Sorry for the delay between posts. This is the craziest time of the year for me. I was thinking about what to write tonight when Graev reminded me about a tweet I made the other night describing an experience I had in EverQuest.
A friend and I went into Upper Guk with a group to hunker down and pull lots of frogloks. The ZEM (zone experience modifier) for Guk is pretty dang good compared to outdoor dungeons, and Unrest was overflowing with people. One of the great thing about the original EverQuest was the option to go so many different places to gain experience solo, and with a group.
We got to Guk and had decent success. I gained almost an entire level, and after about two hours we were moving locations to set ourselves up for an even better spot in the zone. One thing lead to another, and we wiped. It was frustrating since I was bound across the world. Most of you probably don’t know what it means when I say I was bound; there aren’t graveyard in EverQuest. Players bind themselves to a location with a spell. Only certain classes get bind, and only those who have it can bind outside dungeons. As a paladin, I not only don’t get bind but I have to have someone bind me in a major city. As a Dwarf Paladin, that means I’m still a good 20 minute run away from Guk.
Well I wasn’t bound before going to Guk, so I had to run from Kelethin to Butcherblock, take a boat to Freeport, run to EC to get a sow, cut through the tunnel to NRO, cross the Oasis, get through SRO, and just as I’m about to roll up on Innothule swamp (the zone with the entrance to Guk), a very high level cleric Resurrects me — teleporting me to my body. The trip only took a little over an hour…
While trying to retrieve his body, a friend of mine died 2-3 additional times losing all the experience he gained in the dungeon those 2-3 hours we were hunting. He was willing to die though because for all he knew no one was going to come along to help get his body back. In EQ when you die you leave a corpse with your stuff on it, and you’re not getting it back unless you and your corpse reunite. 2-3 hours of experience loss for your possessions is worth it.
The whole ordeal got me thinking about the various mechanics at play that night.
- Group experiencing in a dungeon for hours pulling mobs
- Exp loss
- Potential gear loss
- ‘Corpse runs’
- Corpse recovery
- Massive world
Out of all the mechanics above, I have to say that I love all of them but one: potential gear loss. I think that EverQuest is extremely hardcore by today’s standards. So much so that it almost broke me that night. Losing experience is brutal, but it’s a penalty that terrifies me enough that I will do whatever it takes not to die. A long corpse recovery, binding, and a huge world to travel give the game depth. Dungeon camping is just plain fun. I don’t like the idea of losing my gear though, and for me personally I wouldn’t be averse to never playing a game with that fear again.
My recounting this one experience alone has highlighted more depth in MMORPGs than many of you have likely ever experienced if you started playing MMOs post-WoW era and never dabbled in the old school. Despite the horrific ordeals, this memory will stay with me a very, very long time. MMOs don’t need scripted stories. Players should be able to create their own. After that night, I certainly have a story to tell.