Review by FFrulz2000

Reviewed: 02/27/02 | Updated: 03/24/02

An unbelievable game that you NEED to experience!

Everquest, The Experience

I am an avid RPGer, and last year I was nosing around Babbages for an RPG to bide my time. As i cruised the shelves, i saw no particular game that caught my eye, so i asked the sales clerk. He asked me if i enjoyed PC gaming, and i said ''Sure, why not'', and he pointed over to the magical box that contained the single most addicitive, most amazing, and most unbelievable game i've ever played.

Everquest is just the most mindblowing MMORPG and game on so many levels. This is one of those games where you absolutely must experience this game to truly be able to comprehend just how great, just how incredibly ENORMOUS, and just how much fun this game can be.

The Look

Graphically, well, Everquest basically has 2 different styles of graphics, Pre Shadows of Luclin, and Post. If you have the expansion, you will be awe struck, while if you don't, the graphics are rather unspectacular.

In the original - Kunark expansions, the graphics are good. Just good, not great. They're good because the world is absolutely huge and at all times you will feel like you are in one massive world. The characters are somewhat blocky and not overly detailed. There is a large variety of characters in this game, ranging from Elves to Ogres. One nice thing is that every piece of armor and every weapon will have a different look on each of the different characters in the game, as well as looking different on female characters. The environments are rather bland and are filled with generic scenery and unimpressive landscapes. Trees and bushes are blocky and 2d in a 3d environment, water looks a bit unrealistic, a lot of things have jagged edges, etc. However, these graphics are excellent for their time. Back when Everquest was initially released, these are easily some of the best graphics ever seen. However today, these would not be considered good looking at all.

Now, for those of you who have the Luclin Expansion (and it actually works on your PC (will have more on that later)) are in for a graphical treat. This is the only expansion that features a true overhall of the graphics engine. Everything in Luclin is amazingly full of detail and bright vibrant color. Environments look infinately more realisitic and are really impressive. Objects are smooth and very detailed. You will see vast forests, dark and dreary underground caves, heavily defended fortresses, hot and scorching desserts, and a strange vaccuum like void filled with rocklike, non humanoid creatures. It's really all quite amazing. The characters in this expansion are equally impressive. They are very fluent in movement, and look very realistic. In this expansion you will also be able to play as a cat like humanoid that looks just as it should. The characters are much more realistic and much better looking in the expansion.

The World

Let me begin my explanation of Everquest by stating this. The world of Everquest is known as Norrath, Norrath is a living, breathing world full of life and evil. Night and day pass on just like in real life. There are many, many towns throughout Norrath. Each town has a different race dwelling within and has a different society. Also in each town are different shops and trading outposts as well as a bank. In the towns are people known as NPC (Non playable characters) in which you can converse with and learn more about the town or start a quest (explained later). Norrath is also massive, and is spread out over TONS of different areas. Norrath is made up of 6 different continents, Odus, Antonica, Faydwer, Kunark, Velious, and the Moon known as Luclin. Also, not only are there 6 continents, but there are also some very mysterious ''Planes of the Gods''. I will not spill too much information about these, but just know that riches will be gained from those who can triumph there. Within each of these continents are a large group of areas known as zones. It is these zones that make up the world of Everquest. Every zone has a name, for instance, if you are in the icy world of Velious and you are traversing a vast piece of frozen tundra you are traveling in the Eastern Wastes. Also within each zones are a vast array of monsters which wander about. Each zone is seperated by a zone line in which your computer will load the adjacent zone when you cross it. Within each zone is basically it's own means of communications. You can communicate openly with every single person in the zone, but not in all of Norrath, just the zone you're currently in. You can however, privately message someone outside of the zone you're in. Some zone lines are out in the open, or some are through doors leading into temples or dungeons, while others are the mouths of caves. Some zones are enormously LARGE while others are very small. Some require keys to enter, while most require nothing. To let you get a feel for just how large Everquest is, consider this. If you were to walk across every single zone in the game, it would probably take you (at a rough estimate) 50-100 hours. Yes, it's that huge.

Now that you begin to have a grasp of the world of Everquest, let me explain what's to be done in it.

