I jumped onto the Stormhold server in EverQuest II once I was home from vacation last week, and from the look of things I was clearly not alone. The Isle of Refuge was a popular spot, spawning multiple copies to handle those also seeking a fresh server in post-cataclysm Norrath.
I haven’t made it off the isle yet, but reports indicate that Qeynos and Freeport and Antonica and the Commonlands and the Frostfang Sea are likewise seeing multiple versions spawn.
Okay, Frostfang Sea isn’t really a nostalgia destination, but the housing is very nice. I will probably end up using the base housing there rather than the box-like apartments in Qeynos or Freeport when it comes times to shack up.
Anyway, I jumped in and rolled up what for me is the default EverQuest II character, a barbarian berserker, and started off on the isle. But I wasn’t really feeling it. Too many berserkers on too many servers I suspected. I decided that for the full nostalgia effect I might have to go back and roll a templar, which was my first character class back in 2004.
I went down that path, taking the boat ride and starting off on the isle again, but still wasn’t feeling it. The lure of a plate wearing healer wasn’t enough.
Then, thinking on Bhagpuss’ post and his choice of a Shadowknight (almost wrote “Death knight” there) made me wander off in that direction. I rolled up a SK, which made me realize that I couldn’t remember ever going to the Freeport version of the Isle of Refuge before.
The boat ride is the same, though the Freeport Captain Varlos seems to have some person space issues.
I had also never rolled up an SK before either. There are a number of classes in the game I have never played, no doubt in part because the game launched with 24 playable classes (and only 4 character slots), and while I tend to avoid cloth wearing casters as a general rule, not playing an SK seemed to be a long missed opportunity.
So off I went with that, finding that both the class and the quest chain on the isle were giving me a new experience.
That gave me the impetus to run through most of the the isle. I had no recollection of any of the isle, so I wonder if my one Freeport character took the option to just skip the isle and head straight to town with a boost to level 5, which was something you could do at one point. I think. Maybe?
Anyway, it was all new and fun and such, but it wasn’t really nostalgia, being new stuff and all. Or was it? Does having a new experience in an old context count?
So I started thinking about how things played out in 2004 and what was missing from the mix today that was going on back when the game launched.
And one big change from the original context is a guild. Back in 2004 I showed up in the game with a whole set of players from TorilMUD that joined up with an EverQuest guild to form our own guild early on.
As such, the early days of EverQuest II were very much a group event, as we spent a lot of time together exploring the world and figuring out the game. In fact, I’d say that the game, such as it was back in November of 2004, was likely only tolerable in a group environment where we could work through and figure things out together.
So maybe the Freeport side of the world, which I have never really spent much time with, is the right choice as there will be some sense of newness to go along with the long familiar context of the game. But I am clearly going to have to find somebody else to play with, which means finding a regular group or guild, something I always find difficult. Without that I will likely play for a bit, taper off, then stop. Something to work on. Anybody on the Freeport side of things?
Meanwhile, I might roll up a couple more likely characters. Surprisingly I still have a couple of character slots left and, honestly, a few characters I could delete and never miss if push came to shove. My main motivation would be to get that 16-slot bag.
I went off to find that bag as soon as I ran into the old school problem of running out of bag space almost immediately because I dared to work on my harvesting skills a bit. That bag has been a savior.