What do you get when you take a talented development team, a game that has been on the market since 2004, and an honest effort to release a fun “free to play game”? Well, in the case of Sony Online Entertainment’s Everquest II Extended you get the most comprehensive MMO experience imaginable in an almost squimishly “too good to be true” package!
I’m not a religious or a superstitious man, but at times it really does seem that things in life happen for a reason. I’ve played many MMOs in my time, some for only a couple of weeks (or days in the case of Rift: Plains of bland MMO not worthy of my time or money), but Everquest 2 was simply not one that I had the chance to really play until it was release with a new “streaming client” in its free to play model. Sadly, many years ago I lost out on my 30 day trial period, because the game wouldn’t load passed the character creation screen and after a few days of trying to fix it, I just gave up on it and never looked back. And… it would seem that this was a blessing in disguise, because now that I have picked up Everquest II Extended I am not jaded by any prior experiences with Everquest2. In fact, I am now able to simply enjoy the very polished, well-rounded, and deep gameplay offered in EQ2x as a new player rather than a potentially jaded old one! And trust me, as a launch day Star Wars: Galaxies veteran, I know all about what it’s like to be jaded gamer…
While on the topic of ”the jaded gamer”, I gave up on Star Wars: Galaxies this year, as its community is fraught with the sentiments that “AFK is great” and “it’s not an exploit if I enjoy doing it” and I really don’t feel the need to pay to play a game with a bunch of cheaters. I gave my years worth of crap to a friend and without emotion, I waived a final farewell to a once great game. I also gave up on World of Warcraft after the horrible game play changes brought about by the Cataclysm expansion. Man talk about paying good money to effectively downgrade one’s account – there was more fun to be had in Wrath of the Lich King. Yup, Cataclysm = WoW’s NGE. The end result of this was, of course, me being left with a hole in my hobby time that needed to be filled.
Yes, I have three wonderful children and a multitude of “real world” interests (gardening, kayaking, annoying my local Member of Parliament with letters of great importance, etc.) as well as a plethora of “offline” games that I could be spending my time on, but to be honest, everyone needs a hobby, something that they can do and enjoy in their own way just because they can. And it would seem that to me, nothing really seems to be more rewarding than kicking some Orcish ass and taking some over apostrophe’d names in an MMO! I still play Quake III Team Area (against bots) and a couple other single player games, but the depth of game play offered by an MMO is great, especially given that the content will be updated over time. With that in mind, playing an MMO is absolutely a cost-effective, rewarding hobby – I mean, I could spend $15 for two beer at bar or I could spend that $15 on an entire month of game play in an MMO. Yeah, cost-effective hobby to say the least!
I very much enjoyed playing Aion for the first month after it was released, but a couple of things put me off of going back to it. Though it was really well made, I felt the world in Aion seemed small, cramped even. I really liked the personal shop concept, but the “set and forget” crafting method was disappointing. Flying, gliding, and character customization were just plain awesome, as were the sounds, music, and Ranger abilities, but I felt the UI was a pretty uninspired, “yeah, I am a user interface with paper dolls and what not.. yawn…”. And finally, I just didn’t feel like I would ever get anywhere in the game. I’m not a hardcore gamer nor am I interested in PvP-league play, so when I added up the pros and cons, Aion just didn’t feel like the game for me even though I did enjoy it.
Not long after it launched, I had given Everquest II Extended a brief look-see, creating an evil Guardian and getting her to level 11. I was pretty impressed by the game, but I was still playing Star Wars: Galaxies at the time and I am really a “one game at a time” kinda guy, so I didn’t get back to EQ2x until after SOE brought their servers back up in May 2011. I decided to give EQ2x a whirl rather than checking out Aion again for two reasons:
- I have a very slow “high-speed” internet connection and downloading anything, let alone huge game updates, is painful. Yay for “rural broadband” in Canada…
- It was free and I had free “welcome back” upgrade to gold membership to boot, due to SOE being hacked and compromising my credit card info and all.
Call me cheap and impatient, but after downloading the Rift free trial only to find that the game really not very good at all, I just couldn’t bring myself to re-subscribe to Aion and spend several days downloading updates. Again, perhaps these things really do happen for a reason because…
I really love Everquest II Extended!
It is a great game… I mean, I really like it! I like it so much that I’m making my website, www.tpot.ca into a links page for EQ2x as well as SWG and I even created this here blog as companion for my site (because I have grown too lazy to write my own html… I can admit it…). So, here it is. Don’t expect much, but enjoy what I put here when I have time to write it!