Only In EverQuest

In order to pass the time before Landmark comes out, a couple of friends and I decided to once again return to playing the classic/original EverQuest. It happens every year, and we always have fun.  While playing these past three days I had the impression that I should take notes on all of the things I was experiencing that I can or have only experienced in EverQuest.  Obviously you can find some of these things in other games, but all of them help paint the picture of the entire experience you can find only in EverQuest.

Missing the boat three times in a row.  One of my friends was trying to get from Odus to Qeynos and ended up missing the boat three times.  Once because he didn’t reliaze the raft was the boat, another because he alt tabbed and got stuck floating above him, and the third time because he thought the island the raft docked at was Qeynos and didn’t realize he had to get on a second boat.  All we  could hear was this, “GWAAAAAAAAARGH!” on vent and we all chuckled.

Pulling out a map to figure out how to get out of a city.  Yep, we were lost in Qeynos for 15 minutes before I alt tabbed and brought up EQ Atlas.  Even then I had to figure out where I was and how to get out of that blasted city.

Binding.  Here’s a long-lost mechanic.  When you die you return to the last spot you ‘bound’.  Only casters can bind, and if you can’t bind yourself you ahve to get someone else to bind you.  If someone else binds you, it can only be done in a city.  If you bind yourself it can be done just about anywhere.

Corpse Runs.  Now that you understand binding, you can see why a corpse run can be a very, very, harsh experience.  Toss in missing the boat three times and needing maps, and you have the experience.  Death isn’t just about losing 10% or more of your level.  You leave your body with all your gear.  You do not want to die in EverQuest.

Doing nothing yet feeling like your’e doing something.  I had this feeling many times this week.  While waiting 45 minutes in Qeynos for my friend, buffing them while they leveled up to catch up to me, exploring Qeynos, practicing my charm-and-release technique, and figuring out which spells I should use.  Doing these things I made no actual progression on my character — in fact I died once and lost 10% of my level.

Trains.  CHOO CHOO!  I think we shouted this four times last night and laughed ourselves to tears as we felt awful knowing the guy sitting AFK at the zone line was doomed.  To be fair, none of the trains were our fault (they were trained on us) but it was still an absolutely blood-chilling experience every time.  Mobs in EQ do not stop following you until you kill them or zone, and if a mob passes you while chasing someone else it will probably come back and kill you.  Love ’em and hate ’em, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Needing to sit for a while and regain mana.  I forgot what it meant to actually be good at managing one’s mana pool.  This really is a skill that separates the good from the great.  I realized casting one or two spells at most per fight was enough.  I forgot how used to spamming abilities I was, and realized in EQ it’s more about utilizing the few actions you take to their fullest.

Trading mana regen (breeze) for a heal.  I was in Unrest last night duoing with my Monk friend and ended up being at 30% HP after a huge pull where we mez’d 5 mobs and cleaned them up one at a time.  I shouted to the zone that I would give mana regen for a heal.  Within 30 seconds this big ogre comes lumbering over and heals me to full.  My friend and I laughed and laughed at how awesome it was to see such an exchange.

Ogres sliding around on their bellies to get through doors.  The ogre I just mentioned above could barely fit in the house!  I was beside myself watching him crouch and squeeze around just to cast.  He had to actually exit the house, open the door, and heal me through it because he couldn’t cast while crouched.  Such a classic and unique feature to have characters be so big.

Only in EverQuest.

  • You can just have the corpse summoned to POK now its not that big of a deal to die. But it still sucks

  • I really would like to see the harsh death penalty and long travel times make a comeback.

    They could compromise the teleport issue by making the user build some sort of device that allows for a few locations (like WOW’s old engineering trinkets) with a chance of failure.

  • @Einhander

    The thing about EQ is it was only unforgiving if you refused to be a part of the community. If you were playing the game ‘correctly,’ you had 100 people on your friends list who negated all that harshness.

    The death penalty was minimal if you had a cleric to rez you.
    If your corpse was in a terrible spot, just get a necro to summon it.
    Long travel times were pretty short if you had wizard and druid friends on call.
    Long runs were made short with a buff from a shaman, druid, ranger, or beastlord
    Mana regen times were hideous, unless you knew an enchanter.

    The popular view on EQ today is that the game was pointless ball torture but the reality is that was only the case for people who refused to participate with the rest of the server.

