To Buy (a new computer) or Not to Buy….

Written by Flourchild on . Posted in Commentary

How many times have you or someone you know looked around at the graphics on EQ2 and thought “I really wish that looked just a little better”? We play the game to not only enjoy the content, but also the visual aspects of the EverQuest2 world. A lot of people have to keep their graphics settings low in order not to get lag, and thus miss out on all the beauty and detail that the devs put into the game. And when you consider the graphics that so many newer games have, it’s sometimes puzzling as to why EQ2 can’t have something similar.

And so the daunting question for so many players has been “Do I buy a new computer or do I put up with the lag and low frame rate of the one I already have?”. Which, for many, isn’t really all that daunting as they can’t afford to continuously upgrade their computers. So what other options to people have? Will the devs be doing anything to help the situation?

From Holly “Windstalker” Longdale on the EQ2 Forums:

We are always concerned about performance and will be looking at optimizations and improvements on an ongoing basis.  I’m not sure who said we were updating the “game engine,” because we’re not doing that specifically.

What we are doing is working on terrain and art tools that will help us build environments that look and perform a lot better than they do now.  It’s not a trivial task and we’ve been working on it for some time, but artists are already doing testing and working with it.  It’s pretty amazing to see how quickly they can create things like mountain vistas compared to the tools they have now.  We’re excited about it.

To be honest, we will never stop looking at ways to improve how the game performs while maintaining and improving the quality for players.

This issue is being discussed on the EQ2 Forums.

It would be nice if EQ2 could be cured of its single-core one-track mind. Then we could see the game how it was originally intended. But until that happens it seems that, although the devs will be working to improve some graphics and lag issues on the game, we are all still left with that neverending dilemma….

To buy a new computer or not to buy….

Trackback from your site.

Comments (25)

  • Kruzzen

    |

    Honestly my computer is plenty good enough to view eq2, but the issue now comes,how much is to much. When you get in a raid I don’t turn down my graphics because i have to, I do it because I don’t want to be blasted by an overflowing screen of blasting lights and colors. They have put so much flair into it these days that it looks more like a solid blur of rotating color then anything else. I am all for them optimizing and making it look nice, but they need to think a bit more on how much is to much. Turning on flora can completly obscure everything which then becomes to much.

    Reply

  • Elieth

    |

    “although the devs will be working to improve some graphics and lag issues on the game”

    I got a good chuckle from that ;-)

    Regardless, my advice would be to wait for a bit and see what the future brings. I was trying out RIFT a few days ago and was amazed at the graphic quality compared to EQ2. They could learn a few lessons from their devs and designers.

    Reply

  • Muspell

    |

    EQ2′s engine definitely needs a drastic rebuild to get up to date with the current technology. It definitely wouldn’t be practical to dish out cash for a new rig just to support a decade old game when with the same specs, the same rig could run the most current games at ultra settings easily.

    Hopefully in the near future EQ2 gets the rebuild it deserves so it can utilize the current gpu and especially cpu builds(since its more reliant on cpu).

    Till that engine rebuild comes, imo save your cash.

    Reply

  • Lemilla

    |

    You’ll get almost no noticable performance increase from upgrading a 5-year old pc to a very new one. The engine just doesn’t support all the new technology. And don’t hold your breath waiting until it does. Even though they do some little fixes, they won’t do the complete engine rebuild that is needed to solve the problem, as they’d also have to rebuild the entire world to do that. They’ll be using that new engine for Planetside 2 and Everquest Next though.

    Reply

  • G

    |

    If you want a useful upgrade, get a SSD. I zone faster than all my guildies because it fille memory at 500MB/s, while the best regular mechanical drives hit the roof @ 140MB/s. 8 gigs or more of memory also helps (specially when dual boxing on the same hardware).

    I have an old graphics card (but somehow i know it is still better than what the average EQ player have). I run it with high textures full viewdistance etc. I really would want a better looking world, EQ2 is uglyer than Oblivion – and Oblivion is old. Look what Bethesda did with the same engine as they used for Oblivion when they created “Skyrim”, it is still the same stuff in there, but it is way prettier, just by adding something simple as aurora borealis at night – WOW!

    I also want an experience that is not limited to XBox or PS performance. But since SoE is going mass-market with their Next franchise, there will be limitations and us PC gamers with high end computers will probably not get the experience we deserve, so don’t get your hopes up too high.

    As far as actually getting SoE to put a new gfx renderer in EQ2, don’t hold your breath: An engine costs licensing fees, it takes time to implement and EQ2 is basically – old – and SoE will probably want to spend their all their resources on Next.

