Game Over Online ~ EverQuest: Shadows of Luclin

GameOver Game Reviews - EverQuest: Shadows of Luclin (c) Verant Interactive, Reviewed by - Morgur

Game & Publisher EverQuest: Shadows of Luclin (c) Verant Interactive
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II-400Mhz, 256MB RAM, 1.5GB HDD, 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM, Internet Connection
Overall Rating 93%
Date Published Thursday, March 14th, 2002 at 09:50 PM

Divider Left By: Morgur Divider Right

Everquest: Shadows of Luclin (EQ:SoL) is the latest add-on world for Everquest which has been acclaimed as the number one massively online fantasy RPG game to date. SoL includes many new feature enhancements to the Everquest game including the moon planet of Luclin, a race of two-legged talking cat people called the Vah Shir with five types of classes, horses, and a wealth of new graphical enhancements. In addition, the land of Luclin has a diverse range of new cultures and creatures to interact with. EQ’s simple role-playing system is very well designed and will inspire you to build and develop your character to create an ever more powerful game persona. This ever expanding and evolving online world is dynamic to the point where player events such as weddings, player vs. player duels, and huge player group raids against creature hordes take place regularly. Non-player events such as wars between various tribes and computer controlled creatures take place as well. Note that Shadows of Luclin is only an add-on expansion, therefore EQ must already be installed to play. Have some hard drive space readily available, the full installation, including all the trilogy add-ons plus Luclin, takes up approximately 1.9GB of hard drive space on my system.

The lands of Luclin are comprised of approximately twenty-eight different zones or territories that you can adventure in including landscapes such as deserts, oceans, caves, rolling hills and valleys, mountains, cities and more. There was even a zone I traveled to which had no air so I had to run out quickly to avoid suffocation. Magical spires available in certain zones allow you to travel back and forth between Luclin and the original EQ lands of Norrath. Note that you may be limited to where you are able to travel to depending on the add-ons you have installed. Don’t be too alarmed if on occasion you see a foreigner such as a troll or dwarf running through the cat city of Shar Vahl. Many player races exist who are traveling to Luclin for the first time. They have probably recently discovered the magical spires used to travel to the moon of Luclin in order to behold the great beauty of this new world.

I have wondered what the prime demographic for this type of game would be since it has sold so many copies. Shadows of Luclin was reported to have sold approximately 120,000 copies on the first day of release. EverQuest has sold many hundred thousand copies worldwide to date. What kind of audience does EQ attract? EQ seems to cover the broadest range of people out there today for any game that I’ve seen. Since I started playing Luclin I’ve come across both female and male players anywhere from the ages as low as five (Yes five, with the obligatory parental permission.) up to and beyond forty who play regularly. When you think about it, I find it very amazing to find a game that reaches such a wide range of younger and older players.

The fantasy world of EQ is obviously well designed and inspiring for anyone who has ever imagined what it would be like to live in a land where magic, elves, dragons, and talking cats are real. If this sounds like fun to you, then I would encourage you to definitely check out EQ and Luclin as you will not be disappointed. Although I’ve heard about EQ for a long time now, I can’t imagine why or how I never discovered EQ for myself sooner.

To suit your style of play there are three different types of servers available to create your character on. Server types include: Player vs. Player, where players duel and team up against each other; Role-playing, where you will really put yourself in the shoes of the character that you created; and then standard servers where role-playing is acceptable but not required.

I started out creating a character on a role-playing server and a normal server to see which one I liked best and I ended up sticking with the normal server which is named the ‘Luclin Server’, how fitting. On the role-playing and normal servers players will not be able to attack each other unless they have challenged each other to a duel or are in a special area of the game called a Player vs. Player Arena which are located in several zones. If you created your character on a Player vs. Player server then you will be able to attack and be attacked by other players as long as they aren’t sided with you. If you have friends that already play EQ, you will probably want to create your character on the same server as them so that you can adventure together. The key here is that you will only be able to play with the other people who are playing on the same server as you. You can have up to eight playable characters per server, so don’t worry about making a mistake on character creation since you can always create and delete as many characters as you like. If you’re new and undecided about the server to play on, feel free to join me on the Luclin server and please say hi to my Vah Shir Beastlord named Digcat.

