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Author Topic: Some very interesting WoW and EQ2 reads  (Read 2536 times)
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Animus
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« on: October 18, 2004, 04:52:56 PM »

Figured we could take a break from debating the merits of each game and do with some interesting info.



First of all, I've been hearing all these horror stories about Scholomance being impossible. Well this guy has a nice (albeit, unfinished) account of his trek with a 5-man group through the instance that I thought was extremely detailed and well done. Should get anyone's mouth watering over some of the tactics involved in the higher-level instances.

Check it out here.

Secondly, up until recently, I wasn't aware of exactly how much of the old-world EQ is in EQ2. I'm a sucker for nostalgia and I must admit the idea of seeing zones like Everfrost, Zek, Deathfist, etc. makes me want to check the game out in spite of my reservations.

It's buried in a 12 pg. thread so I'm just going to repost this from the FOH boards:

Quote
There's been a few questions about EQ2 geography that haven't been answered. I've been playing good characters, so my details on the evil part of the world are a bit more sketchy. Here's an attempt to do so, along with a picture.



This is the world map (and a picture of one of my favorite halflings to kill *grins*). As you'll notice, Norrath is now made up of lots of islands. After the Isle of Refuge, you start off in Qeynos if you're good, or Freeport if you're evil. Well, not actually in them, but in their outskirt villages, you gain access to the actual cities when you complete your citizenship quest.

Each town has a few adventure areas off it as well, and each town has a 3 zone sewer area (ideal for 5-10, 15-20, and 25-30). For Qeynos, it's The Down Below, Vermin's Snye, and Crypt of Betrayal.

The main wilderness zone off of Qeynos is Antonica, off of Freeport is The Commonlands. Each of these has three adventure zones off it, for Antonica this is Blackburrow, Stormhold, and Fyremist Gully. For Commonlands, (I think?) it is (wailing?) caves, Fallen Gate, and Bloodskull Valley. The last one on each (Fyremist and Bloodskull) are instanced event zones, with reuse timers so that you can only enter occasionally. Stormhold is "the dungeon formerly known as Befallen".

One note to make, there are lots of instanced sub-zones off of main zones. Most zones have one, for example, the Tomb of Valor is off of Stormhold.

The next tier of wilderness zones (20-30) are The Thundering Steppes off of Antonica, and Nektulos forest, off of The Commonlands. These also have their little instanced zones to get into, Cauldron Hollow for Nek Forest, and something Cove, for Thundering Steppes. Also off of Nek Forest is Nektulos Castle, a neat instanced zone that I'll mention an annoyance about later.

Thundering Steppes and Nektulos forest connect to each other by a "boat". This is acutally just a bell that you click to use and travel to the other zone.

Next, there's the Enchanted Lands. (Formerly known as Misty Thicket) There's a quest you do in Nek Forest which gives you access to a real boat, and if you complete the encounters there, you can now use a bell to move freely back and forth between Nek forest and the Enchanted Lands. Rivervale, and Drafling Tower are off of EL. (27th to do the quest, I believe)

There's also Zek, the Orcish Wastes. (Formerly know as Proudpine, (I think)). There's a quest you do starting in Thundering Steppes that also gives you access to a real boat, and if you win, you have free travel via bell from TS to Zek. Deathfist Citadel is off of Zek. (25th to do the quest, I think)

Next up, there's The Feerrott. Good and Evil characters each have different quests to go there, starting in their home towns, leading to TS for another boat to it. Win the boat, and you have access. The Obelisk of Lost Souls, and Cazic Thule are off it. (37th to do the quest).

There's also Everfrost and Lavastorm. I don't know of anyone who has finished these two quests yet. Everfrost begins in Zek, and requires access to Drafling, which people have just recently gotten in to. Not sure of the status of the Lavastorm quest.

Hope this answers some questions.

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Hopefully fans of both or either games enjoyed this. This is the kind of stuff I like to see when NDA's are dropped.
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Calvin
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2004, 04:55:05 PM »

Could the graphics for EQ2 (at least in screenshots) look ANY worse? Ouch.
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Animus
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2004, 05:02:37 PM »

Yea, on low settings it looks pretty terrible, lots of awful textures like this.