    So I agree that I want those harsh elements to return, but not for the sake of harshness, I want them to come back as a reason to make people socialize and bond.

  • Much though I loved EQ back when it was as you describe, I think I loved it even more as it became later. There was a sweet spot somewhere between Luclin and LDON that was just about perfect. That said, any period of EQ, from 1999 to today is just fine with me.

  • I always love hearing stories from these older games, makes me feel a little nostalgic. Though I never played Everquest, I had a lot of great memories of meeting new, interesting people in FFXI, and Everquest stories always seem to remind me of that for some reason.

  • I had the same idea as you. This last weekend I jumped on 1999, mainly for pictures, but also to reaffirm some of my long-held beliefs about the game. Though I wouldn’t want the exact same game again, I was relieved to find out that newer, more modern me didn’t hate it. The game still has buckets of charm!

  • LOL, classic. missing the boats. and Charm and Release. Enchanter Favorite past time. My gnome Enchanter have the most fun charming those big mobs and send them on each other. Timing when to release it. Recharming or charming the opposite mob. Knowing when to let one die so that you get EXP for both mob. It’s an Art. VG Psionist is the closest thing to Enchanter. No other class came close…. 🙁

  • Thanks Keen for explaining why nobody plays those old mmorpg’s anymore and why the genre as a whole is in trouble.

    I used to like Gilligan’s Island as well but Breaking Bad is waaaay better TV.

  • “Thanks Keen for explaining why nobody plays those old mmorpg’s anymore and why the genre as a whole is in trouble.

    I used to like Gilligan’s Island as well but Breaking Bad is waaaay better TV.”

    I don’t understand what you are saying. It sounds like sarcasm, especially with the Gilligan reference, but if things are way better today, why is the genre also in trouble?

  • Jim, Breaking Bad is rubbish. I’ll concede it could have made a good 90 minute movie.

    That all sounds like top fun to me, I’ll give Project 1999 a look.

  • @Jim: you couldn’t be more wrong, could you? “Thanks Keen for explaining why nobody plays those old mmorpg’s anymore”. You must not be aware that EQ1 still has an active community, some people have been playing since it came out 15 years ago. And then there are all the people playing Project 1999 and other emu versions. Yeah, no one plays those old mmorpgs anymore (said in a post about how the host of the site and his friends are replaying one of those old mmorpgs).

    Anyway… Keen you got me remembering how big a deal the mana management aspect was. The slow pace of battle and the awesome range of spells (buffs, debuffs, crowd control, hots, dots, DD, direct heals, runes, damage shields, pets, utility, and fluff) really led to a very rich environment for magic play that hasn’t been equaled since. You could burn stuff down quickly at the penalty of being low on mana. Since the main method of group play was to sustain as long a string of continued battles as possible before having to rest (or not having to rest at all by maintaining health and mana just right), it really led to an environment where player skill and not just character skill made a huge, noticeable impact. And that again led to the social underpinnings and importanceof player reputation, since you would add the good (ie, able to manage their abilities well without leading to a lot of unnecessary downtime) players to your friends list and certainly try to avoid the bad ones. Everyone remembers pick up groups where you got amazing players and everything just clicked, and everyone rode the experience and fun train for as long as the folks could play. So many good memories. Only made all the more enjoyable in contrast with the groan-inducing moments when you got some tool who made everyone suffer 🙂

  • I played FFXI, never played EQ but most of these things also happened in that game. It was a few years later in the march towards the modern MMO and had features that reflected that (in-game map, large race that could fit through doors) but overall it was pretty much a Final Fantasy skinned EQ.

  • My main in EQ ended up being an Ogre Shaman. Not only was the size thing interesting because of where you could and couldn’t fit, but because of character collision you could use it to trap other players in PvP type situations. Also like you already pointed out character classes were largely very distinct and all brought something to a group that was valuable. Two of my favorite activities just for fun was to buff and PL random strangers and when on raids to practice my Shaman Feign Death skill by canabalizing to knock myself out without dying.

  • @Gankatron: My issue is that there is no Breaking Bad mmorpg…all we get is easy mode Gilligan’s Island.

    We can’t keep focusing on the nostalgia we feel for the social media/gaming hybrid that occurred before social media took over the scene. We need to focus on compelling mechanics in a social gaming setting.

    The past is not the future in this case.