EQ Map
The world of Norrath

Back in 2009 I wrote a a series of articles about what MMORPGs have lost over time.  You’re familiar with the topic; I’ve written about it 100 times since.  MMOs are losing, or have lost, all sense of ‘world’. Even if things never quite get back to the way they used to be, at least I still have my memories.  This goes back to my EQ Next wishlist from last week. If EQ Next can get even half of this right, I’ll be happy.

I’ve recounted this story to many of you over the years, but here it is again in all its glory.

This is My EQ Story.

It was somewhere near the third day of EverQuest’s launch.  I was playing a Barbarian Warrior and getting my feet wet for the first time killing goblins. Yes, it took me that long to find my way out of the city and muster up the courage to fight past the wolves and leave the torchlight and safety of the guards.  I came across a larger spawn of goblins, and found others hunting nearby.  It was then that I received my first group invite and proceeded to kill goblins for over an hour.  At the end of our hunt one of the other Barbarian Warriors in the group announced that he had a friend who was making the trip to Freeport.  “What’s Freeport?”, I remember asking him.  He then went on to tell me that it was across the continent and one of the cities where Humans dwell.  “The hunting is much better there”, he said.  That sounded great to me.  I had spent a couple days now killing things in the snowy lands of Halas and I was ready to move on.  “We’ll set out in 20 minutes.  Make sure you have time to make the trip because it’s a long one”.

This trip across Antonica was the single most memorable experience I have ever, ever, had in a MMORPG.  We began our trip by following an icy ridge to a cave.  There were no maps at the time, and we were following someone who had only made the trip once before.  We made our way through a dungeon that actually acted as a passageway between regions.  “If you get attacked, do not stop running!”, was one of the scariest things I had ever heard.  Sure enough, we were attacked and all of us were frantically running for the zone line.  Thirty minutes later we were making our way down the coast of a river, and in the distance we could discern this great winged beast… “GRIFFON!”, they shouted.  What a griffon was I knew not, but my heart began to pound furious and my fingers trembled over the arrows keys.  We ran as quickly as we could to the nearest barn in the plains of the Karanas.  “We’ll hide in here until morning”.  And there we sat.  Why?  I don’t know really… it wouldn’t have stopped the aggro from the Griffon and we would have certainly been dead since we were under level 8.  We hid until daylight nonetheless because at the very least it was actually difficult to see at night.

During this trip we saw several sights.  We stopped off in every outpost and town so that we could to let the adrenaline rush fade.  We visited with people we came in contact with and actually picked up more travelers along the way who wanted to make the trip in a group.  Seeing different races for the first time was a real treat.  The first time I saw a Halfling in Rivervale I couldn’t believe my eyes that they were in such abundance here.  This was their little corner of the world and I was out of place.  The little Halflings crowded around us, gave us buffs, and even traded us turnips or something (I have no idea why) – we were just as neat to them as they were to us.   We eventually made it to the gates of Freeport — a glorious and welcome sight – where a whole new, unique, set of experiences awaited me.

That’s my EverQuest — no, my MMO story — that I will always remember.  What’s yours?

  • Wow, you conjured up some memories of EQ I had tucked away in the back of my head. I can’t believe we all played with no maps! (Remember making a macro for tracking? lol) I’ve played about a dozen MMO’s and to this day none of them compare to the sentimental attachment I have for EQ simply because of the world. Wasn’t their motto “You’re in our world now”? Thanks for the excellent story!

  • Wow, that just seems like an amazing story! I would love to be able to experience something like that in EverQuest Next. It was only in EQ2 that gave me such an experience, no other MMORPG has came close to it. I have high hopes for EQN.

  • My first character was a Half Elf Ranger and when I attempted my first trip to free port it was solo. I had the maps from EQ Atlas to go by but I managed to pick the worst possible way to go. I attempted to go via Runnyeye Citadel. But first I had to pass through an amazingly twisty gorge zone. I ended up getting ambushed by some mud creatures and the first thing they did was blind me. I didn’t realize what had happened, I just figured that the game had malfunctioned because my entire screen went black, no text log or anything. When my vision came back I was at my bind port in Qeynos I think. I ended up working my way back and a friendly bard helped me recover my corpse.

  • Very cool story. My friend and I were both Ogres and wanted to run to Qeynos (we heard many grand stroies about the place) We ran for what seemed like hours and hours. We came across a friendly wizard who helped us with a teleport, and showed us a glitch in a river than teleported us closer to the zone of karanas. We landed there just in front of a werewolf and we both went running a long the path and zoned out just in time! We made it to Qeynos where we were able to get a bind inside a hidden wall and spent many days in the sewers. Great times!

  • Pvp or bust. EQ2 on release was a bust because there was no pvp initially. Having played for two months in hopes of sony releasing a pvp server that came too late for me to reignite my interest I hope the team for EQ next know theres a large group of pvpers that want an item loot server such as rallos zek. My two cents.

  • never played EQ myself, but i remember a similar if less epic journey going from undead lands to visit my mate in cow starter area,

  • My first mmo was Anarchy Online. I remember there was allways these rumours about great xp spots, that people would try to find.

    There was this camp, that has these dinosaur like things, which was really good xp. It took some time to travel there, so you would stay for a few days before going back to town. These travel times was a mixed experience. At one hand the world was huge, and stayed that way, because it took a long time to go anywhere, but on the other hand I remember these “trains” people would make. You would pick some1 who did the running, and everyone else just /followed him and then went afk or watched a movie or something. Some zones you couldnt do it, because it was too dangerous, but after some lvl’s and knowledge of the zones, most people just did this.

    One thing that was awesome, was the group aspect. You did most things in a group, and it could take a while to get the right group together for what you were doing. But, after you had the right group together you would stick together the rest of the day, or the rest of the weekend, because everyone knew what a hassle it was to travel back to town and get a new group. You really got to know people, because would small talk during down time (between pulling and stuff) great times.

