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EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark

by Sean B.

Iksar: The new playable race in Ruins of Kunark.

EverQuest. The name alone summons an image of sleepless nights and days spent in front of the computer. For those who haven't heard, EverQuest is an more like an addiction than a game. This very popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (or MMORPG) has been the excuse for people skipping school and work just to try and level once more. At the end of April, the makers of EverQuest, Verant Interactive, released an expansion and a new fix for the EverQuest junkie : Ruins of Kunark.

The Ruins of Kunark (Rok) expansion has brought many new features to the game. With the expansion, gamers now have over 20 new zones to explore, as well as a huge array of new NPC's. Verant Interactive was also able to raise the polygon count for the characters and scenery, ensuring a more detailed world than can be found in the original game. There is more than just eye-candy within the expansion, the designers have created a new race for people to try and play. They are known as the Iksar-lizardmen that are neutral/evil in alignment, and the only other race that can play as the Monk class (Humans being the other race). Finally, the designers have added a feature that is sure to please all those who have reached the highest level : the ability for gamers to pass level 50 and reach level 60.

There is one catch to all of these features though. To be able to travel from the main lands of EverQuest and those of Kunark, one must buy the expansion.

As you can see, the details have improved greatly with ROK.

Don't worry, you can still see and use the different weapons, armour, and equipment from Kunark without having to buy it, but you just won't be able to travel there. On top of this, all of the graphical advancements that one can find in the expansion are only found on the continent of Kunark. The higher polygon count was not added to the three main continents of EverQuest. The graphics have not been changed in these areas, and will still look the same the moment after you install RoK. Finally, you have to own a higher performing system to get all of the benefits without any lag. Running on a system that could handle EverQuest fine might find that the continent of Kunark seems choppy and slow.

While there are some negatives to the expansion, the better graphics and gameplay will still entice people to purchase RoK. Within the game, you will notice subtle differences such as trees swaying and smoke effects. Before this, it would seem that the trees were made out of hard plastic, which would never move, even during thunderstorms. When you are dealing with a MMORPG, the graphics are still behind those that are found in games such as Soldier of Fortune, Quake III, and Starlancer. This is a given when dealing with an online game and because of this, ROK tries to add a new dimension to EverQuest by allowing the gamer to become more immersed in the EverQuest world.

Even the design for the shuttles that take you to the large ships are impressive when seen up close.

Being an add-on for EverQuest, the controls, game-play, and sounds are the same as before. Only the graphics were enhanced. But obviously, this is not the only addition found within the game. As noted before, gamers can now advance to level 60. This addition is one that has brought praise from the players since many have been playing at level 50 for a few months now. But a warning to those beginning to advance past 50, each level will take at least twice, if not three times as long as a normal level before 50.

Finally, Ruins of Kunark has given gamers new lands and areas to explore. Since EverQuest came out, all of the lands or zones have been explored, mapped, and conquered by one guild or another. Now there are over 20 new zones for people to see and learn about, giving people who have just recently purchased EverQuest the chance to get in on the fun.

I would have to give Ruins of Kunark an 82%. It brings new features to those playing and allows for further exploration. On a downside, the system requirements are a lot higher than EverQuest itself needs. Better start brewing more pots of coffee, those nightlong quests and raids are just about to begin yet again.


FINAL MARK

graphical additions are an improvement.

A new race, a new land and some new effects are the main benefits of the add-on pack

the expansion can make this game just as addictive as when you first bought the original

82%