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Mobhunter: Dragons of Norrath Preview

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Last response: in PC Gaming
Anonymous
February 11, 2005 11:15:25 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

Dragons of Norrath, the ninth Everquest expansion in six years, brings
together the best elements of previous expansions and story lines into
a single package. With features such as plot-driven single group
missions, high end dragon raids, instanced guild halls, point-based
equipment progression, and very useful user interface enhancements,
Dragons of Norrath may prove to be the strongest of the nine Everquest
expansions.

Back in May of last year, I wrote an article for the guild summit
pompously entitled Loral's Evil Agenda. In it I brought suggestions
based on my experiences and views for ways to improve Everquest in the
future. I included seven main points I wanted addressed. Dragons of
Norrath meets four of these seven items including increased
single-group content, alternatives for corpse recovery, higher end
point-based loot, and more Lost Dungeon style content. The other three
have since become obsolete.

During the Summit I mentioned over and over how much I enjoyed Lost
Dungeons of Norrath and how much I wanted to see a Lost Dungeons 2.
Dragons of Norrath is as close as I could possibly expect. Dragons of
Norrath is my Lost Dungeons 2, but it also answers many of the problems
mentioned by the critics of the original Lost Dungeons expansion
including cookie-cutter adventure types and a lack of good raid
content.

For many, the guild hall alone is reason enough to buy this expansion.
Each member of a guild, large or small, will have access to the
instanced guild hall. The hall contains a teleporter to many known
wizard locations for a hefty fee, a mana and hitpoint regenerating
jacuzzi, a normal bank, a new guild bank that allows guild members to
deposit items now available to other guild members, and a full set of
tradeskill devices.

A non-instanced guild lobby leads to to the guild halls from the Plane
of Knowledge. The lobby is available to all Dragons of Norrath
purchasers whether in a guild or not. The Lobby contains the corpse
summoners who, for a fee, will summon ressable bodies from anywhere in
the game. This lobby also contains the "Guild Looking for Player" and
"Player Looking for Guild" bulletin boards.

Dragons includes three new user interface enhancements: a weapon
bandoleer, a potion bag, and a new in-game atlas. The bandoleer allows
all players to swap between four sets of main, secondary, ranged, and
ammo items. The potion bag lets players quickly activate potions
without having to open up inventory bags. One nice feature of the
potion bag is that it records the total number of potions of each type
whether they stack or not. Drag a single invisibility potion over the
potion box and all nine that you hold in inventory slots will appear.
The atlas helps tie together the world for newer players. Players can
click down from a game-wide map to individual continent maps, to
zone-connection maps, and finally to the original Ykesha vertex-based
maps.

I was happy to recently learn that the whispered in-game email system
will be available to all players whether they purchase Dragons of
Norrath or not. This email system will allow players to send messages
to players not currently online. Future capabilities may include an
ability to forward in-game messages to an out-of-game email address.
This, along with the guild bulletin board feature, will help some
guilds streamline their recruitment processes not to mention the
general convenience of sending messages to off-line players.

The high-end cap on tradeskills will now increase to 300 along with a
whole new variety of high skill tradeskill items. Rumors whisper of
new cultural armor with very nice statistics and a new form of
tradeskill augment along with its own specialized slot. Hopefully this
increased skill cap will help players make the high powered, very high
cost augments we began to see in Omens of War.

The mission system may be one of the most exciting innovations in
Everquest since the original Lost Dungeon adventures. These
story-based events take a group of players through a 60 to 90 minute
mission. Unlike LDON's typical four adventure types, each of these
missions is hand-made. Adventuring groups will plant bombs, rescue
dragon eggs, attempt to forge or break alliances with goblin tribes, or
investigate the tainting of ancient dragon nests. These missions take
place across five zones starting at level 50 and working up to 70.
Each mission has only one difficulty, but depending on the mission
location, the missions scale up to Riftseeker-level difficulties.

Mission masters reward successful adventurers with shards, an in-game
point metaphor that can be used for the purchase of new equipment or
powerful augments. The highest power of these new items is a step up
from the top-end LDON loot including augments with level 5 focus
effects for nearly every focus type.

For the high-end raiders, Dragons contains the types of encounters that
got most people raiding in the first place: dragons. Raid encounters
include both overland and instanced raids including events beyond
Anguish in difficulty. Raid content is hard to accurately review
before an expansion comes but the dragon raids look to be a lot of fun.

Missions and dragon raids aren't the only content one will find in
Dragons of Norrath. Like the last two expansions, Dragons of Norrath
includes traditional overland zones full of some very impressive
locations and dangerous beasts.

The dungeons in Dragons serve two purposes. One can enter a larger
non-instanced version of a dungeon such as Lavaspinner's Lair and go on
a traditional dungeon hunt, but Missions use an instanced part of that
same dungeon. Certain passageways become unaccessible when working on
the instanced mission version of a dungeon which keeps adventurers
focused on the task at hand. This lets players choose whether they
want to do the fast action mission or a more traditional longer dungeon
crawl of the same dungeon.

