(English is not my native Language so, please, be patient and point out any gross mistake in your comments ... thank you)
It seems that among the PC EQ community there are lots of veteran players that ask for some classic gameplay ... they all miss the pre-Planes of Power era.
Odd, everytime I attend one of the many sections of this BBS that are dedicated to the most ancient MMOs, I end up by reading all these melancholy threads where vets talk about the old times ... it has happened to all classic MMOs, hasn't it? From UO to SWG.
As the years pass by, old players end up realizing that when the mechanics of a MMO have worked well for years, changing them too deeply (and too often) sometimes doesn't pay.
I’m not a veteran MMO player by any means (I’m trying to face EverQuest Mac Edition these days but I’m so noob and so accustomed to the current MMO mechanics that even the Sense Heading skill is a challenge for me) but I feel nonetheless attracted by EQ’s old-school gameplay. Maybe it’s because I love online games where the community are small, placid and supportive.
A web writer (Mark Crump) recently has described Al'kabor - the one and only official EverQuest Mac server – as “SOE's Land That Time Forgot”. Here are the facts: there are roughly 200 real players (someone on the EQMac community says there should be about 800-1000 active accounts), the last patch was released three years ago in January 2005, the Mac client has expansions up to Planes of Power, there are no devs (only a server GM and some CSRs).
After reading through some posts in the EQMac BBS, I’ve discovered that A LOT of ex-PCEQ players has joined Al’kabor over the past years … and they all seem to be rather happy with this server.
So, I don't care if you love or hate the Mac platform (I've never been a Mac-evangelist) ... but if own a Mac that has less than 4-5 years (and has at least 512 Mb of RAM) and are desperately seeking for a pre-PoP esperience, you should really try EverQuest Mac Edition:
SOE's free 15 day trial
Station.com EverQuest Mac Ed. forum (a rather desolate place)
Welcome to EQMac and Al`Kabor! (information for new players)
It's $14.95/month and is part of the Station All Access Pass.
The community is incredibly warm so for every other detail ... just post in their Everquest General Discussion forum and say hello.
The Mac client, unfortunately, is PPC only so you will need Rosetta (the Mac OS X program that enables applications compiled for the PowerPC family of processors to run on Macs that use Intel processors) to run it on a current Intel Mac but it runs pretty well on every setup. You can play the game at maxed settings on a G5 or Intel-based Mac and ( if your GPU has enough VRAM and can rely on the necessary throughput) even force FSAA and anisotropic filtering through the Ati Displays preference panel's override settings ...
EverQuest Mac Ed. on an old G5/9600
EverQuest Mac Ed. on a current Intel iMac/x1600
Watch for some Al'kabor stories and screenshots
[EDITED] Back in 2005, all EQ servers were upgraded to newer blade servers. There's a picture of one of the Al'Kabor blades used as a coffee holder somewhere on the EQMac BBS ... it's only a joke.
(*) A definition of EverQuest Mac Edition coined by Mark Crump. I know he doesn't write for mmorpg.com but he has actually done a pretty good job of covering EQMac on Massively weblog