I swore up and down that I wouldn’t support Daybreak anymore after the EverQuest Next cancellation. Last week, I caved and re-subbed to play EverQuest 2 on the progression server. The core game is fun and offers features you can reliably find anywhere else. While my druthers quiver in rejection, having fun is all that matters when it comes to gaming.
Update 6/22/2018: The points I make about the game below are still valid, but Daybreak’s shady business connections to the Russian inference in the 2016 US Presidential elections means I can’t recommend the game anymore, and I’ve stopped playing entirely. YMMV
DayBreak has made more than a few questionable choices in its relatively short life, not the least of which was the cancellation of EQN. Plus, they have been focused more on creating artificial ways to part me from my money like harshly limiting character slots, instead of creating an experience that makes me want to spend money. Despite their tomfoolery, there’s still a lot of stuff worth paying for in the game. That’s why even though I’m not happy with DayBreak games the company, I’m still happy to pay a sub to get features I can’t really find anywhere else.
More Gameplay Than Just Pointy Sticks
It’s super cathartic after a stressful day to commit the wholesale digital destruction. Other days, I want to play a game but not kill things.
Combat is the most uncreative, unimaginative, and overused aspects of MMOs. Every interaction you have in an MMO is combat driven with a few exceptions. There are some things like trading, auction houses, and player housing that aren’t combat driven, but they are pretty few and far between and often have half-assed implementations.
EverQuest 2 still has one of the better crafting systems that’s more just a clicking simulator. It’s also a separate and distinct progression from combat. Granted most of the time you’re are making things for combat from things you kill. But having the option to just craft with an engaging system and minigame for a night is nice.
Even this is just the bare minimum of potential non-combat systems. Developers could implement systems like politics, better trading, spycraft, more robust crafting, dancing, and so many others. But those systems haven’t been done, and have more complex interactions than “poke with pointy end”. Most studios want quick, easy and simple, not long, involved and complex.
My Home Away from Home
How is it that more games don’t include housing? I don’t understand it. It’s even more confounding that studios like Blizzard and Guild Wars 2 constantly saying that no one wants player housing. Then they implement some half-assed feature that completely misses the point of player housing. It’s also not surprising that many of the older games that are still operating have player and guild housing. It’s not a guarantee of longevity, but I think it definitely plays a role.
EQ2 has a ridiculously involved housing system–probably my favorite, except for maybe WildStar. I have so much more buy-in to a game when I can create my own space and make it my own. It makes a game stickier. While I’ll never create those amazing player housing instances, housing is one of my favorite features. It’s one of those things that keeps me coming back.
Seriously, Why Wouldn’t You Want Wings?
I couldn’t tell you why, but ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of having wings (this is especially ironic considering I have a moderate fear of heights). It’s something game developers seem to shy away from, probably as a result of the clipping issues and modeling issues.
But hell if I don’t want them anyway.
The Fae are one of my top 2 favorite races in MMOs, the Sylvari being the other. (In retrospect, I might be a closet hippy). I love having those awesome fairy-like wings. The fae wings aren’t what I would call badass. The Aerakyn have badass dragon like wings, but if you want some blingy wings, you gotta go Fae.
Seriously, the Fae are objectively awesome.
What’s a Support Class?
Another unfortunate trend in modern MMOs is the lack of any class that isn’t a nuclear bomb given human-esque form and set loose on the world. Support classes have always been favorite to play, starting with the Metaphysicist in Anarchy Online. Now, most modern games are so obsessed with DPS that it’s hard to find a true support class.
Again, EverQuest 2 to the rescue. If ever there were a support class, its the troubadour. They don’t deal out epics amount of damage or healing, but having one around is a huge help to your team and a huge pain in the ass to whomever you are fighting. I miss that kind of game-play where I can help in combat, but I don’t have to be a murder machine, or just constantly be keeping health bars topped off for the murder machines. Since EQ2 still embraces the the support playstyle, I’ll gladly pay for the option to play.
Oldie but Goldie
What it boils down to is that even in today’s landscape, a decade or so after EQ2 launched, it still offers a more engaging experience for me than any of the modern stable of MMOs. We have a lot of games in development that would expand the options out there, but right now — EQ2 feels like the best option out there for more than just murder sim with some downtime.