EverQuest II: Sentinel's Fate review
EverQuest II’s latest expansion takes players into the homeland of the Erudites, a lofty overrealm-themed area called Paineel. The idea is to explore the lore of the race, to understand them better, to see the rich tapestry that comprises the background of a key race in SOE’s massively multiplayer world.
Unfortunately, it all comes across as more of the same.
The level to ascend through the spires to Paineel is 80 and after the hard work to get to that level (the level cap is now 90, one of the new features of the expansion), what is the first thing that needs to be done? Of course, it’s kill rats.
Paineel offers a plethora of quests to be done; most of the first ones, though, come across as fetch or delivery (or go here and repair that) quests, running players all over the city. Sure, it’s intended to introduce the area, but there is an element here that almost makes a player feel like a n00b in Norrath.
Don’t misunderstand; Sentinel’s Fate is wholly adequate as an expansion, delivering on some new lore, jacking the level cap, giving new factions to grind for, offering new gear and giving new territories to explore. However, when taken as a whole, the expansion seems lifted from other elements of the game with quests that peter out the closer a player gets to the new cap. And most of this seems as though it could have been handled in a Live update rather than a full-on expansion. (Actually, the Halas Live update that recently was delivered is a bit more compelling overall – and that’s free.)
The game has two new territories – The Sundered Frontier and the Stonebrunt Highlands. The first is the home of the Erudites; the second is an area of darkness that has been severely tainted by the Void. That Void aspect plays off elements introduced earlier in the game, though it does take them a step further and offers a bit more of an evil element to the game’s feel.
And for those who don’t mind grinding status, there’s a new heritage quest that a decent party of three can tackle (did it with a level 82 ranger, 88 healer and 86 mage – died a couple of times, but the fight was sustained long enough to respawn and rejoin the battle) against a giant ghost cat with an insane amount of hit points for weapons that are level 86 or so.
And coin drops a little easier in the new realms with a player able to collect a couple of platinum in the course of a few hours of questing if they are enjoying the journey and not rushing through it. The downside to that, though, is that the broker reflects the easy influx of coin, and prices are a bit on the high side now.
Mobs have been lifted from previous areas and content, given new names, maybe with a new piece added to the model and dropped into the zones. It is somewhat disappointing at times.
Sentinel’s Fate may well be that interlude between exciting new content and compelling story elements that has been released as an expansion. It is the sixth overall expansion for the game (Adventure Packs don’t count; neither do live updates), and while it does add elements, it is lacking in that sense of adventure that has marked some earlier expansions.