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The End of the Road for EverQuest Mac October 19, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest, Sony Online Entertainment.
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About 18 months back, in the run up to the free to play transition for EverQuest, the word came down that the red headed step-child of the EverQuest Franchise, EverQuest Mac, was going to be shut down. It was just another ignominy in the life of the game.

Somewhere in order of importance after EverQuest, EverQuest II, EverQuest Online Adventures, Lords of EverQuest, and probably the EverQuest Role-Playing Game, there was EverQuest – Macintosh Edition.

EverQuest

Brought online in 2003, SOE invited Mac users to come and join all those EverQuest players in their online world.

Good news for Mac users! The world of EverQuest is now yours to explore!

Immerse yourself in what hundreds of thousands have already experienced; a land without limits to the imagination where excitement and myth reign supreme! Join over 400,000 players as they seek treasure, unlock hidden quests, and slay dragons.

Wow!

At the time...

At the time…

Missing from that was the fact that EverQuest Mac ran its own distinct client that would only connect to specific, Mac-only servers. Or server, really. There was only one. It was called Al’Kabor, and it was locked in time.

Some history and long quotes after the cut.

Such was the start of the Al’Kabor server, and there was more on that front.

Complete Edition... nothing was ever added

Complete… nothing was ever added

While the rest of the EverQuest community was finishing up with the Legacy of Ykesa expansion and lining up for Lost Dunegons of Norrath, EverQuest Mac rolled out with the nearly year-old Planes of Power expansion, complete with most of the bugs that made it infamous. And there is would stay for the next decade.

Planes of Power - Hope you like it!

Planes of Power – Hope you like it!

For a stretch the EverQuest Mac players couldn’t even complain about this as they were locked out of the official forums. And so external sites became the focus of the community, places like EQMac.com.

But what seemed like neglect at first, with the Al’Kabor server stuck at Planes of Power while expansion after expansion came out for the Windows version of the game, began to seem like a blessing to some. Those who longed for the older days of Norrath as the game evolved and added new features, new levels, and much new content, began to envy the Al’Kabor server, locked as it was at what was arguably the last expansion of the “classic” era of the game.

SOE attempted to sate those nostalgic for a classic experience with what they called “Progression Servers.” The first pair, The Sleeper and The Combine, allowed people to play through all of the old content an expansion at a time. But there were problems. The game and the client on the Windows side had changed so much over the years, that it was, at best, a glimpse of way things used to be. And the “progression” aspect of the server, the unlocking of new expansions when old ones were beaten, became something of a race. The speed aspect was addressed in the next set of “Progression Servers,” Fippy Darkpaw and Vulak, by adding in a minimum time lock on each expansion, but it still wasn’t the “classic” server that some sought. Even with the delay on unlocks, things still moved forward while the game itself was still just a vague approximation of the way the game used to be in many aspects.

And all the while, the Al’Kabor server soldiered on with a small, dedicated community playing in a classic EverQuest environment. The only break the server got was when SOE upgraded the client to accommodate OS X and Intel powered Macs.

But then came the move to the Free to Play model. All of the SOE games were moving… or going away. The announcements came. EverQuest Online Adventures was going to shut down. But its days were numbered in any case, running on the PlayStation 2 platform. And EverQuest Mac was on the chopping block as well.

But then there was a cry from the EverQuest Mac community asking for a reprieve for their one little classic server. And in something of a Christmas miracle, a reprieve was granted.

And there was much rejoicing. EverQuest Mac would stay online for the foreseeable future and be free to play… completely free… to boot.

And there was a bit of a resurgence on the server. People desperate for a look at classic EverQuest figured out how to hack up a copy of EverQuest Titanium Edition with the EverQuest Mac data in order to play on the server from a Windows machine.

But we all knew it couldn’t last forever. The news came out yesterday afternoon, in that Friday time frame usually reserved for announcement that companies hope the press will skip. EverQuest Mac was slated to shut down on November 18, 2013. From the EverQuest Mac forums, which are slated to go away with the game:

After much review and consideration, we have made the decision to sunset EverQuest Mac (EQ Mac). EQ Mac was originally scheduled to sunset in early 2012, but we kept the game up and running following the passionate feedback received from the community. As we align development resources towards our upcoming slate of games, we cannot justify the resources required to continue to support EQ Mac. The remaining EverQuest titles (EverQuest, EverQuest II, EverQuest Next and EverQuest Next Landmark) will not be affected by this closure. We appreciate all of your contributions over the years and hope to see you in other EQ games.

FAQ

-Is EverQuest: Macintosh Edition being shut down?

Yes. Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) is scheduled to sunset EverQuest: Macintosh Edition on November 18, 2013. No new accounts will be allowed to play EverQuest: Macintosh Edition as of October 18, 2013.

-What happens to all the code/data for EverQuest: Macintosh Edition? Can someone open an emulator server for EverQuest: Macintosh Edition?

Sony Online Entertainment will retain all of the code and data from EverQuest: Macintosh Edition. Sony Online Entertainment will not license or authorize the operation of an EverQuest: Macintosh Edition emulator or fan operated EverQuest: Macintosh Edition server.

`Will the EverQuest: Macintosh Edition Forums be available after the service shuts down

All Forums associated with EverQuest: Macintosh Edition will be removed after the service shuts down.

`I have a further concern and want to contact Customer Service. How do I do that?

