While the title of this article is a bit long, it explains much. I am essentially a complete newbie when it comes to Everquest 2, having only played the trial when the game was first released, and I only played the first Everquest for a month. I wanted to learn more, and, though Sony's Everquest 2 website provides a lot of information concerning the classes and races of the game, the only real way to get information would be to go to a source – an Everquest 2 player who has enough experience to put things in perspective for me. As a matter of fact, I ended up finding multiple players who gave me a wide range of information, all of it vastly useful.
A player led me to http://eq2.wikia.com/wiki/Category:User_Guides , which is a good static website updated, of course, by players, to help new users. These guides provide an in-depth level of assistance for players of all experience levels. However, I was searching for something a little more personal, something like a mentor.
I found that help from some members of The Sundered Guard, a guild that's seen plenty of time in Norrath, on the Lucan D'Lere server. Concerning which class to use to start, Nevar Darkmoon suggested I reflect on my play style - “EQ2 doesn't restrict race to class combos. You can be any race and play any class within your alignment (good or evil, which has their similar classes, with minor differences between the alignments). There is an exception to this where you can be an "evil" race and end up being a good "class" (IE. Ogre Paladin) by doing an in game quest line called Betrayals! Basically, your imagination is the only limiting factor to your race/class combo within EQ2.”
Darkmoon suggested that I stick to what I enjoyed from my previous games: “My general opinion for new people to a game, is to play what you want to play! Leveling is relatively quick in EQ2, especially in the earlier levels. I do recommend that you achieve at least level 20 in any class you try so you have a general feel of their abilities (which you get more of per level). So give the class a chance before discarding it.”
Nevar also had this advice on what to avoid for a starting character: “Classes I don't recommend for new people (unless you have a lot of experience in the class from other mmos) is the tank class (the heavy armour fighters that weather the blows of the enemies while keeping those foes focus on him/her instead of the other more fragile group members). Also, scout classes take a lot of 'moving' while you fight, so tend to take a certain kind of mindset or finesse to bring to full potential.” I find this to be excellent advice which can be applied to more than just Everquest 2.
Wolvyn Ansoul, also of the Sundered Guard, recommends using Transmutation as a money-making crafting skill. “It's really situational for what crafting skill makes the most money. But really for crafting you want something that will compliment your adventure class. Like if you're a berserker either alchemy or weapon/armor smithing and if you're a caster sage or cooking. Transmutation is the moneymaker skill but you can only level it as high as your primary skill.” About making money: “The real secret to money is not to craft, just harvest everything you come across and sell it on the market. The rares you will come across can bring in a lot of coin...I've made about 15 platinum and I'm only level 39 so far from harvesting and I've given away at least that much. As long as there are more than 5 new characters made during a week it is always worth making items for others. You just have to get a feel for what character classes are being created so you know what kind of items to make for them.”
With the advent of two different alignment types in Everquest 2, I also wanted the outlook(or perhaps evil plans) of some of the more diabolical players. Sadly, I was unable to find any evil guilds, or players for that matter, willing to share their lore. So I found a source from MMORPG.com's own Everquest 2 forum, Moirae. “My main is a Fury named Sennia. I play on Mistmoore. A Fury is one of the Cleric types. The thing about the Fury is that its VERY solo friendly. Not only can you heal yourself with your spells but you have this fantastic spell thats slang term is 'nuke'. Literally, its more like a lightning bolt from the sky that fries your enemies.”
Now, in my previous MMO experience, I found soloing to be somewhat necessary, but grouping does have its bonuses. When I questioned Moirae about this, and if soloing was easier than grouping, she responded, “Not really. I've never had a problem finding a group when I need one. And only one character belongs to a Guild. There's just so much that groups limit you on that I prefer to solo. Like... if you have a group, you have to go along with the group. You can't just wander off by yourself to go pick up the nearby 'shiny' because it would be unfair to the other players, especially if they start fighting something without you knowing it because you were busy.”
This made me think of my past experience with the original Everquest. I could never find players willing to help me or even guide me. I ended up not renewing my subscription after a month. So I decided to press Moirae on this. She told me that this isn't the case with Everquest 2. “I've never had a problem with people being unwilling to help in EQ2. I do have times when I don't get a reply when I message the OOC channel(sic) but thats all. I've also had players do things like give me items out of the blue, give me rare nodes (can sell for high amounts on the broker), or even give me a platinum 'just because.'”
PvP is a bit different too. After all, there aren't any PvP instances, but PvP on Norrath appears to be just as big a “GankFest” as World of Warcraft. “I don't like PvP because I think it brings out the worst in people in their behavior so no, I don't. And it really depends on what you mean by "worth it". On PvP servers, you get a portion of the gold the player you defeated has, and its closer to FFA with some limits. For example... there's a level limit. Attacking anyone more than five levels different from you isn't worth it since you won't gain anything.”
Moirae even chimed in on the economy: “I suggest you think of a skill like Sage or something. everyone needs spells, and thats what a Sage does. You should also harvest pretty much each and every node you can find. Then sell the rares on the broker. You can make loads of platinum doing that.”
Today begins my Trial into the world of Norrath. Wish me luck, and try not to kill me so much!