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Everquest 2

EverQuest II

EverQuest II (EQ2), based upon the popular EverQuest, is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) and shipped on November 8, 2004. It features graphics and gameplay vastly updated from its predecessor as well as NPCs that use audio for speech.

Story

EverQuest II is set on the fictional world of Norrath five hundred years after the The Planes of Power storyline of the original EverQuest game. The gods withdrew from the world in retaliation for mortal incursions into their planes. On Norrath itself, Dark Elves and the Orcs destroyed much of Faydwer; while the Ogres, Goblins, Orcs, and Giants ravaged Antonica. Transport and communication to the moon Luclin were cut off.

The storyline says that 100 years ago, the continent of Antonica was ripped apart into smaller islands, which are now called the Shattered Lands. The oceans became impassible, preventing contact between the continents of Norrath. Fifteen years ago, the moon Luclin exploded and parts of the Shattered moon remain in the sky.

EverQuest II takes place in what is called the Age of Destiny. In this setting, Queen Antonia Bayle of Qeynos is a benevolent sorceress who welcomes all goodly races to her city to help rebuild Norrath. The Overlord of Freeport, Lucan D'Lere, a centuries-old fallen paladin, rules the evil races in his plans of conquest.

Gameplay

Within EverQuest II, each player creates a character to interact in the 3-D fictional world of Norrath. Within the game, the character can adventure (complete quests, explore the world, kill monsters and gain treasures and experience) and socialize with other players. The game also has a 'tradeskill' system that allows players to create items for in-game use.

In the creation of a character, the player may choose the character's race and class. Various classes have specialized abilities that are complementary to their class. (Monks will get mainly melee combat abilities that use their fists or fist weapons, or a Warlock will get mainly spell abilities that do large amounts of spike damage but cost a lot of mana.) EverQuest II enables social interaction with other players through grouping and through the creation of guilds. Like players, guilds can gain experience and levels, partially from players completing special tasks called Heritage quests, but primarily from guild-oriented quests and tasks called "writs," and gaining guild experience by killing epic monsters. Higher guild levels open up special rewards unavailable to non-guilded characters, and cause certain other rewards to cost less. These rewards include housing options, mounts, house items, apparel, and special titles.

Although EverQuest II focuses on player versus environment (PvE), dedicated player versus player (PvP) servers were added in February 2006.

Gameplay differences between EQ2 and the original EverQuest

Many gameplay choices were made in order to stop old, sometimes undesirable, tactics that emerged in EQ; a major difference is the concept of "locked encounters". Currently a group or a solo player can set an option to lock encounters. When encounters are locked, only the player or group who becomes linked to that encounter is involved, which stops kill stealing. Other players cannot assist in the encounter unless the player who locked it uses a special "/yell" command for help, after which the encounter rewards neither loot nor experience.

"Trains" (encounters pursuing fleeing players to a zone line, and then attack uninvolved players), a problem in Everquest, are no longer a problem in EQ2. Encounters will not agro on (attack) uninvolved players until they first return to their original location. Encounters returning to their spawn point are also immune to attack until they return there.

To stop kiting, players in combat lose all their movement speed enhancements except the special "sprint" ability, which costs a considerable amount of power to use, although some classes have speed debuffs that slow the enemy, thus making kiting a viable option. Because certain player classes such as Rangers and Mages have limited effectiveness in close melee range, many of these players have discovered another method of pseudo-kiting by running backwards and firing a missile weapon at the enemy. The enemy lands fewer attacks, but can take significant damage depending on the type of ammunition or missile weapon used, and the skill level of the user.

Setting

EverQuest II is set in what is called the "Age of Destiny" on the world of Norrath, 500 years later than the setting of the original EverQuest. The game world has been drastically affected by several cataclysms (see Story, above) since the original EverQuest. The planes have closed, the gods temporarily left, and the moon Luclin has been destroyed (and partially rained onto the face of Norrath). Remnants from the original EQs Norrath can be found throughout the Shattered Lands'.

