EverQuest 2 (2004) takes place 500 years after the original EverQuest. Immediately after the events of the Plane of Time from the first game, the Gods all left, the Ogres formed the 2nd Rallosian War and nearly conquered all of Antonica again, Norrath suffered from a great cataclysm known as The Rending that tore up the entire planet over the course of 300 years, and finally, "The Shattering" happened when the moon Luclin exploded, raining down on the face of Norrath. Antonica took the brunt of the armageddon, despite having already been split into several continents from the Rending. The initial myth arc was that the seas were finally calm enough after Luclin's fall to be sailed, and the adventurers were seeking out all the old lands. There was also a cold war going on between Freeport and Qeynos. The former fell under the hold of the mysterious Overlord Lucan D'Lere, the latter is ruled by the descendant of EQ1's Antonius Bayle, Antonia Bayle.Then came expansions. Well, first came "adventure packs", a concept sort of like a mini-expansion that didn't prove very popular. The continents of Faydwer, Kunark, Odus, and Velious would come soon enough, each continent having their own share of troubles. In addition to the expansions, content is added to the game in the form of "Live Updates". Sometimes the Live Update content is only available to players with the most recent expansion, but other times it's completely free.EQ2 added a few new races to the game, as well as vastly different gameplay mechanics. Most notably, there is ample content for single players, and it is possible to advance to the maximum level (95 as of the Chains of Eternity expansion) without ever stepping into a group. Quest lines are easier to follow, and rewards are easier to come by. However, EQ2 now faces the same issue its predecessor does of too many players at the upper level. SOE has responded to this problem by trying to make it easier for players to rush through all of the "old world" content and get to level 95 as fast as possible.
This game provides examples of:
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Qeynos and Freeport both have massive sprawling sewer systems that encompass 3 zones each and can keep an adventurer occupied from his newbie days through about level 30. Some parts of the sewers of Qeynos take this trope to such a ridiculous extreme that you might be forgiven for thinking you're in an underground cathedral (since there are those there as well.) Justified in that the sewers are also the catacombs where most of Qeynos' dead are laid to rest. Kinda like they used to do in Paris, France. Freeport's sewer system is significantly wetter and filthier (the deepest section, Edgewater Drains, is partially flooded), and was designed to filter the tides so that the ocean stays out of Freeport and no other city districts go the way of Sunken City.
Aliens Speaking English: Averted, unlike EQ1. EQ2 has "language quests", where you have to kill enemies of a certain race until they drop items, and when you've collected enough items then you learn to speak that language. Until you've done so, they're incomprehensible. The developers even included alien-sounding gibberish recorded voice lines for speaking NPCs and players who don't speak that language.
Allegedly Free Game: EverQuest 2 opened up Free To Play servers that allow players to play the entire game for free, but at severe restrictions. Players have access to the entire game, but can only play a handful of races, the most basic of classes, and cannot use gear past a certain quality level. Other options, such as bag slots and bank slots, are also arbitrarily restricted. Worse still, free to play users have their AA Slider forced to 50%, meaning that they level up 50% slower than paying subscribers at all times, with the side benefit of getting AA points that are not really all that useful to a level 10 character. The goal seems to be to get people to pay for unlocks then get them to pay for a subscription anyway, making the entire free to play thing a trojan horse — and any unlocks literally worthless.
In December of 2011, the entire game jumped over to the Free To Play model, which upset and frustrated returning veteran players with the fact that their fully Mythical-geared level 90 Sarnak Bruiser now had to be unlocked by buying the right to play as both the Sarnak race and the Bruiser class first, as well as paying $10 per character slot past the most recent 2 you used, as well as $0.30 per mythical item to use said gear. This was very quickly patched with a formal apology and a refund of any such packs that were purchased, as grandfathered characters no longer have to buy the packs — but still have to pay for the item unlocks. (New characters, however, require the unlocks.) The gold subscription is still a valid option to avoid having to worry about all these, as the (very frequent) popups are quick to remind you.
As of November 2013, all races (except Freeblood, which was introduced as a premium race) and all classes (except beastlord, which was always a premium class) are available to all players. Likewise, the restrictions on gear, bank/inventory slots and platinum have all been removed and the F 2 P character limit was raised to four. Some restrictions still apply (you still need to buy spell upgrades, you can't send in-game mail or gift items to other players from the Marketplace and you have to buy tokens to sell items through the broker) but on the whole the F 2 P restrictions got a lot less onerous.
One important note to this, if you are a Gold subscriber, you do get $5 in Station Cash each month, dropping the "net fee" from $10 to $15 a month down to $5 to $10, depending on how often you pay for the game. These 500 points of station cash a month can easily be used to stockpile race / class / item unlocks and the like, meaning that dropping down from Gold to Silver is not so bad with a certain amount of preparation. Alternately, this 500 points of station cash a month can be used towards the expansions to keep content flowing.
All There in the Manual: A lot of the storyline that goes along with the expansions isn't readily available to players, or at best has to be pieced together bit by bit as you learn the lore.
Alternate Timeline: Everquests 1 and 2 are alternate timelines of each other, diverging from essentially the place that EQ1's storyline was when EQ2 was first released. So for example, although in EQ1's timeline the Frogloks only held the city of Grobb (Gukta) for a few years, since EQ2 came out while they did, in its timeline the Frogloks never lost Gukta. In the EQ2 Chains of Eternity expansion, EQ1's Cazic-Thule tries to invade the plane of Ethernere.
Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. There are six races that may only start as evil (Arasai, Dark Elf, Iksar, Ogre, Sarnak, Troll), but there's nothing preventing any individual character from betraying. The same applies to the good races. There's nothing stopping you from playing a Troll Paladin or a High Elf Necromancer aside from the faction grind you have to do after the betrayal.
Combat Medic: Furies, Inquisitors, and to a lesser extent Mystics can produce a significant amount of damage in addition to healing.
Stone Wall: Warriors in general, although the Guardian is the most classic example (excellent defense, comparatively low damage output)
Fragile Speedster: Scouts in general, although a good Brigand or Swashbuckler can take a few hits.
The Beastmaster: Necromancers and Conjurors. They specialize in undead and elementals, respectively. The Beastlord class takes this to it's logical extreme, taking control of animals. To a lesser extent, Druids can charm animals (and some humanoids) to work for them but it only lasts for a few minutes.
Of course, anyone not listed in Stone Wall is probably going to find out the definition of Glass Cannon.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: Subverted. Technically yes, you get rewarded for most things with clothes, but since your gear directly affects your stats, it's entirely functional.
Arbitrary Minimum Range: The game has a minimum range (usually 10 meters, just outside of melee combat for most monsters) required before anyone can use a ranged weapon such as a bow or throwing knives and shurikens.
The Artifact: EQ2 doesn't have it quite as bad as its predecessor. For one thing, there are fewer outdoor zones, and thus nothing to be "reliced". Also, Sony sometimes lowers difficulty of monsters, or an entire zone, from "raid" to "group", or from "group" to "solo". Still, some formerly high end dungeons like Solusek's Eye now have little point to them. Also, leveling is so easy now that the low end dungeons just aren't necessary anymore, as a player could gain five levels in less time than it would take him to find a group.
The Thundering Steppes and Enchanted Lands are two of the original outdoor zones. Most of the original zones were "streamlined" (NPCs were moved closer to each other, quests were organized into a more linear timeline, monsters were moved around the zones to make them easier to find and most group-scaled content was scaled back to solo). Thundering Steppes and Enchanted Lands were never given large scale revamps and have barely changed since the game was first released in 2005.
With the Destiny of Velious expansion, EQ2 did away with weight entirely, rendering the big-but-super-heavy bank container suddenly something you can carry around with no difficulty, and a boss who's trick was teleporting 9999 lb stones into your inventory rather pointless.
An unusual subversion in Everquest 2 is The Protector's Realm. As of the Rise of Kunark expansion, it was a high-end raid target. With the level cap raised by 10 and the stat bonuses conferred by gear vastly improved, it can generally be cleared with a single group (as opposed to four), and has found new life as a great area for money farming. A good "PR plat run" can net a player in the neighborhood of 30 plat.
'Hail' itself is an artifact dating all the way back to the late 90s when EQ1 was a roleplaying-expected game. The word itself is an antiquated way of opening a dialogue with someone else, just as "Hello" is today. While it's been phased out from modern language for the most part, 'hail' is way too ingrained in Everquest culture to be removed or changed. This was even lampshaded by an NPC in Nettleville Hovel. When you hailed her, her first reaction was that she wasn't expecting any weather today.
As Himself: Professional baseball player Curt Schilling is a huge fan of EverQuest and MMO's in general. During an EverQuest 2 charity event, SOE created a character designed off of Curt himself using an anagram he created named Clint Gilcrush. Curt lent his voice to the dialogue of this character for the sake of the charity. Since then, Clint Gilcrush has been a permanent part of the game. He's secretly a triple-agent for both Qeynos and Freeport during the Betrayal questline, and the player is tasked with taking a bounty out on his head.
BackStab: The rogues take the scout archetype, though all scout classes excluding bards can backstab, the Assassin takes the cake for sheer overkill. Near end game they have at least 7 backstabs, a few location dependent abilities, and a few combat abilities that "stealth" the assassin after execution. They can simply out-damage any other class except some nukers; well, that is if they don't get squished after grabbing aggro.
Big Bad: At the start of the game, Overlord Lucan D'lere was the Big Bad. Like its predecessor, EQ2 adds a couple more Big Bads each expansion. Due to the fact that none of the current developers were part of the original EQ2 team, they don't care about the "old world" content and Lucan's threat priority has become increasingly irrelevant.
Bigger Bad: EQ2 now has Kerafyrm as the grand daddy of all Big Bads, being the prominent character found at the core of the Age's End prophecy that Norrath is now facing.
Big Good: Antonia Bayle started as one. She still technically is, but like Lucan, her plot relevance is steadily decreasing.
Big Boo's Haunt: Fewer than in EQ1, but EQ2 had Ruins of Varsoon in the original, Desert of Flames had the Silent City and related instances, Kingdom of Sky had the Blackscale Sepulchral, Echoes of Faydwer had Castle Mistmoore and the Loping Planes...
Unrest in EQ2 is much scarier than the first envisioning. The zone is strongly story-driven. You're being watched and commented on by the Big Bad of the end zone as you discover the cause of the curse that rests upon the estate and how he brutally slaughtered the innocent family that lived there. Just before you fight him, he actually realizes that you are a player behind a computer monitor, and tries to "jump" out of the screen at you when he pulls an Interface Screw on you before you approach him.
Big Creepy-Crawlies: During one of the revamps, all the frogs and slugs and bugs in the newbie zone The Peat Bog were enlarged massively. Now the frogs are as wide across as a male barbarian, and the more dangerous slugs in the back of the zone are 4 times bigger than a human.
