"Honey? Are you coming to bed?"

"Yeah, just a minute--I'm killing a gnoll."

Three hours later...

"You realize you've forfeited sex for the whole week, right?" "Um..."

--A frequent conversation with my husband.

EverQuest II

Ah, Evercrack.

EverQuest II is the follow-up to the MMORPG EverQuest, the most popular MMORPG until the release of World of Warcraft in 2004, which has since dominated the scene. EQII, also released in 2004, has not overtaken WoW, but still has a loyal following.

The World
Norrath is a typical D&D type of world, with wizards, dragons, random hordes of revenants and skeletons, gnolls, orcs, and so on.

EQII takes place in the world of Norrath, 500 years after the original game. The gods had tired of mortals invading their plane of existence, and so unleashed a series of cataclysms called the Shattering: the gods withdrew from the world, moon of Luclin exploded, the Orc Empire overran the cities, rendering many of them uninhabitable (such as the Barbarian city of Halas, the Dwarf city of Kaladim, and the Gnome city of Ak-Anon), and a series of earthquakes destroyed the continent of Antonica, which is now several large islands. The elf cities on the continent of Faydwer were destoryed by Dark Elves and Orcs, the cities of Felwithe (High Elves) and Rivervale (Halflings) were rebuilt, but have banished all outsiders, even of that race.

The cities of Qeynos and Freeport, originally neutral cities, having not been destroyed, are now locked in a struggle for control of the world. Qeynos is ruled by Antonia Bayle, a Half Elf sorceress, who tries to promote a world of peace and honor, while Freeport is ruled by the paladin-turned-lich Overlord Lucan D'Lere, who is a rather typical dictator.

Since these events, the cities of Kelethin and Neriak have been repopulated, and the dervishes of the Oasis of Marr have built a new city, Maj'Dul. A village on the Isle of Mara, Shin, has been discovered, but few know much about it, and it doesn't appear on a map. A new race, the Sarnak, have also come into being, and created the city of Gorowyn on the resurfaced continent of Kunark.

And finally, the gods have started allowing contact with them again.

Everquest II doesn't make reference to neutral races or classes, though they do exist; instead the game focuses on a good-vs.-evil mentality, where the cities of Qeynos (good) and Freeport (evil) are in a cold war. Kelethin (good) is aligned with Qeynos, but only loosely, while Neriak (evil) has a tense relationship with Freeport, each claiming supremacy over the other. Gorowyn, a new city, is classified as evil, though only neutral races seem to live there.

Neutrality, as I said, isn't really a part of the game, though there are some races and classes which can live in Qeynos and Freeport, and so alignment is chosen at the beginning of the game.

There is one neutral city, Maj'Dul; however, acceptance into the city must be earned, and it is only open to players level 50 and above.

Races: Naturally, many of the races are derived from D&D, though EQII has introduced a few new races. There are nineteen races to choose from, up from EQ's fourteen:

There are four classes, each with three subclasses and six sub-subclasses; they are fairly standard D&D types:

The voice of Antonia Bayle is played by Heather Graham, Lucan D'Lere is Christopher Lee (how shocking). Wil Wheaton and Danica McKellar also provide voices for various NPC.

Players who bought the Desert of Flames expansion also have access to voice emotes.

EQII and Popular Culture
EQII makes the occasional references to Anglo-American pop culture; for instance a Halfling called Grimble Blumble, named for a Pink Floyd song, and the Trapper Coalbear who thinks bears are the greatest menace to the zone Butcherblock (not hard to figure that one out).

EQII has also recently been a subject of the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del.

This is not unusual

Why I Love EQII:
The graphics are extremely good, a lot less cartoony than WoW. On a good computer, EQII can give you relatively realistic textures and backgrounds, and the characters themselves have a "more real" look to them--armor isn't usually in a garish primary or secondary color. Body proportion in characters is more realistic than WoW as well.

Also, I get the impression that EQII players are on average older than WoW players, and so the community is sometimes less obnoxious, at least from what I've gathered.

Why You Might Not:
PvP is only featured on one server, and the game is very group- and raid-oriented, while WoW is solo-friendly and has PvP. EQII assumes a learning curve (you can start out on a noob island), while WoW doesn't.

Why yes, I do have a lvl 54 Half Elf Wizard named Tlachtga. Why do you ask?

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