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Monday, February 13, 2006

Kingdom of Sky Impressions

Okay, I didn't play the beta too much due to my schedule. I even showed up late to Blackguard's beta tour because I got stuck at work. So take what I say with a grain of salt. And be aware that things may change before release. I'm also not going to spoil too many actual details for you.

One thing I can positively say is that the graphics will blow you away. The zones I visited myself or on Blackguard's tour are truly amazing. They are far beyond anything I have seen thus far and real eye-candy. The mode of travel you use (i.e. this expansion's griffon or carpet) is also a visual treat.

The graphics for the mobs are the best I have seen. They just seem more detailed, larger and more imaginative. A fantastic job.

There appears to be plenty of zones and the zones feel very large. Even more important, the physical nature of the zones is way more interesting than the original ones. Rather than being flat zones, in KoS you are jumping, falling, climbing and so on. I'm not sure exactly how to explain this but movement just seems a lot more exciting in KoS and the zones just feel a lot more like real places, even though they maintain a highly fantastical look. DoF had some of this but KoS takes it further.

I love the Achievement tree. You can't have every Achievement and I like that. You may have to sink points into an Achievement you aren't really crazy about to get to one you are. The whole thing is very fun and I honestly see different people taking many different Achievement paths. I still haven't decided which way I am going to spend my points and I think that means it is a success. I was surprised to see that certain Achievements require you to wield a certain weapon (i.e. one-hand, dagger, two-handed) but I also found it interesting. I like the way you get Achievement points from other means then pure xp.

Are there going to be Achievements you think are stupid? Sure. But that's part of the fun. Other people might enjoy taking their character in a totally different direction than you. I honestly think it will add a lot to the game. Now, I would prefer to see Achievement points added retroactively but since I'm already at 60 I'm pretty biased and I'm not going to get crazy about it.

One thing I have really not seen mentioned too much in other beta impressions is criticals. Wow, was I happy to see criticals. They work for spells, attacks and also for heals and I just think they are really fun.

I've only seen two of the famous profession hats in game but they are, indeed, quite cool. There is discussion and screenshots in
this thread. I do wish the profession hats for every class were finished but Moorgard does say they will be added soon after.

I have asked people about the itemization in KoS and the people I have spoken to seem rather pleased. I like what I have seen so far.

One negative: The spell line for Wizards is mainly an upgrade over the existing line. I was hoping for something more interesting but I guess they follow a cycle of spell upgrades. I checked a few other classes and it looks to be similar for all. However, there does appear to be at least one really special new spell for each class so don't despair. Plus, you do have the Achievements.

I'm hoping the quests are as exciting as the rest of the expansion and they look good so far. I really believe the Kingdom of Sky will be a tremendous boost for EQII and I think a lot of work went into it. It seems to be an amazing, entertaining product and the beta players I talked to seemed quite pleased with it.

Oh, one more slight negative. The carnivorous houseplant reward you get if you buy the box at retail seems rather awesome. Okay, that's not a fair negative. I think SOE did a great job coming up with a cool reward. And I understand the need to make the retail box attractive. I just personally hate buying games retail and prefer downloading them. I'm not saying it is the greatest thing ever and you should rush out and buy the retail copy instead of downloading. I just think it beats down the DoF monkey in terms of fun factor.

I really like the way SOE seems to be headed on the teleportation live event that will introduce KoS. It's exactly the kind of thing
I get excited about.

If you have any specific questions about the expansion ask them on
the forums and I'll try to answer. But trust me, I think you are in for a treat. I may update with more impressions as I find out more or remember some stuff I missed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well looking at the spell list i'm very disapointed.

Only one new spell, i've been using the same series of spells since lvl 40 and two expansions in and i'm still just using the same spells with only tiny difference in damage.

Personally I dont see my character progressing, yes we will all hit lvl 70 but that's just a number, in terms of abilitys and skills nothing has changed.

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not really sure what you are looking for from your spell list but SOE cant redesign and rebalance a class every ten levels.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

Actually I saw the 61-70 spell list for wizards on the official forums and got pretty excited... way more exciting than 51-60 was. Of course I haven't seen any in action but nonetheless, I want to get them!

8:43 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

Yeah I agree with Anon #2 it's very difficult to throw out a new design from lvl 61 to 70..

If they do that you'll have an EQlive problem where one class is better then another and then there's balancing issues. I already forsee a future nerf on the new achievment system.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Xalmat said...

Theres nothing wrong with having your previous spell lines upgraded. People are expecting the world, but that's not how the EQ2 spell engine is set up.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The AA tree is a copy-cat of World of Warcraft. That's exactly the way WoW does it FYI, Aggro. It's nothing original on SOE's part.

2:03 AM  
Anonymous RadarX said...

The "skill" system from WoW is a copycat off the AA's from the original EQ so you could go circles with that. Every MMO borrows effective mechanics from the other ones.

I was in your group for the tour AggroMe and I was just as impressed with what they are doing.

10:01 AM  

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