EverQuest
EverQuest
EverQuest Coverart.png
Developer(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X (partial)
Release date(s) 16 March 1999
Genre(s) Fantasy MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer online
Rating(s)
Media/distribution CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, digital download

EverQuest, often shortened to EQ, is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released on the 16th of March, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. It was developed by Sony's 989 Studios and its early-1999 spin-off Verant Interactive, and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).[1]

Since its acquisition of Verant in late 1999, SOE develops, runs, and distributes EverQuest.[2] EverQuest's development is ongoing, and the 18th expansion, Veil of Alaris, was released on November 15, 2011.

EverQuest has earned numerous awards, including 1999 GameSpot Game of the Year and a 2008 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award.

Contents

Gameplay

Many of the elements in EverQuest have been drawn from text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) games,[3] particularly DikuMUDs, which in turn were inspired by traditional role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. In EverQuest, players create a character (also known as an avatar, or colloquially as char or toon) by selecting one of 16 "races" in the game, which range from humans (basic human, Erudite, and barbarian), elves (high elves, wood elves, and dark elves), half-elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, trolls, and ogres of fantasy, to cat-people (Vah Shir), lizard-people (Iksar), frog-people (Froglok), and two varieties of dragon-people (the human-like Drakkin and the reptilian Sarnak).[4] At creation, players select each character's adventuring occupation (such as a wizard, ranger, or cleric - called a class--see below for particulars), a patron deity, and starting city. Customization to the character facial appearance is available at creation (hair, hair color, face style, facial hair, facial hair color, eye color, etc.)

A Sand Giant engaging a group in the Oasis of Marr, a desert zone

Players use their character to explore the fantasy world of Norrath, fight monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points, and master trade skills. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige, spells, and abilities through actions such as defeating capable opponents, looting the remains of defeated enemies and completing quests (tasks and adventures given by non-player characters (NPCs).

EverQuest allows players to interact with other people through role-play, joining player guilds, and dueling other players (in restricted situations--EQ only allows Player versus Player (PVP) combat on the PvP-specific server, specified "arena" zones and through agreed upon dueling).

The geography of the game universe consists of nearly four hundred zones.[5]

Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers. In the past, game server populations were visible during log-in, and showed peaks of more than 3000 players per server.

The design of EverQuest, like other Massively Multiplayer Online Games, makes it very group-centric, with each player having a specific role or function within the group.

Classes

The fourteen classes of the original 1999 version of EverQuest were later expanded to include the Beastlord and Berserker classes with the Shadows of Luclin (2001) and Gates of Discord (2004) expansions, respectively.

The classes can be grouped into those that share similar characteristics that allow them to play certain types of roles within the game when grouped with others. One way of grouping classes is described below.

Tank classes

Members of this group are those that have a high number of 'health points' for their level, and who may wear heavy armor. They have the ability to taunt enemies into focusing on them, rather than other party members who may be more susceptible to damage and death.

  • Warrior: the prototypical "tank" class, able to avoid and mitigate more damage than any other class. In a way, this is offset by their inability to cast spells. Warriors were often designated as main "tank" due to a discipline they receive called Defensive Stance which mitigated a percent of incoming physical damage for a set period of time. Due to their stalwart defensive prowess, the Warrior often has a crucial role as 'main tank' of a group or raid party, absorbing or mitigating the worst of a particularly-strong enemy's brutal attacks. Their high hit points also allow them to take more punishment than most other classes, before dying, which gives healers a greater chance to keep them, and thus the party, alive and well. In their role as tank or proverbial 'damage sponge', the Warrior uses their Taunt skill to keep powerful enemies trained on them, rather than chasing down overly-aggressive Wizards or Thieves (as an example), who often draw fire for their high damage output. All these qualities may help engender a sense of trust in a well-known and well-armored warrior, who can usually go toe-to-toe with a catastrophically-damaging monster for longer than any other class without being healed.
  • Shadow Knight: a durable tank class; this Warrior/Necromancer hybrid has vampiric and damage-over-time spells. Shadow Knights have the unique ability to Harm Touch (do direct damage) every 72 minutes, the power of which increases in absolute terms but decreases relative to enemies' hit points as a player levels up. Since this class is a hybrid, they must wait longer than the Necromancer to begin receiving spells, and longer yet for the more potent incantations such as Summon Corpse and Feign Death. In most cases the level difference in spell acquirement is +25-30 levels. For example a Necromancer might learn a certain spell at level 4 that a Shadow Knight is unable to learn until level 34. Eventually, Shadow Knights are able to summon a weak skeleton pet, summon players' corpses who are in the same zone as them, and cast the spell Feign Death, similar to but slightly less reliable than the monk's feign death skill. The feign death spell allows the Shadow Knight to function as a "puller" for a group when successfully casting the spell allowing them to clear their aggro list by pretending they are dead. Their necromantic abilities give them great power over the undead, allowing them able to do more damage to those opponents.
  • Paladin: the 'virtuous' counterpart to the Shadow Knight, a Paladin is a hybrid Warrior/Cleric. They were originally able to Lay on Hands (heal themselves or another player) once every 72 minutes (real-time); Lay on Hands is now available as an innate magic through the AA window; it maxes at rank 9 and can then be further enhanced through progressing it as an AA. At mid-levels, paladins can purchase some resurrection spells. Paladins are tough in melee with some healing, protective, and stun spells. At mid-range levels, they can purchase a "pacify" line of spells that allows them to function as a "puller" for a group. Like Shadow Knights, Paladins have powers which enable them to do comparatively greater damage to undead opponents.

