As I’ve stated before, I’m quite impressed what SOE has done with EQ2. They’ve taken a game which left the gate stumbling and, before yesterday, turned it into a game which has found a comfortable stride. I say “before yesterday” because, for those who don’t know, GU35 went live yesterday. If EQ2 found their stride before GU35, they’ve now found a nice comfortable sprint because this update is very well done. I’m not going to get into a review or give you a play-by-play of my evening last night…but I did have a very good time with the new zone and race that GU35 gives players.
As you may or may not know, I joined Cuppy’s guild the Mistwalkers over on the AB server. Great group of people who know how to have fun…and more importantly, don’t take the game nor themselves seriously. Could this be the guild that helps me to 70? Stay tuned. EQ2 is best played with a group of friends. Every time I’ve dropped EQ2, it was because I didn’t really have a solid group to play with. Jeese…we even got Brent into the fold last night so overall we’ve got a good bunch and the guild continues to grow. I’ve got two characters in there now, Belmirus and Beldarion…look me up and say hi if you want.
Now it’s time for me to get a little ticked at the MMO community as a whole. When I see updates like this one and consider the amount of content that SOE has put into EQ2, I’m left to wonder why WoW is still number 1 after only one expansion. Is it the bad start EQ2 had? Is it SOE fault for not pimping their game more? Is it the WoW community’s fault for being massively simplistic in their requirements for entertainment? Something else maybe? Here we have a game in EQ2 that, 1) looks better than WoW, 2) has more content than WoW, 3) currently has the same barrier to entry as WoW, and yet has a mere fraction of people playing it. I had a reader comment saying that he really wouldn’t want to see those numbers…and frankly, neither do I. However, I would like to see EQ2 getting more WoW-like credit than it’s currently getting. There is also the factor that WoW can run on a Commodore 64, so anyone can play it…but still, most computers have caught up with standards set in 2004.
My wife tried EQ2 a while back when I started playing again after a two year absence….this was before EoF. She stopped playing after about level 12 I think. I asked her why at the time and she said she found things very hard to find within EQ2. Quoting her:
The reason that I didn’t like EQ2 was that I found many quests lacked the details to be able to easily complete them. I also really disliked the professions like the crafting. When I play, I like to be able to go and just play. I’m a very casual gamer. When I asked for direction or help on the main chat, I never got an answer. I was reliant on my husband (if he remembered what to do). As a result, WoW started to look better. Thottbot will tell you how to do any quest and the directions are quite accurate. If I ask a question on the general chat, it is rare that I don’t get an answer. The guild for Wow was also great. The biggest down size of Wow is that I’m at Level 70 and although I haven’t finished the quests in the new zone (I still have about 1/3 of them left), my motivation to do them has dropped. Who knows, it might be that the summer is here and I would prefer to be outside.
WoW was her first MMO and she was very accustomed to being told how to progress from one thing to the next. She’s use to looking things up in Thottbot and such and she just couldn’t make the transition. EQ2 does hold your hand to some extent, but not to the extent that WoW does. Maybe that is still the barrier that players coming from WoW are encountering. Honestly, I think this aspect of EQ2 is as easy as its going to get…anything more and EQ2 risks losing its identity and actually becoming WoW. If this is indeed the case, I’m not too sure if there is anything SOE can do about it. Best thing for them is to keep on the path they are currently on. Take the time to deliver high quality content and players will eventually come.
Regardless, congrats to SOE for GU35…it looks like you’ve made a welcome addition to the EQ2 universe. Keep it up.