Review by Ninn
"Addicting...yet Frustrating...yet so much Fun"
EverQuest, or as people tend to call it, EverCrack, is a game that's not for everyone, which is exactly why there is a 30 day free trial to begin with, add to that the cheapness of the original game, and there's no reason not to try it. But, you don't want to go through the hassle of all that without first knowing what you're going to be getting into, right? Especially when you have to pay $12.95 a month after that first month (it becomes a little cheaper if you pay for more than one month at a time) It's also relevant to note that is is an online only game, meaning it can not be played offline. It's amazing how many people ask that.
I'll try to help you here a bit. As by my score, you can tell I like the game more than a little. For you, I'll rate the aspects of the game in no particular order. Also know that if I rate something as a 5, I mean average and not bad.
Graphics: 6 / 10
Why a 6? Well, simple. This game came out in '99 and looked good for the time. A couple years later, there was a graphical upgrade released, though many computers have trouble handling it (mine included). For that reason, you have an option to not have all the updated graphics turned on. The graphics are by no means bad ...just plain. To their merit, there's nothing painful to look at, and it gets the job done just fine.
For the longest time, I never heard any music in the game, despite that fact I had it turned on. Then, about a month later, I heard battle music for the first time. Not too long after that, town music popped up. The music, like the graphics is nothing special (though the main theme is really catchy) and can startle the player if they're not expecting it. With the release of the newest expansion, much of the music was converted from midi to mp3, significantly improving it, though much of it seems to be contained to high level zones (more on them later). In fact, the new music is really nice, so much so, it's on my playlist.
This is an online game, and for an online game, communication is required. Once you get the hang of each of the chat commands, they become second nature.
Story/Plot: 5/10 (if you bother to look for it) or 2/10 (if you don't)
Contained across the web is the official lore and story of the game. Much of it is very interesting and adds tons of depth to the game. Many players don't read this, though. For them, the plot is simply whatever quest they're doing, or what they create for their character to do. Personally, I think this is the way online games should be. You should be able to make it what *you* want it to be. So, despite my low score in this section, I have no complaints. Story is just very hard to put in a game of this caliber.
Gameplay: 7/10 (it's somewhat slow to pick up)
I've seen the other reviews bash this horribly. My question to them is - Have you gotten a character above the 20th level? From what they're saying, I doubt it. Playing the game solo, after the 20th level is where strategy is required. You have to know what to use against a specific enemy, you have to know when to use it and when to back off. If you're a caster that can summon a pet to fight for you, you need to keep an eye on him, on your health, on your mana, and on the enemy while still casting your spells.
If you're in a group, you have to figure out how to compliment your group. Each character type has a specific role. If you're a healer and you're trying to melee, you're going to die and endanger your group. If you're a melee and you don't attack enough, the casters will get the attention of the enemy and die. In high end encounters, the group has to be working together perfectly for the encounter to succeed.
Then there's the raid (a group of groups trying to kill something). All the groups must be working together, and if anyone does something wrong, everyone can be doomed.
The gameplay in this game is deceptively deep, regardless of what people say. Yes, it does start out as, ''target your enemy and attack then watch'' but tell me, how different is that from a console RPG? The only difference is that a console RPG is broken up by turns. Put one of them on auto battle if you can - it's almost exactly the same, except in EQ you have your hands free to cast spells at will, and talk to your group, or in the worst case, yell for help.
You also have to know which enemies you can fight and survive, which is accomplished by clicking on the creature and pressing 'c'. If the creature is red, it will most likely kill you if you're solo. If it's yellow, you may be able to kill it, if it's white, you may be able to kill it, if it's blue, you should be able to kill it, and green, you'd better be able to kill it, because green is the easiest and gives no experience. (Experience of course, is needed to become stronger and gain levels) Also, once you reach level 10, any equipment will remain on your body after you die, forcing you to retrieve your body. And at lvl 11, you begin to lose experience (This has been changed from how it previously was, at lvl 6). Corpse runs are there to add an element of challenge to the game.
User Interface: 7/10 (though it can be changed at will now)
The UI is the first thing you see. It's your control panel in the game, and holds everything. And yes, it can be extremely confusing to someone who's new to the game. But, once you learn it, you'll wonder how the game can be played without it (It can't, obviously). When EQ was first released, the UI was, frankly, chunky and ugly. I joined when it was still in use and hated it. Now, the UI is streamlined, clean looking, and has so many more options, which allows the user to set it up almost any way he or she wants to. If you want to talk to one group in a window while seeing battle messages in another, it can be done. To add to it, people now make new skins, giving the player many, many choices as to what they want to look at when they play.
Game Layout: 7/10
Zones, zones, and more zones. How about some zones within zones? Zones are a specific area in the game, each of which is different from the others. With the advent of the latest expansion, traveling across them is no longer a problem, as you can use a teleportation system. Or you can use the classic druid and wizard teleports.
The only downside to having zones is that they can take time to cross, depending on the speed of your connection and your system RAM. But, there's never a better feeling than running across a zone when you have a monster that can kill you on your tail, and making it to safety.
Replay Value: 10/10 - 0/10
Why a range of scores? This game goes on indefinitely, so it's a matter of opinion. If you play one character forever and never stop, there's a replay of 0, because you want there to be. If you're contstantly playing different characters, then you're going see a higher replay value.
Game Score: 9/10
Rent or Buy: Buy, as this game is NOT rentable.
Please note that this is not an average, rather an overall score.
I hope that this review was somewhat helpful to you in deciding if you think this game is for you.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 03/26/03, Updated 03/26/03
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