Last night the gf and I hit level 11 in EQ2, and so far so good. I’m cautious not to get ahead of myself, since we all know the first few levels of most MMO’s are generally the best part, but so far EQ2 is doing a few things I really like.
For one, as soon as you level, you get new skills. Having played WoW for as long as I did, where you have to go buy skills once you level, I forgot how nice it is to be out in the middle of a quest, level up, and have new skills instantly at your disposal. It gives far greater meaning to one of the major aspects of an MMO, leveling up. Bonus points for putting the new skills into your hotbar, so you don’t forget about them and can instantly check them out and drag them where you would like to position them.
Next up is the voice acting. I must say, as a causal player who takes his time and is not rushing to max out, being able to sit and enjoy listening to a quest adds a huge level of immersion. I now understand the back story of every quest we accomplish, which makes all the ‘kill x, collect y’ quests a little more enjoyable. The base of the quests is the same old thing, but the wrapping around them is just a lot nicer. Plus I no longer have to skip over all the strange names in the game, as now you get to hear someone else say it first.
The animation of the characters; hand movements, head tracking, mouths moving when they talk, all further that level of immersion. It’s a small thing, but it’s noticeable to see a quest giver turn their head towards you when you talk to them, or how your character will look up/down depending on the size of the monster you are fighting. A good example of this happened last night; while fighting a skeleton my Dark Elf character was looking straight ahead at him, but my gf’s Ratonga character had its head tilted up, being shorter. Again, very small touch, but noticeable.
We plan to continue our adventure tonight, hopefully gaining a few more levels. So far everything has been fairly easy, but that’s expected at our low level. I’m hoping around level 15 or so the difficulty picks up. I’ve already noticed we received a few quests higher level than we are, so perhaps we can tackle one of those for a challenge.