Black and Grey Morality: The entirety of the Sentinel's Fate expansion. The Erudites have a racial outlook that pretty much boils down to "For Science!". They messed around with necromancy, slaughtered Kerra and Hua Mein, and generally were jackasses to everyone. However, they were fighting to save Odus and possibly all of Norrath from either being torn apart by the Void itself or drawn into the Underfoot, and the Void Invaders and Guardians of the Underfoot are nowhere near as nice as the Erudites...
Black and White Morality: Qeynos vs Freeport, and to a lesser extent Qeynos & Kelethin & New Halas vs Freeport & Neriak. (Gorowyn, the third "evil" city, has a policy of Pragmatic Villainy, tolerates good aligned adventurers inside it and is diplomatic with Qeynos and Kelethin).
Boss Game: In spades, especially when it comes to higher end content. Some raid zones don't even have "trash", it's just a gauntlet of boss after boss.
The best example of this might be Toxxiulla's Mound. No trash, just a ring event involving dragons. The other good example would be The Palace of Roheen Theer. No trash, just epic after epic. It's worth noting that many raiders prefer the boss-only zones because generally killing "trash" doesn't result in loot drops which makes time not spent working on the bosses time wasted.
Born-Again Immortality: The fae and arasai. When they die, either of natural or unnatural causes, a spirit bud is created which regenerates the body until they are ready to be reborn. However, the spirit bud can be destroyed, which leads to the fae or arasai's permanent death.
Breast Plate: EQ2 almost completely averted this trope. Unarmored characters wear peasant-like clothing rather than underwear. In fact, there is one piece of gear in the game that shows any significant amount of skin on a female character, and it's a rather expensive prestige item that only acts as clothing instead of armor anyway.
Back with a vengeance as of Destiny of Velious, as villaineses Cara Omica, Tserinna Syl'Tor and Sullon Zek all wear what amounts to armor in the shape of a bikini and stockings. Most PC armor remains reasonable and sensible, but as of LU63 female characters can wear halter top shaped breastplates.
Canon Discontinuity: In terms of the lore and history behind the world of Norrath, things are split up into two categories. First is that anything actually found inside EverQuest, EverQuest 2 (up to a certain point in time for its own storyline with EverQuest), and EverQuest Online Adventures is official canon to the games. There's also the tabletop Pen & Paper versions of the games, which have much more detailed stories and lore, but aren't considered canon unless it's also covered in the game.
EQ2 came out during a relatively brief window of time when the Frogloks had taken over Grobb (hometown of the trolls) and renamed it Gukta. In the original EverQuest, the Trolls would eventually retake their home town a few years later, but this never happened in EQ2's timeline, so the Trolls getting kicked out is official canon to EQ2. Gukta itself was destroyed in the 2nd Rallosian War. That doesn't explain why Grobb is suddenly back in the Moors of Ykesha though. Seriously, no lore at all explaining when, how, or why it was re-founded.
When EQ2 first came out, the continent of Faydwer was said very unambiguously to have been destroyed. Then it turned up just fine in the Faydwer expansion.
How evil Rallos Zek is has varied from time to time. At his best he's been an "a shade below Neutral" type evil who abhorred Innoruuk, Cazic Thule and Bertoxxulus and respected the Marr twins. At his worst, he's more of a "kill everyone until everyone wants to kill everyone" type.
Card-Carrying Villain: If your home city is Freeport or Neriak, all your pre-given dialogue when interacting with NPCs has you as almost a complete Jerk Ass.
Cat Folk: The Kerrans physically resemble large humanoid felines. Their bodies are covered in fur with colors and patterns denoting their lineage.
Chekhov's Gunman: These have a habit of showing up. For example, Kyle Antihilus Bayle and El'Arad were both mentioned in the Kingdom of Sky expac. El'Arad showed up in person as a midlevel villain in Sentinel's Fate, four expansions later. Kyle has just shown up as of LU64, trying to usurp the throne of Qeynos from Antonia Bayle.
Cloud Cuckoolander: If a goblin isn't evil, it's definitely going to be this. If it is evil, it's only probably going to be this. A few gnomes qualify, too.
Commissar Cap: You can buy one for real money at the in-game marketplace. However, it doesn't fit in with the setting and it clashes with pretty much every other item of clothing or armor you can obtain. And if you wear it your hair disappears.
Convection Schmonvection: Players can float or jump right over lava without any problems. In the old days, falling into lava was an instant automatic death, but later it was changed so falling in gave you negligible damage.
Critical Hit: In the Destiny of Velious expansion, being able to critical hit (by building up your Crit Chance stat) is literally essential to completing any content. Enemies have a stat (that you don't get) called Critical Avoidance, which requires you to have a crit chance of over 100% - for high end raiding, you need around 240% crit chance.
While the city of Freeport maintains a largely medieval feel, the Freeport Militia have gained a distinctly Roman aesthetic.
Damage Discrimination: Usually. Most monsters will not harm friendly monsters, though there are a few cases where they do. For example, in Tower of Nurga, there's a fight where you have to position a drake boss so that his fire blasts hit two goblins guarding an elevator.
