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Choosing a Race
This page details all of the factors that you'll want to consider when picking a race for your character.
Making the Right Choice
The most important thing to understand is that, although the-in game benefits of race do matter, race choice is not that significant in classic EverQuest. This is especially true both as your character levels, and as the server moves forward in time.
Every player will want weigh each differently, but keep in mind that almost all racial benefits have a limited period of benefit. Stats matter less over time in general, vision issues can be corrected with spells or items, size matters less for gear over time, XP penalties only ("only") matter from 1-59, and faction lasts only until you work to correct it.
The only thing that will never change is your appearance/physical size ... although even that can temporarily be altered with Illusion effects.
Each race can only play certain classes, so this is a major limiting factor when choosing a race. The following table shows both which class each race can be, and what their combined race + class experience penalty or bonus will be.
IMPORTANT NOTE: On Blue, and on Green after a certain point in time, class experience penalties are removed. However, neither racial penalties nor class bonuses are ever removed. Classes affected by this show their post-removal penalty after the slash.
For instance, all Bards have "-40% / 0%", or in other words a 40% class penalty with no racial penalty before, and a 0% (of either) penalty after.
|Class||Barbarian||Dark Elf||Dwarf||Erudite||Gnomes||Half-Elf||Halfling||High Elf||Human||Iksar||Ogre||Troll||Wood Elf|
|Bard||-||-||-||-||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-||-40% / 0%|
|Enchanter||-||-10% / 0%||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-||-|
|Magician||-||-10% / 0%||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-||-|
|Monk||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-20% / 0%||-||-||-|
|Necromancer||-||-10% / 0%||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-|
|Paladin||-||-||-40% / 0%||-||-40% / 0%||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-||-|
|Ranger||-||-||-||-||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-||-40% / 0%|
|Shadow Knight||-||-40% / 0%||-||-40% / 0%||-||-||-||-||-40% / 0%||-68% / -20%||-61% / -15%||-68% / -20%||-|
|Wizard||-||-10% / 0%||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-10% / 0%||-||-||-||-|
There are five race sizes, as defined by what size armor they can wear. In terms of the Shrink spell there are only three (eg. an Ogre is shrunk to "Human size" after one casting, not "Barbarian size", and then down to "Halfling size" with a further casting, not "Wood Elf Size").
Race Armor Options
There are three armor sizes, small/medium/large ...
- Small: Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling
- Small/Medium: High Elf, Wood Elf
- Medium: Erudite, Human, Iksar
- Medium/Large: Barbarian
- Large: Ogre, Troll
The in-between sizes will have the most clothing options when leveling up, but all races can find wearable gear if they hunt the right zones. Also high level gear typically fits all classes, so size matters much less for gear later on.
Race Size Perspectives
In EverQuest you literally see the world from your character's perspective, so if you choose a small character you will be staring at everyone else's knees for the rest of your EQ career. Conversely if you pick a large character, you will likely want to acquire a way to Shrink yourself someday, simply because of the inconvenience of being large in small dungeons.
Each race has certain starting statistics, and an amount of bonus points to spend to increase them. This means that (for instance) an Ogre Warrior will be stronger than a Halfling one, and may do an extra point of damage on average per hit as a result (although "a point" is an example: the exact amount will vary, as many other factors go into damage than just Strength).
However, this does not mean Ogre Warriors will always be stronger. Gear can raise characters stats, and all stats have both "soft caps" (eg. raising a stat above 200 provides less value than raising it from below that) and "hard caps" (no stat can be raised above 255). As a result especially later in the timeline (ie. on Blue) or if you get high-end raid gear, racial stats will be far less relevant at high levels.
Spending Starting Stat Points
Every class page on this wiki has a guide that provides recommendations for how to spend your stat points, and you should use them as each class needs different stats.
In general every class can benefit from Stamina, since no one wants to die, but the exact amount varies by class. Casters want their casting stat (Intelligence/Wisdom) high, while melee characters want Strength and possibly Dexterity.
Although Charisma can lower prices slightly for everyone, it's only worth spending points (possibly) for Bards, Clerics, and Enchanters. And Agility is not really worthwhile for anyone, except that if your race starts with less than 75 Agility it's worth spending points on it, as having less adds a significant AC penalty.
Halflings are the only race to get an XP bonus (+5%; perhaps because of their increased food consumption?) All large races and Iksar get a penalty, and no other small or medium-sized race gets a penalty or bonus.
The worst penalty is -20%, which Iksar and Trolls share because of their regeneration. Ogres have an penalty almost as high, -15%, because of their Frontal Stun Immunity. Barbarians (who just get Slam) only get -5%.
Although this bonus or penalty won't matter at level 60, keep in mind that it can take a very long time to get from 1-59.
The thing to know about faction is that most cities fall under the category of "good city", "evil city", or "Cabilis" (the Iksar city), and members of one of these three groups tend to be killed if they try to enter a city of another of the groups. This is not absolute, and it can be fixed with sufficient faction work, but basically, there are more good cities than evil cities, so a player rolling a good race/class will find it easier to get around in EverQuest.
