What would you change about… EverQuest 2?
For this “What Ward You Change About…” we head over to the world of Norrath and in particularly EverQuest 2, sequel to and as equally popular as the original EverQuest, one of the earliest fantasy MMORPGs that helped define the genre. EQ2 dates back to a 2004 release date and has pushed out quite a number of expansions and adventure packs over the years, even with the turn to Free to Play and continues to push out a large expansion every year.
By the way, you may want to check our F2PMeter on Everquest 2.
For many the EverQuest franchise is the essence of traditional fantasy MMORPG, holding onto many early fantasy RPG themes the franchise continues to be a powerhouse in the market, however, with the passing years we now look to see what features might need tweaking due to falling a little behind with the times of what players want and expect in their MMORPG.
The Game Performance is Game Breaking: Okay we harp on about this with every one of these “What Would You Change About…” articles, however, we would gladly retract this point in all the other games that we’ve looked at and complained about their lag if it means highlighting the point with EQ2. We’ve tried playtesting EQ2 a few times when their expansions come out; we’ve also done a first look trying out the new player zones. For whatever reason EQ2 is quite simply horrible when it comes to performance; we hate to sound dramatic by calling it “game breaking”, but it is sincerely a struggling to even play the game for any extended period of time and we can’t ever imagine playing it on a regular basis. This problem is common, but seemingly doesn’t affect everyone, so this is more of a personal gripe that perhaps we’d have more enjoyment from the game if it actually performed well on our rig.
The game looks and plays like an old MMORPG: This alone isn’t a big issue, as the game is 11 years old, but so is World of Warcraft and the game still looks pretty current and it’s more graphics keep more with the theme and graphical choice as opposed to being the limitations of the original technology. The thing is that Blizzard try to keep WoW current with upgrades due to it being their flagship title, whereas the new graphics are all being poured into EverQuest Next and EQ2 being left as is for a more nostalgic throwback to early MMORPGs and rose tinted glasses of “the glory days”. The textures look muddy, the textures look flat, the environments feel barren and whilst great graphics don’t define a game it is something that would definitely be a welcomed addition. We like pretty okay?
Level Agnostic Dungeons
More please: Whilst it’s not that long ago that Agnostic Dungeons were added, where players can group together regardless of their level (ranging from level 20-94) and XP/rewards being handed out based on the level of the player as opposed to the level of the dungeon, essentially allowing players to have a reason to go back through older content or have some personal benefit when helping lower levels quest there. What we want to see is MORE dungeons, right now only a small handful got adjusted and as it’s such a cool concept we’d love to see this be the case for all dungeons. Second to this is increase the range up to level 100 so that everyone can benefit from the Agnostic Dungeons!
Not enough contested zones and dungeons: The game is predominantly instanced based and so typically requires a group to complete lots of the content if you are trying to tackle it at an appropriate level. The problem is that as the game is quite old there is already an ever dwindling population with quite a few servers being extremely low on players, added to the fact that a lot of players will grind through the content in a rush to get to and level, with many progression Guilds helping players level up quickly, meaning that it’s even harder to get a group together to tackle the zones/dungeons. With more contested areas (not as in PvP contested, but simply non-instanced where people can come to grind) then players will find it easier to try out all the content instead of having to skip it or be forced into these progression Guilds to get over the various level humps they may find.
Call the fashion police as your threads are weak: The game is suffering from lack of resources being committed to it, hardly surprising given that EverQuest Next and Landmark are on the horizon and would be a better use of money and time. So any time put into EverQuest 2 is predominantly being focused on adding new endgame content and working on the next expansions (which we commend them on that they still churn out with such regularity). What this means is that players are wearing the same old tired armour and clothing, the same haircuts and styles, the character customisation can feel a little stagnant particularly when other games like The Elder Scrolls Online throw in new features like armour dying. A fresh new wardrobe for the season wouldn’t go a miss, primarily appealing to the role player community, which with older MMO’s with such groups as EverQuest no doubt make up a sizeable portion of the player base.
The population size make gaming a problem: As mentioned above with the idea of more Contested areas, the general diminishing population is an ever growing problem and some servers are pretty empty in all but the end zones. This is something the developers are obviously aware of, this is something that most MMORPGs keep track of and shutdown/merge servers as and when it makes sense. The problem is that there is also a paid-service to transfer individual characters to other servers, so if you wanted to switch from a dead server you have to pay for each character individually, which is harsh given that the people with characters worth transporting have probably played for a while and already have multiple alts. It seems less like a convenience feature and more like a way to glean a little extra money out of your loyal fan base that don’t want to give up on the game… and yet so many do. Free server merges please.
These are some of the things that we would change about EverQuest 2, but what do you think? What would you change about this game? Would you add anything else to the list? We await your opinions! Let us know!!!!!