It also can look pretty damn good, like this. I still like WoW's style better, and I still abhor the models, but I can definitely see the appeal of EQ2's engine.
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2004, 05:24:00 PM »

Hm... I know the whole collection-of-islands thing matches with EQ2's storyline, but I dunno, it sounds a little... modular.  Pre-PoP Everquest was sort of fun because when it came to travel, you got first-hand experience on how big the world actually was.
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Animus
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2004, 05:32:26 PM »

While I started this thread with the specific intention of temporarily abating the arguing, I have to say I agree.  Tongue

I love the idea of a lot of the old world being there. I absolutely hate the idea of everyone starting in one of the two cities, then advancing in a very linear fashion throughout the gameworld. The best part of EQ for me was the world, and it's something that hasn't been matched since. There were zones for your level scattered throughout the world and of course things like the famed trip from Qeynos to Freeport by way of Highpass is the stuff of great memories. Giving me a linear path with bottlenecks sucks.

Granted, WoW advances you in a fairly linear fasion as well but at least you can make different characters and see different places through the early levels. That's most of the fun of making alts, and something I've done extensively in other MMOG's. If I get my bard to 50 in EQ and want to make a good-race alt, am I really going to want to start in Qeynos again and do the exact same things for hundreds of hours (minus the class-specific stuff of course)? I think Freeport, Qeynos, the Commonlands, and Antonica are going to start looking really old after a while.

EDIT: I know there are a lot in favor of instant travel (I've heard plenty of complaints even on the Wanderers boards about the griffon rides, which blows my mind) but I have to say it also drives me nuts that the boat travel is instant. PoP books pissed me off a lot too but it made some sense considering most of us had travelled the world back and forth countless times. But the whole fishing on the docks while waiting for the boat, getting drunk while on board and falling into the water thing is another set of fond memories that SOE apparently think will just bother people. Bleh.
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2004, 06:40:35 PM »

Quote from: "-Lord Ebonstone-"
Hm... I know the whole collection-of-islands thing matches with EQ2's storyline, but I dunno, it sounds a little... modular.  Pre-PoP Everquest was sort of fun because when it came to travel, you got first-hand experience on how big the world actually was.

You know, if you really want to travel from zone to zone, each zone does have a normal 'exit' in them for EQ2. If you want to travel the world, you can. smile

I'm still debating though which method of travel is better though. I also wasn't in EQ when PoP came out, so I was used to running (as a Bard) all over the place.
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Animus
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2004, 06:40:44 PM »

Here's an addition to the above post about EQ2 that's fairly interesting:

Quote
Nektropos Castle

I believe this will change, but here's an interesting issue that I'm facing in EQ2 at the moment that I dislike. Nektropos Castle is an instanced zone with a reentry timer. 8 hours on failure, 6 days on success. There's a quest update for the Fishbone Earring quest that you get by killing the end boss, Lord Everling, of the zone. To get to him, you need to do a few quests and gain access to the basement. Some of this is saved as quest info, and some of it is done every time you enter the zone. One part that is done every time is you read a particular book on a stand, and this spawns a Guard Captain. When he dies, you take his sword, and put it in a holder to open a bookcase to reveal the secret staircase down to the basement. The problem is with the level of this guard captain. If anyone in the party is level 37 or higher, he goes grey (trivial) and no longer drops any loot (his sword, the key to the basement).

I'm currently level 36.8, and have been trying to get this update for 2 weeks, in particular over this weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday, I got groups together that could handle it no problem, and went in, but both times, the zone crashed, locking us out for another 8 hours.
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2004, 06:44:32 PM »

I'm not crazy about the islands in EQ2 (nor the ring-a-ding-ding bell travel), but I'm not too worried about it since the zones are so freaking big. Plus we have umpteen-million expansions to look forward to that will probably serve to expand the world and tie it all together a little more cohesively.

As far as the graphics go in EQ2, screenshots really don't do it justice. I agree that low quality settings look like ass, but even mid-range settings on up look spectacular. Two things the screenshots don't convey very well: spell effects and armor/equipment.

