent. It’s a rather minor nuisance in EQII, as the respective zones are rather large, but zoning inside Freeport did not sit right with me. I guess I’m spoiled after playing Vanguard and World of Warcraft. I just prefer large, persistent worlds. Zoning breaks immersion.
- I don’t feel at home in Norrath. I know that Norrath is filled with lore and that players that come from EverQuest have lived in that particular world for the last ten years. I just thought it was a bit too…much. Too much magic, too many races, too much weird stuff going on. “Tacky” might be the word I’m looking for. If you’re from Sweden and played pen-and-paper RPGs as a kid, you might remember the campaign setting Ereb Altor from Drakar och Demoner. As much as I loved that particular setting growing up, as a fantasy world it’s not very believable. Coming from someone that really likes the lore of Warcraft, that probably says a lot…
- The community is already in place. Without bringing my friends with me from WoW, it would be hard to find a brand new guild to join. I joined up with a rather large and old guild after a few levels of play that already owned a guild hall. Even though the hall was impressive, I felt like a big part of the experience would be to buy your own and help decorate it from scratch. Reaching that point would probably take a long time, getting involved with the community and getting to know enough people to make that a possibility – something that’d probably take a long time, since most players have probably already found a guild they call their home by now.
Those are the points I remember thinking about during my (brief) time in EverQuest II. There was a lot to like about the game, so I’m still considering giving it the benefit of the doubt and another try. I love the housing system, the combat was fun and the shadowknight class seemed promising.
But what I really loved about playing EverQuest II was that I had no clue what the hell I was doing. When picking quest rewards, I wasn’t sure what stats were best for me – I had to try to do some form of noobish theory crafting instead. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, how to gain the most AAs or what areas would net me the most XP or the greatest rewards. I did not know how the system actually worked, I was shocked when I heard shadowknights complain in guild chat about their power running out when mine never seemed to. I didn’t know what abilities I would get the next time I leveled up, nor what skills to improve, even what role my class was expected to fill (at least at first). When picking up collection items I didn’t know if I should vendor any spare ones or put them up for auction. Then again, I had no idea what the best way to sell items to other players was.
All I knew was that I was a lone dark elf in a large world, owning a crummy apartement in Neriak that only contained a table, a mirror and a lamp. I didn’t even have a bed, since I couldn’t afford one. And I remember that it felt great.
At the same time as my download and patching of Runes of Magic was done this morning, I noticed that Beau had written a post over at Spouse Aggro about the general prejudices against f2p-games. It was a nice read since I was quite eager to give the free to play Runes of Magic a try after reading Saylah’s many posts about the game (especially the post about player owned housing and crafting). I’m a sucker for player owned housing, something most of my friends already know, and since I’m completely burned out on World of Warcraft right now (which is a post in its own right), I started up Runes of Magic with an open mind. I hoped to find a game that, although not as polished as bigger AAA-titles, would be able to charm me.
I didn’t, at least I haven’t found the charm yet. I haven’t played very much of it, granted, but right from the start it felt way too much like a World of Warcraft-clone. Lord of the Rings Online is similar to World of Warcraft in many ways, but it does its own thing at the same time – Runes of Magic looks like a poor man’s version of WoW. Not only is the visual design similar to World of Warcraft, so is the gameplay. So far it has nothing that would convince me to stick with it, except for getting my own house – and I might as well play Everquest II for that.
I don’t mind the RMT at all, I actually think that it’s a good idea in games like Runes of Magic. What I do mind is that I can’t help feel that Runewaker and Frogster come across as quite greedy when there is no option to buy permanent pets (at this point). At first I thought that the same thing went for the mounts, but luckily it didn’t – there are both time limited mounts and permanent ones. But there is just no way that I’m going to pay real money for a pet that will disappear after 30 days.
And please, don’t even get me started on the thong the female rogues start out with…
I will keep logging in now and again. After all, it is still in open beta and there’s no reason to cancel an account for a game that is free to play or to uninstall it until I need the space on my hard drive. Perhaps it will get better as time goes by (just adding in all the missing sounds would instantly make it a lot better). Perhaps rogues will get real pants. Perhaps the greatest challenge is getting through the starter areas. Perhaps the challenge is to be around players with names like “Slipknotroxx” without going crazy.
