world of warcraft vs everquest 2

This is a discussion on world of warcraft vs everquest 2 within the Entertainment board part of the General category; November 2004 was a huge month for PC gamers. Games like Half-Life 2 obviously got a ton of attention, but ...

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    world of warcraft vs everquest 2

    November 2004 was a huge month for PC gamers. Games like Half-Life 2 obviously got a ton of attention, but for MMO fans, though, November was a month of absolute agony -- or glory, depending on how you look at it. In one corner, you have EverQuest II, the sequel to the undisputed heavyweight MMO champ EverQuest, the game that has probably caused more divorces than any other video game in the world. In the other, you have the challenger, World of Warcraft, the first MMO created by Blizzard Entertainment, the development house best known for StarCraft, Diablo, and the original Warcraft RTS games.

    When they go head-to head, which of them comes out victorious? More importantly, which is more worth investing your money and time into? With our own Miguel "Chakumbele" Lopez taking EQ2 and Allen "Delsyn" Rausch taking the side of WoW, we decided to find out. We've pulled out all the important features, examined them very carefully, and now they're tearing them apart monkey-knife-fight-style in our patented GameSpy Editorial Thunderdome.

    Ready? Fight!

    Round 1: How Engaging Is the Early Game? Is It Easy for New Players To Learn the Conventions of the Game and Get Involved?

    World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft handles this aspect of the game brilliantly. First, while it confines new players to the dreaded "newbie zone" for their first five levels or so, it doesn't feel like a "newbie zone." Players go on exactly the same types of quests and do the same types of stuff they'll do through the entire game. There's no "tutorial" feeling, you just jump in and start playing. The player's first five levels also go by at an enormously accelerated pace. Players can gain their first level as fast as 15 minutes after they begin playing and can hit level 5 and be out into the broader world in a few hours. Following the introductory quest lines also means that nobody leaves the newbie area without at least one useful piece of equipment that will remain effective at least through level 8 or 9. In other words, newbie stuff isn't junk and new players get hooked into the "need to do just one more thing" cycle that's the hallmark of the best MMOs.

    EQII: The Isle of Refuge is a great place for beginners to cut their teeth.

    WoW: WoW's early game gets you right into the action wither the "nOOb" stigma.

    EverQuest II: The game kicks off with you on the Isle of Refuge, and, at least to someone who's played these games before, it's a cinch to get a handle on things. Total MMO newbies would be best served by playing through the optional tutorial, however, which does a good job schooling you on the very basics -- how to target things, the basics of combat, dialogue, and the like. Once on the Isle of Refuge, it's pretty easy to start doing interesting things. Quests are in relative abundance, and they're easy enough to complete. You're lead up the curve pretty gently, doing simple solo tasks to start with, and grouping up with players when the need arises. There is even a series of crafting-specific missions to be unlocked on the Isle, for those of you who are inclined to go down that path. If that's you, then here's a piece of advice: get good at harvesting resources before you leave the n00b yard, as the nodes will become much rarer (not to mention more heavily contested) in the "real world."

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft!

    Both games have learned the lessons of previous generations of MMOs. New players are the lifeblood of the genre, so make it as easy as possible to get into the game. World of Warcraft does this a little better by making players feel important and involved right from the start, though.

    World of Warcraft: Visually, World of Warcraft is not particularly outstanding when it comes to character customization. When creating a character, players can customize their avatar's face, hairstyle, hair color, skin color, and facial hair (or piercing and markings for females). While the options available aren't bad, there are far more robust character creation systems on the market. Nobody, for example, beats the character creation system in City of Heroes, which has millions of costume combinations available. More disappointing, there's no way to alter a player's face beyond picking one of the pre-made ones Blizzard provides. I'd love, for example, to be able to alter the length of a Tauren's horns or play with a Human's face so it resembles a specific person I'm modeling the character after. At the very least, I'd love to be able to change their height. As it stands now, every male and female of a particular race is exactly the same height, which look really weird when large crowds gather.

