Monday, July 7, 2008

Preview: Everquest II - Rise of Kunark

Everquest II: Rise of Kunark (2007)
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Platform: Personal Computer
Puchase Date: 06/24/2008

It's week 3 of my Everquest II return. With my free 30-day subscription ending late this month, I still have a lot of time to explore the game and decide whether or not I am going to be sticking with it. I can say that so far, my experience has been satisfying and pleasant. EQII is getting better and better over the years. I know this because I did play the game at launch (the class selection progression was just too rigid) as well as the other expansions, each acting as another chance for the game to pull me in. The one thing that consistently stopped me in the past was the performance issues or to put it more truthfully, my unwillingness to compromise quality over performance, and having a new rig definitely helps the overall experience considerably. As you may have guessed it, I set this game's graphics to the coveted "Extreme Quality".

My "first" character. He may be ugly but he is highly intelligent.

The first character I created was a male Erudite Coercer. You may visit the official site to get details on the enormous number of races and classes available in the game. The Coercer is really fun to play. As a matter of fact, I was an Arasai Coercer the last time I played the game. It mostly involves mind-controlling monsters to use as your tools of destruction.

The battles are flashy and engaging.

Perhaps it was the boredom of replaying the class, even though I didn't get that far the last time so I ended up switching to a male Sarnak Defiler before quickly moving to a male Sarnak Inquisitor who is now level 22 and may possibly become my main. Both of these last two classes belong in the healer category and this really surprised me to no end. On World of Warcraft, my main was a 70 Undead Priest whom I specced Discipline just to be able to play the arena battles efficiently after playing it Shadow-specced for almost the entire game. I also tried the Holy talent tree many times to help with the end game raiding elements and I can tell you that playing that is incredibly repetitive, boring, and unfair. But here I am again, playing another healer character.

A long time ago while playing WoW, I told one of my closest friends there:
"If we are going to spend so much time playing a MMO, why not play
one with great graphics?" Yeah, I was hinting at EQII.

Perhaps it's in my blood. Perhaps I like the idea of being able to heal myself. Perhaps it's the thrill of being a rotten version of a priest archetype: In WoW, there is no difference between an Alliance Priest and a Horde Priest thus no real sense of alignment identity that is just flourishing here in EQII. I really don't know why for sure but I do like my Inquisitor a lot. Maybe after the previous bad experience, the flexibility of this cleric class is the change I have been looking for in a healer character that WoW could never ever provide. The class seems to be managing fine solo-wise at the moment with great buffs, heavy armor, and some wicked damage spells. I have been in a group once and healing is not a chore at all because of the fast paced nature of the game's battles. Gotta love the "mini-dings" where every 1/10 of an experience bar fill = full recovery of both health and power. Instead of waiting behind the group, my Inquisitor is suited to be in the frontline of battles, especially the fact that I improving his strength statistic on the Cleric talent tree. We'll see how things turn out in about 10 more levels or so. Maybe then I can truly commit myself to the game. Playing a MMO is a large commitment, especially to someone like me who has too many other games that I want to appreciate, play, and savor.

"FIRST" IMPRESSION: 4 out of 5

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