    Great times, and I kinda miss it. But I wouldnt be able to set aside the amount of time anymore. I cant play computer a whole weekend, in fact its a problem playing one sunday 🙂

  • I remember getting my very first AOE spell at an out of the way location. Not being sure how it would work, I went to an area filled with goblins. I died within seconds after that first cast.

  • the difference is nowadays before the game is released you know every mob, weapon, city, armor, race, npc that there is in the game just looking a few fansites. it didnt happen when EQ, UO was released.
    with the new MMORPGs internet is telling you the end of the movie so you cant expect the same surprise factor

  • Heh. Your story sounds very similar to RA Salvatore’s stroy he told in the foreword of some EQ short story anthology. Barbarian Warrior in Halas needing to go to Freeport. Except his group actually didn’t wait until morning and ran through the forest at night. He described it as the scariest time he ever spent playing a game. . . . and he never even saw a mob. . . .

    My “fun story” is EQ2, I suppose. I’d made a high elf character with the intent of making a Templar healer, but at level 3 when it came time to choose my archetype, I decided to buck convention and be a fighter instead, figuring that I’d go Paladin to still take advantage of the racial wisdom attribute bonus (which was actually kind of a thing way back then). At level 10, I chose the crusader path, but by about level 14 or so I decided that I really wanted to buck convention and betrayed Qeynos. After my failed attempt on the queen’s life and my death at the hands of her guards, I woke up on the beach of Antonica and now had to head east… ever east.

    I found my way into Nektulos Forest, and what a dark and scary place it was! I was by myself and had no idea where I needed to go to get from the docks to the Commonlands. The roads were “patrolled” by these flaming bats that seemed to come out of nowhere, and only by judicious sprinting could I get past them without dying. The river bridges were guarded by monsters I had no hope of slipping by, so there was nothing for it but to swim. Except the fish in the river wanted to eat me too! And they were land-fish! I had a school of 15 fish chasing me when I emerged drenched on the other side and they chased me for so long that I lost all sense of direction in my panic to get away.

    When the fish finally decided they needed to go back into the water, I was now in a valley with bears. Lots and lots of bears. I continued east, but all I found were box canyons. No way to escape into the Commonlands. I decided to head back wet to the river and to follow it and perhaps it would take me where I needed to go. I’d been doing well at avoiding the bears, but I was getting impatient with being in this accursed forest, so I decided to try to simply sprint past a group of bears on the road. Big mistake, and when I awoke from that death I was back in the valley of the bears. I tried to recover my spirit shard, but this just lead to 2 more deaths, so I finally said “Forget it!” to myself and simply made my way back to the river and headed south. I had to skirt a few mob patrols and sprint at times to stay alive, but I actually found the gate to the Commonlands! Now about those 30 fish plastered to it that all turned to bite me as I went through. . . . . . I made it though, and hey! Where’d that giant river go? Now I’m a totally dry canyon? Well whatever, its time to find Freeport!

    Several days and a Freeport citizenship later I was level 19 and about to become a Shadowknight when I hit level 20, but I thought it’d be more fun to surprise people back in Qeynos, so I made the run back through Nektulos Forest (hey, I knew the way this time! No deaths!), across the Thundering Steppes, and out into the “scarecrow fields” of Antonica where the grind groups were leveling up. I joined one as a tank, we were grinding along and Ding! 20! Due to the large publicly seen visual indicator everyone in the group said “Gratz!” And after a beat several also went “Wait. WTF? Shadowknight?”

    Exactly the reaction I hoped for. Who expects a High Elf in Antonica to be a Shadowknight? Mwahahahahaha! My evil plans to baffle and confuse my fellow players were complete!

    Hey, I’m easily amused and not actually evil. What can I say? It was still fun for me 😉

  • Is it even possible for you to have that experience again though? In any MMO world, no matter how perfectly designed? You only felt that adrenaline because the world was unknown and you lacked experience with the way MMOs work.

    The only way I can see an MMO conjuring that level of excitement anymore, even with a truely open world ala UO/EQ, is to add real item and/or character loss. Even an open world like that without real loss won’t generate the same level of excitement for a veteran MMO player. I’ve got to think you only get that same rush is if there’s Diablo III hardcore mode, X-com Ironman Mode, SWG original Jedi implementation, or PotBS/EvE Ship loss type elements in play. Of course, adding loss drives a product into niche status, and thus it’s production values aren’t able to reach AAA funding.

    How do you figure a solidly designed open world game will provide you with the same experiences you encountered in EQ, knowing full well that you’ll possess no fear of that open world, nor will you find it mysterious when the whole map is available within a couple weeks of beta?

  • I’d also like to see a game “unhinge” mobs. Spawn a mob producing facility (orc camp? wolves den?). Have it churn out mobs at a specific rate, and then let them wander the world randomly. Give them conflict mechanics against other mobs that make sense (wolves attack deer, etc.). Give them mechanics to form a group that wanders together when they encounter like mobs while wandering randomly (orc captain can collect regular orcs into a squad, wolves can form a pack, etc.). This would allow mobs to end up in places entirely unexpected and create an ever changing environment for players. I assume this is impossible to implement though since nobody ever seems to do it. I’d even want mechanics where the intelligent mob’s spawn devices grow more powerful if left undestroyed by the players. Have orc camps become bigger and spawn more orcs, more often if left unchecked. Once a threshold of orcs have been spawned and are alive together, they return to camp by shortest path, gather into an army, and attack the closest NPC city/village/etc in a dynamic event of sorts. The city stays destroyed and occupied until the players drive out the orcs, destroy thier camp/fort, and then rebuild each destroyed building individually via dynamic events (craftsman specific characters take up this role). There’s got to be a better way to handle open-world mobs than stationary and pathing mobs tethered to a chain.