The graphics of Dragons of Norrath continue to improve. Torchlight
shines off of the hard shell backs of huge spiders. Lava flows down
the scorched rock of the jagged teeth of the Broodlands. Ancient
animated statues twist their stone heads to gaze over a land they have
protected for thousands of years. The textures, bump-maps, and
lighting of Omens continues to improve and it shows in Dragons.

As much as I gush about the new features and content of Dragons of
Norrath, the expansion isn't without problems.

The largest of these problems is the obvious focus on players above
level 45. In a new time where Everquest must compete against games six
years after its release, SOE must spend what time it can reasonably
afford to make the game appeal to a new audience. This drudges up the
new question of the year: How can Everquest attract new players?
Everyone has ideas, but it is clear that while a new expansion shows
how strong this game can be, level 45 content won't attract level 1
players.

Many contend that the game already has an abundance of low level zones.
However, zones alone aren't appealing enough to show the potential EQ
now offers to higher level players. The rewards in lower-level content
become quickly outdated by newer, more powerful, and cheaper gear
available in the bazaar.

The mission system offers a huge amount of potential for lower level
content. Missions could take younger players into older zones on a
variety of new jobs that reward every group member for the work they do
with new gear of appropriate power.

The recent revamp of Lavastorm shows how good lower level content can
get. Large zones have areas for many level ranges. New improved
quests offer updated rewards. Zone-based taskmasters offer experience
rewards on top of the work of a typical experience hunt. While the
cost of such a revamp is high, it is revamps like this that can offer
enough exciting content at lower levels to compete with games like
Everquest 2 and Worlds of Warcraft.

Level limit aside, Dragons of Norrath includes an abundance of content
and features that take many of the best technological and game design
concepts from previous expansions and weave them together into what may
turn out to be the greatest of Everquest expansions. While it is
impossible to fully review an expansion with months, perhaps years, of
content in only a few days, I have little doubt that this expansion
will be well worth the $30. I can't wait to dig in.

Loral Ciriclight
10 February 2005
loral@loralciriclight.com

Screenshots can be found at: http://mobhunter.com/000049.html

More about : mobhunter dragons norrath preview

Anonymous
February 13, 2005 3:28:59 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

"Mike Shea" <mshea01@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1108138525.494560.132310@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...

> The dungeons in Dragons serve two purposes. One can enter a larger
> non-instanced version of a dungeon such as Lavaspinner's Lair and go on
> a traditional dungeon hunt, but Missions use an instanced part of that
> same dungeon. Certain passageways become unaccessible when working on
> the instanced mission version of a dungeon which keeps adventurers
> focused on the task at hand. This lets players choose whether they
> want to do the fast action mission or a more traditional longer dungeon
> crawl of the same dungeon.

Sounds like WoW to me.
February 13, 2005 4:00:19 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

In article <fbxPd.6189$ng6.2218@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>,
mnthacker@sbcglobal.net says...
>
> "Mike Shea" <mshea01@gmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1108138525.494560.132310@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
>
> > The dungeons in Dragons serve two purposes. One can enter a larger
> > non-instanced version of a dungeon such as Lavaspinner's Lair and go on
> > a traditional dungeon hunt, but Missions use an instanced part of that
> > same dungeon. Certain passageways become unaccessible when working on
> > the instanced mission version of a dungeon which keeps adventurers
> > focused on the task at hand. This lets players choose whether they
> > want to do the fast action mission or a more traditional longer dungeon
> > crawl of the same dungeon.
>
> Sounds like WoW to me.

Sounds like LDoN to me. Except sending you on a mission through 'part of
mistmoore' instead of creating new zones.
Related resources
Anonymous
February 20, 2005 8:52:51 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

"42" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1c78469145e4cc7a989a2c@shawnews...
> In article <fbxPd.6189$ng6.2218@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>,
> mnthacker@sbcglobal.net says...
>>
>> "Mike Shea" <mshea01@gmail.com> wrote in message
>> news:1108138525.494560.132310@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> > The dungeons in Dragons serve two purposes. One can enter a larger
>> > non-instanced version of a dungeon such as Lavaspinner's Lair and go on
>> > a traditional dungeon hunt, but Missions use an instanced part of that
>> > same dungeon. Certain passageways become unaccessible when working on
>> > the instanced mission version of a dungeon which keeps adventurers
>> > focused on the task at hand. This lets players choose whether they
>> > want to do the fast action mission or a more traditional longer dungeon
>> > crawl of the same dungeon.
>>
>> Sounds like WoW to me.
>
> Sounds like LDoN to me. Except sending you on a mission through 'part of
> mistmoore' instead of creating new zones.

