I was more social these last few days in EverQuest than I have been in the past 10 years of MMOs combined. There are so many different social dynamics in EverQuest that have happened to me all while playing in just the first 20 levels.
I’ve grouped with dozens of different people. Each of these people brought a new and unique take on my grouping experience. Every zone I go into there are groups recruiting more for their location, people looking to join a group, and chatter happening about forming to kill something. The other night we were slaughtering some camp with just the three of us and really didn’t need anyone else. Then along came this cleric who needed a group — we already had a cleric — and I found myself thinking that I may one day come across this guy again, and my actions here and now could decide whether or not my next encounter with this cleric (who may res me later) will go down. So we invited him and were truly no worse off. He stayed for about an hour then had to go and thanked us profusely.
I’m Making Friends
The cleric I mentioned before is one example in many where I’ve invited people to group who weren’t necessarily going to bring anything amazing. In fact, most groups should just invite Mages and Necros and blow everything up with their pets. That’s the most efficient and quickest way to level, but it’s not the ‘right’ way to level in my mind. I formed groups this past week consisting of everything from Warriors to Rangers and Rogues. All of these classes are drastically inferior to a Mage, but why should they suffer because they are playing a class they like? We can make it work with them, so why not just do it? As a result, my friends list — my network — is growing and I’m hoping one day they pay it forward.
Trade is Thriving
Chat channels, even those that aren’t designated for auctions, are thriving with people auctioning off their goods. People are making goods and selling them. People are actually buying them because there is a true NEED for the items. I’m definitely not one of the rich players. I think I’m probably in the lower 20%, actually. I don’t know the secrets, nor do I really have the time to invest in camping the spots, but some of these people already have super rare items they’re auctioning off and people out of nowhere have farmed hundreds upon hundreds of plat to just throw at them. It is what it is, and I may never have it, but I love to see it happening around me. Stuff isn’t just individual loot in EverQuest — it’s part of the global economy.
Kindness of Others
For every kind person there are a dozen jerks, but that doesn’t make the kindness of the one any less meaningful. In a game like EverQuest, often times you need things that are difficult or even impossible to obtain if you aren’t one of the lucky few. The rich get richer in EverQuest. When someone goes out of their way to let the class chat channel know that they have extra of this rare quest item and anyone who wants one can have one… it makes me go “d’awww!”
Sharing Strategies and Swapping Stories
I love the class chat channels. I participate in them as much as I can by answering questions from newbies, asking questions of my own (I am a newbie to this version of EQ), and simply contributing my thoughts and ideas to the philosophical and ideological debates that always spring up. This hasn’t happened for me in ANY MMO since vanilla WoW days back in 2004.