The particle system and animations for the spells are terrific. For instance, when casting a root spell, the caster actually makes hand gestures and you see these chains whirl around him as he appears to throw them at the target. The chains then wrap around the target to root him. It's awesome.

The equipment is also unbelievably well done. Characters actually sheathe/unsheathe weapons and wear them realistically on their bodies. Shields are placed on the back, and seem to have actual dimension (i.e. they aren't a texture grafted onto the back, but appear to be an actual object with thickness). Cloth moves realistically - mage characters are especially fun to watch as their robes swirl around them as they walk. Heck, I was even impressed with the tattered little loincloth my warrior wore as a level 3 newbie.

I agree with the complaint that character models look plastic-y and mannequin-like, but once you see them wearing armor it ceases to be an issue.  biggrin
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2004, 07:43:10 PM »

are there any high quality videos of EQ2 around?  I haven't been impressed with the screenshots either and would like to see it in action.
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2004, 08:17:54 PM »

Quote from: "Animus"
The best part of EQ for me was the world, and it's something that hasn't been matched since. There were zones for your level scattered throughout the world and of course things like the famed trip from Qeynos to Freeport by way of Highpass is the stuff of great memories.


This is so true. Highpass or that gorge with the minotaurs and giant eyeballs? Pick your poison. What great adventures were had on that trek!

Quote from: "Animus"

EDIT: I know there are a lot in favor of instant travel (I've heard plenty of complaints even on the Wanderers boards about the griffon rides, which blows my mind) but I have to say it also drives me nuts that the boat travel is instant. PoP books pissed me off a lot too but it made some sense considering most of us had travelled the world back and forth countless times. But the whole fishing on the docks while waiting for the boat, getting drunk while on board and falling into the water thing is another set of fond memories that SOE apparently think will just bother people. Bleh.


Quick travel is my number one pet peeve in MMORPG's. Like you, I liked waiting for boats. Fishing off the docks, chatting up/ roleplaying with others, whatever. It made the journey seem like a journey.

It seems like most people like instant travel though. So I wonder, why even bother traveling at all? Why not just have a pull down menu and select your destination from a list. Lets not stop there either, lets have a pull down menu to select our level too, since gaining experience is just a dreadful chore to get out of the way as soon as possible. Let us have menus to select our equipment too since we're trimming the fat. Then we could all stand around at the bank and say "I'm level 50, look at my stuff." What would the Lord of the Rings be if Frodo could have just selected Mordor from a list!?

It's the journey, not the destination!

Pfft.

-Cota
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2004, 09:36:56 PM »

Quote from: "Cota"
Quote from: "Animus"
The best part of EQ for me was the world, and it's something that hasn't been matched since. There were zones for your level scattered throughout the world and of course things like the famed trip from Qeynos to Freeport by way of Highpass is the stuff of great memories.


This is so true. Highpass or that gorge with the minotaurs and giant eyeballs? Pick your poison. What great adventures were had on that trek!

Quote from: "Animus"

EDIT: I know there are a lot in favor of instant travel (I've heard plenty of complaints even on the Wanderers boards about the griffon rides, which blows my mind) but I have to say it also drives me nuts that the boat travel is instant. PoP books pissed me off a lot too but it made some sense considering most of us had travelled the world back and forth countless times. But the whole fishing on the docks while waiting for the boat, getting drunk while on board and falling into the water thing is another set of fond memories that SOE apparently think will just bother people. Bleh.


Quick travel is my number one pet peeve in MMORPG's. Like you, I liked waiting for boats. Fishing off the docks, chatting up/ roleplaying with others, whatever. It made the journey seem like a journey.

It seems like most people like instant travel though. So I wonder, why even bother traveling at all? Why not just have a pull down menu and select your destination from a list. Lets not stop there either, lets have a pull down menu to select our level too, since gaining experience is just a dreadful chore to get out of the way as soon as possible. Let us have menus to select our equipment too since we're trimming the fat. Then we could all stand around at the bank and say "I'm level 50, look at my stuff." What would the Lord of the Rings be if Frodo could have just selected Mordor from a list!?

