Everquest - PC - Review
There have been many advancements in the genre of online role-playing games. We have watched them evolve from multi-user-dungeons based entirely in a text only universe and on into Ultima Online, an extensive world of images and complex interactions. With the recent release of EverQuest, there is a hope to pull away with the number-one online adventure game universe. It seems that they are having a great deal of success with a release date that has beat Microsoft’s Asheron’s Call to the punch. EverQuest uses an entirely 3D interactive world consisting of three continents and numerous cities in which questing and cooperation are the main focus of the game.
In EverQuest you can choose which world you want to play in, an ideal world where the monsters are the only bad guy. Or, a world where you fear your fellow players, as well as the creatures that inhabit the countryside. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to make this decision when creating your character. During game play you have the option of completing a quest that will flip your karmic switch from good to evil. After becoming a player killer, you can be done in by other player killers, but you still can’t even scratch a player that hasn’t completed the quest.
Which brings me to creating a character (whether your intentions are naughty or nice). There are literally endless combinations of races, classes, skills and abilities to play with. However there isn’t much need to feel overwhelmed, you are able to create up to eight characters even though you only use one at a time. There are 12 races that break down like this: 3 human cultures, 3 cultures of elves, and 6 others. The character classes reminded me of Dungeons and Dragons a wee bit, but if it isn’t broke....
The last element of EverQuest’s character creation process is choice of religion, which at the time I didn’t think was all that important. Believe me, it is. Every detail of your character is categorized. Your race, class, and religion will decide how people deal with you in the world, as well as what guild membership card you carry.
The EverQuest world turns out to be a very complex place with its own economic structures based on supply and demand. When a certain item of sale becomes scarce, the price goes up; and invariably when something is common, the price will drop. After a while it was interesting to watch characters shopping around for better deals on buying/selling items.
The interface seemed a little more complicated than it needed to be. For example, selling an item, buying an item and then inventorying your new item was far too more complicated. And, on top of it all, you have to make sure you have all the right kinds of coins available for making change. I play adventure games on the computer for simple enjoyment and to get away from real life troubles of changing money and going to the bank. In one two-hour game session, I went to a bank five or six times. Is that adventurous or what?
The graphics reminded me of 3D games from two or three years ago. Although, I had to account for the fact that streamlined graphics equals less lag in online games right? I kept thinking though that Half-Life is an online game with mind-blowing graphics, why is EverQuest so lacking? Then I remembered that there were literally thousands of players in EverQuest at the same time, so I got used to the graphics.
Speaking of streamlined for less lag, they have done an adequate job of carrying the load of all the players online. I played over the weekend and had no unusual problems--and only once, during peak hours, did I have difficulty logging on. They are doing an excellent job with their servers, all things considered.
If you are looking for an intense online game world, then EverQuest is probably for you. Right now EverQuest is the best online game out there in public release. But the looming release of Asheron’s Call may take a bite out of EverQuest, as EverQuest took a bite of Ultima Online. On the bright side, with so many online games available, servers are less likely to be bogged down with traffic.