People Are Actually Talking & Playing Together!

I was more social these last few days in EverQuest than I have been in the past 10 years of MMOs combined. There are so many different social dynamics in EverQuest that have happened to me all while playing in just the first 20 levels.

Groups

I’ve grouped with dozens of different people. Each of these people brought a new and unique take on my grouping experience. Every zone I go into there are groups recruiting more for their location, people looking to join a group, and chatter happening about forming to kill something. The other night we were slaughtering some camp with just the three of us and really didn’t need anyone else. Then along came this cleric who needed a group — we already had a cleric — and I found myself thinking that I may one day come across this guy again, and my actions here and now could decide whether or not my next encounter with this cleric (who may res me later) will go down. So we invited him and were truly no worse off. He stayed for about an hour then had to go and thanked us profusely.

I’m Making Friends

The cleric I mentioned before is one example in many where I’ve invited people to group who weren’t necessarily going to bring anything amazing. In fact, most groups should just invite Mages and Necros and blow everything up with their pets. That’s the most efficient and quickest way to level, but it’s not the ‘right’ way to level in my mind. I formed groups this past week consisting of everything from Warriors to Rangers and Rogues. All of these classes are drastically inferior to a Mage, but why should they suffer because they are playing a class they like? We can make it work with them, so why not just do it? As a result, my friends list — my network — is growing and I’m hoping one day they pay it forward.

Trade is Thriving

Chat channels, even those that aren’t designated for auctions, are thriving with people auctioning off their goods. People are making goods and selling them. People are actually buying them because there is a true NEED for the items. I’m definitely not one of the rich players. I think I’m probably in the lower 20%, actually. I don’t know the secrets, nor do I really have the time to invest in camping the spots, but some of these people already have super rare items they’re auctioning off and people out of nowhere have farmed hundreds upon hundreds of plat to just throw at them. It is what it is, and I may never have it, but I love to see it happening around me. Stuff isn’t just individual loot in EverQuest — it’s part of the global economy.

Kindness of Others

For every kind person there are a dozen jerks, but that doesn’t make the kindness of the one any less meaningful. In a game like EverQuest, often times you need things that are difficult or even impossible to obtain if you aren’t one of the lucky few. The rich get richer in EverQuest. When someone goes out of their way to let the class chat channel know that they have extra of this rare quest item and anyone who wants one can have one… it makes me go “d’awww!”

Sharing Strategies and Swapping Stories

I love the class chat channels. I participate in them as much as I can by answering questions from newbies, asking questions of my own (I am a newbie to this version of EQ), and simply contributing my thoughts and ideas to the philosophical and ideological debates that always spring up. This hasn’t happened for me in ANY MMO since vanilla WoW days back in 2004.

A Whole New World

I need to come up for a breath of air and actually post something! Sorry for the slow posts, but I’ve been having a blast in EverQuest on the Ragirefire server. I have a lot of stuff to write about, but for the most part I want to focus on giving you guys a brief update with where the game/server is at in general and some of my impressions of EverQuest after over a decade of not playing any official version.

Daybreak just announced tonight that a NEW progression server is coming because of how popular Ragefire has been. The new server will be called Lockjaw. Right now it remains to be seen if a merge will take place down the road, or if this server will suffer the same fate as Vulak (Fippy’s counterpart) did when it became a ghost town. The reason for the server? Yeah, it’s due to the success, but that success has meant queues. On average, the wait time to play all weekend was about 1.5 hours. Oh, and yeah they added a queue. Before the queue, it was mashing the login to see if you could get lucky.

The first Nagafen, Vox, and Phinny kills happened only days after the server launched. Just goes to show you that not only do multiboxers have an advantage, but this isn’t the same EverQuest I remember. This version of Norrath truly is a whole new world.

The Norrath I remember wasn’t full of 80% Mages. Right now, Mages, Necros, and a few other magic classes are so broken that they can burn down yellows like they were nothing. Groups right now are pulling piles of mobs and burning them all down in a DPS race. The Norrath I remember was a careful approach to pulling one mob at a time.

NRO

Leveling is also much, much quicker. Not only is it hard-coded at 2x, with the decrease in difficulty you can plow through mobs without breaking a sweat. Last night in North Ro I was pulling mobs to my group. I’d bring in 2 red con Dry Bone Skeletons, a Yellow Crypt Mummy, and anything else I could possibly snag all at once. In a matter of a few hours we had each gained 3-4 levels. That’s absolutely unheard of in the Norrath I remember. To top it all off, I was tanking — a Bard.

Zones have also changed considerably. They turned South Ro and Oasis into one zone, did something to North Ro to make it squat, merged the Commonlands into one zone, and completely destroyed Freeport. I’m not sure how I feel about the other zone changes, but Freeport definitely sucks.

While this is so far, far away from the Norrath I remember, I’m still having so much fun I can’t stop. For the first time in YEARS I’m antsy to get done with work and play. Something about EverQuest, even when it’s not truly the EverQuest of old, captivates my attention like no other game has ever been able to do.

Keen the Bard of Ragefire

Keen-Day-1-Ragefire

EverQuest Ragefire server actually launched yesterday! I was wearing my lucky EverQuest shirt so it was a sure thing. Servers came up a little later than expected (4 hours) but after that I was able to get in right away and experience no issues for the next 3 hours until I had to get to bed.

