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Role Playing (Games)

Everquest 2 NDA Lifted 54

Posted by Zonk
from the more-about-them-norrathians dept.
According to the Everquest 2 Player Site, the NDA has been lifted on the upcoming Massively Multiplayer Game. If you've been looking forward to detailed information on the game, EQ2 Vault has a special feature on available in-game information. Tobold, of Grimwell Online, has commentary both on game mechanics and on his personal opinion.
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Everquest 2 NDA Lifted

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  • Two questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2004 @02:48PM (#10545595)
    For someone who has played MMORPGs before, but not Everquest - will EQ2 be pretty much impossible for anyone who hasn't spent the last six years playing? Or will ir be pretty even keeled for all who want to get into it?

    And second, is there any new gameplay involved or is it the exactly same "make character, buy stuff, kill stuff, buy bigger stuff, kill bigger stuff, buy even bigger stuff, kill even bigger stuff" game like every other piece of crap MMORPG out there? (like Shadowbane, Anarchy Online, etc, etc, etc).
    • Re:Two questions (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Fizzl (209397)
      Well, you COULD have read something from the linked pages, but that would have be unorthodox.
      Anyway, seems to me it's more of your bog standard exp grind&loot whoring. From the unofficial n00btutorial I got the impression that EQ2 pretty much picks ups where now bastardized EQ1 is abandoned. Meaning dumbed down gameplay for retards and kids with less than two minute attention span.

      Err.. I mean, a game for the masses.
  • Thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

    by mabu (178417) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:53PM (#10545959)
    As an existing EQ player since the beginning, but without any direct experience with EQ2 yet, I can't say I find much of the information about EQ2 compelling.

    As I understand it, they've shrunk the world, reduced the number of starting cities, homogenized the race/class arrangement, and added a few extra hamster wheels for crafting and acquiring spell/skills. Nothing exciting IMO. They didn't even get rid of zones.

    By their own admission, SOE says that hardware *does not yet exist* which is capable of running the game with max video settings.

    The eye-candy aspect may be appealing, but that's something that wears thin after the first half-hour. It seems to me the visual appeal of the game is one of the more substantive characteristics, but really has nothing to do with game play.

    The most notable addition seems to be player housing -- that's intriguing. The notion of player and guild cities would seem cool, but it's not enough to encourage me to play.
    • Re:Thoughts (Score:4, Funny)

      by Lehk228 (705449) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @03:58PM (#10545992) Journal
      oh you misunderstood them, the needed hardware "does not yet exist" yet to handle their terrible graphics engine in a graceful manner, and they STILL will probably not thread the interface seperately from rendering, so controls will still get jsrky while in a render intensive situation, like the EQ bazaar or on a Raid.
    • Re:Thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _xeno_ (155264) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:45PM (#10546271) Homepage Journal
      The most notable addition seems to be player housing -- that's intriguing. The notion of player and guild cities would seem cool, but it's not enough to encourage me to play.

      It sounds, although there wasn't enough detail for me to confirm this 100%, that the "housing" will be like the "housing" in Final Fantasy XI: you get a room in some amorphous "residential area" all to your own, that no one else can ever enter.

      So there are no "player-built" cities, just some zone that instead of taking you to another area instead takes you to your "house." It sounds like it's exactly like Final Fantasy XI's "Mog-House," in that you can do things like check your mail for items people have sent you, place and arrange furniture, and store items from your inventory into a safe.

      I'd love to see an MMORPG that allowed players to tame wilderness areas and build towns - it sounds intriguing. I don't know if computers and network connections have yet come to the point where they can do that, though. Modem connections probably make that infeasible for the near future.

      • Re:Thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mabu (178417) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:55PM (#10546341)
        SWG supports player-built cities, and there are cases where groups of players have "colonized" otherwise hostile areas. This is one very neat feature of SWG.

        Star Wars Galaxies goes a step further. You can place automated vendors in homes and guild halls - effectively creating a "mall". The difference between this and EQ2 is that you don't have to be logged in and sitting in Bazaar in order to sell stuff. I never understood the value of this, unless it's a gimmick for SOE to sell more player accounts.
        • Housing is one of the things SWG got right. It's a wonderful system, guilds have built wonderful cities that are neat to walk through. The only problem I have it that it was a little too easy to get a house, but it is nonetheless a great implementation of player housing.
      • Re:Thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Elsebet (797203)

        If you like housing, try one of these:

        Ultima Online, one of the first graphical (albeit 2d) MMORPG's, had player housing. Aside from the problems in that game, you could theoretically build a home in the untamed wilds just like you describe. Home ownership was a challenge when the game first came out, since you could lose your key/home in a myriad of ways.