After creating a character you will be starting out in your characters homeland, which is different depending on the race you have chosen. The new Vah Shir race from Luclin will be starting out in the proud cat city of Shar Vahl. Vah Shir characters have five career choices or classes available which are Beastlord, Shaman, Rogue, Bard, and Warrior. Beastlords will get pet tigers to help them fight, Shaman can cast powerful battle spells, Rogues are great backstabbers and pickpockets, Bards use music to sooth their friend’s wounds or mesmerize the opposition, and Warriors wield the deadliest of weapons to bring into battles without fear. Once I finished creating my Beastlord character ‘Digcat’, my adventure into the world of Luclin and beyond had begun.

The social interaction level is great which is most enjoyable compared to other RPG games where all you do is interact with computer controlled NPC’s and follow it through some storyline. Have you ever been into a game like that and gone through the entire storyline just to find that it had some terrible ending? Don’t you hate games with those kinds of lame endings? I remember playing this one game to the end and expected some spectacular bravado ending, but after winning it all I ended up getting was a still photo picture with the words, ‘The End’ in the middle and then the credits scrolled up. One thing to look forward to is that you won’t be disappointed by any terrible endings here. As said by a friend of mine, “This is one game you will never finish, that’s why they call it Everquest.”

I use Gamevoice when my friends are online and this allows us to all talk together. It’s a lot more fun than typing everything in a chat window and it’s a lot more fun yelling at each other and saying things like, “I’M ALMOST DEAD, HEAL ME NOW!!!” when we’re in combat. It’s the best software I’ve found which is not only free, but works with more than two people and is listed as being compatible with Everquest. All you need is the Gamevoice Share software and a headset with a microphone. I actually purchased the store version over a year ago, which includes control buttons, headset, and the full version of the Gamevoice software. One of my friends runs the Gamevoice server, which is also a free download, and we can all connect to his system and talk. I highly recommend you check it out as it can save you a lot of time typing, which in turn enhances the overall experience of the game.

Hands down it’s a lot of fun grouping up with several players to create player teams and obliterate big nasty monsters together. You just can’t beat a game where there are always other players online that you can play with. It’s certainly one of the most enjoyable and rewarding games that I’ve played in a long time. I recommend joining a guild as well, which will expand your network of friends and other players who can help you out on quests and band together. Guilds are groups of players that could consist of a few to thousands of players who have come together to achieve common goals and uphold certain ideals. My character Digcat joined a guild called the ‘Guardians of the Vah Shir’, which is a guild that only accepts members who are of the Vah Shir race. This is great since I want to have other Vah Shir race players to talk to for help since many of the players are already familiar with Vah Shir and Luclin quests. To better understand how guilds work and what kind of benefits a guild can be for players, I’ll use the Guardians of the Vah Shir website as an example: A guild can typically provide you with a network of other players to lean on when you need help and a constant supply of trusted people to group up with.

Besides playing with other player characters, there are tons of NPC’s throughout the game with all types of quests for you to do. You can easily fill in spare time between group battles by working on quests. Some quests may require some extra hands and help from friends or your guild to slay big menacing creatures, while other quests will have you delivering letters or bringing back a wolf paw to prove that you killed the wolf. Just remember, that the game world is incredibly enormous and there is really an endless amount of things to do. When you’re not grouped with other players you can go out hunting creatures alone, work on quests, develop your character’s skills, and more. The game system is spectacular and simply the most fun role-playing type game I’ve played because of the level of player and non-player interaction that is available. The world is dynamic to the point where your race, religion and other things your character has done will affect whether or not players and non-playing characters alike act friendly or unfriendly towards you.

