EverQuest 3 Theorycrafting

I’m not sure if I missed the boat (heh heh heh, some of you will get it) on this one or if it’s entirely new.  Has there been any more discussion after February about the possibility of EQ3?  I know SoE was/is hiring a lead designer for their “flagship” title but I haven’t heard anything else.  Anyway,  Tipa from WK has a blog entry today urging people to start talking about EQ3 now that SoE’s latest pop culture sensation is about to hit the www.   She made a statement that I found myself nodding in agreement with:  “I came into this genre playing EverQuest, and I’ll leave it playing EverQuest”.  I feel the same way — whether it be in spirit or from a ‘tomorrow never comes’ perspective — and that causes me to stop and think about what direction I would take the next EQ.  I’m not really going to turn this into an entry detailing the exact game I want, but more of a rough outline and approach.

I tend to raise this question whenever people get nostalgic:  What made it (in this case EQ) so special?   Was it the timing, the newness, the gameplay, or what?  I think the simplest way to put it is that EQ was the sum of its parts.  Whatever EverQuest 3 does, it can not alter the sum of its parts too drastically or it will fail to be EverQuest.  Tipa isn’t alone in thinking that what hurt EQ2 so badly was that it had too much EQ.  I believe quite the opposite though.  I believe it was a combination of diverging too far from the original EQ, making changes that were not thought out or feasible at the time for the sake of change, as well as making a game that could not compete with its competitors at the time who were striking out to steer the industry in a new direction.  If we think of “EQ” not as the game itself but as an essence of what the original EQ was to the genre when it launched, that is what EQ2 lacked when I say it didn’t have enough EQ.

What does EverQuest 3 need to succeed?  I’m in the camp that could have been happy with the Vanguard that was promised as the new EQ3.   I say could have because I think we need to bring some of the concepts into the present,  and add on a layer of “next-gen’y” goodness, but I think overall the same sort of idea can make a good EQ3.  The ‘Vanguard that was promised’ was going to deliver something that we still do not have today.   I’m not advocating that we live in the past or anything, but I think keeping an eye to the future while bringing along good ideas is still acceptable.  Obviously EQ3 should not be a PvP oriented game, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring back the pvp ruleset servers of old.   Boats, vast cities, open world (not necessarily sandbox), group oriented, a rethought out death penalty, player cities, biiiiig monsters and raids, lots of gear (but not a treadmill), alternate forms of character progression instead of or on top of a level system, prestige classes and features of this ilk could be looked at.

I’ll oppose the idea of stepping too far out of the boundaries of traditional MMO design.   I think tying all the EQ games together, or adding mini-games, or streamlining it for console/multi-platforming, and other alterations are wrong.  Going sci-fi, action oriented, or in another new direction aren’t right either.  I guess I’m a MMORPG purist when it comes to certain things.  Let’s look at the definition of purist: A purist is one who desires that a particular item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences.  Every game trying to be better than something else, or to be like something else that it’s not, or one that tries to take too big a leap forward ends up being awkward.

EQ3 needs to shake the foundation not by being outright revolutionary, but by being alarmingly evolutionary.  It needs to remain pure enough not to disturb the equilibrium of tradition, but at the same time be new.  It needs to feel like EverQuest, but not feel like its a remake.   I know that I’m asking for perfection.  Honestly, it’s going to take a near perfect attempt to replicate the success.   It’s inevitable that so long as the servers for EQ and EQ2 remain open that an EQ3 would be splitting the playerbase and competing with the others, but there isn’t any other way around it.

EverQuest is what it is because it is EverQuest.  We can’t forget that.

  • “Vanguard that was promised” sums it up quite nicely. So many outstanding sounding features here proposed in the early stages of that game.

    Could also throw in a dash of features from all the other MMOs lately that were promised but never eventuated. Vanguard, AoC and even Darkfall were all promising various elements of “dynamic” content, but all failed to deliver.

    Especially when it comes to static mob spawns, something that’s been around since the first days of DIKU spawning in rooms. All three promised to get rid of it, or at least fundamentally alter it; but it never eventuated.

  • I find myself agreeing with you practically 100% of the time. Great stuff.

    If they could deliver the “Vanguard that was promised” they would have a winner on their hands.

  • It cant be too easy, there has to be some form of penalty. As much as I hated eq (sometimes) for its punishing death’s and long corpse runs, this gave it a real sense of risk, a feeling of achievement when you survied something you really shouldn’t have. In WAR I jump of cliffs because its faster then running to the warcamp, and that just isnt right.

