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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
-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.
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.