Take the ‘Positive’ foundation from EQ and what do you get?

There hasn’t been a MMO like EverQuest since EverQuest.  Let’s not get lost in the semantics by saying that WoW is like EQ because they’re all “diku” or whatever.  EQ2 comes close, mind you, but even the developers acknowledged that they are two quite different games.

The discussions here over the past few days have been aimed at the new EverQuest Next project.  We already know that the developers want to rekindle the familiar EQ feel (which itself encompasses art direction, world, lore, etc) but as a relaunch.

SoE devs have also stated quite clearly that they know players talk at great length about what made EQ so great.  Everything from how wonderful the world was to the death penalty — but then a statement was made about EQ Next.  They want the memories of EQ Next to be about positives, not negatives.

My understanding of that statement leads me to believe that they want to do away with the harshness of the original EQ.   The death penalty where you lose experience and must recover your body is probably out.  The harsh leveling curve is also probably out.  I’m not sure if they’re planning to change the group-centric nature, but EQ was also very solo friendly for certain classes… so I’m torn on that.

Let’s not even bother with the negatives or a discussion about how they may or may not have been good for the game.  I want to focus solely on the positives of EQ and how they alone have still not been duplicated.

These positives are truly just the beginning.  There are a lot more specific mechanics that we could talk about, but why bother going any deeper when developers aren’t even paying attention to the basics?

The World“You’re in our world now.”
Hands down the most important feature of EverQuest. The world was big, open, and more powerful as an entity than the individual player. You just felt the natural need to group with people, even if you found a place that you could solo. It was also dangerous, unrelenting in some areas (that you didn’t have to go to if you didn’t want), and begging you to adventure off the beaten path.

It would be wonderful to play in a big world again. Vanguard did quite well with this, but it simply wasn’t finished (the zones were empty or useless). A dangerous world and a diverse world (not just in looks but in feel and purpose) would also be welcome.

FactionsA subset of the world
I’ve chosen to include this as a subset of the world. The faction system in EQ created geographic domains for certain races. The humans of one city, the elves of another, etc. allowed players to create sub-communities that they could interact with. This gave players the opportunity to explore beyond them and created diversity and choice. Dark Elves may have been evil and KoS in the human city, but they could work on being eventually liked and tolerated enough to enter.

Fewer classes are better. For a long time I, along with many others, would look at a game with more classes and drool because “woah, they have 16 classes!” It didn’t take long to realize that this brought more trouble than it was worth. Less is more. Fewer classes means that each class has a defined role. The classes have identities and you’re not struggling to figure out which classes you need and don’t need, or what classes are supposed to fill what roles. A mage is a mage, a bard is a bard, etc.

Fewer classes also makes balancing easier for PvP and allows each class a much broader array of abilities so that the individual feels like there is more available to customize, strive for, specialize, etc.

Open Dungeons
This concept is gone completely now’days. EQ, DAOC, and Vanguard had them and they were wonderful. Open-world dungeons create a sense of community and local player interaction. The problem with instances is that it encourages your community to shrink and stop interacting beyond the group level.

By having all groups and all players within a dungeon have to coordinate, share, work together, and simply exist at the same time in the world is so beneficial. Why doesn’t this happen anymore? Throw in a few cinematic instanced experiences in the game if necessary and I don’t think that it would hurt anything either.

Grouping is beneficial
I’m not saying that one should be forced to group. I was never forced to group in EQ. I chose to group because it benefited me. Just like you’re forced to group in WoW to do an instance, you were forced to group in EQ to go into dungeons. No difference.

Imagine what a game would be like though if grouping for other things became beneficial. Since the world could offer more dangerous perils and adventures if it were like an EQ world, so too could it offer the opportunity to take advantage of them with others. Group exp bonuses and fun content is really all people need as incentive. Groups create community, and groups were everywhere in EQ.

Here’s world outside dungeon-like regions work really well. Imagine you’re on the path and see a really dark forest. It’s dense and you really can’t see what’s on the other side. You start to venture forth and you see monsters too tough to solo. You grab some friends and kill your way in deeper. Soon the forest opens up and reveals a vast chasm or tear in the world. Gnolls have infested the area and you can see their platforms and ladders leading down into the depths. Do you dare work your way in?

You don’t get that kind of experience solo or without the OPPORTUNITY to benefit from grouping.

Focus on the Journey, not just the Destination
In EverQuest it was all about your character and his/her progression through the world as you undertake one adventure after another. You were working on improving your character and becoming higher level, but there was (at least for the first few years) little emphasis on reading the max level.

With so many places to go, so many neat dungeons or zones to see, and so much to discover that could benefit your character, it never felt to me like I was racing to the end-game for anything. Games are not designed anymore where they treat level 20 with just as much importance as level 50.

Why should the low level content be any less important to the development and impact on the player as the highest level raid? That’s just it, they shouldn’t.

Do you know why I have so many fond memories of EQ? It’s because real memories were created every day, in every zone, with every new group of people I met. If you ask me today what my memories of WoW are it’s probably raiding that first comes to my mind.

It’s not all about the Quest
Questing is great. I’d love if it were more about big epic quests than kill ten rats but let’s not lose sight of keeping it positive. In addition to questing, why not allow for the outside dungeon experiences, open-world dungeons, and simply killing mobs in groups to be just as beneficial? No reason it can’t be. No reason to make the entire questing experience forgettable by just having it be WoW’s style of questing. Also no reason to get rid of the WoW type quests if people want them.


That’s plenty for now.

Can anyone tell me what it is about the above features or mechanics that would be classified as old-school or unwanted by today’s generation of players? What would make the above so terrible that one would dismiss them as “niche” and not something that developers could pitch to their investors who want big subscription numbers?

I think they could be mainstream selling points and features. Nothing that I’ve just shared is a negative feature. These are all features or mechanics from the EQ generation (many in DAOC too) that have not been adopted by today’s MMO developers.

Modernize these roots and add to them, but don’t sacrifice them. I can’t think of a single good reason to leave these out and I’m beginning to think it’s a lack of vision, talent, or a case of laziness that is steering developers towards the McMMO.

These would be the roots and foundation of my ideal EverQuest Next.  This fundamental foundation creates a strong community, a world that feels huge but connects the players to each other and the geography, and a diverse game that can attract and satisfy the needs of a much larger demographic.

  • I would love to play a game like that again. Especially with the factions, and the chance to be well liked in a normally opposing city. I know we should focus on positive but one negative I can think of that ruins the fun of different factions is Plane of Knowledge type areas, or any absolute safe area where everyone is welcome, especially when it’s a fast travel hub.

    And when I got to thinking about quests, and how the mundane quests were handled in EQ they were all actually more like bounties. “I’ll reward you for every crushbone belt you bring back!” to refer to one of the most famous quests. You could fill your bags to the brim with belts without hitting some predefined cap, or maybe you came across a belt or two but haven’t hit that magic number, you could still get some kind of reward. A great way of handling quests in my opinion

  • Yeah, I’d play your game. I think that they implemented an xp bonus for each group member added…didn’t they? That seemed like a good idea to me, they just didn’t make it big enough. Give me an incentive to group instead of punishing me for trying to solo.

    The only thing I would disagree with to some extent would be the open dungeons. I have too many memories of my group sitting at the entrance of a dungeon waiting for a spot to open up (like I mentioned earlier with Lower Guk). Then I get up to grab a drink and come back to find that someone had trained us and I was dead. I think some light instancing would be ok.

    Basically you would have to zone into the dungeon, but it would dump you into the same instance until you reached some set population limit, the next group would get dumped into a new instance. You would need to allow instance hopping like in CoH and GW.

    I had forgotten about the factions in EQ. I kind of liked it. At first my necro could run through Freeport (though not North Freeport). After some time and some wrong npc’s killed I had to give a wide berth to the caster guild. After some more time I had to invis through the whole city. Huh. For some reason that made me think of Dead Man Floating (which does not make you invis). I hadn’t thought of that in a long while. Good times 🙂

    I remember this one Troll Warrior who got to the point that he could go into Kelethin, though he had to avoid certain areas if I remember right.

  • I agree with you Keen, but I’m not so sure they are going to define all of those things as positives:

    To play devils advocate:

    The World: Big and Dangerous! Look, if I just want to get to my friends and play with them, why should the world get in my way?

    Factions: So now I can’t go into part of the game unless I grind faction rep? No thanks!

    Open Dungeons: Like I want to fight with some snot nosed 12 year old over something in a dungeon, instances are great!

    Well, you get the idea. I really hope that you are right, and those are the things they consider to be positives because I think it will be a better game for it, but at the same time I don’t think you should consider them positives simply because you would have defined it that way. The MMO market has pushed WAY casual since EQ, and most of the things that you consider positives are going to be considered negatives for the people EQ Next is probably trying to win over. I remain skeptical, but hopeful.

  • I have to agree with the sentiment over Non-instanced dungeons. In my opinion, the EQ/DAoC dungeons felt like walmart on black friday.

  • @Mala:

    re: facitons. This is the case in most MMO’s that I can think of. You can’t take your Night Elf Hunter for a stroll through Undercity, for example. EQ just gave you a way to change that if you really wanted to. And I mean REALLY wanted to.

  • I seriously doubt many of those features will be in EQ Next. Modern MMO players are not hardcore, and SOE looks to be going for a product that is less niche than EQ and EQ II are currently. What you will likely see is a relatively easy to solo quest driven game, with something like WAR battlegrounds implemented (from the very little we know so far). I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it on the PS3 as well as PCs.

    I can’t relate to most of what you say you miss from EQ (I hated the forced grouping for example). However I do feel your pain. My definition of PvP “done right” is multi faction RvR ala DAoC, but there is no more likelihood of that being included than any of the hardcore mode PvE features you miss.

    What I am hoping for is a decent crafting system, different starting areas for different races (no more of the EQ II or even modern EQ mixed race starting areas please), and a world with deep and coherent lore. I mean even the modern generation of gamers likes those things, or at least isn’t put off by them, I would assume.

  • @Lee

    True, but I think WoW players generally just consider Horde and Alliance to be largely separate games. I think introducing this mechanics to someone who hs only played WoW would be more along the lines of telling them their elf couldn’t go to Ironforge because the dwarves are weary of elves, so you have to prove yourself first.

    Then again, WoW players seem to love their rep grinds, so toss in some purples attached to gaining entry to Ironforge and maybe you have a compelling mechanics 🙂

  • @Mala

    They have to treat Wow as separate games because there is no mechanic to change your factions with the opposing side 🙂 I used to read this webpage that belonged to this dude playing a Troll Warrior who was trying to be able to walk through any city in the original EQ. He eventually made it, but if I remember correctly there were some NPCs in Kelethin he had to avoid because he had no way to raise faction with them. Imagine that Night Elf Hunter grinding for Gnoll hides for days and days until he could walk through Undercity.

    To the best of my memory all the good races could go into good cities and evil races could go into evil cities. Freeport was sort of Neutral. One exception to this was making a Wood Elf who worshiped Rallos Zek. Those Kaladim guards had no sense of humor about that 😉

  • I have to leave work, but I agree with you for the most part Keen. Even just running across the Karana’s you often wanted a friend or two with you because it was such an epic adventure.

    The problem I see with all of this though is that people don’t want to group with other people. If MMO gamers could solo raids for epic gear would they? Even given the option to get the same gear with friends? Of course they would.

    It always comes back to the MMO gamers being… I don’t want to call them selfish but they are surely not considerate of others. If you give any sort of bonus for a group activity, they then take it as being forced to group in order to receive that bonus.

  • The key question is what you want to do with people who can only play in short sessions. That deep dark forest example you give sounds interesting, but it also sounds like someone who only plays for an hour on any given night will never be able to see it, because it’ll be time for them to sign off by the time a group has assembled and fought their way to the entrance.

    Warhammer tried its hardest to make group content work in short, bite-sized chunks, but it turns out that this model demands a SMALLER world, not a bigger one, because three people at each of three PQ’s that require nine means that no one gets anything done.

    There’s no easy answer to this. You’re absolutely right that players won’t go to the trouble of finding a group if they don’t need to. On the other hand, the expectation that you can sign on for an hour and do something more meaningful than check your auctions is not unique to WoW. It’s not realistic to expect people who primarily play in short sessions to pay full price for a game that relegates them to the boring safe area just outside town.

    If you’re going to write off this chunk of the market – I seem to recall that FFXI’s last player survey said that a quarter of players primarily solo in even that historically non-solo-friendly game – then yes, “niche” is objectively a fair description for what you’re talking about.

  • Let’s not forget Keen one of the more positive things that made EQ fun, the GM events. I remember so many of them that it was crazy. Going across the bridge in souther Karana and come across a GM troll beastlord with 2 aligator pets…awesome!

    GM event before opening up one of the expansions before Planes of Fear north of BB…awesome!

    Even their holidays were fun. Porting into South Ro as a Druid with my group, seeing EVERY mob turned into werewolves and seeing them racing for us…truly terrifying and awesome to know I did my job with group SoW and watching us run for the zone with all of those mobs in tow….truley great times

  • @Mala

    the world getting in the way was part of the fun. If you were talking to someone and the were in Karanas and just said Gryphon…you knew they were busy because unless you were high level, Gryphons would hunt you down and that was part of the fun

    Open instances were some of the best parts…if you couldn’t get to be part of a Vox raid…you could always follow in and WATCH a Vox raid…stuff like that made the game fun. Those 12 year old kids or whoever that caused problems got the whole server on them because nobody liked players like that and if you made a bad name for your character, you had to re-roll since most groups wouldn’t let you join them.

  • I would agree with most of those points, except for the open dungeons/instance point.

    I’ve played games where there’s only one dungeon and it usually just ends up with a massive number of people all trying to get into the spot first. I know that FFXI tends to show that people can work together to cooperate and organize who gets in when, but for that to work, the game has to have a small enough play base that people WILL do that. And it doesn’t stop someone from going in there and totally throwing off a schedule if they want to be a douche. There’s other reasons I don’t like the idea of open dungeons; one being a lack of flexibility when scheduling dungeon runs in-game. But I could probably get hung up just nitpicking about all the little reasons. I dunno. I like instances myself and I don’t think I’d play a game that had me competing with people for a spot to clear a dungeon.

    Otherwise, I pretty much universally agree with the other points. I especially think that most MMOs really drop the ball when it comes to grouping. it seems like many games feel like in order to get you to group, you have to be forced to group. But I’d rather feel like it’s worth my time to group but I don’t have to if I can’t or would rather not.

  • I’ll have a longer reply when I’m not typing from my iPhone, but in reply to the instancing debate, the answer is have enough dungeons (and big enough dungeons) for the server population. The answer is not to have inadequate dungeon space for the population and cover it up with a cheap solution like instancing.

  • Don’t forget having the ability to see stat increases with your level. Being able to train skills up, training and learning languages so you couyld speak to the other races, and being bale to allocate stat points.

  • To clarify a few points.

    – Don’t get hung up on the group-centric nature of my proposal. This is group-centric BENEFIT, not punishing the solo player. I think a world that allows players to solo -and/or- group is key. (Short session players would have their content) Certain classes can solo better than others, some even to the point of getting more out of soloing than other classes do grouping.

    – There isn’t any reason why we can’t see open dungeons AND instances in the same game.

    – The great part about MODERNIZING these fundamentals from EQ is that we can take them and adapt them to fit everyone. There’s no reason to exclude a part of the market. Soloers, groupers, explorers, etc., would all have a reason to play.

  • I am a big fan of the old school MMOs and I would love for someone to make a game like you describe Keen. Something of the old school underlying concepts from EQ or DAoC (maybe leaving out some of the more “hardcore” elements), but with WoW’s interface, netcode, combat responsiveness, and polish.

    What has killed me lately about most of the recent MMOs is not that they have been solo-friendly, rather they are pretty much anti-group until you get to max level and start raiding (when grouping is required).

    Take WAR for example, that game was awful for grouping. There was no group XP bonus and you split XP evenly if I recall. That meant for each group member you added you had to increase your efficiency by that much to make it worthwhile. In other words, a duo had to kill twice as fast as a solo could, a trio three times as fast, etc. They did this with the XP, the Renown, and the PQ reputations.

    I never understood this. Even in DAoC Mythic had given group XP bonuses. I don’t understand why they went away from that and why so many games today actually punish people for grouping prior to max level. Make soloing viable, but give people incentives for grouping.

    I’ve been recently playing some of the old school MMOs of my past on classic servers, like Project 1999 for EQ and Uthgard for DAoC. It’s surprising how many really neat things are in these games that never made into the “next generation” of MMOs. Plenty was left behind and should have been left behind, but it’s funny sometimes how many of the good concepts have not been carried over to newer MMOs. But, these games are 10+ years old now and really starting to show their age.

    However, I can’t help but think how many more subscriptions Sony and Mythic could have retained for far longer than they did if they were as devoted to continually updating their game such as the UI interface/user friendliness, bug squashing, or doing something similar to what Bliz is doing w/ Cataclysm.

    New players trying out EQ or DAoC for the first time are confronted with a clunky, arcane, and quirky interface that is half the battle to getting through to seeing the great game that lies underneath.

    I truly hope EQ Next is a successful re-imagining of the EQ1 experience.

  • When it comes to grouping the game I remember with the most incentive to group was Shadowbane. In a two person group each person got the same amount of xp as if they had soloed the enemy. In a trio they each got about 95% and so on. The groups started at level 1, and they formed fast, it was beautiful.

    The xp curve was set in such a way that if you did have to solo for whatever reason or if you just wanted to it still felt like you were getting somewhere and not just wasting time.

  • No offense, but I think you’re romanticizing bland mechanics in order to build hope for a niche title. The fact is that for all of the armchair theory crafting, these mechanics build upon the expectation of mature players who will endure annoyance on the promise that it will build character.

    While you may be right, the fact is that these are not fun, and no company that wants a mass market draw will rely on that.

