I've spent the last few evenings playing Everquest 2 some more, and I continue to be surprised by how much has changed and how much feels familiar at the same time.
I've had great fun grouping with Udrath, Jahf, and Brynnethe (my wife, who has also returned for the time being at least), and have managed to fight my way up to level 17. I've also done some crafting and have decided to become an alchemist, based on the need to make some cash and provide myself with useful items.
I found and started my first heritage quest last night (In Honor and Service) and had a fantastic time running round with Merecraft and Udrath trying to solve it.
So far, we managed to solve the whole thing ourselves, only using EQ2 maps to locate the Mushroom King. So, I will soon have a lovely Dwarven Ringmail Tunic, which I can't wear. I'm sure it will look good in my new acorn house though!
As I discussed before, the UI has always been good in EQ2, but I have just started using DarqUI which I really like. It doesn't change the majority of the default UI, which I like the feel of, but does provide some useful added extras for healers, including click-to-heal and click-to-cure buttons, with an auto-updater. The other mod I'm using is Drum's Maintained Effects window, which adds countdowns, target names, and click-to-cancel to my buffs. I'm now pretty happy with how it's set up.
I've also discovered some more new additions to the game, none of which I am completely sure of. I think chronomancers allow you to temporarily reduce your level so that you can complete out-levelled quests. I have no idea what researchers do. I assume battlegrounds are like the PvP arenas that were launched with Maj'Dul all those years ago. To top all that off I haven't even started exploring the Legends of Norrath collectible card game!
A couple of things I'd forgotten about the game: the waypoint system is very useful, as is the ability to ask city guards directions. The second point isn't so great - whilst EQ2 still looks very impressive graphically for a seven year old game, the engine is still a real chugger. Even on my almost-top-of-the-range pc I don't get great performance when running in Very High Quality or Extreme Quality. It doesn't really detract from the fun I'm having, but I was a little surprised it hasn't been optimised a bit more in the intervening years (especially as I was getting over 100 fps in LoTRO at full settings).
Anyway, that's what has been taking most of my gaming time this week. I intend to get a little more into the crafting and start exploring my AA (alternate advancement) soon, so I'll have my thoughts on that soon.
Finally, I'll leave you with the new Dragon Age 2 trailer. The graphics are looking much better than the early previews and it certainly looks more cinematic than the first game.
SWTOR Esne Operation Boss Concept Art
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