Everquest 2 Beta NDA lifted - Player experiences.

AcousticToad

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The Everquest 2 Beta has officially had its NDA lifted so beta players can share their experiences, infact, its encouraged that they do.

Here is what i think about it.

I have never played EQ before so i was unsure what to expect, MMORPG's all have the same basic elements (leveling, merchants, coin etc) but none has gripped me with this much info. For starters the 4 different type of coin, Copper, Silver, Gold and Platinum. They work as 100 copper = 1 silver piece, 100 silver = 1 gold etc. Most stuff for low level characters is around 3-5sp and will get you through your first 4 or 5 levels.

The first 6 levels incidentaly, tkae place on The island of Refuge, here you can partake in various quests and hallmark missions to get you upto level 6. The first 2 levels take place on a boat called teh Far Journey, here you get to see a huge Dragon like beast called a Drakota (or Dragota, i cant remember which it was) blow away some boxes on the ship, shortly followed by you killing a goblin that escaped from a cage. After this is done you get the option to goto land orstay for a while, if you goto land you end up on the island of refuge. These first few levels work well as a tutorial to the games system, you can make quite a bit of money on these levels for later on.

The first thing you do here is talk to a guy about your chosen class, the starting classes are Priest, Mage, Fighter and Scout. When you choose your class you get told to kill a golblin, when you have done so you get a special bit of kit for your troubles and told where to go to find more on your profession. The coice is yours, you can have upto 4 characters so you can have one of each (i have, i like the scout the best :cheese: )

Each profession has different objectives to complete in this inital area but they all meet up at the end to battle an Orc in his cave. Now with most games, you go into a cave to complete a quest, there a huge ammount of people waiting to fight the battle...Not here, the cave is an instanced zone where you and your group get given your own area to fight in, meaning everyone has a shot of doing the quest when they want to. It works pretty well too. A great battle for newcomers to see.

After you do this you can complete other generic missions on the island or goto the city. Theres 2 cities, Freepot and Qeynos. Freeport is all about hardship, the city is ruled by an evil leader, thats why only eveil characters get to live there (although good characters can choose their allignment) while Qeynos is a beautiful city, a place where everyone is friendly and willing to help you out. I like qeynos best, everyone is helpful (npc wise) while freeport you get shouted at and everything.

Now earlier i mentioned about character allignment, this is done while creating your character, theres a pool of about 10-15 races, maybe more, who each have their own strenghts and weaknesses, for example the Half-Elf have Infravision which allows them to spot enemies body heat from far away while the Iskar have Aqua breathing and sight because they aer lizard like. While creating your character you can change almost everything about their appearance, like nose size, chin length, eye tilt and so on. This makes the character process extremely rewarding as you can choose to look how you want. A great system.

Now the cities are each based roughly the same, you have inns, taverns, shops and stuff, you can go to all of these and ask around looking for work which gets you a mission, usually to collect something far away of kill stuff. Once you reach level 9 you automatically get given a second hallmark quest, this is where character development comes in. While you have been leveling up you gain new skills and abilities all leading upto this quest. You get a mission to visit a person from your chosen profession, once there you learn about the next stage of evolution. You get 3 choices for each class, Scouts get the coice to become a Bard, Rogue or Predator, Mages have the choice to become Sorcorer, Summoner or something else (cant remember) Fighters can become crusaders, Barbarians or something else and Priests can become Clerics, Druids or Healers.

Again, each of these has their own strengths and weaknesses in combat, which is discussed now.

While you can go it alone and kill stuff by yourself, you can also group with 5 or 6 other people and take on the toughest monsters. The combat works really well, you can trigger things called 'Heroic Oportunities' which allow you to deal extra damage on the opponent while sometimes getting a bonus ability for a short time. Im pretty sure there is PVP between good and evil characters but i've not saw any yet.

Another important thing is timing, there is a realistic night/day cycle which can work to your advantage, nght time ambushes on various monters work well while early morning assults work well on others, again, they both have their advantaged and disadvantages. You also have to eat and drink, you can vuy this from bartenders and the like pretty cheaply. You also have to pay upkeep for your house which you get given during citizenship (more on that in a sec) the price is usually 5sp every 6 ingame days. You dont have to pay you can give up ownership and just live on the road if you like but a recent addition to the game allows players to make their own merchant shops from their homes.