The basic run-down is class-wise, Necromancers and Shadow Knights are always evil, Paladins are always good, and other classes can be either (depending on race and deity); race-wise, Dark Elves, Ogres, and Trolls are always evil, Dwarves, Barbarians, Wood Elves, High Elves, Half Elves, and Halflings are always good, and other races can be either (depending on deity), and of course Iksars are in their own category, hated everywhere except their home city of Cabilis. The full listing of what each race has is at races page.
Every character can also choose a religion, although depending on your race/class choices you may only have one choice (eg. Barbarian Shaman must worship The Tribunal). The choice of religion, in addition to any role-playing benefit, has two in-game effects: faction, and gear.
Just as with races in general, choosing an god perceived as "evil" will result in less friendly faction from NPCs across Norath. Agnostics will generally be safer than any specific faith, and will only lose a slight price benefit from whatever few vendors would have shared their specific faith, had they chosen one.
The main benefit to choosing a religion is deity-specific gear. However, there isn't very much such gear in the game, and most if it is only good for lower-level characters, so again racial choice isn't terribly important.
For "religious" characters (ie. Wisdom casters), deity choice matters slightly more, as most religions have a "symbol" quest, which results in gaining a deity-specific neck slot item. Depending on the faith these items may or may not have a useful ability (eg. Tunare's Root or Cazic-Thule's fear effects, vs. Brell Serilis's summoning of beer, or The Tribunal's summoning of hammers).
(Small Size) Wall "Hacks"
The three small races, Dwarf, Gnome, and Halfling, can sometimes exploit glitches in the game related to their small size. For instance, it is often possible for such races (or other races, with the Shrink spell) to see through walls, and with a bit of effort they can swim through the entrance to The Hole without needing a key.
This ability can allow the character to bank, vendor, or use some quest NPCs that they otherwise wouldn't, and also to wait safely even in areas with a mix of undead and non-undead NPCs.
This ability can allow the character to bank, vendor, or use some quest NPCs that they otherwise wouldn't.
This ability can save the character from having to buy food (and to a much lesser extent water) as often.
This means that racial vision features are once again meaningful, and there are three vision levels possible:
Dwarves, Gnomes, Half-Elves, High Elves, and Wood Elves all have "infravision". This gives them significantly better vision in low-light conditions, although still not as good as Ultravision, and will likely still find benefit from having a light source.
The best form of vision, Ultravision, is only available to Dark Elves.
Every race has a unique starting city, except for Erudites/Humans/Half-Elves, who get to choose (based on their religion) between two cities (Erudites can choose between Erudin/Paineel, while Humans and Half-Elves can choose between Freeport and Qeynos).
The locations of these cities result in new players falling into certain starting "hubs". These hubs only really matter for the first few levels, because once you level up travel becomes easier. But if you want to start out playing with friends, you should all pick races with the same hub, or at least hubs that easily connect.
All of these hubs have at least three races starting in somewhat close vicinity, and all have boats connecting them easily to other hubs.
Humans and Half-Elves staring in Freeport, Dark Elves starting in Neriak, and Halflings starting in Rivervale can all access the East Commons and West Commons fairly easily to join each other. Also, players from the Faydwer Hub can easily reach this one via boat, and vice versa (although Dark Elves will find it slightly more difficult).
Wood Elves from Kelethin, High Elves from Felwithe, Dwarves from Kaladim, and Gnomes from Ak'Anon can all reach each other fairly easily. They can also easily join Freeport hub players (and vice versa) via the boat.
Humans and Half-Elves can start in Qeynos or (for Druids/Ranger)s nearby Surefall Glade. Barbarians start in nearby Halas (which is almost a minor hub of its own), and they will have to level up a little (about level 5) before they can safely run through Blackburrow to join their Qeynos friends. Erudites can safely take the boat to Qeynos at level 1.
These hubs serve only one or two races, and players starting in them tend to move to more major hubs, rather than do the reverse.
Because these two zones are considered to be some of the worst options, many Erudites take the boat to the Qeynos hub instead (in theory Qeynos hub players can do the same in reverse, but Odus is less popular).
Ogres and Trolls start in the "swamp hub", at Grobb and Oggok respectively, with adjacent Innothule Swamp and Feerrott as starting areas. After a few levels (5?) players can safely run through the Desert of Ro to reach the Commons Hub (and vice versa).
Iksar alone start on Kunark. They have the choice of several starting zones, and a nice progression of zone options after that. Many players consider these zones (and dungeons such as Kurn's Tower to be better than earlier starting areas, because the devs had learned lessons from building those earlier zones.
Every race has their own specific tradeskill recipes, which only they can craft. However, tradeskill gear in general tends to be eclipsed by dropped loot fairly quickly, so really cultural tradeskilling shouldn't be a big factor in anyone's race decision.