  • There is one big thing, SOE needs to learn from its competitors to suceed:
    The Localization!
    There are a lot of people who have no problems playing games in english, but when they can choose between a game in english and a good localized one, they will always choose the easy way.
    Also WoW managed to adress a complete new audience, not only the old PC-Gamer market, they managed to bring also people to Azeroth, who usually did not play a lot(and in most cases are lacking englsih skills)

    And the EQ2 localization was very poor at release, in fact it was more diffcult to play the german version than the original one. And thats the main reason, why everyone played wow and no one cared about EQ in Germany( I cant speak for the rest of Europe but i think its the same)

  • EverQuest is a very successful concept with a fatal flaw nevertheless, that completely devalues it for future development. It is just a spiced up DIKU MUD. Combat and levelling only.

    In fact I would say, it lead to formulaic raid encounters, the holy trinity and the problem of the “endgame”.

    EverQuest really makes the addiction center in our brains light up, we want to get stronger, level higher – and it also was a much more social game than WoW nowadays.

    But the future of MMOs cannot be “get back to the primitive roots”.

  • If we want a revolution, base it on ideas from Ultima Online. Much more of a world that EQ ever was!

    Improving a problematic formula is not going to be revolutionary.

  • If you were fortunate enough, as I was, to have a PC that just liked Vanguard, then VG for the first 6 – 9 months WAS EQ3.

    Half the classes were almost identical and half the rest were just EQ classes with the details swapped around. Many of the spells didn’t just have the same function, they had the same names.

    Gameplay was near-identical to EQ circa 2001. UI mechanics were highly similar. Mob AI, mob placement, even the continental layout, all so familiar. There were even some famous NPCs names from EQ lurking around (I really did lol when I found Hadden looking for his lost earring).

    Sadly, the curent amateurish, tiny, overstressed dev team on VG has done it’s best to drag the game in a dire, dull new direction, so it really can;t be said to be EQ3 any more.

    Eq2, on the other hand, was deeply disappointing in how unlike EQ it was. Not until the extremely popular “Echoes of Faydwer” expansion three years later did SoE finally workout that what players wanted was MORE EQ not less.

    For EQ3, I’d really like to see a complete continuation of the milieu,the lore, the settings and the classes, but with up-to-date player accessibility. No focus on raiding, grouping or soloing at the expense of any other playstyle – all playstyles should be fully supported from character creation to endgame. Scale all rewards and challenges so that there’s a full progression for all playstyles, independent of each other.

    Fact is, though, whatever they did, I’d be there playing. I started on EQ, I have an unbroken account that will be 10 years old this year, I still play in bursts (played for a straight 6 months last year) and drop in regularly to revisi my characters. I’ll be playing EQ as long as I am able to play any MMO, and I’ll always want to try the next version.

  • As a die hard former Everquest player (through Luclin was AMAZING!!!) I still dream to this day about the “old days”. Something was magical about them.

    EQ2 didn’t recapture that essence. I’m still hopeful for EQ3.

    My only worry is that we KNOW it will be released on the PS3 in addition to the PC based on Smedley’s comments. While I think being crossplatform could be fantastic it could also simplify the game too much. As long as they leave in the complexities I’ll be hyped about it. Ok – really I’ll be amped up about it either way but I hope they don’t pull another complexity level of EQOA due to the console.

  • As much as the genre owes to EQ1, I still can’t say I ever enjoyed playing that game. As my first MMO experience, it was very nearly my last. If my friend didn’t drag me kicking and screaming into DAOC, I would simply not be an MMO player based off the EQ1 experience.

    Obviously, there are a lot of nostalgic people out there who loved the game, so I’m not opposed to an EQ3. Heck, if they ever released DAOC Origins with updated graphics, mechanics, and better balanced, I would probably give it a shot. Nostalgia can be powerful. It can also be fleeting.

  • You either loved or hated EQ, it really boils down to that. Those that loved EQ speak of it as though it’s the holy grail of what MMO’s should return too. It wasn’t a perfect game, it was quite clunky by todays standards. Lots of bugs and support issues, but having virtually no competition it succeeded.

    What EQ had that all MMO’s now lack is “epicness”. The monster you fought felt bigger than life. The lack of solo content and no server transfers created a community that HAD to get along.

