REVIEW: EverQuest:Lost Dungeons of Norrath

REVIEW SUMMARY: EQ:LDoN only makes EverQuest suck half as much as it used to.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Yet another expansion to the “popular” EverQuest franchise.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Private dungeons, enuff said.

CONS: Same old grind — nothing new.

BOTTOM LINE: Not surprisingly, once again, Sony takes a good idea, and implements it poorly.


I have to admit, when I first heard about Lost Dungeons, I was excited. The idea of “private dungeons” was very enticing to me. It would alleviate the monotony of camping solitary NPC(s) ad nauseum. It would definitely assuage the fear that you can have a solid group but nowhere to hunt. It would finally make EverQuest be closer to ever-questing than ever-camping. It would do all that, if it were implemented correctly — say, by a company other than Sony. Alas, nothing has changed; more new ideas being implemented poorly. Were you surprised?

Sony, in their infinitesmal wisdom decided that they would implement LD1 with new concepts like dungeon points and dungeon gear. So basically, you get on a dungeon ride, to earn dungeon points, to buy dungeon gear. The question I have is, WHY!?!? Why, on earth, would you make this distinction!?!? When you’re in your private dungeon “event,” don’t you want to earn REAL experience for your characters?? Apparently, EQ doesn’t think that you want to. Sure, you get XP for bashing that monster on your way to completing your adventure, but you ultimately get a thimble’s worth of “adventure points.” I thought I outgrew the “skeetball-for-tickets-to-buy-that-tiny-banana-shaped-stuffed-animal” reward model when I hit puberty; Sony begged to differ.

For all you glass-is-half-full people out there, I must say that EQ:LDoN does make EQ suck only half as much as it used to because well, EQ has always consisted of the following formula for me:

1. Find people to group with.

2. Wait around for people to arrive

3. Decide where to camp.

4. Travel to camp

5. Pray that camp is not taken.

6. Camp for hours on end.

Well, with LDoN, the formula has been reduced to:

1. Find people to group with.

2. Wait around for people to arrive

3. Travel to camp and do your “quest”

So they fixed the second the part, but not the first. For someone whose friends have moved on to play other games, the first part is as painful as it always been — “pick-up” groups are fraught with danger: danger of stupid people, danger of childish people, danger of boring people, danger of… well, you get the point. If EQ only suck half as much, can I pay only half for my account?

I had high hope of recapturing the magic that I once felt for EverQuest. That is why I bought 2 copies of LDoN, one for each of my accounts. I’ve since returned the second unopened copy. I don’t see myself playing beyond the free month. Hell, I’m not playing even when it’s free now!

While this had been a review of just the LDoN expansion, my judgement is based on the entire game playing experience. While the new spell graphics is very nifty and makes EQ somewhat on par graphics-wise with some of the contemporaneous game like SWG and Lineage2, I just wished that they could change it so it isn’t just all eye candy.

1Yet another expansion with an unfortunate acronym — I call it the Link Death of Norrath. Remember the SoL expansion? I think they were talking about your graphics performance in the Bazaar zone.

10 thoughts on “REVIEW: EverQuest:Lost Dungeons of Norrath”

  1. I guess if you were expecting some revolutionary gameplay change to EQ or any other MMORPG – you are always going to suffer from same disappointments. Play single player games – you don’t have to interact with your list of “danger of” people.

    The LDON experience is intended to give raid level loot to those folks who dont raid. By accumulating those “adventure points” you can buy some really great items that put you on par with those uber guys who play for umpteen hours a day to kill God_0100 for his Uber Sword of L33thood. I think it was a great thing for folks who enjoy that interaction or have a small group of folks they always play with. I have friends that do that every night and enjoy the time they play.

    As I have stated somewhere else, the concept of EQ (and other MMORPGS) has never been completely about getting loot and xp – it was about interaction with other humans in a virtual world. I still believe this to be a good thing as you can still find really great people out there who you want to game with. I still call those folks I met in EQ my friends and I miss them as much as I would any friend I have outside a game.

