Saturday, December 4, 2021

Scenes From Vetrovian Life

Visions of Vetrovia is turning out to be a spectacularly good-looking expansion, particularly if your tastes run to abstract expressionism in general and color field in particular. It might seem unecessarily pretentious to drag fine art into a post about an EverQuest II expansion but a) there's no such thing as "unecessarily pretentious" and b) I can't help it if every sunrise, sunset and sea view in Vetrovia sets me thinking about Rothko.

The amount of thought and care that must have gone into the zone design is exemplary. There's a simplicity and a rightness to almost everything I've seen so far. Of course, I've only made it to the second zone. Maybe the next one's a strip mall.

I'm also more than impresed with the dinosaurs or "deinos" as they're called for some inexplicable reason. Dinos aren't new to Norrath. There were herds of them in 2014's Altar of Malice, where they roam the beaches and dunes of the Tranquil Sea, the same place we first meet the "pygmies" who worship them.

Those same pygmies, or some very close relatives, turn up in Vetrovia, which asks some interesting questions about Norrathian ecology, not to mention geography. It also raises some rather more concerning questions about whether "pygmy" is an acceptable term these days. I have a strong feeling it's not but here it is just the same.

More in keeping with contemporary ways of thinking are the dinosaurs themselves. Unless I'm misremembering, the deinos of the Tranquil Sea had the traditional dull colors, hard scales and leathery skins familiar from the dinosaur books of my childhood. There are plenty of those in Karuupa Jungle but many others are resplendent in the irridiscent feathers now believed to token the widely accepted, real-world timeline that sees dinosaurs transitioning into birds.

Whichever evolutionary path they've taken, they look magnificent. They move fluidly and with great individuality. Some stalk, some meander, some frolic. I stood on the beach and watched them playing and it was good.

I also tried to get some close-ups and that wasn't so good. Never send a Necromancer to do a photojournalist's job, particularly one with an entourage, not unless you want to spend most of your time shifting position to get the whole damn lot of them out of shot. 

Of course, everyone in EQII these days travels with an enotourage. It's very rare to see any player without a mount, a mercenary, a familiar and a selection of vanity pets. I'm not quite sure how things got that way but any player who travels alone is a positive cultural outcast.

Anyway, I'm not going to say much more because time is short today. I'll have something to say about the levelling process and the questing soon, I imagine. It's going very well and it's getting interesting but there are some curious structural peculiarities I might dig into a little.

Or maybe not. Things move so fast. What seems like a topic worth a post or two today may well be old news and already forgotten by the time I come to put my thoughts into words tomorrow. 

One thing I can guarantee won't change is the endless supply of gorgeous screenshots. I can't stop taking them. These scenes look even better in game, too. It's a real visual delight, this expansion. Can't stress that enough.

Or maybe I can. Maybe I have. I'll shut up about it now. 

Until the next time.


  1. Just from the screenshots, it looks a lot like they've taken a page out of ARKs book for this one -- dinosaurs everywhere!

    It does look very pretty though. I'm still pretty consistently amazed how much better the latest content looks vs. what I was used to in the original game's release. I really shouldn't be -- this was exactly the case in WoW too. But I dunno. EQ2's art style to my eye didn't age as gracefully as WoW's more cartoonish style did, so I guess it just surprises me more.

    Also, I think, because I was there release by release for WoW, whereas for EQ2 there are quite significant leaps between when I see its progress.

    Glad to hear you're loving it so far though!

    1. It's no wonder Daybreak want to get everyone into the latest content right away when you look at the extraordinary visual difference between the older zones and the ones they've made since the art team got a new set of tools some years back. It might be tempting to sugest maybe they should revamp the older zones to match but the EQ team tried that and it really didn't work. Better to give everyone a leg-up each expansion and get new and returning players into the pretty places.

      Of course, I still love the older zones but I do think you probably had to have been there when they were new to see the appeal of them these days.

    2. I'm sure I could eventually do it, but I won't lie -- the idea of jumping straight up some 100 odd levels in a game I've not experienced in years (let alone a class I've never done!) is at least as daunting a prospect as simply going through it all.

      ... OK, maybe that's a stretch. But it IS still pretty daunting.

      I'm not really sure what else they can really do to reduce the barrier to entry though. Maybe just an insane XP curve through old world content? And heck, maybe that's already there for all I know!


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