Review by Malheureux
"Gee, what a blast."
For the longest time, I heard rave reviews about this online 'experience' known as Everquest. People swore up and down how much fun and addicting it was. Hell, any game that spawns thousands upon millions of lamers who throw their lives away to play some more, has to be great. Right?
I'll come right out and admit right now, I didn't play this game for very long. I dabbled in it for a few weeks, and take my word for it, a few weeks was more than enough for me to figure out this game is horrible. I could have dropped it a lot sooner, except I really REALLY wanted to give it a chance.
Is this what people consider pretty these days? The graphics make this game look like an early/mid-generation Playstation game. The character models are basic-looking figures with crappy textures pasted over them, while the scenery mostly consists of barren land, with some sloping going on here and there. I'll accept that the engine (pre-Luclin, of course) was created a few years ago, but honestly, if people are praising this ancient graphics engine like it's God's gift to your video card, I'm going to judge it for what it really is - outdated.
Everquest uses MIDI music. Now, that can be a mixed bag. I used to be big into collecting MIDIs off the Internet, and I can tell you, it's possible to do some impressive things with MIDI.
Unless you're playing Everquest.
The songs in this game are short, cheesy, and have quite the ''generic'' feel to them. What's worse then having to listen to cheesy music? Not getting to listen to it properly. Hear me out.
Often, I'll walk by a building, and a song will start playing, then immediately begin fading out, or just stop completely. The game can't decide what song to play (especially in towns) and often, will play no song at all.
So I'm walking around Freeport, and all of the sudden, three seconds of a goofy song begin to play, then stop again. Silence for a few more minutes, until I come across another boundary for where a song is supposed to play. Why the hell even bother with music if you're going to do such a shoddy job implementing it?
As for sound-effects, I can't comment much, because I forget most of them. Tells you something right there.
Gobs and gobs of buttons with Times New Roman-esque text printed on them. I often found myself fumbling around different buttons and menus trying to remember how to get to a certain screen. I'd imagine over time it would become second-nature, except uh, why do I practically need a handbook to figure out the game's interface?
It doesn't get much worse than this, really. You make a character, which will look like everybody else's for a long time. To make this character, you choose a race, a class, a deity (which effects something, I guess) and a starting city.
Then the game dumps you into that city and says ''HAVE FUN.''
Except I did not have fun. I ran around the starting city and got lost. All the while I got lost, this is what I'd ''hear'' from the other players:
Jura'klitzabrunlaf auctions: WTB Dragonhide Jockstrap 40 PP
Ryakwraylamf auctions: WTS Silver Longsword 2 PP
Abcman shouts: WTB SOW 4 10 PLAT PLZ
And so the list goes on. After a while, I got the hang of the large, humongous city, and got lost a lot less. However, each city was divided into ''Zones'' which must be loaded each time you leave one and enter another. I don't know what needs to be loaded, but it must be pretty big and complicated if it takes just as long for my DSL connection to finish up as it did for my pokey 26.4 connection. Oops, wrong turn. Now I have to backtrack and go through the Zone wait again. kthx
While there are indeed many classes, I found myself fighting with a weapon the whole time, while other people would cast a spell, cast a spell, sit down, get up 10 minutes later, and cast more spells. Basically, all of these classes come down to whether you can use a weapon well, or use magic. There are a few other skills related to different classes, but overall, that's it.
So where was I? Oh yeah, the game drops me at my starting town. I go visit the training master person, receive a quest to find a certain item which is dropped randomly by a certain species of Orc that randomly appears and randomly (but usually always) kills me.
I should level up, so they don't kill me, right? Good idea, except there's an ominous shadow looming over my head.
You see, Verant decided that in order to make Everquest more fun, they'd emulate necessities like eating and drinking. If you go hungry or thirsty, your stats begin to deteriorate, and you become even more useless in battle. Add to this the difficulty of getting money together, as well as the extreme prices of nearly every shop, and you have quite the dillemma for beginning players. The solution?
Upon death, players under level 6 will revive back at town with their original rations restored. So one of the early strategies in the game is to DIE often. Greeeeeat!
