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Everquest: Lost Dungeons of Norrath

Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Sony Online Entertainment
Media: CD/1
Players: Massively Multiplayer

Graphics & Sound:

Everquest: The Lost Dungeons of Norrath is SOE's latest hit in it's long running series of digital crack known as Everquest, the largest Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in the US. The game's latest expansion offers a set of new dungeons to explore, new items and some new enhancements for party quests. Sony Online Entertainment has gone all out to make sure it's a memorable expansion.

Visually and aurally speaking, Everquest: The Lost Dungeons of Norrath doesn't offer much of an upgrade. Other than presenting a new area of the Everquest world to discover, everything in it is pretty much just as you've always known it to be. The new monsters, items and dungeons that have been added look great. Also, kudos for the improved skeletons.

Those who are still new to Everquest, and looking for a little background on the game -- please refer to Game Vortex's review of Everquest: Evolution for a quick recap of everything that's gone before this adventure.


Everquest: Lost Dungeons of Norrath introduces a new sect of characters, the Wayfarer's Brotherhood, into the game. The quest begins with your character entering your race's homes city (or talking to an NPC if you've been banned from the city). After receiving a message from an NPC, you are sent on a quest to find the five Brotherhood camps. After talking to each Wayfarer, each of whom ask you a set of questions, you're given an Adventurer's Stone, which allows you to accept missions and use teleporters.

Being relatively new to the world of Everquest (I mean, it's been what, 3 weeks since I reviewed the Everquest: Evolutions compilation?), I found this latest expansion to be something of a shock at first. Fundamentally, this is the same great game, but there have been enough noticeable changes to make it feel new. For the most part, the game seems to be built more around the 'party' atmosphere than the solo one. This is, of course, an excellent thing since going on dungeon crawls with big parties is the concept the entire genre is based on. Taking a note from the design document for Everquest II, Sony Online Entertainment has decided to implement randomly generated dungeons. This means that there are dungeons that will be generated solely for your party that won't be accessible by anyone else. This not only gives the game that extra push, but also relieves the problem of traveling to a dungeon only to find someone has already routed the place. One of the neat things about the dungeons is that they are tailored to the party you're traveling with - factors like the level of your group, as well as the number of people in your group.

Missions break down as follows:

Collect: Get X number of a certain item.

Rescue: Find an NPC and help them get to the exit.

Assassinate: Kill a certain NPC boss.

Lay Waste: Kill, kill, kill.

Time limits have also been added to the new dungeons (30 minutes to get to the dungeon; 90 minutes to complete it), which help to make quests that much more exciting. Once your party leader takes a quest, you part is given a time limit in which you must complete it. If you are able to do this, you're given a reward. Rewards not only offer the requisite EXP and gold, but will also give you Adventure Points, which can then be used to purchase both Augmentation Items, which allow you to apply permanent stat upgrades to your existing items, and high-powered gear.

Lost Dungeons has also gone in and balanced the classes a bit in order to make some of the 'weaker' classes a little more useful in party situations. Classes like Rogues and Necros are now a little more welcome.


As great of an addition as the auto-generated dungeons are, they can also lead to problems. The level of the dungeon is set when you first enter, so if a party member drops due to a connection failure or just to be an self-serving jerk who gets his jollies from ruining other people's fun (sorry -- issues, issues), the dungeon becomes much tougher. The generated dungeons are also a little static and uneventful, a typical pitfall of doing this.

Game Mechanics:

One of the major pitfalls of Everquest: Lost Dungeons of Norrath is that it doesn't hold anything back in terms of rewards. In fact, there are times when the game is a little TOO generous with the gifts it bestows you with. Even my mid-low level character is decked with items I wouldn't normally possess in other games, disrupting both the balance of the game as well the 'wow' factor of finally getting a cool item. There's a real problem present when a rank newbie is running around with something like 'Gary Coleman's Short Sword of Ass Kicking Fire Wielding'. Augmentations also present even more of a problem because they give bonuses which are WAY too powerful.

These problems aside, Lost Dungeons of Norrath is a great expansion for the long-running series. The new additions are a nice kick in the pants to a game that has, in the opinions of some, slowed down in recent years. However, a few other additions -- which seem to be aimed at making the game much more accessible to the casual market -- may be a turn off for some.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98/2000/ME/XP; Pentium II 400 MHz or Higher; 16 MB 3D Video Card (32 Meg 3D Video Card Recommended); 450 MB HD (1.5 MB Recommended); 4x or Faster CDROM Drive; 256 MB RAM (512 MB Recommended)

Test System:

Windows XP; Pentium 4 1.7 GHz; Radeon 9100 128 MB; 40 Gig HD; 640 MB RAM

Windows Everquest Evolution Windows Massive Assault: Global Domination Strategy

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated