It isn't news that there is an abundance of MMOs. To some people this isn't an issue; they are still playing their favorite, possibly the only one they've ever played and have no intention of switching. Some people bed-hop, working their way through dozens of the games on offer but never find a permanent home. There are others, and I fall in this category, who spend most of their time in one or two main games, but are always trying out different ones. I'm a sucker for trying out a new release or even an old game I've heard a lot about - I've worked my way through the free month of so many different titles. I would love to get around to playing them all, but it's just not possible and there are some great games, with so much to offer, that just slip through the net.
I imagine that there are many players like me, who love to play most MMOs, but somehow Everquest II has passed them by. Or maybe you have been playing a single MMO for years and have tapped it out and would like to see what else is out there. In any case it's, you might be interested to know, what sets apart one MMO from another before trying them out.
So what is unique in Everquest II?
I don't have space to list everything. EQII is a big game with a lot of features. So I'll list some aspects of the game that, if you subscribed tomorrow, you could appreciate immediately.
Sony Online Entertainment makes their games a lot more international than many other companies. Have friends from a different continent? Not a problem, just choose the region you'd like to play in from the log in screen. I know that EQII isn't the only game sporting this feature, but it's surprising and a little disappointing how many games don't.
Character creation in EQII is impressive. For a start there are 19 races and 24 classes, giving you a whole catalogue of choices. Then there is the appearance of your character, which has a versatility matched by only a few other games. You can alter your height, skin tone, every aspect of your face. Your hair colour has a base and a highlight, and you get numerous piercing or tattoo options. The whole thing results in a character that you won't see too many duplicates of.
Once in, you can begin your epic journey. EQII follows the modern trend of MMOs in that advancement comes mainly from questing. There are thousands of quests to undertake and as well as the usual fetch and carry missions or the retrieval of various animal parts there are a few unique types of quest.
To begin with, we have heritage quests. Everquest II, as the name suggests, is the sequel to Everquest, the events of EQII are set 500 years after its predecessor. Everquest has had 16 expansions so there is a lot of history to pick from. As you might imagine from their name, heritage quests are based on lore from the original game. They are tough missions with many stages, which reward you with items that veteran players will recognize from Everquest. The EQII expansion 'The Kingdom of Sky' added signature quests, which are similar in nature to the heritage variety, in that they are epic in nature, but they have new rewards, not based on Everquest lore.
Lore and Legend quests let you study mobs in order to become a more efficient killing machine. Sounds gruesome? It is. These quests used to begin when you found the book regarding a specific mob type. This has been updated so that you can examine a drop from the creature and begin the quest that way. You will be given a list of parts to study such as an eye, ear, the brain and so on. The idea is that the more you study a creature's anatomy, the better you get at dissecting it. The reward is an ability that can be used specifically to hurt that mob type. There is a lore and legend quest for just about every category of beastie in the game, and each one completed adds that species to the list of victims that your attack affects. Another reward from the quest is a book and a trophy weapon to decorate your character's home with.
Other quest-starting drops you can expect to see are those relating to languages. Upon examining the item you will be prompted to find five of the same so you can study them and learn that mob's tongue. A lot of this is for flavor, so for example, initially a gnoll will bark at you and a speech balloon of nonsense appears above its head. Study enough Chirranite Threat Totems, however, and you gain an understanding of the language, so you can comprehend their gibberish and understand the smack they talk as you pound away at them.
Another quest type is the City Task, or 'writs' as they are sometimes known. These are missions given to you by factions from your city, usually requiring you to cull a certain number of undesirables. The quests are repeatable and tailored to your level. Completion gives you some status points (more on these later) and some reputation gain. Once you reach a certain rep level with that faction, you can purchase items and titles from them.
If you have more of a crafting nature, you haven't been overlooked and there are quests for you too. These come in the form of tradeskill writs. The system works in a similar way to city writs. They require you to craft a certain number of items within a time limit and the reward for completion is some status and some faction points with the tradeskill society.
There are also catalogue quests, in which you have to document the creatures of a zone, ticking them off in your quest log; deity quests to increase your standing with your chosen god and hallmark quests, which are tasks above and beyond the ordinary variety, driving your character's story forward.
A few of EQII's quests reward you some status points, which points are used to purchase a variety of things. If your character would like a more luxurious house than the one you begin with, both cash and status points are used to buy and pay rent on the property. You also use them to buy the items and titles from the city factions you've been working for. If you are a member of a guild, 10 % of your status earned is added to your guild's total status. Guild status works like the regular variety, spent on the upkeep of your guildhall. I did intend to cover more topics than just character creation and quest types, but ran too long talking about these. Those two topics are a good place to start as it's worth knowing that the back of the character which you'll be looking at for a possible 80 levels is customizable to your liking. Also in this age of the quest-based MMO, EQ2 surpasses many of its peers in the volume and variety of missions on offer. It certainly has something to offer every type of player.