    Reply

  • Dethdlr

    |

    I’ve lost track of how much money I’ve spent on computer hardware for the sole purpose of playing EQ2. Each time I buy a better laptop, the game runs better than it did before (yes, I play on a laptop, don’t ask why). SSD’s made a big difference in zoning time for me as well. Also speeds it up for those times when you need to run a full scan, although I haven’t needed to do that in a while anyway.

    Reply

  • Taka

    |

    They did some shader 3.0 work to fix a lot of lighting issues, which didn’t turn out as well as they wanted it. If it had the OPTION of some of the Direct X 10,11 feature set, it would be nice to see how great it could be.

    Some tessellation would go a long way on some of bump mapped textures on walls, environments. Implementing it separately on armor/characters would be great too. EQ1 went DirectX9.0C in 2006. Some DirectX 11 loving on EQ2 wouldn’t hurt and probably make life a little easier for the environmental artists.

    Retroactively apply those lessons learned from Forge Light Engine into EQ2s aging engine to get those graphics settings up using those nice APUs, GPUs, and extra CPUs.

    Reply

  • Karith

    |

    I really doubt they redo the engine or spend time doing that when they can get by with the way it is. I see them putting huge effort into making sure their forge light engine is amazing for EQNext.

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    I really liked the early leaked alpha footage of EQ2 (can be found on YouTube), and I was ashamed that when the game came out it wasn’t anything close to that good. I saw how the armor fit each model, and everything had detail with bumpmapped runes on the armors. I even saw they planned the two cities to be 1 large zone each, and that freeport was originally a brighter looking place then what we all got stuck with. It’d be nice to see EQ2 for what it would have been. Most of us have a PC now that can run that kind of thing, so what’s really the hold up? :P

    Reply

  • Trueflight

    |

    the people comparing the graphics in Rift to EQ2 kind of make me chuckle. You do realize that EQ2 has been out for 7 years, and the engine itself was another 2 or so years older than that. Rift is running on a game engine that is barely 3 years old. Its not really fair to compare the two based on that. EQ2 does do a lot with the dated engine that it was built on, but thanks to sloppy coding and just plain outdated ways of doing things, it wont get much better than it is without a whole overhaul to the engine, and that isn’t going to happen with all of their resources tied up into making EQ next

    Reply

  • Landiin

    |

    Lemilla said;

    You’ll get almost no noticable performance increase from upgrading a 5-year old pc to a very new one. The engine just doesn’t support all the new technology. And don’t hold your breath waiting until it does. Even though they do some little fixes, they won’t do the complete engine rebuild that is needed to solve the problem, as they’d also have to rebuild the entire world to do that. They’ll be using that new engine for Planetside 2 and Everquest Next though.

    You are crazy! Upgrade that old slow 2.5GHz CPU to something within the last 2 years, Run a 64Bit vers of windows and toss in no less then 4G or ram and you will triple the performance of a 5 year old pc. EQ2 is all bout CPU and RAM, The faster you CPU is the better EQ2 will run.

    Reply

  • Lemilla

    |

    5-year old PC’s already have over 3 GHz CPU’s (they made those since 2003 afaik) and 4 GB ram. Having 4+ cores instead of 2, 16+ GB ram instead of 4 (over 2 GB only helps when zoning), and a shiny new graphic card doesn’t do anything for EQ2.

    Reply

  • Katz

    |

    I have a great up-to-date computer, and a great graphics card. Still I disconnect from eq2 frequently and have to cut graphics down or deal with lag.

    Reply

  • Ghostcats9

    |

    It would be nice if they fixed the legs of the Centuars in Thundering Steppes. They walk all jerky. There shouldn’t be an extra joint near the fetlock.

    Reply

  • Landiin

    |

    Limilla wrote:

    5-year old PC’s already have over 3 GHz CPU’s (they made those since 2003 afaik) and 4 GB ram. Having 4+ cores instead of 2, 16+ GB ram instead of 4 (over 2 GB only helps when zoning), and a shiny new graphic card doesn’t do anything for EQ2.

    Only the top end CPU where pushing 3GHz 5 years ago. So really every one but the most techy person was using a sub 2.5GHz CPU and at most 1G or ram. Hell CPU’s back then couldn’t even access over 4G and window limited it to 2G ram. If you think spinning the CPU up to 4.5Ghz+ will not triple EQ2 performance you are sadly mistaken. Just boosting it .5 up to 3GHz you can tell a big deference. How much RAM do you play with? Because at 2G of RAM you should expect freeze up in heavy activity and you will get the out of memory error quit a bit. Plop another 2G upgrade to a 64bit OS so you can access over 2G of ram with out hacks and you will see a boost in performance just from that alone.