        Horizons also has housing, but I quit even before my 7 day trial was up so I could not experience it firsthand. A friend of mine says its system was
        • AC1 has player housing on the landscape, furnishable, and with a good amount of storage. Four housing types: apartments (which aren't REALLY on the landscape, but are in buildings accessible via portals in some towns), cottages (which are, er, small cottages), villas (which have a large, 3-floor main area with yard and a basement accessable by portal in the bottom floor), and mansions (which are quite big, also have a basement, and are available for purchase only by allegiance (guild) leaders). All furnis
      • IIRC, Ultima Online allowed players to build houses more or less anywhere they wanted. Needless to say, it was an eyesore. Houses would just be piled on top of each other, with no semblance or organization, many in various states of decay because the owner had left the game or some such.

        For player-built cities to work, the devs would need to create some sort of prefab city, with pre-defined districts and lots for players to purchase.

        I mean, sure, in a more mature or roleplaying environment, like Jumpgate,
      • you get a free basic apartment with your character. After that you can purchase bigger and better apartments and houses.
        Others can enter your houses and you assign other privlidges to people on what they can do in your house.
        I don't recall if thier is additional storage however you can decorate your place with various things such as talking statues, in house roamining animals, and other items of decoration you get in quests or find on corpses.

        The biggest problem with allowing people to plop down a hous
    • The hardware does not exist yet? What about a maxed out SLI system with two 6800 Ultras? (Although I'm not sure how available such systems are yet.)
    • Re:Thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tprox (621523)
      If you're looking for EQ2 to be the same game as EQ you may be disappointed. The website FAQ answers a lot of these issues you seem to have in your post. An example: Reducing the number of starting cities follows the story. EQ2 is supposed to be a good/evil type game with two towns being the light/dark side of the world. There was a reason why they chose to do that. In the same vein, each town consists of many more zones than in the old EQ.

      IMO, EQ2 is attempting to do some different and interesting thin
  • Parallels with SWG (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chaotic_synergy (798688) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @04:07PM (#10546042)
    Interesting how the negatives of EQ2 (in the opinion linked to above) so strongly parallel the negatives that I experienced with SWG.

    The two that really stand out for me are ...

    1) incomplete game and bugs

    2) lots of really boring tedious tasks.

    Personally I'm waiting for WOW. All the positive reviews I've heard about WOW really seem to be in sync with what I'm looking for in an online game.

    In the meantime I'll keep playing Anarchy Online. It certainly has it's faults, but if you don't take it too seriously, there's lots of challenges, variety and interesting gameplay.

    • by genrader (563784)
      From a 14 month SWG subscriber, trust me, EQII is nothing like SWG. I am in the EQII beta and it is vastly superior to WoW, which I have also played. WoW really bored me. It's polished, I will admit, and will make a good game but it had nothing revolutionary. That's what I like to see in MMOs.
      • World of Warcraft is not revolutionary but I have to ask: whats so revolutionary about EQ2? The fact is UO came out 7 years ago and no game has even come close to it since. None of them have been revolutionary when you look back at what UO did. Now, you are probably going to point to how awful UO is today and I agree, OSI took the game to shit almost right when everquest came out. They marginalized it and took away the freedoms which made UO so revolutionary.
      • Another opinion (Score:2, Interesting)

        by THX-1139 (115741)
        I'm in both the WoW and EQ2 betas and had quite the opposite impression. I found EQ2 to be so tedious as to be practically unplayable. WoW on the other hand is quite polished and fun, although not quite what I am looking for in a MMORPG.

        Neither is really revolutionary, unless you consider adding voice features (annoying and pervasive in EQ2, minimal and cute in WoW). Both follow the trend of decreasing the degrees of freedom available to the player, resulting in more of a disneyland ride experience tha

      • What's revolutionary in EQII?
  • MMMMM...and the trolls come out for their feast.

    Can't wait to hear all of the shit-talking about EQ2
  • by mabu (178417) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @06:11PM (#10546789)
    I've been doing a bit of reading on EQ2 and it seems that many of the characteristics of EQ2 are direct attempts to "nerf" features in EQ that have become core components of the gameplay.

    * Complete heal is gone

    * Shaman slows are apparently gone or no longer as potent

    * Mobs that have helpers/range aggro are now "grouped" and cannot be single-pulled by FD'ing classes

    What's disappointing is that both these "features" of the game spawned extensive gameplay strategies and talent. It's sad to see them go... clerics using cooperative ch rots or anticipating cast timing, or pullers with amazing abilities to extract single mobs in very hostile zones.