    Honestly the more I think about it the more I realize we can never repeat the EQ feeling. The game felt epic because it was hard. You had to be GOOD at your class to get a group. Every thing people claim as “user friendly” features are the antithesis of what EQ was. The game would chew you up, spit you out, waste 2 weeks of exp’n, and you would come back for more.

    I think you can take some good ideas from EQ, combine them with WoW, WAR, and CoH and make a good game, but it wont be like EQ was.

  • I’m trying to decide if that post was Zen or complete bullshit.

    It lacked specifics, and the entire thing was crouched in generalities, it was hard to figure out what you are trying to say, and what you’re looking for.

    It can’t be Everquest, but it has to feel like Everquest?

  • I think the only great thing about EQ was that it was the first..

    Nobody these days is going to camp for days/weeks for FBSS or jboots.

    If anything the world needs to be huge and actually fun to run around in, please no more rails..

    Unfortunately just like WAR failed to be better DAOC I do not see how EQ3 can really be good.

  • As someone who followed the development of Vanguard since about the first day the Sigil website went online, i agree that EQ3 should be what Vanguard was supposed to be. I remember reading the Vanguard faq for the first time and just falling in love with the game it was supposed to be. Every design decision they made was exactly what i was looking for in a game. Huge world, no instances, alternate forms of advancement including politics, massive epic dungeons, meaningfull travel including ships etc…man. It was really the successor to EQ (forget that abortion of a game EQ2).

    Even in late beta and as the game was released it still had a chance to be a great game. They nailed the fantasy world imo. The canvas was there…then…the sellout to SOE happened. Bhagpuss had it right, Silius and the rest of that amateurish overworked team just destroyed any hope that the game would ever be what it was originally envisioned to be. They simplified it, made everything easier, the death penalty became a joke, rifts everywhere thereby removing any sense of a huge world to explore, leveling became so fast it almost made WoW look like a grind, at one time the named mobs seemed to spawn faster then the regular ones…they just totally gutted and destroyed that game trying to make it WoW-lite. What a waste of a huge amount of potential. I’m glad i wasn’t around when they introduced RMT – that would have really sucked if i was heavily involved in the game at that time.

    Anyway, make the Vanguard that was supposed to be and you’ll have your EQ3 (and a worthy successor to EQ).

  • I think MMO’s really need to realize that people LOVE CUSTOMIZATION. They need to relaize people love to put points where they want. I think STR, INT, DEX, and all stats should have some form of customization. You have a base set of stats based on race/class/gender and then you have extra points to distribute where you like.
    It has always bothered me that so many games don’t allow you to place points where you want. It is such an easy thing to implement and adds to the imersion of your character. I also think it is cool to have a slight randomness to the points you get. So people that are anal can sit and roll over n over until they are happy. I love being able to have some customization of stats. Every so many levels you could gain a set amount of points to add where you wish. These points should also make a difference so for example, if I were a mage and i put 20 points into int and another mage put just 10, i should do more average damage. However, the other mage could of put that into hit points where he would live longer. I honestly think more games need to look far more deeply into stat allocation and customization.
    Imagine a quickness stat which actually adds to your haste rating, a str stat that directly adds to melee damage, wisdom can add to spell damage reducttion, etc.

  • I have a couple thoughts on why I and a few others remember EverQuest so fondly.

    Remember that adage about the true enjoyment is not in reaching the destination but about the journey along the way? (I know I’m butchering the saying) Well that is one of the things that EQ had. The journey was long and difficult at times. However, because of this, I remember the long days of camping Highpass, Lower Guk, Solusek’s Eye, etc. I remember some of the people I was partied with, as we commiserated about our leveling grind. I remember hitting level 50, and it feeling like an accomplishment and the deluge of tells that can in, congratulating me on that feat (as well as a few people that were almost 50 that sent a few joke insults because I hit 50 before them).

    In a sense the aforementioned led to a sense of community. Also, you couldn’t just do whatever you wanted with your character without repercussions. WoW had no repurcussions for being a jerk or ninja looting. In EQ, if you gained a bad rep, it could stick with you and prevent you from getting into other guilds. Also because all the “boss” mobs were shared, guilds had to have some level of interaction. Thus a sense of community between guilds became important. Being in an “uber” guild on my server at the time, there were certain guilds we were allied with/liked, certain guilds we hated and a bunch of others we were neutral with.

    I won’t go into great depth, but I do agree with an earlier poster’s comment about Epicness. I can’t think of any fights in WoW or any other game that have felt as epic as some of the first fights we did against Nagafen, Vox, or the Planes initially. Also I’d combine the previous with immersion. For some reason that I cannot fully explain, WoW has never immersed me into it’s world the way that EQ did. I am still anticapting another MMO that will be able to immerse me as deeply as EQ did initially. It may never happen, as I’m not sure if part of the immersion factor was from it being the first MMO I really got into (I was also in UO, but it was a different sort of beast, imo).

    So all told, I think to make the perfect MMO you’ll have to do a superb balancing act. You’ll need to make the leveling and content just hard enough to make it memorable and make hitting the cap feel like an achievement, but you don’t want to make it so hard that you exclude or alienate a majority of players from reaching said content. You’ll need to make a world that is immersive, believable and consistent, without applying too harsh or arbitrary of rules/conditions. And I believe you’ll want to make use of instancing to an extent, but you’ll defintely want to make grouping with others and interaction between guilds possibly something needed to foster community.

    Sorry for the long post, bored at work. I love MMOs, but I’m still waiting for that next great one.

  • @ShadowWAR & overall: Like I said, this blog entry is more of an approach to how EQ3 should be designed rather than a road map. I’m basically saying that EQ3 can’t be revolutionary or changed too drastically from what the original was or else it will fail to be EQ. As others have pointed out, you either loved EQ or you hated it.

    And no, I think you might have missed the point just a little. It has to be like EQ and it has to feel like EQ; it just has to have enough ‘new’ stuff to make it worth playing – enough that people would stop playing the older EQ’s and go to EQ3.

    Those who played the original EQ and liked it know exactly what I’m talking about and I see a few have even admitted that they feel it’s impossible.

    Whether EQ3 can even be made now is a very valid question. It’s been pointed out here that it’s impossible and I think that it would take a near perfect attempt.

    So, should EQ3 be made or should a game like the original EQ be made? Perhaps the essence of EQ can be preserved in a new franchise. That stands a far greater chance than trying to rekindle an old flame.

    @Tallyn: You would get along great with Graev and I. 😉 We have had a few really, really long discussions in the past month touching upon everything you’ve mentioned there – namely the journey vs. destination being what separates today vs. yesterdya’s mmo’s. Great comment and I agree wholeheartedly.

  • I get what you are saying, I’ve played Everquest 2 for a few months and thought it was a consistent grind, but I also enjoyed it at the same time. It made WoW look like a joke, simply because the game looked and feeled better. EQ3 will need to combine a nice leveling system, maybe a few instances, making them go about every 10 levels for a new one (10-20 is 1 dungeon, maybe split into 2-3 parts, so on and so forth till the final level is reached instead of having like 20 dungeons. Running 1 dungeon or instance JUST for exp and 1 peice of gear (usually a crappy pair of gloves :L) really can take away from the gaming experience.

    I dont know what Vanguard is about, since I haven’t been in the MMO scene for too long, but from what I hear it was amazing. Can someone link me to some images or a fansite that might have some of the old information on it?

    Thanks for taking the time to help if someone does post a link 🙂

  • “I dont know what Vanguard is about, since I haven’t been in the MMO scene for too long, but from what I hear it was amazing. Can someone link me to some images or a fansite that might have some of the old information on it?”

    The idea of Vanguard was amazing. Not the implementation (although it still was a good game out of the gate) and most certainly not with what SOE has done to it over the last 18 months. My sincere hope is that Silius moves on to another industry…or at least another genre of gaming i have no interest in.

    I wish someone would write a book on the development of this game, both pre and post launch. Would make for good reading.

  • I tried EQ1 as my first MMO back in 2001, IIRC. I knew this was the game for me, as I had been addicted to MuDs as a kid. It almost put me off the whole genre forever.

    Maybe it was already past it’s prime at that point, but I hated it.

    When I got into the OB for WoW, it was a completely different experience. But I think that too is impossible to repeat. Trying to recreate your first love, in RL or in the virtual, is not going to happen. Especially if the mechanics are almost exactly the same…as they have been since EQ1.

    The whole genre seems a bit stale to me at the moment.

  • Well times have changed. Even a lot of what Vanguard promised I expected to go away quickly. Although I found it to be a beautiful game it was very empty at the beginning. Once you got out of your first major city area, the land became sparsely populated and somewhat boring.