    EQ2 was coded for single core high clock rate CPU’s with loads of memory. So even though EQ2 will not take advantage of the multi core CPU of today it will take advantage of the higher clock rates.

    Reply

  • SBJones

    |

    Unfortunately clock speeds have not increased that much. It’s all about more cores with less power. The high end cpu’s still run at 3.5Ghz just like they did 5 years ago. They now have 6 cores instead of one and 12MB of cache instead of 256k.

    The only thing that is going to fix eq2 is new code. Code costs money and time. That is something SOE is not going to spend on EQ2 performance issues. They have to go to bed early so they can work on SOEMOTE.

    Reply

  • Landiin

    |

    Clock speed on common sub $500 CPU has. Plus you couldn’t OC to 4.5 to 5GHz as easy as you can now. For $200 bucks you can get a 4.5Ghz CPU(OC’ed), that is a little under double the speed you could get 5 years ago for 1/3 the price.
    As to my point, upgrading the run of the mill 5 year old computer will get you significant increase in performance out of EQ2. Just upgrading to a total 64 bit system (OS included) will increase the performance of EQ2 because of the amount of ram the OS would be able to allocate to other task beside EQ2.

    Reply

  • EyeCandy ONLY!

    |

    Why do people only think EYE CANDY makes/breaks a game? Why does it have to be visually orgasawesome to mean anything? This is why all games are just plain shit but they look nice! Look at the history of games, older the game is the better game mechanics, play control, STORY, length of the game, setting feel it has. The newer the game is the better graphics it has at the expense of everything else. Hell, most games are scripted events that you have to push a button combo to win and just for pressing X when it flashes on the screen you get a trophy for it! YAY!!! GO ME I WIN!!! Participation trophies for everyone, there are winners or loosers!

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      EyeCandy,

      The graphics have to be turned up to see some of the detrimental effects so you can group/raid effectively. Yet turning them up leads to unplayable client lag/performance spikes. It would be nice if we get nice graphics, but people are complaining because the ancient graphics engine in EQ2 affects playability and mechanics. When you have 5 seconds to react to a spell and the game is chugging along at 2 frames per second, yeah, it’s not an “eye candy” issue after all.

      Reply

  • Vanuk

    |

    I agree, the graphic engine need a huge boost. Some zones like GH tend to lag the crap out. In extreme quality, I drop down to 3-5 fps and when doing stuff outside GH (still at top quality) fps climb up to 115 fps or so.

    PS-Alienware M17xR4 here with gtx675, 24gb ram and i73920

    Reply

  • Electri

    |

    I’m glad I read Windstalker’s comments because now I know what the art department is doing. It is obvious that it is NOT making gear or weapon appearance different and nicer (at least not on drop items).

    Ok, old school comment in 3 – 2 – 1… In EQ1 you could tell what the person was wearing by the look of each piece of gear. It was nice to be able to show the piece you camped for hours or days.

    BTW, why don’t things like belts show, or boot with certain leg pieces? Oh wait, keeps the artists from having to make appearance graphics because they are too busy fixing the scenery. D’Oh!

    Reply

  • Eschia

    |

    @Eyecandy guy
    Graphics are still of some importance even to veteran players. It’s not a factor that would make us leave, but it sure would make us stay. I used to be hardcore into Asheron’s Call back in the day, but as better games came along with better gameplay and better graphics, I made a switch.

    Reply

  • Necromancer

    |

    EQ2 is one of the most poorly optimized games I have ever played – doesn’t matter what kind of computer you have you’ll always have a ton of screen lag.

    Reply

  • striinger

    |

    I wonder if anything would come from DOES making their rendering any physics engines open source. Would the community gripe or create something better? I’d bet gripe.

    Reply

  • striinger

    |

    Soe, and physics. Tiny on screen keyboard, fat fingers.

    Reply

Leave a comment

- Name (required)
- Website (optional)
Please post your comments without flaming or insulting other players or personally attacking SOE employees. Comments from bogus e-mail addresses may be deleted. If you wish to have an Avatar picture, feel free to create an account on Gravatar.com. Once you sign up for a Gravatar account, then any Wordpress-powered blog you comment on will automagically show your avatar.

Powered by Warp Theme Framework