EverQuest is 12 years old today. Did I mention that already?
As I have noted in the past, and will no doubt mention again many times in the future, I ran down to Fry’s on this date 12 years back, bought my copy of EverQuest, and went home to play it that night. I still have the receipt from Fry’s showing the time and date when I bought my copy.
If you had asked me 12 years ago while I was there, in-game, on the night EverQuest launched, if I would be playing the game today, I am pretty sure I would have said yes.
The game was new and fresh and new and I was very excited about it. I am sure that in that rush of (relatively) youthful enthusiasm, I would have said that I could play EverQuest forever.
On the other hand, if you had asked me that same question 8 years ago, I am equally sure that I would have said no. I had worn out the game… or it had worn me out. Either way, I had had my fill and didn’t really want to play it any more. My life had grown more complex (marriage, house, child) and I was more interested in TorilMUD then, one of EQ’s key progenitors, or the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942.
And over the last 5 years or so, the answer would have vacillated. I have gone through fits of nostalgia where I have dragged out old characters and tried to see the game again. And I have spent an equal amount of time convinced that there is no going home again, that there is no return to the excitement that was EverQuest back in 1999.
But things ebb and flow and suddenly now, at the 12 year mark, I am playing the game again and having quite a good time.
It isn’t the same, day one experience. You can never recapture that. But it is a really good nostalgia run.
Part of it is, of course, the Fippy Darkpaw progression server. EverQuest Live today, after 17 expansions, often feels like too much game for me to catch up with. I actually own all 17 expansions, though thankfully I did not have to buy them all individually. SOE nicely rolled up all past expansions in a couple of releases.
But if I have been into areas that were part of more than 6 of those expansions, I would be surprised. EverQuest has such a huge and sprawling world and I have seen a surprisingly small amount of it.
The progression server cuts that back to just the lands I know by heart. And those lands are both populated and populated by players who are not all 80 levels ahead of me. You can, you know, actually find a group now and again or find some help when you really need it or get a random buff now and again. (Drive-by buffing is one of the things that EQII mistakenly tried to kill.)
And so for these last few weeks I have been far more likely to be camped out in West Karana than in the new lands of Azeroth.
Of course, that screen shot also illustrates the other key factor to why I am playing on and enjoying the Fippy Darkpaw server. That is Potshot and his two characters out camping bandits with me.
Having somebody to play with regularly is always a key motivator for me, and Potshot and I seem to be on a semi-regular 9pm-10pm weeknight schedule which allows us just enough time to accomplish something. That is the cornerstone of this return to Norrath.
And so we carry happily on in a game we were both playing 12 years ago.
How will this all seem another 8-12 years down the line?