Dangerous Forbidden Technique: There are two entire schools of forbidden magic: Deathnote it's not entirely clear how this differentiates from Necromancy and Decaynote A druidic field of magic tied in to biological decay. Death Magic's the better known and more popular of the two forbidden magic schools - Maalus Shadowfyre, one of the tougher raid bosses from Sentinel's Fate was a Deathmage. Decay magic is far less frequently referenced - the most recent is from the Rise of Kunark era. A cult of druids started dabbling in it and accidentally turned themselves all into fungusmen.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: You have to pay to repair your armor, and you get a small xp penalty which regenerates if you have the game turned off. When the game first started, it was a bit more painful, as you'd have to retrieve your "spirit shard" from where you died to get 50% of your exp back, but those were done away with years ago.
Difficulty Spike: It's actually quite easy to solo your way all the way up to max level. In fact, the developers changed the game to intend for this. You will then be lacking knowledge on how to work as part of a group. You will also probably be undergeared, as all the better weapons and armor are obtained from "heroic" quests and boss mobs, both of which require groups to conquer.
Will happen to you again if you decide to go from being a casual player to a raid player. Raid quality gear mostly only drops in raid zones.
Also noticeable within dungeons themselves. For example, in the raid dungeon Perah'Celsis' Abominable Laboratory, there's a large jump in difficulty between Vernox the Insatiable, who is a "tank'n'spank" mob with a few tricks to watch out for, and Sara Greenheart, who spawns adds, bounces you all over the room with area-of-effect attacks, and power drains.
The Dog Bites Back: Rallos Zek imprisoned Vallon Zek, God of Strategy, Tallon Zek, God of Tactics, and Sullon Zek, Demi-Goddess of Rage, in his fortress with the intentions of killing them and taking their powers in order to fight Kerafyrm. While Tallon and Vallon initially didn't know what was happening, imprisoning the God of Rage only enraged her more... Thanks to the help from the adventurers, the three of them kill Rallos Zek, and all three gods decide to govern in his stead as a triumvirate of war known as the Hounds of Zek.
Down the Drain: Edgewater Drains is to date the only zone in EQ2 with a significant underwater area.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Firiona Vie herself simply dropped dead in the prelude events to Chains of Eternity. Of course, since CoE took place in the afterlife, she still played a major role in the expac.
Dual Wielding: All the scout and fighter classes except Paladins and Shadowknights.
Easier Than Easy: Erudin Library. This is the dungeon that gives even casual players little to no trouble, and the good ones can clear it with two people.
The Obelisk of Ahkzul. Can be soloed at 90, and gives about 6-12 plat a run and some level 80 stuff to transmute.
Eldritch Abomination: The Void Invaders. Roehn Theer qualifies. He is the Avatar of the Nameless. He has the power to kill the gods themselves. His weakness in a weird checks and balances sort of way? Mortals like us adventurers.
Arkatanthis the Destroyer. He doesn't have a role in the story arc, but he's one of the Cthulu-inspired Amygdalans. After the Sentinel's Fate expansion came out, he had the distinction of being the toughest boss in the game.
As of Destiny of Velious, it turned out that Roehn Theer wasn't that Eldritch after all. He was a deity whose specific Circle of Influence was being able to kill other Gods to prevent them from becoming too powerful or messing around with the mortal world too much. He was also specifically given no dominion over mortals.
Enough to Go Around: It's not uncommon for the target of a quest to drop 3 or 6 copies of the needed quest item.
Expansion Pack: Many many of these. They churn them out so often. As of now, EQ2 has 6 full size expansion packs plus three "adventure packs". The adventure pack concept didn't turn out to be very popular. EQ2 also release an amount of content that could be reasonably described as a mini-expansion pack about halfway between expansions, for free.
Kerrans to the Vah Shir, sort of. Kerrans existed in EQ1, but not as a playable race. The Vah Shir race went extinct when Luclin was destroyed, but Kerrans were made playable to console Vah Shir fans. Official lore states that the Vah Shir adventurers who were trapped on Norrath when teleportation was cut off from Luclin all decided to live with the Kerra tribe and mate with them. The Kerra we see 500 years later are the genetic result of the Vah Shir and Kerra.
Real life holidays are celebrated in game, but they all have different names. Christmas is Frostfell, Valentine's Day is Erollisi Day, St. Patrick's Day is Brew Day, April Fools Day is Bristlebane Day, and Halloween is Nights of the Dead.
Fantastic Racism: Between the Kerrans and Erudites. Going all the way back to well before EQ1 where the Erudites drove the Kerra off the mainland of Odus onto an island that became called Kerra Isle. With the original release of EQ2 Lucan D'Lere proved how evil he was by making the Kerrans and Erudites share a slum. In Sentinel's Fate the old hostilities flared up, with the Kerrans hating the uncaring and disconnected-from-nature Erudites and the Erudites despising the backwards superstitious Kerra.
Femme Fatale: Raid boss Ludmila Kystov. She even has an ability called "Feminine Guile" that charms male characters.
Floating Continent: EQ2 looovvess this trope. The entire Kingdom of Sky expansion pack took place on floating islands. Part of the Swamp of Innothule, although technically not floating, was so high off the ground it could only be accessed by airship. In the Sentinel's Fate expansion, the entire continent of Odus is floating because it's now located in an alternate dimension entirely.
Forced Tutorial: Controversially removed from the game. The original game started all players out as "Level 1 Commoners" in a zone called "Isle of Refuge". You learned to play by completing the quests there, picked your archetype (fighter, mage, priest, scout), and an alignment (Qeynos or Freeport). The whole archetype and class picking part was done away with years ago, "to make the newbie experience more unique", and the Isle of Refuge was split into The Queen's Colony (for good characters) and Outpost of the Overlord (for evil ones). But as the focus of the game shifted away from Qeynos and Freeport and the gear from the two tutorial zones became outdated, SOE decided to just get rid of them entirely.