It's the journey, not the destination!

Pfft.

-Cota

The problem is that the journey stinks. You like downtime... right... downtime is just there to waste the customers time so that they pay longer, just like ultra slow leveling. Bg2 has instant travel. Play any mmorpg and then play bg2 (thought by many to be one of the best rpgs of all time, if not one of the best games ever). I know, it is sort of like comparing apples (bg2) to rotten oranges (mmorpgs) since mmorpgs are barely rpgs at all, but even if you aren't a big rpg fan, you should be able to tell the clear difference in game play (or lack of it in some cases...).

Your argument is invalid when the journey consists of killing 100,000 "weak cave orcs" just so you can kill 100,000 "cave orcs" just so you can kill 100,000 "strong cave orcs" just so you can kill 100,000 "weak cave orc veterans" just so you can kill 100,000 "cave orc veterans" just so you can kill 100,000 "strong cave orc veterans"... and so on and so on...

Personally, i am waiting for a mmog that isn't centered around massive grinding/time sinks. Looks like i will be waiting a while since Wow and eq2 will almost certainly not break the mold.
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2004, 10:15:49 PM »

Quote from: "Falator"
Personally, i am waiting for a mmog that isn't centered around massive grinding/time sinks. Looks like i will be waiting a while since Wow and eq2 will almost certainly not break the mold.


I think the problem with that is that nobody has figured out a way to make a fun game that is long-lasting and entertaining for a vast number of people all looking for slightly (or largely) different experiences.  This is exacerbated when you consider realistic limits of budget and time/talent creating technology and content.
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2004, 10:36:07 PM »

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YellowKing
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2004, 11:12:19 PM »

Quote
Personally, i am waiting for a mmog that isn't centered around massive grinding/time sinks. Looks like i will be waiting a while since Wow and eq2 will almost certainly not break the mold.


Yeah, and I'm waiting for a flight simulator that lets you get out of the plane and go shoot things in dungeons while commanding an army on an overhead map.
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2004, 11:22:28 PM »

Quote from: "YellowKing"
Yeah, and I'm waiting for a flight simulator that lets you get out of the plane and go shoot things in dungeons while commanding an army on an overhead map.


And this my friends, is how you make a sarcastic post.

Take notes.
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« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2004, 11:23:09 PM »

Quote
Yeah, and I'm waiting for a flight simulator that lets you get out of the plane and go shoot things in dungeons while commanding an army on an overhead map.


I'd so play that "Flight Simulater Total War Wizardry Grand Theft Flighto"

*drools*

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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2004, 05:59:46 AM »

Quote from: "YellowKing"
Quote
Personally, i am waiting for a mmog that isn't centered around massive grinding/time sinks. Looks like i will be waiting a while since Wow and eq2 will almost certainly not break the mold.


Yeah, and I'm waiting for a flight simulator that lets you get out of the plane and go shoot things in dungeons while commanding an army on an overhead map.

So you are saying that the thing that makes a mmorpg a mmorpg is the grind and that there is no hope to have non grind gameplay in mmorpgs? God forbid companies actually make the "end game" fun instead of dragging out repetitive leveling for ages :roll:

I think a better analogy is that you are still waiting for a flight simulator that lets you do 3 hours of pre flight checks, just so you can fly for 5 hours to get to the target, just so you can patrol the target for 5 hours, just so you can fly back to base for 5 hours, just so you can do post flight checks for 1 hour, just so you can spend 10 hours studying to get a new plane, just so you can repeat the process until you get the uber plasma saturated, dual infusion atomic uber blaster of doom +3 for your stealth fighter mk25.... Tongue
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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2004, 06:52:52 AM »

Quote
Personally, i am waiting for a mmog that isn't centered around massive grinding/time sinks. Looks like i will be waiting a while since Wow and eq2 will almost certainly not break the mold.


WOW has a rest system which gives casual players a temporary 200% exp bonus every time they log in to play.
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2004, 01:38:29 PM »

I know its all a matter of perspective, but I do not feel like I am grinding at all in WoW (38th level right now).

