Archive for the ‘Everquest’ Category

Everquest Progression Server Impressions

EQ Progression Server

My milkshake brings all the boys to yard. It's better than yours. Damn right, it's better than yours.

It’s been a busy week in which we’ve seen the kick off of not one, but two appealing MMO ventures. RIFT hit open beta on Tuesday, the exact same day as the new Everquest progression server launched which, considering I was very excited about playing both (imagine a small child jumping up and down shouting “I want, I want” and you’ll have an accurate picture of how I was), presented me with a huge dilemma: which to play? Well the easy answer was to play both. So that’s what I did.

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Old School Everquest Server. How Far Will It Go And Will Anyone Like It?

Everquest - The Overthere

One of the things I loved about Everquest was its beautiful and varied landscapes

A great little article by Tipa over at West Karana alerted me to the fact that SOE are launching a new Everquest server in March. Coinciding with the games 12th birthday (interesting fact: EQ is now actually older than the average age of a WoW player) the new server is going old school and will be a reincarnation of the game at the time of launch in 1999. No expansions, no add-ons, no 12 years of content, just good old fashioned nostalgia in a digitally downloadable box.

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Can’t believe I missed this one. Back in June, SOE released a documentary detailing the history and production behind Everquest, one of the “first generation” of MMORPGs and perhaps the most nostalgic for me, to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary. They showed it at the Fan Faire in Las Vegas and it looks fun and very interesting but unfortunately I haven’t been able to see it as I can’t find it anywhere. It’s available on DVD as part of the Everquest 2 Sentinel’s Fate Collector’s Edition which, to me anyway, actually makes it quite an attractive purchase. I haven’t found anywhere in the UK that’s selling the Collector’s Edition yet so we’ll just need to wait and see how it pans out come February.

Anyway, here’s the trailer from YouTube.

P.S. The official Evercracked site which was down yesterday now redirects to IGN Video showing the first 10 minutes of the documentary.

Everquest In Your Browser

There’s been a bunch of rumours floating around about a possible Everquest 3 game but personally I don’t think SOE will release another high profile, fully fledged MMORPG in the same vein as EQ2. Instead, what I think – or rather what I hope - is that we’ll see a more lateral shift with the franchise. What I’m trying to say is that I’d really, really love to see a port of the original Everquest to an Internet browser based game.

I’m not sure if the technology even exists for this yet but considering we’ve now got Quake Live, I’m sure it won’t be long before we can see MMORPGs played entirely through the browser. And I’m not talking about lightweight Flash based ones either but rather proper games and proper ports. Again, I urge any doubters to check out Quake Live and I dare you to not be impressed by it.

I know Everquest is no Quake but considering it’s 10 years old it’s not like I’m asking for a modern day game to suddenly and magically appear in Firefox as an add-on. I’m realistic in my expectations and understand that any port would come with reduced content, basic graphics, and a whole lot of headaches for the developers. For one, it would have to be a totally separate version to the current Everquest and be sold as more of an alternative rather than a substitute (perhaps funded by microtransactions?).

Still, it’s a dream. I’m leaning more and more towards accessible gaming and I can’t think of anything more accessible than firing up a browser during my lunch break at work or in an Internet café and playing a quick bout of my favourite MMO. I’m tired of having to having to have the best, top of the range PC with dozen of GBs of HD space and high speed Internet connections just so I can indulge in my hobby. Maybe one day we’ll even see full, decent MMORPGs on handheld devices or phones (but that’s another blog post).

Something like a browser based version of Everquest could also be a good move for SOE. It would allow them to re-release a timeless classic, update it’s content and repackage it to appeal to the casual gamer, and yet still keep the Everquest franchise alive without risking any harm to their current player base. It’s unlikely that hardcore players would switch over but I’d bet that it would certainly appeal to a lot of older MMO veterans or newer casual players.

Sometimes I wish I could make my thoughts a reality because in my head, this browser based version of Everquest is awesome and we’re all having a ball playing it. Here’s another thought to keep your mouth watering whilst we’re at it. Ultima. Online. In your browser.

