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I used to love that EQ2, the art style was perfect and the graphics just seem more raw and real. What's weird is there in that version which never made it into the release, but it actually looked better. The Humans looked a lot nicer, they made the character models so ugly in the release version, acne wrinkle skin of Barbs and dead drugged up eyes of Human females. Even in 2004 the game was a lot harsher where most mobs were grouped and you could die so easily and go backwards in a night rather than forwards. You'd constantly get into groups and everyone had to be on their game or you'd get so much debt. Even newb zones were hard and you'd need to group up from the get go on the IoR. Things like that intro boat trip, the game being fully voiced and the epic cities just showed of the production values.
Now the art style looks all horrible and cartoony and lots of zones just haven't had the effort put in. Everything feels rushed and like the production values have gone down so much and everything is far too easy. Most of the worlds content is inconsistent and broken as old meets new and most of it is dead as the developers have broken the world by adding all this new content and ignore the old. Things like the music now doesn't have the impact of the original games and lots of it is reused.
It's a weird feeling with SOE games because they all have that feeling of the original content had so much care put into it. Then after release they just try to rush everything out and throw expansion after expansion at you and the quality goes down.
I just wish at the very least that I could play EQ2 back from beta 2004 and not the one now, it's too easy now and I hate the art style of everything. It's a bit like SWG though because when you go back and play the emu, the game doesn't have that same magical feeling of old because you know nothing new will be added.