Back in 2000, many people didn’t have cell phones, dedicated internet, or a computer for every person in the household. What was available, however, was the game that made me the gamer I am today. That game was Everquest, developed by Sony in 1999 and which eventually grew to include eighteen expansions.
Unlike the new favorite, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, Everquest was hard, right from the beginning, and quests didn’t feel like the same-old-same-old at every level. Low-level monsters killed you right from the start; there were no safe zones. Part of the fun of the game was the challenge, knowing that when you completed a quest it meant something. And the only ways players got around in the beginning were walking, boats, and being magically ported. I only reached level 45, but even still, the game was enjoyable. I slayed really cool monsters and experienced lands that were each unique in their look, organization, classes, language, and culture. Every skill had a learning curve, even swimming and speaking to foreign races.
Everquest promoted a sense of community through gaming that I have never found in another game. You had to group with people from the start, or else you’d never finish a quest. Players practiced grouping right from the first level, and were required to learn their class in order to group well. Yes, the learning curve was steep – much steeper than in current games, which cater to new players in order to bring in revenue. When I I played between 2000 and 2002, there were so many people in the beginning zones that it actually felt like you were in a real city. It doesn’t surprise me that the lower level characters became scarce as leveling became easier in later expansions: it got too easy to support the community. In games like World of Warcraft, leveling is easy, and the gameplay is lonely. No one wants to group or help, either, because most quests can be completed alone. The social aspect hinders gameplay, rather than enhance it. Courtesy and respect isn’t prized, because it isn’t needed to gain potential group-mates, because grouping isn’t intended or necessary at most levels.
New games, even the new Everquest sequel, just don’t hold my attention like the first one did. It just seems too easy, too trivial, too cliché. In my opinion, if a player can get to level 80 in a week, there’s something wrong with the game. I hope someday to find a game that was as immersive as Everquest was. A game where the quests relate to the fantasy world, where crafting items make sense, and where the game whoops your butt now and then.
While yes, death penalties and other difficulties likely deter lazy players and hurt sales, they also provided major incentives to working with other players, and did make the game more challenging, and therefore interesting, to play. Aspects like in-game language barriers and religious discrimination didn’t do much for questing, but it did make the game so much more realistic and memorable.
Until I find something similar to Everquest, I’ll stick with Skyrim and the rest of the Bethesda Elder Scrolls series. And if you’re out there Huyubusa: thanks for the memories. You can visit cme online 24jam for a vast variety of games that you can enjoy. You get poker games as well, these games can even fetch you some money as you play and win online poker tournaments.