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EverQuest: Post-partum

Posted by phluux Thursday November 29 2007 at 8:34PM
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I started playing EverQuest in April of 1999. A month before then, I hadn't even heard of the game but a fellow Unreal player mentioned it to me and asked if I'd be playing it. Sure enough, I was playing it the day that it was released. That is, when I could log onto the server.

I remember the first character that I created, a half-elf druid. I selected my starting city and found myself in Surefall Glades. After about 30 minutes of not being able to find my way out, I decided that Surefall Glades was not for me and created a wood-elf druid named Phluux.

I was now in the starting city of Kelethin, a maze of platforms and ramps nestled within the trees. And, I soon found myself tumbling off of one of those platforms and experiencing my first, of many, official EverQuest death.

Server issues aside, my first few days in EverQuest were quite awe-inspiring, as I'd never experienced a game like this before. I played Ultima Online for about a week before uninstalling it, so my closest experience would probably have been something like Diablo. People were in a frenzy, turning in bat wings and spider legs for a measley few copper to work towards getting a full set of patchwork armor. There were spells sparkling, rusty swords slashing, and more people plunging to their deaths from Kelethin.

It was not terribly long into my time in Norrath that I joined a guild called Shadowhunters, and it was not long that I had become an officer of that guild. I have very fond memories of all of the people in that guild and the time that I had spent with them. Some of my closest friends to this day are folks that I met in that guild. Two of my guildmates passed away; one was 20 and one was in her 60's. After a few years together, the leadership of the guild split up but most members stuck together and joined an existing guild by the name of Velox Letum.

The chemistry amongst the members of this guild was simply amazing. We were fairly large, able to handle the large raid encounters on our own, and so we didn't go through as many growing pains that were common in EverQuest and sometimes destroyed a good guild or forced others to merge.

I actually got to meet some of these folks at the local Rennfest one summer. It was only about 6 of them, but it was fun nonetheless. Later that year, about two dozen of us decided to take a long weekend and meet up at Cedar Point Amusement Park and it was nothing short of a memorable experience! That night we all hung out at the hotel by the pool drinking away, sharing in-game stories and basking in our EverQuest glory! Unfortunately, one of us (ahem) had too much to drink and had one of the worst hangovers in his lifetime the next morning. Luckily after some breakfast, I felt just fine.

As we all spent time getting to know each other in-person, I realized that these people weren't your stereotypical geeky gamers that we are all perceived to be. These folks were normal everyday folks that you pass in the grocery store or mall; they were just like me. I'm not sure why I expected otherwise, but for some reason I did.

When we all got back from the trip, the guildmates that couldn't make the trip were obviously envious that they missed out on the opportunity; I really felt bad for them. Ha, I recall some members sending me tells asking what so-and-so is like in person! We shared stories about the partying and good times with our guildmates and started talking about another planned get-together.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end at some point. Eventually the stress of raiding all the time and competing with other top guilds on the server started to wear on us and people slowly started to lose interest. It became the norm that we would schedule a raid or race another guild to a spawn and not have the numbers we needed to complete the task.

Members started leaving; most posted their goodbyes on the forum, some joined other guilds, and yet some just vanished altogether. I, too, quit EverQuest and kept playing other games that I was interested in such as Dark Age of Camelot, EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft.

But, I miss those people.

Out of all of the games that I've played, the folks I spent 5 years with in EverQuest made the strongest lasting impression. I am still in touch with some of them, but not a lot of them and I often wonder not only what they are playing, but if they are doing okay in what we MMO gamers refer to as 'the real world.'

Some days I daydream and wonder if I will ever experience memories like that again, or if I will ever connect with a group of people like I did in EverQuest. Like many of you, I have played several other MMOs and have yet to find the second coming of the Holy Grail. EQ2, VG, COH/COV, AO, LOTRO, DAOC, GW, SWG, WoW... none of those games have come close to replicating the experience I have been looking for.

That's why I continue to play these games post partum EverQuest. Sure, the loot, accomplishments and pretty graphics are nice, but without a tight community, why even bother playing? It's something that I feel a lot of games these days are missing.

-------------------

Do you have similar feelings towards a game or guild you were part of? If so, please feel free to share some of your experiences.

drakthule writes:

Well it was a different game for me, Asherons Call, but the memories are similar. alot of good people and some sucky ones that were still fun to fight :).

I hear this alot from the old mmorpgs ultima included (although i couldnt stand that one either) but i still have some vivid memories of people and places we explored togather or solo.

I think alot of it was the newness factor, not that it diminishes the feelings but the games that have come after are just copie. once something truely revolutionary happens in the world of mmo's i think the first generation players will get that old rush we used to.

Thu Nov 29 2007 9:46PM Report
bestman22 writes:

I have to comment on this one, it was the same for me, I had never heard of everquest just happened into a gaming store and there it was... never heard of  a mmorpg before heck never played a rpg before period.  I get home start up the game and low and behold server is down with the patch that removed rubicite from cazic thule. 

