My Indepth Comparison of WoW verses EQ2.
Well it been almost 7 months since the release of both of these MMORPGs and I have played each for a total of about 3 months a piece. And have played them extensively. On the World of Warcraft front I have a level 54 Priest, a level 29 Druid, a level 21 Warlock, and a level 32 rogue. On the Everquest 2 front I have a level 32 Defiler, A level 21 defiler, Level 20 Paladin, A level 24 SK, A level 15 summoner, level 27 monk, and a level 23 monk. ((Please note that overlaps occur because my second go at EQ 2 I restarted on a new server)
For those who havent played both I am trying to be as objective in this comparison as possible and I will go over various issues and my opinions.
Everquest 2: Everquest 2 has a fairly dynamic combat system and each individual action can pretty much change the outcome of the game in solo play. While locked in combat all regeneration stops. ((With the exception of varios tradition and item regenerations)) Combo's are imperitive to each class for survival. As they allow you to perform heroic opurtunities(HO). These HO's can make or break a battle. However the downside to these HOS is they are completely archetype based and any subclass will have the same HO of there archetype. Very much limiting diversability. It also has a negative drawback of spamming these HOS to complete the fight most effectively. At the end of the fight your HP/Mana begins accelerated growth.
World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft combat system is somewhat different. Different classes have there own unique ways of generating power for special moves. Rogues use a rapid regeneration technique called "Energy" and this allows them for them to fire off special attacks and combos very quickly doing significant damage. Warriors Generate a skill called "Rage" which generates each time they take damage or do damage. The more they get hit. The more damage a warrior may do. Caster classes have a traditional mana and use mana to cast there spells. Unlike EQ 2 WoW doesnt completely lockout regen in combat, What is known as the 5 second rule for mana means that once you finish casting a spell. Your mana will not regen for 5 seconds. This can create good tactics for eliminating downtime and survivability. PAticularly among classes that are healers as they can stay alive for extended periods of time.
Everquest: When you first played Everquest 1 you couldnt but help be impressed with the sheer size of the world. Each race had an individual starting city and it would take hours to traverse it. ((8 plus hours to travel from Odus to Akanon)) This is something EQ 2 does not have. The EQ 2 world starts every race in a beginning City, ((Qeynos, Freeport)) with several suburbs. All these cities are connected to small individual newbie zones and eventually spanning out into commonlands/Antonica. By the time players reach level 20 the 2 city populations begin to converse on zones and begin hunting together. Everquest 2 zones are extremely large. Some of the largest zones I have ever seen in a game and they take can take a long time to run around. The zones however are not connected together as well as EQ 1. And you can still travel around quickly with an "Instant" boat system. At higher levels this costs a bit of money to use for the quick travel but perfectly acceptable prices for the money you make at high levels which will cause for quick transporation around the world. This has a side effect unfortunately of making the world seem small and compact. Unfortunately this is a side of effect of taking 3 large continents ((Found in EQ 1)) and then converting them into 5 tiny continents each representing 5 zones.
World of Warcraft WoW is much like EQ 1 in size and scale. The 2 continents are huge. The best part about WoW is there are only two zones in the entire game. Azeroth And Kalimdor. And each of these land masses are huge. To run across them it would take probably 6-8 hours of your time. Much like the Original EQ 1. Fortunately these long travels have been shortened greatly by a very innovative idea from Blizzard. Introducing Bat Riders and Griffons and allowing players to fly across the world at much more rapid pace. This is actually "extremely" effect way of traveling. The beauty of it is it gives you an opurtunity to truly appreciate the size and scale of World of Warcraft. Travel from Auberdine to Theramore and you will see what I mean. This is a big plus for WoW and immersion factor.
Zones and Population
Everquest 2: EQ 2 is a mixed bag when it comes to zones. There are some really well thought out and carefully crafted zones. Antonica and Thundering Steppes are great in design and offer some very unique challenges. On the contrary theres also Commonlands and Nektulos forest. These zones are poorly concieved with the content and lay out. Nektulos is paticularly the worse. I honestly think the zone was thrown together at a last minute and just placed random high aggro creatures all over. For anyone whos tried to run through nektulos you'll know what I mean. Plus the placement of such creatures is peculiar. In certain spots of Nektulos you will literally find 30 Solo con Skeletons all bunched up together. Or 30 Solo Con owlbears all bunched up. All side by side. It's like picking candy from a candy rack when hunting. Fortunately once I saw Zek and Enchanted Lands the zone layout improved. Sony would do themselves a favor by completely redoing commonlands and nektulos forest as they are just poorly designed zones. ((Content Wise))
World of Warcraft: I really dont have any complaints about WoW when it comes to zone layout. Almost every aspect of each WoW zone has a purpose. If you find a camp of furbolg or murlocs. Theres a 95% chance that there is at least one quest associated with them. And the content is extremely well layed out. Random roaming creatures and then camps of creatures. All layed out in a fashion that was very well thought out. I have to give Blizzard a rather big thumbs up for good content design.
