This is What EverQuest II is Missing

Thoradin's WallThis is Thoradin’s Wall, which runs between the Arathi Highlands and the Hillsbrad Foothills. I came upon the wall while running to Southshore for the quest MacKreel’s Moonshine. The quest is timed, so I didn’t pay any attention to the wall when I came to it, but after finishing up in Southshore I made a point of walking back to have a closer look. Figuring it would make for a nice screen shot, I started backing away, oblivious to my surroundings, trying to frame it just right. Just as I was about to take my screen shot, a mountain giant named Fozruk walked into the frame.

So what was it about this wall that compelled me to come back for a closer look? I mean, it’s just a big wall, right? To me it wasn’t. While running through Arathi Highlands, the wall came into view off in the distance, growing larger as I approached. The wall, heavily damaged, gives the zone a sense of history; something big happened there long ago. Who built it, and why did they deem it necessary? Who destroyed it, and why?

At present, my character is level 31, which means I haven’t seen a whole lot of the world thus far, but I’ve already come across a number of places or things in the game that not only piqued my curiousity much like Thoradin’s Wall, but serve to make the World of Warcraft look “lived in”. Ashenvale, for instance, has various ruins strewn about the zone, dilapidated statues the only things left standing from some long forgotten shrine or monument. Orcs toil away in the Warsong Lumber Camp. On the Eastern Continent, Thandol Span, the mountain pass of Dun Algaz, and the majestic Stonewrought Dam, all help convey a sense of history. I took my curiousity outside of the game and did a Google search for “Thoradin’s Wall” which brought me to this article on WoWWiki. There’s not a whole lot there about the wall, but there is some interesting speculation, and lots of links to other articles. I killed more time than I should probably admit just browsing through different articles, clicking link after link. There is a vast amount of lore contained within WoWWiki which has only fueled my desire to explore WoW even further.

Now, contrast this to EverQuest II. I am fully aware that a lot of this is completely subjective, and people’s opinions will vary. I love EverQuest II, it’s a great game, but when compared to WoW, EQII does not feel like a “world” as oppsed to a bunch of loosely connected zones. I’m not criticizing EQII’s use of zoning, that never really bothered me, rather, EQII’s zones feel like zones. They feel like arbitrary areas created to adventure in with no connection or relation to any other parts, nor do they evoke any sense of historical importance. I don’t consider myself a “lore guy”, that is to say, I don’t need to know who Malkonis D’Morte is in order to kill him, nor do I need to know the grand history of the Commonlands. It would be nice however, if some of the lore behind those things would come through in the game without having to look for it. I’ve read some of the EverQuest lore available at EQ2-Daily, particularly the “Tome of Destiny”, which tells the story of The Shattering, and the many battles that took place during that time. When I wander through EverQuest II though, I don’t see any signs of these battles, or any monuments dedicated to the many lives lost during The Shattering. I never played the first EverQuest, so maybe I’m missing some of the connections between the two games, but EQII’s Norrath doesn’t look or feel like a world that’s been shattered to me.

“The Shattering” chapter of the Tome of Destiny describes the explosion of Luclin, sending “a wave of energy carrying chunks of debris rapidly toward Norrath”. Walking through Antonica or Commonlands, there is no evidence of these chunks of debris anywhere. I think a sprinkling here and there of some huge smoking rock chunks could ramp up the “cool factor” of the EQII zones considerably. The Rending and Shattering events would even make for a sweet intro video for the game, rather than the one that plays currently, that doesn’t really have much to do with the game itself.

EverQuest lore is out there, it’s just very disjointed. There’s some really good stuff in the History and Lore section of the official forums, particularly the stickied threads. Other lore links I came across include the EQ2-Daily one above, EverQuest II Stratics, and The Athenaeum. It would be so much better if all this lore was combined into one wikia-style site like WoWWiki, and better still if it made more of an appearance in the game itself. Norrath has a long and storied history, I just wish it was more evident while playing.

