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EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Verant Interactive
Media: CD/1
Players: MMO
Genre: MMORPG/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Since EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark is an upgrade or extension to an existing game, this review should answer two different questions: 'What is it like?' for those who are not familiar with EverQuest, and 'What's different about the Kunark expansion for those who already play the game?' Well, for those of you who don't know EverQuest, the graphics are pretty good to begin with. True, the models are low polygon count, but this helps to keep the overall stress on your cpu lower. The models are nicely designed and detailed, even if the poly-count is kept minimal. For those of you that are familiar with EverQuest, you have probably seen 'pretty' before. 'Pretty' is the little sparkley special effects when a spell is cast. 'Pretty' is your first glimpse of the city of Kelethin as you see the wooden platforms in the trees. Kunark is not 'pretty.' It is beautiful. Even as it lays in ruins, the detail and depth of the environments are astounding. For one thing, it seems that Kunark is the only place in all of Norrath that the wind blows hard enough to make the trees sway. The entire countryside looks alive. And, alive it is... and full of danger.


EverQuest is a completely open-ended role playing game. You are pretty much free to do what you like. To some, this freedom goes to their head. They attack a guard. (and miss... and die from the big lug's first punch... tsk. tsk. I didn't MEAN too...) To others (read, 'my wife'), the game seems to be without a point. There is no specific objective. You don't complete the game... which leads us to the Ruins of Kunark...

EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark is Verant's answer to dedicated Questers' desire for a new adventure. Kunark treats players to better detail, better environments, and of course, more quests. Since Kunark is basically made for more advanced gamers, everything is a little bit more dangerous. Even the cities are less protected. (Well, they are ruins - what do you expect?!!) I actually got myself killed inside of the town by some overgrown frog slaves. (You have been warned.) There are, of course, newbie areas included for characters that begin in Cabilis (the capital city of Kunark), but just a few feet in the wrong direction, and you are way out of your league. Another interesting added featue of the Ruins of Kunark expansion is that you can now play as an Iksar (basically, a lizardman). If you already play EverQuest and you are not interested in traveling to the Ruins of Kunark, nor do you want to play as an Iksar, then you have no need to install the Kunark patch.

Role-playing in the land of Kunark has a (possible) side benefit. Everyone apparently knows how a lizard man should speak, and very often gamers actually role-play an Iksar, instead of using a lot of out-of-character remarks. So, if you're actually into role-playing in your role-playing games, then you may want to turn your attention to the Iksar race... they're up against great odds, but isn't that what being a hero is all about?


The Ruins of Kunark area is very difficult. It should not be attempted by newbies. However, if you're buying the game off the shelf, it has the entire EverQuest known world of Norrath, as well as the Kunark ruins, so you can try your luck at other regions first to get the hang of it. For those of you who are avid EverQuest gamers that want a challenge, traveling to Kunark will give you an opportunity to get away from those overprotective guards and oh-too-safe cities. Only where there is real danger does real adventure begin...

Game Mechanics:

EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark adds a new character class, and several new zones in which to seek adventure. Some things in Kunark are awe-inspiring. Others are terrifying. The refined graphics to be found in this expansion are beautiful, and the added danger makes it interesting. Throw in the inexplicable effect it has on gamers (actually) role-playing their Iksar characters, and it makes for a very enjoyable online gaming experience.

Installation: The basic premise of installing EverQuest is fairly straightforward. Put the CD in, run the setup, etc. However, there are a few things to note. First, is big. No, really. Make sure you have enough room to install the game before you start. (Save yourself some headaches.) Second, EverQuest defaults to 3Dfx drivers if you have them. This can be great if you still have a 3Dfx card, but if you have changed cards and you still have 3Dfx drivers... or if you have drivers in need of being upgraded, you could have problems running the game. I have a 3Dfx Voodoo 3 2000 and kept getting an error when I attempted to run the game. After checking through some forums (and posting and getting a response from a fellow gamer), I tried downloading new drivers for my Voodoo 3. Ta-da! Now I could play the game, although I still have some sort of pointer glitch when I'm in the framed viewing mode.

Now, needing to see the Ruins of Kunark so that I could play it enough to review within my deadline, I tried installing it on my wife's computer (before I found out how to make it work on mine.) My wife's machine is an off-the-shelf 'e-machine,' 500Mhx, Celeron system. No added graphics card (and, no - her computer was not the 'e-Monster' that's supposedly made for games.) How did it turn out? Beautifully. EverQuest: Ruins of Kunark went right on the machine, did its couple of patch downloads, then I clicked right on into the game. Not only that, but I was rather impressed with the graphics with the built in Intel Direct AGP 3D acceleration. I have seen on forums that some people have had problems with certain sound cards, as well, but Verant usually suggests installing the latest drivers. (That fixed my problem.)

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

Minimum System Requirements:

200MHz Pentium, 32MB RAM, 3D accelerated video card supporting Glide, OpenGL, or Direct3D, 4x CD-ROM drive, Windows 95/98/NT 4.0 (SP3), More RAM may be required with certain 3D video cards that use Direct3D. Supports 3D sound cards
* Monthly Fee Required

Test System:

K6-II 400, 64MB RAM, Voodoo 3 2000, Aureal Vortex II 3D Sound Card

Windows Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear Windows Descent 3

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated