Sequel to the Original MMO Hit
From combat and crafting to beautifying your house or gathering collections of items, there's so much to do and see in EverQuest II that new players often feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content open to them.
Official video gives you a good look at what EverQuest II has to offer
The world of EverQuest II is huge and ever-expanding. As a free-to-play character, you get the base world plus the first six expansions to play. There's no restriction on leveling; you can reach the current maximum of level 90 without needing to buy a subscription. You can join guilds, play in the new player-created dungeon system, craft items and, of course, fight monsters with few restrictions.
The Story So Far
EverQuest II is set 500 years after the events of the original game. The lore behind the game is extensive and discovering some of its secrets is part of the enjoyment of playing this sequel.
The world of Norrath has experienced a series of cataclysms, including the explosion of its moon, Luclin. The major continents have fragmented even further and are now floating separately. When the game was initially released, part of the mission for any player was to discover the fate of the various lands. This remains true today, with each new expansion opening up areas which are familiar to veterans of the old gameworld, as well as introducing completely new zones.
The original EverQuest pioneered the highly evolved system of classes we now take for granted in most MMOs. It's no wonder, then, that EQ II does the same. A limitation of the free version, however, is the limited choice of classes open to you.
There are four basic class types:
Each of these archetypes is sub-divided into more specialized classes, each designed to fulfill a specific role in group or solo play:
- Guardian – defensive fighter
- Berserker – offensive fighter
- Templar – good-aligned priest
- Inquisitor – evil-aligned priest
- Wizard – element-wielding mage
- Warlock – destructive mage
- Swashbuckler – good-aligned scout
- Assassin – evil-aligned scout
This class is all about defense. Designed to hold aggro (aggression from hostile creatures) whilst fellow players deal damage, the Guardian excels in group play.
- High survivability
- Wide variety of weapons and armor
- Critical in any group play
- Always in demand for grouping, ensuring you'll meet plenty of other players
- Weak damage output
- Somewhat repetitive gameplay
- Not ideal as solo class due to length of fights / recovery time from fights
- Expensive to maintain as equipment needs constant repair and upgrading
Play this if:
- You enjoy going toe-to-toe with your enemies
- You like the role of protector
- You love grouping
Designed for offense, the Berserker is an all-action class. Relying on the rage ability, the Berserker attempts to overpower enemies before suffering too much damage.
- Excellent at engaging multiple targets at one time
- High damage for a melee-based class
- Always in the thick of the action
- Limited survivability as the Berserker sacrifices defensive abilities for overwhelming offensive ones
- Somewhat limited solo-ability due to length of recovery between fights
- Expensive to maintain for the same reasons as the Guardian
Play this if:
- You want to be in the thick of the action
- You can tolerate downtime between fights
- You want a mix of grouping and solo play
The Templar's primary role is a healer. Calling on divine powers, she heals her allies and provides buffs (temporary enhancements). The Templar also has decent melee capabilities, especially at higher levels.
- Excellent healing and buffing abilities
- Decent melee output
- Extremely high survivability
- Resurrection ability to restore fallen group members
- Fights take longer due to weaker offense than pure fighters
Play this if:
- You prefer healing friends to killing monsters
- You want a great balance between solo and group play
The evil-aligned counterpart to the Templar, the Inquisitor draws on the power of the darker gods to torment foes and bring healing to her allies.
The pros and cons of this class are almost identical to those of the Templar. Which you choose is governed by role-playing decisions you make for your character's background and motivations.
The Wizard is a high DPS (damage-per-second) output class. Known to many as a "squishy" class for its low survivability in solo play, the class is a challenging and fun offensive spell-casting option.
- Massive fire and ice damage capabilities
- Ability to transport self and group to various locations around the world
- Low health stats make for difficulties in solo play
- Occasionally hard to find groups as other classes offer equal or better group options
Play this if:
- You want a high risk / high reward spell-casting class
- You don't mind dying a lot
- You want group oriented play and little soloing
The Warlock offers a similar play style tthe Wizard. Substituting disease and decay-based damage for elemental magic, the Warlock fulfills the same role as the Wizard. As with the choice for priests, the difference comes down to the focus you want for your character.
The Swashbuckler is a lightly armored scout class, designed to cause high DPS. The ability to dual-wield weapons offers an exciting element to the class, allowing the Swashbuckler to trade defense for high offensive prowess.
- High DPS
- Well-rounded ability set allows for both group and solo play
- Dual wielding offers lots of fun action
- Limited to leather armor, making survivability against tougher mobs harder
- Often unable to find groups due to other classes' offering better options
Play this if:
- You like using stealth and agility above brute force
- You enjoy Errol Flynn movies
Similar in many respects to Swashbucklers, the Assassin provides those with the desire to play sinister characters and is a great option to explore the world from the shadows.
- Ability to apply poison to blades
- Stealth ability, allowing for ambushes and for avoiding tough mobs
- Lightly armored, trading agility for survivability
- Difficult to find groups
In the free-to-play version of EQ II, you're limited in your choice of races. You can only choose from the Neutral races, as both purely good and evil races are locked. This restriction is, in fact, not such an issue for most people, as it allows characters texplore all regions, unaffected by faction concerns. Factions, as we'll discuss later, are vitally important throughout the game, so being neutral is an advantage for new players.
The neutral races consist of:
Each race has different strengths and weaknesses, which make them more or less appropriate choices for each class.
- Barbarians are immensely strong which makes them a great choice for the fighting classes. They can become decent priests, but their limited agility, wisdom and intelligence means they struggle to match other races in the other class options.
- Erudites are the natural-born spell-casters of Norrath. They excel as priests and mages, but their low health means the melee classes are challenging in the extreme.
- Half Elves have the high agility of their immortal parents, but this is tempered by limitations in strength and stamina from the human side. They make ideal scouts.
- Humans are all-rounders. They have ngreat strengths or weaknesses, allowing them to fill any class role you choose.
There are only two choices available regarding where your newbie experience will take place, New Halas or Neriak.
- New Halas, the Reborn City, is the newly-rediscovered home of the Barbarians. It's set in the frozen north and offers a good choice for quick advancement if you are looking to play as a neutral or good aligned character.
- Neriak, the City of Hate, is the city of the evil Dark Elves. It also offers a hub for quick advancement. However, you should only consider starting here if your character will become evil aligned.
It is difficult to change perceptions within the game once your alignment is set, although doing scan be a fun and challenging part of the game. In common with many other MMOs (notably World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online), faction relationships are vital tthe gameplay of EQII.
There are literally dozens of factions to be aware of within the world of Norrath. Within each starting city alone, new players will encounter multiple factions. Some serious thought is called for when deciding whether it's worth building your reputation with a particular faction, as your standing with opposing factions will decrease as it rises with others. Balancing your faction reputation is fun and challenging and a key part of the game.
Content and Leveling
EverQuest II is a massive game. Almost the entire gameworld is open to free-to-play characters, allowing them to explore the great variety of landscapes Norrath has toffer. There are frozen northern wastes, southern jungles, arid deserts, rolling plains and much more to discover.
There is very little "level grind" in EQII. In other words, you don't feel like you have to spend huge amounts of time killing the same monsters over and over again simply to gain experience levels. Leveling is faster than in many MMOs, and characters will find themselves enjoying the more varied gameplay of the highest levels sooner than they might expect.
Many players find combat in MMOs ti be the most important part, and EQ II offers up a huge selection of enemies ti fight. Some of the more common mobs include:
Combat is kept fresh by activating a wide variety of fighting moves and combos (combination moves), in both solo and group play. Players can use a wide array of weapons types, depending on class restrictions. These include:
- One-handed slashing blades
- Two-handed slashing blades
- One-handed blunt weapons
- Two-handed blunt weapons
- Thrown weapons
- Hand-to-hand fighting
The Quest System
It's no surprise that, given its name, EverQuest II is full of quests. There are thousands of them to undertake as you journey through the world. Most bring good rewards in the form of experience, cash and items. There are restrictions to the number of quests you can have at any one time in the free-to-play version, and some quests such as those for Fabled items are locked. Nonetheless, EQII offers a fantastic array of quests for your character to complete.
The crafting system in the game is highly evolved and complex. There is an entire leveling system that is self-contained and separate from the general experience gained from killing mobs.
As you progress in levels, the choice of tradeskill profession becomes ever more specialized. The skill tree develops like this:
The Artisan levels are the most basic, and all tradeskillers progress through them. They take the player through the first nine levels and are designed to show you what you can expect from each type of tradeskill in later levels.
At level 10, the skill tree branches into three main categories. Craftsmen specialize in woodworking, carpentry and cooking. Outfitters learn more advanced tailoring, armor and weapons making. Scholars focus on alchemy, scribing and jewelry.
At level 20 you must make your final decision as to which tradeskill to specialize in. However, you are free to retrain at any time, although all previous experience will be lost.
Harvesting resources is a major part of the tradeskill system, and can also help generate cash if you sell your unwanted items to other players. Here's where the limit of two inventory bags plays an important role in your decision to craft or not. You will also need to allocate significant amounts of time to harvesting in order to progress in tradeskilling, and many players choose to focus on this as opposed tthe more traditional character leveling.
Guilds and Community
One of EQII's strengths is the depth and loyalty of its player community. Fellow players are willing to help out "newbies" with most problems by answering their questions in general chat channels.
There is also a robust guild system in place. All players are allowed to join such guilds and doing so adds a huge amount of enjoyment to the game experience. Guilds advertise when they're recruiting new members, which you can see by simply pressing the "u" key to bring up the guild interface.
Mounts and Houses
The developers have put a lot of thought into both the mount and housing systems in the game. As a result, you can immerse yourself in building up a fine collection of steeds, flying carpets and other mounts, most of which are quest rewards and can be achieved by all players.
Likewise there is a fantastically varied housing system. Whilst the more expensive and lavish houses are either locked or otherwise unattainable for free-to-play character, all players get at least a standard apartment from the start of the game. For many, decorating and outfitting their houses is an enjoyable distraction from the quest for experience.
Scattered throughout each zone are tiny objects with question marks above them. Examining these lets you decide if you'd like to collect it. Completing collections offer interesting rewards, many of which are highly useful to every player. This aspect of the game can become very addictive!
A relatively new feature of the game is the player-created dungeon system. Whilst free-to-play characters can't create their own, they are at least allowed to play in dungeons others have created. The ingenuity of some of these is a testament tthe depth of feeling the EQII community has for the game. Some great challenges are available, starting at level 20.
Limitations on Free-to-Play
The free-to-play version of the game does have a number of limitations which may affect your full enjoyment of the game. These include:
- Most classes locked
- Good, bad and some neutral races locked
- Limited carrying capacity
- Minimal number of character slots
- Novice-tier spells only
- Limited chat options
- Low simultaneous quest cap
- Limited shared bank space
- Inability tuse the broker system (in-game player-run economy)
Is The Game Right For You?
Despite these restrictions, EverQuest II offers smuch content for free that it's certainly worth considering. If nothing else, sampling some of what the game has to offer for free can help you decide whether to upgrade ta silver or gold membership, which eliminates most restrictions.
This game is worth checking out if you enjoy a highly diverse combination of classes, races, questing, crafting and more, all set in a highly detailed setting that is ever-evolving.