Players arrive in one of five tutorial areas: The Queen's Colony, The Outpost of the Overlord, The Nursery in Greater Faydark, Hate's Envy in Darklight Woods, and Timorous Deep in Kunark, and then move to one of five cities, Qeynos or Kelethin (the 'good' cities) or Freeport, Neriak, or Gorowyn (the 'evil' cities). All of the other cities in the world were destroyed, taken over (Ak'anon, Kaladim, and a few others), rendered inaccessible (Halas), or have banished all outsiders (Felwithe and Rivervale) in The Shattering. The original player cities that were present at the game's launch (Qeynos and Freeport) are divided into multiple zones, with the playable races each having their own special section (Village) of these cities. The player cities introduced into the game at later dates (Kelethin and Neriak) are smaller than the original cities, and as such each 'newer' city is completely contained within one zone. Players from Qeynos or Kelethin are not welcome in Freeport or Neriak and vice versa unless they choose to betray their city via the Betrayal Questline. Players are allowed to begin the Betrayal Questline from level 10 onwards.

The game world features wide geographical and ecological variety.

In EQ2, players can ride trained griffons on predetermined routes over the Shattered Lands, or acquire a horse, flying carpet, warg, rhino or a floating disk so that they can travel more swiftly throughout much of the game world. "Mariner's Bells" are scattered across the land allowing instant transportation across various areas of the world. With the inception of the Kingdom of Sky expansion, the Ulteran wizard spires teleport you up into Kingdom of Sky, with spires in different zones taking you to different areas of the expansion. With the Echoes of Faydwer expansion, Wardens and Furies (the Druid classes) gained the ability to teleport individuals to one of five druid rings, with two more added in the Rise of Kunark expansion. Likewise, Warlocks and Wizards (the Sorcerer classes) gained the ability to teleport themselves or their groups to one of three wizard spires.

EverQuest II also includes instanced zones—parallel copies of some zones where characters in one 'instance' of the zone cannot interact with the characters or MOBs of any other 'instance' of that zone.

Races and classes

Character races

Players must choose a 'race' when creating a character. The choice of races include human, ogre, dwarf, wood elf and dark elf (and others which were available in the original EQ) along with new options such as the Kerra (a cat-person similar to the Vah Shir of the original EQ), the Ratonga (a rat-like people) and with the purchase of an expansion, fae and Arasai. The Froglok race was originally locked until a special server-wide quest was completed to make them playable. Some races are restricted to either Qeynos or Freeport, based on their alignment, but can turn traitor and move to the opposing city.

Races by Starting City
(Alignment)
Qeynos
(Good)
Kelethin2
(Good)
Freeport
(Evil)
Neriak3
(Evil)
Gorowyn4
(Evil)
Barbarian
Dwarf
Erudite
Froglok1
Gnome
Half Elf
Halfling
High Elf
Human
Kerra
Wood Elf
Dwarf
Fae2
Gnome
Half Elf
High Elf
Wood Elf
Barbarian
Dark Elf
Erudite
Gnome
Half Elf
Human
Iksar
Kerra
Ogre
Ratonga
Troll
Arasai3
Dark Elf
Iksar
Ogre
Ratonga
Troll
Barbarian
Erudite
Gnome
Half Elf
Human
Kerra
Sarnak4

1 Introduced on May 27, 2005 with a questline that was initially required to unlock the race.
2 Introduced with the release of the Expansion, Echoes of Faydwer.
3 Introduced with Game Update 35. (You must have Echoes of Faydwer to make an Arasai, but you may start in Neriak as another race without it.)
4Introduced with Rise of Kunark Expansion. Characters created in Timorous Deep are considered evil by other entities in the game, but the city itself is neutral as a mercenary city.

