EverQuest II: Chaos Descending - What Are the Gods Up to Now?
You. Are. Legend. This isn’t something you have to tell yourself every night, anyone who knows even a fraction of what you have done and experienced knows it. Heads of nations know of you and either fear or respect you, beings of immense power have fallen to you and been trampled into the dusty annals of history. Even the Gods have taken notice and have gone so far as to personally petition for your help. But now… Now they want to put you on trial, and the consequential reverberations might just shatter the world. Again. This is our review of EverQuest II: Chaos Descending.
Welcome to the 15th expansion of EverQuest II. Even after so many years and so many expansions, Daybreak Games somehow still manages to find a new story and new ideas to bring to this game and again opens up avenues for avatar progression. This expansion offers a good bit for both individual character development and more challenges for you and your friends to take on. Some of the listed features include an increase of Ascendancy level to 20, an increase of mercenary levels to 20, all new mount leveling to level 10 as well as mount and mercenary specific equipment that can be equipped on each respectively to increase your stats and abilities. The Myrist Library is now reachable and is the new player hub for your adventures in the Planes of Power complete with a bank, merchants, tradeskill stations, various teleports and skill trainers. And of course, there are a plethora of new zones, instances of various difficulties and quests, both adventure and tradeskill in nature. Don’t forget the new mounts, mercenaries, familiars, equipment and housing that can be obtained through various options including new achievements and collections. With all of this content and play update, the question still stands: Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
To begin this grand new adventure into the Planes of Power, the player receives a letter from the Tribunal? A letter… from a Godhead of Justice… So, that’s interesting. I guess they couldn’t be sure the regular godly methods of communication such as visions, miraculous events, godly messengers, and your basic deity derived compulsion would be successful? Maybe they thought it would be more polite? Couldn’t they have just said please in the course of your holy dreams? But honestly, if THE Tribunal wants to chat at you wouldn’t that warrant a more definitive form of summons? You know, snap of the fingers and poof! There you are! Granted, the request for your presence is underlined by obvious threats of repercussions should you refuse, but if your actions or affiliations have warranted the attention of gods I’m not sure cordial invitations via mail send the right message. But things are what they are.
I won’t go into details about why you are summoned, nor what happens in your interaction with the Tribunal; suffice it to say they know what you’ve done and the forthcoming proceedings result with you being cast into the mysteriously receding Plane of Truth, with some motivation to find your way back to the Plane of Justice. Of course, in order to get there, you must assist in a flurry of minor, and often menial, tasks involving various goals and individuals including why the Plane of Justice is shrinking. That’s right, the Plane of Justice is your new hub of adventure and services. While parts of the vast Library of Truth have started disappearing, there are still ever-so-convenient portals and platforms that provide all your basic needs and quest givers, as well as entrances into the various Planes of Power that you will need to visit in order to accomplish the tasks laid at your feet. Not to mention there is a nice big portal right next to your original arrival point that will allow you to travel back to Norrath, in case you have other, more important things to attend to.
So, I’ve given you the essentials to ponder, now let’s breach the subjects of playability and quality. All in all, I thought that it was a pretty good expansion, keeping in mind that the game and the engines it runs on are relatively old. The stories and adventures, the very world that has been created here have gone through years of development and evolutions, and even two different companies. With that in mind, I offer sincere respect at the mere breadth and depth of this much-beloved world and Chaos Descending is very much in line with the progression players have come to expect.
The new zones are lovely, especially considering the engine that the visuals are run on. The story was intriguing and at times amusing, and as is often the case with MMORPGs you often lose sight of the main goal due to all of the splintering side missions and events you are required to experience in order to accomplish the main goal. As a returning player who has spent years away from the game, I found it necessary to remind myself of the years of build up that EQ2 lore has gone through. With that in mind, if you are a new player or even one who has taken an extended break as I did, it might not be in your best interest to acquire an immediate level up token. There is just so much to absorb and a full appreciation of what is going on takes some time to realize.
One of the issues I have often had with EQ2 is the massive amounts of skills and abilities that a person must learn to maneuver through and utilize in order to be effective. Or should I say, epically effective? I had hoped they might streamline things a bit over the years and quicken the pace of combat. This obviously has not been the case. While there have been several evolutions of Advanced Class systems, and the new (as of Planes of Prophecy) Ascension classes, if anything they’ve added to the number of skills and the complexities involved in effectively playing any character class. I know, I know. Some people thrive on the minutia and complexities of mastering various tactics and techniques for different situations. But again, that takes time, and for the estranged or the newcomers that can be fairly daunting. You may also find yourself in a lot of situations in which mastery is not really necessary. Especially if you find yourself in a group of good friends who know your limitations. So take that as you will. If you like that style of play, all power to you.
That leads me to the next issue in which the battles in the Planes are tremendously long when compared to other games, and not exactly exciting in my opinion. Granted, you are in the Planes of Power and it makes sense that every being you come across there will be epically powerful. I just struggled with the time required, if solo, to take them down while adventuring on solo missions. Even after I began to grasp the finer aspects of skill management, I sometimes found myself ready to doze during some of the combat encounters. I guess key tip would be to group up, even while accomplishing many of the daily solo tasks. This is an MMORPG, after all and most veterans of the game have their online guilds and friends that they have played with forever; so this really shouldn’t be a problem for most of us. But if you’re bringing a friend or loved one in fresh, be ready to babysit and actively guide them for the first while before they can truly enjoy the awesomeness they can achieve.
Overall Score: 7.5/10
- A lot of new content
- Further character advancement
- Fun and adventurous story
- An overwhelming amount of skills and abilities
- Combat is slow and borders on monotony
- Advancing skill and tradeskills can be confusing
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a code provided by PR.