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Well, I have been playing the everquest 2 beta for a week now and I thought I would pass on my 1st impressions of the game. I have never written a review before so please bear with me. If I leave something out that you deem important please post your questions and I'll do my best to answer them or scout out an answer for you.
Let's start with my system so you have a frame of reference for sound and video and such:
Alienware 3.2 ghz pent 4 w 800 mhz fsb
512 ddr ram
soundblaster auidigy 6
nvidia fx 5750 pci express
gigabit 1000 ethernet card
256kb broadband connection
Character custimization: very good, face, hair, skin tone, size, eyes, clothes, are all shadable and tweakable to varying levels.
Lag: occasional, even with my broadband they have alot of people crammed into 2 servers and it lags a bit, but mostly only in large cities with heavy population and whenever I first enter a new zone. Estimated time of dragdown before lag is resolved..5-10 seconds for entering a new zone 3-5 second occasional lag in city situations. no combat lag encountered.
Sound: on a scale of 1-10 I give it a 9 the npc's who have spoken dialogue are very well acted and nothing beats running past a marketplace and hearing conversation going on. It really adds atmosphere and a good level of immersion that was missing in EQ1. The background music and combat music is very well orchestrated and hasn't got on my nerves. In fact these scores are also very immersing.
Video: on a scale of 1-10 I give it a 10! I have a 2nd tier pci express card that is comparable to the highest level non-pci express video card and it shows the real beauty behind the EQ2 engine. the level of detail is extremely fine, badgers look like badgers, snakes look like snake etc.etc. monster detail is excellent with actual facial expressions. Spells are beautiful to behold even when they are nasty and being cast on you! the towns and castles are beautiful and very immersing, the forests are wonderfully believable and the sewers are damp and creepy. The countryside looks like somewhere you would want to plop down a house if it wasn't so damn dangerous! hehe. At night seeing the broken chunks of the moon moving across the sky in a very comet like way is absolutely stunning. I frequently stare at it for minutes a time just soaking up the beautiful detail of it!
Creature availability: come on down, we have battles for you with no waiting! once you leave the city or head into the sewers (it's only been a week and I haven't gone very far) there are an abundance of beasties needing a beat down and plenty more ready to hand you a whoopin'! It's easy to identify who will aggro on you because they will con more powerful than you with a red ring around their description when you approach. Not every beasty more powerful than you wants to kill you and you can tell the difference.
Controls: a baby could play it. And a baby is playing it, my 4 year old daughter sat in my lap and helped me set up my barbarian by picking out hair color and body size and clothes style and naming him Rabbitfoofoo ! The control scheme is extremly easy to use with actions and spells placeable and removable from multiple action bars that can be occluded or distinct according to your play style.
Combat: pick a monster and double click it to pick a fight, make sure you are ready for it because even low level monsters can kick butt. There are combos available for you that help cast devestating spells even if you aren't a spell caster. My barbarian uses kicks and wild swings for his normal attacks but when I do them in the right order the next button in my combo will blink (usually my taunt button) letting me know that if I press it a devestating twin lightning bolt will careen from the heavens (or cave ceiling) and show my enemies who's boss!
Quests: At this low of a level what can you expect? There are your ever present fed-ex quests requiring you to go to point A get object B and return to destination C. And that's not a bad thing in my opinion. It gives purpose to my characters existence sometimes, and after a hard day of monster bashing I want something easy to do for some quick cash or an item. He has an apartment that rent is required on (5sp) every week and he has to pay the bills. Plus buying furniture to put in the apartment takes money, and they aren't just giving it away! Hehe, plus you get exploration experience points just for going somewhere you haven't been before and these can give you a big chunk too! Especially if you are brave enough to go where you aren't strong enough to be just yet!
Is it fun?: Yes! It can eat away large chunks of time if you aren't carefull. Hehehe. Leveling up is quick so far and rewarding but still frought with challenges both monetarily and experience wise. It doesn't feel like a treadmill and I really enjoyed interacting with npc's who talk! I will be buying this game when it is commercially available, so if you see a giant nordic type, blond haired, blue eyed barbarian named Rabbitfoofoo say hi and lets go kill some monsters!
Please remember this is still beta and they are polishing it everyday. If I left something out that you want to know about let me know but be patient as I am married with children and get only limited access to play games.
My initial score for this game is 9 out of 10 !
bejesus man! you have a devil of a computer. I can suspect that the full version of EQ 2 will be more stable and henceforth less lag. How would you rate the exploration factor into the game? Can you explore pretty much everything you see?
You know what they say, if you dont like the weather in houston...go back to where you came from
Wow, someone responded! Thanks! Yeah I just got the computer 1 month ago, I expected doom 3 and half life 2 to push the envelope. As to your question. Yes, exploration is (imho) the best part of this game. The scenary is beyond beautiful, and with the ability to see which monsters will agro on you if you get too close you can do alot of exploring. I went waaay out where I didn't deserve to be and actually got trapped dodging aggro ranges between 2 different types of monsters, it was fun!
Go where you want. See what you want to. Also they start you out with a recall spell; I'm not sure if it will be included in the retail version; that will return you to your hometown. In my case it was Queynos. This spell is only usable like once an in game day or 2 in game days, but time goes by fairly quickly.