Everquest for PC versus Everquest Online Adventures for PS2

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Everquest for PC versus Everquest Online Adventures for PS2
MMORPG Invades the Console – It Isn’t Just for PC Gamers Anymore

Originally Published on April 14, 2003

Sony Online Entertainments latest foray into their proven home turf of the MMORPG genre has enabled Playstation 2 owners to get a taste of what PC gamers have been able to do for years, namely experience one of the most loved and perhaps hated fantasy worlds, Everquest’s Norrath. But is Everquest Online Adventures everything it’s older, more mature brother Everquest for the PC is? The short answer is, not quite yet, but it’s definitely a good start for console-only gamers.

Similarities

1. EQ and EQOA both heavily involve combat as the means of advancing in level in the game. To do this, you must “camp” either alone or in groups (and groups are much more important in later levels). Killing monsters is not only the best way to gain experience points, it’s also the fastest way to gain wealth in both games. Not to mention that certain equipment and gear can only be had in both games by killing the monsters that drop that loot.

2. Both games are set in the same fantasy world of Norrath. While EQOA is set 500 years in the past from the start of EQ, it feels very much like the continent of Antonica from EQ, but perhaps bigger and more densely populated. There are subtle differences but the Dark Elves still hail from Neriak and the human druids from Surefall Glade. Other names of cities and places will be familiar to EQ players, such as Grobb, Freeport, Qeynos, Rivervale, High Hold Pass, etc. Sure, it’s different in some ways but the similarities are undeniable.

3. Both games have more or less optional quests that can get you involved in the back story for the game. These quests aren’t required for level advancement, but doing them can make your character more effective and can also offer something somewhat different than just mindless hacking and slashing. You’ll still be hacking and slashing but at least you’ll have another goal in mind aside from hearing the glorious sound of “DING!” as you gain those precious levels.

4. Whoever said consoles can’t patch their games was a big fat liar. Not only can EQOA patch the game to fix inevitable bugs and balance issues, it can also patch in new content to the game thanks to its modular and update-centric design. EQ fans are intimately familiar with the patching process and EQOA fans will need to get used to this as well, since it’s the only way EQOA can adapt and grow to meet the desires and expectations of its fans.

5. Community and communication with others is the real key to enjoy an MMORPG, be it EQ or EQOA or one of SOE’s many competitors. These kinds of games are not just massive fantasy worlds for your exploration enjoyment, they offer the opportunity to meet other real people and interact with them. EQOA and EQ both require a keyboard for this interaction and as of yet do not support any built-in voice communications.

6. Both EQ and EQOA are really geared for team-oriented play, especially at higher levels. However, EQOA seems to be more friendly for solo-players in that they can find ways to advance on their own without absolutely requiring a group, at least, not for low to mid level characters, and albeit slower than grouping. Since the game is multiplayer, though, even EQOA is much more group oriented than solo RPG games on the consoles, and that’s where the fun comes in.

Differences

1. EQ is bigger than EQOA. With all the expansion packs enabled, Everquest has a massive amount of content, probably the most of any other MMORPG. Much of that content is static, but since EQ does a good job of preventing you from seeing it all at one time it can feel fresh for a very long time. Some of the newer content is much more dynamic, such as the troll city of Grobb being taken over by new playable race Frogloks in the Legacy of Ykesha expansion.

2. EQ has much more non-combat things to do than EQOA. Currently there is little to do in EQOA aside from levelling up your character or chatting with other characters. In EQ, you can do that as well, of course, but the game also has a system of trade skills which you can use to build things or enhance your character in ways other than pure combat. This can give the game world more life, because adventurers should have other things to do besides kill monsters.

3. There are not quite as many options for race or advancement in EQOA as in EQ, again this is primarily due to EQ having had multiple expansion packs. EQOA does offer the very nice incentive of being able to spend points to increase statistics and also for non-caster classes to have spell-like abilities.

4. EQOA has more of an arcade-game feel than EQ. EQ seems at times to be like a sim rather than an arcade game with its more complex control scheme. However, EQOA has streamlined this for a much more intuitive feel to fit the PS2’s dual shock controller. Couple that with a big TV and a comfy couch and EQOA becomes very suitable for long-term play sessions which can be a must in games of this nature.

5. EQ offers Player versus Player (PvP) style play, in the form of special PvP servers or on “blue” (normal) servers as a PvP character. In reality, Everquest really wasn’t designed with PvP in mind and the low number of PvP servers compared to regular ones is a strong indication that the market for Everquest really isn’t that interested in it, at least not for this kind of game. EQOA currently has no way to participate in any PvP at all.

6.The Death Penalty, or what you lose when you die in EQOA is much less severe than it is in EQ. In EQ when you die you can look forward to either hunting down a cleric than can “Rez” you or possibly a long and tedious and sometimes very dangerous “CR” (corpse run) to attempt to get it back so you can get your stuff. Sometimes other players will be around that can help you but not always. Also in EQOA when you die you don’t lose your experience points and levels, but you instead incur and experience point “debt” that must be paid by gaining more experience before you continue advancement with new experience.

In conclusion, Everquest Online Adventures isn’t quite at the level of sophistication that Everquest for the PC is, but it does have a lot going for it. If you have tried EQ and were turned off by its harder difficulty level EQOA might really be right up your alley. Of course, if you’re a console-only gamer by necessity or preference, EQOA gives you a good strong sampling of what you’ve been missing on the PC as well as an opportunity to really sink your teeth into a game that can last months and months. Both games have their strengths and weaknesses, with EQ being more geared for an experienced MMORPG gamer and EQOA more geared for relaxing monster-slaying fun.

John Bowlin