Damage dealers

The following classes are able to deal high corporeal damage to opponents. Within the game, these classes are often referred to as 'DPS', which stands for Damage Per Second. There is not a single overall "best dps" class, as depending on many factors which vary from one encounter to another (such as the enemy's armor, its positioning, and its magic resistance), one among Berserkers, Rogues, or Wizards may be the better dealer than the other two in a specific instance.

The melee damage dealers have a medium number of hit points per level, but cannot wear the heaviest armors and are less likely than a "tank" class to be able to survive direct attacks for a sustained period of time.

  • Beastlord: A unique class which combines some powers from the Monk and Shaman classes along with a powerful pet. Beastlords can imbue their pets with powers and combat enemies with hand-to-hand skills or with weapons. They can "de-buff" enemies with spells, and possess modest healing abilities. This diverse array of skills allows Beastlords to be effective solo adventurers at many levels as well as being handy in a group.
  • Berserker: A specialist form of the melee type, the Berserker is primarily a medium-armored, high-damage dealer that uses two-handed weapons and who can hurl axes and other thrown objects in the form of spell-like abilities, namely stunning and snaring their opponents.
  • Monk: As masters of martial arts, Monks are the hand-to-hand fighting experts who can learn to use one handed and two handed blunt weapons and are a powerful melee damage-dealer. Monks get many, if not all, combat skills (dual wield, double attack, triple attack, etc.) before any other class. Monks have the ability to feign death with a high degree of reliability and other skills that enable them to be a strong "pulling" class. They have the ability to heal themselves, with a moderate cooldown, with the ability Mend.
  • Ranger: A versatile hybrid class combining some of a Warrior's ability with a Druid's spells, Rangers are able to deal large amounts of damage both from a ranged distance and in melee. Their most unusual ability is to track unseen NPCs, for which they can be used as "pullers" in outdoor zones. Rangers also have the ability to "taunt" and a "harmony" line of spells (like "pacify", but only works outdoors) which allow them to play the role of "tank" to a limited degree. They can make use of archery better than any other class. Their line of snare spells (which slows enemies' run speed) is very useful in XP groups to stop enemies from running away when seriously injured, and kiting.
  • Rogue: With their backstab ability, which multiplies damage done to an unguarded enemy's back, Rogues are able to inflict massive amounts of damage, provided that they are in a group that can keep the opponent facing away from the Rogue. Later in life, with the help of alternate advancement abilities, rogues are able to backstab opponents even when facing them. Rogues have the ability to make poisons, pick pockets, and pick locks. Their abilities early on to sneak and hide allow them to walk past both living and undead mobs without being seen.

Casters

Caster classes have the lowest hit points per level and can only wear the lightest of armors. Casters draw their power from an internal pool of mana, which takes some time to regenerate and thus demands judicious and efficient use of spells.

  • Wizard: The primary nuking class; these casters are able to deal catastrophic damage to enemies over a very short time from a distance, particularly with their Manaburn skill, although the length of encounters often makes manaburn inefficient to use. Wizards have transportation spells that facilitate group travel to particular locations, including designated "safe spots" when things turn sour for the whole group. A Wizard's direct damage spells are generally from the fire, frost, and magic schools.
  • Magician: Usually referred to as Mages, Magicians are similar to the Wizard class but with noticeably less direct-damage spell power. They are able to summon strong elemental pets, viz. Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. They have the capability to conjure pet armor and weapons, food, drink, and mod rods, which allow players to convert their health into mana. Magicians can summon party members to different parts of a zone with the Call of the Hero spell, which can be helpful in raid zones. Magicians' direct damage spells are generally from the fire school of magic.
  • Necromancer: These "masters of death" are able to summon, buff, and heal powerful undead pets and use poison, magic, fire, and disease damage-over-time spells.[6] Necromancers are able to feign death, snare enemies, and summon players' corpses in-zone. They have a combination of skills and abilities, most notably the ability to snare (make a target run/walk slowly), fear (make the target run directly away from the caster) and lifetap (heal the caster and damage the target) that allows them to function as an effective solo class.

All caster classes have the ability to 'Research', an activity where all players can make spells for use by other players. These are made using assortments of different pieces of quest material found in the game.

Crowd control / utility

These classes share the ability to keep multiple enemies from attacking the party and have the ability to increase party members' ability to regenerate mana.