    Instances exist because mass market players don’t want to contend with other players when crawling about in a dungeon. Most players of MMO’s aren’t looking for friends or social networks. You want a deep social experience, fine. Mass market players already have real life friends, and don’t want to meet and/or depend on you for anything.

    In a mass market MMO, you exist to give someone else access to a marketplace for better lewts.

    The reason these ideas won’t work? Because Sony wants a million+ players. Sony can’t get that sort of subscriber base without appealing to the lowest common denominator, and leveraging the EQ IP to generate buzz. They will accomplish this in the exact way that they are doing now: By getting established and intelligent players to hope against reason that they will reawaken those halcyon days of yore, never mentioning that they are gone forever.

  • This:

    “No offense, but I think you’re romanticizing bland mechanics in order to build hope for a niche title.”

    The World – “You’re in our world now.”
    The world had to be huge because it took 3 months to reach level cap and there was real end game to speak of at first.

    Open Dungeons
    In DAOC. I remember sitting at the “good” spawn camp all day waiting for someone to drop out of the group. I was on “the list”…

    Focus on the Journey, not just the Destination
    Again, the journey was artificially created by horrid leveling curves.

    It’s not all about the Quest
    The quests in WoW just put a wrapper on the grinding that occurred. “bring me 20 kobold ears” means you need to grind 40 kobolds to get the items for the quest.

    Don’t get me wrong, I loved all that at the time. But nowadays, I just don’t have the time to devote to a game that I had back then. 16 hour marathon sessions just don’t happen anymore.

  • I think the most important thing for EQ Next is that they have hopefully learned the lesson that if you try and be the game that everybody wants to play, you will make a game that nobody actually likes.

    The perfect example. I took part in a large experiment recently where thousands of people were asked for their ideas for a movie plot. Characters, theme, dialogue and so on. The sum result of everybodys idea was a film plot that had already been done many, many times. It would have been a terrible film.

    I just hope SOE have the balls to make a game that caters to their original Everquest ideals. It will be a game that a lot of people will not like but it will have its market. I firmly believe there are a lot of former UO/Everquest/DAOC players out there who have been snacking on the McMMO’s and are now ready for a real meal. They have to be extremely careful of not falling into the trap of “I think we should take this feature from Warcraft…and this one” and bang, before you know it, you have yet another inferior Warcraft clone.

    I am also praying that they dont do a “Cryptic”.

    definition : to do a “Cryptic” is to release a massively multiplayer game that is pretty but has no depth or endgame. A marketing ploy which guarantees high box sales initially but eventually leads to a disgruntled player base.

  • It all comes down to if SOE learned anything from the graveyard of WoW clones that is everywhere around them. WoW has the mass market, until that game starts dying in a meaningful way they are not getting those players, not a fucking chance.

    1. The World. Agreed! World needs to feel like a world not a leveling railroad (hi WAR!)
    2. Classes. One thing WAR did right. tank rdps mdsp healer done!
    3. Open dungeons. Mostly agree, some very short cutscene like instances are ok (like in Aion)
    4. Agreed. DAOC had an additional mechanic where if a specific mob was not killed recently you got a very significant xp bonus for killing it. This made romaing with a group in outdoors areas more beneficial(also finding non-camped areas)
    5. This one is true mostly. But then you also need to use EQ gear progression where you would endup using maybe 3-4 weapons from 1-50.
    6. Quest grinds are more boring then normal grinds. There is maybe 10% population who reads quests. Also non-quest leveling is cheaper for developers

  • “Focus on the Journey, not just the Destination.

    Again, the journey was artificially created by horrid leveling curves.”

    le sigh…it’s a shame that most people think like you.

    i’ll never get why so many people would rather level to 50 in 3 hours and spend the rest of the time in their chosen game world raiding, vs spending the majority of the time leveling, developing their character, and playing in groups (or solo), seeing and exploring the world, etc. I played EQ for 5 years and never once hit the level cap, and loved every minute of it. Why does 99% of the “journey” have to be raiding? The “end game” that so many of todays players seem to want to get to almost instantaneously after logging in for the first time makes me want to stab my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon.

  • And to add to my post above…i just try to imagine EQ with WoW’s leveling curve and it makes me want to vomit. I would have spent 99% of my playtime at the max level, i would have missed a ton of content, spending almost all my time in the high-level raid areas. All my memories would be of…well, raiding. ughh. The community would have been a joke compared to what it actually was (see: WoW for a prime example).

