EverQuest at the Edge of Seventeen

Today is the day, the anniversary date that I note every year, the day that EverQuest launched back in 1999.  Seventeen years have gone past since I first stepped into Norrath.  And the amazing thing is that we are not talking about the game in the past tense seventeen years later.

EverQuest

That is kind of amazing, the way that some MMORPGs hang on for so long, the way they attract a dedicated core audience that sticks with them for years on end.  Back in 1999 EverQuest was getting released along side such games as Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, Homeworld, and Pokemon Yellow.

Those three games were all very popular and have all been remastered in the last couple of years.  But there was a gap along the way where very little was said about them, during EverQuest kept on going.

Yes, the whole expansion plan, and EverQuest was churning out two a year at one point… you hear that Blizzard… meant that new content was always arriving in the game.

A splash screen of all the expansion splash screens

A splash screen of all the expansion splash screens

But great swathes of Norrath still look pretty much like they did back in 1999.  And enough people have remained opted-in to their monthly subscription to keep the game going.

And how are things looking at seventeen?

Last year, after the sixteenth anniversary passed, I would have been tempted to say that things were not looking so good, that the end of MMO middle-age was coming and retirement was at hand.  Daybreak was talking about not doing any more expansions for the game.  They were talking up another progression server, but in the past SOE had done those then pretty much ignored them afterwards, letting any community enthusiasm fade in the neglect.  It was going to be bites of DLC and cash shop items for the looming golden years.

But now, a year later, things look good.  Daybreak hasn’t fumbled the progression server idea the way SOE used to, embracing it and keeping people up to date on things like unlock votes.  Expansions are back, because how can you pass up something that allows these sorts of price points.

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

The Broken Mirror? Try the broken gaming budget!

And even now, this month, Daybreak is already talking about the NEXT expansion.

That NEVER happens.

SOE had, in the later years of its life, often left their Norrath fans wondering if they were going to get an expansion at all until late summer or early fall before finally admitting they had something for a November release.  But here it is only March and Holly mentions the expansion explicitly in her recent Producer’s Letter.

The expansion for this year is well under way and looking incredible on the art front as well as design. We are really jazzed about where our new adventures will take you, and we’re excited to see what you think when we are ready to share more!

EverQuest, which looked like it was headed for a walker, a First Alert pendant (“The server’s fallen, and it won’t come back up!”),  and a spot at the old age home suddenly looks like it is driving around in a bitchin’ new convertible with a fresh set of hair plugs.

Life is Good

Life is Good

(Life is Good guy is the property of Life is Good.)

And, of course, there are anniversary events in Norrath as well, including a drunken gnome race this afternoon.

Who knows where the game will be in a year, but it looks to be in a good place right now.  It is just the cynical bit within me that wonders if the good news we’re getting this week is to compensate for the EverQuest Next news we got last Friday.  Then again, it might be fitting.  The fact that a game like EverQuest can thrive for seventeen years is part of the reason EverQuest Next was in peril in the first place.

6 thoughts on “EverQuest at the Edge of Seventeen

  1. Grumpy CrabbyPants

    I know it would never happen but a graphical/ui update would be amazing. It’s always nostalgic to go back for a month or two and see Seb/Sleepers/VP and ToV, but its hard to look at the UI and old school graphics.

    Alternatively a new game with a EQ style Iksar Necro would have me for years!

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  2. bhagpuss

    I wish there was an EQ news site on a par with EQ2Wire. TAGN is actually where I get most of my EQ news these days. Although it used to be that I got me EQ news from playing EQ. I really must do that again. I derailed myself when I swapped my All Access from my original EQ account to the one I made to play on Freeport when EQ2 was beta testing F2P. That then ended up being my main EQ2 account. My entire history of EQ is one of tangled accounts, from the beginning when Mrs Bhagpuss made some characters on my original account and ended up taking it over. Just as well EQNext never appeared – heaven knows what we would have done then.

    Also, have you seen the Landmark news? They appear to have something in hand that risks turning it into a game after all…

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  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – I too wish there was an EQ Wire site to match EQ2 Wire. The lack of such is all the more reason for me to keep mentioning the occasional update here I suppose. (My original EQ account is somewhere out there. I gave it to a friend at one point.)

    Yes, the whole EQII dungeon maker getting ported into LM is good news, though I am still not sure exactly how well it will fit in. We shall see come the spring.

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  4. Fenjay

    It’s a little surprising that all three of the original “Big Three” MMOGs are still ongoing (generously speaking – Asheron’s Call appears to be on life support). UO is still seeing updates, and I was at first heartened to see that there was a March update to AC… but then I realized it was March 2014. Oh well, the forums are still semi-active at least.

    It makes me wonder what the actual lifespan of one of these games actually is; one that got to critical mass, didn’t make a huge blunder like Star Wars Galaxies, and has a developer that continues to tend the garden. There is simply no parallel entertainment product out there to compare. Even long-running TV series rarely last over seven seasons. Will we be playing Eve or EQ from our old age homes?

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