Another fun thing Verant threw in. After level 6, you begin losing Experience if you die. Considering it's easy to get lost in an unknown territory, at night, filled with dangerous creatures, you're going to die - you're going to lose your body with your valuable stuff on it - you're going to lose hours of Experience you gained - and you're going to curse loudly. And as you gain levels, it becomes harder and harder to gain more. It can take weeks for the average player to gain a level as he progresses.
How do you gain levels, you ask? By fighting, of course! How do you fight? Here's how:
1. Click the monster.
2. Press the designated ''Auto-combat'' key.
3. Watch as you and the monster take turns hitting each other.
Occasionally, you may have to use a spell or whatever (assuming you aren't using one of the poor sappy classes that don't have any magic) but overall, that's all there is to it. You live, or you die. Or you run, and have the monster chase you all day until it eventually gets a hit on you and kills you. Wee!
Upon death, the monster drops to the ground, allowing you to loot its corpse for either A) Some useless trinket to sell for a little bit of money, or B) Absolutely Nothing.
Prepare to make frequent trips back to a merchant, because you only have eight slots to hold items in.
Additionally, there are also trade skills, which allow you to fashion items from other items. This means you have to locate/buy a bunch of other ingredients, put them together, fail 700 times, then put together some more items until you eventually have a mediocre piece of armor, or a pie or something to ''Roleplay'' with.
Roleplaying? Well, it IS a roleplaying game, after all. Verant uses this excuse to throw us a subpar online game and tell us to play pretend with each other. What the hell am I exactly supposed to Roleplay?
Basically it means talking in some olde English dialect, or pretending you're that character (''Hi! I'm Tugl'eth'arr. I'm new to these parts - let's join up to make a HUNTING PARTY and go DO BATTLE with some EVIL monsters! Yay!'')
Normally, other players like to roleplay that they're smarter than you, and that they're using a keyboard that lacks a shift key. Others like to roleplay that they had a minimal education. Others like to roleplay that they're from Dragonball Z.
Honestly, there's not much to roleplay with in Everquest. You could pretend your character is out to find the guy who killed his father, for vengence or some crap. Except you're not going to find that guy - he doesn't EXIST. What does exist is the option to sit on the ground and stare at your spellbook while your Mana replenishes or while you memorize a spell. What exists are scores of people camping in one location, waiting hours on end for ONE monster to show up that MIGHT drop a certain item they want, only for them to not get it, since, obviously, only ONE person will succeed.
The stupid NPCs in the game try to help with the roleplaying aspect by sending you on fetch quests to get an item and bring it back. That's it. Creative players can imagine that BRIGNIGN MAGICK KEY OF SKELETOR WIL TAEK ME 1 STEP FURTHR 2 FINDING TEH MAN WHO KILED MY FATHR. I LUV U DADDY.
Finally, therein lies the element of actually playing along with this stupidity. Often, your character, no matter how levelled, won't be able to handle himself against a group of monsters who all are targetting him. You can't solo in this game - you need to make friends. The teamwork element is a nice touch, except REQUIRING it makes it hard for less social players like myself.
Still, there's also a very high chance that the people you befriend are idiots, who won't listen to you, or will actually backstab you in some way, by grabbing an item you wanted, or killing everything before you can get to it, to gain any Experience.
Why the hell am I going to pay $10 a month to play a really boring game which bases its fun value on a central focus of hanging around a bunch of people who are frankly, quite unlikeable?
Online RPGs are still working their way through kinks - and to this date there is no ''perfect'' game yet. However, whatever else that lies out there has got to be a hell of a lot better than Everquest.
If you want to try an Online RPG, get Anarchy Online (and PATCH IT!!!) or Asheron's Call - hell, even Ultima Online.
But not Everquest. This game disgusts me, and if it doesn't disgust you, you'll probably become just like one of the mindless lamers who go on there, auction for SOW, and express your lack of social skills with as many typographical errors as possible.
In which case, I pity you. Please, don't play this game.
Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 03/17/02, Updated 03/17/02
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