Your character will also have several skills, which can be developed and learned over time. Trade skills are abundant such as tailoring, jewelry, alchemy, blacksmithing, baking, brewing, fletching, and more. The skill I’ve focused on lately is tailoring and I’ve been able to make some impressive armor to help my friends and guild-mates out. Some people with extraordinary high skill levels (masters) can create very powerful magical items to be used, traded or sold to other players. How would you like to become a master weapon-smith? Luclin has several new special kinds of recipes and materials such as acrylia, which is a substance that can be used to make some very nice items such as weapons and armor. Besides the money you get from creatures or selling items you’ve looted after combat, you may also find ways of making money by using the trade skills, which you have developed. There is even a skill called alcohol tolerance and lets just say that it’s fun to drink in the game and sure beats having a bad hangover in real life.

Drunk in EverQuest:

What would life be like without decent transportation? I mean the foot-mobile or paw-mobile as we call it in Luclin can only get you so far. In the past, the EQ world has relied on magical devices, wizards and druids to teleport players around to different areas. I’m glad there is now a new mode of transportation available for those of us who aren’t so magical. That brings us to our next important feature addition to Luclin…drum roll please… (bah da bum)….the horse! Horses are extremely cool and fun as ever to ride. After you purchase a horse bridle, you can click on it at any time to conjure up your horse.

So far I haven’t seen too many people on horses since even the least expensive breed costs more than most players can probably afford. This is an item that is for players who have spent a lot of time playing EQ and have some money saved up. The low end horses cost approximately 10,000 platinum pieces (pp) and the high end breeds run around 125,000pp. Horses have to compete with spells like ‘Spirit of the Wolf’ (SoW), which make you run really fast. I’ve heard that some of the lower cost horses don’t even run as fast as the SoW spell, but I suppose for players who don’t have SoW available a low end horse is better than nothing. If you happen to be fortunate enough to afford a high-end horse, you might just beat those SoW buffed people in a race. If you’ve saved up the money and can afford to buy the best horse then I imagine there are very few things in the game you would need to run away fast from anyway. It would have been nice to see saddle bags on the horse that you can put items in so that at least they would have an additional use besides just letting you move faster. Hell for 125,000pp the horse should do some kicking, biting and rearing in combat, but for now it is only a method of transportation.

The graphics in Luclin have finally brought Everquest up to date with most gamer’s expectations today. You can play in several different views including 1st person and 3rd person. If you run the tutorial included with EQ you’ll see how dated the really old graphics are compared to the new Luclin graphics. I’ve included a few screenshots of some older EQ graphics so you can easily see the difference. You’ll notice that with the old graphics, armor and weapons are just part of the wall texture. In the new Luclin graphics, the armor and weapons are not part of the wall at all. Instead, they are placed on a stand next to the wall and this makes a huge difference that adds to the realistic feel of the game.

Old Graphics (Left) vs. New Graphics (Right):

Well as they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. The new Luclin graphics are very spectacular but did cause some definite lag issues for me while moving through many of the new graphically intense zones in Luclin. Most of the zones that I find lag in are highly populated with players or they are in areas with a lot of buildings and objects. Now most players would agree that you shouldn’t have to own the best system on the market just to play a lag free game. The bottom line is that I have a system that meets the recommended system requirements and therefore I should not be experiencing the terrible lag that I do at times. Keeping an open mind however, we must consider that there are a lot of other players online at all times and everyone has a different system and internet configuration, so synchronizing all of this information across that many connections is not an easy task.

Support constantly moves forward with patches that have continued to come out at the rate of at least one per week to address game issues in this ever evolving and dynamic online world. After installing recent game patches within the past month I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in the amount of lag and the game does run much smoother in areas that had terrible lag in the past. Along with the lag issues that I have encountered, I’ve also been disconnected from the game while playing and have had this happen to other people that I’ve played with on a very regular basis whether I’m running Gamevoice or not. Despite these issues, the game continues to be fun enough for me to set them aside, and continue playing.

