Review: EverQuest II: Kingdom of the Skies
Kingdom of the Skies (EQ2 and KOS)
by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is the second full expansion for the
Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) for EQ2. In this expansion a lost plane has been found, and many
wonders are waiting to be rediscovered. On February 21, players were able to once again walk the Plane of Sky.
EQ2 is based upon the world of Norrath in a post apocalyptic age. The world was shattered and two main cities gained power, Qeynos (good) and Freeport (evil). Scattered throughout the lands are areas recognizable as the zones of the original EQ. KOS reintroduces us to the Plane of Sky from the EQ1 expansion Planes of Power. The Erudites have reactivated the spires which lead to three different teleportation sites in the sky instead of Nexus. While some places are in ruins in the sky, they appear to have escaped some of the devastation that the ground suffered when the moon of Luclin split and collided with Norrath. The weekend prior to KOS going live, a world event took place to have the players helped rebuild the spires, which granted rewards of titles and house objects.
Prior to KOS, characters had a level cap of 60. With this expansion players are now allowed to reach level 70, and personal achievement points were instituted. The achievement point system (AA) allows for further customization of characters to allow for individuality for the players. There are three different abilities the AA system grants; statistic increases, passive abilities, and active abilities. Each character can earn up to fifty AA points to sink into these skills, which are arranged into four different trees. Some of the passive abilities include resistance to area of effect (aoe) spells, resistance to stuns, and the ability to resurrect yourself five seconds after you die. These are the most useful abilities from the AA points. The active abilities are mainly useless and could have been worked out much better before the expansion went live.
The art department was working overtime when they designed the different zones in KOS, except when it comes to instances. Two different floor layouts were recycled for all of the instances, which makes for a very repetitious adventure. The architecture is gorgeous, though repetitive. Most of the art for armor and weapons seems incomplete and the over usage of purple is jarring on the eyes. The sets of armor either recycle old patterns, or do not match when in sets. While there is a huge number of new loot items and armor sets, you would think for a full expansion and not an adventure pack that they would have spent some time working on graphics for highly sought after items.
As with all expansions, a large amount of quests and quest lines were introduced which players could pursue for legendary and fabled items. The wide variety of stats allows for the carrying of a second suit of armor for different situations. Players can either hunt for high resist items, high stat items, or a middle of the road set that has a little bit of both. The new prismatic weapons quest line integrates the Qeynos and Freeport players into a struggle to capture the thieves of the Qeynos Claymore, which was stolen from the castle. New class specific hats were introduced, some with fantastic skins like the Dirge’s, and others that are awful like the Fury’s.
KOS introduced a new crafting process which eliminates subcomponents at the high end level. This is a double edged sword. The elimination of subcomponents has made the production of finished goods a lot easier. However the number of raw materials needed per item has increased greatly. This has caused a large demand for raw materials at the tier seven level to sky rocket, and prices are very high; thus creating a great secondary market for people to harvest raw materials for crafters. The prices for finished products have decreased to the point where the price of the raws is more then what the finished products can be sold for. The economy because of this is in a great state of flux which will hopefully settle down.
Overall I really like KOS. Even as a level 70 Wood Elf Fury, there is still so much for me to discover, that the level cap is insignificant. There are a lot of instances for solo play, grouping, and raiding. Hopefully SOE will continue this trend with the next expansion, which will bring back the Plane of Hate and the Plane of Terror with the rediscovery of Neriak. Until then, there is still a lot to do, with SOE continually adding free content to the game, and fixing bugs. Crit hit for Sony!