On Monday SOE will be releasing their third Everquest 2 expansion entitled Echoes of Faydwer. I am far more excited for this upcoming expansion than I have been probably for the last two expansions combined. Neither of the previous two I even bothered buying until a couple months after launch, I have already preordered EoF and am already setting up plans to play some hardcore gaming come launch day. So I thought I would take this opportunity to kind of explain what Sony did wrong with the previous two expansions that they finally got right in the third.
The first expansion was Desert of Flames. This expansion raised the level cap from 50 to 60, had 30 new creatures, 30 zones, voice emotes, climbing, a new city, and an arena pvp system. Now I don’t behoove them the level increase, they certainly needed to up it in order to keep players interested. The creatures were great too… the voice emotes I think was a cool idea though they aren’t as useful as they sound. It was a great idea because you could now hear commands and such so that you didn’t have to read it, but in reality this just adds a tad bit of flavor and is probably better suited to an older generation of game before Teamspeak became the norm. Climbing may be cool but I have yet to even use it, same with the new city. And from what I heard almost no one uses the arenas.
Now my main problem I think with this expansion wasn’t the number of zones, but the fact that the zones were only for 45 and above. I always thought that EQ2’s largest problem was a lack of variety in the game and thus I have always thought they needed to do more to improve the mid levels especially but also the high and low levels. My problem is that all the zones, outside of a few, look the same, and you tend to also fight the same monsters throughout the game.
The common monsters at all levels seems to be Gnolls, Orcs, bears, wolves, zombies and skeletons. What makes this really sad is that none of these monsters are particularly interesting to even look at! So this expansion really never brought anything, it may have been really cool when you got to those 10 levels that it was designed for, but they shouldn’t have made. Final Grade: D
Next came Kingdom of Sky. This one had fewer new monsters and zones, again raised the level cap by 10, raised the guild level cap by 10, and added alternate advancement. Now the alternate advancement (AA) started at level 20 so this actually did add to the game for those under 60. However again they didn’t address any mid-level content at all outside of this. AA was certainly a good thing, but many of these skills were noticably lackluster. I give this expansion a tad more credit however, though there was actually less added to the game in it, I like Dragons a lot and thought that while the AA wasn’t great it did show an attempt to give something to everyone. Final Grade C.
Echoes of Faydwer. This is an incredibly large expansion, i don’t know how they are doing it. Now there are only 20 new zones (likely fewer than KoS), but they supposedly are extremely large zones. And they are for all level ranges from 5 all the way up to 70, so it doesn’t only give new options to the mid-levels but it also gives more options to high levels which I think is needed. They are adding the first new starting city and the first new player race (the Fae) since launch. No new level increase this time but I think they are raising the level cap for guilds to 60 or 70. They are also adding in new systems for tradeskills. They are adding adornment slots to items to make items more customizable, and they are adding two new secondary tradeskills called transmutting and tinkering. I can’t remember what these are off hand but I am very excited to check them out! In addition to this they are adding full featured cloaks with guild emblems on them, and a second earring jewelry slot. 40 new monster types ( more than either of the other expansions). New class-specific AA skills and a belief system including new belief skills!
In addition to all that, they are also adding a new type of item called an item set. The idea is that the items will get stronger as you get more items in the set, so individual pieces of armor in a set may not be great, but if you get the entire outfit, you will not only look cool, you will be leet as well! Lastly they are adding travel spells to druids and sorcerers like the old EQ1 days and I hear even putting in boats, which some may not like but I think will go a long way to make the game seem bigger which is another problem they’ve had. I’m soooo excited… Pending Grade: A