Microcosms: EverQuest 2 Extended Open Borders
Fall is one of my favorite times of
the year--the transition
from summer to winter, the leaves painting the canvas of our lawns with
orange and gold hues, football in full swing and the stores setting up
Christmas displays. Yes, this truly is a wonderful time (although the
here in California refuses to co-operate). Fall is also usually a time
before the storm in the gaming world, as most developers are getting
launch their hopeful blockbusters just in time for holiday shopping.
time of year that often finds me feeling reminiscent and longing to
the fires of a burning gaming obsession of years past. Normally this is
fairly expensive time of year for me as well, as I re-subscribe to
MMOGs only to play them for a couple weeks before I get pulled back
current game. This year is shaping up to be similar to years past as I
to The Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest2, but with both games now
available to play for free, I may actually be able to keep enough cash
bank to buy the wife a Christmas gift.
Nexon looks to steal some thunder from the AAA boys with the release of Vindictus, a beautiful 3D title that takes place in the Mabinogi universe. Check out our preview here, and let us know what you think. The folks over at gPotato have also been hinting at what they have been up to as they work diligently on the next game patch for Allods. If you are socially connected, you can get up to the minute communications from the Allods team by adding them to your bevy of friends on Facebook.
The concept of a fallback game is one we speak of from time to time here at The Hammer, and one Im sure most of you veteran MMOG players have experienced on your own. My personal fallback game has always been a variant of EverQuest; the original kept the light on for me in my early days, while EQ2 has done the same in the past few years. I have few regrets in regards to gaming, but my biggest has always been that I never got to lose myself in EQ2 and explore it completely.
EverQuest2 Extended uses a separate launcher than the other servers and takes place in its own little world called, appropriately enough, Freeport. I tried to initially access it through the station launcher and grew frustrated at not being able to find it there. If youre like me, let me spare you the frustration head straight to the official site and grab the launcher there. Install was a breeze because this new client only downloads the bare bones of the game and fills in the other 11.2 gigs in an as-needed fashion or in the background while you play. I noticed almost no performance hits, but I did make it easy on the client as I stayed exclusively in one area from level 1 to 20. I suspect that if you are new to EQ2 and want to explore you may run into some issues.
Man, youre like school on a Saturday no class
With my class choice squared away, I set out to explore the frosty environs and to get reacquainted with Norrath. What struck me almost immediately was the excellent pace and flow of the quests, something that carried through to every hub I was shunted to throughout the first 20 levels. Quest rewards were well itemized and when combined with random drops they kept my zerker one step ahead of the nasties I was asked to kill. In fact loot was so plentiful that between items and the overwhelming number of crafting materials and collectibles I came across, I soon found my second major issue with EQ2X bag space.
Its in the bag
Inventory room is a pretty common conundrum for any MMOG, especially for new characters, but EQ2X compounds the issue by only allowing access to 3 of the 7 available bag slots to the subscriptionless. Unlike the class and race lockdowns, however, bag slots cant be added ala carte, you must bump up to a gold or platinum to unlock them. You can mitigate the dilemma a bit by using the item shop to purchase 3 huge bags, but you will still find yourself having to make some hard choices of items to dump if you dont remember to sell of the excess in between quest hubs. One other item of note when it comes to items, if you arent a paying player you will find certain items unavailable to equip based on their rarity and quality something that wont bother lower level characters as much as it will those above level 50.
If you wanna play you gotta pay
The first 20 levels of EQ2X have been an absolute blast so far, encapsulating the full spectrum of what makes EQ2 such a great game. Combat, crafting, questing and community have all been top notch thus far and I look forward to continuing the adventure. I would encourage anyone who enjoys fantasy MMOGs to check out EQ2X, and dont be a stranger if you bump into a Barbarian named Medawky.