EQ2 Revival?
Oct 27, 2006 14:55:50

I'm a Station Access member, so I can pretty much play all of Sony Online Entertainment's MMOs at any time I want, as long as I own the box. I have purchased all of the boxes, save for a few recent EQ/EQ2 expansions and Matrix Online. I keep all the SOE games installed and drop in from time to time to play SWG and EQ, but EQ2 has pretty much sat idle since I gave it up a couple months after launch. When EQ2 launched I played a ton of it. I two boxed, I leveled fast, and I was itching to see all the zones. Then after two months I quit cold turkey and moved on to other games. Since then I've wondered why that is. Everytime I listen to an EQ2 podcast like EQ2Daily or the Pwnage Brothers I say, "Yeah, EQ2 is pretty good, BUT-" I never was quite sure what to say after that. But now I've figured it out. There are two things. One has been corrected in many small ways and the other is fixable, by me.

The first one, SOE has done over the course of the past two years. They've polished and finished their game. Today, EQ2 is what it should have been at launch. It has a strong and positive community team with a great new podcast. Our video cards have caught up with the future-proofed graphics. Trade skilling has been revamped numerous times, all for the better. The world size has been expanded and great diversity and falvor has been added in the well received expansions. The class progression was removed. Soloing ability was enhanced. A worthwhile PvP system was introduced. Almost a year ago I wrote an article on EQ2's first birthday attempting to pinpoint where it had failed. Looking back now, I can see there isn't one reason, there are many, and all of them have been gracefully overcome by the SOE team. In fact, I'll go so far to say that 2006 has been a year of improved perceptions all around for SOE, even in the face of SWG's New Game Experience. SOE has given us little cause to rant over the past year. This may because of the virtual bond we've all formed with SOE celebrities like Blackguard and Moorgard (who recently departed SOE, oddly enough) as well as Rajin, Kytherea, and the ever-present Brenlo, to name a few. It might be Smed's surprisingly lucid blog entries. Perhaps it is because they've continued to properly support and expand their existing roster of games, even Planetside. More likely, it is a combination of many things, much like the improvements they've done within EQ2.

I logged into EQ2 a few weeks ago to spin up a new character on a PvP server. The goal was to get a character in reasonably good shape so that I could run with the Pwnage Brothers during one of their weekly Freep hunts in the commonlands. Immediately upon logging in I was faced with running that same newbie content, yet again. I still find this to be EQ2's biggest failing. Tip to MMO designers: multiple starting cities is a good thing. Even CoH, which seems to have gotten away with it suffers in replay. Despite this pain, I found myself asking, "Why am I not playing this game more?" It looks great, has a solid class system (now that they fixed that), a huge world to explore, and a community that is small enough to be tightly knit.

Which brings me to my second point, something I talked about in numerous recent podcasts. I need the family. I need some people to play with that are right for me. Back in EQ1 I was adopted by a guild named Enigmatic Council on the Terris-Thule server (now part of Prexus). In describing this guild I'll say things you've heard from people time and time again, "They're a family, they're friendly, they're helpful, there's not much drama, there's no pressure and of course, they're not a high end raid guild." They've been around for 5 years and are still going strong. I still go back to raid and hunt and hang out with them. Sometimes I think I should just drop all the other games and stay there, but ultimately, I'm past that game and can probably never truly return full time. I need the new lands and adventures, even though I've never seen all of EQ in my time there. The problem is, I likely never would anyway because so much of it is very high end raid content that I'd have a hard time working up to.

Therefore, what I need is something similar in another game. At this point, that game looks and smells sorta like EQ2. Vanguard beckons quietly at me, but has yet to pop right in my face with an offer I can't refuse. Age of Conan looks promising. Warhammer Online will be bloody good fun. Spellborn looks like a pretty diversion. But EQ2... I think I could really gnaw on that one for awhile. But first I need to find that family. But how to go about that? How does one find that perfect spot? Last time it happened, it was the most random occurence in the world, and I'd be hard pressed to say that it didn't fundamentally change my life. After all, I'm here blogging at you about it.

Submitted by Brent on Oct 27, 2006 14:55:50 CST (comments: 7)

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