Friday, March 10, 2006

The new Everquest 2 : Trial of the Isle

So as I stated a while back I was going to play the Everquest 2 : Trial of the Isle after the new changes were made to it. The boat ride is gone, the old isle is gone, and the class system has been rebuilt.

What I immediately noticed was the change to the classes. Instead of picking a base class you get to select your final class upon creation. This opens 16 different unique classes for you to try instead of the old four base classes. This means you actually get to use every last drop of EQ2's Trial of the Isle instead of running out of classes to try in a few hours!

The next big change that I noticed was the removal of the "introduction". Instead of learning how to move and interact via a voice guided tour on the boat you are just dropped into the world in front of an NPC. This is a change for the worse. The boat was a great introduction to the game and the voice acting really got you into the mood to adventure! This wasn't a big problem for me, but a new player could be turned off if they can't figure out to click on the NPC in front of them.

To learn about various features in the new TotI question boxes appear in the upper right. You are never directed to click them, but if you do you get a quick blurb of information about something that may have just happened. It is a poor system to introduce the player to the interface.

Another detracting point; the Isle is void of all voice overs on quests. This is a huge negative change. EQ2 prided itself on the voice overs! The voice overs added a lot to the game in the original TotI. This is EQ2's big show to win over new players and the removal of such a key feature is a huge mistake. Maybe the voice overs are being reworked?

Aside from the removal of voice overs and the tutorial introduction the changes to TotI are all positive. There are actually two Isles now; one for the good side and one for the bad side. Both isles offer different quest lines doubling the content of the trial. The map however is the same as the old TotI, but that is nothing major as its the content within that map that counts!

The new quests offer a better variety of quest types. There are kill quests, collection quests, escort quests, and even some good item interaction quests available. This familiarizes the new player with various NPC quest interactions that will be vital later in the game.

The quests also seem to make more sense to the world at large. You come into the world understanding there is a war between the good side and bad side. The new quest lines will have you learning a little bit more about the world events that have occurred. While there is events that strictly limited to the isles you still get the feeling that you are preparing for something bigger by the time you leave the isle.

Stay tuned for my commentary on a few of the classes I’ve tried and even hear about the little bit of role-playing I just may have done.
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