    I think there was a sense of community in EQ because everything was smaller. With just the original content, you were fairly certain of always being around other people. However after the first few expansions, Freeport and Qeynos slowly became ghost towns. Even Greater Faydark slowly lost people to the “new and exciting” new areas.

    If Vanguard started with only one of its continents, then I suspect it would have been better. Then introduce the other two continents (with their races) over the following year.

    As for EQ2, I think it started with the right idea. Keep everyone close together as long as possible, and allow a greater level range to work with each other.

  • For me Vanguard will remain the most interesting game with a a living and breathing world but unfortunately it was all hype.

    If this game was done as it should have been,it would have certainly be the unofficial EQ3.It’s been 7 months since I last played the game and can’t talk about the state of the game as it is right now.But one thing I can say VG classes dynamics are the best I’ve seen compared to all the post WoW release.

  • For me, I much prefer the larget world over the smaller in my mmorpgs. Even if some of that world is empty, to me it’s more realistic than running into mobs every 30 seconds or so. I understand to other folks (who more than likely enjoy the WoW-style of games) that can be boring. To me it just makes for a more immersive game where i feel like i’m a character in a world vs. some pixels playing a game on a screen. The bigger the better, if i have to travel 30 minutes to get to some dungeon then so be it. I’ll more than likely spend the next week or two at that dungeon or at least around that area exploring and playing before moving on to another area. This is how i played EQ a lot in the early days. I remember going to the dungeon in Halas (forget the name) and staying there for several levels before leaving that area and moving on to the next.

    The mentality of many games now just kills me where people need access to every dungeon in the game and they need to be able to get there within 30 seconds because traveling just ain’t “fun”. This is what caused the final nail in the coffin for me in Vanguard, when they put riftways in the game like every 50 yards so you could get anywhere you wanted under a minute. This completely invalidated ship travel, mounted travel etc. Even worse it effectively decreased the size of the game world by a factor of 10. Just really destroyed what little immersion that game had left for me.

    The original vision for Vanguard called for an even larger playing area, and Sigil planned on having a “caravan” function implemented in the game where you could travel in large groups going from place to place, even potentially setting up some temporary towns or camp areas around points of interest, major dungeons etc. You could be part of a caravan and if you didn’t play for a day when the caravan moved on, you could immediately join that caravan upon logging in.

    Sigh…what could have been.

  • I started playing EQ shortly after it came out in 1999 and continued playing for several years. I was very excited about EQ2 coming out. I played EQ2 in beta and then started playing on launch day in 2004 with a group of friends from EQ. In the span of about 6 months we’d seen a vast majority of all of the content available in the game. Shortly after that we all quit EQ2 and moved on to other things.

    I absolutely agree that EQ2 simply didn’t have enough EQ. They had changed the game too much. The way combat worked and character classes bore no resemblance to the original, and it was a disappointment.

    For EQ3 I would love to see a return of the original EQ classes. The four-archetype system sucks, you can’t please all the people all of the time. The original EQ classes each excelled in some way over all of the other classes, though it took a while to work out the balance. I think they should have built on the years of class balance they had established instead of creating a brand new class system that had brand new problems.

    I was disappointed in EQ2 almost immediately when I first played it in beta. I continued to play it for several months though because I loved the original EQ so much and my friends were playing. I wanted it to be like the original, but it wasn’t.

    I truly would have been happier if the game were just an exact duplicate of the original with new graphics. For EQ3 I don’t think they should duplicate the original with new graphics, but I do think they should go back to it for the class types.

  • I actually think the graphics engine is one thing it has going for it. Even with new MMOs coming out these days, EQ2 still has superior graphics.

    I know this is an old horse to be whipping, but is there any new news/rumours about the possibility of EQ3?

  • Yes I say go back to EQ. There were a few things that made Everquest what it was.

    For one, the amount of effort required to get to max level. Now I know a lot of people look at this as grind for reasons beyond me. It is like once you put a number next to a persons name suddenly the whole game is a grind until that number is as high as it can be. For example: You play a game of Counterstrike or Battlefield 1942 why? You don’t level in those games. You play them because they are fun. Suddenly a game like Halo or CoD4 comes out and you have a little number next to your name. Suddenly people are “grinding” and whining and complaining. Why? What happened to fun? Something inherent in people turns them into babies when they see a number that needs to go up.

