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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 20:44 GMT
Luclin puts devotees to test
Shadows of Luclin
You can choose to be a warrior or a spell-caster
By the BBC's Damian O'Neil

Shadows of Luclin is an expansion pack for the online role-playing game, Everquest.

Online role playing games are essentially a means of spending time in an alternative virtual world, where you meet other like-minded souls and go about developing your character.

If you want to play Shadows of Luclin, you need the original Everquest game, an internet connection, and lots and lots of time. A monthly fee is also payable.

Shadows of Luclin
Fans of the game take it extremely seriously
Ostensibly, the object of the game is to choose a character, and make your way through an online world called Norrath, which is populated by other role-players and a rich assortment of computer-controlled beasties.

In the early stages, it is these which are the main focus of your attention, as you gain experience by fighting them. More experience enables your character to progress to higher levels, which bestows enhanced abilities and skills upon you.

You can choose to take the path of an out-and-out warrior, a mystical spell-caster, or something in-between.

However, this only describes the basic mechanics of the game. There is so much more to it, but you have to take part in order to fully appreciate it.

The role-playing aspect is undoubtedly the most complex and involved side to the game. To illustrate the seriousness with which it can be taken, it should be noted that some characters have actually got married during the game.

Improvement

You can join, by invitation, other bands of adventurers, which will greatly enhance your chances of progressing your character. It is at this point that the depth of the experience begins to reveal itself.

It is also the point at which you realise that this is anything but a casual game. For some players, it is clearly an alternative way of life. At the very least, it requires a very substantial time commitment in order to gain the maximum benefit.

You cannot expect to dip into it occasionally, and get any real satisfaction. But if you are prepared to spend the time, and the monthly fee, there is a highly complex and rewarding world awaiting you.

The Shadows of Luclin expansion adds a huge new playing area, new characters and improved graphics. If you already own the original, the improvements make this an essential purchase.

If you are new to this sort of thing, buy the original and stick with that for the moment. If you decide you enjoy the experience, the expansion will soon become necessary for the above reasons.

Everquest: Shadows of Luclin is available on PC format.

See also:

19 Dec 01 | Entertainment
Budding emperors wanted
04 Jan 02 | Reviews
Shadows of Luclin: Your views
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