"You have logged onto EverQuest and created a lithe wood elf youth called Eraltyth who dreams of becoming a famous warrior. You move past the character selection screen and the world around you fades out as a new world appears in front of your face. You are standing in the tree city of Kelethin. You look inside your backpack and notice a small sword, a lamp, some food, and a note. Picking up the note you see that the Guild Master of the local warrior guild has invited you to join the guild. Bursting with excitement you look around and see the guild hall up a ramp to your left, after walking up the ramp you enter the guild hall where the master welcomes you in and gives you a training tunic, after a brief instruction session he sends you back out into the world as experience is the best teacher of all. You put on your new tunic, wrap your sword belt around your waist, and venture down the elevator to the world below. Stepping past the guards at the elevator bottom you venture out past your homeland of Kelethin into the wilds of the Greater Faydark. A path leads off from the elevator and you follow it for a while. Soon you see an object in the distance, as you get closer you see it is a giant bat. You know in your heart that as a warrior you should help to rid the community of this pest, so you draw your sword and prepare for battle. With some trepidation you charge toward the bat and take a swing. The sword knicks the wing of the bat causing some blood to fall on the ground, but then the bat is flapping all around biting at you. You take a few more swings not causing much damage, then the bat bites you on the arm and the situation becomes a lot more serious. Fortunately for you on your next swing you chop a wing off and the bat plummets to the ground where it soon dies. As you bind your wound and clean your sword you realize what a long hard journey you have embarked on."

This is a snapshot from the first few minutes of a players EverQuest life and this writeup is really an attempt to provide a perspective on the phenomenon known as the "game" EverQuest (more commonly called EQ although also quite commonly called EverCrack) coming from a 2 year (170+ days played) relationship with the game. (When I say relationship that is really the word I mean to use) This writeup is split into two main parts because you can look at this game in at least two ways and I personally look at this game on two levels. First there is the game level and next there is the community level, at this point in time it is hard to tell which of these two levels is more essential to the existence of the phenomenon of EQ but I will leave that discussion to my writeup on Can EverQuest survive? First let us take a look at the game level and see what it is all about.

EverQuest the Game

EQ is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (or MMORPG for short) that is generally played from a 1st person perspective although it does contain the capability for 3rd person perspective playing. Think of it in some sense as a mixture of a Quake like environment with your favorite MUD. The game is set in the world of Norrath which is a fantasy world constructed by Verant the company that created the game. This world is inhabited by a wide range of fantasy creatures, in large part based on the lore laid down in the various editions of the popular D&D and AD&D systems. Every person plays a character in this world that grows through the adventures that he or she experiences. These characters come from a set of classes that range from wizards to warriors and have skills and play styles unique to each class.

From the game standpoint, the goal of this game is several fold. First you want to explore the world of Norrath, see the sights and monsters. Second you want to grow your character in a power sense or in game terms level the character up (currently the highest level is 60). Leveling a character is achieved by killing monsters in the game which give you experience or by completing quests that can give experience as well. The 2nd route, questing, is not really feasible as a route to leveling by itself although it does give experience. The vast majority of experience in the game and thus levels will come from killing monsters. Finally from a game perspective you want to grow your character material sense by acquiring platinum (the currency of the game) and equipment for your character to use. In some sense the material wealth and power "wealth," if you can call it that, are highly correlated. One of the keys to EQ's success is the ability for a person to easily see an improvement in their character by means of increasing one of these two factors: experience or equipment. Every play session is usually marked by some improvement of one of these two factors, which provides an addictive appeal.

You play the game from a client installed on your computer, but all the data including character data and updates are stored on a server that Verant operates. Once you are online you can use the client to connect to Verant's servers bringing reality to the slogan they like to toss about "You're in our world now." The game is divided into servers which house roughly 10,000 accounts, on each of which approximately 2,000 may be active (i.e. online and playing) at any one time. Being an entirely online game the focus of this game really isn't the individual or solo experience but rather the group experience (although at times it can be argued that the solo experience is preferred). At the lowest scale the group experience is just a simple pairing of two characters that pool their resources and abilities to share the experience and loot from killing a particular monster. This simple level can increase up to a party of 6 characters which are all grouped together and sharing in the experience and loot from a group of monsters or a camp. From here things grow slightly more complicated coalitions of groups can join together in an informal relationship and try to tackle a harder camp or a boss, or as termed within EQ an uber-mob. In these situations you can have the upwards of 100 characters all allied to kill the same creature. Characters can also be associated with each other through the creation of guilds which are player created factions within the game. The dynamics of how these groups and guilds interact will be looked at further in the next section.