Kurn’s Tower Coming To EQ2

Strange how the interweb works sometimes. I was reading West Karana and then followed a link to MMOQuests were I found some info about the arrival of Kurn’s Tower to Everquest 2 in GU #52. Naturally, being a huge fan of the zone in Everquest, I was pumped right away. You can find the offical info page from SOE here.

I resubscribed to EQ2 a few days ago but haven’t really gotten back into the game yet. It’s been ages since I’ve played it seriously and it’s always strange returning to an old game after a long period away. Also, all of my buddies (the ones who are still playing) have betrayed the light side and switched over to Freeport. Being on a PvP server (Nagafen) this means I either have two choices: betray over and join them, getting all my combat arts reset to Apprentice I in the process OR let them relentlessly destroy me every time I log on. Yeah, they really are that classy.

I was considering just getting Mantooth to level 80 (he’s about 40% exp away) and then starting a new character on the FP side. However, my discovery of Kurn’s Tower coming along changes all of that ’cause now I really want to do the zone as the preview of it looks pretty sweet. My only disappointment is that it’s not an open zone but an instance (there’s also a x2 raid instance). Guess I’ll have to save up my pennies, bite the bullet and betray anyway.

Anyway, I found some screenshots of the original Kurn’s Tower through Google. Enjoy the nostalgia fest.

Kurn's Tower Enterance

Kurn's Tower Enterance

Kurn's Tower Outside

Kurn's Tower Outside

10 years of Everquest

So a few days ago Everquest hit the big ol’ number 10. Ding! Grats! I’m exceptionally happy that it’s still going because I spent way too many hours of my youth playing it and, sadly enough, I still feel a strong connection to the game. Even looking at some of the screenshots now fills me with nostalgia and the desire to log… back… in…

Anyway, SOE made this little video to celebrate EQ’s 10th anniversary. /dance and be happy.

Appearance in MMOs

A character’s appearance in a MMO usually dictates two things: what they are and how powerful they are.

Originally, older MMOs didn’t really have a lot of variety in clothing and, if you look at Everquest, it only served to define what type of character you were. Obviously armour and clothing could grant a vast array of stats, bonuses and abilities but there wasn’t much of a way to tell a level 50 character apart from a level 40 one. EQ eventually started to buck that trend though by introducing more and more elaborate looking weapons, visually rewarding the player as well as statistically.

Now, flash forward to today, and MMOs use appearance for more than defining what class you are, they use it as a milestone for character development and achievement. Compare a level 1 Priest in World of Warcraft to a level 80 one and you’ll see a huge difference. The low level character will be wearing bland, uninteresting clothing whilst the level 80 will have far more interesting garb. And of course raiding and PvP plays a part… the more you play your character and the more you take part in activities, the more you are rewarded with an aesthetically pleasing appearance. A player who raids in WoW will likely be wearing huge, glittering and glowing shoulder pads the size of small cars whilst a non-raider will look decidedly more bland. Appearance is more than just a collection of items with useful stats, it’s a status symbol.

No doubt MMORPG developers are keen to show off new graphic engines with complex and attractive visuals but they’ve also discovered that appearance is another carrot they can dangle in front of players. It’s become a tool to reward people and indulge their egos – “the more you play, the cooler you’ll look!”. I don’t have a problem with the principle of that but sometimes it gets frustrating.

Age of Conan is a perfect example of badly done appearance scaling (note: I haven’t played in 6 months so it have changed). I remember wearing the same tunic from level 14 until 50 just because it looked so much cooler. Also, trying to get a full set of decent looking gear was a grind at best – I must have done the Sanctum of the Burning Souls several dozen times with my Assassin just to get some decent looking, matching gear. It wasn’t fun and, upon reflection, not remotely worth it because I out-leveled the armour soon after.

I guess my feelings towards appearance is that I don’t mind the raiders and the PvPers having the best looking gear and I quite like the idea of appearance actually ’scaling’ as I level but ultimately I still want to look half decent and reasonably cool without having to sell my virtual soul to the Gods of Hardcore. Plus, not only do I want to look good when I hit the max level, I also want to look good as I level. Call me vain but appearance matters. It’s how you get with the ladies.