Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Shadow Odyssey Approaches

I'm eagerly awaiting the fifth EverQuest II expansion pack, The Shadow Odyssey, which brings back the dungeon crawl to the forefront. The last expansion pack was good, but it introduced tons of solo quest chains, like in World of Warcraft; however, they made it the only viable way to level from 70 to 80. It was a bad move on Sony's part, since if we wanted to play in the World of Warcraft vein, we would play World of Warcraft. Most EQ2 veterans have probably given WOW a shot already, and decided it sucks. The thing that made EQ2 more fun is that it has a thousand times as much content, and there is literally something for everyone. You could do a group dungeon crawl, raid from even the really early levels, you could solo, level up via PvP alone, you could be a pure tradeskiller creating items to level from 1-80 without ever killing a single monster; heck, you could even be a home decorator, and play the game solo for the in-game homes and guild halls, moving items around in game in a creative fashion for purely aesthetic purposes.

So it seems like TSO might be a return to form as it brings us twenty new dungeons for group adventures, a new landmass with new solo quest chains, and a new innovation: tradeskill raids! Although I have yet to get a crafter to level 80, I'm actually interested in doing so now (just a few levels left on my Alchemist), because the twist of being able to craft as a group intrigues me.

I guess that's why SOE just keeps bringing me back every time I start to wander. It wouldn't be Sony if they didn't introduce some new innovative form of gameplay. This is the game that brought us quests that involve moving items around in the world (such as stacking crates to get over a barrier), interactive barriers (such as walls we could smash our way through), climbable walls, dynamic camps, appearance armor, and more. I think people often don't give SOE as much credit as they deserve. Sony does like to change entire game mechanics and systems wholesale, and that can piss off some players (SWG NGE, anyone?), but they do plenty more that is right.

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