With the upcoming release of Everquest Next I figured my first blog here would be about my first MMO experience. EQOA.
I remember before EQOA came out Everquest was hugely popular with many people who came to Funcoland/Gamestop, at the time I was a supervisor there. Whenever we had extra promotional items I would pass them out to people, a few people in particular who were good regular customers. To this point I had avoided joining EQ for PC, not wanting to get addicted to it, still very much a console only gamer with stacks of retro games for nearly every console you can think of and PS2 which was the most modern system at the time. One of those customers who I always hooked up with our excess promo items brought in the EQOA beta discs he had gotten in the mail. He had no plans on playing them so he figured he would give them to me as a thank you. I brought them home and let them sit on a pile of other games for a few days until finally checking it out, at this point I had never played any Alphas or Betas for games, so I was curious to see the state of the game.
I rolled up an Elven Ranger named Luthien, a name that would be reused in the retail version when I rolled by character on Diren’s Hold. I started my journey in Tethelin. I remember killing snakes and bugs under the bridges and raised huts and eventually moving on. Eventually I came across the hive with all the wasps and was killed. I came back, was killed again. I leveled a bit more and came back and began working my way inside. I remember nothing but bodies and bodies of other players dead on the inside of the hive, that wasp queen was a royal bitch. I remember almost dying but being saved by a Cleric named Azalyn. I continued playing and eventually I was completely hooked. I would run around helping people with quests, get through the orc tunnel to the other side. Eventually I had helped so many people I had outleveled the area just from killing things and I had to move on. I decided to just randomly explore at this point and I began running off in random directions. Getting coaches and such, I traveled through tunnels, ran from wolves and eventually fell into a river, which I swam down, eventually passing a couple Gnoll Forts. I came to a place called the Black Swan Inn (Later renamed to Darver Manor) and exploring the area until I got ripped apart. Beta ended and I was bored. I still enjoyed single player games immensely, however the social bug had bitten me hard.
I bought EQ for PC and rolled a ranger there, while it had much more to do, arguably better graphics, it was not EQOA, but it held me over for a month or two until retail hit. I remember in the months leading up to launch forming a guild called Guardians of Tunaria on the gamefaqs forums. The only person I remember offhand anymore from the original GoT guild was named Greywolf, but that’s all I really remember. I remember the game launched and I was unable to log in for something like 10 hours, it sucked. I slept, woke up and eventually success! I made our guild and we got playing. I breezed through the Tethelin area as this was my second time through and worked my way to BSI (Darver Manor). Eventually finding my way to Qeynos Prison where I met a monk named Shiro and a druid named Salena who would become two of my best friends in EQOA. Eventually I ran into Azalyn again which was nice and we also began grouping again. It was funny because we all had our own guilds, but we always hung out. I ran Guardians of Tunaria, Azalyn a guild called Disparity and Sal and Shiro… I honestly cannot remember their guild name atm. I also met Loren, a druid player and we became very good friends, playing together most of the time when we were both on. We even played EQ2 together for awhile before she just kinda vanished one day… Also Silyeni, an elven Paladine who I played multiple games with, another person who just sorta one day vanished from a game. That tended to be the way of things a decade or so ago in MMO’s. We didn’t have the hardcore social hubs we have now, or at least they were not so prominent so people would just fall out of touch. Nowadays I keep in touch with most of my gaming friends through the traditional social network means, the good ones through texts and such. But anyways..
I also remember meeting some people from TiS (The Inner Sanctum). A dwarf player named tower was extremely nice to me. I also began to meet more players from many more guilds and even though we all ran in our own groups, we will were cool to each other, helped each other out and such (look for a shout-out to guilds/players at the end of this). Overtime I invited more people to my little guild, Cuse another ranger, gwendyln (or Gwendolyn, cannot remember the spelling, sorry!) another ranger (I joked they were my Proteges) and a bunch of others who I cannot remember unfortunately.
Eventually I was able to convince a real life friend to come from EQ to EQOA and he played an elf cleric, Celdil. Good friend (Passed on a few years back). We had a blast. Eventually I had made friends in a dozen other guilds and I was asked if I wanted to join Ethereal Descendants. After talking it over with my friends I joined ED and ran GoT still with an alt, as the small social guild it had started as.
