Ragefire, the new EQ progression server, is launching May 20th! That turnaround is incredible, and pretty much what I expected when Daybreak started hinting at a new progression server. Ragefire has only been in “beta testing” for a couple of days, but things seem to be smooth enough for Daybreak to flip the switch in just over a week.
I decided to play in the beta to test out what was different from true classic, figure out what class I was sure to play, and honestly get my feet wet with a version of EverQuest I haven’t played. My time in EverQuest was 1999-2003’ish, then on and off again for a little bit. I never got to see much of the major changes to the game, as my era was classic and dabbling a little bit beyond. Spending so much time in Project 1999, coming to this new version of EverQuest was quite a bit of a change.
The class I’ve decided on is a Wood Elf Bard. Something about the Bard class has always appealed to me. I think it’s the unmatched support role this class can play by providing all sorts of stat and combat increases, lull, mez, run speed, mana regen, etc. Bard is the class to play if you want to be useful, and feel like your group members can’t live without you.
Thus far in the beta I have reached level 8. I quickly realized that this version of EverQuest is a little bit easier than P99. Mobs do not seem to hit as hard — something in the math must be different. Experience is definitely faster too. I killed a bunch of blue to yellow con mobs around Kelethin until level 4 then went into Crushbone until around level 5. Turning in a bunch of bone chips and Crushbone belts to the NPCs in Kaladim brought me up to level 7 where I just started camping mobs with a friend until level 8. It all went very smooth.
Many quality of life improvements exist in this version of EQ. Things like auto loot (advanced loot) have taken a little getting used to, but I think I’m starting to like how this loot management will help make looting go smoother for me and a group. Death still means losing experience and having to get your body for a res, but at least you won’t lose your gear. Stuff like that makes playing a little less stressful, but still close enough to the original EQ experience to enjoy.
Playing on Ragefire will require All Access Membership – $14.99/m with the typical discounts for buying more time upfront. Kronos are EQ’s version of the in-game item that grants game-time. Basically they can be bought for $18 and traded in-game for anything. I think they are a bit stupid. Kronos stimulate hardcore farming for people to pay for their multiboxing. Farming was already the name of the game in EQ, and further enticing people to lockdown camps should make things interesting.
I’m going into this with a realistic view. I will never be a raider in EverQuest. You probably won’t be either. The raids will be locked down by the hardcore elites who never stopped playing. (In case you didn’t know, raids aren’t instanced. If a boss spawns, only one group gets it.) The camps for the super rare items will also be locked down. End-game will not be a fantastic experience for the 99%, so I’m going into this not expecting to participate. If it happens, that’s just super; if not then I will enjoy having leveled up and participated once again in a huge rush of nostalgia. You see, EverQuest has always been about the journey for me. I’m going to take it slow, group with friends, and adventure in Norrath.
I’ll keep you all updated with regular adventure logs, screenshots, and feedback on my EQ Ragefire experience. If you want to join in on the fun with a few of us, visit our EverQuest forum. We’re always happy to meet friendly new people.