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Platform: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Genre: MMORPG Developer: Verant Interactive
Format: CD-ROM Expected Release: Q4/2003

Preview First-Look
11/28
Timothy Duong
Timothy Duong

Any gamer that’s ever logged onto the Internet knows of the Massively Multiplayer Online RPG frenzy, having heard friends recount great tales of epic battles and unforgettable adventures. Games such as Asheron’s Call, Dark Age of Camelot and Anarchy Online have all snuggled into their respective niches in the online war between MMORPGs. Following their success with EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment and Verant Interactive will bring us the next chapter in Norrathian lore around this time next year with the release of EverQuest II. Promising an all-new class system for character creation, new quest workings and new battle mechanics, EQ II promises to take the genre to the next level.

Over the years, EverQuest has lost many players due to its initially intimidating nature, but Sony hopes to fix this, stating that their main focus for EQ II has been to cater to both hardcore and casual gamers. A new tutorial system to teach the uninitiated about surviving in the virtual world of Norrath is expected but not confirmed at this point. Not only will character creation be changed with races new and old, but the system will also take character customization further than ever with the new, branching class structure. With the tailoring of avatars having been expanded, player characters will be even more unique, making them stand out from the crowd.

To attract both veterans and newcomers alike, EQ II players will have the opportunity to join gladiatorial and theatrical events in-game. These should be real crowd pleasers since similar events in EverQuest have enjoyed major success. The fact that SOE intends to have these diversions as commonplace events only helps woo current EverQuest players to upgrade to EQ II. Another lure for veteran EverQuest players is a storyline and transition path that allows descendants to carry on the name of EQ characters. Players can carry on their adventure in Norrath under their family names even though their old characters will not be ported to the sequel. Eager EQ II players will have to start from scratch like everyone else.

A few months ago, EverQuest introduced horses into the game and EQ II looks to expand upon that concept with the addition of boats and other modes of transportation. Sadly, how accessible these commodities will be in-game has yet to be disclosed. EverQuest II will also give players the option to own property, though whether this will only be for show or used in some other way is still unknown. With the new tradesman class (which has yet to receive an official name), players may even be able to own some sort of shop. This non-confrontational approach to character advancement is sure to have many EverQuest merchant players jumping for joy. On the subject of trading, a new trade skills and crafting system is expected to replace the numbing Ctrl+Left click experience that all EverQuest crafters fear.

With a new 3D engine that takes full advantage of recent technological advances such as per-pixel shading, programmable surface shading and dynamic environment mapping, EverQuest II looks to push the MMORPG graphical limits with a dynamic world that will be moulded by the very players that inhabit it. For such a visual bonanza, it’s no wonder that the minimum system requirements look rather steep:

733MHZ processor
512MB RAM
64MB Video Card
DirectX 8.1 compliance

Players wanting to experience EQ II in all of its grandeur can expect the recommended system requirements to make a nice hole in quite a few pockets. Though this shouldn’t bother the deep-pocketed players of EverQuest Legends. Those die-hard fans that have been spending $40 a month to play on the “Legends” server will end up having the last laugh as they will have first crack at the EQ II beta. Sony promises to have more details on this project within the next six months. RPGFan will provide you with more news and updates as they become available.



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©2002 Sony Online Entertainment Inc.
©2002 Verant Interactive
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