Everquest Turns 10 – Oz Reflects

In celebration of Everquest turning 10 this week (well, actually last week, but as the always entertaining Sanya Weathers points out, the first week was largely unplayable so counting from week two is accurate enough), I invite folks to post their EQ memories. It was my intro into the world of online gaming, and like one’s first love, gets looked back on with rose colored glasses. Ah memories…

Seven long years I played Everquest, often called, correctly I’d say, Evercrack. My first character, a wood elf, died so many times his first day. From H-A-SMACKing his trainer, to one of his many falls from the tree tops, to being accosted by bats, that I literally lost count. My best friend, who bought the game for me so we could talk more (he had just moved to Texas for a job), was a staggering level 20 and suggested that we go to some place called Qeynos as life was better there. The journey was so epic, that Odysseus would alternately laugh and cry if told the tale, but a mere 12 hours later, we arrive and my young druid began his city life. Later, when I had leveled up and learned Spirit of the Wolf (a run speed buff, and always in demand), I would turn myself into a tree (another druid spell that increased your regeneration) and give this buff for free at the city gates. At this time in the game, and on this server, this was unheard of. It was customary and expected to charge for it, but I enjoyed just buffing random people. Because of this, a GM gave my character a title, something that was beyond rare at the time. My character proudly wore (and still wears, I’d guess) that title: Evadrepus Terramere, The Magic Tree.

Later, I would leave him behind and move to play on the Test server, where I stayed until I left the game a few years back. Test Server was like going to Mayberry, albeit one filled with random, item destroying bugs, constant, random downtime, and things even more confusing. It was the personal playground of the devs, chief amongst them being Khelbun, who was Test’s unofficial personal GM. I’ve never met him in person, and had only a brief conversation with him once, but everyone on the server (which was, at most, a few hundred people) knew of him. He was the one who brought Nagafen to the gates of Freeport for a laugh. He’d broadcast about breaking his chair, or how drunk he was. He was a legend, and the falling out between him and a senior member of Sony’s staff is considered the true reason behind The Great Wipe, or a wipe of all characters that happened abruptly in 2000 (there are at least as many conspiracy theories as to why as in the Kennedy Assassination). This caused such an uproar, that Brad himself called a meeting of the denizens of the server. We ended up with characters restored, but naked, but those who remained help gear each other back up. The server lost a great many fun personalities that day though, and was never quite the same.

I’d go on to help many devs with tuning events and instances, and forge strong friendships that I still have today. In fact, a guild of friends, upon hearing my depression over losing my job at Christmas a few years back, secretly got together and sent toys and gifts to my wife and kids so my tree would not be bare underneath. They got no experience points for this, nor in-game reward, but it is ETCHED in my mind and always will be. Its funny, but for all the complaining we did about how slow the game moved, it was those times that I remember the most. For months, a friend and I fished in every body of water trying to find a fish that had been left out of the game. When a dev finally snuck it in, I got a call, at work, about it from someone I didn’t even know. It was a random, minor obsession for me, but it helped pass the downtimes, but it was fun. Few games these days understand that – the journey is more often much more important than the destination. Even out here, in the real world, it’s not always about where you are, but often how you got there.

-Oz or in my EQ lives, Evadrepus Terramere The Magic Tree, Questaholic Dinomight The Keeper of Lore, Ozmandias Prime, and Prints Albert, plus hundreds of low level alts.

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Oz

Jaded old gamer, and father of gamers, who’s been around long enough. Still, he’s always up for giving the Next Big Thing a whirl.

3 thoughts on “Everquest Turns 10 – Oz Reflects”

  1. As much as xp grinding is something that’s rightfully hated, I have to say some of my fondest MMOG memories are from nights where me and a pick-up group would just setup camp somewhere. We’d spend hours pulling/killing and chatting. It was like IRC-with-a-purpose. :)

  2. Everquest was pretty magical. Maybe I bought the game and guide the day they were released and just studied for a week before installing the game. I looked at all the spells it listed (all the way up to l20, I think) and decided a dark elf enchanter was right for me. I rolled him like I still do today, not for what I thought would be best, but what I thought would be most fun. (Oh, he’s a DE, maybe he should be agnostic…hmm, people won’t like him, so I should put extra points in CHA.) Jorel on Xegony ended up being pretty well balanced as far as skill points you needed. I played him into the 40s, then shared him with a friend into the 50s, then sold him to a guildmate when I realized I was spending too much time playing.

    When Luclin came out, I restarted as a Beastlord and played another few months.

    I still wonder what happened to a lot of the people I met and played with. They were good people. I stayed playing so long not because of the game Verant created, but because of the friends I made playing it. No game since has matched it. I am still a player that prefers exploring over combat, and I never developed a taste for PVP. For me, the people I played with(Tyorl, Jesster, Exec, Moonkey, Hirosan, Xanit and those other Seekers of Lore) were the creme de la creme.

    I wonder if I will ever have that much fun again in a game.

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