I mentioned in an earlier post about the “guys who knew the dungeons” and how I wanted to talk about it later. Well this is it. I wanted to call them MMO Rangers, but that would probably just confuse people and make them think of the class and not the type of guy I was going for. So anyways, let’s get into it.
Do you remember back in school that one kid who seemed to know EVERYTHING game related? Of course this was all pre-internet (Or maybe not, depending on your age) so the only info we got was spread around. If you needed to know how to get to a secret world in Mario or how to perform a fatality in Mortal Kombat then this was your guy. Or maybe it was the dude at the arcade who had this seemingly arcane knowledge of everything about the game and could give you mind-blowing tips. Regardless, these sages of early gaming wisdom guided us and imparted sacred knowledge unto us and had a huge impact on our gaming lives. In reality these were the kids with the right magazine subscriptions but still… I try not to look behind the curtain.
Back in the days of early and more difficult MMOs we had similar players. These guys were digital missionaries who spread their gospel of world geography, dungeon pathways, and so on. Keen has recounted his tale about his first experience in EQ and migrating from the frigid north to the scorching deserts of Freeport. The player who took him there was one such person, whom to my recollection appeared out of the mists with out-streched hand and whispered, “Lo, let me safely guide you unto the promised land of North Ro.” Or something like that at least. I was 10-year-old kid who gnawed on wooden countertops; maybe I don’t have the best memory.
I had similar experiences with a person who taught me the safe path from Rivervale to Qeynos, which I can still mentally picture today. In the early days before you could easily be ported around people needed help getting to these locations and guys like this, and eventually me, could help you with this. I can’t even count the amount of people I must have led all across the continents in EverQuest. Even Keen sometimes needed to consult me when it came to navigating the likes of Faydwer and dungeons like Guk, which leads me to my next point…
Dungeons, like I mentioned in a previous post, were scary and dangerous places. You needed somebody in your group who knew what was what. When it was your first time in a dungeon you didn’t know what to expect, other than probably dying a few times, and had to rely solely on the advice of those who had previously trekked these deathtraps. The trailblazers of these dungeons passed down their knowledge and it eventually spread so that you yourself could instruct the next crop of adventurers. This still exists today, to an extent, but pretty much only in a boss fight mechanic sort of way. Somebody will ask if there’s anything they need to know and they can get rattled off a list of fight mechanics or they can go watch a video online. In general I don’t find it to be as satisfying an experience as guiding a group through a dungeon.
So really what does this have to do with anything? I suppose nothing, really, but it’s a fond memory of a bygone era when players had to essentially blaze trails and tame the frontiers. Unfortunately today all corners of the map are already filled in.