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Now that you've created your character, let's go over the elements of the EQ2 user interface.
The Character Selection Screen Edit
Before entering the game world, you can:
- Customize your character's alternate appearance (if you haven't done so yet).
- Open the EQ2 Options Window if you just can't wait to tweak settings.
- Watch the EQ2 intro movie or listen to the background story.
- Create another character. (You can have up to 7 characters on a normal EQ2 account.)
Press 'Play' to enter the game world.
The Game Screen Edit
The EQ2 game screen is extremely customizable, but is quite functional out-of-the-box.
The main elements of the screen are labelled above:
- Player Info: tells you about your character's health and condition
- Mini-Map: shows the nearby terrain and points of interest
- Navigation Bar: contains the EQII menu and buttons to open game windows, plus your experience bar
- Hotkey Bar: 12 shortcuts to your character's spells and abilities, fully customizable
- Chat Window: contains game-related text and conversations with other players
You can switch EQ2 out of full-screen mode at any time by pressing Alt+Enter or Alt+Escape. This will put EQ2 into a window on your desktop, where you can adjust the EQ2's window size as you wish. Your EQ2 user interface elements will automatically keep their positions relative to the four corners of the window. Press Alt+Enter again to return EQ2 to full-screen mode.
|Tip: If you minimize EQ2 to the Windows Taskbar, then EQ2 will stop consuming graphics resources, allowing you to use your computer for other tasks without slowdown.|
Let's discuss the main elements of the game screen in more detail:
Player Info Edit
At the top left is the player window. It displays your character's health, power, and concentration. These three colored bars will change in real-time whenever you become hurt or heal, and whenever you consume or replenish your mental resources. You'll refer to this information frequently to judge how healthy or distressed your character is, because it's never a good idea to let your character die. Beside your character's info will be the same information about your enemy, if you have selected one. These are discussed in more detail in the Beginner Guides on Understanding Your Character and Understanding Your Enemy.
The Map and Mini-Map Edit
In the top right corner of your screen, a square mini-map window shows you the surrounding area and indicates any points of interest. This map will also highlight any nearby regions that are important to the quests that you're working on.
A larger version of the map is accessed by pressing "M" or by choosing "Map" from the EQII menu. The large map window can be zoomed to full-screen if you wish. Within the large map window, you can browse all of the outdoor regions of the world of Norrath. Any regions that you have previously explored are in full-color, while unknown regions are shown in a brown sepia tint. You'll have to visit those brown regions at least once in order to see points of interest marked on your map.
On both the mini-map and the large map window, you can point at any visible icon to learn what it refers to. If you click on an icon, then EQ2 will set a waypoint on that person or location, and will draw a visual "bread crumb" trail in front of your character to guide you to that waypoint.
Along the bottom of the screen is the most important element of the EQ2 interface: the Navigation Bar. The Navigation Bar has two sets of buttons anchored to your Experience Bar. With these buttons, you can reach all of the important features of the game.
The EQII Menu Edit
Bring up the EQII Menu by clicking the square EQII button, or by pressing the Escape key when nothing is targeted. The following table gives a brief explanation of each menu item, and shows the keyboard shortcuts for each item. A few menu items are omitted because they aren't relevant to this beginner's guide.
Credit: EQ2 Knowledge Base
The Options Window Edit
There are many settings to customize in EQ2, all found in the Options Window. But right now, let's focus on something that immediately impacts your first play session: the Performance Options.
You can access the Options Window via the EQII menu or by pressing Alt+O. Usually the Performance Options are the first thing shown when you open this window, but if not, you'll find it by clicking "Display" on the left-hand side of the Options Window.
Choosing a Performance Profile Edit
EQ2 was built for the future: nearly 4 years after launch, its graphics detail still stands up to the latest games. However, your computer may not be up to the task. For this reason, you should become familiar with the Performance Profiles in the Options Window.
EQ2 defaults to the "Balanced" performance profile. This is suitable for an average computer with an average graphics processor, but this might not be the most appropriate profile for your computer.
- If you have an older computer, or a laptop or a low-end graphics processor, you'll get a significant boost from choosing "High Performance" or "Very High Performance".
- If you have a dedicated graphics processor, and the "Balanced" profile is running smoothly, then try "High Quality" or an even higher profile.
If you are running a computer with minimal RAM (e.g. 512 megs), then you can also improve how EQ2 runs by choosing a "High Performance" profile. These profiles use much less memory than the "Higher Quality" profiles.
|Tip: Use the Performance Meter to see how the different performance profiles affect your computer.|
Choosing Character Models Edit
The alternate character models were described in the Appearance section. If you want to try the alternate character models, select them here in the Options Window. Click "Models" on the left-hand side of the Options Window, then enable the alternate models. The changes take effect immediately. Now close the window and see how your character looks!
The Chat Window Edit
The Chat Window is located in the bottom left portion of your screen by default. It fades out when no text has been received recently, but you can make it visible by pointing your mouse cursor at it. The Chat Window is a place where you can type text to other players, and where you can type commands that don't have buttons in the user interface.
- EQ2 has a long list of Chat Commands. Almost every button in the User Interface has an equivalent Chat Command that you can use instead, if you prefer to type everything.