Tutorials now exist as a series of pop-up windows and they aren't mandatory. There's no reason a newbie can't just start level grinding and ignore the hell out of all the quests.
From Nobody to Nightmare: Originally, Lucan D'Lere was just a paladin in the Order of Marr. Before EQ1 took place he split from the Order and founded the Freeport Militia. Five hundred years later in EQ2 he's the unquestioned ruler and tyrant of Freeport. To this day, only Lucan's most trusted adviser, a dark elf named Tayil N'Velex, knows that he is actually an immortal Lich, but even she doesn't know where he keeps the phylactery that contains his soul.
Get on the Boat: When EQ2 first came out, Get on the Boat was one of the major themes of the game - get on the boat and sail to the newly rediscovered lands. You had to complete substantial quest lines before you were allowed to. Now? Not at all. The boat quests can still be completed but aren't necessary anymore.
Giant Enemy Crab: Several, actually. The Scavanator (Sentinel's Fate era raid boss) is probably the most famous of them though.
Hammer Space: Lampshaded during a quest from the Bristlebane Day (April Fools) celebration. You're tasked with recovering 50 novelty and joke items and gadgets from a pirate. When you return to the quest giver he asks how you managed to carry all of that on your person, and you reply with "You know... I have no idea."
Helping Would Be Killstealing: Not even possible. One of EQ2's mechanics "locks" you and your opponent in combat and then other players can't help. However, other monsters can occasionally steal your kills if you're in one of the rare areas where they're programmed to attack each other.
Hidden Agenda Villain: Lord Nagafen. His agenda is so hidden that he spends more time manipulating you into killing mutual enemies than trying to stop you in any way - but don't think for a split second that he's not villainous through and through.
Hitbox Dissonance: Dear God, Eirreen the Broken. Eirreen is a freakin' huge dragon. Her hitbox is roughly the part of her belly between her legs.
Hot Goddess: Erollisi Marr, Sullon Zek, and Anash'ti Sul. Justified in Erollisi's case since one of her spheres of influence is love.
Subverted with Anash'ti Sul as well. Undead!Anash'ti wears the same outfit as Banished!Anash'ti. Only, she's undead, her skin is all red and her face is melty.
Impossible Item Drop: The monsters in this game can run the gambit from incredibly tiny (such as the Brownies, who only stand a couple inches off the ground,) to absolutely gigantic (like Tarinax in Deathtoll). Since nearly all loot drops in the form of treasure chests, killing tiny monsters can result in a gigantic Master Chest spawning and completely crushing the corpse.
Inexplicable Treasure Chests: How the loot system in this game works. Treasure chests containing loot appear out of nowhere when you kill monsters.
Interface Screw: Alcohol blurs the screen and gives you double vision, and if you get drunk enough quadruple vision. Various spells cause similar blurring effects.
Kick the Dog: If you live in Freeport, you can kick dogs. Cats and pigs too. Animals roam around the residential areas in Freeport, and you can kill them. (Qeynosians have animals wandering around too, but they're unattackable. Still, any Qeynosian who badly wants to indulge in some dog kicking can sneak into Freeport and kick dogs to his or her hearts content).
Kickable animals were done away with during the LU61 Freeport revamp.
Lampshade Hanging: EQ2 has a fondness for this. There's a quest where you have to harvest Treant corpses (read: full sized trees) and carry them back to an NPC, who queries you on how you accomplished it. You answer him "Norrath has always been a land of mystery". The whole Twenty Bear Asses thing has become a running joke, with a few NPCs even laughing at you for killing rats for quests.
One of the holiday quests for the April Fools Day expy Bristlebane Day is literally called "Kill 10 rats". The quest deconstructs and lampshades MMORPG cliches in general.
The Legions of Hell: The Nightbloods, despite being aligned with the Void Invaders, look much more like legions of hell than shadow monsters.
Loads and Loads of Races: In addition to the Just for fun, here's a list of some of the non-playable sentient races: Aviak, Bixie, Boarfiend, Brownie, Bugbear, Burynai, Centaur, Clockwork, Cyclops, Djinn, Drakota, Drelock, Droag, Efreet, Ettin, Fungusman, Gnoll, Goblin, Giant, Gruengach, Hua Mein, Kobold, Lizardman, Minotaur, Nightblood, Orc, Othmir, Ravasect, Roekillik, Shadowed Man, Succubus, Vampire, War Elf, Yah-lei.
Loads And Loads Of Sidequests: The game is ALL ABOUT THIS. It has Quest in its name! The majority of the thousands upon thousands of quests found in the game are sidequests compared to the few quests actually relating to each expansion's storylines.
Massive Race Selection: Twenty in total. Dwarves, Fae, Frogloks, Halflings, High Elves, Wood Elves, Barbarians, Erudites, Half Elves, Freeblood Vampires, Gnomes, Humans, Kerran, Ratonga, Arasai, Dark Elves, Iksar, Ogres, Sarnak, Trolls. Have fun making those characters.
Merger of Souls: The Duality, the combined essences of the great wizard Al'Kabor and a powerful necromancer named Dartain sharing one body. His physical body morphs between the two personalities at frequent intervals.