    Once players start questing, however, things do get better. Blizzard is really good at designing the visual look of an item to match its power. As players grow in stature and start getting better and better weapons and armor, they find that their stuff begins to look better as well. When playing as an Orc hunter, I can't tell you how excited I was the first time I got a decent pair of leather armor pants. Not only would I finally be able to take down a nest of harpies that had killed me twice already, the graphics were of pants! My previous armor showed up on my avatar as ragged cut-off shorts. Believe me, knobby Orc knees are something nobody needs to see.

    EQII: We guarantee that your character will look very distinctive.

    WoW: Character customization options are a bit limited.

    EverQuest II: This is one area where EverQuest II is completely on point. The suite of options allows for some intense customization, down to some crazily precise parameters. The shape and alignment of your characters' eyes, the style of their hairdos, the tone of their skin, the shape of their heads, noses, and ears -- all of this can be twiddled and tweaked to your heart's content. Even some race-specific features are included: things like stripe-patterns for the furry Kerra, or glowing glyphs that adorn the skins of Erudites. It's amazingly deep, it's well-implemented, and it pretty much guarantees that you'll be able to create a character whose look you're satisfied with. Provided you dig EQUIP's art style, anyway...

    The Edge Goes To: EverQuest II!

    Your avatar is you. You are your avatar. It's incredibly important that players like their in-game alter ego and be able to express their individuality.

    Round 3: How Deep are the Character Customization Options, In Terms of Statistics?

    World of Warcraft:
    Players have "Talent Points" that they start earning starting at level 10. These talents can jack up certain skills and abilities, which means that players who like to do certain things with a class can make them more effective (it also throws a bit of randomness into PvP), but there isn't enough customization to allow for any radical departures. If a player is a priest or a warlock or paladin, you know pretty well what their abilities are.

    EQII: Class customization is available.

    WoW: Customization via Talent points.

    EverQuest II: Every few levels, you're given the opportunity to choose certain traits that can further fine-tune your stats, regardless of your class. Early on, for instance, you can make your character more resistant to certain kinds of damage -- fire, ice, and the like. Later on, you can pick a monster group to "specialize" in, which grants you a special attack that is particularly devastating to anything that falls within it. Finally, around your mid levels, you get to choose some race-specific traits, which can take on a variety of forms. These things keep occurring as you level, too -- you'll eventually get to choose a second resistance (or increase the level of your current one), pick a new creature to specialize in, etc. Especially later in the game, these traits can be pretty powerful. While I'm not fully sold on how they can remedy the "cookie-cutter" syndrome among characters of the same class, every little bit helps, I guess. Hopefully, these systems will be expanded in updates and add-ons, but at this point, they're more of a bonus than a real-deal way to achieve distinction.

    The Edge Goes To: Tie!</I>

    Both games are at about the same level here, can this be remedied without messing up any future PvP content or making quests too easy

    Round 4: How "User Friendly" are the Environments In Terms of Navigation and Modes of Transport?

    World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft excels in this area. While the game does have a "cartoony" look, it turns out that that kind of handcrafted landscape works really well in terms of navigation. It's extraordinarily difficult to get lost in World of Warcraft (although it can happen) because everywhere you go is simply loaded with landmarks both big and small. In some cases, the landscape is so detailed I've actually used specific trees in a forest to mark where I should turn to reach a certain zone. The game makes excellent use of color by having a dominant color scheme for every area in the game. It's easy to tell where you are in a hub city like Stormwind because all the roofs in an area are the same color. When I moved from the plains of Durotar to the plains of the Barrens as an Orc hunter, I immediately knew when I had crossed regional zones because Durotar is much more orange and brown where the Barrens are tan and yellow.

    The game is also full of ways to cut travel time. Every player starts the game with a "hearthstone" that can instantly teleport them to an inn in whatever town they choose to set as their "home." There are flight paths between most major cities. A little silver is all it takes to travel via griffin or giant bat or some other flying beast between any two areas you've established as a flight path. There are also regular boat and zeppelin runs between continents. True, players will have to approach anyplace they've never been before on foot, but once a path is established, there's no place so far it can't be reached in a half hour or so.

    EQII: Hopping around the world is easy as pie.

    WoW: All sorts of interesting ways to get around.