EverQuest the Community

In some sense EQ is much more than a game, EQ is a community. With roughly 360,000 active subscribers and almost 90,000 people playing at any one time the EQ community is larger than many cities and has many of the social interactions you find in any city. There is simple communication between people, but there is also trading and selling, coalitions of characters, friends, marriages. It is a full-scale online community. The main advantage of having an online game is that people can cooperate with each other to achieve something that none of them could do individually. As I mentioned before on a low level this is done through grouping, but on the higher level this is done through a guild. With a guild players can establish a more permanent relationship with other players and affiliate themselves under one name, have their own private communication channel and create a separate identity within the game. The world of Norrath is a dangerous world not just in terms of the monsters but also in terms of the politics and relationships that exist. By joining a guild you benefit from having all of your guild mates to back you up and they in turn benefit from the skills that you bring to the guild.

Even though guilds are created in the name of cooperation, they in turn bring about a more defined sense of conflict among the various players on a particular server. Since the world is only inhabited by a finite number of monsters and loot at any one point in time, there is great deal of competition over particular monsters and particular loot and it quite common for players and guilds to have arguments and conflicts over the rights to fight a particular monster. To some players this continual friction is a turn off. However to me this is just a symptom of any real community and is part of the appeal of EQ. It is in essence a validation of the community of EQ.

The inside the game community is not the only manifestation of the EQ community. The community has built a large presence on the internet through websites dedicated to the game in general (Caster's Realm and EQVault being popular examples) and guilds in particular (Fires of Heaven being one of the more well known in the game). The community has even moved to the realm of having gatherings in various cities where players from all over the world will attend and discuss the game and their experiences.

I could go on further and I will at a later date, but this should give you a snap shot of what EQ is all about.

If you want to talk look me up here or on EQ. I play on Xev server on the following characters in The Harmonium guild.

Why Everquest is evil.

EverQuest is an immensely popular game that has been in existence for well over a year now. It is played every single day by thousands of players who pay Sony ~$10/month for the privilege of wasting their time.

It has been called the crack of computer gaming, and that is a very good term. EverQuest gives you a rush and a good time, but it is a hollow experience that isn't real and won't last. It's an expensive waste of time that does nothing but bring out the worst in people. EverQuest is evil, and here's why.

I've played every major online game, and many minor ones, so I have some knowledge of what I'm talking about. I'll begin with EverQuest's first fault...

Player Killing/Player vs. Player (PvP)

To understand EverQuest's approach to PvP gaming, we have to look back to Ultima Online. UO is considered by the layman to be the first game of the genre and was known for its lag and rampant player killing. The creators of EverQuest were not laymen, they took some very good ideas from earlier, less popular games and incorporated them into their own. They also learned from the apparent failure of UO, and based many of their philosophies on that.

I will admit that the player killing (PKing) in UO was bad, really bad. PKers would pounce on newbies as soon as they left the sight of the guards, and this turned many people off to the game. The reason it was so bad was not because of the ability to fight other players, but because the world that UO took place in was so large. Nobody knew who the PKers were, and the few vain attempts to hunt them usually ended in failure. The player community in UO wanted to police itself, but was not given the chance because of the size of the world and the number of players in it.

The creators of EQ probably saw this as well, but the only solution to it would have been to decrease the size of their world and the number of people in it. They could not do this because of overwhelming demand and the idea that bigger is better. UO boasted 1500 players per server, EQ would have to beat that to succeed.

So they decided to eliminate PvP altogether, well mostly. Their "perfect" solution was the PvP switch and PvP only servers. These failed because of Sony's refusal to balance the PvP aspect, and the predominating idea amongst PvP players that if they could kill players, that's what they were supposed to do.

EQ is now a game that is 99% Player vs. Monster. Pure cooperation, zero conflict.

How good can cooperation be, if there is no conflict? I don't condone random player killing, and have never participated in it myself in all my years of online gaming, but I have seen the role it plays in games past. Cooperation is so much more fulfilling if you are in conflict with a real opponent. Without PvP, you are just playing a single player game with 1999 other people.

The Root of All Evil

The only goal in EverQuest is the accumulation of wealth. You can gain levels to get better stuff, or you can get better stuff to gain levels. Either way, players are always seeking items that are better than what they have and what everyone else has. It is not about their character. It is not about their friendships. It isn't even about killing things. It's about greed.

(\heavily biased, passion-filled statment)

I hate EverQuest. I was looking forward to this game for over a year before it came out, but now I wish it had never been created. EQ promotes greed, and that is the cause of everything bad in human nature - lying, treachery, betrayal, obsession. I've seen all those in EQ, and more. It's happened to strangers, and it's happened to friends. I've seen people in real-life fights over imaginary items in an electronic fantasy world. My guild was torn apart by these feelings, and this is a group of people that have been together for 4 years without any major problems. Because of EQ they are a shadow of what they once were, and I have serious doubts that they will survive EQ at all.