Service Guarantee's Citizenship! Which it does by the way. You have to get citizenship to enter the city proper. This entail running to a sign, getting a mission and then killing 5 or 6 creatures to get tokens, once this is done you return to the sign and have to kill a group of enemies to the city. You get special kit again for doing this.

As for coin, you get this by looting chests (recent addition adds traps to high level chests, the bigger the chest the bigger the loot, but also bigger trap) the loot can be sold for a nice price. You can also take parts of monsters and sell them too.
Travelling around the outta area (Qeynos has Antonica and Freeport has the Commonlands) can be dangerous so the devs added mounts to the game (horses) that you can buy when you have reached a certain guild level (like clans but much much larger) I have only saw a couple of these but they look cool. You can also take the Griffen, which will fly you to the other side of the map, or you could wait for a boat and take that instead.

Group looting is also good, the group leader can assign 'lotto' status to the loot, this means everyone has a fair chance of winning the loot from missions.

All in all, for a first time EQ player, i find the experience of playing the game really fun, at times levelling can seem a little tedious but if you get a good group you can have lots of fun.

So far there are four servers Beta 1 and 2 and French and German beta, the total number of players is around 35,000 so you wont be far from finding a group.

I will post some screens later on.
 

AcousticToad

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Screenshots:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000005.jpg - This was in the Commonlands outside Freeport, just as the sun was setting, i've got loads of pics like this, the way the sun reflected on the water was amazing.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000030.jpg - Again, i liked the lighting and shadow on my character in this area so i took a screen.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000048.jpg - The rig thing to the right is the Heroic Opportunity thing, my blades are glowing as a power up bonus.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000049.jpg - My character with Hat on

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000051.jpg - Character with hat off.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000012.jpg - Pretty much explains itself :D

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000014.jpg - Another sky, this thing is the start of an asteroid belt or something, theres a huge rock in the middle of it that burning, looks really cool.
 

Epyon

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AcousticToad said:
Wow.
I havent gotten into the beta yet, and probably never will. I signed up for the beta at the offical site, didnt get in. It seems like only people that are long time subscribers for Everquest got in, and Everquest Lord people. I signed up for the beta give-away at www.mmorpg.com, didnt get in. My last chance is Gamespots contest, which is giveing away 1000 account, hopefully ill get in that. But im not going to get my hopes up.

Edit: Forgot to ask, how does it run?
 

Tinneth

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Is it just me or do those screenshots look quite bad..
 

nutcrackr

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It isn't just you Tinneth, but I doubt if AcousticToad is playing the game at max detail because they look ordinary. Btw thanks AcousticToad for the write up :D
 

Shuzer

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My main complaints for the EQ2 media I've seen:

The UI is absolutely attrocious. It's terrible. It looks like a DOS game.
The art direction sucks. Looks incredibly plain, not very detailed. The cities don't even look lived in.
The sound effects sounded pretty bad, from a few videos I watched. Especially during the Gryphon.. oh wait, the griffin taxi ride. Plus, the animation for that looked awful.


Anyway, overall, I'd say my biggest complaint of what I'd seen is the art direction is crap.
 

Gunner

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Thanks for the info Toad. And Tinneh framerates are always low in MMOs, you're lucky if you get 30fps in crowded areas. :)
 

AcousticToad

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The screenshots come out differently to the game, I have most of the stuff on Medium/Low, I have had them on full But the fps was that bad since all the extras are like Flora, Physically simulated water, water splash, reflecting absolutley everything in water including particle effects.

As for how it plays, it plays pretty good on the medium settings, most of the lag you will get is server lag, the first version of Antonica had such bad lag that it would take you around 8min to complete a move, then if you went on the griffen it would drop you off before the destination dealing incredible amounts of fall damage (upwards of 5000)

It can still get laggy in certain area's where the dynamic lighting takes off, the same without door areas with draw distance on its highest. I'll get a screenshot in a sec with everything on max.

For Shuzers comments, I agree on the UI, but you can control what you see on the screen, I play in letter box view because there is that much info that can be missed otherwsie. Animations can be poor and sometimes get skipped, in the distance when someone is fighting they appear to stand still but again that to do with the draw distance and performance settings.

You will occasionally get locked in or out of places via a bug where the area is full leaving you to stand around clicking a door for 20min until a place comes open. The you go through the door and get kicked back to the char sceen for 5min.

Here is a couple of screens with everything on max, it would have been better if it was day but i'll get them later.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000061.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000060.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000057.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000056.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000055.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000054.jpg

Everything was on high settings with all the high performance. Lagged to hell, 0.1fps in the city.
 

