A Look at The Shadow Odyssey
EverQuest II: A Look at The Shadow Odyssey
MMORPG.com's Donna Desborough has been playing EverQuest II's new expansion Shadow Odyssey which launched yesterday. Today, she gives us her impressions of the latest installment of the EQ franchise.
The developers at Sony Online Entertainment have done it again. The Shadow Odyssey is the 5th expansion for Everquest 2 and is once again packed with lush environments and new fights to be won.
The graphics in EQ2 aren't to everyone's liking, but one cannot deny the beauty of the new lands that come with TSO expansion. With 20 plus new areas to explore there is something for everyone here. Some areas may seem familiar, but then you can only make a zone look so different before it starts feeling familiar in places. Still they have done a good job with the new zones and each has its own ambience and character. Several of the original Everquest dungeons have been re-created. Even though these are inside locations it doesn't stop them from being vast in size. Of the re-done dungeons, my favourite was Mistmoore Evernight Abbey. It has a good ambiance and there are details to be found in many places. The Mistmoore dungeons felt like somewhere you'd find a vampire lord living. I think they have done justice to the original.
The new lands of course come with their own music and sounds. As expected, the music is of good quality and helps to immerse you into this amazingly massive land. As usual the music still changes when you enter combat, so no change there. EQ2 is one of very few games where I don't just turn the ambient music off. The sounds here are anything but annoying.
Unlike The Rise of Kunark expansion, The Shadow Odyssey doesn't focus very heavily on the solo player. There unfortunately aren't any new single player dungeons, but there are over 100 new quests on the overland. So while you're exploring the new overland, named Innothule, you will have something to occupy you. I thought it was a missed chance for expanding the solo player repertoire. There are no new races or classes for players to choose from like in the previous expansion, so no new starter area. This is both good and bad. It means that we don't have a new starter area to explore, but it does mean that the developers had more time to work on the new zones. Also, the new zones are aimed at characters that are level 50 and higher.
There are several new Heritage Quests. I don't want to give anything more away as half the fun is in finding them. I will say this though, the couple I did were fun and challenging. If you keep up with the EQ2 news then you'll have gotten a sneak peak into a couple of the Heritage Quests. I was happy to see these. Regular quests are all well and good, but Heritage Quests are that little extra something special. Add to this the raising of the Achievement Point cap and the large amount of lore that will come with The Shadow Odyssey and you've got plenty to keep you entertained. TSO may not focus as heavily on solo play as The Rise of Kunark did, but solo players haven't been left out completely.
The main meat of this expansion are the raids. I'm not a raid player in any of the MMOs I frequent, but whenever I do beta testing, I always make sure to try every aspect of the game being offered to me, especially if I'll be writing a review of it late. Now maybe it's the players or just good luck, but I always enjoy raiding in betas. Joining the big raids in The Shadow Odyssey beta was fun and exciting. Playing in such a hectic environment, raids can be difficult with people you don't know. Even as a less experienced raid player, I found the additions that TSO bring to be enjoyable. I don't want to give away details of the raids as spoilers in overviews are bad, but suffice to say that the developers have kept up the good quality of their raids.
Overall, The Shadow Odyssey is a good expansion if your character is above level 50. There is plenty to occupy your time if you enjoy the bigger dungeons and raids. Solo players may feel a little left out, but this is an ideal time to give group play a try as I think the raids are very good. Also if you played the original Everquest, this is your chance to see some of the old dungeons recreated. There is a large amount of lore to be explored and new things to find.