It's sick what a game can do to people. People who say they love the game itself...

(/)

No Skillz Involved

EverQuest, and most RPGs in general, requires zero skill. There's nothing to get good at, there's no improvement. The level 5 newbie who just got past the learning curve is as good as the level 60 guy who has two other level 60 characters on his account. The second guy has just invested more time into the game. Games like EQ require no skill, just time and patience. That's why they are such financial successes - people are willing to put in hundreds of hours to obtain a false sense of betterment.

A perfect exapmle of this is camping. There are only two things to actually do in EQ: kill things and wait in line to kill things. Camping is the art of waiting in line.

You may be the only one standing in the line to kill that special monster that drops that special item, and spawns once every 21 hours. But you can be sure there are other people who will take your spot if you were to leave. Some monsters are so coveted that there are actually lists made of those who want to kill it. You have to stand there and wait your turn for the right to kill and loot a monster the second it spawns. The day I was first put on a list was the day I quit EverQuest.

I know nobody actually enjoys camping, they talk about it like they're at work: If they work hard now and spend hours camping they will have more fun later.

Sounds like a job, doesn't it?

Who plays a game and spends time working at it? I don't want to hear the word work when I play a game. Games are where you are supposed to let go and have fun, not invest countless hours for fun you might have later on.

In conclusion, EverQuest is a game that is addictive to many people. It is made to be that way, to get you hooked and playing so you will pay them money every month. Yet addictive doesn't always mean fun, and in the case of EQ, it can often be the exact opposite of a good time.

EverQuest-free for almost a year now...

There are several expansions for EverQuest (more commonly know as EQ or EverCrack)that have not been previously mentioned.. they are as follows:



    The Ruins of Kunark, The Scars of Velious, The Shadows of Luclin, The Planes of Power, and The Legacy of Ykesha

Each expansion brings new zones to the game. Also, several races and classes have been added with these expansions. The Ruins of Kunark allows you to play an Iksar, which is the race of the lizard. The Shadows of Luclin expansion permits you to become a Vah Shir, the race of the cat. You also get the class beastlord with Luclin. The Legacy of Ykesha allows you to play the Froglok, the first race to be able to be both a cleric and a shaman!


The Iksar race is the race of the lizard people. They are considered Kill on Sight (KoS) in every town but their own. Iksars start out with a swimming skill of Master. They have their own city, Cabilis, which comes with banks, trainers, venders, and more! There is the ever popular debate of which is the better monk, human or Iksar? Iksars come with a naturally higher regeneration rate and armour class than humans. Eh, decide for yourself. /shrug


Vah Shir is the race of the cat. Their homeland is the moon, called Luclin. Vah Shir are naturally more agile than say, a troll or ogre. They start near an excellent newbie hunting area where you can stay for many levels. The Vah Shir also have their own city, Shar Vahl. Vah Shir are not as hated on the other continents, but are still KoS to ogres and trolls and other dark alliances.


The Froglok, quite possibly the most anticipated race of any expansion, is sadly a disappointment. Naturally, you start out with a Master swimming skill. This is the first race to be a cleric and a shaman. Their starting city is now the city of Grobb, previously the trolls' home. Frogloks can be a cleric, shaman, wizard, warrior, and paladin. Side note - armour and froglok graphics are not as 1337 as say the dwarf roll or the wood elf armour.

People say that Evercrack is bad for your real life.. oh but it is quite the contrary! My entire family plays the game. Now I must admit, I surpass them in just about every way, but I keep a character or two low level to play with them at times. It's quite a fun thing to do on Sundays!


Some drawbacks to EverQuest

Some Background Information:

I only played the original EverQuest (EQ) game, and that's because I bought it for $10 at Best Buy. (Most of the reason I don't play MMORPG's often is not because of the monthly fee; it is because of the ridiculous price of games when they're fresh on the market.) However, I have heard that most of the later expansions don't do much to address the following problems.

  • Travel

    Firstly, the main method of transportation is walking. Walking. EQ boasts of the largest MMORPG world of them all, and the main transportation is walking. Goodie.

    There is also the teleportation system. I forget which class(es?) can do this, but I know at least one of them can teleport themselves and those who are in their group to specific zones using certain spells. "Ah," you may say, "but this is not a drawback!" You may think that. However, when you are not playing one of these characters, and are not friends with one, it is rather difficult to get a teleport without paying out your ass.

    As you can imagine, when you're playing as one of these characters, you don't really want to be interrupted from your quest or battle by teleport requests. Some players make money by standing in major virtual cities and advertising their teleport services for a fee. In both cases, it's massively irritating to see the same message across your screen every few minutes or so: either "Can you pleeeease port me to (city name)? I'll pay! Oh how I will pay!", or "TELEPORT TO (list of cities) FOR A 5 PLATINUM DONATION!"

