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 Post Post subject: Level Recap - a mini review
 
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Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2005 9:42 am
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So I've not been playing EQ2 as much recently and it's made me think about the things I liked and the things I didn't like about playing it.

This isn't going to be any sort of in-depth review covering the game in general, as the game is always changing, it's more a list than anything.

So here are some of the things I liked about EQ2:



* Variety

This is a very broad term, but it's a very broad game. There are 25 classes to choose from, and I think there are 19 races to choose from. There are good, evil and neutral factions. There are 320 alternate advancement points you can invest in to 5 different advancement trees so you can more or less play how you want - offensive healer, defensive scout, etc. The reason I have 14 characters on 2 accounts is because there is so much variety, and each class plays completely different from another. This is an achievement in itself.

* 90 Levels

Some might find it daunting. You always have something to do in those 90 levels. There is a relatively clear progression through levels 10 to 90 the EQ2 team call 'the golden path' which is the optimal quest line to get you there. There are hundreds of small dungeons in the game that will help you get by if you find a group of 2 or 3. Older zones are easy now with the new game mechanics, but they still reward decent experience, even those from the very first game update.

* Depth

Kind of covered in the variety section. When you hit creatures with a sword, you raise a skill in that type of weapon proficiency (slashing), which improves your hit rate with that type of weapon. The same thing happens when you cast a damage spell (disruption skill increases your hit chance) or a healing spell (ministration skill decreases mana drain). When you level, you gain your new spells at the apprentice skill level - you can then craft or purchase upgrades to that skill progressing to journeyman, adept, expert, and finally master (although master spells only drop off of names in dungeons).

* Strategy

In the end-game, named fights and raid strategies are extremely complex, enough to keep you engaged anyway. One of the most difficult fights in any game ever is the Roehn Theer 4-rune fight for example. Nobody does that fight any more, and no boss in the game will probably ever be that difficult... but people did it, against all the odds. Most of the dungeons in the late game now, even heroic (1 group) have pretty tight strategies requiring good group support, heals, sometimes multiple tanks, mana batteries, and crowd control. A lot of names have DPS checks too (example if you don't kill something quick enough a 'bomb' goes off or something) - all raid mobs become enraged if a certain number of people die. This is fun and challenging! It keeps you engaged to always do your best.

* Massive world

There are just so many places to go. But it's a little like a pyramid. At the lower levels you have plenty to do. In the higher levels, there are probably only 3 overland zones worth questing in - people do so many dungeons in the late game for the overland zones to matter much unless you enjoy soloing in an MMO.

* Small patches

Even when they add massive new zones and dungeons, and change over 50k items, the patch size is tiny!

* Regular updates

They release a game update every 3 months that usually adds significant game changing features or changes game mechanics slightly. They're slipping a bit this year. The latest expansion pack brought with it a crazy amount of problems, and the developers are struggling to fix it. So this year there will only be 3 game updates and 1 expansion.

* Combat

There's a reason why you can have 10 hotbars with 12 hotkeys each on... Combat is massively complex and you get SO MANY abilities. Each ability is colour coded so you know what type of spell it is (single target, encounter, AOE damage, single target buff/heal, group heal/ward, etc.) - combat is not macroable without third party software. You need to be using those abilities to survive. It's good to think of a sensible hotbar layout that works for you. I have most of my 120 buttons filled with useful abilities and shortcuts to useful items in my inventory that I use in combat (self cure potions on my Illusionist for example)

* Population

Depends on the server you play on I guess. I play on Nagafen which is the second most populated server. It's pretty good for me :) - there aren't many lower level players these days. It's mostly dominated by level 39 PVP twinks, and level 90 players.

* Fun

If you find a bunch of good people and genuinely want to get involved in the game and all of its features, it can be so much fun. I've never had so much fun in a game as dungeon running with my US guildies through some really challenging zones. Granted, this was before I started raiding. Raid gear made most content ez-mode for me :P

* It's not WoW

EQ2 has stronger lore than WoW. WoW could be considered a copy of EQ(1) which was released in 1999. EQ2 is a more mature game, and caters to a more mature audience. You'll find plenty of 40-something year olds and their wives playing this game. It's got a family feel. WoW is dominated by kids. I've played both so I can say this for sure!



And the reason why I'm taking a break? The last expansion didn't focus on new content... at all. No new raid zones, no new dungeons, no new overland zones, just a new class and a mercenary system that makes doing those same zones even easier (you can even solo them now). I've already done all of the new zones and raid zones multiple times. So yes, I got bored of EQ2 in its current state. But we've been promised in 3 months time there will be a new massive overland zone, and several new (proper new, not reused assets) dungeons and raid zones. So I will play again at the end of April.

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Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:25 am 
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