Verant is at it again.
And I mean that in both the good and bad sense of the phrase.
The Good: They released Shadows of Luclin, an expansion for EverQuest – the game that keeps on kicking. New lands, a new race, a new class, new items featuring never before thought of properties, a new expanded skill system, and more. The world opens up again and for a while we can all explore something new and different. You won’t hear much bitching about this part of the game because people don’t complain when they are happy.
The Bad: As usual, they introduced a large amount of bugs with the game release. Bards are, for lack of a better term, useless. They can’t sing anything that isn’t self only. Druids got a new line of group skin buffs to make them for desireable in groups, but group buffs, like group songs, don’t work (this may be fixed now, they patched twice already and the game has only been live 2 days). And while many of the armor textures look good, the character models… let’s just say they leave something to be desired.
Change is good, and change is bad.
The people wanted more in game content, and Verant provided. The new world and items, spells, class, race, all of it, a good idea and exactly what the customer wanted.
The new skill system is mostly good, except for the fact they made it level based again. I don’t think anyone would have complained if you had to be level 51 to get the new skills, but Verant decided that you get some skills made available to you at 51, some at 55, and some at 59. Basically, they made it so that no matter how hard you worked for these extra skill points (don’t through experience points just like levelling) you can’t get all the skills unless you are level 59. Here, in this one factor of the system, they missed the mark of what the average player wants. Most people would like to someday be level 60 and on top of the world, however, most realize that its a dream. Some people are in small guilds that don’t do gigantic raids, or don’t play often. These people might make level 55 and realize that 55 is all the level they need to do what they want in game. But now, in order to get the cool skills that would make them better, they have to level to 59. Lots of these skills have levels within them, 3 or 5. If Verant was determined to keep a level based system, they should have done 2 things: 1) make the skill tree more of a tree with prerequisites and order, and 2) take a skill with 3 “levels” and make the first attainable at 51, the second at 55 and the third at 59 so that you can have the skill at 51, but you can’t master it until 59.
Lastly, people like eye candy. And for the most part, the armor textures of Luclin are good. Plate armor LOOKS like plate armor instead of a solid steel t-shirt. But the character models themselves, especially the faces, have left most people dumbstruck. Some of the races look good, and for the most part all the females are decent although a bit heavy in the boobage department, but they destroyed faces. Every race/sex gets 8 faces, this has always been true. But where before Luclin the 8 faces were unique, the 8 new faces are very very very similar. If two humans pick the same hair and beard style and color, unless one of them picks the face with the eyepatch, get more than 10 feet away and you can’t tell them apart anymore. If you were one of the people who picked the “asian” human face, you are completely out of luck, it no longer exists. Verant made a leap here that they should not have. They redesigned the look of the player. Not just his armor, but his face. Rather than take the existing faces and modify them to fit the new models, they chose to make new faces altogether.
The end result of all this is.. once they get the bugs fixed, they have released an expansion that is 95% good. But that 5% bad is the worst possible 5% because its something that makes many players unhappy and they have to stare at that 5% every time they get into the game.