I’ve found the quest rewards in EQ2 to vary greatly, from really nice to meh, to what the …? But then again, I found that to be the case in most MMOs; WoW had decent quest rewards usually, though some were crappy, DAOC often had terrible rewards, though the later revamps have helped a lot there. At leat now in EQ2, finally, you can see the reward before undertaking the quest. And, unlike WoW, most quest rewards are sellable on the brokers in EQ2.
One reason the rewards for quests are a bit skewed in EQ2 I think is the generally very good crafting system (good as in how it plays out for buyers; actually making stuff is tedious beyond belief). Essentially, you can buy basic stuff from merchants, find better stuff on normal mobs, get better stuff than that from low level crafting, find better stuff than that on heroic mobs, get better stuff than that fron high level crafting, etc. At the top of the heap you do have the uber-quest reward stuff from raid quests and Heritage Quests, etc., but a lot of top level players carry crafted gear, because a level 60 crafter can make some awesome stuff–it’s more like DAOC in that regard.
Because you can sell damn near everything you find as a quest reward, too, there’s a huge secondary market out there. Lots of folks do quests for gear they don’t need in order to sell the reward. Because crafting is lucrative, and gathering annoying, you can actually sell low-end crafting materials because the folks who need them don’t always want to go get them. Stuff like that makes the economy kinda interesting.
As for instances for duos and trios, I heartily recommend the Splitpaw and Bloodlines add-ons, they’re like $5 each I think. The loot in Splitpaw–easily trioable at 35+, though you won’t come near to finishing all the quests at that level as a trio–is often amazingly lucrative, especially in crafting recipes and decent armor/jewelry. The stuff in the D’Morte Bloodlines quest is also pretty darn good, to wear or sell, and the mobs come in manageable bunches.
Vermin’s Snye and the Crypt of Betrayal have good stuff for twenty-somethings, too. They’re under Qeynos. I’m sure there is something similar on the Freeport side, probably Wailing Caves. Don’t be afraid to explore, either. I’ve found that you can usually get out of bad situations and if you don’t, eh, the death penalty is mild (too mild, IMO, but that’s another story).
BTW, EQ2 has a vitality system sorta like the rest system in WoW, except sometime ago they just decided to make it permanent–your vitality never goes below 0.1 % so you always get double xp, or rather, the base xp rate is now double what the normal rate was a year ago at launch. If you keep your account long enough, at intervals (every six months, for sure, maybe earlier) you get potions that temporarily boost your exp gain by a substantial margin too. Overall I’ve found exp gain to be good. The othe night we hit the Sinking Sands (part of the Desert of Flames expansion, well worth getting) at 40, did six quests ranging from 45-48, visited Maj’Dul, which is really a 45+ city but which is entirely too cool not to visit, and gained a full level + to 41 in about 2.45 hours. The exp bonuses for exploring Maj’Dul alone gave us like a quarter level or more.
It’s an acquired taste, like all these games, but for me so far EQ2 is far and away a more engrossing experience than WoW was–and I loved WoW for like 18 months. I’m on the PvP beta server scoping that out too and I’m really looking forward to the next year in EQ2.