Rise of Kunark: The Savior of a Dying Game
I'm happy. Not just happy, I'm downright elated. What makes a simple girl like me all giggly and bright-eyed? Not pretty clothes or a new beau. Not expensive jewelry or fancy cars. Nope, I'm completely tickled because I have spotted a MMOG boom on the horizon. *happy sigh*
I'll admit it; I have an undying love affair with online gaming that isn't soon to be satisfied. I want to dive in and explore every new MMOG that is soon to hit the shelves and luckily (or unlucky for me) there will soon be many to choose from.
EverQuest II has long quenched that thirst for fun, community, and excitement with its engaging gameplay and amazingly brilliant graphics. I knew from the moment I saw the concept art of this magnificent game that I would long be hooked. And I was.
But much like a fickle woman with her boy toys, the newness has long worn off and I'm feeling that itch again to find something so captivating that I could walk away from my lover and not even so much as give a glance back. Games like Age of Conan and Warhammer Online seem to boast aspects of gameplay that I haven't experienced in a while, and I feel their seductive gazes in my direction as I quickly apply for yet another intriguing beta.
With these, and more, fine prospects within my greedy little grasp, will EverQuest II and the Rise of Kunark be able to keep me, all of us, satisfied?
I'll admit that some new features gave me a small tingle. Things like duel wield being done away with and players being able to use 1-handed weapons in either hand, persistent instances that will allow players to "bookmark" their progress in a dungeon, and large zones that gives us more of a feel of openness that brings a smile to our weary faces. So many new ideas and features were brought to light through the State of the Game, Smedley's Fan Faire address, and E3 that I feel like a child awaiting her birthday. But what if that pretty, pretty pony I've been so hoping for turns out to be a generic plastic doll?
As we all watch players ride off, post their goodbyes, and await bigger and better things, I question the move of putting out another expansion that caters mostly to the high end players. A good part of Echoes of Faydwer's appeal was that it brought in content for all players, adding to the sometimes dull mid-levels of gameplay. This is something that RoK is going to lack in spades. It's true, the top end players deserve a little bit of TLC, but I don't see a whole lot of raiders cheering for this next expansion and isn't it thought that a good part of the level-capped players, still logging in regularly, are raiding players?
EQ2 no doubt got onto the "appeal to the casual gamer" boat a little too late, and thusly it seems that they ought to not backtrack, but carve out a solid niche with the more hardcore gamers. This change in gears, as progressive as it has been, has been discouraging. One sort of wants to grab SOE by the shoulders and declare that they figure out what they want with this game and stick to it!
I fear for the future of EQ2 with all of these new boys on the scene. As amazing as the Rise of Kunark looks, most of us realize that SOE is really going to have to step it up with marketing, availability, and customer support to compete in today's MMOG market. There will be no more of the ole joke: "We're SOE, we don't NEED pants!!” Pull up those britches guys and start making EverQuest II a product worth gracing the shelves next to those shiny brand new games. Woo the gamers like you would a hawt little chickie and makes us swoon all over again for your manly game.
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