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Archive for the ‘EverQuest’ Category

MMORPG.com features a fantastic interview today with original lead designer and producer of EverQuest Brad McQuaid, in which he provides some interesting backstory on the inspiration and development of the game.

This is great fun to read for a longtime fan, but as someone who enjoyed (read: suffered through) the olden days of “The Vision,” I do have to take issue with some of the interview’s assertions.

First of all, I can’t agree that original EQ created “themepark” style games. I really think World of Warcraft deserves that distinction, and though EverQuest was undeniably the inspiration for and spiritual progenitor of WoW, calling EQ a “themepark” is a huge stretch. A “theme park” is not simply an area centered around some kind of theme, it’s also a place for harmless play, a place carefully constructed to create the idea of adventure while simultaneously ensuring that no actual harm can possibly befall you. Playing original EQ, with its punitive consequences for failure and bad luck alike, was really more akin to being a deer on a game preserve.

Secondly, though McQuaid insists that their intention was to create a game first/world second, I don’t think they managed to meet this goal. Much of the “game” in launch-era EQ was sort of like winding a jack-in-the-box toy which, 99 times out of 100, would punch you square in the jaw when triggered. The 100th time, though, you get a great, gleaming golden egg.

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Happy Birthday, EQ

Happy (belated) Birthday, EverQuest! The game is 12 years old this month. See the announcement at EverQuest Players.

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It’s been kind of a hectic few weeks, but I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of elf time here and there. The most exciting news to share is that after a fair amount of camping and collecting odds and ends from all over the world, Leafkin got his Leafblower. (Also known as “the original druid epic weapon.”)

Not actually for landscaping use.

In smaller but no less exciting news, I had a week of awesome pets courtesy of Summon Monster II. First, in Crescent Reach, the most awesomest of awesome pets — a bunny rabbit.

Bunny of DOOM.

Then in Takish-Hiz, I got the best friend a girl could ask for: a magical unicorn! Not the hornless kind, either.

Sparkles not included.

I’ve also passed my previous high level in EQ (43), so I’ve been heading into areas that I either wasn’t high enough level to see before or that are just straight-up new since I quit the game in 2002. The most notable journey so far was a trip to the mysterious environs of Natimbi. I don’t know what the lore is supposed to be for the area or even what expansion it was associated with. Judging by what we saw, it’s a nightmarish realm where malevolent fitness enthusiasts rule over an oppressed caste of phlegmatic albino smurfs.

Nightmare fuel.

Oddly enough, the area had some especially lovely ambient music. Maybe those albino smurfs are behind it?

In other gaming news, my sister let me play Angry Birds on her phone and though the game is cute I can’t help but wonder what the big deal is.

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This week saw a trip to the City of Mist, a dungeon introduced along with The Ruins of Kunark, EQ’s first expansion which debuted back in 2000.

Astonishingly, many denizens of the Kunark-era dungeons are so tough that they can even chew through a current-era (read: way overgeared for the content) tank mercenary. How anyone ever contended with them at the time is kind of beyond me. It’s possible that the encounters were re-balanced at some point to account for current gear, but it doesn’t really seem to me like any of the other older content was rebalanced in this way.

However! The denizens of City of Mist seemed pretty normal difficulty-wise and it was a successful trip. I even got to leave by the front door instead of getting an express ticket back to my bind point.

Look upon my works...

I’ve also made a few trips this week to the frost giant fort of Kael Drakkel for fun and profit. Fighting these guys is supposed to net good faction with the Claws of Veeshan, but I don’t know if I’ve iced enough of them to travel without risking the ire of some testy dragons. I’m not sure there’s an easy way to check, either.

Next time: druidic landscaping?

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Return to Castle Mistmoore

This week, Leafkin and I decided to pay a visit to Castle Mistmoore and say hello to the vampires. This was a fun trip for me because I’d never actually made it into the castle proper, so I was pretty excited to finally have a chance to explore it.

The front yard of the castle: the only part of the dungeon I'd really seen before.

There is only one entrance to the zone, which also means one exit. Back in the day it was pretty common to see a huge pile of player corpses right inside the zone entrance, poor unfortunates who couldn’t manage to get out of the way in time when someone came barreling for the exit with a horde of angry vampires and gargoyles in tow. (Why, no I never got trained in this very spot by an idiot bard who never once apologized or seemed to care, why do you ask?)

Oddly enough the toughest fight of the night actually took place in the front yard, against this not very nice lady, who messed us up a bit badly with the Thousand Vampire Punches of Mana Draining. We prevailed however, and probably stole some armor from her, and moved farther onto the manor. Naturally, we happened upon a graveyard in short order. Can’t have vampires without graves, right?

I dare not even speculate what this is about.

There were no shortage of guards posted, but there definitely was a shortage of witty banter. The castle denizens need better dialogue writers…

So, wait, I'm confused: what is it you don't want me to do, again?

The interior of the castle is very distinctive, its stone walls decorated here and there with portraits of dark elf nobles or blood red tapestries. Since it’s a creepy vampire lair of course there are false walls and other confusing architectural elements. This is one of the early dungeons constructed with very narrow passageways — clearly not intended for playing in third person view. Having a limited camera angle ratchets up the spookiness. My mushroom merc got so scared, he turned yellow. Or maybe he really needed to take a break but didn’t want to tell me.

A hired fungus turned yellow.

Poor little guy.

We finished up the night with a trip to the vampire lord Mayong Mistmoore’s place of rest, but he didn’t make an appearance. Maybe it was too early in the day for him?

Interior decoration by Evil Pottery Barn.

Up next: Kunark mobs are broken.

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Baywatch this ain’t

So, I made it onto Fippy on day one, but I didn’t get my screenshots.

I rolled a half-elf bard with Qeynos citizenship, intending to run straight out into the newbie yard glory in the chaos and killstealing drama. In my haste and excitement, I misstepped and fell into the pond which conceals the entrance to the Catacombs. Try as I might, I couldn’t seem to get out of the water. (Aside: I wasn’t the only one who had this experience.) Okay, no problem, I thought, I’ll just swim over to the other side of the pond and try over there where the ledge looks shallower.

Easier said than done. Now I know fully well that a brand new character with no swimming skill moves slowly in the water, but I wasn’t really prepared for how slowly.  After falling into the pool, my little bard was still in an upright position (treading water?) rather than a swimming posture, for some reason, so this probably complicated things. I set off for the far side of the pool…

And three tooth-grinding minutes later, reached it.

At this point I lost my will to live so I just camped and decided to try again later.

After being reminded that going into first-person and using page up to tip the camera helps immensely when attempting to climb back onto land, my second attempt was successful.

Like the food court at the mall.

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GRRRRR! BARK!

Fippy Darkpaw is live and everyone’s abuzz! In theory, at least.

My plan was to pop in and take a few poignant screenshots of the carnage, but then this happened:

An unknown error occurred while trying to join the server.

Sad trombone.

For the full multimedia experience, load this in a new tab.

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