I have a lot of found memories with ED just as I did with GoT. Here are a bunch more…
- I remember Undead aggro in this game was terrifying. They aggroed so easily and linked
- I remember Shiro, me and Sal finding a tattered Spectre robe and them letting me have it (Super rare as it was an unintentional robe that all classes could wear).
- I remember the devs stopping it from dropping and then everyone asking me and the few people who had them if they could buy it, offering ridiculous trades for them.
- I remember spending so much time farming Rubicite armor.
- I remember spending most nights grouping with Loren and Silyeni or Shiro and Sal for easily over a year.
- I remember getting beat down the Avatar of Fear
- I remember trying to get across IoD solo without getting owned.
- I remember kitting that Ice Behemoth thing (for the epic weapons) in perma frost in circles over and over when no one was online at 5am to help people get their epics. That took so long sometimes with 2-3 people!
- I remember killing the Giant Centaur Dreadnaughts
- I remember exploring Vox Castle, training goblins and that Snowgrin
- I remember charming Gertrude the bear on an enchanter and bringing her to High Pass, that was fun.
- I remember a dev running around as a giant gnome in highpass, letting people attack him and then killing everyone with a single aoe.
- I remember running through the Box Canyons just after hitting 50 while naked, training through all the drakes.
- I remember camping alts at strategic locations to check on raid spawns (Vox, Sili, Sky etc)
- I remember using Halloween Costume tonics, sitting out in the middle of low level areas with the spectre or skeleton costume on where I was not aggroable because of my level cap. I terrified players making them think I was a monster by chasing them (the newbies). Most of them laughed.
- I remember running into another guild called GUARDIANS OF TUNARIA (Guild names were case sensitive) and then even Gaurdians of Tunaria (Mispelled so they could use the name). But I always had the original Guardians of Tunaria on an alt, even when I was running with ED.
- I remember being the only FULL bow spec at 50 that I knew of on Direns Hold (at the time). Most people would start bow path and hate it (cause at the time it sucked) and move over to melee. I stuck it out the whole time.
- I remember at 50, when bored going down to the low level starting areas and massacring mobs, giving the rare drops to new players to help them out and of course killing mobs when they had a super hard time with them and no one of appropriate level was around.
- I remember running across the world with only a grid map or hand drawn maps to get me anywhere. I really think MMO’s need to go back to no-ingame map, it kills the wonder of exploration.
- I remember the expansion pack, a new land to explore. I remember exploring this new land for many many many hours.
Finally, I remember the disappointment when the Everquest Online Adventures: Frontiers expansion pack was the first and last expansion we would ever receive. I played for awhile, I played Master Class additions, level cap increase and more. I eventually got bored and tried other games, I enjoyed other games. But I always came back, if only for a little while to see who was still playing.
I wish I could have played a bit more during the last month of the games life. But my PS2/EQOA discs were buried in storage. Elder Scrolls online feels a lot like EQOA and I hope EQN can achieve
To those guilds I was a part of or had fun running with when I played ‘back in the day’ (Ethereal Descendants, Guardians of Tunaria, Order of Echeleon, Genocide, Doom Brigade, Dark Prophecy, Guild of the Drunken Monkey, The Exiled, Death from Below, Guild of the Gothic Gods, The Inner Sanctum, Red Dragon Dynasty, Disparity and any others I may have run with, it was a blast!)
To those players I can fondly remember offhand – Azalyn, Loren, Silyeni, Celdil, Shiro, Salena, Xavia, Omniak, Ninikbik, Atomant, Finalphase, jeromebootz, Brolic, Uwish, Hawkeye, Wise, Kuzuha, Hinee, Naolin, Meshuggah, Sarge, Strongmad, Google, Cuse, Gwendolyn, Gumgal, Tower, Fearlesshyena, Elfvis, Gimzak, Duchess and many many more players who I cannot remember character names for atm, it was a friggin blast! Perhaps one of you will one day stumble upon this and we will meetup in a future world. [These two lists will be updated as I remember more people!]
It’s always sad when an online only game is shutdown. Even if you did not play the game yourself or didn’t care for it there are thousands more people who did and unless some sort of private server can be established they can never revisit that world in an interactive way. The screenshots and videos however can always rekindle the memories.
-Luthien, Loyal Ranger of Diren’s Hold (Everquest Online Adventures)