    * When you die, you don't lose your corpse, but you incurr some "debt" that you have to pay off before you can continue to get max experience from kills. Instead of a corpse, you have a spirit shard that needs to be recovered in order to avoid great debt and stat loss. Also these shards get automatically absorbed into your char after 72 hours. Furthermore if someone dies in a group, the entire group shares debt... an interesting approach towards balancing the risk/reward of classes that may end up dying more often.

    This seems to be a big improvement over EQ.

    * Automatic zone instancing... apparently if some zones get too crowded, the system may create another instance of the zone and people zoning in can select which instance of the zone they want to enter.

    I can see the value of instanced zones for isolated adventures and expeditions, but splitting real in-game areas into multiple zones seems a bit freaky and unrealistic.

    How do you maintain the immersive nature of the game when, upon entering a dungeon, you're prompted with a menu to choose which alternate reality you want to enter?

    * Combat Locking - in order to avoid kill-stealing, once a player/group attacks a mob, nearby players cannot do damage to this mob. Apparently the player can yell for help and disable this "feature" at the cost of xp/loot.

    Kill stealing has always been a troubling issue in EQ, but I'm not sure I like this mod. It flies in the face of realism. Furthermore, I see much potential for this feature to be abused.. casters with long-range spells can now easily take a mob away from another group heading to pull it.

    And if KS'ing is such a deal that the developers had to hack the system to address it, what have they done about the even more annoying problem of training mobs on other people?

    * Less class specialization - I'm under the impression that in EQ2 there is less distinction beteen classes. All the tank hybrids seem to be more comparable in terms of tanking; all the healing classes also have the ability to ressurrect players, etc.

    I am not sure what purpose this homogenization of classes and races serves, other than seeming to turn race and class into more an issue of vanity than functionality.

    Again, we have core components of the game, not necessarily designed to make a better game, but to address frustrations such as certain classes not being as desireable in groups. This could be a blessing to those who in the past felt in retrospect they chose the wrong class, but it also dulls the unique nature of classes and races.
    • * Combat Locking - in order to avoid kill-stealing, once a player/group attacks a mob, nearby players cannot do damage to this mob. Apparently the player can yell for help and disable this "feature" at the cost of xp/loot.

      Kill stealing has always been a troubling issue in EQ, but I'm not sure I like this mod. It flies in the face of realism. Furthermore, I see much potential for this feature to be abused.. casters with long-range spells can now easily take a mob away from another group heading to pull

      • Yeah, it flies in the face of realism, but, it's a game. Realism is just a tool. If realism gets in the way of having fun, then it should be ignored.

        I agree with the premise, that realism is secondary. However, a key distinguishing characteristic of MMORPG is player interaction. When the game is separating players in ways that inhibit interaction, it detracts from what the MMORPG could be.

        If the players are adventuring in their own private 'instances' then they might as well be playing NWN for free.

    • "Furthermore if someone dies in a group, the entire group shares debt... an interesting approach towards balancing the risk/reward of classes that may end up dying more often."

      Also an interesting way to keep groups from including people they don't already know. Good for guilds, I suppose. Not so good for the casual player, which Everquest was already very unfriendly to (... I'm remembering days of /ooc's of LFG for half an hour before giving up and soloing...)

      "* Automatic zone instancing... apparently if
      • Someone could take it further and offer the XP only upon the monster's death, offer additional XP for "initiating" the attack (so KSers don't get that bonus), etc.

        Wouldn't a KSer just initiate attacks on everything an instant before a group hits it, so that the KSer gets the bonus? Any kludge like you propose will be exploited in some way, it just may take the players a few days to figure out how to exploit it.

        The root of the problem is the whole "kill critters to get xp" mentality of game design. That

        • However once the KS attacks they are locked in combat with the mob they hit. They could then yell for help which would release the mob, then the other person/group would need to stay out of the way as the mob made its way back to its home so that it could heal up.
          As for an MMORPG which gives no exp for killing that would be D&D online. You get no exp for killing only for completing the quest, the idea is that you can now have thieves and such sneak and perform actions that allow the group to by pass
    • I think SoE has come up with a novel way of dealing with crowded zones by creating multiple instances.

      I can see a few ways this could have some real benefits. (I've only played EQ)

      Say I zone into zoneX and see one highly populated instance and one almost empty. I'll choose the almost empty one if I wanted to do some solo play, but if I'm looking for a group/ meeting friends/ or passing through then I might choose the more populated one for the security of numbers.

