Sometime in early 2001, I went to the computer store to look for yet another computer game, since I had grown bored of the most recent one. I had seen the box of Everquest, Rise of Kunark before, but had put it back into the shelf for one reason or another. But this time there was also “Scars of Velious” standing right next to it. Seeing the second expansion of a game gave me pause. Guess there must be something to it, I thought and grabbed the Kunark box.
A bit later a new dwarf named Tomlin appeared outside Kaladim on the Vazaelle server. I had yet to discover the newer full screen interface and could see the world only through a window less than half the size of my screen. Things were confusing, but I managed to kill some skeletons and some goblins. But of course I got lost, had to search for my corpse and got saved by some friendly player who saw I was in distress. Eventually, my dwarf grew up a bit and found his way into Greater Faydark, which he left almost immediately for Lesser Faydark at level 6 or so. There he meet some brownies…..
The story from here on is the same as many others have experienced the game. Getting your first set of banded mail, experimenting with other classes and general exploration of all continents. There were my first steps onto Kunark, wondering how to get to that level 14+ zone while dodging monster spiders and giant dogs. The boat trip to Velious was fun, seeing the gnomish steam boat. Going out exploring as a non caster was always interesting and dangerous, since you’d better find a bind point fast. I had settled to play a bard, which I turned into a Vah Shir bard once Luclin came around.
I joined a small casual guild, left them for a bigger guild, which imploded to form another more “focused” raiding guild and joined a newly founded raiding guild by the time Planes of Power went live. That’s where I meet my wife through frequent grouping and raiding. More expansions came out, but so did Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. The guild collapsed, but we played on for a while, before succumbing to the lure of World of Warcraft. That was around the time of Omens of War. My wife held out a while longer, but eventually moved to WOW as well.
We had short appearances during veterans weekends and I took the opportunity to return to Fippy Darkpaw for a short while, but have stayed away since. Now Everquest is going free-to-play on March, 16th, 12 years after its introduction. I will be there. I finished the download of the regular client a couple of hours ago and I am waiting for the doors to open. I don’t know if I will start on the new server or revisit my old toons. Most likely scenario: A new beastlord on the new server. I certainly won’t be a frequent visitor, but free-to-play will give me the opportunity to drop in every now and then, just to see how things are faring.
It is some investment to get re-aquainted with the game and the user interface. Or just imagine the geography. I will probably manage the classic Norrath maps, a bit of Luclin and Planes of Power, perhaps even Ykesha. But after that, I don’t even remember the zone connections anymore. Yes, I know, things have gotten simpler in the game, but it has become a huge world. I guess it’s still the biggest world out there in MMO terms. And a nice one to go back to. See you on Friday.
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