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The latest two patches made me decide to quit. I wasted two weeks of my life to make it to level 20 so that my paladin character could have a steed. Then, the first patch hit which made my steed only 10% faster than running. So basically, I chose a character to get a steed that offers no real reward. Then, I realized the game is not designed to reward a player who spends two weeks in a grind...it is being constantly "rebalanced" to faver a closed community of ubber peope who probably beta-tested with peasants running around who deserve no reward for their time spent until they renew their subscription after playing 24/7.
I was first annoyed by quests that had me running between zones for 50 copper (about 2500000 copper for a real horse), which are small towns attached to uninspired level 1-20 zones. Before level 20, you start to explore the big city (3 zones), which are annoying to travel across while you hunt for NPCs to complete a quest, and the bigger wilderness of Antonica, which isn't that big, but 2 maps with smaller zones and one larger zone about the size of Antonica...and then, distant islands which I'm sure require a good bit of copper, a high level, and a quest with about 20 steps. You find yourself being mobbed by aggressives in the zones, many that kill you rather quickly in which you learn to avoid.
In the first 20 levels, the world feels like one where there is a fight between the Kerra (humanoid cat), cats in the town (usually one napping on a bookshelf or chasing mice--that incidently you can't kill) and things that bark (wolves and gnolls, humanoid dogs, that dominate Antonica). I would love to run over the game designer's cat.
Some NPCs can be entertaining for the first 5 seconds that you encounter them. After that, you want to kill them to shut them up and never see them again, which you can't. Many of them wear the exact same outfit. Many are inbred. The great voice-over turned out to be the great annoyance. Even in most MUDs you can kill the town shopkeeper and have them return at respawn. In EQ2 you don't want them to respawn. You want to kill them to get rid of their annoying voice-over and to reduce lag in the zone. If you kill the shopkeeper, you can always go find one at another town or buy from a player that happens to never log-off, causing lag, sitting in the boring home where it is best to sell even the furnishings for an extra 20 copper.
So I finally reached that level 20. Now I want to go off and explore crafting. Crafting really isn't a feature of the game, but a waste of time and waste of money for everyone but a few ubber crafters that have been clicking crafting buttons before EQ2 hit the shelves. It is a really boring, time-consuming process, which might not be too bad if you could at least do it half-awake. The patch yesterday made it to where you lost up to 20% or made up 20% for every item crafted. The patch today made it to where you lose nor gain nothing except for the value of the raw resources, that you must collect by hunting for 3 rocks, 3 roots, 3 herbal roots, a badger trap, deer, or bears in a zone, and waiting for them to respawn...with a value of about 5 copper. Of course you can kill gnolls and sell their vials of saliva for 7 copper, complete a quest for anywhere from 20 copper to an item you can wear that is almost as good as an ubber crafted item that you have no hopes of affording, and wait for that drop that may result in a silver coin (100 copper) of loot.
So here I am wasting two days of my life while crafting. The first patch comes through and things are even more difficult and my bank account is draining. I'm bored out of mind clicking buttons, getting frustrated because I can't make pristine items while watching my progress line take two steps forward and one step back so that I can sell something for a loss. Then, the second patch comes through and now I don't lose money, but I can't earn money by limiting my production to leather backpacks. At most, I make 5 copper if I use a resource that I already wasted time to harvest or loot when I could have killed something for 7 copper or more.
There are some interesting aspects. The heroic events, this concept called raids that only ubber characters do, and some annoyances eliminated such as kill stealing and random pvp. The ability to craft neat items and have an assortment of power-ups and things to purchase to help your character (people actually walk around without having everything the best because it is difficult to afford everything). The class system is the only thing done very well, and they finally fixed the tanks to be able to tank significantly better than other classes with the right buffs.
The graphics are quite nice, but even with hardware at the recommended specification and not the minimum, you can plan on turning graphics way down because certain zones have too many objects in too little of a space (I believe the game renders objects off-screen with-in a certain radius...which means you might only see 5 other characters, but it has to render and maintain information about everything within a certain radius--in some zones that means about 100 mobs and even more various non-interactive objects). 1.5GB of RAM and a 256MB graphics card is recommended. 1GB RAM and 128MB graphics card really will not do it unless you don't mind slide-slow graphics in an area with aggressive mobs wandering in every corner or graphic settings at a minimum. Even at minimum, it isn't too bad, but suddenly, some mobs are invisible, even that one killing you that you can't find. Chat will come alive in a group when that invisible mob is attacking.
The concept of a person in your group dying causing exp point debt is interesting, but it probably leads to more conflict of people getting easily mad because they think someone in the group is not doing their job than the reality of really taking on a mob that is a little too difficult, especially when previously killed aggressive mobs respawn, wander, and add that extra punch that kills off the group. I really think they should increase respawn time, but I think respawned aggressives shouldn't be aggressive to whomever killed them last. Exp point debt is no big deal, but there are some overly serious players that will blame everyone except themselves for someone in the group dying.
EQ2 is basically a game designed for a community of 1000 people who like Pizza Hut while they laugh at the millions of people who have wasted their money on the game. The sad part, it is close to being a really cool game, but the game designers insist to be ruled by sales/marketing and ubber players with constant "re-balancing" -- you can only hope of becoming an ubber player by a bug created in a patch that results in finding more platinum than your peasant hands should have. Crafting is an utter waste of time except by the already ubber. Hunting is full of annoyances and a basically dead community that when they do talk, it is to say, "you're a good tank," "you're a good healer," "you suck at being a tank", "you suck at being a healer", the ubber defending every game design, bragging about objects found, and someone asking for help and usually receiving the answer in a tell. Scouts and mages are important to buff and provide extra fire power if the tank and healer need things dead quicker, but their never really the focus of group disputes because they are considered the add-ons to the group. Two people can do well in the group and can even take on difficult mobs if they switch tank roles in the middle of the combat, use only the most efficient skills and spells, are completely buffed, and rely on running the mobs around until the other character restores mana and hit points to continue the fight. Things are either very easy, the group is taking on too much for the equipment brought into the fight, or someone isn't doing their job exactly right. Sometimes it is just best to solo mobs and break up the boredom with a quest and call in a group for a quick kill of a grouped mob.
I liked the idea of analog sound tracks with real wood vibrating the melodies, however, the compositions had too repetitive of a sound or too grand of a composition--it is like every moment is the highlight of the nutcracker suite. The steeds footsteps sounded nice, but it sounded odd in grass. I ended up playing the game with the sound and music turned off.
What did it for me though is the fact that the game is seemingly being re-balanced to make the game less rewarding along the treadmill until you are level 30 to 50. I don't have the time to be level 50 and would like to enjoy the game before then and really would like to kill and permanently kill some annoying voiced-over NPCs. It would be nice if they had more interactivity to the game world objects, be less linear, more rewarding through-out the treadmill, had less lag, had a more relaxed community, and had some RvR that wasn't separated by oceans or at least have it to where a ship could arrive anywhere along the shoreline with humans and ogres on board instead of dogs and cats.
And why do the trout chase you across land? Why does every combat move have to include sparkles like one is shooting a fireball when they are just kicking? Why do dogs cast fireballs under water?
At level 50 the game might begin with raids and an endless chain of expansion packs to purchase, but until then, welcome to world of ever-annoying quests.