Adventurer classes

There are four "archetypes" in EQ2 - Fighter, Scout, Priest and Mage. When EQ2 was launched, a player chose the character's archetype during the initial character creation and then chose a 'class' at level 10 and a 'sub-class' at level 20. This system was changed in Live Update 19 in January 2006 so that a character's final class is chosen at creation. While archetype>class>sub-class system is no longer explicitly defined in the live game, it still defines the roles of classes. Broadly, in a group situation, any priest can be a healer, any fighter can be a suitable tank, any mage or scout can deal damage, with the mage classes typically being able to deal more damage than a scout class, but being more fragile. Evil classes, such as the Assassin, are only available in Freeport, Neriak, or Gorowyn, while good classes, such as the Paladin, are available in either Qeynos or Kelethin. Neutral classes, such as the Guardians, are available in all cities. Ivory background means the class is available in all cities, light blue background means Qeynos and Kelethin only, reddish background means Freeport, Neriak, and Gorowyn only.

Fighter Warrior Berserker
Guardian
Crusader Paladin
Shadowknight
Brawler Monk
Bruiser

Scout Bard Troubador
Dirge
Predator Ranger
Assassin
Rogue Swashbuckler
Brigand

Priest Druid Fury
Warden
Cleric Templar
Inquisitor
Shaman Mystic
Defiler

Mage Sorcerer Wizard
Warlock
Summoner Conjuror
Necromancer
Enchanter Illusionist
Coercer


Betrayal

Betrayal is a process allowing the player to change from a good or evil alignment to the opposing one, and convert to the good or evil counterpart of their current class. In this manner, one can play a traditionally evil-only race, betray their city of origin in favor of a good-aligned city, and play a good-only class. Naturally, the reverse is also possible-betrayal of a good-aligned city in favor of an evil one in order to access an evil class with a good race.

Artisan classes

A character can also undertake a tradeskill profession, completely separate from his/her adventuring profession. The tradeskill professions branch at levels 10 and 20, just as adventuring classes used to.

The Echoes of Faydwer expansion introduced two secondary tradeskills. These go alongside the primary tradeskills, and a character can switch to the other secondary tradeskill at any time (starting from scratch). Characters do not gain separate experience points for these tradeskills; maximum skill level rises with the primary tradeskill or adventuring level.

Tradeskill Class Tree
ArchetypeClassSubclassProducts
Artisan CraftsmanCarpenterfurniture (including altars), strongboxes, and repair kits
Provisionerfood and drink
Woodworkerbows, arrows, throwing weapons, wooden shields, staves, totems, and
musical instruments
OutfitterWeaponsmithmetal weapons
Armorsmithchainmail and platemail armor, metal shields
Tailorcloth and leather armor, backpacks, thrown-weapon bags, hex dolls, and with the Echoes of Faydwer expansion, cloaks.
ScholarAlchemistpotions, poisons, and fighter skill upgrades
Jewelerjewelry and scout skill upgrades
Sagepriest and mage spell upgrades
SecondaryTinkererTinkered
contraptions, such as automated parachutes, environmental suits, summonable robotic pets, mounts, and water-breathing devices.
TransmuterBreaks certain valuable equipment down into in magical components which can be used to create adornments and tinkered items.

Voices

The game uses actual voices for NPCs. The actors used for these parts included Hollywood stars such as Heather Graham (as Queen Antonia Bayle) and Christopher Lee (as Overlord Lucan D'Lere). Actor/gamer Wil Wheaton, Actor Dwight Schultz and Actress/mathematician Danica McKellar are also part of the cast. According to SOE in October 2004, EverQuest II featured 130 hours of spoken dialog recorded by 1,700 voice actors. More dialog has been added since release as part of regular game updates. In September 2005, EverQuest II: Desert Of Flames added player Voice Emotes.

Music

The music for the game, over ninety minutes' worth, was composed by Emmy-award winning composer Laura Karpman and recorded by the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague under her direction. Karpman has said of the music in the game: "Every place has a theme, its own separate, unique feeling - from a quasi-African savanna to a Babylonian city. Every cue in EQ2, with the exception of the attack cues, is like a main title of a movie. A more cinematic experience for the player was one of our goals." Purchasers of the EverQuest II Collector's Edition received a soundtrack CD as part of the package.

The most recent expansions, Echoes of Faydwer and Rise of Kunark, included many themes from the corresponding zones in the original EverQuest, arranged by Inon Zur.

