EverQuest II, the new MMORPG from Sony Online Entertainment, has been officially launched and I was able to find a store that already had it on the shelves the other day to pick up my copy. A smooth release so far, the game delivers what it promises. This long awaited sequel to the most popular MMORPG of all time, EverQuest I, EQII has been at least four years in the making and raises the standard for MMORPG games with richly sophisticated graphics and sound. This fantasy based game has all the right elements to bring the game experience to life in a whole new way.
EverQuest II is available on CD or DVD ROM and I picked up the DVD version. This is a good excuse to upgrade to a DVD-ROM drive as well if you donít already have one. A 16x DVD drive was on sale under twenty dollars at the same store I picked EQII up from so the price was right. My installation went without a hitch and I was very pleased that I was able to load the character that I created using the utility from the EQII pre-order starter kit.
After watching a storyline introduction movie, your character starts out in the middle of an ocean aboard a ship. This is a tutorial area where you can become familiar with the basic game controls and interaction with the game world. Once youíve finished that tutorial session, youíll already be up to level two and dropped off onto the starting island, the Isle of Refuge. From this Isle, youíll be able to select your class and also get your character up to level 6, plus earn yourself some armor, weapons and coin by doing some fun quests. When youíre ready to leave the Isle, a boat will whisk you off to the mainland where the real adventures begin.
Youíll arrive at the docks in your hometown, which is one of the smaller towns that surround the main cities of either Qeynos for good characters or Freeport for evil characters. The initial starting quests will provide a self-guided tour of the town and also get you setup with an apartment and a few furnishings to decorate it with.
Beyond that, youíll have to talk to NPCís to discover other quests to do or head out to explore the world. Either way, youíll find that the world is large and each area has an amazing amount of detail. Just about every NPC has some kind of quest and the ones that donít initially talk to you might have higher level quests for you later on so itís always a good idea to talk to any NPCís that you come across.
The in-game maps of each area have a fog of war effect so as you explore important areas, they show up on your map and you can easily see places that you have or havenít traveled before. The maps also make it easy for you to find your way through familiar landscapes. There is also a waypoint system that will draw a magical path on the screen to known destinations within each area so you can easily follow that path and never have to worry about being lost again.
One of the nice things about exploring is that you also gain experience points for discovering new and important areas so feel free to wander around and take it all in. Itís nice to be rewarded for exploring by gaining valuable experience points and also uncovering new areas of the map at the same time. Most of the areas will be explored as you do quests so I encourage you to talk to some NPCís and use the quest journal to start discovering some of the new areas that way.
The game runs very well for me with settings on balanced, and after putting in several hours of game play Iím pleased with the launch. I didnít notice any lag and the server I was on didnít crash or become unavailable. My client also didnít crash and zoning between different game areas was fairly fast so Iím impressed that everything is stable on the first day, which is a good sign. I imagine as more people join over the next few weeks, we will see how solid the game is and if my first day experience is any indication then Iím sure the game is going to run reliably and smooth for most players.
SOE has released twelve initial servers that include localized language support for English, French and German and also a special Role-Playing Preferred server for all the die hard RPG players. To support the growing amount of players, another six servers have already been added since the first day of release. Itís a good idea to check with friends and join the same server as them so you can all play together.
The best time to start playing an MMORPG is right from the start so your character can evolve along with the game as the online world and economy begin to take shape. Weíll be keeping an eye on EQII as it continues to grow and keep you up to date on the latest news and community events. Join in the on the fun and adventure - the new online world of Norrath awaits in EverQuest II!
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