First of all I need to reroll before getting deeper into the game. The mage wasn’t all that fun to play. I hope I will be able to find a class that I instantly like. If it wasn’t for the questionable fashion sense of Taborea’s female rogues, and that I’ve played one for years, I’d probably go for that. But I guess that the typical warrior/priest-combo or a more experimental class combination (warrior/scout?) might do the trick for me. We’ll see.
Do I recommend you to check out Runes of Magic? Of course, it’s free and you might instantly like it. But if you are looking for a new MMO to keep you occupied until Ulduar hits the live WoW-realms, I think you should look elsewhere.
Eurogamer MMO, which just gets better and better, published what is the first article in their Ten Level Test-series today, where two MMOs and their first ten levels are pitted against each other to see which one comes out on top. It’s a great idea, similar to something I had planned doing myself for Gamereactor (if any of my editors decided to buy into my idea), and it’s great to see other games than the Big Three (World of Warcraft, Warhammer Online and EVE Online) get some time in the spotlight.
First out is Everquest II and Vanguard, two games I’ve been playing myself. Both are SOE-games and both are from the fantasy genre, so it’s quite fitting to see them go up against each other. The write-up is a great laugh, especially the comments about the Ratonga wizard they create in EQII. Almost makes me want to re-roll, but I still have an aversion against small races because of my gnome in World of Warcraft. I’m quite satisfied with staring at crotches in one game, thank you very much…
Oli Welsh has written down the rules for the whole test in his blog, noting that
Ten Level Test isn’t an infallible test of a game’s quality. That’s what reviews are for. While we firmly believe World of Warcraft is the best MMO out there, its first ten levels could quite easily lose in a fight with LOTRO, Warhammer Online – or even Age of Conan. What’s more, a round could be swung by factors that are completely out of control of the game’s designers and support staff; it will work in a game’s favour if we end up in a great group or make a new friend. And then there’s raw luck; a game’s fate could rest on a roll of the dice, a random loot drop.
which I personally find really exciting. This test isn’t based on reviews, it’s purely based on the writer’s experiences during the first ten levels – like a gonzo new games journalism-kind of thing (if you excuse me using the old NGE-term), applied to MMOs. That approach is great for MMO-reporting, considering that the genre is horrible to write traditional reviews about, something most game journos have noticed when they are suddenly faced with the task.
Upcoming matches are Lineage II vs Final Fantasy XI, Guild Wars vs Dungeon & Dragons Online and Star Wars Galaxies vs City of Heroes. I’m especially psyched about seeing how D&DO stands up to Guild Wars, as I’ve been considering picking it up just to give it a spin. Guild Wars is a good PvP-game, but I never found it immersive enough to start playing it again, even if I still got it installed on my hard drive.
I am looking forward to see how things develop from here. When the first batch of matches are done, the winners will be pitted against each other for level 10 – 20, until a single game remains. I am happy to see that the winner of the first round is Vanguard, which is a really underrated game that never managed to get over the initial bad reputation it got (even though it was well deserved at first, since it was a buggy piece of crap at launch). It almost makes me want to switch over my current EQII-sub to Vanguard…
Jeff Kaplan, also known as the blue poster Tigole and Game Director of World of Warcraft, has left WoW to work on Blizzard’s upcoming, still unannounced MMO, leaving Allen Brack and Tom Chilton to deal with operations. It’s not really strange to see him go – it seems like Blizz has been phasing out him out during the last couple of months, getting ready to move him over to the new MMO full-time officially when the time felt right (probably around the same time as the community has gotten used to, and already fed up with, Greg Street/Ghostwalker).
It’s nice to see Blizzard making the move in the open, though. It proves that work on that mystery-MMO, which we’ve hungrily been waiting for information about, is in full swing and that they feel that they can be open enough about it to openly admit that Kaplan is involved with it (if there ever was any doubt that he’d be). Suddenly, the next Blizz-MMO is back in the semi-spotlight, and speculation is once again free to stir up the Interwebs.
Which, incidentally, is exactly what I will do after the jump. Speculate, that is, not stir up any Interwebs.