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Tastes Gamey

This blog is about stuff. Sometimes that stuff has to do with MMORPGs.

Author: neschria

Creative Play For EQ1 and Beyond

Posted by neschria Saturday June 9 2007 at 10:58PM
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The beauty of many MMORPGs is the open-ended gameplay of the virtual world, beyond the standard linear progression that may be built into the game. When the game starts to get stale, there is always the possibility to find a creative way to change the gameplay experience.


You can go to the EverQuest forums here or at the official site to read comments, criticisms and complaints people have about the game, from the top-heavy and shrinking population of this older game to whether the game has changed too much or not enough over the years. I don't want to rehash all that. Instead, I am going to suggest some things that you might do if you have some like-minded, lunatic friends who want to approach the game from a new angle. Most of this could be adapted to other games as well, but I am going to stick to EQ1-based ideas for this entry. My suggestions aren't really solo-player friendly, but my suggestions are mainly to get people thinking about the possibilities open to them within the game, whatever that game is.


1. Play TSS as a new game. Start new characters in Crescent Reach and stay in TSS zones exclusively, without twinking and powerleveling. Do the zillions of quests in that expansion, and think of it as a game in itself. I did this when the expansion was released, and it was fun. I think you'd have to bring your own group/friends at this point, though.


1a. A variation on the restriction theme: Classic EQ without the Classic server. Some guilds have tried this already. It is simple enough-- go old school and only play in old world zones, cutting off at whatever expansion you and your comrades can agree on. I realize some of those zones have been changed and re-vamped, but one might try to take a positive attitude about the changes and use it as an opportunity to have a new experience of the old world, even if they don't really LIKE the changes.


2. Gnomercy! Start an all gnome guild called "The Unpuntables" or a guild full of perpetually intoxicated bards and paladins, or emo dark elves-- the possibilities are endless. Theme and humorous roleplay guilds can provide a fun change of pace. Light roleplay has given me a lot of fun across the spectrum of games I have played, from EQ to AO to WoW. Consider it something fun on the side, but be open to letting it become more.


3. Go Red Team! This is another specialty guild suggestion: form a "red" guild on a "blue" server. ' Red'  (PvP flagged) characters can't be healed or buffed by 'blue' (regular) characters, so this one requires a degree of commitment to one another to make it work. The point isn't the PvP, unless you want to spar with each other or form two guilds to play out a war between raids. The idea is to create a guild that does everything "in house". You are excluding yourself from other players, on one hand, but that makes it an exclusive club, on the other, and everything you accomplish as a guild, you know that you did it on your own. This is probably a little more "hardcore" and a little more commitment than most players are willing to make, but perhaps you have some slightly insane friends willing to at least try it on the side with alts.


4. Tuesday Night Brawl. This idea isn't strictly mine-- lots of people arrange to get together to do something other than grind and raid. "Tuesday Night Brawl"  was what it was called in the last guild I was in. It could range from events in the Arena to runs through older zones to triggered events. It doesn't even have to be a guild thing. Some of the people I play EQ2 with still play EQ1 together on Wednesday nights, just doing one group stuff, for instance.


5. Set new goals for a different kind of progression. Ok, so you're not really into chasing after the latest raid content, or maybe you don't have anything to do on your guild's off nights. Set yourself some new goals-- collect old zone keys that you might have skipped with the character you are playing now, or try to do as many monster missions as you can (regardless of the reward) for the sake of being able to say you've done them. There's so much content out there, you could keep yourself busy for a long time trying to accomplish whatever you set your sights on, even if it isn't strictly "progress" in the mainstream sense.


These are just a few ideas. I am sure other people can come up with better, more creative ideas. I realize that this isn't the sort of thing that will appeal to people who are very game achievement oriented, but if you aren't afraid of being told that "you're doing it wrong," and you'd like to play in and with the virtual world as much as you like playing the game, all you need to do is be a little creative.