Loke

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Looks pretty good.

What kind of computer do you have btw, AcousticToad?
 

Gunner

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The thing with MMOs is that they mostly use raw processor power and ram, video cards don't make that big of a difference (at least to my knowledge). :|
 

AcousticToad

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Athlon XP 2400+
1GB DDR PC2100 (V. Slow)
Radeon 9600 Pro 256
K7S5A Mobo (doesn't even fully support x4 agp)
SB Audigy 2 Platinum
XP Pro

I can get an average of 25fps in outdoor area's, indoors are about 20 depending on settings, It has gone to 48 before, around the same as CS:S.

The thing with MMOs is that they mostly use raw processor power and ram, video cards don't make that big of a difference (at least to my knowledge).
Thats correct yep, the more stuff in the area that the server has to sync with the client, and then the client sync with other clients = More processor stuff and ram being used. When the high performance was on (theres 6 or 8 different settings from very low to extrmemly high) my processor was having 87% of it used on rendering the city, 896mb of ram was also being used. Connection speed is also a critical part of things too, a 56k wouldn't be playable i would imagine.
 

ShadowBlade

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ShadowBlade

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In all honesty I dont know, after making this char I dont think ill have the motivation to start all over again right away so Im not going o start EQ2 for a while once it goes live. ID assume around the $10-15 mark.
 

Epyon

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blahblahblah

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3 Questions to the EQ2 beta players

1) Do you think the game can justify a $15 a month subscription cost?
2) How much does it play like a game like Morrowind? (I've never played a MMORPG)
3) What would you rate the game so far? Any stability issues? Or other unresolved *major* issues?
 

ShadowBlade

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1)If your into MMOGs yes.
2) Sorry never played Marrowwind.
3)Hard to say with it still mid to late beta, there were lag issues in the big areas but they seem to have been nailed down now. All in all its working well.
 
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Can you walk the entire length of the world without loading screens (like morrowind)? Or is it split up into sections that you have to use transport to get to.

How long does an ingame day last in real life?

Can you smith your own items and all that?

Can you drag and drop items from your inventory onto the floor?
 

Dalamari

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StardogChampion said:
Can you walk the entire length of the world without loading screens (like morrowind)? Or is it split up into sections that you have to use transport to get to.

How long does an ingame day last in real life?

Can you smith your own items and all that?
You can smith items, and Morrowind does have load screens btw
 

Dalamari

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AcousticToad said:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v215/acoustictoad/EQ2_000014.jpg - Another sky, this thing is the start of an asteroid belt or something, theres a huge rock in the middle of it that burning, looks really cool.
Just to show off how much of an EQ nerd I am, that rock in the middle is the former moon of Norrath, Luclin, former home of the cat people. Now that Luclin is destroyed along with the Bazaar (the trading post of zones) where do people go to trade items now?

Also, is Kunark still in the game?

StardogChampion said:
I didn't mean while entering houses or whatever.
Morrowind had loading screens on the open land too, not just when entering buildings.
 

ShadowBlade

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StardogChampion said:
Can you walk the entire length of the world without loading screens
No, some zones are small like city districts and some are huge like the common lands. Both are extreamly detailed so it feels worth the extra load here and there.
 

ShadowBlade

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Oh and in reply to Darkstar im on a FX-53/x800 XT P.E., not sure about the FPS but I know its solid above 30fps cos the game runs nice and smooth. Also this engine has been built to last so it can actualy be ALOT better than that but it realy kills my FPS.


This is a review someones posted on the EQ2 forums with screenshots. Should be good reading for ppl interested in the game.
http://eqiiforums.station.sony.com/eq2/board/message?board.id=general&message.id=215842
 

Cole

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A main reason why morrowind has load times is so they can create very detailed areas. Like they can create things down to the last spoon, and light.
 

AcousticToad

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Im unsure about FF IX because i haven't played, but if you find a good group and a good area you can have lots of fun.

People can trade anywhere, you just right click them and choose trade, most people usually hotlink the item into the chat so you can see if you want it.

You can make stuff yourself, armour, food, clothes, magic, weapons etc can all be made by the right people, thats where the real money lies.
 

ShadowBlade

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The only problem u sometimes get is when u have some fools in your group who get themself or everyone else killed.. then you end up with experience debt which takes a chunck out of future exp until its paid off. :(
 
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