I really really miss my time in that virgin world where "vision" was everything and you felt like you were accomplishing something, after the release of kunark the whole experience changed for me and I lost something that I have never regained... that sense of wonder that comes from exploring the dangers that first time, how the devs tries to make everything as real as possible so that you could lose yourself and become your avatar.

  I remember my first trip to unrest when it was not a ghost town, trips to lower guk after ssoy or fbss where the most common phrase uttered was train to dead side with fondness, valtar the gm coming to seafury isle in oot distributing his brew and spending some time chatting.

I remember times grouping up with guild mates to raid fear when it first opened and thinking I was never going to see my body or stuff again...  so many things that we accomplished together from dragon slaying to guild exp groups and I miss that all.

I have played almost every mmo since eq now and even UO but none of them can recapture how I felt when I first became Jolea the wood elf ranger on emarr,  I really wish I could find something to make me feel that way again but it seems that I am just wishful thinking anymore...

Thu Nov 29 2007 11:28PM Report
qombi writes:

I agree with everything you wrote and have said the same thing over and over. All games today are there for instant gratification, are shallow and easy. That is why they are not worlds like the games of the past. The games of the past were meant to last a long time, these games are meant to last a few months till you "beat" it. The kids now days will never know what it's like to play a world rather than a solo to the top, shallow, instant gratification, fast action over socialization, garbage that is WoW and other's alike.

 

To form communities like EQ, you need long leveling (These are MMORPGs after all, are they not meant to last for a long time?), grouping to level (builds community), no built in maps, no easy death penalties, no instances, slower combat with some downtime (this again gives players time to socialize, I know most of you WoW kids don't understand this but people in MMORPGs use to play for the reason of socializing).

That is why MMORPGs now are just games and not worlds like the older games. The communities are horrible, it caters to spastic children with poor attitudes. Shallow and easy attracts really young players that would quit any previous MMORPG that actually took some time. No wonder most groups in WoW don't even speak while playing, the people are horrible and you just don't have time to speak with the fast pace combat that players like a console game. I think MMORPGs have gotten off track.

Fri Nov 30 2007 9:15AM Report
Roguewiz writes:

I've felt the same way for a long time.  I started playing back when Torvonnilous 1st opened up, whenever that was.  The game was a new experience for me.  I started off as a Barbarian Warrior.  I was a leatherworker, making hand-over-fist in money due to Patchwork and Silk armor =)

The game was fun for me, for a while.  I got bored with the Warrior and made a Wizard.  Probably the best change I did in the game.  I enjoyed the Wizard class above all others, despite having to solo most of my levels.

The game began to lose its luster after Velious (by far the best expansion IMO).  After that, it was downhill for me and my enjoyment.

I've tried alot of games, and like alot of people, none of them hold up to my expectations.  The awe and wonder of MMOs are gone for me.  I hope to find that awe and wonder again.

Fri Nov 30 2007 10:49AM Report
wolffin writes:

My first MMORPG WAS DAoC and expirance was similar and im still looking for that feel I expiranced when i first began playing. I think the closest I have come to that feeling was when I started playing Eve.

Fri Nov 30 2007 10:55AM Report
Teddar writes:

Haha! Ahh the memories come flooding back. That part about not being able to find your way out of surefall was me too. I also then went and started in kelethin and immediatley fell to my death. Course id was stupid enough to make a human so i couldnt see my hand in front of my face out there either, doh!. Anyway, great post, I miss the old Eq, those were the good old days.

Peace 8)

Fri Nov 30 2007 11:34AM Report
Drolletje writes:

I almost cried while reading this article because i've never been able to have this experience (I was 9 when EQ was released). I really feel like I've missed something, with only having played games like runescape and WoW. I hope as much for you as for me that once, there will be a game that brings back this feeling.

Fri Nov 30 2007 2:13PM Report
grimfall writes:

Someone a little more clever than me posted on a blog here a couple of months back about the 'problem' with WoW and it's clone army.  There's too much action.  Your healer is never OOM, so you never just sit down and shoot the shit like Everquest forced you to.  Without that, there's no time to get to know eachother, which promotes a feeling of community. I've visited EQ friends in other countries.  In the 3 years since I've quit playing, I don't think I've even leanred another players RL first name in the other games I've played.

Fri Nov 30 2007 4:19PM Report
phluux writes:

Thanks for the comments folks.

The downtime in EQ was definitely a huge part of building relationships amongst your peers. While I do enjoy the dungeon crawls found in other games, I miss finding a corner in Karnor Castle, Lower Guk or somewhere in the Planes chatting with my group or guildmates. Even the 4am corpse retrievals from Fear... they were terrible, but when I look back, it wasn't just me dealing with that, it was me and my friends too.

I am optimistic that I, and some of you, will have the same types of memories again... I would just rather it be sooner rather than later. Games in other genres keep getting better and better, so why can't MMOs? This is still a fairly new genre, so maybe if we give it more time, we will all find what we're looking for again.

Fri Nov 30 2007 7:28PM Report

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