Re: Everquest 2 high end system verses WoW high end system..
I woundn't argue with the 200+ people point, it's probably perfectly valid. For the purposes of this post, I will ignore this factor. If this factor is the sole reason for EQ2's higher *graphical* demands, then I have nothing more to say. Incidentally, I did mention that my GW framerate holds up even in towns (typically ~5-20 *visible* people on-screen per frame, I'd say, with maybe upto ~50 people in town total).
As far as high-polygon count is concerned, I don't care. To me, GW looks gorgeous AND runs extremely well on my hardware. A game that has very high detail but does not run well does not interest me. I have not played EQ2, but judging from the screenshots, it was nothing out-of-the-world. It may have more detail at its highest quality settings, but if that means I would have to play at 15 fps, then sorry, that's a no-deal.
Since you seem to have played both these games, could you answer the following question: EQ2 is supposed to have a very "scalable" engine. Let's say I lower EQ2's quality/poly settings to a level such that you can play it at 60 fps on a 6600GT with ~5-20 characters visible on screen at an instant. Would the game look as good as GW does? If yes, I rest my case.
If not, this is what I have to say: Stating that your highest quality setting can only be handled by future hardware (which is what EQ2 does) is a classic case of selling a bug as a feature. This simply means that you did not put enough effort into optimizing your engine for current and near-past hardware. If this optimization implies reduction in polygon count, so be it. However, if this reduction in poly count results in your game looking horrible, then you have to find other ways to make the game look pleasing.
I have nothing against EQ2. Like I said, I haven't even played the game. For all I know, the engine may be exceptional. That dreaded highest-quality setting may just provide unnecessary detail levels. Maybe the game looks gorgeous even at playable quality settings. If it does, that's awesome. That's what every game should be like.