"Both good and bad..."

Everquest. A lot of people have complaints. I have a number of beefs too. A lot of people are heavily addicted. I find that sickening and pathetic. Many people enjoy it. So do I. Let me tell you how I see it all.
The first thing about it that bugs me is a certain corporation's greediness. Perhaps the corporation that has produced the game. It seems to me that charging $50 to perform a simple copy and paste operation such as moving a character to a different server is a little bit much. Also, the need to pay for your account on a monthly basis is irritating. Some other good online games (Blizzard's numerous titles come to mind) offer this service free of charge. Further, the additional expansions and the prices thus introduced are quite aggravating. I don't know how much they're charging for Luclin (released two or so days ago from when this was written), but on top of Velious and Kunark, it is rather a surprising total.
The next thing I've noticed about the game is the vexing finality of certain initial decisions. When I first made a character, I had no idea what sort of stats would be good in a paladin, so I sort of guessed randomly, and my error in this instance will stick with me because you may not realize it until you've advanced a good while with a character, when you're either stuck with that or you have to start all over from the beginning.
Speaking of which, gaining levels is abominably difficult after a while. As a 14th level, the things that almost kill me get me scarce closer to significant advancement.
Further, the graphics values are astonishingly cheesy. I don't know about you, but I have never seen a tree with a regular triangular trunk. I realize that with the recent release of Luclin, they are putting out their much-touted new graphics engine, but I don't have that, so it seems to be straight out of the mid-90s to me. Oh, wait, that's wrong. The original Sonic the Hedgehog game for the Genesis had better graphics (granted, they were 2D animations).
That said, I do still play and enjoy the game. The graphics, as I said, are cheesy, but the environments are complex and interesting, the opponents are varied and diverse, and the interactions with other players are well-thought-out.
I find it to be an interesting area in which this plays out. In places there are cliffs over lakes, farms, Lookout towers, kobold or gnoll camps with tents and campfires, and all manner of other interesting objects that make each region unique. They don't repeat each other in an endless monotony of sameness and repeated themes that are used in dozens of areas dozens of times over and over and over and....
So it was a bad joke. So what? I'm the king of bad jokes.
Anyway. Different creatures have different AI's and different abilities. Most animals attack till they're at a certain %hp and then flee, but some will be harder to kill, some will help out others of their kinds, some are poisonous, et cetera. The semi-intelligent races, such as kobolds and gnolls, will come equipped with varying arms and armor, rations, and even sometimes precious precious booze, ahhh mmm (homer-like drool).
So my character's an alcoholic. So what?
Which leads me to another point. I don't play many MMORPGs but I really like the trade skill system in EQ. You can smith, you can cook, you can tailor, you can make poisons, and there are online guides for it all at eqtraders.com that tell you everything you'll ever need.
Also I enjoy the gameplay system. Out of combat plays a big part, between getting quests and selling and trading and practising a trade (i.e. smithing, cooking, etc.), and the combat system is fun too. At least it is for me. As a paladin, I have combat abilities (bash), combat spells (yaulp, flash of light) weapons to attack with, the ability to taunt my foes into flying at me in a febrile rage.....
It's fun to tell a gnoll its mother was a leprous prostitute. Try it some time.
The big thing that makes this fun is the other PCs, though. Interacting with other people is arguably the most important part of this game. You can buy or sell, join a group to kill things, duel, join guilds... The chat functions are good too. There are a variety for different purposes that have easy access. /g lets you chat with your party, /guild is for (guess what) your guild, /shout is for telling everyone in an area, /tell [person's name] is to communicate with only one other person, and such like. There are also different languages you can talk in to limit your selection of people you communicate with, and an emote system which includes a number of preset /emotes that have associated character motions, and a general emote function that lets you make your own.
Yes, it is somewhat expensive. No, it isn't actually a horrible game. Of all the features of the game, and taking all things into account, I give this game an eight out of ten.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 12/06/01, Updated 12/06/01


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