I’ve played Everquest since 2001, and still play. People have tried to get me into WoW, but I’ve never had interest. I’ve played dozens of other games….and even liked most of them. But Everquest just keeps me coming back. No, I’m not a fanboy. Not by a longshot. I won’t pay $40 for the lastest expac, for example. 8 zones? No. Maybe if the bulk of my guild were around, I would. Join another guild? Eh, don’t think so. I was a raider for years, and I enjoyed it, but it was a second job, particularly playing a knight. But what are the little things about EQ that I love?
1. The community. Maybe WoW has one, too, but that’s always seemed like a younger, generation me mindset. A lot of Everquest players were also tabletop RPGers. We loved our D&D. This was the closest and most immersive game ever (remember, this came out in ’99). It had orcs and goblins and druids and dragons and all that awesome stuff. And to this day, while we understand there is precious little new blood coming into the game, the communities on the long-standing servers (I’m an Emarrian, myself) is incredible: helpful, with tips, they’ll give equip and plat to those in need (but not beggars, and we can tell the difference). And when the occasional true asshat crops up, the community is quick to ostracize them.
2. It was genuinely scary. The death penalty was rough, back then. A hefty chunk of experience, and the joy of running back to get your corpse within so much time before it poofed…with all your hard-earned gear on it. (This is also what bonds us as a community: the memory of those 8 hour corpse retrievals from the Plane of Fear). Stepping outside into Qeynos Hills as a human with no night vision. Doing a dungeon run, where pathing was bad, and your pet got lost and by the time it found its way back to you, it had aggroed a good 15 mobs. Those horrible high level mobs waiting around in newbie zones to wreck your ass (Kizdean gix? Griffons in East Commons? Dragoon Zytl roaming around West Commons?) Invisibility randomly dropping at the worst possible time?
3. Those awful graphics. Hey, mind-boggling back in 2000. Now…strangely endearing. A lot of it can never be improved upon, because those who wrote the original code are long gone, and with changes every year, its a complete mishmosh. But the majority of us don’t care at all. And, on the plus side, it makes it friendly to just about every computer out there. Windows 95? EQ probably the only thing that would still run on it.
4. The lore. Moreso than any game (well, the Elder Scrolls stuff is very good, too, I give them that). But how it all ties together. Everquest’s lore is tight, and things keep tying in together. And its all around you. One thing I love is the lower levels, starting another alt and running through the Kunark expansion, because there is an incredible sense of wonder for me, to be running thru a jungle, only to have ruins appear, or a massive iksar statue rise up from the trees, and while iksar are in the game, their once-great civilization is in ruins, shattered by the Sarnak and the Ring of Scale, and the evidence of this is all around you. The story of the Estate of Unrest, a great lowbie zone, where the dwarf Garanel went on a murderous rampage and slew everyone, enraging the goddess Quellious, who struck him down and cursed him to feel the pain of those he slew,and walk the halls forever. Better yet, the mission designed years later, to allow players to go back and experience what happened the night he went mad. The story of one of the game’s greatest archvillains, the vampire Mayong Mistmoore, and his tragic love Tserinna. This stuff is GREAT!
Oh, hell, there’s more but now I must go play!