A recent update to the official Everquest : Shadows of Luclin website has revealed a rather drastic rise in the expansion pack's system requirements. It seems that a 400MHz Pentium II with 256Mb of RAM and a 16Mb T&L supporting graphics card are now required to take advantage of the pack's enhanced graphics, and a Pentium III or Athlon with 512Mb RAM and a 32Mb graphics card are recommended. Sony Online spokesman Greg Rizzer told CGO that the sudden leap was down to the complexity of the new enhanced character models, and that when the development team loaded them all into the game they suddenly realised that 128Mb of RAM just wasn't enough to hold all that cleavage in. Whoops... The announcement comes as no great surprise to us following the pack's dismal showing at September's ECTS though. The draw distance was appalling compared to every other MMRPG we've played, and as soon as the clipping plane was pushed back far enough for you to see much beyond the end of your sword without the world being shrouded in polygon-concealing fog the game started to chug, despite the fact that it was presumably running on a GeForce 3 graphics card like everything else at the show. Despite the new higher resolution textures the older areas of the game still looked incredibly ugly compared to more recent titles such as Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot and (for that matter) Asheron's Call, while the new Luclin zones weren't particularly astounding either. Which makes it somewhat ironic that Luclin's system requirements are now higher than those for the eye-candy laden likes of Max Payne and Serious Sam. Sadly it looks like a case of the game's underlying technology simply not being up to the task, and it's remarkable that the Luclin pack could get so close to completion without any of the programmers realising that all those new polygon-enhanced character models with their moving eyeballs and heaving bosoms would need a significant amount of memory. Go to the back of the class, that man. Despite this fiasco, our understanding is that Verant plan to continue expanding Everquest indefinitely, with any possible sequel a long way off. Time to start saving your pennies for another upgrade.
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