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EverQuest: The Lost Dungeons of Norrath

[ Review Comments | Screenshots ]

Everquest: The Lost Dungeons of Norrath Review

Game Info:

Category : RPG
Publisher : Sony Online Entertainment
Developer : Sony Online Entertainment
Release : 09/8/2003
MSRP (US): $29.99 (Monthly fee not included)
ESRB: Teen

Screenshots - Homepage - Forums

Minimum Requirements:

System: PII 400MHz or equivalent
OS: Windows 98/ME/2K/XP
RAM: 256 MB RAM
CD-ROM: 4X CD-ROM
Video Memory: 16 MB VRAM (3D Accelerated)
Hard Drive Space: 600+ MB
Internet: 28.8kk + internet connection

DirectX: DirectX 8.1

Background/Summary:

The Lost Dungeons of Norrath is the largest EQ expansion to-date, featuring the most content ever delivered in an expansion. The Lost Dungeons expansion features 48 new dungeons that span the old world of Norrath, focusing on several long lost locations, including the Rujarkian Hills and Deepest Guk. Encounter never before seen monsters that prowl the halls of these dungeons, waiting to challenge any explorer brave enough to venture in.

Everquest, the undying, ever relentless, MMORPG, from Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), has released its latest expansion, the Lost Dungeons of Norrath (LDoN). LDoN is Everquest’s 6th expansion in the 4+ years that it has been around. SOE said that LDoN would bring back the days of “dungeon crawling” while being accessible and fun for everyone from level 20 and up. But did SOE truly succeed in making an expansion pack that was viable for both casual and hardcore players equally? Read on you might be surprised.

Gameplay:

LDON introduces you to the Wayfarers, which can be found in different zones such as Everfrost, East Commons, North Ro, South Ro, and Butcherblock. Each wayfarer’s camp will have an adventure recruiter that will have 10 different adventures (except for South Ro which only has 8). These are what comprise the 48 new zones that you and your group can adventure in. Each adventure has 1 of 3 different types of goals: Collect, Assassinate, and Rescue. Depending on which adventure type you select, you will have 45 minutes or 90 minutes to complete the adventure. Upon a successful completion, you will earn “adventure points” which will be discussed later. Now here is a very interesting point to these new zones.

Once you and your group decide on which adventure you would like to do, the dungeon is “spawned” for you and your group. Nobody else outside of your group can enter that particular dungeon. What this means is that there will be no racing to your mobs, no camping known spawn locations, no kill stealing of your mob, no ninja looting from outside people (unless your group has the ninja looter). But once your time limit is up, you are kicked out of the spawned dungeon and get to start a new one if you would like to. So there is not a lot of time to explore the dungeon unless your group is fast enough (and lucky enough) to finish within the time constraints of your chosen adventure. The adventures are broken down to two different levels – “Normal” or “Hard.” Normal seems to be the way to go as the hard levels still feel they need some tweaking to make the “risk vs. reward” more appealing or more manageable.

Now, the whole reason to do these adventures is to earn adventure points. Adventure points will allow you to do a few different things. You can use adventure points to purchase new spells. Now here is the kicker: You HAVE to do these adventures to purchase your spells as the new spells are not dropped and, once purchased, are No Drop which means you cannot buy them from others players. So you want that new kick-butt DoT for your shaman? Or you want that new AE stun for your enchanter? You want that new nuke for you wizard? You best be getting to adventuring ASAP because the cost of some of these spells is really high (500+ adventure points per spell for some).

You can also purchase augments. Augments are like little gems that you can add to equipment that will “augment” or “add” to your item’s stats. For example, a flawed yellow sphere of fortitude will add +5 stamina to a given item. Stats are just one example as you can purchase augments that will allow you to add a proc to your weapon, add resists or flowing thought, or increase the damage your weapon can do. But the augment has to fit into a given slot and type. A given item my have a slot on it but you have to make sure that the augment you want to put into that item can accept it. Otherwise it won’t work and you will have wasted your adventure points on a pointless augment. Unless you come across a piece of equipment later that you can use on it. Which brings me to my next point.

Adventure points can also be used to purchase equipment that has slots on it and decent stats. The more points you accumulate, the better the gear you can purchase. Some of the better gear out there that can be purchased is comparable (if not better) then some of the ornate gear out there. Some purchasable gear that you can buy also has flowing thought on the items with slots on them that you can augment to make even stronger. Again, though, the better the equipment, the more it will cost you in terms of adventure points.

But is LDoN an expansion for the masses? For the most part, the answer is yes. But there is a problem with one aspect of the expansion. And that is the raid system that LDoN introduces. First off, you have to make sure that everyone that is going to do a raid in LDoN has to have 2 adventures under their belt in the zone you will be raiding. If not, then they cannot attend the raid. But that is not the bad part of this. The raids, currently, are very, very, very hard to do. Even guilds that are elemental equipped are having a lot of difficulty with doing or completing the raids in LDoN. It seems that the adventures for raids need to be tweaked severely to make the “risk vs. reward” seem worthwhile. As it is now, the risk far outweighs the reward. A lot of guildmates feel, in time, SOE will tweak these raid adventures to make them more enjoyable. But as they stand now, it is pointless and fruitless to even contemplate doing these types of raids.

Wrap-Up:

LDoN, as an expansion, is a success in my book. It brought back something sorely missing from Everquest in the form of dungeon crawling. Characters that have grown up in wide-open spaces such as Dreadlands, Plane of Nightmare, Dawnshroud Peaks, etc might feel a little claustrophobic coming into the LDoN dungeons. But oh what fun there is to be had if you give it a chance. LDoN allows almost everyone who plays Everquest to find some new places to hunt, explore, adventure with, and, overall, have a good time doing it. Experience grinding will always be part of Everquest. But LDoN will allow you to set that aside when you get tired or bored with that aspect and allow you to re-discover that aspect of dungeon crawling you might have forgotten. What is around that corner? Is that a trap? Better have succor up just in case. You never know what is right around the corner with LDoN.

Screenshots - Homepage - Forums

Jason Jason4078 Olivas - September 18, 2003

Screenshots: 0
Author: Jason Olivas
Review Score: 4.3

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