I successfully rolled my Wood Elf Bard named Keen! I normally fuss a lot over stats, but since I wanted my name and wanted to get in the game I just tossed points equally in DEX and CHA. DEX and CHA both influence note misses, and CHA influences the charm and mez success rates or something like that. Honestly, if you’re currently worried about stats — don’t. In most cases they make only a slight difference in classic, and much less later on.

Starting off in Greater Faydark was rough. The zone I started in was packed, so I decided to test out the /pickzone command to find an instance of GFay with less people. It worked for about 10 minutes until all available zones were at 70+ people, which means it was packed anywhere you go. Felt nice playing with so many people, but fighting over skeletons was a struggle.

I managed to reach level 3 rather quickly. The push to level 4 was a little more difficult since mob density was low and I was having to kill mostly blue and whites with the occasional yellow. I emphasized skeletons for the bone chips and when I hit level 4 and 60 bone chips I ran to Kaladim where I turned them all in for some armor and another 1.5 levels. Level 5.5 wasn’t bad for 3 hours of work!

Our Gaming Community is really active in EQ! I was really happy to meet a few new faces and get to chat with new people on ventrilo. We’re all planning to meet up today and gain some levels camping mobs. I think we can manage to get several more levels today and then hopefully be hitting dungeons by the weekend.

I’m getting questions about what classes we need most. Right now we do not have any particular class needs. I recommend playing what you enjoy because you never know who is going to stick around. Today we might have a lot of Shamans, but in a month there may be none.  If you’re interested in joining us for EQ, stop by our forums or hop on Ventrilo.

Less than 24 hours until Ragefire! (Maybe)

Tomorrow is the big day! Ragefire, the newest EverQuest progression server, will launch and usher in a new era of EverQuest excitement. Okay, so maybe it isn’t that big of a deal. I’m still really excited.

I have the whole day planned out. I’ll come home early from work, sit at my computer, realize the servers aren’t up and probably won’t be up for hours, sit there refreshing like crazy, then finally get in and realize even though the newbie zones are instanced the mobs are still being blown up the second they spawn. Just lost old times…

All joking seriousness aside, I’m excited to be playing a MMORPG again; even if it’s just an EverQuest progression server. This feels like a new MMO to me. I haven’t played an MMO since the launch of WildStar, and I already know this one won’t let me down.

I’m rolling a Wood Elf Bard. I plan to play in Gfay from 1-8’ish, maybe hit up some Crushbone, then meet up with guildies in Butcher Block for some goblins. Where we go from there I haven’t a clue. I will definitely be posting some detailed adventure logs and screenshots of the adventure. If nothing else, I want to catalog these memories. I don’t have any of my old EQ screenshots — Not making that mistake again.

The Keen and Graev Community is coming back in full force after a hiatus from MMOs. We’ll be forming a guild with one goal in mind: Have fun. We’re not raiders or looking for hardcore people intending on six boxing. We aren’t for the people looking for a super structured environment.  We’re resurrecting the “family guild” approach and introducing a whole new way to get involved in our community. Want a group of like-minded fun people to play with? Join us.

Will you be playing on Ragefire?

Need vs. Greed

Need vs. Greed

Mind if I roll need?

You’re in a dungeon group camping the epic sash of awesomeness. This sash is one of the best you can get for your melee abilities. You realize you are the only melee DPS in the group, and the only one who can use the sash. It drops! YES! But wait… why is everyone rolling ‘need’ on the epic sash of awesomeness? You ask, “Hey, why are you all rolling need?,” to which they respond, “I need money bro.”

Need vs. Greed is one of those glorious debates that sorta fizzled out over the years. I don’t know whether it’s because loot has become so individualized, or everyone just rolls need on everything because they no longer care. I for one have an opinion.

Only those present who can use the item as an upgrade are entitled to a chance at obtaining the item. I believe that the warrior filling the warrior role should get the warrior drops, and a wizard filling the wizard role should get the wizard drops. No, it doesn’t matter if you have a warrior alt! I don’t group to feed your alts. Greed rolls, or FFA rolls, are for items that no one can use as a direct upgrade.

There’s a school of thought out there which supports the ridiculous idea that any item is up for grabs by anyone if that item can provide any use — whether that use be liquidating it for cash or being used by an alt. These brilliant people seem to completely ignore the ‘greed’ side and lump everything into a need.

Some games have a built-in system to protect players. Warrior items can only be rolled on by warriors, etc. Some systems are more loose where you can roll if you can pass the check of simply being able to equip the item. While better than nothing, you’ll still lose items to the guy who wants to fund his other melee character when that awesome melee gear drops that he already owns.

Advanced Loot Window

EverQuest’s Advanced Loot Window

Some games do not have any of these systems at all. EverQuest is a prime example, and the source for my recent thoughts on the subject. I know that the advanced looting system was added and will be present on the progression server. This introduces a rolling system like WoW has/had where players can roll need and greed, etc. I fear this system may induce idiot loot

How to protect yourself against idiot looters:

  • Start your own groups and use master-looter
  • Decide on the rules upfront when forming a group
  • Know the rules of the group you’re joining before you join

As I alluded to before, this debate over the years has given rise to the clamoring for individualized loot. Such an idea isn’t completely out of the question for me, as I have often championed this very thing be present in all raid environments. However, something about forming a group to go into a dungeon and camp an item makes it more real if that item has a tangible presence for everyone. I think it all boils down to the world feeling connected and shared between everyone, and no part of the game being instanced — even the loot.

I welcome your thoughts.