    EverQuest II: EQII fires on all cylinders here. The main cities -- Qeynos and Freeport -- have interconnected districts that can all be manageably accessed from within their walls. It's usually just as simple as accessing a Mariner's Bell, which can be found in any of the cities' surrounding "villages" (i.e., the race-specific sub-towns on their outskirts). You might have to walk from one district to another in order to access it, but it's seldom a problem. Outside of civilization, it's similarly painless. The main wilderness areas outside of the towns, while being fairly sizable, have griffin towers dotting their landscapes, and catching a ride is easy, and best of all, free. Things get a little trickier the further away from the cities you venture, but that's to be expected. But even in those cases, getting back home is a snap: upon attaining citizenship in the capital of your choice, you gain a spell that lets you teleport back to it instantaneously. The refresh for it is a little long, but I've personally have never had it unavailable, when needed.

    The Edge Goes To: Tie!

    If there's one thing MMO designers have learned, it's that miles of empty space where nothing fun or interesting happens is basically wasted pixels. Bravo for both companies in eliminating unnecessary travel time.

    Round 5: How Often Do You Feel "Punished" By the Game? How Often are You Legitimately Having Fun?

    World of Warcraft:
    One of the best aspects of World of Warcraft is that I almost never feel "punished" or penalized by the game. Yeah, dying sucks, but the worst thing that happens is you have to run back and find your corpse again. Originally, you could also resurrect at a graveyard at the cost of some experience points, but they even removed that penalty. Now a graveyard resurrection just loses you some money via the degradation of your equipment. In fact, the death penalty is so minor, that I didn't even know it had been changed until someone pointed it out to me. I'd been playing the game like a demon since launch and hadn't even noticed! The speedy pace of gameplay also helps in this regard. I can log on for a half hour and actually get something accomplished. Wherever I am in the World of Warcraft I'm constantly doing, seeing, or experiencing something cool with minimal downtime.

    EQII: An interface tha's robust and customizable.

    WoW: The game makes everything a snap.

    EverQuest II: This is a tough one, especially since I've been, of late, neck-deep in what must be the most user-friendly MMO around: World of Warcraft. In its own right, EQII is fast, and fun; whenever the fancy strikes me, I feel like I could go out and beat on monsters, whether alone or accompanied, and in doing so I feel like I have a decent chance of finding some cool items. Death -- the main aspects wherein these games put the hurt on you -- is handled pretty decently, I would say, though again, not as forgivingly as WoW does. You incur experience debt, which sucks, but if you go and retrieve your corpse (which is basically your only option, lest you deal with resurrection sickness for several days), the hit isn't as hard.

    The fact that it's XP debt and not an outright loss of points is significant, too; you merely have to work a little harder to acquire it, rather than losing progress that you already made. Here's something that kind of sucks: if you're grouped in a party, and one of your cohorts bites it, you share in their XP debt. The logic is that it will inspire teamwork, but in practice, it makes people that much more reluctant to group with people they don't know. Not a very good move, in my opinion.

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft

    No question here. World of Warcraft does an amazing job of being user friendly throughout the entire game. Players never feel "forced" into playing a certain style, nor does it punish you for playing solo, having a life or making a mistake.</I>

    Round 6: How are the Game's Graphics?

    World of Warcraft: This is kind of a mixed bag and your answer really depends on what aspect of a game's graphics appeal to you. Technically speaking, World of Warcraft isn't running around on the most advanced engine around. Characters, buildings, and landscapes are pretty low-poly and the whole world looks pretty cartoony. The art direction, on the other hand, is outstanding. Wherever you go, there are cool things to look at and amazing little environmental details. My favorite is a bell that has crashed to the floor in the entrance hall of the Lordaeron ruins. Warcraft fans will recognize the bell as the one that crashed to Earth when Arthas killed his father in a cutscene in Warcraft III.

    EQII: Moments like this one make you really appreciate EQII's brilliant engine.

    WoW: Despite being cartoony, WoW's graphics are beautiful.

