Last night I did some nonsense “for science” or mostly to refresh my mind so that I was no longer talking completely out of my arse about Everquest. Prior to last night the last time I had played was apparently in 2013 if my screenshot archive was to be believed. So not exactly the most up to date information about the game considering it is still receiving updates and tweaks. Prior to starting up… or more correctly as the game downloaded I watched a video from Cohh to sort of re-familiarize myself with the game. This video included a link to Brewall’s Everquest Maps pack… which I then installed to have slightly better guidance than the default options.
The game presented a series of servers… some of which were flagged as preferred… something I am not completely certain what it actually means. However it did get me to end up rolling on Vox instead of one of the classic servers that slowly got joined over the years. This is technically a newer account than the one that I had while playing the original Everquest, but it is the one that I have the vast majority of my EQ2 characters on… so if I am going to sub somewhere it would be here. On my older account however my characters are spread between Veeshan and Xegony… neither of which sounded like an amazing option for starting fresh so I just went with Vox the new standard ruleset server that was being presented in the preferred list.
Originally I created a Gnome Shadowknight… but the fact that I could not change the color of the eyebrows from grey to something else caused me to ultimately delete that character and roll something completely different. This time around I went with a Troll which was a more min-maxery choice given that the latent regeneration has always been a little broken. Essentially there are three races that are large enough to be able to Slam… or essentially shield bash without the requirement of having a shield. So you if you play a Troll, Ogre or Barbarian you can interrupt casting while using a two handed weapon… which always seemed to fit the feel of a Shadowknight better than sword and shield. Yes these are things that I was somehow able to dredge up from the past and summon forth to advise my judgement.
The user interface still makes me deeply frustrated because it is sort of a much worse version of Everquest 2… and I have never thought the EQ2 interface was that brilliant. After about thirty minutes of tweaking I managed to get things moved in a way that didn’t make me quite so frustrated… though still not entirely happy. The hardest part was the mouse but after tweaking both the X and Y sensitivity I managed to get mouse look feeling a bit more normal. The next step was trying to figure out how to get tab targeting to work properly which lead me out onto the forums to sort out which of the keybinds would actually do what I wanted it to do. It turned out that basically I wanted to bind two things to tab… nearest npc and cycle extended targets… which combined sorta give me the style of tab targeting I am used to which is target the nearest thing or cycle through the things I am currently engaged with.
Over the course of the evening things started feeling significantly better as I got adjusted to this window on time. The combat is still largely non-interactive at low levels for a melee character and it was not long before I set up my old “Taunt and Slam” macro so that I could have a single button to train both abilities up with. Originally I had lumped Sense Heading in there but it seems that you maybe no longer need to train that like you did before. Most combat involved me pulling with my single spell Spike of Disease then starting up the auto attack and hitting my single ability button anytime taunt or bash/slam were up. It was not glamorous… but also pretty chill to hang out downstairs while watching television.
Unfortunately as of writing this… I am finding out that they apparently moved the spells so you start to get something new every level instead of not giving Shadowknights much of anything until around level 10. So I just bought Sense the Dead, Locate Corpse, Invisibility vs Undead, Disease Cloud and Siphon Strength which should serve to make combat significantly more interesting. The other thing that makes this entire experience more reasonable is the introduction of mercenaries… so I am running around with I believe a Human Cleric allowing me to do my tanky nonsense almost indefinitely receiving the occasional heal to keep me alive and functional.
All in all it is not a bad experience so I do need to back pedal a bit regarding some of my comments the other day when talking about Project Gorgon. That said I do think the interface for Gorgon is leaps and bounds ahead of this one, and it is probably the single most frustrating part of the experience for me. I feel like I will spend some time soon trying to clean the interface up a bit or seeing if I can hide some of the interface elements to reduce the size of everything. I am linking in a picture from Project Gorgon for reference… as there is just way less stuff on the screen but providing most of the same information that the Everquest screen does. Regardless it was interesting enough for me to get to level 8 and it is highly likely that I will keep leveling for a bit just to see how the experience expands once I leave the newbie cave.