Everquest: Dragons of Norrath
Reviewed: 06/02/2005


EverQuest II is taking the biggest chunk of Sony Online Entertainment’s attention nowadays, but the original EverQuest is still very alive. The players there are still dedicated and expansion packs are still being produced, the most recent being Dragons of Norrath.

Sure, EverQuest is one of the oldest MMORPGs around, but its graphical upkeep has been great, so over the years, it hasn’t lost very much. It’s not as stunning as Star Wars Galaxies or EverQuest II, but there are no big problems with the looks of the game, especially in the gorgeous new zones. Some players get slightly irked over the look of the character models, but they’re plenty tolerable. The new monsters (yep, you guessed it–new dragons) all look fine too.

Screen Shot
Lovely scenery

Even though the game itself is old, new features are still being added. One new thing of note in Dragons of Norrath is a potion belt, which–just like it does is some newer MMOs–cuts down the time it takes to use potions and magic items in battle. Another is the improvement of the instanced areas, which DoN makes by focusing on better story telling. Stories going along with the quests feel much more natural now than they ever have, giving them extra appeal and, in effect, increasing EverQuests longevity (as if it hasn’t already been proven!). Completing nets you some Radiant Crystals, which are used to purchase special items from merchants, which are used to improve your character’s stats. Thus we see that not only are the quests more fun with a natural feel, but they’re also as rewarding as ever. EverQuest is still fun.

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This guy isn’t so intimidating if you’ve got your guild with you

But the improvements don’t stop there. Close-knit guilds have reason to love Dragons of Norrath. If a guild finds itself wanting new recruits, it can use the “Guild Looking for Members” tool to find them; if a guild wants to set up group meeting places, the “Guild Portal” allows guild members to purchase the ability to have a persistent port to pre-determined areas around the world. Guilds can even go to a special alter and summon the corpses of their wiped-out brethren. These and other features (gotta love the Guild Hall) draw the community members closer together, which is needed in any game these days, given the tough competition out there. The unfortunate part of this is something that every MMORPG will eventually have to face–the population is decreasing. Even though EverQuest is fun to play, satisfying, technically sound, and worth an MMO player’s time, the numbers just aren’t what they used to be. Some servers have been clustered to ease this problem, which was kind of nice, but the fact is Norrath keeps getting bigger, and the player base keeps getting smaller. Heck, the content in this expansion pack, while good, is almost exclusively for high-level players.

Considering the state of EverQuest and the state of the MMO market in general, Dragons of Norrath is a good expansion. There’s little (if anything) to attract new players, but does anyone really expect them to show up in a 6 or 7-year-old game? If you’re a high-level EverQuest player who somehow doesn’t have this expansion already, you’re missing out. With this expansion, EverQuest remains worth the monthly fee (even though it just recently increased), but newbies looking to call Norrath their home should try to do so in EverQuest II instead.

-Heath Hindman

Score Breakdown
Out of 10
See our Review Criteria
Gameplay Good
Story Very Good
Graphics Very Good
Sound/Music Below Average
Replay Value Good
The Verdict: 6