A couple of people mentioned in the comments that they were thinking of coming back to EQ2 after a long time away or even giving the game a try for the first time. After a dozen years and as many expansions, plus several Adventure Packs and a hundred Game Updates, getting up to speed can be a daunting process.
With a brand new MMORPG I would see it as a problem if players needed to refer to third-party sources just to be able to get to grips with everyday gameplay but there comes a time in any long-running MMO's life when the sheer weight of the past begins to overwhelm new or returning players. EQ2 passed that point long, long ago. The official Daybreak Games EQ2 website has a comprehensive list of third-party resources, some of which I would consider essential and some of which I've never used or even heard of. A couple that every EQ2 player probably has bookmarked would be EQ2Wire and EQ2 Traders Corner. They're each run by a pillar of the EQ2 community although I think it's fair to say that their approaches and the way they've been received have varied radically over the years.
Feldon of EQ2Wire can be something of a thorn in the side of management, be that SOE's or DBG.
He takes a forthright and occasionally confrontational stance on issues big and small and on occasion certain gung-ho members of EQ2's internal hierarchy have seen fit to ban him from the forums, a fate that, it must be said, can happen to anyone and not always for any good reason. In Feldon's case it has always been from an excess of speaking truth to power - or what thinks of itself as power.
EQ2Wire is the first and best source of news about EQ2. It's fast, accurate and Feldon has sources that allow him to gloss the facts with nuance that is often revealing.
EQ2 Traders Corner takes a very different tone. Hosted by the inimitable and much-loved Niami Denmother, this is the place to come for everything tradecraft-related. Mum, as she's known for short, has been active on the Test server for as long as I can remember, taking a comprehensive look at all new crafting content before it reaches the Live game so that she can be there on day one with a full screenshot gallery and all the practical information you need.
Her husband, Ngreth, used to be the Tradeskill Dev for EQ1 so her connections with the company run deep, making her more of an insider than Feldon but that doesn't prevent her speaking her mind when appropriate, although the critique might be presented rather subtly in a roleplayed, fictionalized form.
The other two absolutely essential resources are the official EQ2 Wiki and EQ2Map. For years I have used these two so extensively that I think of them as an integral part of the game. I can imagine playing without them but I don't think I'd want to try.
Most MMOs have wikis these days but EQ2's is exemplary. Going by the name of EQ2i it's beautifully organized and thoroughly comprehensive. It's very rare to look for an answer there and not find what you need, whether the quest you're stuck on was added last week or a decade ago.
EQ2i used to have very strong competition from the Zam network (formerly Allakhazam) but as Feldon reported almost a year ago, Zam was bought by China's Tencent Holdings and effectively mothballed. The site is still up but the last posting is former Editor-in-Chief Cylenia's farewell message.
According to Feldon's piece, Zam also owned both EQ2Interface and through it the crucial add-on EQ2Map. As I discovered last week, when I got my new PC up and running and logged into EQ2 for the first time on a fresh install, the default in game maps are barely adequate. Scratch that - they aren't even barely adequate. I don't like add-ons. My strong belief is that every MMO should provide sufficiently robust tools to make external add-ons unnecessary. In my experience most do but one area where many an MMO falls down is mapping. EQ2Map is still going strong at the moment. I re-installed it last week and it updated to the current Scourge of Zek content. Long may that continue, whoever is behind the curtain.
Other resources that I find either useful or fascinating include EQ2 Library and The Athanaeum. And although I don't personally use EQ2U, a spin-off from EQ2 Wire, many would consider it the most important resource of all.
For a twelve-year old MMO with a low profile and a dwindling audience that's still a very impressive range of resources. I would encourage anyone coming back to or starting out in EQ2 to make the fullest use of all of them. And if anyone has any other suggestions please don't be shy about talking them up in the comments.