Getting in the Zone
What Zone is the Best Built in EverQuest 2?
By: Tony "RadarX" Jones
Most of us who have played EverQuest 2 for some time through alt (alternate character) after alt, have a special place we always love to see. A zone of wonder and amusement, that never gets old no matter how many times we go there. A place of such ingenious design, that to find flaws in it, would be akin to the treasonous behavior of believing Star Wars was better when re-released. For many, opinions vary on which zone is best, and I'm sure they change as content is added. You know how the saying goes, opinions are ....what? Get your mind out of the gutter! I was going to say "what makes everyone different." Here is mine...
The zone I found best built, and most enjoyable was Shimmering Citadel. Why? First and foremost, it was a beautiful zone. After completing your quest to go there, you are teleported into a gloomy cave with many paths to follow. After wandering around, you find places where you actually have to jump in EQ2. If you don't? The best case scenario you'll hit the ground really hard on the level below you. The worst case, you'll fall off the citadel and plummet to your death with a whistling sound like the Coyote cartoons. After making your way through these caves, you'll find elevators which will whoosh you up into the tower. Of course there are no guard rails on these elevators, so people afraid of heights, are screaming the entire way because Coyote keeps telling them to look over the edge. I think I just mixed up thoughts. You'll emerge from the tower into lush looking gardens filled with grass and palm trees. The entire area is a large palace courtyard with numerous towers that you can check out.
The creatures you fight are a mixture of the grandoise and the gross. The caves below the citadel are filled with very angry naga which provide a small group with plenty of heroic targets. I even had a master chest drop down there once so *thumbs up.* In certain areas you'll find undead creatures who'll attempt to munch of your arm, and in others simple NPC's whose purpose I haven't really determined. Why are these people living here? Was there a Y2K in Maj'Dul and no one bothered to tell them "Hey! The flying carpets didn't crash, and the magic portals are still working! You can come back to town?" Once you've left the caves, you head up into the palace area which is guarded mainly by Djinn. They do NOT appreciate you asking "where their lamp is" and will pretty much smack you on sight. Throw in some wispy light creatures that are almost impossible to figure out how far away they are, and you got yourself a party!
The best part of the design of this zone in my opinion, is the quests and lore built into it. This isn't a zone you just walk into. First, someone in your group, must have completed a multi-part access quest just to get you into the caves below the citadel. Once you make your way to the elevators, you fight your way to the central area where you'll find more quests. Completing the correct series of them rewards you with a carpet you can put in your home. No Martha Stewart, there is more. The carpet transports you to the center of the citadel so you don't have to start in the caves. Neat huh? After completing that quest, you start another (can you tell I like quests?) which will give you access to the multi-level Poet's Palace instance. This Palace is supposedly the last remaining piece of the Plane of Sky. If you don't know what that is consult your local Norrathian lore geek who can fill you in.
Shimmering Citadel in my mind, is everything a great zone should be! What about a zone that is less than great? For that, I turn to one of the starting areas, Peat Bog. Now, this is not to say this is a bad zone, because I'm sure some would disagree. You would all be wrong and imprisoned for the rest of your lives. First, it's a horrible looking place. Yes, I know it's a swamp, and being from Florida have seen my share. There isn't a single alligator, and this place is more confusing to get around than the Microsoft Technical Support website.
There are various types of blobs, and bugs, and really mean fairies who will harass you, but they are very difficult to see because of the ground clutter. I've found myself more than once running up on something I shouldn't have and trying to play dead. This is usually followed by me actually being dead. There are a couple of named creatures that are interesting, including a ghost wolf, but in order to kill him you'd actually have to succesfully navigate to the end of this zone.
The quests in this zone used to be almsot non-existant. To SOE's credit, there has been a set of quests put in there that branch off from the racial quests. Apparently, they are trying to retake the bog, but the question they never answer is, "Why do they want a bog anyways?" Is this some real estate scam? Why can't they just let the odd slugs, fairies, and gnolls have it? I'm sure somebody has written a local environmentalist, and this bog has become endangered which might explain why I never see anyone in that zone. This area is basically what I'm not looking for in a zone. This dark, confusing areas are depresssing to me, so I'm going back to Shimmering Citadel. Take a minute today to think about your favorite EQ2 zone, and why you like it so much.
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