  • Enchanter: A caster class that has few hit points per level and can wear only the lightest forms of armor, Enchanters are crowd control experts and are the most proficient class at Charming, Stunning, and Mesmerizing enemies. They have the ability to Memory Blur an opponent (causing them to forget they were being attacked) or Pacify an opponent (making them oblivious to antagonists in the area, but which has a small chance of backfiring), both of which may be extremely useful in avoiding unwanted skirmishes. Enchanters have a wide range of utility spells, including the Clarity (AKA "crack") line of spells, which when cast on a player allows them to regenerate mana at an improved rate. In addition to being able to both increase players' rate of attack (with the Haste line of spells), and Slowing that of enemies, Enchanters may also cast Illusions on themselves and others, which may have no real benefit (other than conferring a new look) or may grant tangible benefits such as underwater breathing, flight, or a vampiric touch. Lastly, Enchanters possess the unique Rune line of spells, which creates a magical protective buffer against all forms of damage until it has been worn down. This class is also uniquely suited for the jewelcraft trade, because it is the only class able to enchant metals. It is also one of the four classes able to make spells using the spell research trade skill.
For at least the first four years of EverQuest, an Enchanter was a highly sought-after component to any efficient experience-grinding group, along with the Cleric. This is because of their vast contributions to group efficiency on virtually every front. Casters will regenerate mana at a much higher rate, melee classes will deal much more damage, and even more importantly, any collection of mobs can be neatly dealt with so that only one is being engaged at a time, while the rest stand motionless under the effects of Mesmerize, Color Stun (a short term area-of-effect spell), or even Charm, which turns a dangerous enemy into an ally, with varying degrees of reliability. The lone enemy who is actively attacking may be Slowed in the neighborhood of 70% at higher levels, and any creature resistant or immune to mesmerization may also be dealt with similarly, although some are immune even to Slow. At higher levels an Enchanter may purchase Dire Charm with alternative advancement points. This will provide an unbreakable charm on enemies level 44 and below, with a few exceptional creatures being given an 'uncharmable' flag. With a creature completely in lockstep with the Enchanter's whims, it may be safely buffed with not only the Enchanter's own spells, but also a Cleric's (and those of any other caster classes in the group) and thus transformed into a very formidable opponent. It may even be given a pair of cheap single-handed weapons to dual wield in order to further increase its damage output. All of these measures will help to ensure that group will reap more experience with less down-time, with players thereby avoiding boredom, staying on their toes, and thus enjoying their time in-game.
Enchanters do possess some rudimentary direct-damage and damage-over-time offensive spells, all in the Magic school of casting, although using mana in this way is not always efficient or effective.
  • Bard: a jack-of-all-trades class with fair melee ability, good armor, and the ability to play songs that benefit all nearby comrades, such as "crowd control" effects as well as mana and health regeneration. Bards possess the unique ability to 'fade' from their enemies memories. This makes the bard an excellent pulling class. Bards possess lesser versions of many of the special abilities of other classes. They are known for their ability early on to increase the movement speed of their party faster than any mount or movement buff. Bards can weave the effects of up to four songs at once to confer the greatest advantage to their group. Bards themselves often do not receive the full benefit of their songs, but they can still be an effective solo class at many levels, especially with their strong "kiting" proficiency. "Kiting" is a form of attack based on drawing an enemy within the caster's spell range and casting to deal damage but continually running ahead of the enemy in order to remain outside the attack range of the NPC (or PC for that matter) allowing the aggressor to deal damage without taking any damage themselves. This method, which got its name because the player drags an enemy behind them like a person flying a kite, is used by many classes but happens to be especially effective with the Bard's class. For a very long time the Bard was generally considered the most overpowered class in the game, able to originally "stack" multiple versions of "buffs" and benefit from all of them while other classes could not. The Bard is also the only class able to cast spells from items while running at the same time.

Healers

Priest classes have medium level of hit points per level and have access to healing and "buff" spells.

  • Cleric: The most powerful healer in the game, and for the first few years of EverQuest the only class capable of resurrection with experience regained, and the only class with the spell Complete Heal. As the game has changed, Complete Heal has become less effective compared to the cleric's many different lines of more powerful and quicker (albeit more mana-intensive) heals. Primarily healers, the cleric also have some "death save" spells, as "Divine Intervention" and can increase spell casting haste with "Blessing of Loyalty". Clerics can wear the heaviest plate-mail type armors. Clerics are great solo classes due to the introduction of the "Vow of Valor" line of spells, which provides the cleric with increased melee damage and a high rate of self regeneration, at the cost of halving their direct heals' power.[7]
  • Druid: A priest class that can cast healing spells, teleport, snare (to slow down enemies movement rate), and moderately-powerful nuking and damage-over-time spells, as well as charming animals to use them as pets. The range of abilities allows druids to play multiple roles in a group or to solo effectively. Their heals are lesser than clerics and better than shamans, but they share some of the healing/cures spells with the shamans. The Druid hitpoint (HP) spells, the "skin" line, also includes a mana regen component, and they can cast "Flight of the Eagle", the fastest group run speed spell in the game. Druids may only wear "leather class" armors. Druids also have a number of transportation spells that allow speedy movement throughout much of the gaming world, just as wizards, but the two classes have different zones or places in the zones that they are able to teleport to. Their combined tracking and foraging skills make them excellent trade-skillers, in terms of finding various components necessary for baking, tailoring, brewing and the like. Druids can, just like shamans, resurrect (rez) other players after a fight, but with the same experienced regained as a paladin, or a lower level cleric, can rez all the time. During the fight, the shaman and druid will instead use the AA "Call of the Wild) which calls the other player back to their corpse, without any experience regained, but the corpse can be resurrected later.[citation needed]
  • Shaman: Shamans can take many roles, and are often considered as a "utility" class. They are excellent in soloing, group and raid situations. With smaller heals than the other two classes, a shaman often has to use several skills at the same time where a cleric could simply heal right through: keeping a heal-over-time (HoT) spell at the tank, slow the enemy's rate of attack, as well as using their ordinary heals. Their buffs are both long duration buffs, which increases hitpoints (HP), agility and mitigation, and short durations buffs, which need to be recast often. The short buffs can be divided into two areas, where the first one is enhancing their group members dps, damage per second, with spells as "Champion" and the "Talisman of the Lynx" and with their epic. This works especially well on melee groups. The other short buff area is mainly directed towards tanks, "Listlessness" is cast on tanks, and when the tank gets hit, there is a chance that the monster will receive a small pre-slow, and the tank will receive a HoT on them. "Wild Growth" is a spell shamans share with the druids, and is a large HP increase during a short time. While a raiding shaman will primarily heal and increase other classes dps, a soloing shaman or a shaman in a group will use their strong damage-over-time (DoT) spells, primarily based on poison, curse and disease. Shamans, or "Shammies" may cannibalize their health to restore mana which means that they are able to keep casting their spells for much longer times than clerics or druids. They wear "chain mail" levels of armor, and can summon a pet. Because of the range of Shaman's spells, they are sometimes considered a "utility" class. Shamans are the only class able to make potions with the Alchemy skill.[8]

Deities

There are several deities in EverQuest who each have a certain area of responsibility and play a role in the "backstory" of the game setting. A wide array of armor and weapons are also deity-tied, making it possible for only those who worship that deity to wear/equip them. Additionally, deities determine, to some extent, where characters may and may not go without being killed on sight.

