As many of you know, I am a long-time Everquest player. A month ago I was invited to the Everquest 2 beta, and now I can talk about it without having the non-disclosure agreement police chasing after me.
For the Non-EQ Initiated...
For those who have never played Everquest, the game is a massive online game that is a rough estimation of a role-playing game. Those of us that play it play almost nothing else, because the game takes so long to get good (chr level and player skill). My main character, Daynn, has been at it for three years. Those who have no clue about the game call it too addictive to play, and compare players like myself to crack addicts (evercrack is one common term for the game). It is hard to explain the game to someone who hasn't experienced it, but image a combination of chatroom, role-playing computer game and Elk's lodge. On a typical day I will log in to a "raid" where my guild (like a team) will be attacking a god. Fifty to Sixty people all working together can bring down a god, if everyone knows their job and performs well. The only thing I can really compare it to is a crew on a sailboat. Everyone doing their role to achieve a difficult goal. And we do it sometimes two to three times a night.
The first thing you notice is that there is no computer around that will run it at full settings. The graphics are intense. Character avatars are totally customizable, much the same way they are in Star Wars Galaxies, though it is hard to make an elf that doesn't look prissy, and all Erudites look alike no matter what you do. I play with the graphic settings as low as possible and still lag out when there are a lot of PCs around (I have a p3 900mghz, 512mb ram, 256 GeForce graphics card, which is technically below the min. reqs..) But I can make it for now till I can upgrade my CPU.
I have Dainn (level 16 enchanter) and Longbottom (level 18 druid) both on Beta 1. My chanter is also a crafter and makes spells for my guild. Crafting is cool in eq2 because it is like a second class. You earn experience in crafting, have levels (my chanter is level 12 scholar), and even can take damage or die if you are not careful doing your work. The items you can produce will be vital to the economy of the game too, so I play on being a supplier of spells to my server when the game goes live.
The combat system is okay. I am still not sure about it, but I am relatively low level still. You have "heroic opportunities" that allow you to do extra damage when you do certain things in a certain order. But so far I don't see anywhere near the complexity of combat tactics you see in EQ1 (e.g., there is no kiting, and buffs cant be cast on you unless you remain in the group with the buffer)).
The real big deal is the end-game content, and so far very few peopel have been able to see it. That is what will keep me in the game, and was the reason I left Star Wars Galaxies. I have faith that it will be there though. Sony caters to the end-game crowd, maybe too much. Honestly, I can't wait to figure out how to do 50-person raids in EQ2.
I still plan on starting my own guild in EQ2 once it goes live. If you want to know more, comment to this post or send me an email.
Daynn (EQ1, Terris Thule)
Dainn (Star Wars Galaxies, Starsider)
Dainn (EQ2-beta, Beta-1)
Longbottom (EQ2-beta, Beta-1)