    EverQuest II: This one's a little tricky as well. On one hand, the graphics engine is amazing. Everything looks super sharp, and, in most situations, it runs smoothly. The environments are both huge and complex, and from a topographical standpoint, they're very interesting. But on the other hand, I can't say that I really care for EQII's look. The monsters look kind of dopey, and the character models (the Human-esque ones, anyway) look kind of funny to me. However, I must admit that I do find myself impressed visually quite frequently -- most often when I'm looking at, say, a body of water, or a particularly cool spell effect. That's one area where it excels, no doubt. But in terms of offering a cohesive, and compelling visual package, EQII kind of pales in comparison to other games in the category.

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft

    This was a tough one. In the end, however, a game's art design has to win out over mere technical brilliance. Despite being crude, World of Warcraft's landscapes can thrill and inspire and its denizens are both endearing and terrifying.

    Round 7: How Deep and Rewarding Is the Crafting System? Can Players Just Choose To Be Crafters?

    World of Warcraft:
    The crafting system in World of Warcraft really plays second fiddle to the questing and adventuring aspects of the game. Everything in the game revolves going out into the world and fighting monsters. Raw material deposits are always in the middle of fields of monsters and then disappear for a long time after providing just a few resources. Players can also only take two "professional" crafting choices. Since every manufacturing profession has an attendant resource gathering profession, that means that players are either very restricted in what they can and cannot make, or they're very dependent on other players to buy and sell raw materials and finished product. This is good for player interaction, but of necessity means that the crafting system (while fun) is rather shallow. Crafting is something every adventurer does, but it isn't something anyone can dedicate his or her life to without also leveling up their combat skills.

    EQII: There's never a shortage of stuff to make, if you're a crafter at heart.

    WoW: WoW's crafting system is simple, but effective and fun.

    EverQuest II: EQII has to have the most hands-on approach to crafting I've ever seen. For the first time, you get the feeling that crafting professions are as fleshed out as their adventuring-focused counterparts, and the act of crafting itself is involved and demanding of your attention. It's a little difficult to pursue crafting exclusively, though, as you're eventually going to need to acquire ingredients (not to mention recipe "scrolls"), which, more often than not, will require you to venture outside. And venturing outside, of course, involves fighting things. That said, it is possible to focus on crafting and only adventure when you need to. Doing this will allow you to stay alive in areas where the resources you'll need are found, and put you in contact with monsters that drop the spell books you need to further your craft. While I'm not a hardcore crafter myself, there is no shortage of players that are heavily involved in this pursuit on my server, and they seem to be getting as much out of the game as I am.

    The Edge Goes To: EverQuest II

    Clearly there's a section of the player base that really enjoys crafting items and the social interactions of buying and selling stuff. EverQuest II has much more to offer these kinds of players.

    Round 8: How Fun Is Combat? How Deep Is Combat?

    World of Warcraft:
    Combat is combat in World of Warcraft Blizzard breaks absolutely no new ground here. Players click to start fighting and then have a variety of special attacks they can use while the fight is going on. Eventually combat does fall into a pattern once players figure out the best way to maximize their current slate of equipment and special abilities. Fortunately, the advancement pace is fast enough in the game that just when I think I might be bored by more of the same combat, I'll acquire a new piece of hardware or get a new ability that entails me rethinking my entire combat strategy. It's fun, but it's not anything that stands far above any other MMO.

    EQII: Combat is ambitious and fun, although there are some flaws at the moment.

    WoW: Combat breaks no new ground, but it's fun and fast-paced.

    EverQuest II: I can't complain about combat in EQII. It's fast, pleasantly chaotic, and very involved. You gain combat-related abilities at least once every two levels (and usually more often), and putting them to use is fun, and, at the best times, strategic. The Heroic Opportunity system that's been into the combat scheme allows players that are partied up to link their spells and combat skills for some pretty devastating results, and while the system still feels a little flawed, parties with the patience and skill to work it into their routine are duly rewarded, with faster, and more rewarding kills.

    The Edge Goes To: Tie!

    EverQuest II's combat system is a bit more ambitious and interactive, but is also a bit flawed at this point. World of Warcraft's combat is faster and a bit more fun.

    Round 9: How Good are the Options For PvP Play?