Zones

The EverQuest universe is divided into "more than 375" zones.[9] These zones represent a wide variety of geographical features, including plains, oceans, cities, deserts, and other planes of existence. One of the most popular zones in the game is the Plane of Knowledge, one of the few zones in which all races and classes can coexist harmoniously without interference. The Plane of Knowledge is also home to portals to many other zones, including portals to other planes and to the outskirts of nearly every starting city.

Social dynamics

Lord Doljonijiarnimorinar guards the lower reaches of Velketor's Labyrinth

Generally speaking, gameplay in EverQuest may be divided into adventuring – questing or gaining experience and loot, trading with other players, social interaction with other players, and tradeskilling – crafting game items using trade skills. On certain servers however there are special dynamics that exist. There are two main types of servers, those known as "red" servers where PVP (player versus player) can exist in one of two ways and non-pvp servers otherwise known as "blue" servers. The two forms of red servers are PVP free for all and PVP race wars, also named Team PVP. Free for all servers allow all classes and races to attack at will any other player (the specific rules of play depend on the server that the players exist upon). The team PVP/race war servers are split into teams. These teams allow players to attack one another that are on opposing teams and protect those players that are on their team unless the player agrees to a "duel". A duel is an agreement which is entered into by the submission by both players acting as a contract and breaking the inert server rules thus allowing the two players to fight until death.

Adventuring can be done alone (soloing); by forming or joining a group (grouping) with one to five other characters; or by forming or joining a raid (raiding) with as many characters as a zone can support.

At low levels, all classes have the ability to solo. At higher levels only certain classes are widely popular for gaining experience by soloing. While some parts of EverQuest can be experienced without the help of other players, much of EQ has been designed to strongly encourage or require grouping. In these cases, a single character within the "design intent" level range for the encounter must often be twinked with equipment or have spell enhancements (buffs) to succeed easily, if at all.

A group (or "party") may form to adventure, trade, or simply socialize. While any combination of classes can form a group, an adventuring group will often consist of a "tank", a "healer", one or more "damage dealers", someone to do "crowd control" and someone to bring the mobs to the group. The last role is called "pulling", and is a tactic used quite often when it is more effective to place the bulk of the group in a "safe", or at least "controlled", location. While a character of any class may "pull", this role is frequently held by a Monk, Shadow Knight or Paladin. A Ranger or Druid using the tracking ability is sometimes especially effective, particularly outdoors. Other groupings can also be effective. Especially popular is Duoing with healer/tank (or at least healer/melee) tandems.

Most parts of the game can be completed with a single group, but some of the most challenging and rewarding encounters (especially in terms of loot) require players to raid. Any number of characters may take part in a raid. EQ's "Raid Window" will only allow 72 participants to directly share in raid experience and automatic raid loot rules. The upper limit for a given raid may be imposed by: the maximum number allowed in the "Raid Window", the maximum number of characters allowed in certain instanced zones, the maximum number the raid leaders can manage, or the maximum number that can be present without causing the zone or the players' computers to crash. The design of encounters in expansions have changed resulting in raid tactics that have become more and more involved.

While "groups" and "raids" are temporary gatherings of players, "guilds" are associations that last beyond a single play session. Guilds are initially formed via an application process to SOE. Guilds may have widely varying goals. Each guild member can communicate with all (and only) other members at once using the GUILD chat channel. A character's guild affiliation appears with the character name when viewed in game. In some instances they are little more than a loose configuration of players who wish to be able to communicate easily. At the other end of the spectrum are guilds that concentrate on tackling challenging raid dungeons and boss monsters. Such "raid guilds" may require members to commit up to eight hours per day to the game, up to seven days a week. Players may be rewarded in these guilds with dragon kill points, an unofficial system of points awarded to players by guild leaders meant to make loot distribution less random. Dragon kill points (or DKP for short) were first created by a raiding guild in Everquest and named for Lady Vox and Lord Nagafen, two boss dragons.[10][11][12]

Gameplay jargon

Jargon develops around the need for shortened representations of in-game phenomena. Without the formation of this jargon, communicating various events inside the game world becomes tedious and even impossible in some scenarios. As shown above (grouping, soloing, raiding, pulling, etc.), EverQuest has its own jargon.

Abbreviations and acronyms also may aid, or at least shorten, communication among players. Examples include SoW ("Spirit of Wolf" - a popular spell which accelerates run or walk speed), KEI (an acronym for "Koadic's Endless Intellect" - another popular spell which accelerates mana regeneration), PoK (Plane of Knowledge - a major "crossroads" zone for travelers), and "rez" (Resurrect - any of several spells or abilities cast on a corpse to summon the player to it, often restoring lost experience points). "Crack" or "mind candy" refers to mana regeneration spells such as Clarity or KEI. Additionally, a "mezz" (noun or verb, short for "mesmerize") refers to an ability that several classes and mobs have: the ability to render a target momentarily unable to act in any way, until the mezz wears off or the target sustains damage, which will instantly break the mezz.

Nerf refers to game balance changes when they reduce the impact of a particular power.

