I read something interesting the other day on a forum that soon found me in the middle of my first real life ‘LOL’ in quite some time. It read: “World of Warcraft was the first MMO, and it still the best.” Hah—reading it again, I can’t help but stifle another small chuckle. It not so much that there are gamers out there that firmly believe such a claim, but more, that there at least one of them that feels confident enough to actually make such a claim without even a shred of doubt that he may be wrong. And he is wrong. At least, in one way. World of Warcraft may very well be the best MMO, but we all know it wasn’t the first. In fact, Everquest, an MMO of a very similar nature to WoW had even released a sequel, Everquest 2, before WoW was on the shelf.
WORLD OF NORRATH
The original Everquest has been hailed by many players as the true birth of the MMORPG. It wasn’t, there were many other MMORPGs before Everquest, such as Ultima Online; however, it was in many ways the birth of a particular type of MMORPG—the WoW type—as it began the now popular MMORPG trend; complete dangerous quests, explore distant and forgotten lands, create powerful and frightening characters, earn new weapons and equipment and gain experience in a never-ending attempt to reach the next ‘level’. Sound familiar? Of course it does. It WoW. And too, it Everquest 2, the game the refined said system, and in many ways, prepared it for its successor.
Of course, today—over 5 years later—a time when even the behemoth World of Warcraft is beginning to show its age, Everquest 2 is all but forgotten. The servers are still live, and on them thrives a small but potent community of long-term fans; though sadly, with the requirement of a monthly subscription, the decision to choose EQ2 over WoW remains a difficult one. There are however a number of things offered by EQ2 that WoW have yet to inherit, and therein lies salvation.
For starters, Everquest 2 offers a lot in the way of new content. There have been a total of 6 expansion packs added to the original game in the past 6 years, alongside numerous content and adventure packs, and all of them come included with the game at no extra charge. In them, are over 90 areas to quest and adventure, ranging from worlds that sink in the sand as you traverse them to volcanic tropical vistas with hundreds of hours of content to be enjoyed. There all the player VS player action you’d hope to find in a game that inspired World of Warcraft, dynamic environments filled with puzzles to solve and world objects to destroy should they stand in your path, player and guild housing, 19 different classes, and plenty more, too.
Of course, many of the gameplay mechanics, along with the graphics and interface, are outdated and aged, though hidden beneath them thrives a world of role-playing adventure lost in today grind for the next status achievement, and it sad to see it fall behind. If you’re looking for something a little different, something that both rings true, yet strays away from what has now become ‘the norm’, Everquest 2 might be just the change you’re looking for. Regardless, the free trial is still available today, and with the ‘download as you play’ system in full effect, you can give it a try in minutes.
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