Your Adventure

One thing you should know is that there really isn't any real story or purpose to the game. The fun is this, you create your own story. You can be whatever you want to be, a noble Knight sworn to anguish evil, or a vehemont Sorceror bent on destruction. It's really up to you. If you don't want to assign yourself a background and purpose, you really don't have to. You can just go out and begin an adventure of your own. That is the fun of Everquest, you are never bound by what you need to do, you are free to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

Once you log into the game for the first time, you will be able to choose a race and a class to play as. You can choose from many different races, ranging from Elves and Humans, to Ogres and Trolls and everything in between. Once you have chosen a race that suits you, you then can choose a class. Will you be a Cleric that heals the wounded? Will you be a Wizard that inflicts monsterous amounts of damage? Will you be a Warrior who can assume the front line in combat and dish out tons of damage? You decide, there are a lot of classes to choose from.

Once you're into the game, you will now have the freedom to do whatever you please and begin your adventure.

Combat in this game is essentially based upon the class you chose the first time you started it up. However, there are really only 3 forms of combat in this game, melee, spellcasting, and classes that can do both (these are typically known as Hybrids).

Melee characters will use weapons and armor found throughout Norrath to pummil opponents into submission. Melee characters can obviously inflict more physical damage than any other form of combatant. All Melee classes cannot and will never use magic.

Spellcasters do just that, they cast magic. When you find or buy magic scrolls throughout Norrath, you will scribe them into your spellbook if you're of the appropriate level and then will be able to use that spell. Spellcasters have an awesome array of magic, but it all depends on what class you play. Druids will cast nature influenced magics like Fire and Wind, as well as being able to control animals and call upon the spirits of animals to buff up your party. Other spellcasting classes like the Wizard can cast ultra powerful damage spells that will obliterate your foe, while if touched in melee will die quickly.

Hybrids are the combination of the 2. However, they are not as good as either of their 2 ''parent'' classes. Shadow Knights are generally regarded as the strongest all around hybrid because they have a good array of weapons and some very useful supportive spells and the ability to control the undead.

You should know that there will be as many as 6 people in a group. You need to choose your group wisely to be able to handle the monsters in the area. Essential classes for a group are the Cleric and the Warrior because they are the 2 key factors to any group, damage and healing. However, a good mix of supportive classes like Enchanters will make a group much more effective in the long run. This is what is fun about Everquest. There is a lot of strategy to forming apporpriate groups. Every class has a different function in the game, and since there are so many classes and only 6 spots in a group, it is up to you and the other people playing to decide who is most important for your group at this time. In later stages of the game you will need the combined efforts of all 6 people to be able to kill just one monster.

Leveling in Everquest is the main reason for playing. When you start out, you are physically weak and not very capable. You will also not know your class very well. You must stick to the weak monsters in the starting area around you before progressing to other Continents. There are 60 levels of achievement, and this may not sound like a whole lot, but trust me, it is!!! Once you get into the 20's, leveling will likely take about 6-10 hours of playtime. Yes, you heard my right and no that isn't a typo. You should also know that once you pass 50, gaining one level will take about 40 or so hours of playtime. It's that hard. This is why some people say this is one of the most addictive games ever created. You may spend hundreds of hours of your life playing this game. If you're a casual gamer, you're not going to make it into the upper levels. You gain levels by killing enemies off and by participating and completing quests although the experience gained by quests can be very minimal.

Quests are another semi big part of Everquest. To engage in a quest, you speak to the appropriate NPC and he will give you a task to perform. Usually this will partain to collecting various things dropped from enemies in the area, while at higher levels it could include results from tradeskills, rare drops from very rare monsters, and the combined efforts from your entire guild. When the quest is completed, you will receive a reward. In the early levels of the game, the rewards aren't that great and the quests aren't that difficult. But once you face the 50+ quests that take months to complete, you will realize what insane rewards these quests can bring.

Weapons and armor are a big part of the game as they make or break your character. Even for spellcasters, weapons and armor are very important. A weapons strength is measured by it's ratio. A weapon may look like this
Damage: 5
Attack Delay: 27
1 hand slashing

This will tell you that this sword does 5 damage and has an attack delay of 2.7 seconds. There's a lot more too it than just that, such as damage bonuses, stat bonuses, procs, and weapon type, but that's the basics of a weapon.

Armor basically gives you AP, which are armor points which determine how you will receive damage. Armor can also give you stat bonuses and procs.