DKP (Dragon kill points), a raid loot distribution method, originated in Everquest, and is now used within the game World of Warcraft. Proc (short for "Programmed Random OCcurence" by which an item's effect is generated) and Farm are credited as coming to WoW from EQ.[13] Some terms have made their way into EQ from other games, such as the term Zerging from the computer game StarCraft--used when a raid's main strategy is to overwhelm an enemy by sheer force of numbers. Monsters are sometimes called mobs, a shorthand term for "mobile object", meaning a computer-controlled character in the game world; this is a practice that started in MUDs.

Additionally, an example of this jargon can be seen in the word "Con." Con is an abbreviated version of the word `consider,' but it represents more than just the word, it represents an in-game system for measuring a monster's strength, adapted from similar systems in text MUDs. What a monster "Cons" is an indicator of that monster's level of difficulty relative to the player. For example, if a player targets a monster and presses the `c' key, a textual message appeared on the screen informing the player of the monster's strength. Upon "Conning" a monster which was too difficult for the player, red text stated, "What would you like your tombstone to say?" This message allows the player to make an informed decision on whether or not he wishes to fight that monster. Frequently while playing Everquest, a player might be asked the `Con' of a monster by another player, and usually the response would be classified as one of seven colors: Grey, green, light blue, dark blue, white, yellow, and red. The answers are typified in this way because the five classifications of relative strength are represented by one of these colors. So if a player answered that a monster Cons green, that monster was relatively safe to engage, whereas a red monster would be a dangerous encounter. 'Conning' also lets the player know if the target is friendly, neutral, or hostile.

While mostly consistent throughout the entire EQ community, there are also some differences in jargon among servers, and among Asian, European and American gaming communities. For example, KEI is also known as C3 (it is the third version of Clarity). In-game chat may prove quite impenetrable to anyone who has not played EQ extensively.

Development

From John Smedley's initial concept in 1996, throughout various corporate restructurings, Sony has directly or indirectly been responsible for, and John Smedley has guided, the development of EverQuest.[1]

EverQuest II was released in late 2004.[14] Set in an alternate universe similar to that of the original EverQuest, this sequel takes place 500 years after the awakening of The Sleeper. The game has also inspired a number of other spinoffs.

The third iteration in the series, with the working title EverQuest Next, is currently in the early stages of development as first reported in the 2009 10th Anniversary EverQuest Book.[15] At the SOE Fan Faire in August 2010, in-game screenshots, concept art and more information was revealed.[16]

History

The design and concept of EverQuest is heavily indebted to text-based MUDs, in particular DikuMUD, and as such EverQuest is considered a 3D evolution of the text MUD genre like some of the MMOs that preceded it such as Meridian 59 and The Realm Online. John Smedley, Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover and Bill Trost who jointly are credited with creating the world of EverQuest have repeatedly pointed to their shared experiences playing MUDs such as Sojourn and TorilMUD as the inspiration for the game.[3] Keith Parkinson created the box covers for earlier installments of EverQuest.[citation needed]

Development of EverQuest began in 1996 when Sony Interactive Studios America (SISA) executive John Smedley secured funding for a 3D game much like text-based MUDs following the successful launch of Meridian 59 the previous year. To implement the design Smedley hired programmers Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover who had come to Smedley's attention through their work on the single player RPG Warwizard. McQuaid soon rose through the ranks to become Executive Producer for the EverQuest franchise and emerged during development of EverQuest as a popular figure among the fan community through his in-game avatar, Aradune. Other key members of the development team included Bill Trost, who created the history, lore and major characters of Norrath (including Everquest protagonist Firiona Vie), Geoffrey "GZ" Zatkin who implemented the spell system, and artist Milo D. Cooper, who did the original character modeling in the game.

EverQuest launched with modest expectations from Sony on 16 March 1999 under its Verant Interactive brand and quickly became successful. By the end of the year, it had surpassed competitor Ultima Online in number of subscriptions. Numbers continued rising rapidly until mid-2001 when growth slowed. Sony's last reported subscription numbers were given as "more than 430,000 players" on 14 January 2004.[17] SOE released a Mac OS X version of EverQuest in 2003, incorporating all expansions through Planes of Power. Development of the OS X version has languished since then, but the server remains up and running.

In anticipation of PlayStation's launch Sony Interactive Studios America had made the decision to focus primarily on console titles under the banner 989 Studios while spinning off its sole computer title, EverQuest, which was ready to launch, to a new computer game division named Redeye (renamed Verant Interactive). Executives initially had very low expectations for EverQuest but in 2000, following the surprising continued success and unparalleled profits of EverQuest, Sony reorganized Verant Interactive into Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) with Smedley retaining control of the company.

Many of the original EverQuest team, including Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover and Geoffrey Zatkin had left SOE by 2002.

Subscription history

Verant from 1999 to 2001 and SOE from 2001 to 14 January 2004 issued formal statements giving some indications of the number of EQ subscriptions and peak numbers of players online at any given moment.[17] However, most of these announcements have been archived and are available only by seeking historical copies through online "internet archives" or other sources.

Accepting both Sony's press releases and the internet archives available today as accurate, these records show a rapid rise in subscriptions to "...more than 225,000..." on 1 November 1999. Sony announced the achievement of 300,000 subscriptions on 30 October 2000. By 2 October 2001, Sony stated that there were "...over 410,000...". On 29 July 2002, Sony announced that there were "...over 430,000..." and that for the 1st time 100,000 had played simultaneously. In preparation for the Fan Faire of 2003, Sony announced on 25 September 2003, that there were "... more than 450,000..." subscriptions.

With that single exception, from 13 March 2003 until the final reference on 14 January 2004,[17] Sony releases that contained numbers referred only to more than 430,000 subscriptions, and/or more than 118,000 simultaneous logins. This leaves the peak and current number of subscriptions for EQ to secondary sources.