The new graphical interface is very nice and definitely easier to use. This is a needed and very well done improvement over the old EQ interface. It allows you to arrange all of the icons on your screen as you like. I put my spell hotkeys on the left, my chat bar on the bottom left, and everything else onto the right side of the screen. A few of the things you can do in the game will still force the game back into the old interface mode but this is being worked on and hopefully a future patch will allow everything to be done using the new interface. An example of this is when you try to read a book or a note that you have in your inventory. To do this you have to switch the screen mode back to the old interface and right click on the item to read it. If you right click on the item from the new interface, nothing happens. It’s not often that you need to read something, however I would have liked to see everything working with the new interface by now.

The sound is decent and of course it is important to hear monsters coming at you from the side or the footsteps of someone who is following behind you. I noticed that if you go into the old Everquest world you will hear nice happy little MIDI songs play while you walk around but I haven’t heard much music playing in Luclin zones except when talking to shopkeepers or when in combat. There were some sound issues with static noises and crackling which I’ve experienced in the recent past, however new game patches this last month have also addressed those sound issues for me and many other players as well.

I believe that a feature that all massively online games should support is the capability to play your own music because if you’re putting in a lot of hours playing a game online the same old music is going to eventually get boring to listen to. I’m glad to see that EQ and Luclin does allow you to play your own CD music instead of listening to the happy little MIDI songs over and over again. I prefer to play MP3’s out of my music directory so I’m hoping that an option to play MP3’s from my hard drive will be available sometime in the near future. There are other sound players that are capable of playing MP3’s in the background while the game is running but I wouldn’t want to risk a crash during intense combat.

Overall this game is an experience that you can really find yourself getting into. When you look at the massiveness and depth of the gaming world combined with the updated Shadows of Luclin interface and graphics, it’s simply breathtaking. The game system is crafted very well and with constant updates there are always new things to do and quests to partake in. Since I’ve been playing I’ve had two friends buy the game and they both enjoy the game as much as I do. I’m a person who usually plays a game for two weeks tops and then moves onto the next best thing, so I’m very surprised to find myself still playing Everquest: Shadows of Luclin and enjoying it.

It’s common to find games coming out constantly that have little to no replay value. Single player games are definitely out of style in the sense that you won’t be playing them much after you beat the game. Why should you spend $50 bucks on a game that goes up on your shelf never to be played again after you beat it? Multiplayer games are in, because even after you beat the game in single person mode you can always play it with friends on the Internet so these give you more long term playability and more enjoyment for the money. Typical multiplayer games still get old after a while and it seems like every FPS and RTS game coming out is exactly the same lately just with different graphics. These typical multiplayer games are great for a short period of time but are becoming a dime a dozen with only one or two really good ones coming out each year. EQ with Shadows of Luclin moves the existing Everquest world forward technologically with the new graphical enhancements, but more importantly it expands the online world adding new zones, treasure items, creatures, and horses. The new features and additions give this game more replayability than the combination of all the single player games collecting dust on my shelf. If you want more bang-for-the-buck and a game that you won’t get bored of after a month, Everquest: Shadows of Luclin delivers.

Level 36 Vah Shir Beastlord
Guild: Guardians of the Vah Shir
Luclin Server
Digcat’s e-mail:

Greetings to everyone I’ve played with and special hello’s to my friends and guild mates on the Luclin server including: Jobus, Griffcat, Hikish, Cashue (purr), Kahuna, Zenla, Shidagger, Slasch, Roseroar, Pouncequick, Ucoo, Ezmaralda, Watchenu, Winterclaw, Winterstormwar, Midnitebackpain, Midnitethrasher, Feela, Kunikita, Inigoh, Kaarath, Wodam, Gwashopper, Kaarath, Chleestack, Cyrs, Realthing, Zimlab, Stronweazam, Nytespyre, Fintara, Zile, Hanell, Spritualsky, Tarnos, Micaela, Rainleaf, Aliakin, Zaytra, Remuvian, Moofoo, Drom, Iludias, Keairah and others ;)


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