  • My greatest eq2 or mmo experience for that matter would take place in stormhold. It is by far the greatest dungeon ever created, especially for one new to mmo,s. The lurking threat around every corner, the sounds, the untold dangers can simply make your heart race. I spent many, even countless hours in that place because it was so much fun. Even at max level, i would help any lowbies just for the chance to go back. End the end, it is the immense detail and unpredictable nature of a dungeon design such as this that after 9 years i solely remember this place as my greatest time in any mmo i have ever played. Hats off to SOE, cant wait for eqn:)

  • I remember hunting in West Karana. I don’t remember specifically what we were resting after a battle (and I was staring at my spellbook) and I looked up to see the rest of my group dead. And then I died. Not sure what happened we went back to the place we were and looked around for what killed us. We couldn’t find it so we went back to hunting. A few minutes later one of us was killed again, only this time we saw what attacked us. It was the werewolf that roamed the area and it tore through our tank in seconds. The rest of use immediately started running for safety and it’s the first time I ever heard the phrase, “You don’t have to be the fastest, just don’t be the slowest!!!” and had it actually mean something.

    Good times!

  • I had similar experiences. And loved them. My first character was a dwarven cleric. After some days of bumbling about Kaladim, I got a quest required going to Qeynos. Then as now I was a quest-maniac and will do pretty much anything if roleplaying requires it. And had absolutely no idea what would be required for a level 8 cleric with no stealth abilities to survive this trip. All I knew was that my guild trainer (or maybe it was the warrior trainer) had told me to go there.
    Hopping the ship for Freeport wasn’t too hard. I started to get in trouble in Kithicor, but I had been warned about the tons of undead there and not to travel at night. I began to learn the value of seeking a bind in each new town I reached. East of the mountains I began to really run into trouble. Apparently lions really really like dwarf meat, and the Karanas were full of them. I died over and over and over. They could smell me from miles away.
    Eventually I found a kind strong knight who was willing to escort me to the borders of Qeynos. You can be sure the very first thing I did was to run into the square and beg for someone to bind me to the spot!

    Good times 🙂

  • I recall a similar adventure myself, except I did it alone (Freeport to Qeynos).

    Unfortunately, while that one adventure does stand out as memorable due to the mystery and danger and seeing new things… it can not be re-created thereafter.

    It’s the been-there-done-that-got-a-tunic syndrome we all have. What you have to do is find a haven’t-done-that and go do it.

    Even more, with the short attention span entitlement minded (err… “Merit” minded?) environment today, people would shiver at the idea of such a long jaunt that mostly involved being lost and running in terror.

    For example, if you still play, was it annoying to you that, to utilize the Shard’s Landing portals, you had to do just such a run the “long” way to gain use of them? Which, in basis, is the same type of thing (a traveling adventure).

    Yes, once they started by-passing content (no longer need flags, easy by-passes implemented, etc.) — the game started a downhill slide in areas such as this. And when they put real challenges and adventures in the game, those same folks complain endlessly.

    There is no going back, so remember fondly.

  • My most memorable time was going to unrest back in 1999. My friend had a pair of dwarven work boots, and he said this is where we get them (as I coveted them greatly). Walking into the chaos of yard groups, trains and all the spooky sounds got me hooked.

  • I have had these same sentiments for years, where the sense of “world” has been lost. I too have been playing EQ since its release, and still keep three active accounts. It’s the only game I play, but I find myself logging on less and less. While great improvements have been made to the game, which I would not want to see go away, the sense of adventure has been lost. I understand people want easy access and instant zoning into new content, but the truth is, in doing so we lost a lot of the game’s character. New expansions seem to have a predetermined layout to them which eliminate the sense of exploring and adventure. They are designed more or less like a building, where you enter through a door, walk down a hall, and go into a room).

    Long gone are the days of new continents, with endless adventures waiting in all directions, full of dungeons filled with dragons, and deep crawling tunnels randomly weaving their way into the unknown. Expansions these days don’t feel like new lands at all. There is no real sense of where they belong in the world. Unlike the days of Kunark, Velious, and Luclin, where we knew where the continents were and where they belonged. House of Thule is a good example of what I mean by a “building layout”. You enter HoT Lower, and you follow a predetermined path to get to the other zones. Each zone directly connects to the next, and those zones pretty much have a predetermined path (Library for example). It might as well be Tomb Raider or something (not knocking the game), just saying. There is no “land”.

    I know recapturing the sense of adventure and making those who don’t want to run anywhere happy will be a challenge. I also know that the mystique that we all experienced when we first started playing when we began exploring and visiting new lands is lost forever, but if that sensation can be captured, and harnessed and replicated on some level I know there will be people playing for another thirteen years. Lose the building, predetermined path format. Give us continents, with exotic lands and creatures, with deep crawling dungeons and castles with formidable foes in faraway lands. Bring back the sense of adventure, somehow.

  • I started playing just before the Kunark release, and I still remember the first night I logged in. I created a Dwarven Cleric and he was the only toon I could play until I stopped playing around 2005. I came back last year, with a new account and once again made a Dwarven Cleric. Had fun, but it wasn’t the same.

    So many things about the game back in the early 2000’s….Trying to put a group together to kill a Sand Giant, EC Tunnel Trading, The D’Vinn’s running around The Overthere killing all good races. 72 hour Ragefire camp and 50 people showing up to help kill him at 5am when he finally spawned, people I never really “knew”, but they were there to help when I needed it….

  • Chasing a bard around Nektulos Forest with my Dark Elf rogue for what seemed like hours on the old race war server. It became a spectator sport after a while with folks from all factions watching on. A friendly troll shaman would hit me with SoW every lap or so. Never did kill the bard. He lost his corpse to the piranahs in the river.

    My first MMO, though, was Asheron’s Call. Making the run from Shoushi to Hebian-To was always a traumatic event for the new player.
    Running across the countryside and seeing random houses or ruins in the middle of nowhere.
    Entering an unknown dungeon portal with some friends simply because it was there.
    Making the gruelling journey to Fort Teth for the first time.
    Wondering about the mental stability of SuperJester after he was discovered talking to himself on the second floor of the jewler’s shop (this was before voice chat…think about that for a minute).
    There was always a feeling of something new just over the next rise.

    My fondest memories, however, are simply of guildmates and I sitting in the pub (way before player housing was a thing) and just talking for hours on end about life, the universe, everything.

    I have so many great memories from that game that it would take a book to recount them all.

