In the future, Norrath has been struck by a major disaster, which has caused most of the world's prominent civilizations to crumble into anarchy. The world is now clearly polarized between Good and Evil, and the choice of alignment determines whether the player starts in benevolent Qeynos or seedy Freeport. The nature of the quests depends on the player's alignment and there is one special "betrayal quest" that actually allows the player to switch sides.
EverQuest II features an updated 3D engine compared to its predecessor. The game introduces a new story line with over 130 hours of spoken dialogue by all non-player characters (NPCs). The player is now entitled to own real estate, ride horses, sail ships, and can now recover health faster in-between battles. The game no longer offers player vs. player (PvP) combat, even though the players can align themselves with the forces of evil if they so desire.
Players choose between several classic fantasy races, along with three original ones and four basic classes: fighter, scout, mage, or priest. Later on, they can acquire more specialized classes and sub-classes at important level thresholds. The game supports an advanced guild system, which allows guilds to compete with one another and compare their strengths via a team-level feature.