Aggro Me: Change
"Nothing endures but change."
-Heraclitus, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Someone in-game recently asked me what my favorite change was since the launch of EQII. I gave a quick answer about Splitpaw being the time I think the game turned around in terms of content. The player called me out on that answer, stating it wasn't a change. I answered off-line selling, but I'd like to change that answer. Sure, off-line selling was a great thing, but it should have been in the game from day one. I don't consider that a change as much as a feature which didn't make it into the game at launch.
So I've thought about it some more and I'm going to go with the removal of the archetype system. By that I mean the way you now pick a subclass before you start the game.
Before that change, I never took an alt past level 20. It was just too dull to play a generic class, especially if you had played it before while going for a different subclass. Now, you get a really good idea of how your subclass plays in the early levels. What's more, by the time you get to the Armor Quests and you want to start grouping with people (if you do) you have a pretty good idea about the correct way to play your class.
This change greatly increased the replayability of the game for me. And that's important because it's actually really fun to try playing other classes. That's especially true at times like the present in the days before a new adventure pack or expansion when you might be bored with raiding or other max-level content.
Because of the archetype system removal I've not only had the chance to experience different classes, I've had the chance to explore content I never would have explored otherwise. I've found parts of zones I never knew existed the first time around and discovered quests I'd never done before. That's a lot of fun for me and it keeps me playing EQII instead of trying a different game.
I now have my Wizard, my Troubador and my Guardian, plus I've played a bunch of other classes through the early levels. It also gives me perspective on other roles in group. I now know how tough it can be to hold aggro in a pick-up group or how important being able to get behind a mob is to scouts. And that first-hand knowledge of how other classes work helps me play each class better. Theoretically, anyway.
So that's my favorite change in EQII to date. But there have been a lot of changes so I'd love to hear your personal favorite in the comments. Or feel free to throw in your least favorite if the mood strikes you.