First off, I must say that Kunark is everything I hoped it would be. Totally fucking awesome, and I’ve already seen some locales that brought back memories of grinding in EQ1.
There are a bunch of small bells and whistles, aside from the nostalgia, and that are worth mentioning, along with the big an obvious new features. Here’s my opinion on some of the new noteworthy features:
Persona Window: This was a part of the UI that needed a little pick-me-up, and it surely got it. The stats portion of the window has a lot more in depth information that is very useful. No longer do you have to check your AAs and your gear to add up what your extra bonuses are. They’re calculated for you, and displayed for once. So if you’re wondering what your melee crit % chance is, your double attack %, or even your chance for melee AoE, these are all there and easy to find. There are other bonuses listed for caster classes as well, along with your health/power regen, which was always guess work. Another portion of the window that got some work is the faction tab, which now splits up factions from the different expansions, cities, and dieties. This makes it a lot easier to quickly check on your faction with a particular group… and let me tell you, faction makes a lot more difference in Kunark.
Combat Music: This was a much needed change. The flat, stale combat music that was acceptable in 2004 just wasn’t cutting the cheese anymore. The new music is awesome in comparison. Not only is it just cooler sounding, but its adaptive, and you can really notice the change when you start getting your ass kicked, or when you are about to win the battle. It’s a welcome change, and makes things more immersive, which is the goal of any video game right?
Racial Traits: The Achievement window got a new addition, a tab called “character development”. This window incorporates all of the racial abilities available to your character (you can see a preview beforehand) that come in 10 level increments, along with all of the master 2 choices your class will get throughout the game, so you can prepare your choices ahead of time. Let me say that with the complete overhaul of the racial traits was much needed, and they’re pretty damn sweet now. My Ratonga Brigand benefited heavily, getting some extra melee crits, extra poison procs, an extra poison ca, and some other goodies that were previously available (the ones that were acutally worth a shit). I have to retract a previous post, since race/class combinations can actually be effected. I made a good choice with a Ratonga scout class, but a healer would have been screwed on racials, so there is a little thinking that will have to be done when it comes to combinations. I’ll try to get a post up on what all the races get for traits in the future.
Overall Content:The zones are huge, which I’m sure has been said before. The first zone you can go to from the old world is called Kylong Plains, and it encompasses a few of the old EQ1 zones, though I’m not sure I know all of which ones… yet. I know Lake of Ill Omen and the Dreadlands are present, but I have yet to explore the whole zone. There are plenty of quests right off the bat, all of which force you around the zone which is good for disco, and of course there are new mounts. The Sokokar quest is relatively easy, and once you get it, it’s a little pet that follows you around, but can be used to fly from different “posts”, much like the griffs of the old world. There have been enough quests and things to do that I went from 50% into 67 to 50% into 69, and I will be 70 before today is over. I need only 2 more AA as well to hit 100, so hopefully before the day is over I’m finally gaining “new” xp/aa. I would also like to hit up Karanor’s Castle, the first group dungeon of the expansion.
I also took a break from the grind to check out the Sarnak, and I created a little necro. I don’t know if it will be a character that I will actually play, I just had to check out the newbie zone, which is much like Darklight Wood, quests a plenty. The Sarnaks have some interesting racial abilities, along with some pretty diverse features in creation. Overall, I’m very impressed with the expansion as a whole so far. It looks to be the best EQ2 has seen, and I will be back with more on it very soon. But for now, I’m going to get back in game to check it out some more.