EverQuest II: Now they're giving it away

Oh dear! Or, should I say… WOW!


Plus, soon you can buy ALL SOE games in a box set for $39

This is a great day for asian farmers. Thousands of free unrestricted accounts!

I enjoyed this Penny Arcade post from Gabe on EQII’s style, or lack of it:

I figured since it was free I’d give EQ II a shot yesterday. Tycho’s right about my take on the game. I found it nearly impossible to get past the visuals. The entire game looks like it was made using Poser and Bryce 3D. Actually some of that Poser art looks better than the shit I saw in EQ. It feels like it was all put together by computers and algorithms rather than artists. It is a world designed by math rather than imagination. There is no evidence of style in any of the characters or environments I saw. We were all talking about the game yesterday and the best word we could come up with to describe it was “sterile”. It is completely without life. There is no love or care given to any piece of it. The entire thing was made by robots in a vacuum.

I know there must be artists working at SOE. The only thing I can think of is that they are simply cogs in some corporate machine. They must be given no freedom at all. In fact after looking at the game I wouldn’t be surprised if they are beaten daily. Their spirits have been broken. The troll models specifically may even be some kind of internal attempt to destroy the game and strike a blow against their corporate masters.

That echoes all my sentiment of EQ2 as well.

I hope those Penny Arcade guys get cancer.

I never understood the critique of graphics that are technically fine. If you like the giagantic shoulder pads and over all cartoon look of WoW, fine.

As for the game being sterile. I don’t see how anyone cannot feel that way about MMORPGs in general. SWG felt sterile, UO felt sterile, hell they’re all sterile environs hold the people. I think people mystify whatever MMORPG they are currently in love with, and then anything that is ‘other’ is attacked with a bunch of descriptors that apply to the genre as a whole.

All MMORPGs are directly descended from the Palace, and most haven’t devivated much at all. I’m just sick of people saying one Graphical Chatroom is superior while using commercial taglines (“a living world, full of adventure, intrigue, and fantasy”) to describe laughable end game content.

EQII is like an entire MMORPG created with fan art.

OK. Hold the phone.

I just went looking for EQII fan art to mock and the fan art is better than the real art.



Wow, a bit harsh for folks who don’t like the same MMO you do, 'eh? I’d never play EQ unless I was paid to do so. Do you want ME to get cancer? ;)

To be fair, last time I tried EQ2 they had some pretty crappy default settings for their models. If you played around with all the sliders and adjustments you could get a really good looking model out of most all of the characters, but the defaults made the characters look crappy.

However, I’m far more fond of the realistic look of EQ when compared with the over the top stupid look of WoW (especially the set armor pieces).

Because technique is only one element of art. I’ve never understood why so many people limit their critique of a game’s visuals to their technical merits. So I guess in a universal karmic sense, we balance each other out.

And the PA guys are right on, there. EQ2 has a slick game engine packed to brimming with sterile, soulless art.

I think they are a bit harsh on the graphics. I did have a big problem with them, but it was about a lot of artisitic inconsistencies, in other words, they never made a style guide.

Another glaring, gaping art problem was the quailty. Some things look very very nice, and some things look really really bad. Its all mixed together. It would have been better to have all bad art then to have it mixed with very good art as a sharp contrast on how bad it was.

A particular example of this are the incredibly bad ‘great cats’. I saw a warden turn into a lion and I swear it was just a bear with a lion skin on it. It had a small head, and a huge bloated body.

It really seemed like they had a few seasoned vetrans do some things and then filled in the rest with a bunch of cheap labor hired fresh out of art school. The bad art is really bad. Most of the art in the game is really bad.

Sure the FX are nice, the programmers get an A+ for that stuff, to bad most of the lighting and all the cool shaders are applied to crappy art.

You don’t understand an aesthetic critique of graphics? Um… why not? I mean, are you simple?

If we are getting technical then the art fucking sucks because the graphics engine is pure garbage.

Definitely a case of diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks, but I think that WoW, while a tad cartoony, at least has a unique style and flavor to it, whereas EQII seems to have that creepy dead-eyed look typified by early CG.

I wonder if people who prefer EQII’s look over WoW’s extend this preference beyond games? Do they, for example, prefer the photo-real style of the Final Fantasy movie and The Polar Express over the cartoony style of Pixar films?

In other EQ News

I didn’t find this to be the case at all in motion. It doesn’t translate as well to screen shots, but while the animations are a bit wooden, in motion it looked very nice to me. I think that a lot of the complaints against the graphics are because they’re close enough to realistic that it just triggers the innate “there’s something not quite right there” response of folks. There’s actually some goofy theory for this in regards to humanoid robots someone in a thread here somewhere linked, but I forget the term.

I wonder if people who prefer EQII’s look over WoW’s extend this preference beyond games? Do they, for example, prefer the photo-real style of Square’s feature animation over the cartoony style of Pixar films?

Depends on the pixar films. I think Pixar stuff, in general, wears better because the state of the art progression doesn’t make later comparisons look bad. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was okay. The Square short on the Animatrix was, however, fucking incredible. I’m impressed when CG gets to the point that I have to pay close attention to discern real-life from CG, and bits (if not all) of the Animatrix short were like that. Just really well done.

They’re totally different styles. I like both in the movies. I think I’d like WoW as well as EQ2 if it weren’t for the fact that I think some of the design (rather than implementation) in WoW is thoroughly fucked. The godawful over the top shoulders on class sets, along with the stupid-ass helms come to mind. I like many of the design elements, but some of them strike me as absurd. (The warrior armor set with the fucking axe for a helm particularly springs to mind as far worse than anything I’ve seen from EQ2 anywhere, ever.)

If this isn’t facetious, have any more info? I’d consider heading back into the all access pass if I didn’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars to catch up on the software side of things. (Did they ever add Matrix:Online to all access?)


I look forward to getting some more folks to try it out.

[soapbox]I find the art to be just fine. Substance/Style arguments are so tired. Seems like the Penny Arcade guys must have pretty crappy systems. My illusions keep being shattered. How it is that “Internet Glitterati Types” don’t have really good systems? Their jobs are tied directly to their computers, shouldn’t Step One of being relevant include staying with the performance curve? Here’s the out, if they can’t (or won’t) keep up, shouldn’t they note it so we don’t have to read stuff like Gary’s quoted text? It’s trotted out as some sort of gospel. I know the level 60 instance that is Graeme Dice has the WoW people up in arms and in attack dog mode, but the solution isn’t to engage in Steve Canyon (who is really Tim Elhajj) type behavior.

Anyway, they indirectly point out the one big drawback of EQ2 … you need a better than average system to get the most out of it.

I’m not too worried about the farmer to player ratio. EQ2 is a niche market for them because there’s more money to be made in other games (WoW, Lineage 1&2, etc).

I wish EQ2 wasn’t so hard on computers. It’s a great game and more people should be playing.[/soapbox]

The art direction for World of Warcraft* kicks fucking ass.

*The art direction for Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Quest, and BloodBowl kicked fucking ass. And this is just more awesome.

WoW art direction consisted of “make everything huge” and “try to use the whole crayon box”