Expansions

There have been seventeen expansions to the original game since release. Expansions are purchased separately and provide additional content to the game (for example: raising the maximum character level; adding new races, classes, zones, continents, quests, equipment, game features). Additionally, the game is updated through downloaded patches. The EQ expansions:

  1. The Ruins of Kunark (April 2000)
  2. The Scars of Velious (December 2000)
  3. The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001)
  4. The Planes of Power (October 2002)
  5. The Legacy of Ykesha (February 2003)
  6. Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003)
  7. Gates of Discord (February 2004)
  8. Omens of War (September 2004)
  9. Dragons of Norrath (February 2005)
  10. Depths of Darkhollow (September 2005)
  11. Prophecy of Ro (February 2006)
  12. The Serpent's Spine (September 2006)
  13. The Buried Sea (February 2007)
  14. Secrets of Faydwer (November 2007)
  15. Seeds of Destruction (October 2008)
  16. Underfoot (December 2009)
  17. House of Thule (October 2010)
  18. Veil of Alaris (November 2011)

Servers

The game runs on multiple "game servers", each with a unique name for identification. These names were originally the deities of the world of Norrath. In technical terms, each "game server" is actually a cluster of server machines.

Once a character is created, it can only be played on that server unless the character is transferred to a new server by the customer service staff, generally for a fee.

Each server often has a unique community and people often include the server name when identifying their character outside of the game.

Special rules servers

Some EverQuest special servers have or had different rule sets than the "standard" EQ servers:

  • Al'Kabor - The EQMac Server. The EQMac server is so different from standard EQPC servers that it counts as a special rules server. Generally speaking: EQMac is EQ as it was in October 2002 and as close to EQ 'classic' as exists on an official SOE server. Differences include:
    • Original zones: Freeport, Plane of Mischief, Plane of Hate, EC, Oasis.
    • Original spells: generally EQMac spells have longer cast/recast/fizzle times and lower damage.
    • Original mob graphics.
    • The Sleeper still sleeps.
    • No mini-map. Old Bazaar.
    • Additionally EQMac's version of the Planes of Power uses the old non-nerfed 1.0 version of the major PoP mobs and requires that every member of the raid be 'flagged' to move on to the next plane (EQPC currently requires only 85% 'flagging'. Making planar progression significantly harder than the current version of EQ PoP.
  • Zek - The PvP server. Players can attack each other with fewer restrictions than there are on the standard servers. All PvP servers were merged to populate Zek in 2005, which follows the PvP ruleset of the original PvP server.
  • Firiona Vie (FV) - The "Roleplaying Preferred" server. FV has a set of rules more friendly to role-playing. Some rules make it attractive to non-role-players, such as the absence of the "No Drop" tag from the vast majority of items. Some Players[who?] argue this defeats the purpose of having a "Roleplaying Preferred" server.
  • Stormhammer - The Legends server. For a higher fee this server provided a greater level of in-game customer service. Many players saw this as a way to charge players more money for a level of service which should have existed without the fee. In December 2005 Sony announced it was closing the Legends server.
  • The Sleeper and The Combine - The Progression Servers - Launched June 2006. Initially these only offered access to the original continents of Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. The continents were (and are) different than the original, however. Odus includes the Warrens and Antonica includes Jaggedpine Forest, though these zones were added long after the start of the game. The expansion content available is determined by the progress of the players on those servers. The completion of designated tasks triggers the addition of later expansions. These tasks may include defeating specific characters, completing particular quests, or crafting of certain items. The Sleeper was eventually merged into The Combine, which is "opened up" through the Secrets of Faydwer expansion as of 26 August 2008[18] With the release of Seeds of Destruction on 21 October 2008, The Combine server became a standard rules server.[19] Soon after, Sony announced that The Combine would be merged into the Druzzil Ro server on 21 January 2009.[20]
  • Discord - Created in December 2003 as a temporary promotion for the Gates of Discord expansion set, this server featured permanent death.[21]
  • Mayong 51/50 - Created June 30, 2009. Characters created on this server start at level 51 and are given 50 AA points to spend as they wish. Mayong was merged with Tunare-Seventh on September 18, 2010.
  • Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak'Aer (Time Locked Progression & Voting) - Launched on February 15, 2011. Originally only one server (Fippy Darkpaw) was planned to be launched but due to demand the second server was brought online the same day with an identical ruleset. These server uses similar rules to The Combine and The Sleeper. However, much greater effort has been spent by the development team to make them a bit more 'Classic' at launch than the previous attempts were. The Warrens and Jaggedpine Forest were not available at launch. Also, many items were removed from these servers that drop or are quested in Original EQ zones, to make the servers as practically 'Classic' as possible at this point in time. Rather than certain tasks unlocking the next expansion, after those tasks are completed there will be a 'lockout timer'. Once the timer has expired, the server will be prompted to vote as to whether or not they are ready for the next expansion. Only characters of a certain level will be able to vote and a majority vote will be required to unlock the next expansion. Provided the vote does not pass, it will be placed up for voting again the following week.

European servers

Two SOE servers were set up to better support players in (or simply closer to) Europe: Antonius Bayle and Kane Bayle. Kane Bayle was merged into Antonius Bayle.

With the advent of the New Dawn promotion, three additional servers were set up and maintained by Ubisoft: Venril Sathir (British), Sebilis (French) and Kael Drakkal (German). The downside of the servers was that while it was possible to transfer to them, it was impossible to transfer off.

Later on the servers were acquired by SOE and all three were merged, as Kayne Bayle had already been, into Antonius Bayle server.[22]

Controversies, social issues, and game problems

Sale of in-game objects/real world economics

EverQuest has been the subject of various criticisms. One example involves the sale of in-game objects for real currency (often through eBay). The developers of EQ have always forbidden the practice and in January 2001 asked eBay to stop listing such auctions. For a time, such auctions were immediately removed, which changed market conditions and allowed a number of specialized auction sites to utilize this new virtual economy.

