What Works



EverQuest II is a solid, polished game; it honestly has some features
that other MMOGs might do well to emulate if only

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href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/14569"
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alt="Entrance to Karnor's Castle"
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style="font-style: italic;">The entrance to
Karnor's Castle.

for how convenient they are. Quest drops are automatically credited on
a kill without ever having to take up space in a player's inventory.
(The same is true of items in collections--player
initiated quests where players gather goodies found randomly in the
world and turn them in to a collector NPC for a reward.) In combat,
once a target has been selected and engaged, your character will
automatically turn to face the target unless you break and run. As a
player gains levels, their spells automatically appear in their
knowledge book (and on their hotbar as space allows). No more choosing
between running back to a trainer and interrupting the flow of your
gameplay or living without that critical spell you just earned until
you have time to run into town and pick it up.



Technology has also finally caught up to EQ2, and the game runs
respectably on a modest video card. Yet, despite being 3 years old, EQ2
is a great looking game. Add in audio bonuses such as expert voice
acting for NPCs, who gesture and move their lips as they talk, and a
fantastic soundtrack, and you've got the full sensory experience going
on. Well, except for smell, touch and taste. But I'm not sure
I'd want to smell a well Drolvarg; or touch it, for that matter. And I
can probably live without ever really tasting Batwing
Crunchies.



What's Iffy



Probably the biggest downer with Rise of Kunark, at least for long-time
EQ2 players, is that the highly anticipated epic weapon quests that SOE
has been talking about for some time were not ready for launch.
Although Dalrymple told our group of touring reporters that they were
"in for testing," it was later announced that they would not, in fact,
make it into Rise of Kunark. Alas, they will have to arrive via an
update later on.



The quests for the newbie Sarnaks in Timorous Deep seemed a bit
underwhelming to me. Sure, they're newbie quests, and by their nature
they're often easier and less exciting, but I want the storyline to at
least engage me. The Spirocs I was fighting in my early levels didn't
seem very worthy opponents. In fact, in their brightly-colored parrot
suits they seem almost comical and not at all threatening. I felt less
committed to taking out Polly than I would be to just handing him a
cracker and making friends.



Although it's not specific to this expansion, combat in EQ2 has always
been a sticky point for me. Players trigger a sequence of spells that
create
something called a Heroic Opportunity. Pulling of an HO grants some
bonus in the form things like additional damage or group buffs. Groups
have the ability to create more interesting and beneficial Heroic
Opportunities, and that can become a fun exercise in teamwork. But in
solo play HOs are nothing more than a lot of lather-rinse-repeat. I
find them uninspired, which can make combat lackluster.



The Verdict



If you're starting EQ2 fresh you'll likely find yourself impressed by
the polish of this game. EQ2's level of polish stands up to any other
MMOG released in the same time frame, and it stands up well against the
current crop of new games, too.



If you're one of the many with fond memories of your glory days in
EverQuest, and you haven't given EQ2 much of a chance to this point,
consider this expansion worth a
look. EQ2 has definitely grown, and the cramped Norrath of its early
days is steadily being filled in with new places to see and NPCs to
meet.  The zones of Rise of Kunark should make EQ players feel
instant nostalgia. Adventurers, start serving up those gazillions of
trains in Karnor's Castle--I'm ready.




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alt="The Bad"
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  • Classic EQ raid zones return!
  • New zones lend an epic feel
  • Solid mechanics and polish
  • An audio/visual treat
  • Sarnak starting quest line seems weak
  • Combat feels lackluster
  • Highly anticipated epic weapon quests never made it
    into the expansion
width="55%">Difficulty:
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 Moderate
style="color: rgb(255, 255, 0);">Server Stability:
Very High
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Curve
:
- 5 hours nowrap="nowrap">Gameplay:
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border="0" height="17" width="17"> nowrap="nowrap">Tilt: src="http://media.tentonhammer.com/tth/reviews/hammerIcon17x17_2.gif"
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(4 / 5 Hammers)

style="color: rgb(255, 255, 0);">Ten Ton
Recommendation:

Tons of nostalgia for old
EverQuest players makes this expansion a tempting choice. EQ2 stands
the test of time and should be enticing for new players, as well.


 




You'll find more
information on EverQuest 2 and its expansions href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/35">here
and at our EQ2
community site
.



Have you tried Rise of Kunark, or will you? Do you have thoughts or
comments? href="http://forums.tentonhammer.com/showthread.php?p=182080#post182080">Share
them!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EverQuest II Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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