We definitely want to help address any further concerns, and if there is some specific issue with your situation that isn’t covered but could be answered by Customer Service please follow the directions on this page. You are also welcome to post any general questions in this thread; we will be reviewing it frequently.

Smed likewise had a few words for the EverQuest Mac community.

Dear EQ Mac fans,

We said this before and now we really have to do it – we’re sunsetting EQ Mac. As a passionate Mac player, I’m disappointed to have to share this news. We decided to keep the game running after receiving your feedback when we originally announced the sunset plans early last year, but with all of our development aligned towards our upcoming slate of games, we simply cannot justify the resources required to continue to support this version of the game. Please know that this was not a decision that was taken lightly. It was a hard call to make, but we know it’s the right thing to do. Thank you for your support of EQ Mac and the time spent in the game.

Smed

Sunsetting. Shutting down. Closing. Which ever term you use, EverQuest Mac, the last real classic vision of EverQuest, will be gone in a month.

Echoes of it will remain. EQMac.com won’t disappear right away. You can read about the joys, the trials, and the tribulations of the EverQuest Mac community over there, from anticipation of the launch to the laments surrounding the closure. But it won’t be there forever. At some point the forums will go away and, like so much in the world, it will fade as our memories fade. The march of time will have its way.

Comments»

1. bhagpuss - October 19, 2013

Following a comment to the post I made about this earlier I’ve been fiddling about trying to get the thing to run. Apparently you no longer need Titanium. Unfortunately you need a graphics card EQMac recognizes and mine isn’t one of them.

Reading the above, though, I’m not sure it would let me make a character anyway. My accounts may be a lot older than October 18 2013 but none of them has ever played on EQMac so I guess “No new accounts will be allowed to play EverQuest: Macintosh Edition as of October 18, 2013″ might exclude me anyway.

Ah well. I do like the wording of the Emulator piece in the FAQ though. “Will not license or authorise” is a lot less harsh than it could have been.

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2. Jenks - October 20, 2013

Well, fuck.

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3. Raziel Walker - October 23, 2013

I would be very curious to know just how many players there are on EQMac and how many resources Sony has to spend to keep it running.
Though I can understand they cannot justify the resources required to a manager not interested in keeping servers up just for public relations. Justifying the costs to the fans would not be hard.

I only played EQ for a month or two. (bought a box that contained the first four expansions)
Bought EQII as it was released but quit two weeks later with the release of WoW….

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4. Hemvar - October 27, 2013

When I heard this the other day it saddened me so much. I haven’t ever played EQ Mac, but I know what it feels like for a game to be closed when you were so dedicated to it. Hope they find a new home.

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5. Smidgit - October 28, 2013

The first time a shutdown was announced, there was a huge uproar with in-game protests, out-of-game lobbying of Sony. This time, everyone seems resigned to inevitability.

To answer Raziel’s question, the number of people playing is under 1,000. Due to code limitations, channels are limited to about 200 players so that peak playing time (Fri & Sat evenings) would usually see the “alliance” channel maxed out. Quite a few people boxed multiple characters. So the number of players logged on on weekends was probably in the 500-600. Not enough to support a subscription base, and not enough to pay for the single GM-developer (Hobart) who had been supporting the server during his spare personal time. We got a patch this summer, and the previous client patch was back in 2007. The code diverged from the PC base back in 2002/2003, so that Al’Kabor was the old EQ that many first encountered. Probably the main reason the server survived as long as it did is the personal relationship between Utdaan (who runs eqmac.com) and GM-Hobart.

There has been a lot of acrimony about the “PC hack” that allowed PCs to run the mac client. And a lot of finger-pointing about hacks. This summer saw a level 1 character training raids in Plane of Time. The influx of players from “Project 1999″ brought a lot of pain as the server culture moved from a friendly, chummy group into the typical hostile game culture that PC servers had – with races for raid mobs and training opposing guilds in order to prevent them from progressing. This summer’s patch was supposed to kill off the PC hack. The guy who wrote it said he wasn’t going to update it. Someone else did, and I think that sealed the doom for the server. Especially with all the layoffs at Sony.

Since the announcement, probably 9/10 of the raiding characters have died and left rotting corpses in raid zones (or littering Plane of Knowledge), never to log back in. Others have gone on missions to discover what drops from normally never killed mobs (such as the final turn in mob for epics) and the answer is mostly no-rent stuff. You’ll be lucky to see 30 players in the alliance channel now. If there was a last minute reprieve, the customer support people would become overwhelmed by requests to restore characters. But I think the players have moved on, and it won’t make sense to save the server.

Smidgit had been stuck at the penultimate step for Greenmist for the past 6 months. This is a very niche series of quests for shadowknights (step 0: get non-kos in Cabilis), and I always do the quest on every SK I roll up on any EQ server. While I finally got it done, the frustration levels were huge, both in the past (the Al’Kabor version of the hammer of exoneration was not equippable by gnomes and the drop in Kurns tower was broken, both requiring GM intervention), and now, especially with having to wait for the phone company to repair my lines (and being without internet for days at a time). Between a job and school, game time is precious and limited. But I will try to log on every weekend until the end to try to help others reach the goals that let them say they’re “finished”. To help bring closure. To help move on.

Smidgit will have been 35 months old at the shutdown.

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6. Anonymous - November 1, 2013

As usual . . . naive – wank!

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