  • I am still playing EQ and am enjoying it thouroughly. It’s the game I always come back to and I have been an on-and-off part of Norath since Kunark was new.

    Once I left the PVP server (Vallon Zek?) I made a halfling ranger because he seemed to me the most solo-friendly in a game that didn’t really cater to solo play. Needless to say it was a long grind gaining levels.
    I still play him to this day and have yet to reach anything even close to max level on any of my toons due, in large part, to the ease at which I’m distracted by shiny things.

    There is still a great player base in the game and help often springs up unexpectedly.

    I was in the Plane of Sky on the gorgolask island recently, slowly grinding my way to the island boss in order to get the key for the next island which held the next-to-last part I needed for my Epic 1.0. At level 65 it was slow going. Then along comes a much higher level ranger who, upon discovering why I was there, quickly proceeded to clear the rest of the mobs and accompanied me to the next island where I got my Swirling Sphere of Color in record time (thanks Babs). It did feel a bit like cheating, but after three days of hanging out on those islands, I was grateful for the assist.

    Everquest does that. It makes you feel like you have achieved something. Truly achieved it I mean. Some complain about the long respawn times of the more noteworthy mobs, but for me that has always been part of the charm of EQ. It was always so much more than just a mad dash to the end. You had to be willing to put in the time. Goals required effort. Things weren’t just handed to you.

    Even now, with the pace of the game increased a great deal, it still takes much more effort than most other MMOs to accomplish something. And when you do, you truly feel as if you HAVE accomplished something.

    Games have drifted away from that, favoring instead the express lane to max levels and epic gear. For me at least this destroys the attachment you get with your toons. Hinders the immersiveness. And ultimately hurts the durability of the game.

  • I could sit here all night and recount similar Everquest tales. My own first cross-country trip from Qeynos to Freeport or from Ak’Anon to Qeynos (just getting from Steamfont to the Butcherblock dock was an epic adventure and then there was the boat trip and you know how those used to be…). My first trip to Highpass to buy spells. My Troll’s move from the comfort of Grobb to an uncertain future lurking outside Qeynos, including a terrifying night swim across Lake Rathetear. The numerous failed attempt to get an entire group to Barindu during the first week of Gates of Discord. The terrifying run to Katta Castellum through Fungus Grove. The long, long trek from Qeynos to Thurgadin at level 10 or 12 or 14, that I did with so many new characters to go round the Thurgadin shops.

    I won’t go on about any of those, though. I’ll just mention my trip from Black Citadel to Lion’s Arch in the first GW2 beta weekend. I never made it to LA because that city wasn’t available in that beta, but I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t have any maps other than the one in the game, which gives minimal information until you actually go places and open it up. I worked from my memory of GW1 and intuition. It took me most of a Sunday afternoon and I was riveted to the screen throughout. It wasn’t as scary as those EQ runs because there was less at stake but it was every bit as involving and immersive.

    Contrary to what some people will tell you, you can have these experiences over and over again and familiarity and experience does not necessarily blur or blunt the impact. The best ones these days are all to be had in betas, when the maps aren’t made and the rules aren’t set. The good news is there’s never a shortage of MMO betas.

  • Please take note that this great MMO experience you retell has nothing, NOTHING to do with ‘accessibility’. In fact, we should take a moment to point out the 2 things solely responsible for this story being as memorable to you as it is:



    You didn’t kill much, didn’t get many drops, weren’t the hero, didn’t level, no epics, no pvp victories, didn’t take over a castle, how could that story possibly be memorable?

    Because Inaccessibility and difficulty makes even ordinary things memorable.

  • Now thats a game!! That’s how i remember it! Before the portals between worlds and everything…they simplified it way to much…Getting your corpse was a big one as well…that was an all day event.

  • Ahh the memories. I too recall such memories. I think I’d like to point out something else that is missing in today’s MMO’s – community.

    I recall in my early days as a wayward ranger on the Karana server – I was hunting in Greater Faydark when I got a tell from someone indicating I should stay where I was for a minute or two because they “had some stuff for me”. I had arrived late to the game, starting maybe 6 or 8 months after launch. I didn’t even know what a “tell” was yet. I was on teamspeak (or whatever the hot voice app of the day was) with some friends… “How do I respond?” I asked my friend. He told me, and I did a “reply” to the individual I didn’t know in the game.

    It turned out to be a (then) high level ranger. He handed me all sorts of stuff I could not possibly get for myself at that point in the game – and when I pointed out that I could give nothing in return, he said “That’s OK, just remember this and pay it forward.”

    And so I did. One of my fondest memories in all of EQ was returning to Greater Faydark after I had well outgrown it – tracking down some low level ranger, and giving them gear, bags, etc… I did this for years – right up until “new” rangers no longer seemed to exist – just old players leveling new characters.

    I remember spending entire evenings – many of them – stopping in some low level area or other and sitting with a low level group… chatting with them and protecting them from trains or from “too large” pulls, or whatever.

    I remember running through zones and killing the mobs that terrorized me when I had leveled there. In part for my own enjoyment (vengeance kills FTW!) and in part because I knew those mobs were likely currently terrorizing someone else. Dorn B’Dinn (or Dorn B’Dead as I liked to call him once I could kill him)…. LockJaw. GRIMFEATHER (I STILL hate you Grimfeather). That friggen little gnome in the pit in Crushbone.

    I remember friendships started at the entrance to a dungeon – with either myself or some other poor soul sitting there with no gear on – as theirs (or mine) was stuck somewhere in that dungeon… friendships started with a simple “Need help?” I can honestly say one of those encounters happened about a year into my playing the game – and I am still friends (in real life) with that person.

    Today’s MMO’s seem absolutely void of such things – and that is sad. Bring me back this, and I will play the game for 10 or more years.

  • That brought a reminiscent sparkle to my eyes. I remember running from Halas through the Knoll Burrow and into the Karanas. The wonders of a persisent world eh? Remember hanging out in East commons before Bazaar? Golly gee if only SOE. If only… I would return to my Revanant ways.