    I dunno. I get that most people want an easy game with lightning fast leveling and soloable all the way to the cap, and then to spend the vast majority of their time in the world in raid instances as they play the gear treadmill game for the remainder of their playing days.

    but I also know there are enough people like me that want the opposite of that to make a modern-day EQ a successful game. And this is not coming from a guy who can play hardcore hours anymore. I’m 40 with a demanding job and a family and frankly not that much time to play. but EQ would still work for someone like me. that one time a week i may have a few hours to play i can group up and have some fun. When i only have 30 minutes i can find a place to solo or work on a quest. people who say EQ wouldn’t work for today’s gamers because of time commitments are just plain wrong.

    People who want a game like EQ aren’t necessarily power gamers with no life, more than likely they are people who love challenges, love the journey more than the destination, love getting engrossed in another world as opposed to just playing another video game, and love being part of a meaningfull gaming community more than just getting the next shiny on the list (not that there’s anything wrong with getting the next shiny!)

    Anyway…i’m rambling. I do that.

  • @Ratboy: I like the ice cream flavor ‘Gold Medal Ribbon’. I have not eaten it for years because Chocolate is so much cheaper at the market. Does that mean when I crave Gold Medal Ribbon that I’m romanticizing the fact that I like the blending of flavors, caramel, and overall taste of the Gold Medal Ribbon?

    Answer: No. It means I want Gold Medal Ribbon.

    And no, these are not in any way only for mature gamers. What in the heck does a big world have to do with maturity?

    @War: See my @Ratboy. RE: The Journey: So we’re playing an artificially created virtual world with artificially created fun content to mask a leveling curve. Sounds good to me.

    I’m not sure where in my post that I ever mentioned horrendous grinds or a lack 16 hour marathon sessions.

    @Jordan: /high five

  • I played EQ for 4 years. There was a lot of good in it but there’s also a reason that when WoW launched, the game essentially crashed.

    The main difference is time. For players that had 4 hours a night to play (1 hour of which was spent trying to find then get to a group), EQ was great. For anyone with less time than that, it was pointless.

    If their target group is 100K, they can do pretty much whatever they want and the fans will join up. If they are aiming for more than that, the game will need to evolve into today’s MMO standards.

  • @Asmiroth: So why can’t EverQuest Next modernize things and make it not be a huge grind? Nothing that I mentioned above in my blog entry reflects or requires a big grind. Nothing.

  • “The main difference is time. For players that had 4 hours a night to play (1 hour of which was spent trying to find then get to a group), EQ was great. For anyone with less time than that, it was pointless.”

    A total fallacy.

  • I agree with most of what you said.

    Less is more in Classes isn’t what I want. I admit i’m an Alt-aholic. I enjoy the progression of classes. When i first bought EQ, I was surprised to see there’s 4 different “Mage” classes. Magician, Wizard, Enchanter and Necro. Why? Well because they have different flavor to them. Magician and Necro are very close to each other but Wizard and Enchanter plays totally different. In Other MMO, You makes friends with a healer or a Tank and you’re done. You and your 2 other friends go adventure together regularly. I remember in EQ where I would make friend with a Monk because he’s a great puller or a ShadowKnight for that unique tanking. Of course You have to have a cleric, but then you can run with a shaman or a druid.

    Part of the fun reason for playing VG was the different classes flavor. The Illustionist/Mentalist was unique and fun. The Druid that have different pet. The Disciple that Heals thru his Melee/Martial arts attack was great.

    Having different classes Makes you broaden your friend list especially if they all have unique abilities that makes them great. Mage in EQ summon players, Necro Summon Corpse, Druid ports, Monk FD pull.

    This lead me to agree with you about the Journey. Having different classes makes players try different ones and enjoy the leveling contents instead of Racing to get to the ENDGAME. I Have always hated RAIDING.

  • The idea of running the same contents weekly for months for a chance to get 1 or 2 items to marginally improve your character isn’t what i call fun. Majority of Guild breaking is usually because of Raids.

    Currently I’m playing LOTRO. Although I don’t like my class because there isn’t one that fit my play style. I love the leveling process and learning the story. In Fact, LOTRO leveling curve is a bit too easy. I find myself outleveling contents i’m doing. I just hit 65th a week ago and i wish I didn’t. I barely finish Moria. I still haven’t seen majority of the Dungeon.

    When I went back to WOW few years ago and start over with Draenai in WOTLK. The leveling part was alot of until until we got to the end game. Raiding was fun the first few times that you ran the dungeon, but after 20th times, you want to pull hairs. Dev makes the mistake of making Leveling as Filler instead of the Main attactiions.