    Horses are an addition in one of the trillion expansion packs for EQ. I have not played any of the expansion packs, but I hear that horses are rather expensive, and difficult to acquire. If I find out more, I will update.

    EQ, as the biggest online world, has multiple continents. Usually, to get to one of these continents, you need to take a boat. A boat ride in EQ is one of the most boring things you could possibly have to sit through. There's actually nothing on the boat but a deck and a lower room. There's a mast, with which you can't do anything. And there are the other players. Sometimes, if the other players are chatty enough, you can start a conversation. If you are alone, though, you have to just sit there while the boat passes through massive ocean zones. I'd suggest taking up crocheting or something to help pass the time.

    UPDATE:*
    Apparently, two expansions (Planes of Power and Shadows of Luclin) improve the travel system, placing portals throughout the land. I should have known this; I've seen the portals before when running through various zones. To me, it was frustrating seeing them, knowing they were a quicker method of transport, but not being able to use them.

  • Damage and Death

    Clerics and other healers (Druids?) are plagued with the same problems I mentioned involving teleportation. Either they're bothered constantly with resurrection, disease-curing, poison-curing, stat-enhancing, and healing requests; or they're standing near battle scenes, screaming about how they'll enhance your strength if you give them money. It's all very commercial.

    Dying in EQ is generally a Very Bad Thing. If you have a cleric (or necromancer, I think...) in the area, it's not so bad; you can be resurrected and the like. However, if you are clericless, this is bad news.

    After a death (and after level 10*), you are reborn without any of the items or money you had on your character. (If you have little in the bank, this can be a rough situation.) You can retrieve the items and money if you travel to the site of your death. However, your corpse only lasts either 24 in-game hours (I think... /msg me if wrong) or one offline week. This means, if you spend twelve hours looking for your corpse and then log off, you only have 3.5 days until your corpse disappears. And when I say "disappears", I mean it. All your stuff is gone. Usually, the reason you died is because you are not strong enough for the area you were in. And now you have to go back to the area to reclaim any valuable posessions you had, without the benefit of your best items. (Which you were probably wearing at the time -- didn't help you much, did they?)

    In addition, when you die (again, after level 10*), you lose experience points. Experience points determine your level. Your level determines what spells you can use and what abilities you have and the level of your stats and such. If you die enough (say, if you die, then go back to get your corpse, then die again, repeat a few times), then you can lose enough experience to lose a level. If you need to be level 9 to cast a certain spell, and your experience loss brings you to level 8, you can no longer cast that spell. Many caster classes have tiered spell levels. for example: at level 3, they are able to cast ten spells; at level 5 they gain six more possible spells; at level 8 they gain five more, etc..** If a spellcaster drops a level, sometimes they are left unable to cast several of the spells they had been using. Much unpleasantness is had by all.

    UPDATE:* On the subject of finding one's corpse, bards and some casters can help you locate your body after you die, and you can give permission to someone else to "drag" your body to the edge of a zone so you have an easier time picking it up. However, you have to be careful who you give this permission to... unsavory characters can do bad evil bad things with your body. And even if you locate a bard/caster who will help you locate your body, it can still be a pain to retrieve if you died in an unpleasant place.

  • Camping Rare Spawns

    When you kill something in EQ, it will "spawn", or reappear, in a certain area. Player characters spawn where they last "bound their soul". Monsters and NPCs spawn wherever the programmers set them. All creatures that die have a spawn rate -- if you kill a player, they immediately spawn where they are bound; an NPC or monster will spawn within a certain amount of time. They could respawn within a few minutes, or within a few hours, depending on the length of time set. From what I understand, the programmers set only the maximum time it would take for the creature to spawn.

    Now, herein lies the problem. Some named monsters have important quest items on them. These named monsters are unique, with unique items -- no other monster on the entire virtual planet has those items. People swarm in droves to kill these monsters.

    Let's name one Bob. Let's say a group kills Bob, and a second group is waiting for Bob to spawn so that they can also kill Bob and get the phat lewt that Bob carries. Let's now say that Bob's spawn time is 24 hours. That means that Bob can come back to life in 10 minutes, or 23 hours and 59 minutes, or a half hour, or... any amount of time at all, really.

    This is, to put it mildly, a GIANT PAIN IN THE ASS. And if for any reason your party must disband temporarily, there's a chance that Bob may spawn in that time. If you get randomly attacked by something, Bob could spawn and another group could kill him before you get him. And so forth.





*(Information for updating given to me by graceness. Thanks a bunch!)
**(This specific layout may not actually be true for any caster. I am just demonstrating the concept.)

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