Well, I know this theory has been done to death. However, when an SOE
bigwig gives a long speech about Blizzard, and admits WoW is a threat in so
many words, then releases an expansion that except for instanced guildhalls
sounds just like WoW, I find it fishy. In WoW, to access a an instance, you
have to go through part of a regular dungeon or dangerous outside area to
get to. All quests in WoW are progressive with the exception of very few,
AFAIK. Also, many of the Dragons in the game are outdoors and not difficult
to get to.

I am merely saying that it sounds like SOE is desperately trying to win back
subscribers, like me, who dumped EQ for a game that IMHO is a thousand times
better, by releasing an expansion that is so parallel with WoW it is
suspicious.
February 22, 2005 5:26:26 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

"mnthacker" <mnthacker@sbcglobal.net> writes:

> Well, I know this theory has been done to death. However, when an SOE
> bigwig gives a long speech about Blizzard, and admits WoW is a threat in so
> many words, then releases an expansion that except for instanced guildhalls
> sounds just like WoW, I find it fishy.

Could it be because WoW is just like the games that went before, only
more polished and faster paced, perhaps? There is very little in WoW
that is particularly new and innovative, as even the WoW developers
themselves admit - the goal was always to make an Everquest-style
game, only "better".

And of course SOE will steal ideas from WoW - that's how progress
happens, I steal your ideas and you in turn steal mine.


> In WoW, to access a an instance, you
> have to go through part of a regular dungeon or dangerous outside area to
> get to.

You mean like the sewer trials in GoD, where you had to go through
(Qimini and Barindu? Not sure about the zone names)? Ok, so perhaps
WoW does it better (wouldn't be so hard), but the concept is there
already.


> All quests in WoW are progressive with the exception of very few,
> AFAIK.

Like the Coldain ring and Coldain shawl quests from Velious? Assuming
that's the kind of progressive you mean. The only progressiveness I
saw in quests in WoW[1] was "Now that you've done my quest, why don't
you talk to <some other NPC> to get a new quest", in which case I
think there are quests even in original EQ that would qualify, except
you can bypass the earlier stages in most cases.

[1] I played my night elf to level 8, so my experience may not be
representative...


> Also, many of the Dragons in the game are outdoors and not difficult
> to get to.

You mean like the dragons in Kunark and Velious? The ones in Western
Wastes are a bit of a pain to get to, I'll admit, but Wuoshi was if
anything too easy to get to. ;-)


> I am merely saying that it sounds like SOE is desperately trying to win back
> subscribers, like me, who dumped EQ for a game that IMHO is a thousand times
> better, by releasing an expansion that is so parallel with WoW it is
> suspicious.

Maybe it's just that WoW is so much like EQ?
Anonymous
February 22, 2005 7:34:02 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.everquest (More info?)

"mnthacker" <mnthacker@sbcglobal.net> wrote in
news:T74Sd.2052$DW.578@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com:

>
> "42" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote in message
> news:MPG.1c78469145e4cc7a989a2c@shawnews...
>> In article <fbxPd.6189$ng6.2218@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com>,
>> mnthacker@sbcglobal.net says...
>>>
>>> "Mike Shea" <mshea01@gmail.com> wrote in message
>>> news:1108138525.494560.132310@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
>>>
>>> > The dungeons in Dragons serve two purposes. One can enter a
>>> > larger non-instanced version of a dungeon such as Lavaspinner's
>>> > Lair and go on a traditional dungeon hunt, but Missions use an
>>> > instanced part of that same dungeon. Certain passageways become
>>> > unaccessible when working on the instanced mission version of a
>>> > dungeon which keeps adventurers focused on the task at hand. This
>>> > lets players choose whether they want to do the fast action
>>> > mission or a more traditional longer dungeon crawl of the same
>>> > dungeon.
>>>
>>> Sounds like WoW to me.
>>
>> Sounds like LDoN to me. Except sending you on a mission through 'part
>> of mistmoore' instead of creating new zones.
>
> Well, I know this theory has been done to death. However, when an SOE
> bigwig gives a long speech about Blizzard, and admits WoW is a threat
> in so many words, then releases an expansion that except for instanced
> guildhalls sounds just like WoW, I find it fishy. In WoW, to access a
> an instance, you have to go through part of a regular dungeon or
> dangerous outside area to get to. All quests in WoW are progressive
> with the exception of very few, AFAIK. Also, many of the Dragons in
> the game are outdoors and not difficult to get to.
>
> I am merely saying that it sounds like SOE is desperately trying to
> win back subscribers, like me, who dumped EQ for a game that IMHO is a
> thousand times better, by releasing an expansion that is so parallel
> with WoW it is suspicious.
>

I have not played WoW, but, the new EQ expansion has a lot in common with
LDoN, an EQ expansion from some time back, long before WoW was
released...

--
On Erollisi Marr in <Sanctuary of Marr>
Ancient Graeme Faelban, Barbarian Soothsayer of 70 seasons

On Steamfont in <Insanity Plea>
Graeme, 26 Dwarven Mystic, 22 Sage
Aviv, 12 Gnome Brawler, 24 Provisioner