With the recent Rise of Kunark expansion came a major update to the combat music. A new system was added with 14 contextual combat themes. The strength of the enemy or enemies and tide of the battle determine the tone of the combat music. The previous combat music consisted of just a few linear songs.

Business

SOE is marketing EverQuest II not as a direct sequel, but as a "parallel universe" to the original EverQuest. It is set in an alternate future of the original game's setting, having diverged at the conclusion of the Planes of Power expansion (the lore is explained in an in-game book). This allows both development teams to pursue whatever direction they want to take without impacting the other, and allows players of the original EverQuest to continue receiving updates without forcing players down a specific path. In that sense, they are two completely separate games bound together by name only. Players of the old EQ will find many familiar places and characters, as well as "heritage items" that are similar in name and function to items known from EQ and can be gained via heritage quests.

Like the original and other commercial MMORPGs, EQ2 requires a monthly fee (as of January 2008, US$14.99/month) to play the game. A free play period of 30 days are included with the purchase price of the game. Subscribers can opt to pay an additional monthly fee for extended services, such as an online item database or hosting of guild websites. Players can also download and play the game for free as part of a free trial. Prior free trial programs, known as the Trial of the Isle and Play the Fae, allowed players to experience the beginning steps of the game for free before dedicating themselves to a monthly subscription fee. The current free trial allows players full use of the game environment, but it is limited to 14 days and prevents characters from exceeding level 20.

In Europe, the game is published by KOCH Media.

In February 2005, EverQuest II began allowing players to place an order for pizza delivery from within the game, with a simple and easy command typed into the chat bar, "/pizza". This promotion has since ended, but generated significant press for the game.

In June 2005, SOE introduced Station Exchange to EverQuest II. Station Exchange is an official auction system—only on designated servers—allowing real money to be transferred for in-game money, items or characters.

In March 2006, SOE announced that it would end its Chinese/Korean operations for EverQuest II, which were being supported in the region by Gamania. The beta period for the game in China/Korea ended on March 29, and on March 30, all Chinese/Korean accounts were moved to the US servers of the game.

In July 2007, SOE introduced magazine EQuinox, which is the official magazine of EverQuest II. The release date of this magazine was August 9, 2007.

Expansions and Adventure Packs

Title Type Released Date
The Bloodline Chronicles Adventure Pack March 21, 2005
The Splitpaw Saga Adventure Pack June 28, 2005
Desert of Flames Expansion September 13, 2005
Kingdom of Sky Expansion February 21, 2006
The Fallen Dynasty Adventure Pack June 14, 2006
Echoes of Faydwer Expansion November 14, 2006
Rise of Kunark Expansion November 13, 2007
The Shadow Odyssey Expansion November 18, 2008

With Everquest II, Sony Online Entertainment introduced the concept of Adventure Packs. Adventure Packs are meant to be smaller "mini-expansions" to the game, adding a plot line with several zones, new creatures and items to the game via digital download. These smaller Adventure Packs come with a smaller fee ranging from US$4.99 to US$7.99. However, recently the development team has decided to release free zones and content instead of making adventure packs. Some recent releases include a new starting city, Neriak, with a new starting race, Arasai; and new high level dungeons The Throne of New Tunaria and the Estate of Unrest.

Expansions usually cost in the range of US$29.99 to US$39.99 and are shipped in boxes to stores, but can also be downloaded through a digital service. The retail versions often come packaged with a bonus feature such as a creature that the player can put in their in-game house. Expansions generally introduce many new zones with many plot lines, new features, many new creatures and items, new cities, and often come with a boost in the level cap or a new player race. While it may be easier to download the expansions digitally, traditional retail offers more content.

In May 2007, the website Allakhazam's Magical Realm in conjunction with Online Gaming Radio announced that the next expansion would be Rise of Kunark, with a new playable race (Sarnak), new starting city, and a level cap of 80.

Alternate versions

  • EverQuest II: East was created for the East Asian market (mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea) but it was terminated as a separate edition on 29 March, 2006. EverQuest II: East players were moved to standard servers. The special character models created for the game had already been included in the standard edition as a client-side option since 2005.

References

External links

SOE websites

Wikis

News and community websites

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