Greetings Adventurers! The world of Norrath is more beautiful then ever before, but many of you are having a hard time finding the right balance between playable and pretty graphic settings. Hopefully this guide will help. This guide should help you get a fantastic look and smooth frame rate out of the game. This amazingly helpful guide was originally written by Sandrah of Antonia Bayle in 2004. Her recommendations are still valid and really useful. If you are getting lag, or poor graphics quality, try adjusting your graphics settings. I have edited and updated Sandrah's Guide a little to account for changes in the last decade. Comments enclosed in [square brackets] are mine. The overall process here is to start out lowering settings as Sandrah recommends, then checking to see how this changes your performance and graphics quality. Every computer build is a different creature, so start from the recommended settings, then try tweaking them. Especially those who have high end very new machines may be able to get great performance with high quality graphics. However, let it be known that I haven't met anyone yet who could run EverQuest2 on max graphics settings throughout and still get decent performance. Introduction Dynamic Environments Cause Varying Stress on Graphic Display The first thing to realize is that the world of Norrath is dynamic, and you will never achieve an equal frame rate for every zone. It depends heavily on how many players are on your screen, zone population and network latency, whether you are in combat, outdoors, or near water. Everything in the environment comes into play and will affect your frame rates. Some parts of the game are more CPU-dependent as well, so having the latest greatest video card with an old CPU can lead to rough performance. Do Computer Housekeeping and Updates Second, you must make sure you have the most current drivers for your graphics card, sound card, and mother board chipset, as well as the latest BIOS for your computer. This is extremely important because huge differences can be seen when running newer and more updated drivers. Start off your optimizing by doing a little computer spring cleaning first! Defrag Your Hard Drive Every 3-4 Months (Better yet, schedule it to run automatically at 3AM every three months and never worry about it!) Run a Malware and Trojan Cleanup Every 3-4 Months. Gaming sites, as well as those sites we KNOW you never visit--"naughty pictures" sites, warez/krakz/etc. and more--can silently infect your computer. I recommend running through the easy-to-use protocol at MajorGeek's, even if you have a good antivirus program. No one AV will catch everything. Major Geek's will point you to reputable, free tools to clean your system, potentially improving its speed enormously. Download the free tool CCleaner. Set up CCleaner to run automatically at startup. You can configure it to keep any cookies you want (for example, login info), while deleting all the tracking cookies, old browser cache files, empty the Recycle bin, and more. Clean up old versions of graphics drivers. Windows, while marking an old device as not present, still has various references to the old hardware in its Registry, and the driver files relating to it are still stored in the various Windows folders on your hard drive. Some older driver files can interfere with newer ones and lead to Windows crashes, game crashes, sound problems, video corruption etc. If your computer is fairly new, you can skip this (newer driver installers do a much better job of cleaning up old files). Driver Magician. A free driver management tool. Treexy Driver Fusion. This tool has a free version and will allow you to install and uninstall drivers. Hardcore, Do It Yourself Manually Method. Well-documented step-by-step instructions for manually removing old drivers. A different version is here. Install the newest driver versions. nVIDIA Driver Downloads AMD Driver Downloads Creative Driver Downloads Third, optimizing your Windows installation and your computer as a whole is a topic for an entirely different guide. There are so many combinations of PC hardware and software that is impossible to provide a simple guide that will let you optimize your settings, but this can provide a substantial upgrade in performance, so do your research! Also, for advanced tweaking, download FRAPS. It will display your current frame rates and help you tweak your settings better. You can also record videos of your gameplay and make movies! [One can also hit F11 in-game to see some of these statistics.] Basis for Comparison Sandrah's original guide and advice was based on her experience with a Radeon X800 XT card on a 3.0ghz Pentium 4 machine with 2 gigabytes of Corsair DDR 400 RAM, with Anti-Aliasing off, Anisotropic Filtering set to 8x, and V-sync enabled. Those with faster computers and cards may be able to push things higher, while those on the lower end will need to scale back more. No Computer Can Do It All BIG NOTE: The important thing to realize is that you simply can not click every box and move every slider to the right just because you have a high end system and that's what you do in every other game. The EverQuest2 graphics engine was made to be scalable over the first few years [back when we all thought computers would continue to exponentially increase CPU]. It is NOT designed to run at a steady 60 fps on even the most bleeding edge hardware you can buy today. Little note: if after all this is over, your brand new video card is still not working very well, you may have to set your AGP slot to the right speed. Some users have reported huge increases in performance after doing this. Use CPU-Z to check your AGP configuration. Find Your Testing Locations First you need to be in a place where you can compare and contrast your frame rates. Find two spots: one with a lot of people -- the merchant area in Vesspyr Isles, or the harbor of your home city may be good choices -- and the other with rich scenery. You'll want to test settings under both conditions. Good luck with finding your virtual reality nirvana! Performance Click the EQ2 Button, then select Options, Display, and Performance. You will want the ADVANCED options showing, so click that button if needed. For those of you who don't want to tweak each little setting, this is the only place you need to be. From the Performance Window, you can control all the other graphics settings by choosing preset Performance Profiles. The rule of thumb here is simple: A faster computer should select a Balanced or High Quality profile, while a slower computer should pick a higher performance profile. For the sake of this guide I will be taking you through an additive process. Rather then starting with the maximum settings and working our way down, we will starting with minimal settings and work our way up. This makes it easier to isolate specific settings which may bog down your computer, and other ones which you can turn on and turn up without a problem! 1. Set your Full Screen UI Resolution first. How many pixels your graphics card can drive is going to vary. Try the native resolution of your monitor first and see if that works well for you. If not, you can reduce this resolution as needed. 2. Choose your Performance Profile. Under Performance Profile, select "Very High Performance". You should now have a very smooth game, with decent graphics. Don't worry, we are gonna build the graphics quality back up and find the sweet spot. Older graphics card users may want to stick with this, or even choose "Extreme Performance". IMPORTANT: By choosing Very High Performance, the system has automatically turned off many of the enhanced graphic modes of EQ2, including the pretty water visuals, advanced lighting, high detail textures, and more. It is recommended that you go through each group of settings and adjust them to your liking and to your systems performance. If you simply want to trick out your ultra fast Alienware rig, I suggest selecting Balanced or High Quality as your performance profile and using a subtractive tweaking method. The guide will still help you figure out what the big performance hogs are.