Because items can be traded within the game and also because of illegal online trading on websites, virtual currency to real currency exchange rates have been calculated. The BBC reported that in 2002 work done by Edward Castronova showed that Everquest was the 77th richest country in the world, sandwiched between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was higher than that of the People's Republic of China and India.[23] In 2004, a follow-up analysis of the entire online gaming industry indicated that the combined GDP of the online "worlds" populated by the two million players was approximately the same as that of Namibia.[24]

Companies created characters, leveled them to make them powerful, and then resold the characters or specialized in exchanging money between games. A player could exchange a house in The Sims Online for EverQuest platinum pieces, depending solely on market laws of supply and demand.

Sony officially discourages the payment of real-world money for online goods, except on certain "Station Exchange" servers in EQ2, launched in July 2005. The program facilitates buying in-game items for real money from fellow players for a nominal fee. At this point this system only applies to select EverQuest II servers; none of the pre-Station Exchange EverQuest II or EverQuest servers are affected.[25]

Intellectual property and role-playing

Another well-publicized incident from October 2000, usually referred to as the "Mystere incident", involved Verant banning a player for creating controversial fan fiction, causing outrage among Everquest players and sparking a major industry-wide debate about players' rights and the line between roleplaying and intellectual property infringement. The case was used by several academics in discussing such rights in the digital age.[26]

Fans have created the open source server emulator EQEmu, allowing users to run their own servers with custom rules. Running such an emulator is a violation of EQs end user license agreement and could result in a player being banned from Sony's EverQuest servers if caught doing so. It has not gained the same popularity as server emulators for Ultima Online.

Addiction

The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists[who?] specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many players refer to it half-jokingly as "NeverRest" and "EverCrack" (a disparaging comparison to crack cocaine).[27] There has been one well-publicized suicide of an EverQuest user named Shawn Woolley that resulted in his mother, Liz, founding Online Gamers Anonymous.[28][29] EQ is very time-consuming for many people, with relationships broken because of obsessive playing resulting in the creation of an online support group called EverQuest Widows and sites like GamerWidow.com.

"EverQuest for Macintosh" Forum Issues

For several years, a "Everquest for Macintosh" subscription did not allow the subscriber to create posts on the official Sony "EverQuest for Macintosh" forums. Out-of-game discussions thus took root at another location that became an on-line source of information for technical issues as well as for the various gameplay and sociological aspects that are unique to "EverQuest for Macintosh".[30]

Sociological aspects of MMORPGs

MMORPGs are described by some players[31] as "chat rooms with a graphical interface". The sociological aspects of EverQuest (and other MMORPGs) are explored in a series of online studies on a site known as "the HUB".[31] The studies make use of data gathered from player surveys and discuss topics like virtual relationships, player personalities, gender issues, and more.

Organized protests

In May 2004, Woody Hearn of GU Comics called for all EverQuest gamers to boycott the Omens of War expansion in an effort to force SOE to address existing issues with the game rather than release another "quick-fire" expansion.[32] The call to boycott was rescinded after SOE held a summit to address player concerns, improve (internal and external) communication, and correct specific issues within the game.

Prohibition in Brazil

On 17 January 2008, the Judge of the 17th Vara Federal da Seção Judiciária do Estado de Minas Gerais forbade the sales of the game in the whole Brazilian territory. The reason was that the game leads the players to a loss of moral virtue and takes them into "heavy" psychological conflicts because of the game quests.[33]

Characters in the EverQuest storyline

Kerafyrm - The Sleeper

The Sleeper at 14% health

Kerafyrm, "The Sleeper", is a dragon boss in the original The Sleeper's Tomb zone.

While sleeping, Kerafyrm is guarded by four ancient dragons (warders) in "The Sleeper's Tomb". When all four dragons are defeated by players and are dead at the same time, The Sleeper awakes, triggering a rampage of death. Kerafyrm travels through and into multiple zones from The Sleeper's Tomb to Skyshrine, killing every player and NPC in his path. This event is unique in EverQuest, as it only occurs once on each game server. Once The Sleeper awakes, neither he nor the original guardians will ever appear again on that server, unless the event is reset.

As of 12 July 2008, Kerafyrm remains asleep on both the Al'Kabor (Macintosh) server and the official Test Server.

Originally intended to be unkillable, SOE prevented a raid of several guilds on Rallos Zek server from potentially killing him, claiming the existence of a bug. SOE later apologized for interfering,[34] reset, and allowed the players to retry the encounter. Two days later, the same three guilds made a second attempt and after almost 4 hours, successfully killed the sleeper.[35][36] [37]

"Kerafyrm The Awakened" appears in the expansion Secrets of Faydwer as part of a raid event "Crystallos, Lair of the Awakened" in the instanced zone of "Crystallos".

