The idea behind creating an
expansion can be multiple: to refine or enhance gameplay elements, introduce new
content, expand the game’s territory, and to fix existing problems in the game
are some of the aspects that may be addressed.
EverQuest: Dragons of Norrath is the
ninth expansion in one of the massively multiplayer online genre’s oldest
titles. Sony Online Entertainment has hit on almost every aspect of the reason
for an expansion with this release, including one not mentioned – making the
game a little easier to play. This comes courtesy of the barter system and
interactive maps, but more on that in a moment.
Be forewarned: this expansion is not
a stand-alone title – you will need the original version of EverQuest to play
Dragons of Norrath challenges
players to journey to the lands between Halas and Lavastorm to discover the
birthplace of the dragons. Those who have played EQ before know that dragons
(for the most part) are not an overly friendly lot, so – of course – the trip is
fraught with peril. There are new monsters to battle, and new zones to play in.
The game has 48 distinct zones, many of which look much crisper (graphically)
than original areas. The game also features new drops, and new tradeskill
The map has taken on point-and-click
aspects that make navigating so much easier. You can readily switch from one map
to another. It is rather amazing that something so simple can have a nice
benefit in that it makes traveling less of a trial and error.
The guild system has also undergone
some improvements. There is a Find Guild command for those players looking for a
guild (and conversely there is a Looking for Members command), and there are new
features for the guild halls, like the altar for mass corpse summoning (when
that raid has gone horribly wrong) and regeneration pools. The Guild Bank is
also accessible to all players and items stored there can be reserved for
specific members, which makes transferring items between players more
convenient. If you don’t want to keep items in-guild, but would rather sell to
other players, the game also sports an improved barter interface.
The inventories have undergone
addition refinement and players will be able to slot different weapons in a
bandolier to switch quickly.
Other features include raids that
can support up to 36 players, “personal” zones, and a potion belt for easy
access to those items needed to survive some of the encounters.
While the previous expansion (Omens
of War) was a nice addition to the original EQ franchise, Dragons of Norrath is
much better, and features much better content and improvements.
EQ: Dragons of Norrath is a sterling
expansion to an old friend. It brings new danger and excitement to a game that
is not slowing down in the slightest. This is an expansion that must be in your
library if you play EQ.
The new features, in terms of the interactive map, bandolier and potions belt,
make the gameplay much easier. The core gameplay elements are still intact, but
the new additions make it a bit faster experience in terms of accessing weapons
Some of the new zones look crisper, and it may be the imagination, but the new
monsters look markedly better than one is used to in EQ.
Robust musical score and solid voice acting.
While the new gameplay elements make the experience a little easier, you are
still talking about EQ and the core challenge of that game is still present.
The new guild system is a winner. This expansion does what any expansion should
do – takes the core game and improves the experience.
You can interact with other players easier and with mass corpse summoning
altars, the group aspect is reasserted.
This expansion scores on almost every level in bringing new and improved changes
to the game. While the essential elements of EQ remain, Dragons of Norrath makes
it easier for players to find a guild and embark on all the elements this game
has to offer.