    I really suggest that you avoid MMORPG type of games Pete – there are other titles and genres that offer the experience that you are looking for with less frustration and less effort.

  2. Bah, I knew it; I can’t post anything bad about EQ without Tim coming down on me on my unrealistic expectations. Maybe it’s just cathartic do some EQ bashing.

  3. Bashing EQ is fine, but keep in mind that you had a choice here and chose to play a game which you have repeatedly indicated your displeasure with. Furthermore, you continue to play games that have a similar theme yet complain that they suck. Whether its venting or not – I am trying to offer you some insight that maybe you ought to try the myriad of other entertainment options out there including Good vs Evil or KOTOR. Or just something besides a MMORPG – pick up a first person shooter.

    Don’t get my intentions wrong – I just feel that bashing EQ over and over again (even given its success) is like bashing our current employer – a less than effective use of brain cells and time :)

  4. Wow, Tim saying our current employer is “a less than effective use of brain cells and time”. Strong words ther Tim….

    ;)

  5. Being that I posted this from a computer located on that network – I felt thats as strong as I can be with the simple fact I still need to collect a paycheck :)

  6. i do my employer bashing live, in person. just ask my 2nd line mangler, i mean, manager…

    seriously, the only reason that i even picked up ldon is that it’s free for the month. it gave me an excuse to try the expansion out. i guess i’m futilely searching to recapture what magic i once felt for it. the original title of this piece was “innocence lost” but i thought that was too melodramatic.

    anyway, as for great games like kotor and bg2, i feel like there is no need to belabour their collective greatness any further. they’re good games; plain and simple. why hasn’t anyone taken those games and make them into minimally multiplayer games is beyond me.

    as for FPSes, i’ve done my quake and doom time. my weak constitution does not allow me to stomach its motion-sickness inducing effects. besides, i’m all thumbs with twitchy games…

  7. The reason those games are successful (and are great games) is because some guy figured that if they focused on story and gameplay instead of adding yet another useless PVP multiplayer experience – then the game would totally suck. I think NWN could have been another classic if they focused on the game more and the multiplayer world building crap second.

    Half-Life is a great game cuz of its stand-alone game experience and multiplayer enjoyment only elevated it to the level it currently is.

    And the only reason I harass you so is cuz I can and I feel its my personal responsiblity to get gamers to expand thier horizons to other options. Having a multiplayer element should not be manditory for a game. There are games that lend themselves to that market – but every developer out there feels they must have it or the game is a flop. Thanks to Bioware for proving them ass-clowns wrong….

  8. I have to admit I also was hoping that the ‘pocket dungeon’ idea would bring an awesome new experience to EQ. I really enjoyed playing EQ (for the first 40 levels anyway) and thought that more of a dungeon crawl approach would kick it up a notch.

    Sadly, I knew it wasn’t for me when I read about the dungeon points (ie a way to reward grinding.)

    I like a plot and story to go with all the other things. I agree with Tim that the human interaction is a key element to online games that makes them great – especially MMO games. However, there still has to be gameplay (E&B, for example) or its just a fancy chat room.

    I believe that this sort of MMO game is possible to make, however I’m not totally convinced it would be a hit. There are gamers out there who like to grind (witness Pokemon.) I don’t want to go all the way to player-created MUDs though. There has to be a balance.

    Oh well, enough ranting. I’m playing RS6: Raven Shield, UT2k4 online (Onslaught is like free Planetside), and some Battlefield:Vietnam. My copy of FarCry is coming and after that Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow is due. All told, I have PLENTY to keep me busy!

  9. If you are not being forced to collect points in an LDoN, why would that ruin the game? You are not forced to complete the instanced dungeon prior to the timer going, so you have two hours of enjoyment for as little as three people in a group. Obviously you are grasping at an excuse to bash a company that has produced an amazing game that did not exist 10 years ago.

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