  • Oh the memories you have awakened! After much confusion as to why the game was so inebriating to my husband, I finally gave in and bought my own game. I started when Ruins of Kunark went live. I had a wood elf ranger that I started with and still have. At that time I had managed with much help to level up just high enough to get to Firiona Vie. My husband had brought me on the boat, (remember that awesome boat trip out there from Butcherblock?) and made me jump off the prow over and over to learn to swim. I still have a horrible fear of heights and that made my knees weak! One day I decided to go by myself. The horror began and went on for several hours. I was panic stricken by the time I called my neighbor down the street to come and help me. Him and his buddy were the ones that got us started ingame. I had died several times, having gotten lost amid the drachnids. I had so many corpses that I no longer knew where I was or where I had come from. I was close to tears when I called and he came over to find my corpses lol! To this day, I have never forgotten getting lost there, or falling in the lava in Sol or off the side of the cliff, because of a lag spike, coming out from Erudin. The worst moment was in ToFS and having one of our friends tell me do not move unless I tell you to and then if I say run, dont stop and falling through pit traps in the floor, getting hit by invisible things, huge drolvargs, The Librarian! The Wedding Couple upstairs lol Nosja, we called him Nosejob! I remember being too afraid to move a step in any direction. So many awesome memories. Last night, I was in EQII on my level 74 monk in Swamp of No Hope taking on ^^ nameds and thinking how far I have come…

  • My wishlist for EQNext:

    1) I want a game that requires a quick and nimble mind – not quick and nimble fingers. That is, I don’t want to play an arcade game. If I did, I would go play an arcade game.

    2) I want a game where DPS is a secondary concern even for DPS classes. That is, part of what made a good EQ player was being able to deal with the environment… knowing which mobs ran. Knowing which mobs feared. Knowing respawn times and agro ranges…. knowing how to deal with all of this and more.

    3) I want a game where I don’t have 100 abilities on my hotbar. I’m OK with having 100 abilities… but I only want 10 or so on my hotbar. Make me pick and choose – because this makes me learn the game and it also adds strategy.

    4) Give me abilities that synergize well – and give me abilities that can work for different purposes based on use. For example… I would classify myself as a good puller in EQ… One day I got a tell from a ranger “How come you never get hit when you come back to the group?” – “Simple” I said, “I pull with Lull.” This was knew to this ranger…. the idea of using your agro reducer to pull never entered his mind – but it made perfect sense to me. The De Agro spell got me on the mobs agro table – and the tank was able to pick it off of me by breathing hard on it.

    5) Give me community!!!

    6) Give me a game where levels don’t matter. If it has levels at all, make them so long and slow to attain – that I get scared out of my seat by the “ding” (Yes that DID happen a time or two in EQ)

    7) ENCRYPT the blasted log files and keep the encryption codes secret so that NOBODY can make a blasted DPS parser. DPS parsers are the bane of MMOs

    8) Bring back mob dynamics. Runners, fearers, large argo ranges, etc….

    9) Bring back zone sweepers. I DO hate you Grimfeather – but I also respect what you bring to the game.

    10) give me engaging combat – but not abilities that require a college degree to decipher because they are so overloaded. That is – my damage spell should do damage… I don’t need my damage spell to do damage, increase wis, increase int, reduce agro, and snare the mob. I should have an ability that snares the mob, an ability that increases wis, etc…

    11) Give me a rewarding tradeskill system. I don’t want a tradeskill system that only benefits me. I want one that benefits others and that I need others to do. This is a community builder. Treat it that way.

    12) No mob leashes – and no “play nice with other people” rules on mobs… OK? Trains were, in their own way, also community builders. And stuff like that also added spice to the game.

    13) Speaking of which – there is not much worse than a white washed, sanitized MMO. The FIRST thing.. and I mean the VERY first thing I plan to do in EQNext – is hit my trainer. I’ll be THRILLED if they decapitate me in one shot for my trouble. I’ll be very disturbed if I get a message telling me “this is probably not a good idea”

    14) Give me big targets in the game that I need friends (and a guild) to help me with… but DON’T put limits on raid sizes like in the current games. These are community DESTROYERS. “Sorry warrior, we already have a tank. Yes I KNOW this means you can’t come and actually LEARN from the current tanks… but that’s YOUR problem”

    15) And AGAIN speaking of which. Open world please. ONLY open world. Instances are community destroyers too.

    16) Understand that “Fun all the time” eventually becomes fun “NONE OF THE TIME” – The current MMO’s fail miserably because of this. EQ was like a broad spectrum of movies – drama, horror flicks, comedies, action/adventure… and the mix WORKS. You may not like all of them individually – but having all of them makes the game hit you on multiple levels. Today’s games are like comedies all the time – and eventually… they just are NOT funny.

    17) Make the game HARD – I know this one is controversial…. folks will say that an MMO is NEVER hard – just increasing variants of tedious. Fine. Make it tedious. Make me do access quests that require rares, or camps, or groups… make death sting some so I respect the world I’m in…. make leveling SLOW so I forget leveling… if that’s your version of tedious – I’m OK with that.

    I’m sure there’s more…. but most of you have probably stopped reading long before now anyway – so this is probably enough!

  • Lol that’s pretty much my story too. Except I started in Kelethin lost in the trees and had to have a friend who had been playing since beta come get me out of there. On my trip there were more sand giants and a few more runs to the zoneline of Castle Mistmoore, but I can visualize everything you are talking about.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but the only reason that’s memorable is because it was freaking hard. It took hours, and If you died you would likely have respawned in the Barbarian city right? And you would have lost xp and maybe even a level, which took you forever to get in the first place. And there were no maps! Other games have large landmasses and cool dangerous monsters, but there is very little risk so it’s not a big deal if you run from Qeynos to Kelethin.

  • I remember the time running through the plains on my Human Ranger. (I believe it was near Freeport.)
    I was hunting for Fippy Darkpaw. I remember slaying him and looking up only to see a great big train of skeletons walking. Some small. Some GIANT SKELETONS! I looked on with awe and fear of being killed (I was a fairly low level at the time.)

