EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin
|a game by||Sony Online Entertainment|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 2 votes|
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|See also:||EverQuest, Best MMORPG|
The Ruins Of Kunark and Scars Of Velious expansions undoubtedly added immensely to the Everquest universe in terms of new zones, quests, and items. But Shadows Of Luclin takes the EverQuest experience to an entirely new level in the form of a complete technology upgrade, and you better believe us when we tell you this is no minor upgrade. A brand new graphics engine has been implemented, which takes advantage of high-end videocards that support hardware transform and lighting, bringing EO into line with modern-day single-player games in terms of visuals for the first time in its history. New high polygon character models with hi-res textures for all races and classes also play a big part in the transformation of Verant's ageing online RPG, although some of the new character models are questionable to say the least. In particular. Erudites look absolutely awful, but thankfully you can turn any of the new character models on and off as you see fit. Additionally, armour and weapons have been given a facelift and now look far more realistic as a result. In terms of presentation, it's fair to say that Shadows Of Luclin is a huge improvement on the EverQuest of old, but as always, there is a price to pay for such things...
Upgrade. Or Step Down
SoL needs 256Mb RAM as a minimum requirement, and a videocard that supports hardware T and L (most of the more recent NVIDIA cards support this). Even with this spec, you will still have problems. This review was conducted on an Athlon 600 with 256 megs of RAM and a GeForce2 Pro, and the game was still very choppy, in both the old zones and the newer ones in Luclin. The problem is most noticeable just after zoning from one place to the next as the game struggles to load all the new textures into memory. It's not uncommon to be frozen in places while your screen jerks all over the shop. Then it gets tedious as you wait for the game to calm down and free up memory.
In reality then, to play SoL properly you will need at least 512Mb of RAM in your system and a high-end GeForce card. A Pentium III wouldn't do any harm either.
You're probably wondering at this point if SoL is really worth all the hassle. Well, that's not such an easy question to answer at this point. The new visuals are good, but they're not that good, and the new character models have received a mixed reception in the EQ community with many people taking full advantage of the option to revert their character models to the way they were pre-Luclin Then of course there are the many bugs and performance issues that come with the release of any Verant expansion, but in fairness Verant has been addressing any game-stopping issues from day one of Lucliris release with an almost endless stream of patches, so we fully expect the game to be stable for most users by the time you read this review. The main issue here is how the new quests, weapons and items introduced with Luclin win affect the game, but as was the case with previous expansions, that is something which will only become clear when players have had a chance to explore the new lands and find out what new items are available to them (a process which always takes at least a few months). Given Verant's track record, we are confident players will slowly uncover many new weapons and armour items that considerably enhance your existing characters. Such was the case with Kunark and Velious, and so we have no reason to believe SoL will be any different, even though initial item-drops have proved to be largely disappointing. (We expect this is because people have yet to get to the higher level zones to uncover the best items.)
Apart from the technology upgrade, SoL brings a new race and playable character class to EQ. The Beastlord is a class with strong fighting skills and reasonable spellcasting ability, and they can also summon pets which makes them pretty good at soloing in the wilds. The new race comes in the form of the Vah Shir, a race of cat people who have made their home in the new city of Shar Vahl (this is where you start the game if you create a Vah Shir Beastlord). Many high-level players will be disappointed to discover that Verant has not raised the level cap with SoL (60 is still the highest level you can attain in the game). Verant has, however, gone some way to appeasing high levels with the introduction of an Alternate Advancement system. Using this new system, high-level players can choose to put experienced gained from battle into an alternate pool with which they can access new skills. This effectively means that level 60 players who previously got nothing out of a battle except loot will now be able to customise their characters to a large extent using the AA system. The more cynical among you may see this as yet another way for Verant to prolong the life on your character and keep you playing (and paying) longer, but let's face it, it's better than nothing. Many new spells and the ability to customise your characters by choosing facial features and hair colour also go a long way to making SoL good value for money.
Test Of Time
Overall then, SoL brings a hell of a lot to the EQ gaming experience. How it matches up to previous expansions in terms of new items and weapons only time will tell. We will bring you an update to this review in a few months' time to give you our definitive verdict.
Download EverQuest: The Shadows of Luclin
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP