Quests in EQ2 so far are very plentiful and take care of the leveling for you in most respects. If you do quests, you generally level up at a decent pace doing them. Most of the quests are gotten by speaking to NPC’s, but some are triggered by finding rare dropped scrolls of monsters or by clicking on items out in the environment (books, boxes, bedrolls, etc). For the most parts, quests are fairly generic and wont surprise anybody. Most are Fex-Ex, bounty, extermination or observe type quests. There are supposed to be some Epic Type quests, but I have not done anything that compares to some of the better quests that are found in Asheron’s Call 1 or 2, or WoW’s Instanced Quests or whatever. I would assume that Sony will have these “bigger” types of quests and I just haven’t done any yet. At level 14, I had probably done about 60-70 quests…
One issue I do have with Quests is that it can sometimes be hard to find who to talk to. I wish they had a WoW or AC2 like “exclamation mark” system where something appears over a NPC’s head. Of course, you are going to run into those purists who think that those marks break from the realism. However, let’s face it, this is a game and sometimes you need small breaks like this to avoid tedium. Wasting my time running around a city just because I can’t remember where in Qeynos Bob the Idiot is hiding isn’t much fun either.
The second issue I have with quests is that they don’t seem too varied… I want to see more “epic” quests. There may be reasons why there are none yet, so I can’t really say “they don’t exist”. Maybe I didn’t find them, maybe they are only planned for after release, etc…
So far, I am enjoying the game play. In a lot of respects, I am finding EQ2 and WoW to be fairly similar. (/e runs from the mobs…). Combat is a lot alike and so are many of the quests. EQ2 is definitely more hardcore than WoW though, which I will discuss a little later. Overall, game play is fairly involved and keeps you fairly interested in the game, which is what a game should do. You can group or solo, explore or quest, sit and tinker with trade skills or go doing something else.
Soloing and Grouping:
EQ2 is a Group Game and SOE doesn’t try and hide the fact. However, they said that Soloing will be “viable” and I hope they keep their word on that one because I for one, do not intend to play EQ2 if everything I do is going to require me to spend hours camping spiders with some group… So far I have managed to basically solo my way to level 14 though, with only a few group trips for a few specific quests, and that balance has been fine. I hope that this is how it stays all the way to level 50.
For the inevitable comparison, WoW is better for die-hard soloers though. Its easier and faster to solo in WoW and that will appeal to a great many people in the MMORPG Community, it also makes WoW a more casual friendly game, so if you only have 10-15 hours a week, WoW may be the game for you, but you really need to play them both to find that out for yourself.
The good news is that EQ2 doesn’t even come close to touching on EQ1’s “forced group” mentality that so many of us despised. Its more “group heavy” than WoW is, but I think that it is well within tolerable limits for those of us that hate having to group all the time.
Still, Sony needs to work on this one more I think. Soloing needs to stay viable.
Lag has been good to bad so far. The instanced zones are generally good and you get a nice crisp feel in combat. Some of the larger zones though, like Antonica (which is a HUGE zone) can be brutal. Of course, there are usually about 200 people playing in that zone.
Most combat areas in the game are instanced, with up to 5 “instances” being generated if needed. Before you zone into an area, you select which instance to play in (if they have room or if they are required) then you play in it. The only issue with this is that you need to coordinate with friends as to what instance you will both meet up in. Overall, I have found that instances work fine and that most of the whining on the boards is without merit.
Hard to say at this point. I have been playing a Crusader and so far I find it alright, but I feel melee is a little weak in general and judging from the Beta forums, a lot of people agree with me. I hope that this improves because I enjoy playing melee characters, but I don’t want to be a simple EQ1 like meat shield.
Im not a fan of "class" based games and prefer Skill based games like AC or AO where you can customize your character the way you want to play him. This is something I dislike about both WoW and EQ2. When in a group, I found that all melee classes were an exact replica of myself, something that im not overly fond of. Maybe this opens up at the higher levels...
I found combat to be decent overall and even fun at times, however one nagging problem has bugged me for a while now. Your pretty much pre-determined as to whether you will win or lose by the con color of the monster, and the same strategy works with all monsters. There really isn't much to the strategy involved... You bash the monster until either you die or it dies. I found I liked WoW Warrior combat a little more in this reguards, because I could use healing kits and such in combat to make a bit of a strategic difference.
Overall, I really like the game so far. There are a few issues that bug me (questing, grouping/soloing and the seemingly weak melee characters). Lag in some areas isn’t what I would consider “good” either but that will improve with time as the beta progresses.
Either way, I think Sony is releasing a winner with EQ2 and I feel that it will stand toe to toe with another favorite of mine, World of Warcraft and do well with it, providing that the rest of the game stays as good as the levels I have played.
In the end, I think the big winners here is the MMORPG Community. It looks like we have two awesome games being released in the next couple months that are going to appeal to many people. That’s good news.
As for myself, I full intend on playing BOTH EQ2 and World of Warcraft, for they are both excellent games.
Anyways, I will post more later and expand on a few issues that I touched lightly on or ignored altogether.
Somebody asked which game I like more...
I think I like WoW a little more, due to the stronger soloing aspect of the game. I just hate grinds and forced grouping.
Here are 45 screenshots I took of EQ2.
Please don't leach. If you want something, download it and take it, I don't care. If I detect leaching, I'll delete them.