    World of Warcraft: This is where World of Warcraft kind of falls down. There is PvP in the game. In fact, you can do it on both the PvP and PvE servers (although it's completely consensual on PvE servers.) The problem is that PvP doesn't seem to be well implemented or balanced yet in the game. Initially, there was supposed to a dishonor system that would penalize people for killing other players that are too far below them in levels. That's since been dropped, meaning that the PvP zones are plagued with idiot griefers whose sole joy in life seems to be killing much weaker players and then killing them again when they return to their corpse to resurrect. Unfortunately, part of the problem is not only that there's no punishment for griefing, but that even for the good PvP players, there's not really much point to PvP. PvP isn't deeply integrated into the quest system (though there are exceptions), nor the faction system, nor does the game's political landscape change based on combat. The game is built around a PvE core and it'll take quite some doing by Blizzard before this aspect of the game is up to snuff.

    EQII: This shot was staged. You can't actually attack another player, in EQII

    WoW: The game's PvP system isn't great, but there are some big plans for the future.

    EverQuest II: To be frank, EQII's PvP system is basically non-existent -- in the traditional sense, anyway. There's a sort indirect method by which player guilds can compete for prominence in their home city, but as I said, it's indirect at best. If you're looking for a game in which you can pit your character against individuals or groups aligned with the opposition, then EQII is not the game for you. It's kind of funny, as the whole Qeynos-versus-Freeport setup would imply that the conflict would get "real" at some point, but as of yet, the developers are pretty hush-hush on the topic. I'm truly hoping that it's only a matter of time before this kind of play surfaces, but you know how it is: there are never any guarantees. So yeah, there is no PvP. If you want PvP, go play Dark Age of Camelot. Or get on one of those open-source Ultima Online servers. They're keeping the tradition alive.

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft

    World of Warcraft's PvP gets the edge here basically because it exists, whereas there's not much to speak of in EQ2. As it stands now, though, WoW's PVP still isn't much to write home about.

    Round 10: How Good are the Options for Role Players? Is There A Place Where Players Can Congregate and be Social?

    World of Warcraft: While role players make up a pretty small proportion of MMO players, they do have certain requirements that just aren't addressed by World of Warcraft, although the game's RP servers are quite popular. First, there's no player housing and no way for players to build up businesses or participate in any kind of civic or political life in the game. Every place in the game is purpose-built, meaning that there will always be a stream of players coming through on particular errands. The game has no real open or secluded areas where players can just sit and chat -- no real bars or tavern spaces that aren't filled with atmospheric NPCs. I know that there are plans for all those things in the works, but at the moment, it's a definite lack in the game.

    EQII: Both of EQII's RP-preferred servers are among the most densely-populated.

    WoW: The game really needs some decent RP tools and facilities.

    EverQuest II: Two words: Antonia Bayle, and Lucan D'lerre. That's four words, actually, but whatever. Those are the names of EQII's role-playing-preferred servers, and if their populations are anything to go by, they're quite popular. As far as options go, well, you can tag yourself to show other players that you're "role playing," but that's about it. It'll keep those who are afraid of Ren-fest speak out of your hair. Not to mention "l33t-d00ds."

    As far as places reserved for RPers within the worlds themselves, well, I don't know what to say. You can role play anywhere, can't you? I guess player housing is a good option. You can set it up so that certain players are cleared to enter your place at any given time, so setting up "dates" and such is no problem. Apart from that, though, any well-populated area in the game's cities is fair game, especially on an RP-preferred server. The race-specific villages seem to me an ideal choice, as they're separated a bit from the hustle and bustle of the cities' big districts. Ultimately, it's just a matter of getting with like minds, turn your tags on, and let the cybering commence. Just try to keep it in private chat (or party chat, for the "liberated" among you).

    The Edge Goes To: EverQuest II

    EverQuest II has a good housing system and an "RP" tag for your character, World of Warcraft has neither. Advantage EQII.

    Round 11: How Solid Is the Game's Back-End Support? How Solid Is the Game Technically -- i.e. Things Like Stutter, Lag, and Other Communication Problems?