    That and selling conjured food items on infront of the Freeport gate just for kicks made EQ my favorite experience as a child. I only got to play for a couple months when I was about 9 years old but it was the best time of my childhood :). I eventually went on to play WoW once I turned 17 and I enjoyed it up until Burning Crusade. I despise it now though…

  • I’m blown away by the number of people coming out to share their stories or share in the same memories I have from EverQuest.

    The official SoE, EQNExt, and EQ twitters retweeted/shared our story, and the official EverQuest Facebook page shared our story as well resulting in over 118 likes and people engaging with their stories. That’s awesome!

    There are a dozens things we could expound upon as reasons for why these memories are so amazing, I think its a combination of them all. The original EQ was a masterpiece for its time. That’s crucial because it doesn’t mean the game was perfect or that every game should emulate the same mechanics; EQ worked so well because it was designed from the ground up to be itself.

  • Instead of posting my most memorable moment, here is what I hope will be my most memorable moment in EQNext.

    We have one dog, but did a terrible job training it. The dog thinks she controls the house. But, the wife wants a second dog, still. However, I keep vetoing the 2nd dog until I have time to train it right. We do not have the time to try to train this one, with our work schedules.

    Unfthe wife knows my passion for EQ.

  • Sorry for the second post. Stupid phone.

    Instead of posting my most memorable moment, here is what I hope will be my most memorable moment in EQNext.

    We have one dog, but did a terrible job training it. The dog thinks she controls the house. But, the wife wants a second dog, still. However, I keep vetoing the 2nd dog until I have time to train it right. We do not have the time to try to train this one, with our work schedules.

    Unfortunately, my wife knows my weakness and passion for EQ.

    The compromise: I get to take a month off work to at EQNext at release, as long as I train the 2nd dog during that time.

    Let the good times roll! Bark!

  • I still remember my first major travel experience as a half-ling rogue being sent on a quest to the freeport rogues guild it took me 2 days to get the damn quest done no one has ever been happier to receive a rusty dagger and 5 silver

    But i think the Best thing for me that i have not found in any other game since…….

    The friends i made in Everquest are STILL very close friends even traveled from Australia to America for a few weeks to meet some of them

    Good times

  • Some great stories here and I have my own from Asheron’s Call in 1999 but I am too lazy to type them. However i do remember someone asking me ” how do i save the game before i log out”. Hehe MMo’s were so shiny new the technology blew us away alone.

    However sorry to burst a lot of people’s bubble but you will never feel those great senses of Awe again with EQ Next or any other game. Reason:

    You are only a virgin once.

  • I remember the first time I made my cross Antonica trip. But before I dive into that I would like to start with a brief back story to how I started in the game.

    My uncle played a mid teens half elf paladin from freeport and had told us over thanksgiving dinner about this game and the adventures he had including his time across the sea. My brother, father and I decided to get the game and quickly after the first two days we realized we would need more than one copy of the game. My brother played a half elf rogue, my father a human enchanter and I was a human warrior. The idea of a half elf warrior felt too weak and everyone was in freeport and the Ogre and Troll races seemed to strange to me as a young kid of 13.

    I recall being level 1 standing just inside the gates of freeport and not having a clue what to do with only a sword to my name. I ventured outside the gates to kill level one creatures making sure I stayed clear of fire beetles because they were nasty creatures. As time went on it got darker but I was just thirty seconds from the gate where the guards were to keep me safe so I wasn’t worried. Before long it got to the point where it was pitch black. I could not see but a few feet in front of me and I no longer knew which way was home and which way was further into the plains. Every moment I was afraid of hearing a fire beetle attack me. I desperately wanted to kill one though because I had heard that if I killed one I would be able to take its eye and use it to give me additional night vision. In those minutes of darkness I desperately wanted some night vision.

    As far as my journey across Antonica is concerned… My father, being an enchanter, set out on the fabled quest for his stein of the moggok. One of the parts required us to travel far across to the opposite side of the massive continent. The only map we had available to us was a woven map that had come in the box along with the game. Up to this point we had only ventured in the lands around Freeport and only as far as the third inn from the city. I remember looking at the map and seeing one of the ghoul camps and figuring where that might be in the world because we often fought there. Just west of the camps was a great river on the map. Little did we know of the horrors that lie between us and that great river. We were able to find a dark passageway that lead west to a dark forest of some kind. Upon entering we found a large group of people there so we introduced ourselves and told them about our journey. They said they were going just to the other side of the forest to a place which was very popular for parties to meet up and explore together. They warned us though that we would be fools to try to cross the forest in the dark. We were in a hurry and asked if they suggested any tips for us if we needed to get across during the night. They informed us that if we were very quiet and careful and climbed along the edge of the cliffs that the forest sat within we may be able to make it through alive. A small party saw that we were heading out and they decided to come as well.

    I have never been so afraid of the faintest of sounds. We were all nervous based on what we had been told about nasty dark creatures in the night. At one point we were spotted and the creature chased down one of the members of the party that joined us. I still don’t know how we were able to get away.

    The rest of our journey was a blur. All moments just a see of fear and danger lurking in every corner. They just don’t make fear in MMOs anymore.

    And if you want real fear you talk about the original Planes in EQ or Veeshans Peak.

  • I think that is what I miss to. First online game was Neverwinter Nights, Melnibone Server. I remember my first trip to the Unga Store (only place to buy lvl 18+ items) where you had a 1h+ trip through a Drow overrun city. That sort of exciting exploration seems lost.

  • Wow, this story is amazing. Really awesome. Why? because it mirrors my own personal first steps almost to a T. I too started a barbarian warrior. I too spent forever just to venture outside of Halas, not wanting to stray too far from the entrance to the city because, well, i had no maps, it was dark and i had no equipment. Plus, those goblins were freaking mean. I remember staying in the everfrost until i reached about level 7, when i decided i wanted to go to Freeport to meet up with my friend who had started a human warrior. Well, i made it into blackburrow when i started to through it, i fell through the invisible floor and died. I spent a couple hours trying to retrieve my corpse and finally gave up. I said, well, ive only spent a couple days on this guy, so i left him there, and started a human Paladin named Kutark Validus. That was in early 2000 and to this day i still use that name for most everything. I finally did make that entire trip from Halas to Freeport, and i’ve long joked with other MMO’ers that if you haven’t made the trip from Halas to Freeport under level 10, then you can’t call yourself a true MMO player.