      I should also point out, that when i jo
      • I think SoE has come up with a novel way of dealing with crowded zones by creating multiple instances.

        Actually SOE didn't really come up with anything novel here. City of Heroes has done this since the day it came out. I don't know if CoH was the first one or not, but SOE definitely wasn't first.
    • I'm in the beta right now. There are some good things and bad things . . . way too much for me to comment on here.

      But, I feel I should respond to your remark about Automatic Zone Instancing-- It may seem freaky and weird, but really, it is much better than the old EQ way where there are hordes of people in the same zone fighting for the chance to beat on something. The automatic zones are much better. And the newbie zone-- which is instanced-- you will stay in the same instanced zone for at least four l
  • by hookedup (630460)
    is it just a rumor eq2 and warcraft are coming out on the same day?
    • Stores have gotten an indication from SOE that EQ2 will have a tendative release date of nov 15, this can be changed and not for public info.
      WoW has sent no such information.
      Both have offical dates of winter 2004 so basicly any time from november to feb.
  • by dhakbar (783117) on Saturday October 16, 2004 @09:19PM (#10547772)
    I worked for SOE until late summer of this year, and I did some testing on EverQuest II (as did most of QA). Anyway, to put it bluntly, there's nothing innovative or interesting about EQ2. Actually, EQ2 is far inferior to the original EverQuest. EQ2 has more linear quests, more boring combat, less world to explore, less differentiation between classes and races, and less freedom to customize the way your characters look. It is like EQ-lite, but with an engine upgrade that is utter crap. SOE is going by the wayside. Give it 4 or 5 years, and you will all witness NCSoft utterly conquer and brutally rape SOE's bloody remains. The fact of the matter is that while there are a lot of extremely talented people working at that company, their vision is squelched by deadlines and a general unwillingness to try to do something new. SOE doesn't deserve your dollar.
  • I really miss the difficulty of EQ1. I enjoyed being placed in a world, and basically told "Good luck."
    No handholding with maps, teleportation books, or even descriptions of what things did. It was up to the players to discover things, to create the maps, to locate quests, to discover what exactly the FBSS was good for.
    Now to cater to casual players in MMOs everything is laid out in a neat little package. No real discoveries or insights from experience playing.
    • It's just the developers doing what the players already were. EQ became the race to be the first to do or figure something out and publish it on the web. The casual gamer would simply read the guide or search the EQ encyclopedias.
  • MMOPRG sequel... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Taulin (569009) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @03:46AM (#10549047) Homepage Journal
    I think it is hard for ANY MMORPG sequal to be successful. This is probably just ONE of the reasons UO 2 was cancelled, and why Ashron's Call 2 is not doing as good as its first incarnation. Why is it hard? Well, it is competing against itself, for one, which still has a huge player base and recently released expansions. WoW, on the other hand, is a whole new experience, sights and sounds. MMORPGs are all basically the same for the common PC gamer, and the common PC gamer wants new experiences, not over bloated repetition that will not run on their system.
    • If UO think they couldn't top itself, they've got problems. AC2 also had the problems of generic gameplay. UO2 may have suffered from the same problems, which is not to say it would've been bad intrinsically, they should've worked with the same freaking ideas and just upgraded it (engine and all) if they were worried about losing players (COUGH, COUGH).
    • Ironically, AC2 failed because they eschewed all the stuff that was great about the original (fun PvP, hectic hordes-attacking-you combat, fantastic loot system), and tried to make it too much like... EverQuest :).
  • by mabu (178417) on Sunday October 17, 2004 @06:19PM (#10552403)
    IMO, one of the coolest, most innovative features of Everquest was introduced for no more than a few weeks, and then quickly removed.

    This was called the infamous "Project M".

    What it allowed you to do was log into the game and take over a random NPC in a low level zone.

    This would really freak out players as the NPC behavior sometimes would become quite erratic and unusual. You couldn't chat while playing a monster, but you could move around and attack.

    Unfortunately, guilds figured out how to defeat the random nature of where you were deployed and eventually there rose up, armies of player-controlled giant rats in newbie zones that would terrorize lower-level players.

    It was hilarious and very creative. It's a shame they didn't try to tweak this feature and keep it online. It was the perfect short-term distraction for players who otherwise couldn't get grouped or wanted to try something different.

    Whoever came up with project M was very creative and innovative. I don't see that kind of creativity in later versions of Everquest or its expansions. Things have become much more formulaic.

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