9 Replies to “This is What EverQuest II is Missing”

  1. One beef I have with everquest is that there is a lot of “cookie cutter” objects. There are ruins in Kylong Plains but the ruins are exactly same design and plopped in different areas with no real purpose. Kunzar Jungle is the same with ruins plopped on the map with a exact set of mobs attached. I guess its better than just having a huge plain filled with mobs just wandering around with no real purpose.
    As EQ2 goes to bigger zones the feel of compartmentalization is going away. It is very frustrating though that I have to sit through 4 loading screens just to get from East freeport to Kunzar Jungle. I am really wishing EQ2 was a seamless world.
    I was in Ventrilo the other day listening to EQ veterans talk about familiar sights that now appear in EQ2 but shattered. It was pretty interesting and I felt that I was missing out on a lot of the lore that EQ2 takes for granted that it’s players are from EQ1 and already know it.
    It’s zones like Chelsith that keep me fascinated with EQ2. That zone is so beautifully designed that I have been working on a post that does it justice and I can’t quite describe it. Other places such as Kurn’s Tower in Fens of Nathsar with the massive dragon skeleton with the ghost dragon have me intrigued as there has to be some history and mystique that I need to know about but hasn’t been revealed yet. It’s sad to think that the only reason that the story hasn’t been revealed yet was that the devs ran out of time or budget. I hope this isn’t the case.
    Perhaps if the developers actually took 2 years to release an expansion they would have time to add the little touches that WoW has in place. Seems Sony is rushing out the expansions to make a buck while Blizzard has the luxury of a massive paying subsciber base that allows them to “get it right” before releasing an expansion.
    There has to be “something” in Norrath’s lore that keeps people interested. Heck, EQ1 is still pumping out expansions. I’m not positive but there have to be 10 or more. I at one point thought of playing EQ1 just to see a “before” and compare it to the “after”. I decided against this so I wouldn’t be disapointed by first generation graphics and / commands.

  2. WoW has the “cookie cutter” locations as well. It’s just not as noticeable. Where you can really tell, is in caves. They have a few different cave layouts that they use in Azeroth and reuse them all over. In Outland (and the new BC starting zones), they have new layouts for the caves which is nice. Overall, WoW has incredibly unique zones.

  3. I disagree. I find that there are many places in EQ2:s Norrath that carry a sense of history. You specifically mention the lack of remains of the Shattering, but there are several zones wich feature chunks of Luclin. To name one the crater pond in Antonica (a place wich most Qeynosians pass at least in their early levels), a zone wich you specifically mentioned as lacking evidence of the shattering. The rocks from Luclin even have a distinct appearance (they’re not smoking, though, the shattering occured over 500 years ago, they have had time to cool off) and can often be seen polluting nearby bodies of water.

    Add to that the fact that there is such a huge amount of history and lore to be found just by looking for it. There are tons of NPCs that each tell fragments of Norraths history.

    Indeed, WoW:s history and lore looks, by comparison, like something you might find at the back of a cereal box.

  4. @Mufflon: I think one of the points I was trying to make but didn’t do so very well, is that you have to look too hard to find EQII’s lore. As someone who never played EQ1, I never felt the attachment to the EQII world that I may have otherwise. The only reason I know about The Shattering, and the Rendering and such, is because I looked for it. That’s something that probably should have been a little easier to come across, even if it was just a story printed in the game manual. Have you seen WoW’s manual? It’s got the back story behind every race in the game, along with a history to some of the zones. Yes, it’s fluff, and it’s simplistic, but it’s there. From what I can recall, the EQII manual has no such thing.

    I totally agree that Everquest has a tremendous amount of history and lore behind it, and what I’ve read of it has been great. I just don’t think they do as good a job as WoW in bringing it out through the game world. Furthermore, for what lore there is for Everquest, it would really benefit from having one central location, easily searchable, to hold it all, much like WoWWiki.

    Regarding evidence of The Shattering in Norrath, off the top of my head I can only think of one spot in Antonica, the weird looking rock in the water closest to the South Qeynos gates. When walking by that though, would someone not familiar with the lore know what it is? I know I didn’t, I always just figured it was a weird looking rock, only after your comment did I associate it. I fully realize the rocks have had time to cool off, I had a feeling someone would call me on that. I would argue that WoW wouldn’t care about that kind of detail though and it’d make the rock smoke just because it looks cool and better attaches itself to the lore. If we’re shooting for realism here, then why does Darathar, or any other named for that matter, keep coming back to life, only to be killed again? It’s okay to stretch the bounds of realism now and then if it complements the story.

  5. There is a central location where much of the EQ2 lore can be found. It’s called eq2.wikia.com, and is know to most EQ2 players.

  6. I’ve used eq2.wikia.com extensively for quest hints, etc. Yes, it has some lore, but it looks like it’s just a copy/paste of the Tome of Destiny, and other in-game books. Here’s an example of what I’m looking for: Lord Nagafen, for example, is a character with a fairly extensive amount of lore, what with the Deception quest line, in addition to whatever was there from EQ1. Now, at EQ2i, do a search for Lord Nagafen.

    When you’re done reading the two sentences about him, go to WoWWiki.com. Search for Illidan. See the difference?

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