    But Then I don’t want AION grind type. I think mainly because you don’t get new Abilities/Toys to shoot for after certain level..so the rest is just grinds. There has to be mini goals. Items, Abilities, Story progression that keep you moving forward. Not Bring me back 25 Kobolds Ears.

    Oh Btw.. The PVP is what force the Less is more in Classes because of Balancing. Maybe Dev need to learns to make all classes abilities to do different things in PVE vs PVP. but that’s alot of works.

  • I agree that more MMOs should be about the journey, rather than the “endgame.” I’ve done the endgame raiding thing with WoW, and although it has its moments and I did have some fun, ultimately I don’t think it is what I am looking for in an MMO anymore. At this point, I don’t really care how long the progression to “endgame” takes. I do need some decent pacing though with rewards along the way (something EQ was really bad at) and a variety of things to do. And it doesn’t need to be gear or level progression necessarily, but ideally varied paths of progression. I think the ultimate goal should find a way to get rid of this idea of the “endgame.”

    I’d like to someday play a better version of EQ, where the “endgame” is so far away and there is so much content and so many things to do in the meantime that the “endgame” really isn’t even a consideration for me. Or, ideally, that it doesn’t really even exist.

    If EQ Next can come close to this I’m certain I’ll be playing it for years.

  • @Jordan Geat Points!

    Now about all the not liking to be on a “list” to go kill something, it’s not that I think it was great, but I got to know a lot of people sitting on the stairs in HHP waiting to get in a group to kill those gnolls. I even did a few sessions there where we would form 2 groups and keep that whole area cleared and help each others groups on the hard pack at the bottom…those were great days and great MMO social networking.

    Another part of not having the entir game instanced is the fact that when you go all Guild Wars…you basically just logged on toplay Fable or another RPG set in your own little landscape with nothing to go after.

    The older MMO’s had huge worlds and tons of places to go see and explore for no other fact than you could. There are tons of places in original EQ I never got around to seeing after playing forever.

    I think a lot of people are commenting on the no instances with never truly playing a non instanced type of MMO that is actually good. Even WoW kills me with all of their dungeon instancing and think that it would have killed every other game out there if it had gone non instanced

  • @Everyone

    You can’t just say Open Dungeons and assume they were good or bad by themselves. Open Dungeons in EQ worked not because they were open… or it was EQ, but a plethora of other game features.

    In EverQuest your reputation mattered. You had to be on your best behavior or you would get black flagged, meaning no one would group with you. Ninja looting or training were cardinal sins that would end your gaming career. What caused people to care so much about their reputation? It wasn’t that the gamers were so much more enlightened back then, it was that they had no place to go.

    In EQ you could only group with people on your server. Since the leveling was so slow that often meant you would see the same people over and over again each night in your leveling area. If you upset this group of people, and trust me they talked, you wouldn’t get a group. There was anonymity. You couldn’t change your characters name or transfer. (After a long time you could transfer but you didn’t get to take any gear or money with you) Since you couldn’t move your character, and the leveling was so slow, it deterred people from acting out in a way that would hurt their reputation and thus resulted in a more productive community.

    All the “negative” features seen today as not customer friendly services caused the community to work together; thus we had no choice.

  • Everquest 2 has loads of open dungeons as well as instanced ones. In fact, acording to the Wiki, it currently has 28 Heroic Dungeons, none of which are instanced. More get added in every expansion, too.

    Be interesting to see how the players coming to EQ2X who only know WoW and post-WoW MMOs react to huge, contested open dungeons.

  • @Keen

    If you take what you mentioned in the context of EQ, each of the items themselves was part of the grind. A world that took hours to cross, worse when you died. Factions you needed to grind for hours in order to meet up with a friend or complete a quest. Open dungeons made people sit in one spot and camp a spawn for hours, days or weeks since it wasn’t beneficial to move around in a dungeon with 100 other players. Daily boss spawns surely didn’t help, with guilds permanently camping specific areas. Forced grouping that took hour(s) to join if you weren’t a tank, healer or enchanter. The journey… the weeks of camping to get a guild keyed for a new zone.

    EQ had great ideas and implemented in a pretty hardcore fashion. It was bold and truly innovative but if anything, it learned less about what it’s players wanted and more about how to keep people on keyboards for all hours of the night. The amount of times I had to call a guildmate who had fallen asleep on the keyboard is astounding.

    What I’ve long thought was needed was a variable called synergy. This is a bonus to everything you do when you do it with people, be it damage, lore or bonuses (loot, spawns, experience, etc..) The first time you group with someone, you build a synergy with them. Starts at 0 and which “caps” out, say 50, after about 20 minutes with them. The next time you group with that person, the number starts higher, maybe 10. Still has the same cap. Same thing happens with a guild but the starting number is higher. Dying, drops the number a bit, /afk drops the number, /ignore caps it much lower.