    World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft, like many MMOs, had some serious problems out of the gate. The first few days were marred by badly overloaded servers and people playing on shards that were so crowded it looked like a plague had hit because of the acres of dead wildlife. Servers went down for "maintenance" more than a couple of times, and Blizzard rushed around adding servers as fast as it could. Now, a couple of weeks after launch, things are calming down (at this writing, every server is up), but there are still problems with population balances. Some servers are incredibly crowded while most of the new ones are practically empty. Eventually, Blizzard is going to have to address this issue, possibly by offering its players a one-time migration option to move their characters to another server.

    EQII: There's some solid tech running EQII. Even scenes this mad run smooth as silk.

    WoW: The game had some server problems at launch, but they're getting better.

    Other than that, though, Blizzard has been pretty solid in terms of running the back-end of the game. While there was an issue with PayPal, I haven't heard many horror stories about billing service issues -- like lost money or over billing or the inability to register. They were also gracious enough to extend the trial period to cover the time lost by the up-and-down server problems during November. Technically, the game itself seems to be running fine. It's not a resource hog, nor are its graphics particularly advanced, which means that it runs quite well on even a modestly powered system and the bugs that people have found have been remarkably small.

    EverQuest II: Simply put, solid as hell. Stretches of downtime seem few and far between, and even at launch the game was amazingly stable. Personally, I was expecting the worst, but I was pleasantly surprised. I'll occasionally encounter bugs that require me to relog, but again, these seldom pop up. EverQuest II is solid as a rock, and it's apparent that SOE has been around the block long enough to plan for these kinds of pitfalls. I, for one, think this is something that other developers should take note of.

    The Edge Goes To: EverQuest II

    Sony's been doing this stuff for a long time now and it's gotten pretty good at it. Experience counts.

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    Round 12: How Is the Conflict Between the Opposing Factions Treated In the Context of the Game?

    World of Warcraft: World of Warcraft has an incredibly elaborate backstory. We actually put up the entire
    Codex Azeroth here a couple of weeks ago. Check it out to appreciate just how much thought and care went into the design of the game's fiction. The MMO does an incredibly good job weaving the story into its quests and including it in environmental details. The way the landscape is structured, cities and guards are designed, and quest lines are organized also serves to keep the game world relatively "pure" and enemy races very separate. It's extraordinarily rare to catch a glimpse of a member of an opposing race prior to level 20 and once you begin to head into disputed areas it actually comes as a shock to see the "enemy."

    Even better, certain quests on PvE will require you to kill NPCs that turn on your PvP flag. Some of my best experiences in the game have been sneaking around to kill an NPC and get away with my skin because I knew my PvP flag would be tripped and if an enemy player saw me, they'd take me out. This is a whole lot of fun and really needs to be expanded upon. Once they get the more dangerous PvP system on the PvP servers worked out, this experience will be even better on servers where players can be attacked at any time.

    EQII: Factions are almost meaningless in EverQuest II

    WoW: Factions are kept very seperate until about level 20.

    EverQuest II: Not very well, if you ask me. Apart from color text in some of the more story-focused missions, you never really have any bearing on what members of the opposing faction are doing. You can't attack them; you can't foil their designs, nothing. It's ridiculous; I once saw a party comprised of Ogres, Ratogna, and Dark Elves hanging out in Antonica, and all I could do was stand and stare at them. Both realizing how absurd the encounter was, we decided to /dance with each other. Something better be done to remedy this, as it's just ridiculous. There is an exciting conflict system implicitly built into the game; when is SOE going to bring it to the forefront?

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft

    World of Warcraft already does fairly well in this area. Once they get the PvP up to snuff and start implementing some serious faction play and political goals, this is going to be an incredible portion of the game.

    Round 13: How Well Does the Market System Work? Can Players Easily and Reliably Sell Their Old Equipment and Crafted Goods?

    World of Warcraft:
    Extremely well. In terms of macroeconomic policy, Blizzard is a believer in keeping the money supply very tight and very controlled. Money is rather hard to come by and there's an abundance of money sinks out there that funnel gold and items out of the system in order to avoid inflationary problems that have plagued a lot of MMOs. The auction system is also incredibly robust, powerful, and easy to use. It's even managed to stymie item-poaching by disguising how long auctions run.