- Chat Channels are places to communicate with other players, each channel having it's own set of restrictions on who can hear you. Chat Channels are grouped in several different ways, and some are more restrictive than others. You can join and leave channels using Chat Commands, or by use of the Chat Options right-click menu.
|Tip: If you are Free-To-Play, then you are restricted to the /say, /tell, /group, and /guild chat channels. You must upgrade to a Silver membership in order to participate in the global chat channels.|
Chat Options Edit
Chat windows have additional options that govern the information written in each chat window. Right-click the Chat Window and choose "Chat Options". We won't go into every detail here, but here's an overview of how flexible the EQ2 chat system is:
- You can increase (or decrease) the font size in each of the chat windows.
- You can create more chat windows, and send specific types of text to each window. The chat filters are very fine-grained.
- You can combine chat windows, so that they become separate tabs within the same window. Just drag one chat window on top of another, and they will merge together.
If you want to change the text colors used in the chat window, then you do this through the Options Window (Alt+O) in the User Interface section.
Voice Chat Edit
- Main Article: Voice Chat
Everquest II added a built-in Voice Chat feature on July 31, 2008. If you have a microphone on your PC, then you can talk to other players in the game. Even if you don't have a mic, you can still listen in on what others are saying.
- There is a section in the Options Window with settings for Voice Chat. Start here to enable Voice Chat and add the voice chat toolbar on your screen.
- Right-click the voice chat toolbar to access your Voice Options. Here you can join voice channels, set your volume, and mute other people.
- Voice Chat is currently Push-To-Talk with the default hot key set to your Ctrl on the leftmost of the keyboard. A "hands free" mode may be added at a later date.
Customizing The Game Windows Edit
Most of the game windows can be resized, and all of them can be moved to different locations on the screen. To do so, you'll have to unlock the windows first.
Window Settings Edit
Once you've found a game window, you can customize its appearance by right-clicking it and choosing "Window Options". In here, you can control the following settings:
- Whether the window is locked or not. An unlocked window can be freely resized and moved around the screen. A locked window cannot be moved or resized. EQ2 starts off with all windows locked.
- Whether the window allows click-through or not. Click-through means that you can select objects in the game world even if they are behind this window. This setting might prevent you from interacting with the window itself, so experiment with this setting before you stick with it.
- The type of window decoration. Virtually all of your game windows can have title bars if you wish. This drop-down menu lets you remove the title bars and other window decorations if you prefer to be minimalist.
- The opacity of the window. There are separate settings for when the mouse is pointed at the window, vs. when the mouse is pointed elsewhere. There are also separate opacity settings for the background and the foreground information in the window.
Hotkey Bar Settings Edit
Hotkey bars have additional options. Right-click a hotkey bar (not on any of its hotkey icons) and choose "Hotkey Bar Settings". Here you can adjust the following:
- Change the size of the hotkey icons. Make them as big or small as you like. (This can be helpful on a large screen!)
- Allow draggable icons. This allows you to reorganize your spell and ability icons, until they are just the way you like them, and then freeze them in place.
Where Did My Window Go? Edit
If you're having trouble finding certain windows on your game screen, just press F10. This will make all of the on-screen windows opaque, so you can see exactly where they are. While in this view, all of your windows are unlocked, allowing you to quickly re-size and re-position them as you prefer.
- Press F10 repeatedly to cycle through normal view, opaque windows, and no windows.
If you still can't find a window after pressing F10, then you have some helpful tools in the Options Window, User Interface section. You can bring all of your game windows back onto the game screen, in case you moved a window completely off-screen somehow. If you're really unhappy with your screen layout and want to go back to defaults, you can also restore all windows to default locations.
Advanced User Interface ModificationEdit
The Performance Meter Edit
EQ2 includes a built-in performance meter, or "lag meter" as many players like to call it. Press F11 to see information about your network and graphics performance. You can click the little arrow button to open or close a live bar graph. The numbers shown are as follows:
- Ping: The blue number in the meter. This is the number of milliseconds that it takes for information to travel from your computer to the Everquest 2 servers and back. This is the latency that you'll see when you perform any action in EQ2. It's affected by your internet provider, and your geographic distance from the Everquest 2 servers in California.
- Bytes per second: The yellow number. This is the amount of information that your computer is sending to the Everquest 2 servers (and vice versa). This number will be insignificant compared to the capacity of your internet connection, unless perhaps you're on a dial-up connection.
- Frames per second: The large green number. This is the smoothness of the graphics on your computer screen. This is a direct measurement of your computer's graphics performance. This number varies depending on what is visible in your field of view. When you choose different Performance Profiles in the Options Window, you'll see your FPS number change drastically.
- Packet loss: The red number. This is the number of packets that are being transmitted by your computer but not received by the Everquest 2 servers. Normally this should be zero, or close to it. The game will suffer greatly if information packets are being misplaced. Packet loss is usually caused by issues with your internet provider.
The Web Browser Edit
You can open a web browser within EQ2 by typing "/browser". The window that opens up is based on Mozilla Firefox, and is a fully-functional web browser, supporting Java and Flash. You can't save bookmarks in EQ2's web browser, but you can set the home page in your Alt+O Options window. (We suggest setting it to http://eq2.wikia.com!) If you prefer your regular web browser, just switch out of EQ2 using Alt+Escape and access your usual program through the Windows Start Menu.
- EQ2Interface - Download custom User Interfaces for EQ2
|Index of Beginner's Guides|