There are many different varieties of weapons and armor to be found throughout Norrath. Some can be found, some can be bought, some can be dropped by enemies, and some can be traded by other players, which leads me into my next topic.

One of the greatest aspects of Everquest is the ability to trade and barter between other players. On each server there is a zone that functions as a trade zone (usually around Freeport) in which players go to trade buy and sell amongst other players. Each server also has it's own econemy where items sell for certain amounts of Platinum and is roughly based on supply and demand. As i said, this is one of the best things about Everquest. Just keep in mind, there are probably over 1,000,000 different items/weapons/armor out there, so don't expect to see the same things auctioned over and over again =).

One really cool thing about Everquest is it's faction system. Faction is basically your social standing with other races around you. It affects how all NPC's will react to you. Some merchants will not sell to you if you have bad faction with them. Another neat thing about the faction system is that it allows for some stealthy movement. What i mean is that you may be a feared and hated Shadow Knight who wants to go to Freeport to sell and trade some goods. One problem, you are universally hated and despised. Upon sight, you will be obliterated by the Freeport NPC (again means NON PLAYABLE CHARACTERS) guards. So that will force you to sneak around by casting invisibilty on yourself and staying out of the sight of the guards while you do your business. Every city has it's own system of faction. You can gain faction with a city by killing a monster that the city proclaims a problem and you can loose faction by killing city guards or allies of that faction. It's a really complex system because a lot of things have more than one faction.

Another aspect of Everquest is raiding. At high levels characters will join together in a guild to go on a raid. Raids are just that, raids on various zones on Norrath. Usually they are zones filled with very tough monsters that are way too powerful for a regular group of 6, no matter how powerful the group is. Usually when on a raid you will kill very powerful beasts and get some very nice rewards, but nothing is ever guaronteed. Again, this is reserved strictly for the 50+ crowd.

The Expansions

There are a few different Expansions out for Everquest right now...

Everquest- Ah yes, the original game. I wouldn't recommend getting this version as you can get this version plus another continent in Kunark. This version contains the lands of Antonica, Odus, and Faydwer. If you are planning on playing Everquest seriously don't get this version.

Ruins of Kunark- This is the best choice for those of you reading this who want to experience Everquest. This version contains all of what the Original Everquest contains plus the awesome continent of Kunark and the Iksar playable race. Kunark contains some of the best hunting zones in the game.

Scars of Velious- This is a true expansion. This does not include the original version of the game. This updates the graphics slightly and gives you access to the beautiful ice realm known as Velious. If you are a beginner to Everquest, you need not buy this because this continent is pretty much strictly for levels 30+.

Everquest Trilogy- This is the perfect version for those of you who think that you are going to stick with Everquest and play it seriously. This contains the original Everquest, Ruins of Kunark, and Scars of Velious.

Shadows of Luclin- This is the ultimate expansion. This completely overhauls the graphics engine, adds the monsterous Moon of Luclin, gives you another playable race AND another playable class. If your computer can handle it, get this expansion!

The Minimal Flaws

If Everquest has any kind of a flaw, it's the fact that customer service is rather bad and that the game is geared much more for the 50+ crowd. The Game Masters are usually never helpful, and the tech support people are very strict and will never actually do anything game related that is beneficial when something bad happens. What i mean by they are much more for the 50 + crowd is that the 1-49 level quests are pretty much crappy, whereas the 50+ quests actually pay worthwhile rewards. There are some other reasons, such as GM favoritism, and many more advantages given soley to 50+ people. No sense complaining, just go out and level. =)

Another thing you should know is that the system requirements for the Shadows of Luclin expansion are insane. You should definitely make sure your computer is 100% compatitable with it before you install it. You will need a very up to date computer with LOTS of ram to even think about playing this expansion.

The Closure

Overall, Everquest is an absolutely incredible wait, experience. Everquest is an absolutely incredible experience. If you have the time in your life to invest so many hours into this game, then by all means do so because they are some of the most fun hours you're likely going to have. This is easily the greatest MMORPG ever created and is close to being the greatest game of all time. Why? Well I was captivated to play this game constantly for about a year and half, and I've garnered a level 48 Shadow Knight, a level 28 monk, and a level 15 Magician. Believe me, that may sound impressive, but there are people with 3 level 60 characters out there. If people can be captivated to play that long, than you must truly realize how incredible Everquest is. I have never had a more incredible experience in my gaming life.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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