Note: Keep in mind these are primarily outdoor comparisons. I didnt spend enough time in dungeons on either game to really give what I'd call an accurate comparison because I was grouped and really unable to stop smell the roses.
Everquest 2: I did not spend much time with Everquest 2's trade skill system. I have never been a big fan of tradeskilling too begin with and I found it too much of a timesink for myself to enjoy. However in retrospect tradeskill items for armor and spells have always been a fairly good business. People want to buy Adept 3 spell versions and Pristine armor every 10 levels. And I used trade skills constantly.
World of Warcraft: WoW tradeskill system was fairly easy for me to pick up and use. My priest is 270 skilled tailor and I create alot of items. But the problem was. I myself have never bothered with tradeskills because they were convenient. But I was able to enjoy trade skilling. However this has its fallbacks. Tradeskill items were constantly overshadowed by drop items and add to the fact that the market is already flooded. I found it very difficult to make any money off tailoring. The biggest problem that occured is the ingredients became more valuable than the created items. It's rather unfortunate since WoW had such a good tradeskill ideas.
Servers and Stability
Everquest 2: Everquest 2 servers are incredibly good. The downtime is minimal. Sony resets the servers every morning at 4:00 AM PDT and the estimated downtime is usually an hour. I found that these estimations were extremely pessimistic and the servers were usually up within 15 minutes. Patch processes go smooth and general server stability is great. This is incredibly strong aspect about EQ 2 and the server stability should teach a lesson to every MMORPG out there right now. If you enjoyed EQ 1 server stability late in the lifetime of the game you will enjoy EQ 2 server stability.
World of Warcraft: *Sigh* I really want to give Blizzard the benefit of the doubt here. I'd really love too. But the horror stories you hear about Blizzard server problems arent exxagerated. Even yesterday morning when I decided to start writing this. I was experiencing zone drops, Broken boats, and server delay. This was not just a me issue either. The same day and time people were experiencing problems connecting to the game. This coupled with numerous problems with Blizzard servers in the past. I really cant give them the benefit of the doubt here. I really hope they fix there servers. Because I find there service fairly unacceptable as of late.
Everquest 2: Everquest 2 graphic system is an interesting one. If ((and that is a "Big" if.)) you have the system capable of running EQ 2 at near high detail. The game is absolutely gorgous. Great shader effects, beautiful water. Nice and detailed charactors and just gorgous enviroments. Unfortunately very few people have the system to run this game anywhere near that level and even then it requires massive tweaking. Sony's graphic defaults are anywhere but optimal for any current hardware configuration as well. While the engine itself is scalable. Turning down graphic details will cause the game to essentially turn from beautiful to ugly. Its sad that most people are forced to see EQ 2 in ugly mode because they dont have the system to run it.
World of Warcraft: WoW engine isnt all that scalable. And there's not much you can turn off and on other than graphic enhancing features such as FSAA and AF. You can also fiddle with various shader effects and speculiar lighting effects. However the game may not be as graphically advanced. It is still a graphical masterpiece. The way the world connects and looks is just absolutely beautiful. I literally love riding griffons to see the entire world and its amazing. The default settings and high detail settings dont vary much from each other and perform great on all ranges of computers. 60-90 FPS averages @ 1600x1200 with 4xAA/16xAF sound good enough to you?
Everquest 2: Everquest 2 recieves nightly updates most of the time. Usually done during server resets((The 1 hour resets for server stability). However the content team is always working on new content. Keep in mind upon Everquest 2 release the game had numerous problems. From bugs to poorly implemented content. The Everquest 2 team has done an "Amazing" job of fixing this game up. While there may be some subjective ideas on what are game improvements. Sony continously and actively updates its game. Last month alone we got 2 live updates and a massive overhaul the solo system. Live updates can include anything from content updates such as the addition of new solo zones. ((Such as Lair Of the Necromancer)) Or cosmetic fixes and changes. The important thing to note is EQ 2's team is proactive rather than reactive in their changes and fixes. And this can be seen by their constantly Live Updates.
World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft does not have nearly as many updates. As a matter of fact there have been exactly "Half" the normal updates which would be comparable to EQ 2's Live Updates. And it doesnt recieve anywhere near the updates EQ 2 recieves total.((Daily Updates as a comparison)). To be fair to Blizzard WoW updates are usually far more refined and the content is usually well implemented. Like EQ 2 Blizzard has added new dungeons. However these dungeons are far more refined. ((Such as DireMaul)) and the content seems to be more thoroughly tested. The big difference Blizzard teams have is that the updates can take several months before they are finally implemented. This can cause long standing issues to remain in game for a long time. It does however allow Blizzard more time to thoroughly test it patches.
My Whacky Thoughts
My Conclusion: I think WoW is currently a better game. But both games are good. I dont think anyone should be hesitant to try either. When I have more time I intend to expand upon my little mini review and update it. And while not everyone may agree with me. I tried paticularly hard to judge both games fairly objectively. I will also be adding quest comparisons soon. I simply ran out of time :P
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Last edited by ChrisRay; 05-11-05 at 08:16 AM.