Microtransactions: Since going free-to-play, there are some items you can buy with real life cash, like cosmetic items and new races.
Myth Arc: EQ2 had them from the get-go, starting with "rescue the Froglok race". Now the arcs are connected.
Name's the Same: In the early days before SOE had an expansive name filter, one of the easiest ways for them to prevent a player from having a particular name was to make sure an NPC had that same name. So there are merchants in Qeynos named Aeris and Celes, and there used to be an NPC in Freeport named Beren.
Nerf: In a rare case of nerfing the enemies rather than the players, the game did away with the concept of "critical mitigation" entirely.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: EQ2 did this in The Shadow Odyssey expansion. In their attempts to fight off the invading forces of the Void and prevent them from destroying Norrath, the players eventually had to fight against the former God of Health from Norrath's Pantheon, Anashti Sul. She had been banished to the Void for unleashing the Undead upon Norrath, and now she wanted revenge. When the players finally defeated her, they ended up breaking the proverbial leash that kept her bound in the Void, and was allowed to reform herself on Norrath. Even she could not have predicted such an outcome when she died, but was pleased nonetheless. She now exists on Norrath as the God of Eternal Life. She's still evil and bitter about what the gods did to her though.
Sentinal's Fate, the follow up to the Shadow Odyssey has this again. When you defeat the 4 Rune Roheen Theer, you weaken him enough to allow Kerafyrm to steal the power of his magic god-killing swords. With Roheen Theer out of the picture, the void's grip on Odus weakened, which forced the Erudites and adventurers to turn their attention to preventing the whole of Norrath from being pulled into the Underfoot.
Nintendo Hard: In general, SOE does a fairly good job at providing both easy content for the casual players and really difficult stuff for the hardcore ones. Sentinel's Fate originally had two raid zones. It took the game's best guild 6 months to defeat the 4 Rune Roehn Theer boss, and almost as long to defeat Arkathanthis the Destroyer. Then, so the top level guilds didn't get complacent, they released the Underfoot Depths raid zone in LU57...
Za Za Lenska gives you a quest to get "potion ingredients to help her husband" that include snake venom (a reference to Zsa Zsa Gabor going through husbands).
A character you're forced to fight one-on-one in a monk trial event is called Crush "The Icescale" Lizzard (shout out to Chuck "The Iceman" Liddel).
The quest "The Number One Threat In the Butcherblock" requires you to kill bears. Given to you by Scout Colbear.
Non-Mammal Mammaries: Thoroughly averted. The game features a few amphibian and reptilian races. Female Iksar are skinnier than males. Female Frogloks are virtually indistinguishable from males. Female Sarnaks are actually much bigger than male sarnaks (No less than 2 feet taller), although their facial horns and features are smaller, blunter and less elaborate.
Played straight with the Bixies, an NPC race of bees. They're insects, to be sure, but a cross between a bee and a woman, and their torso's carapaces all have two breasts.
Orcus on His Throne: For someone so monstrously powerful, Kerafyrm sure doesn't seem to do much. He has yet to actually make an in-game appearance.
Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Yep, they're still the same, although the Coldain Dwarves have been changed by their environment enough that they easily stand out.
Our Elves Are Better: Played straight with the haughty High Elves and the evil Dark Elves. Wood Elves are more easier going than other elven races.
EQ2's subversion is the Half Elves, who are known best for being obsessed with hair dye and piercings, and other means of standing out from the normal standards of society. Not having a culture to begin with (being stuck between Humans and Wood Elves), they created their own from the ground up. They've developed an rebellious outcast mentality towards most forms of authority, and visually reflect that with skin piercings and wild hair. So basically a race of disaffected teenagers.
The between-expansion packs content release LU60 gave us the War Elves. Huge, muscular, grey skinned, red tattooed, immortal warriors. The lore goes that Rallos Zek was given some of the first Dark Elves by Innoruuk in exchange for not wiping out the rest of them. Rallos planned to use them as sacrificial peons, but his sons Vallon and Tallon Zek held the War Elves back when Rallos' legions attacked the Plane of Earth so that they weren't hit with the Rathe's Curse.
Both subverted and played straight by the Renda'Dal, or "New Elf". Subverted in that, after taking huge losses after the War of the Fay, the inhabitants of the High Elven city of Felwithe decided that the best way to ensure racial survival was to inbreed and intentionally decrease their natural lifespan from 800 or so years to around 70, in order to ensure they reproduced more often. Played straight in that they're still exceptionally arrogant, but also maliciously xenophobic, attacking anyone, even other High Elves, who enter the city.
Our Gnomes Are Weirder: These gnomes are based heavily on the Dragon Lance tinker gnomes, although they're much more competent (but still blamed for 99% of everything that ever goes wrong, even when they're not involved.)
Our Ogres Are Hungrier: In EQ2, the Gods' departure lifted a curse that made the ogres stupid. With the curse gone, but their arrogance and massive physical size still there, they ended up a quite scary race of Genius Bruisers.
Our Vampires Are Different: EQ2's vampires seem to be rather similar to dark elves, and there are groups of vampires living openly in the dark elf city of Neriak. The game skirts around the issue of whether sunlight actually harms them or not. One instance in The Shadow Odyssey expansion requires adventurers to "become" vampires themselves, and fight a boss where natural sunlight is occasionally exposed to the area, and it's lethal to players.
