For just a few short weeks of its now 15-year lifespan, EverQuest II existed apart from a launched World of Warcraft. Then late November 2004 happened, and EQII — and the rest of the MMO industry — got overshadowed by Azeroth.
Despite this, EverQuest II went on to develop a good reputation as a surprisingly strong and robust fantasy MMORPG, especially after the bumps of its early years were ironed out. MMO blog Inventory Full looked back on the start of this title from a player’s perspective.
“The EverQuest II that Scott [Hartsman] rebuilt was scarcely the same game,” wrote Bhagpuss. “Out went much of the forced grouping and most of the nannying restraints. In came solo content and choice. Players were able to interact socially and practically because they chose to, not because the game made them. Best of all, the passive-aggressive crafting system got an extreme makeover that laid down the foundations that would eventually turn EQII’s tradeskill offer into a gold standard for the genre.”
“Not that there aren’t any more features I like. I could – and probably will at some point – rave about the trade system, means of travel, naval content, varied PvP and PvE options and lots of other stuff all day long. However, for me the game’s main draw isn’t any single one of those features. It’s what the sum of all that does: it gives me the feeling of my character inhabiting a living, breathing world instead of me ‘just’ playing a game.”
“I saw some players complaining that it’s hard to make a good looking Nautolan — there are no perfectly clear skin options, and the faces are all a little bit odd looking — but I kind of like that. They’re a race of alien amphibious squid people. I feel like that fits. Also, have you seen Kit Fisto from the movies? Not going to be winning any beauty pageants.”
“And BioWare is doing this for a lot of different elements. I wrote a post once about story choices that constrain the future. In Onslaught, that doesn’t seem to hold anymore, and Bioware is actively committing to making many similar versions of the story, with differences to account for your choices.”
“I was very surprised to see how well the game has aged. The graphics are still pretty and the combat still feels tactical and modern enough. The feature of unlocking skills and being able to switch your attributes and chosen skills at will when you’re in a town still works pretty well. So, my first verdict here is that Guild Wars is still very much a game that can be enjoyed and I am glad I went to check it out when the nostalgic urge hit me!”
“On the subject of retention, expect to see the introduction of a daily login rewards system. Initially for new players, CCP plans to expand the feature for veterans as well. I know that such a system worked well when I played Elder Scrolls Online, and that Pearl Abyss’ Black Desert Online has a system for new players. I’m interested to see what CCP comes up with for EVE.”
“All of these things sound great, but one of the things that bothers me is that as I sat down at the airport on Sunday to start writing about what was just announced, I found myself including the phrase ‘if implemented as discussed’ a lot. Rather than bog down such a post with that statement on loop, I figured it would be a better first post-vacation post to tackle why this skepticism exists of Blizzard and the WoW team.”