    I want to group with people and have a unique-ish experience. I don’t want my eyes to bleed seeing the same thing all the time. I want to say “remember that time we killed that rat and that ogre came by mad that we killed it’s pet?” because it was a rare trigger affected by our synergy. It’s like there’s this whole world out there that MMOs can explore if they only sat down and thought about WHY people play together in the first place, ignoring the MMO space.

  • @Asmiroth

    I like that synergy idea. A lot. I might change the time mechanic to something like ‘X experience gained by each group member from common mobs = +1 to synergy’. This would help ensure that the group is actually together and active.

  • Just off the top of my head:

    bars. These were social hubs and they were interesting to wait in and placed ina way that encouraged players to wait there instead of going afk. IIRC, one was the Seafarer’s Roost in East FP near the docks and gate. DAOC had one in TNN where there was a wedding going on. Stuff like that. It encouraged players to interact there and some even formed groups to go explore. Some you even had to have faction to get in without being killed.

    Speaking of that: Faction. It encouraged exploration and you had to figure out how to raise the faction in order to go somewhere. It meant something more than providing “access” which seems is the only thing its used for now. It was always interesting to kill a mob, see which factions it raised or lowered and sometimes you would wonder why. And eventually cause you to delve more into that faction’s lore. Factions also encouraged identitfying with a faction (to the exclusion of others) and opened up specific quest lines. What was that dwarf’s name who wondered near the docks in Qeynos? Tumpy, Dumpy? I dont know I just remember enjoying killing him to raise my faction in Kaladim. Or killing the very lucrative Sisters of Erolissi on that island with my troll because i didnt care about Qeynos faction. (Bad thing to do with a good character tho)

    Exploring and finding a random quest giver or even better: A MERCHANT! Yay! where I can sell my stuff without having to travel back. Oh, and merchants actually sold useful and interesting things. And since Im on “out of the way npc’s”, i have to say i enjoyed the random patrolling guards you could run to if you were part of their faction or would kill you if you werent. It gave a sense of ownership of an area i.e. this is freeport territory. And if you were somehwere you shouldnt be: caused you to look over your shoulder. They gave the thrill of danger without something like PvP. And what Qeynosian doesnt hate SGT Slate? Or despise Dark Elves because of that one in East (?) Karana.

    Alcohol effects. Kelethin drinking games. ’nuff said.

    Darkness. It added SO much to the atmosphere of the game. I love the choices you sometimes had to make: shield or torch? Or maybe its better to find someone who can cast light. Or maybe I should just wait and craft or hang out until the sun comes up. etc etc. Included in this are light cycle specific mobs. Certain quest mobs only appeared moving at night. And you didnt know fear until you realized you werent going to make it through Kithicor before the sun went down…

    Its been awhile since i played EQ so some of the details might be mixed up but in short the world just mattered and you wanted to interact with it and be part of it.


  • @Wlad

    Wow. Good stuff. It brought back a lot of memories. My favorite social spot was the East Commons tunnel back in vanilla. I remember knowing every abbreviation and what the going prices were. The prices have left my memory, but I still remember some abbreviations: FBR, SSOY, SBS, and SBH. I did the SBH quest in EQ2 with my SK for no other reason than nostalgia…though I did end up using it for several levels.

    That brings up something else; is there anything you would want them to take from EQ2 and bring to EQ Next? I have not thought about this at all. I did like the idea of how they had a different AA line for each stat for each class. I have no idea if each one for every class was useful, but I liked the idea. Maybe the hippogriff (hippogriff?) towers for transportation across big zones once you complete the quest for that zone?

  • @ Lee

    I had a lvl 10 DE enchanter who could do the Stein of Moggok quest (due to illusions) in about 3 hours, and then id go to those EC tunnels and sell it for some cash. Great moneymaker. Knowing i could do that quest for the cash seriously slowed down leveling tho…

    Eq2 has alot going for it right now. In fact I really hope they use the systems that are in place in EQ2 right now as a baseline for EQNext, tweak them and then update the world. For me that would be a good 80% solution.


  • If the world isn’t fully connected and I can’t camp rare mobs I won’t buy it! Also if there’s instances and battlegrounds, count me out as well.

  • @Wlad

    Yeah, EQ2 is a pretty slick game nowadays. I have been trying to put off my next trip to EQ2 until after Cataclysm.

    Another couple of things that they should keep from EQ2 would be the mentoring system and chronomagic.