Eventually, entirely for the sake of money, the developers created the Freeblood Vampire race. A race of vampires who used to be Humans and Elves that were abducted for vampire experiments. They managed to retain some of their free will, as well as proved that sunlight didn't affect them. They escaped and started living in the cities across Norrath.
Power-Up Food: Still exists. The best food gives increases to things like block chance, but has a very short duration making it too expensive to be practical.
Phlebotinum Overload: Kerafyrm now has the Power of the Nameless. However, the power was meant only for Roehn Theer, and Theer needed his swords Enoxus and Aeteok to properly channel it. Kerafyrm has neither of the swords, his reasoning being that he now has the power, and the swords are just mundane vessels to store it, so he didn't need them. If he tries to use this power, Theer believes that it will "hasten the cataclysm foretold in the Age's End Prophecy" by literally unmaking the world.
On top of that, Rallos Zek, the God of War himself, is after the power aswell to become the "True King", a kind of "God of Gods" to plunge the entire universe into war, but even if he does kill Kerafyrm, there is a chance killing the Prismatic Dragon will end the universe as well.
Playful Otter: The Othmir, who play a pretty fair role in Velious.
Play the Game, Skip the Story: Invoked. The developers were savvy enough to listen to the players whining about having to click through 5-6-7-8-12 dialogue boxes to get to the quests, so with the Sentinel's Fate expansion, along with the "Yes, please continue" and "No, I'm not interested" dialogue boxes, they started adding a "Yeah, yeah, skip the story, do you have any work for me or not?" dialogue box so players can just get the quest and get to work.
The Sarnak of Gorowyn. They lead a fairly militaristic lifestyle, but decided it would be much more profitable to make Gorowyn accessible to good-aligned adventurers as a waypoint between their lands and Kunark than to follow the standard Evil practice of killing them for the evulz. The only reason why they practice more evil professions is because it was the best way for them to survive in their environment.
Lucan D'Lere's motivation for allowing templars to start practicing in Freeport - after the riots, having healers who would actually heal (and preach of the wonderfullness of Lucan) as opposed to the inquisitor style "beatings will continue until morale improves" method of healing would help bring the populace back in line and improve their loyalty.
Punny Name: Oh so many of them. There are whole web pages which list them.
One example is the zone "Estate of Unrest" (State of unrest).
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Averted. Players have the ability to equip armor and weapons in an appearance slot.
Really Gets Around: In The Sinking Sands, there's a minor boss - a high elf pirate named Lady Samiel. The southern islands in the zone absolutely teem with various kinds of "Samiel" half-elves (e.g. a Samiel pirate, a Samiel marauder, etc...). It's implied that all these dozens-if-not-hundreds of half-elves are her offspring.
The Reveal: Players learned that Eva Corruno'thes, the Prophet of Tunare, was actually Firiona Vie, who kept herself Hidden in Plain Sight until the time came for her to play her part in the Age's End story arc.
Scrappy Mechanic: The CritMit stat.note critical mitigation - it mitigated the amount of bonus damage an enemy's critical hits did It was so unpopular and added so little to the game that SOE actually removed it from the game entirely.
Scunthorpe Problem: Occasionally SOE will add something new to the list of banned names. If your character was created before the new banned thing was added it won't delete your character or change its name, but it will cause problems since the game's literally incapable of accepting the name.
Sdrawkcab Name: The lizardmen names usually run like this. Alliz Evol Ew (We Love Zilla), Alliz Tae Ew (We Eat Zilla), Alliz Raef Ew, Alliz Onu...
Sexy Packaging: The adventure packs and the first expansion featured a skimpily clad Antonia Bayle, the same way EQ1 expansions featured Firiona Vie. Kingdom of Sky and Echoes of Faydwer moved her to the background, and she disappeared from the boxes as of The Shadow Odyssey.
The evil races are all about this. Dark Elves and Arasai consider all the other evil races to either be slobbish brutes fit only to be manipulated, or worthless sneaks. Iksar and Sarnak view themselves as the snobs, looking down on the Dark Elves and Arasai for being decadent weaklings and the others (including each other) for being either savages or sneaks. Ratonga and evil Gnomes consider themselves the snobs and consider the other evil races to be big oafs who aren't as smart as they think they are. Evil Erudites see themselves as the snobs and all the other races as slovenly imbeciles. Ogres, Trolls, and evil Barbarians, however, proudly view themselves as the slobs and the other evil races as prissy snobby stuck up weaklings.
The good races are more likely to make (mostly) good natured jokes than indulge in prejudice, but it still happens. High Elves think the Wood Elves lack proper elven dignity and morality, and Wood Elves think that High Elves are too haughty and self-righteous. Good Erudites still think they're smarter than everyone else, and they especially look down on the ancestor-worshipping kerrans. Dwarves and good Barbarians tend to be boisterous bruisers and consider themselves good honest slobs compared to the others.
Shoulders of Doom: Elaborate shoulderpads were introduced with much fanfare in The Shadow Odyssey. And the better the armor is, the more likely it is to come with elaborate shoulder pads, e.g. raid armor has fancier shoulderpads than dungeon dropped gear.
Some Call Me Tim: Lord Doljonijiarnimorinar. Players call him Bob. The game even gives this a shout out - one of the achievements is "Defeat Lord Doljonijia... Bob"
Stripperiffic: Played straight and averted at various times. Antonia Bayle was stripperiffic in the tradition of Firiona Vie from EQ1. However, after the first two expansions SOE deliberately moved away from plastering her all over the boxes as an advertisement. Further, unlike in EQ1, "unequipped" female characters wore peasant like clothing. There was one skimpy dress, but it was a prestige item. Then as of Destiny of Velious, the trope came back with a vengeance. Villainesses Tserinna Syl'Tor, Cara Omica and Sullon Zek all sported "armor" that amounted to thigh high boots and a bikini, and plate mail halter tops became available to players. Then, a couple of live updates later, Antonia was given a full length gown to replace her previous bra and waist sash outfit.