  • I miss those days with no maps and you had no idea where you were going! My biggest adventure was with Flesmus (At the time Fairyprincess) I travelled through the path of Faydark, through Butcherblock, then took the ship to Freeport and went to the Commonlands where a bunch of people were in a cave, then died from a snake. LOL! There is no mystery to explore in MMOs anymore and its just too easy and BORING “Leveling Up”! I hope EQ Next will bring that back!

  • Excellent tell. My story is very much like yours, only I traveled from Kelethin to Surefall Glade as a level 10 Ranger. Like you and many others the excitement of exploration combine with the fear made for an amazing adventure. Just getting to the Butcher Block docks took a fair amount of time, thanks in no small part to the bandits near Kaladim that back stabbed me which made for a teachable moment. No food, water or protection, just a bare wood elf on his corpse run. But oh the wonder of reaching the docks, boarding the ship and watching “home” fade into the distance. You may have inspired me to write this tale in full so thanks again.

  • This thread makes me think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    If you could have all of your old mmorpg memories erased so you could have that 1st time feeling again, would you?

  • The story that I will always remember, and cherish, was the day that four humans from Freeport decided to make the trek to Odus. It was rumored that the kobolds in The Warrens dropped weapons that could be sold for 1 platinum a piece!!! “Wow!” we thought… “We’re going to get rich!” We were all between the levels of 10-12. The group consisted of a Paladin (my cousin), a wizard (me), a ranger (my uncle), and a cleric (my other cousin).

    Prior to this, none of us had ventured beyond the Commonlands. We dabbled in Befallen, and ventured into Nek Forest, but a transcontinental journey was surely going to be a momentous event. So one Saturday morning, we got up early to set out on this task. My uncle even brought his computer over to my house along with one of my cousins and his computer and we all plugged into my router and off we went. (For those who used Team Speak, or any other voice software, you can appreciate how much more fun it is being able to communicate in real time without typing, now imagine being in the same room).

    We started out by running through our familiar Commonlands and into West Commonlands. Once we past Befallen things started to feel “foreign”, as everything beyond that was new to us. Not having any maps added to the mystique and challenge. We knew that we would be venturing through areas with KOS monsters many times our level and ability. Our goal was to stick to a path that could be retraced in the even we die and have to do a corpse run. If we are under attack and there is no chance to make it the plan was to give the cleric enough time to get away so he could then come back and rez us so we didn’t have to return to our bind location in Freeport.

    One of the scariest moments came when we entered Kithicor Forest. It was night, and we slowly ventured down the path until the first Undead came into view. Luckily it was far enough away that we did not catch agro, but it was the first time any of us had seen a red con that was KOS. Excitement built when we started talking about how one day we would be strong enough to come back and fight those monsters. We quickly ran back to the zone line and waited till day break when it would be safer to make it through the forest to Riverdale.

    Once in Rivervale, that’s when things started to seem exotic. There we were, in a foreign and unfamiliar land. The inhabitants looked nothing like us. The city layout was completely foreign. We found the banker, and we stocked up on food and water. Reality set it about how far away from home we were when we bound ourselves in Rivervale. That was the first time any of us had bound anywhere besides the gates in Freeport. That is the moment we became adventurers.

    Feeling safe enough to go out and fight something because of our newly acquired bind location, we decided to try out Runnyeye. We heard that Goblins are there. None of us had ever seen a goblin, and we wanted to see what it was like. We found the zone line to Misty Thicket and zoned over. Standing there in the round entry way looking out into the zone we could see dozens of low level Halfling players foraging around killing various low level mobs. We had garnered some attention from a few of these folks, who could have quite possibly never seen a human before. We must have looked impressive to them. Four humans, so far away from home, we must have appeared to them as seasoned adventurers. It was the first time we had ever felt “uber”.

    Not really knowing where Runnyeye was exactly, we had recruited a low level Halfling to guide us there. As we approached we caught our first glimpse of what a goblin looks like. There, at the zone line the Paladin ran in and started fighting the first one, and the ranger, not far behind him, grabbed the second. I ran through them into the tunnel, turned, and started nuking from a distance. The sounds, the sights, they all seemed so new to us. We quickly dispatched the two goblins standing guard at the entrance. We turned, and stepped into the dungeon.

    We spent several hours there fighting and killing goblins. We even ventured down far enough to see some Sporali. We made our way to the zone line to Beholder’s maze and zoned out. All along, our plan was to return to Rivervale, sale our plunder, and continue our journey by going through High Hold Pass. But we also knew that we could bypass all of that by going through Xorbb. We knew there was some risk, and we were not quite sure if we could make it across, so we sent the ranger out to probe for a safe route. We eventually did make it through the Maze, but not without casualties. We were able to make it to East Karana zone, and we were able to zone back in, recover the fallen, and rez them, so the journey continued.

    Our travels through the Karanas were full of wonders and first experiences. We saw our first Griffon, our first Lion, and we even seen our first giant! Wow, seeing the giant was an impressive sight. We stood and watched for as long as we could, from a safe distance of course.

    We eventually made our way to the gypsy camp in the middle of North Karana. There, we bound ourselves again. Binding in the Gypsy camp was a momentous occasion. We had traveled further than we had ever been before, and at that moment, home… Freeport… seemed so far away.

    We knew that West Karana was big, but nothing prepared us for exactly how big it was. It seems as if we ran, and ran, and ran. The vastness of the zone was intimidating. We realized that if we all died out here in the vastness, that we may never be able to find our corpses. We stuck to the road as much as possible, but we came to a sudden halt when we saw some mysterious figures ahead. From a safe distance we conned them, and realized they were KOS…. “Bandits!!!”

