Three Things That EQ2 Does Best
- Best Crafting and Housing
- EQ2's crafting makes the WoW and LOTRO versions look like afterthoughts. Unlike either system, EQ2's crafting actually requires player interaction during the crafting process (instead of pushing "craft all" and walking away from the keyboard for a few minutes), and permits crafters to advance without also going out into the world to slaughter things.
As to housing, WoW doesn't even offer the feature, and the LOTRO version is very limited in both functionality and appearance compared to EQ2. If you like these features, EQ2 is far and away the best option.
- World Events
WoW's world events have the game's trademark production values, but Blizzard insists on introducing random number generator elements to strictly time-limited events. By contrast, SOE's recurring holidays and one-time world events are designed to tell a story, perhaps hand out some unique cosmetic reward, and wrap up. They don't necessarily keep you occupied for weeks on end, but they're always worth doing, and even worth looking forward to.
- Character Options
- EQ2 has a total of nineteen playable races. Even if you dock them three for having not one (LOTRO), not two (WoW), but FOUR playable elf-races, the game has more racial options than WoW will have after its next expansion. EQ2 has two dozen character sub-classes covering such unusual roles as evasion tank, melee healer, mind-controlling caster, and singer of sad songs that make your party members hit harder. Characters can even betray their cities and switch to the other alignment version of their class. Overall, it's a ton of very unique options.
- One Thing That Detracts From the EQ2 Experience: Unreasonably Low Character Limit
- The downside of having all those options is that the game makes it unreasonably difficult to actually try all of them. WoW offers ten character slots per server with which to try its ten classes. LOTRO's monthly fee includes seven slots per server, with only nine classes to try, and you can permanently obtain two more slots per server for a ONE-TIME $20 purchase.
By contrast, EQ2's character slot limit with 24 classes (12 pairs of subclasses if you're willing to betray later) is seven slots SHARED across ALL retail servers. The only option to obtain more slots on the same account is to nearly double the monthly fee by purchasing the all-inclusive Station Pass. Or you could also start a second account, paying a second full monthly fee for additional characters who will not have access to your account's shared bank (a crucial feature which can be used to transfer just about every bind-on-pickup currency or loot drop in the game). Players are also entitled to seven slots on the game's persistent test server, but those characters are stuck on that server.
In short, unless you're able to rule out classes with perfect accuracy, your choices are to pay SOE more money or spend time leveling characters that you will have to delete (or possibly re-create, if you use the test server to audition characters). I realize that EQ2 character records probably take up a large amount of data space compared to other games due to insanely large storage inventories (and potentially hundreds of items per character in player housing), but this limit is inexcusably low.
- The Bottom Line:
- EQ2 offers probably the most specialized game amongst the games I play. If you want to be a Wood Elf Ranger/Woodworker who fletches his own bows and arrows, you can. If you'd like to be a pacifist giant lizard who shapeshifts into animals and makes furniture in his spare time, that's on the table. Winged fairies come in cheerful, homicidal, and sometimes both at once. Somewhere in all those options, there's a character that's right for you.