Tenfold Hate

EQ2 Shadow Odyssey: Pre-order Bonus Items Done Right
October 17, 2008, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Everquest/Everquest 2

Usually “bonus” items that accompany MMORPG pre-orders are pretty weak. Some shoddy stat enhancing item that is worthless after a few levels of game play. A trinket that gives you a slight experience bonus. A blindfold(?) for your archmage. Nothing really exciting.

Not EQ2. The game’s upcoming Shadow Odyssey expansion includes a few pre-order items that, IMHO, are really kick-ass. Why? It’s not your standard pimp-your-stats/buff-to-get-ahead-of-the-pack fare. They are items that have some longevity–one even “grows” with you as your character advances.

The digital download features a “void beast pet.” And I quote:

Watch as a beast from the void rails against its plight, trapped within a magical cage, and receive a rent status reduction of 500 points.

Now, most pre-order bonuses, unless it’s a vanity pet or a piece of gear, are rarely even realized physically in-game. They’re just icons in your inventory. For example, Rittenbach’s Portable Camp in WAR allows gives players a rest and heal buff, which is nice. But how awesome (and good for immersion) would it be if when you activated it, your character actually planted his or her ass by a campfire and set up a tent?

SOE really did something cool that’s not just beneficial to the player statistically, but will make a really cool addition to the play environment as well. How neat will it be to walk into a guildie’s house and see an angry little demon rattling the bars of its cage as the table centerpiece?

And even MORE exciting to me, the retail pre-order includes a dire bear mount that “grows up as you level to become a fearsome mount.” On the station.com forums, SOE developer Ilucide gets specific.

Now this is cool. Every MMORPG player loves mounts. And who doesn’t love bears (besides my home state of NJ that develops their habitat into suburban McMansion sprawl then bitches about a “bear problem,” but this is no forum for my tree huggery).

Other developers should take a page from the Shadow Odyssey book when it comes to upping the uber-coolness (and practical functionality) factor of pre-order items.

Bravo, SOE! (Yes, I just said that. Stop smirking.)

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