Review by falandil

"One one of my favorites"

I first heard of EverQuest shortly after it came out, but always dismissed it, thinking it looked like a cheap game. I remember seeing the ''pretty elf'' (Firiona Vie) on the box cover, and figured that was about the best the game had to offer. Several years later, in 2001, I ended up with some co-workers who were EQ addicts and convinced me to play. I loved it immediately, seeing as I'm also an AD&D geek.

Onto the ratings:

GRAPHICS: 4/10 (pre Luclin), 7.5/10 (post Luclin)

Since Luclin came out years ago, I won't really bother mentioning graphics quality previous to that, other than to say it wasn't real good. Graphics after the Luclin upgrade are very good. Not the best I've seen in a MMORPG, though. (That honor belongs to Anarchy Online.) the ''Luclin Graphics'' (as they're sometimes called) are basically just new textures on a 5 year old graphics engine. However, it is NOT valid to compare EverQuest's graphics to stand alone offline RPGs. I say this because the graphics have to stay below a certain level of complexity because you can sometimes be in a zone with hundreds of other players, and super detailed graphics would make your computer crawl. (Go into the Bazaar to see what I mean. I've never met a person who doesn't lag horribly there.) Overall, the graphics are very nice.. and the environment is just wonderful. Some of the best environments I've ever seen.

And, strangely for a 3D game, your choice of video card doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. It looks very nearly the same on my old Voodoo3 as it does on my current card, a GEForce 4.

AUDIO: 7/10

I like the music, and it doesn't really get old. (But this is slightly biased, as I'm one of those people who'll set a WinAmp playlist to 8 songs and listen to those 8 songs constantly for 2 months... or listen to the same song 7 or 8 times in a row on a CD.) Anyway.. I will admit, the music does sound somewhat synthetic and (I would guess) done with MIDI. I'm guessing they did this to avoid overloading the machine with a digital music format like MP3, seeing as EverQuest is one of the most intensive CPU use games on the planet.

GAMEPLAY: 9/10

Ahh, yes.. the most important part of any game.. the gameplay! Very easy to use system. Many reviewers complain that to attack, you press the ''A'' button (or whatever you designate as the autoattack button) and wait to see who dies. This is really only true if you play a Warrior, and only for the lower levels. Warriors basically attack and nothing else... you hit A and hope your enemy dies before you. But they start getting special skills later in the game, so you need to time those special attacks in during combat and not just slam all the attack buttons like a maniac. All the other classes are quite involved as well.. either weaving magic attacks into the classes with melee and spells.. (Rangers and lower level Druids, for instance.) .. or using special combat maneuvers.. (Monk is the best known for this.. leg sweeps, high kicks, special punches, etc.)

But, to the start the game, you pick your race and class and a deity.. (which sometimes effects who'll talk to you and you'll attack you on sight.) .. pick your hometown (if applicable. Some combinations have a choice, some don't.) and off you go! It's true what some people say.. there's really no solid story line, anymore than our lives have a storyline. You can make your own. I prefer to play as I like, then make a story up in retrospect.. more fun that way.

Keep in mind, from what I've seen of most MMORPGs (also including EverQuest's direct parents, the MUDs.) they have no solid storyline. (Anarchy Online really doesn't either, nor does Star Wars Galaxies.) Most people play them as stress relief, or as a direct competition with the achievements of other players. (see who can get the best armor and that sort of thing.) If you approach something like this with an attitude gleaned from a traditional RPG (say, Baldur's Gate or Never Winter Nights.. or even the .hack series on PS2, which is a simulated MMORPG with a very strong storyline.), of course you're going to think the story line is horrible, because it isn't there.

But it's fun to get stronger and stronger armor and weapons. It's nice to see your character's appearance evolve and change.

OTHER FEATURES: 9/10

As mentioned above, great armor and weapons selections.. you can make items in any number of different categories. (Food, drink, arrows, weapons, armor, potions, etc.) .. it is a repetitive process.. try to make something, fail, try again, fail, try again, succeed, try again, fail, try again, succeed and so on. I think a better system may involve either failing or making a weaker item than planned... at least give you something for your effort.

They also have an area (mentioned above) called the Bazaar, which basically allows you to set yourself up as a player run store, set your prices, and you can set your inventory to whatever you like... it's really very cool.. you can even set yourself up before you leave for work or school, leave EQ running the whole time, come back and see if you've sold anything.)

They also have a very complete questing system, with the Epic Quests which allow you to get arguably the strongest weapon in the game for your character.

The only complaint I really have regarding EQ is that the world is relatively static.. there'll always be an Emperor Crush, regardless of how many times you kill him.. there'll always be a King Tomax regardless of how many times you kill him. I'd like it if they could get some kind of dynamic universe in there.. kill Crush, and someone comes up to replace him.. or Crushbone is thrown into Chaos or SOMETHING. They do have special events where things sometimes change, though. (They had a series of them leading to the release of Luclin, where a wizard was attempting to reopen portals... they also had an Epic Battle between two gods, Cazic Thule and Tunare which turned the sky of an area called Lower Faydark blood red and undead began walking the earth there.. it was eventually fought off, though.)

OVERALL: 8/10

I'd recommend this game to anyone who likes RPGs or just online games in general.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 10/13/03


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