marino's EverQuest: Gates of Discord (PC) review

The First "Real" Expansion in Over a Year

After two half-baked expansions, Sony Online Entertainment seems to have delivered a solid expansion to the waning original EverQuest.  So far, Gates of Discord reminds me alot of Shadows of Luclin, and that's a mostly good thing.  The story is a direct followup to the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion, as the Wayfarer's Brotherhood have discovered the lost continent of Taelosia thanks to the navigation of a magical stone.  This continent appears to have been ravaged by earthquakes and subsequent attacks by a tribe known as The Legion of Mata Muram.  This Legion is revealed to be what Nedaria saw in her horrifying visions if you're familiar with the LDoN storyline.  The Wayfarers have set up camp on the shores of Taelosia, but all but one of their scouts are believed to be dead.  The one that returned was so badly injured that he died shortly after.  The Brotherhood feels that they've done they're part, now it's up to you to explore this lost continent and figure out what happened here.  If you've left EverQuest behind and are one of those people who just can't bring yourself to delete your account, Gates of Discord is your reason to come back.  I would like to add that reviewing a game where so much is still unknown is kinda hard, but I think it's a fair review. 
No graphical overhaul this time.  The character models are still the same as they have been since Luclin (if you want those turned on), but the new zones are gorgeous from what I've seen.  Lots of new textures and effects liven up the new temples and courtyards, and the new NPC's, while a bit sick and twisted, look great as well.  Overall though, there's not much we haven't seen here.  
Played EQ before?  Nothing's different as far as the controls go.  New to EQ?  Where the hell have you been the last five years?  There are some new additions to the interface that will allow you to get things done quick, like tradeskills.  No more clicking over and over to raise your skill.  The UI now opens a window with a list of recipes for you to choose.  But other than a few tweaks to the UI, it's the same button mashes as always.  
Honestly I don't think I've had sound on much in EQ for over two years until last week, and I'm glad I turned it on.  The music in the newer zones of EQ (PoP & LDoN included) is beautiful.  You can turn off the annoying "Combat Music" if you want, so even when you're fighting, you still hear the normal background music for the zone.  If you have "SOUND=0" in your eqclient.ini file, you're missing out.     
Replay Value 
Um...Hello?  This is EverQuest.  It doesn't just eventually burn out.  Seriously though, from what I've seen so far, there's a ton of new content in GoD.  This isn't just three or four zones you'll see once and never come back again like Ykesha.  The new expansion is quite story driven and you'll constantly be revealing new parts of the story as your adventures continue.  The real question is, what is this leading up to?  Is there some type of boss of this continent a la Trakanon, Vulak, Aten, and Quarm?  And if this is one of the last expansions for the original EverQuest, how does the story of Taelosia and the Wayfarer's Broterhood lead us towards EverQuest II?  I'd imagine these questions will be answered soon enough, but that's part of what keeps people playing this game. 
As I said above, if you've been out of EQ for a while and have even slightly thought about coming back, this is the time to come join your old friends for some new exploration.  One of the great things is that the loot that is dropping off the regular named stuff in GoD is equivalent to stuff from Vex Thal or better.  So if you're afraid that your gear will be sub-par, don't because you can quickly upgrade your stuff in single group grinds.  With new AA skills, a new Tradeskill UI, tons of new quests and recipes, an entirely new continent full of traditional zones and instanced zones, Gates of Discord is the first solid expansion to EverQuest in over a year.     
*** This review was written for a few weeks after the release of the expansion. ***
1 Comments Refresh
Posted by Marino

Just wanted to comment that in the weeks following this review, I grew to really despise this expansion for many of the reasons found in the "Reception" section of the wiki.  So, I basically disagree with my own review.


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