    At first, I thought it was a pain to have to run to a major hub city to use an auction house, but after a while, I realized that it was actually a great idea. By forcing players to congregate, it gives the Tradechat a secondary function as a social meeting place for players and a trading bazaar. Unfortunately, it also means that players tend to loiter in the street outside of the Auction house. Blizzard could really enhance this dynamic by reworking the area to create a more open "Flea Market" space to congregate. Using the mail and paging system to report on the results of auctions also works great -- you know immediately if you've been outbid or won an item and can either stop at a local mailbox to pick up your money or purchase, or decide to hop the next griffin back to the auction house.

    EQII: The functionality is there, the ease of use isn't, though.

    WoW: The auction are easy to use and the economy is solid.

    EverQuest II: EQII takes a hit here, unfortunately. There is a working market system, but unlike the enlightened ways in which games like Final Fantasy XI and World of Warcraft have handled this, it requires way too much effort on the part of players to actually utilize. Basically, in order to have your wares appear on the market listings, you have to purchase a bulletin board from an NPC vendor, place it on your house, and then remain at home till stuff sells (if it ever does). It's very harsh, and for many players, the only recourse is to remain logged in to the game overnight to hawk their wares. Needless to say, stuff like server disconnects, Internet issues, and the like could make all that hard work go down the tubes. Crafters, especially, get hit hard by this. SOE needs to wake up, and implement an auction house system. We as players deserve at least a little convenience, and this is one of the more meaningful areas in which to implement it.

    The Edge Goes To: World of Warcraft

    It's pretty simple and so centrally controlled it'd make Alan Greenspan weep, but World of Warcraft's economic system seems to work pretty well.

    Round 14: How Robust Is Publisher Support Via Its Official Site?

    World of Warcraft:
    Blizzard's is a fairly standard site for supporting the game like this. Much of it is sales brochure stuff, basic game information not really of interest to people already playing the game. The really comprehensive stuff is all part of the fansite network. There is a fan art gallery, though, which is pretty cool, and they do run regular art and screenshot contests. The company is also very good about giving out news and information as soon as it becomes available and is an excellent resource for official word on what's happening with the game.

    The most active area on the site, though, is obviously the forums. They've got a pretty good selection to choose from with dedicated forums supporting discussion on a variety of topics of interest to the player base. Blizzard's forum moderators are also extremely good at monitoring the forums, eliminating trolls, answering questions, and facilitating communications between the fans and the development team. It could be better, though. There's little facility and no tools for searching for or meeting other players.

    EQII: has the potential to be a great resource.

    WoW: The official web site is a good source of news and the forums are OK.

    EverQuest II: has the potential to be a great resource. You can search for players by class, server -- pretty much any criteria -- and an up-to-date visual profile of them will appear which includes their current equipment set, stats, the whole nine. Ditto with guilds. It's great, and it works well. One aspect of it that's lacking at the moment, though, is its selection of supplemental information -- stuff like guides, charts, and the like. It's clear that Sony intends to have that information up there, at some point, but right now, it's just a little slim. You're better served by going to fansites. Of course, if the info there is too comprehensive, it'll take away from strategy guide sales, and rest assured: nobody wants that. But it's cool to dream. Hopefully, they will find ways to make the site even more useful and novel than it already is.

    The Edge Goes To: EverQuest II

    This is mostly due to Sony's forum system. They break forum categories down much more than the site, making it easier for people to find the discussions they're interested in and for monitors to patrol and respond to requests.

    And the Winner Is: World of Warcraft!

    Wow (no pun intended)!. There were a couple of real surprises in that fight. While World of Warcraft won with a respectable 6 points to EverQuest II's 5, there's more there than just a score. There were three points where both games were equal (Character customization, ease of travel, and combat), and more than a few where EQII clearly outmatched it's rival, most notably in the area of avatar's physical customization, role playing, and crafting. This is, perhaps, by design, as World of Warcraft was created to be a friendly, no hassle experience designed to appeal to everyone while those with a bit more experience with MMOs who want to try role playing or get into a deeper crafting system might want to dive into EverQuest 2.

    Last edited by 35yeros; 01-23-2008 at 05:53 PM.
    When in doubt, empty the magazine, They dont pay you to bring home bullets

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