My definition of grinding is going to known location and killing mobs for the express purpose of leveling up.

Maybe I am just easily duped in my old age, but give me an in-game reason for killing stuff, even if its a transparent as collecting X number of teeth/pelts/belts/crystals/claws/paws/tongues/lungs/eyes/thighs or deliver this crate/box/chest/report/letter/part/journal to person Y at location Z. Atleast that is something other than sitting in one spot pulling mobs over and over again for the sole purpose of gaining exps. Plus, when you throw in some different types of quests (like escorts for example) it makes it even better.

I had an interesting one last night in Desolace. A goblin trader needed some more Kodos (large, pack-mule type beast). He gave me a special rod that would tame wild Kodos. There was a Kodo graveyard close by where old and sick Kodos go to die (like an elephant graveyard if you will). Kodos migrate from all over the zone to this place. Anyway, i take the rod and use it to tame 5 kodos. After taming each one, it follows me around. They are very large and make loud booming sounds when they walk which shake the ground if you are close by. Very impressive with a subwoofer smile. I have to be careful of the large vultures that inhabit the graveyard as I am collecting the kodos. I can take one alone easy, but have to be careful to not get 2-3. I round up my 5 kodos and bring them back to the goblin who give me some cash and a health dose of exps.

Its appears there are quite a few quests other than the staple collection and delivery quests. But not sure how extensive at this stage due to me only having really one character right now.

Now, I will admit that after I do these same quests for several characters, it might turn into the same type of feeling, but right now I am loving it becasue, so far, I have not killed a single creature for the sole purpose of gaining exps. Well, maybe that is not entirely true. I have on two occassions i think needed a sliver of exps to level and have killed 5 or so creatures to get over that hump. But still, i think you get the picture.

From what I gather EQ2 has a similar approach to coating the grind with quests. It seems from early reports, that at lower levels there is no shortage of quests (and I am sure some are not just collection quests). I did hear a few reports of people saying that they starting "grinding" (as in my definition) at early levels, but not sure how valid those are. Most seem to indicate no shortage of quests.

In terms of EQ2's geographical layout, there is one thing that I do not care for. First let me say that I am an avid (hardcore if you will) dwarven roleplayer. My guild is an all-dwarven 100% roleplaying guild that has been around for over 10 years now. We were one of the sanctioned guilds in old Neverwinter Nights on AOL. We are probably the oldest all-dwarven on-line guild on the internet. So, as you can imagine, how dwarves fit into a particular MMOL setting is very important to me.

I think racial isolation is an important factor in developing a decent roleplaying environment. Yes, I know good roleplaying can overcome just about anything, but as is the case with MMOL games, it is more of a struggle, so the simple things can be significant.

I like my dwarf (or on the rare occassions i play another race) to have a home. I want it to be a proper dwarven home. I want to see my fellow dwarves there and in the majority. This seems to promote racial unity and really opens the door for creating a fun roleplaying atmosphere.

WoW has these things and has them in spades (and not just for the dwarven race either. the night elves also have a very impressive home). Ironforge is the best representation of a thriving dwarven city ever created. Right now many races are running around there due in no small part Ironforge having the only decent auction house. But i think that will thin out some. I kind of wish they did not add the tram between Ironforge and Stormwind. But it is not too bad due to the humans in Stormwind probably having the best starting location in terms of quests and such.

I will have to give a nod to EQ2 (from a dwarven roleplayer perspective) with is no-race/class restrictions. I love this and really hate how some games, like WoW, are still holding on to the old ideas of the past. I like the idea of dwarven bards, mages, and druids for example.

Graphical, to tell you the truth, neither game really wows me in the character model department. Each has something about them that does not really appeal to me. WoW has limited customazation options and dwarves (males) all appear to be angry at something (and no its not cause they are short smile). EQ2 dwarves look like humans, but smaller. They lack character.

Whoa, that got long.

Anyway, my plans are to run with WoW when its released and see it all/do it all. When it starts becoming "unfun", I will jump ship and give EQ2 (and with probably 1-2 expansions by then) a try.
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