    We left the road and circled around, detouring around the shadowy figures, and made our way back to the road. We traveled some distance further and off to the right, up on a hill, we saw an entire camp of bandits. We decided to try our luck and investigate further. The ranger felt confident enough that he could pull one without training us, so we looked around for a safe spot to set up camp.

    We are all a little nervous. After all, we are quite a distance away from our bind spot at the gypsy camp. We did however feel confident that if things went bad that we could find this spot again, so off the ranger went to try his first pull. Success!!! He brings one bandit back and we quickly dispatch it. He brings back another, and then another, until one pull yields two bandits!!! “OMG!” we thought. The Paladin is fighting, the cleric is healing, and I am nuking. I get a little over zealous and pull agro with one of my nukes and I hit the dirt…. DEAD! “Errr, I sure hope we don’t whipe” I thought. We eventually make it through the fight, and I get my rez. After we rest and recover mana and health we decide that the risk is not worth it and that we should continue to Qeynos where we can get a fresh bind location.

    Once in Qeynos hills, the guard towers were a welcoming sight. The most dangerous part of the journey is complete. With the harsh untamed wilderness at our backs, we make our way to the Qeynos gate. The sight of the gate brought a huge sense of accomplishment to all of us. Here, before our eyes is the “other” human city, that seemed so far away when we were in Freeport. We had arrived at last!

    With fresh binds within the walls of Qeynos, we set out to find the docks. Navigating the city turned out to be a bit of a challenge, but it was all fun. We eventually found the dock, my uncle found the bar and had his first taste of ale. We sat, and talked, as we awaited the boat which would ferry us across the ocean to Odus. The thoughts of leaving the continent and traveling to an entirely new land was so exciting to us. “What wonders will we see?”

    The boat finally arrives…. “all aboard!” my cousin shouts. On we go, and off we went. I turned and saw the docks slowly fade into the distance, until…. “Zoning…. Please wait!”

    The boat makes port on a curious little island. We were not quite sure if this is where we get off, but my uncle didn’t seem to think so. We didn’t go ashore, but observed from the boat the odd looking cat like creatures standing around the various huts. A few moments later the boat continues its journey and we zone again into Erudin.

    Another new city, another new record for longest distance traveled accomplished, and off we go exploring these new wonders. We are sure to bind once again, and this time in the shadow of the grand library. We are not sure where anything is, but as always, we have to find the bank. We are surprised to learn that the bank was in the temple, and that is another zone within the city. We find it, familiarize ourselves with our surroundings, because after all, if we are going to be fighting in the Warrens, this city is going to be our home for quite some time. We begin making our way to Toxx forest, and the anticipation of being so close to our destination was overwhelming. The ranger, being a typical ranger, gets impatient and while we try to figure out how to get down from the ledge and to the Toxx zone decides to jump and dies. We don’t realize there is a warp platform that will safely bring us down. This is a time when the city, like all other cities, were full of newbies. After watching a few of them run up to a platform, and then appear down below, we stupid humans figure out how to get down. The ranger is rezzed, and we continue into Toxx.

    We know there is an evil city between us and our destination. Whether or not we will be able to get through without incident is another story. As we transverse the forest, we happen upon a bridge. We are left with the feeling that what lies on the other side of the bridge will not be welcoming. We continue forth, and encounter our first roaming Kobald. “So that’s what they look like” we all thought. The ranger lobs an arrow at it, and the creature turns, and rushes toward us. After a few whacks, the creature dies. We note that while this pup was easy to kill, there are much stronger counterparts deep within the lair that will not be so easily dispatched.

    With the porch of Paineel in sight, we are disturbed to find several skeletons standing guard. Surely, these guards will quickly kill us the moment we get close we thought. We were surprised to learn that they were not KOS. Walking up to, and staring into the faces, of skeletons left us with a creepy sensation. We almost half expected them to change their minds and attack us, but then again, skeletons don’t have any minds.

    Safely inside Paineel, we step up to the pit and peer over. Surely, a fall into that abyss will ensure that we never recover that corpse. We steer clear of that, and make way toward the Paineel newbie area.

    Low and behold, so close, yet so far, two KOS guards stand vigilant at the mouth of the tunnel we are in. The plan is to make a sacrifice. One of us will run down the middle, and once agroed, will lure the guards away and die so that the rest of us can safely move past. The ranger goes first, and “whoaaa”…. He gets past without agro. So the Paly tries, and also succeeds. We realize that we can run right down the middle and safely pass. One by one we all safely move past the guards. We make way to the fountain just outside the Warrens zone. We bind here, and then camp out for the day. It took us all day to get here, and now we are all set to start the next chapter of our EQ experience. We stay here well into our 20’s and there meet people who we eventually started a guild with, which turned into a raiding guild, and some of those people I am still friends with to this day.

    That’s my EQ story… hope you enjoyed it.

  • Love everyone’s stories, they remind me of all mine.

    I really wish that there would be a game that could do for me what Everquest did, but it was definitely a different time. I feel like I’ve been ruined by these newer MMO’s and my patience for the things EQ had would be gone. I was also a kid in the fourth grade to the 9th grade when I played EQ and now I’m an attorney and cannot spend a whole day playing.

    Ah, the memories…

  • I think there are two very important key notes that you touch on in your EQStory and it is here where I believe other MMOs have failed. The complexity of the world around you and the time it took to travel places.

    You can have an incredibly detailed and massive world around you but if you are flying safe over it all where is the chance to experience each zone on a personal level. The lack of ability to travel quickly across long distances, as in the original EQ, gave the player the feeling of being immersed in an expansive world like none other. Slow travel and no maps allowed for players to experience the journey and not just the destination. Isn’t it in the journey where the real adventure lies?

    The lack of formal information on zones, class abilities, and of course how to play/navigate around such an immense world without dying only added to the overall experience. Like life, we must learn as we go. You can read and be told how and where and why but to actually experience it on a personal level helps you develop a physically and emotional attachment to the people, places and objects.

    If EQN sticks to their roots their moto should be that of EQ – “Youre in our world now”. IMO as long as EQN follows that course they will create a game which will fill the ever growing void of lasting MMO memories