Written By: Lou Boyle
Game Over Online - http://www.game-over.com
Just when you thought you were getting over your EverQuest
addiction, along comes The Ruins of Kunark, the eagerly awaited
expansion pack for Verant Interactive's gaming drug. It's become a
cliché over the years but I'll say it again, there's a fine line
between a good expansion pack and a shrink-wrapped patch.
More often than not, expansion packs don't live up to standards as
we've already seen a few times this year. EverQuest: The Ruins of
Kunark is a welcome change to that theory by not only adding on
to the previous experience, but by actually improving it.
The Ruins of Kunark expands on the already vast world of Norrath
considerably. For starters, it introduces a new continent in the
southeastern region of the world, featuring over 20 new and
unique zones to explore. Among the new areas are frozen tundras,
dense jungles, hobbled temples and other large Greco-Roman like
structures. Not only are there a variety of new zones to traverse but
many of those zones are considerably larger in mass. One of the
complaints many adventurers voiced previously concerned the
lack of land mass. Verant has addressed the issue by expanding
the territory and creating a much more detailed landscape.
Graphically, The Ruins of Kunark features a much higher poly
count and more detail in textures, eclipsing the already solid
graphics of the original game. Of course, the downside to such an
improvement means the system requirements for EverQuest have
increased slightly. You'll undoubtedly need at least 128 megs of
RAM in order to trot around The Ruins of Kunark comfortably, not
to mention a strong video card and CPU speed.
The new zones are populated with an assortment of new
creatures. You'll encounter a new breed of Goblin and Giant,
larger creatures along the lines of Yetis, Giant Wurms and
Dragons, and such creative creatures as a half-human,
half-arachnoid monster. No zone is safe and the variety of
creatures available will have you battling for hours.
Also included in the expansion is a new playable race, the Iksar.
The Iksar are snarling lizardmen with long tails. They have the
ability to regenerate their hit points faster than most other races
and have such inherent skills as seeing in the dark as well as
running and swimming at extremely quick rates. The Iksar are a
predominantly evil race and are despised in Norrath, so
adventuring too far can get you in a bit of trouble. Being an evil
race, you'll be able to choose between Warrior, Shadow Knight,
Necromancer, Monk and Shaman classes. The Iksar race will
certainly appeal to both rookie and veteran EverQuest players as it
gives veterans the chance to start anew with unknown territories to
The Ruins of Kunark also plays well for veterans whose character
has been stuck at level 50 due to the cap. The expansion pack
allows characters to go up to level 60 and along with the
advancement, can gain new abilities, spells and items. Many of
the new zones in The Ruins of Kunark cater to such high level
characters in its design. The Ruins are far from a walk in the park,
although it does feature many areas that will allow
lower-experienced adventurers to gain the experience and items
necessary to further their quests.
The Ruins of Kunark isn't without a few flaws though. As I pointed
out earlier, the system requirements have risen sharply due to the
increase in poly count and texture detail. Those looking for an
improvement in the sound department will also be disappointed as
Verant Interactive has added nothing new to the audio
experience. In fact, some of the noises the new creatures make
don't quite sound right at all. Why non-human creatures cry out in
human voices when struck is beyond me. Obviously the audio
wasn't quite ready when the expansion pack shipped.
The Ruins of Kunark does exactly what an expansion pack should
do. It expands on the experience known as EverQuest and
improves it at the same time. Graphically, the new zones look
better. Combine that with the addition of a new race, a new
continent, the change from level 50 to level 60 characters, new
items, spells and creatures and you've basically got a fantastic
addition that is a must for EverQuest adventurers.
Note: Screenshots courtesy of GameSpy.
[ 22/25 ] Volume of Enhancements
[ 22/25 ] Quality of Enhancements
[ 08/10 ] Worthiness
[ 17/20 ] Increased Entertainment Value
[ 09/10 ] Improved Multiplayer
[ 08/10 ] Overall Impression