Tailor-Made Prison: Combined with a self-invoked Sealed Evil in a Can. The Goddess of Love, Erollisi Marr, was sealed up within her very own memorial shrine that was built in New Halas, in the statue that was forged by Verig Ro, the God of the Forge. After adventurers are tricked into tampering with the statue and creating a small crack on the surface, Erollisi was able to escape and reform herself. She reveals that Ullkorruuk, the Goddess of Betrayal, was the one who put her there in the first place, and the only way she could keep her locked away was if she locked herself up and used her powers to maintain the prison. When Erollisi escaped, she kicked Ullkorruuk's butt and showed her how her very own motivations for existence backfired against her.
Temporal Paradox: The Shiny Metallic Robe heritage quest results in a paradox that leads to you finding a portal that takes you to 500 years in the past (in EQ1's time) where Clockworks have taken over the entire world. You meet a gnome enchanter who figures that if you're from the future, then she's trapped in a time bubble existing outside the normal timeline. She tells you that she was probably the cause of this alternate reality, and knows how to prevent it from happening with your help. This results in a Stable Time Loop that fixes the timeline by giving you the item that caused it in the first place; a package that is not to be delivered to you until 500 years later, back in the present time.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Rallos Zek, the God of War, in the Destiny of Velious expansion pack and the subsequent patches "Children of War" and "The War of Zek". Rallos was always an evil god, and has tried to put his ambitions of war and conquest into motion numerous times in the past, including the Planes of Power expansion pack in EverQuest and both Rallosian Wars. This time around, once Kerafyrm absorbed the powers of Roehn Theer, Rallos wanted to fight Kerafyrm immediately, even while knowing that one possible side effect of killing Kerafyrm would be the dissolution of all existence. Why? Because he believes that with the powers of Theer, he can become the True King and plunge Norrath into perpetual war. Not Jerkass enough for you? His plan is to kill his children Vallon, Tallon and Sullon Zek, and absorb their power back into himself to make himself a match for Kerafyrm, and after he's beaten Kerafyrm, use the power of Theer to kill all the other Gods and rule Norrath unopposed.
Thug Dojo: After Lucan D'Lere took over Freeport, he gave the Ashen Order of monks two choices: Bend to his will or leave. They packed up and left. A few more unsavory students stayed behind to form the Dreadnaughts, a literal group of thugs who believe more in fighting dirty and inflicting pain more than following a code of discipline. Lucan uses them to rough up shopkeepers who won't pay protection money and citizens who are late on their rent.
Underwater Ruins: Veksar. The Sunken City is turning into these, although right now the water is only knee-deep for the most part.
The Usual Adversaries: The Bloodfist Orcs in the Commonlands for Freeport, the Crushbone orcs for Kelethin, and the Ry'Gorr orcs for New Halas. Qeynos gets the Blackburrow Gnolls instead of literal orcs, and Gorowyn gets a race of parrot Aviaks known as the Spiroc. Neriak doesn't have a single adversary who fills this role, but do have issues with some rogue vampires and an encampment of Dark Elf rebels known as the Thexians.
Vaporware: New Halas just kept on getting pushed back. It was finally released well over a year after the original planned release date.
When Destiny of Velious came out, players exploring the old world zones with their new flying mounts found a few remnants of what appears to be unfinished content. Most notable among these is an air dock in The Bonemire that was never used for anything and left inaccessible.
Ludmila Kystov and her party (Meldrath Klotik, Jracol Binari, Blorgok the Brutal, the Doomcoil) in the Protector's Realm
Octis, Sslortis, Sunrise and Nightfall in Emperor's Athenaeum.
World Sundering: Magic has been involved in quite a lot of the physical changes that Norrath has undergone over the last 500 years. The Rending itself was basically a series of magic-induced earthquakes that managed to affect even the planar realms of the Gods themselves, as the Shard of Fear details. Over on Velious, the Dragons went to great lengths to cause The Upheaval, which literally split Velious in half, separating the western half where the Dragons live by a gigantic impassible rock wall that sprang up a few thousand feet into the air.
Worthless Yellow Rocks: Both averted and played straight. When the game first started, gold was exceptionally hard to come by or save up, and any player who had even 1 Platinum coin was among the richest people in the game (100 copper = 1 silver, 100 silver = 1 gold, 100 gold = 1 platinum.) This late into the game, gold is generously given out by monsters and quests at high levels, and the value of platinum has dropped, leading to inflation because everyone has so much of it. It's common to see people throwing four to five hundred platinum at a single piece of gear. At the same time, copper and gold clusters are a commonly-found tier 1 and tier 3 tradeskill harvest, respectively.
With Gold clusters being so common, they're extremely cheap to buy on the market, usually 1 copper per. This is just the player-created economy though.
Wrong Genre Savvy: The raptors in The Withered Lands. They know enough to use the little glowing feather "this NPC has a quest for you" marker to ambush players, which would make them Dangerously Genre Savvy - except they don't realize that this isn't an action movie, it's an RPG, and they're just trash mobs.