March 16th, 1999, Everquest opened it's servers to the public and dared you to come see what their world had to offer. I didn't join right off the bat. I was still playing Tribes with my clan Lords of Steel. But a tribe member, Raven, and his nephew were playing and telling me all about it. I grew intrigued, and, not long after June 6th, 1999, Daeven entered the world for the first time on the Cazic-Thule server.
My high elven cleric, with his pasty looks, and terribly ugly yellow robe, killed bats and orc pawns like no other. Then I received a tell from my friend Raven to come to kelethin, the wood elven town. So after a few moments of running for my life and some lucky turns, I stood on a platform up in the trees, having just stepped off of the magical elevator that had taken me up there. I looked around in total Awe. This was just an amazing game. To this day i remember that moment, The first time I had stepped into the wood elven city of Kelethin. Of course that could be for other various reasons also. My friend Raven had making pie tins that sold for a large amount to the vendor, so he opened trade and dropped in 10 platinum pieces.
Now, if you are familiar at all with how the money system works in most games, you will realize that I was level 1 and had 10 platinum pieces in my hand. The server's had only been opened 3 months, and this was the first one of it's kind. For another 3 months minimum people were still impressed with people who had on a full suit of Bronze plate armor. People weren't blowing through the levels and instances, and the game. Not yet. That would come years later. No, at this point in time, people took thier time, and didn't realize that you could streamline your playtime into a set amount of hours and zones to maximize your time per Experience gained. Suffice it to say this was a bloody fortune I was handed.
He tells me I should buy some armor and a weapon. So, I buy a set of crummy armor, and then I see that a Regular mace(Not worn or rusty but just MACE) was only 9 Platinum! So, i bought it! I was happy with having that mace, and to this day I still want to go back in time and slap the heck out of myself for that. But I didn't know any better. Raven was a bit surprised as well, lol, but he was a good guy, and took it in stride. But of course he didn't give me anymore money either. ;-)
So, I guess I should get around to the title of this post. I'm not quite sure what it was about Everquest that really just grabbed me on the insides and made me want to play every available second of the day. I remember the stories that went on during it's prime. Marriages were broken up over it, kids skipped and failed school because of it, people lost their jobs because of it. I knew people who met in game and got married. Actually, I know a few people who met in game and got married in real life. Hah, to be honest, I'm one of them. But what is it about these games that really make us want to play constantly, with every free moment?
Is it the escape from our real lives? Possibly. Is it the total immersion they give us in the fantasy world? Could be, but unlikely. Is it the social interaction we get from the people online? Definately part of it, but not likely a sole reason in and of itself.
Millions of gamers worldwide log into either Everquest, Everquest2, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Eve, Anarchy online, of hundreds of other titles, and lose themselves for a different reason each night.
If you think back to the first time you found yourself wanting to play an MMO more then do anything else, what was it that made you want to log in?
For me, it was the fantasy immersion with that social aspect of being able to roleplay without dice, and to really be my character. It took me months to get my first character past level 15. But once I passed it i shot straight to the top. I was ready for a different experience. There are many different reasons we all find for logging in to these games. I want you to do something for me, if you are reading this blog:
Sit back, close your eyes, and think back to the first MMORPG that you found yourself craving to log into every day. Not just think about the best moments you had there. Sometimes we need to sit back and remember WHY we love these games, instead of what the next one has to offer us.
But for now, I'll stop rambling. Thanks for giving me just a few minutes of your time.