    My whole point being, in Everquest if you had fun with the game and played it for fun there wasn’t ever a grind. The game was fun right off the bat. From seeing someone cast a spell and not knowing how to do that. Then being shown by a friendly halfling where to buy the spells and memorize them. It was like a virtual fantasy world, full of life. It was amazing. The most powerful characters in the world could take out a city if they wanted too. I saw one ranger take out a giant…. It was amazing, because that giant took our entire group out in a few hits. The fear of dying was so strong that enemies became feared. It mimicked the fear you would have in real life because you had something to lose. Thus bringing you even further into the world.

    The community was amazing. Setting up camp and just killing with a bunch of friends “hoping” that one mob would spawn. It was exciting, there was no guarantee. It is this exact feeling that keeps poker players playing poker. There is no guarantee you will win, just being at a table and playing a game you enjoy, along with the sense of adrenaline you get when you have something BIG on the line is what keeps people playing poker.

    Everquest was made by geniuses and had the best aspects you could have in an MMO. It is why it is considered the Godfather of MMOs.

  • Also, reguarding the “grind”. I never saw it like that for another reason besides that I was playing a game for fun.

    That reason is I looked at it as powering up your character. I loved getting more powerful. It was the time I put in to making my character more powerful that excited me. Remember I was playing for fun so there was no rush. There should be no rush. Finally hitting level 19 in the Oasis and going back to get my new spells was AWESOME. I was strong enough to finally handle lightning. Our group was having a real tough time taking out the crocs and orcs. I come back set with some new healing and lightning and suddenly I am a hero. I was blasting crocs for 1/4 there dmg instead of 1/8. It was a HUGE step up and I grouped with those same people multiple times over for being known as a badass druid.

    I used to watch a show called Dragonball Z. I bring this up to show the importance of meaningful leveling. The feeling of power gained is very important. Goku was training with King Kai before heading down to fight Vegeta and Nappa. Just getting to king kai took MULTIPLE episodes. He went down a huge pathway to snake way. He then got to king kais and had to adjust to gravity. There were multiple pitfills along the way. Training with king kai took FOREVER, but finally. It was all of this that led to the amazing conclusion. It was the understanding of what Goku went through that made his training all the more important. When he finally went down to fight Vegeta and Nappa you knew what he had gone through, and so did his friends who were waiting eagerly for him. When he was fighting nappa it was EPIC. Because of what he had gone through.

    If you took that same scenereo and instead of goku training he just spent one day eating something and then just kicked nappa and vegetas ass without any commitment or meaning at all. That epicness would of failed. This is one thing that massively added to Everquest. You understood what each person had gone through. They had trained and honed themselves through MANY different planes. When someone had ventured into the plane of fear and made it out alive with there corpse still in tact. You knew you were looking at a badass. Who you would love to have fight along side you. You knew this because there were many who ventured into the plane and lost there corpse and lost there gear. They had failed the task. If everyone is a hero, then noone is a hero.

  • Which brings up another thing that made EQ great. The death penalty. Having the ability to lose a lot makes gain worth that much more important. Losing your corpse/gear gave you an understanding of how powerful those items made you, and losing them meant you had failed at your given task severlly. Getting them back was like having all of your power being given back to you. It was an amazing experience that is sorely missed in todays gaming. You realized at any moment all of what made you could be lost. Without loss there is little gain.

    Also, the way combat worked. You didnt need to spam 50 abiities on a constant rotation like a robot. You could only have 10 abilities out at one time. You had to plan your strategy. That is something sorely missed as well. Having abilities that had strategic importance over “just something to press.” It also gave the game a more chill, laid back feeling. Grouping and chatting was possible.

    Honestly the game was just perfect. Every battle, every death, every penalty, the effort it took to become powerful, the feeling of actually being powerful, every competition for a spawn, the grouping, the dynamics of a train and knowing where to go to be safe, world spell drops, meaning not everyone was the same, each classes uniqueness.

    Also spells changed. For example ignite a lvl 1 spell was just a tiny fire. The lvl 9 spell had your hands glowing in little bits of fire and the burst was bigger. Then your highest spell starfire had massive particles flying through your hands. It was a way of showing you were powerful. You had earned this, and it showed to everyone around you. Druids could stop/start a rainstorm! A rainstorm! It was very tough to aquire, and only the most powerful druids had this. When you saw a rain forming on a sunny day, you knew a powerful druid may have been about.

    This uniqueness and immersion into the world isnt there AT ALL in any MMO at this point. They are all so shallow its boring.