EverQuest universe

Since Everquest's release, Sony Online Entertainment has added several EverQuest-related games. These include:

A line of novels have been published in the world of Everquest, including:

  • Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin (October 2004)
  • Ocean of Tears, by Stewart Wieck (October 2005)
  • Truth and Steel, by Thomas M. Reid (September 2006)
  • The Blood Red Harp, by Elaine Cunningham (October 2006)

Notes

  1. ^ a b Marks, Robert (2003). Everquest Companion: The Inside Lore of a Gameworld. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. ISBN 978-0072229035. 
  2. ^ "Announcement of Verant Merger". Verant. http://www.verant.com. 
  3. ^ a b Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders Games. ISBN 0-1310-1816-7. 
  4. ^ http://www.eqcircle.com/races/index.xml
  5. ^ http://everquest.station.sony.com/everquest.vm
  6. ^ "Necromancer Spell Reference". Sony Online Entertainment. http://eqplayers.station.sony.com/goToPage.action?goToPageNumber=1&result=spellsearch&spellSearch.classId=11. 
  7. ^ "Allakhazam". http://everquest.allakhazam.com/db/spell.html?spell=9764. Retrieved 2011-10-13 
  8. ^ "Class and Race Specific Tradeskills". http://help.station.sony.com/cgi-bin/soe.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=821&p_created=1087929631&p_sid=nuPTOuZj&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=1&p_srch=1&p_lva=16680&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPTEmcF9zb3J0X2J5PSZwX2dyaWRzb3J0PSZwX3Jvd19jbnQ9NDAsNDAmcF9wcm9kcz0xJnBfY2F0cz0wJnBfcHY9MS4xJnBfY3Y9JnBfc2VhcmNoX3R5cGU9YW5zd2Vycy5zZWFyY2hfbmwmcF9wYWdlPTEmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1jbGFzc2VzIHNoYW1hbg!!&p_li=&p_topview=1. 
  9. ^ "SOE Everquest page". Sony. http://everquest.station.sony.com. 
  10. ^ Silverman, M. (2006). Beyond fun in games: The serious leisure of the power gamer. Concordia University. p. 91.  Quoted in Malone, 2007
  11. ^ "DKP explanation". Guild Afterlife. http://www.afterlifeguild.org/dkp-explanation. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  12. ^ Rezvani, Jeon (2008). Guild Leadership. pp. 107, 108. ISBN 9781435739550. 
  13. ^ Origin of terms used in WoW Arena play, TeamPandemic.net
  14. ^ "Stratics Official Game Lore". http://eq2.stratics.com/content/lore/lore_toc.php. "Five hundred years have passed since the Sleeper was awakened" 
  15. ^ "SOE Confirms Development on EverQuest "Next"". Allakhazam. 2009-09-13. http://eq2.zam.com/story.html?story=19260. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  16. ^ "EQ2Wire Coverage of EverQuest Next". EQ2Wire. 2010-08-09. http://eq2wire.com/2010/08/07/gallery-eqnext-screen-shots-and-concept-art-day-2. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  17. ^ a b c Champions Of Norrath Announcement, Sony.com
  18. ^ Official Everquest News Page, http://eqplayers.station.sony.com/
  19. ^ "EverQuest Players". Eqplayers.station.sony.com. http://eqplayers.station.sony.com/news_article.vm?id=51155. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  20. ^ "EverQuest Players". Eqplayers.station.sony.com. 2009-01-21. http://eqplayers.station.sony.com/news_article.vm?id=51238. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  21. ^ "Archived News for December 2003". EQ Stratics. Archived from the original on July 17, 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050717093438/http://eq.stratics.com/content/news/arc11-2003.php. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  22. ^ "Everquest Europe joins Everquest US". TG Daily. http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-brief/1778-everquest-europe-joins-everquest-us. Retrieved 2010-06-02. 
  23. ^ "Virtual kingdom richer than Bulgaria". BBC News. 2002-03-29. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1899420.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  24. ^ "Virtual gaming worlds overtake Namibia". BBC News. 2004-08-19. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3570224.stm. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  25. ^ "Additional information about Station Exchange". Everquest II News. Sony. http://eq2players.station.sony.com/news_archive.vm?id=466&section=News&month=current. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  26. ^ cf. Garlick M., "Player, Pirate or Conducer? A consideration of the rights of online gamers", Yale Journal of Law & Technology, 2004-2005.
  27. ^ "EverQuest Lair - Reviews, Platinum, and Cheats". Gameogre.com. http://www.gameogre.com/everquest.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  28. ^ Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (Spring 2005). "Everquest: Entertainment or Addiction?". The CASE Journal 1 (2): 60–66. 
  29. ^ Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (May 2005). "Sony Online Entertainment: EverQuestor EverCrack?". Journal of Business Ethics 58 (1): 3–6. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-1376-9. 
  30. ^ "Index". EQMac.com. http://www.eqmac.com/forums/index.php. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  31. ^ a b "Men are from Ogguk. Women are from Kelethin.". Nick Yee. http://www.nickyee.com/eqt/menwomen.html. Retrieved 2006-09-13. 
  32. ^ "GU Comics by: Woody Hearn". Gucomics.com. 2004-05-26. http://www.gucomics.com/comic/?cdate=20040526. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  33. ^ "Counter-Strike e EverQuest estao proibidos no Brasil". UOL. 2008-01-18. http://jogos.uol.com.br/pc/ultnot/2008/01/18/ult182u7954.jhtm. 
  34. ^ "Developer's Corner post "The Sleeper 11-17-03"". Sony. Archived from the original on 2003-11-21. http://web.archive.org/web/20031121164036/http://eqlive.station.sony.com/community/dev_view.jsp?id=59485. 
  35. ^ "I Saw God and I Killed It". Corante - Got Game?. http://gotgame.corante.com/archives/2003/11/25/i_saw_god_and_i_killed_it.php. 
  36. ^ "Sleeper No More!". Sony. Archived from the original on 2003-12-03. http://web.archive.org/web/20040203080715/http://eqlive.station.sony.com/news_section/newsview.jsp?story=59558. 
  37. ^ "Top 5 Most Memorable Events in MMORPG History". MMO Crunch. http://www.mmocrunch.com/2007/12/04/top-5-most-memorable-events-in-mmorpg-history/. 

References

External links


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