Monday, March 16, 2009

A Tribute to Everquest

Everquest is 10 years old today, and apparently still going strong. Everquest was my first MMO, though I didn't start playing right away. I was lured in slowly, sitting in my comfy chair behind my (then fiance) hubby watching him play. Watching him chat with friends and showing me good bits that he really liked. I did like the way the world looked, but couldn't understand why it wasn't like all the single player games he'd played before. Then he showed me how to play. Had me sit in his chair to do it. Suddenly I was only inches away from this world called Norrath and the sounds were all around me. And I liked it! I really liked it! I was hooked from the time I first saw an orc fighting a wolf in the forest and chatted away to a complete stranger about how to find my corpse (he had stumbled across it and I was lost in the forest trying to find it). We had RL friends start the game with us, but we continued on after they had gone on to other things. We made friends with a great group of people that we still go from game to game with to this day. We keep hoping for the next "Everquest", but you just can't go back, except in memory.

And there are so many great memories:

- The music they had in and around Kelethin -- still gives me that warm home-y feeling. And hubby's personal "don't ever play that again!" favourite.

- The first time we hopped servers and I made my first ranger -- a male (not sure why he was male -- all the rest of my characters have been female except for my Squig Herder) half-elf by the name of Llonio. He could sort of see but Oakk, hubby's human druid couldn't see anything and by the time we stumbled out of Surefall Glade in the dark and tried to orient ourselves we ended up killed by the necromancer who hung out around near the entrance. Wish I could remember his name (and too lazy to look it up).

- Our first trip down to the Qeynos sewers, and finding gelatinous cubes everywhere.

- Trying to find a way out after falling through the tree in Blackburrow. Corpse runs to here, or anywhere for that matter.

- Laughing skeletons and maniacal scarecrows. They were the best! Even my girls start giggling when they see a skeleton. I still expect to hear skeletons laughing when I fight them, even though the undead in WAR seem to be very serious indeed.

- Dancing skelly -- the illusion that enchanters could cast on themselves around level 20 or so. And Sol A (a temporary home), where we made friends with one.

- The Naked Gnome Race was an actual race of level 1 "Mad" gnomes from Ak'Anon to Qeynos. To make it to the docks, you could go the quick way through lands of certain death, or run along the road and go slower. Then there was much dancing (and other emoting) to be done on the boat as we travelled very slowly to Freeport. Remember how long the boat ride originally was? Then off again through the Commonlands etc to head over through the Gorge to the eventual destination of Qeynos City. I practised and mapped out the run on the real Tianna. On the day of the race I only died a few times, but it was absolutely hilarious, every single minute. Here's Madtianna.

- Our online wedding, about a month after our real wedding. Not as well attended as other weddings on the server (or indeed our real one), but maybe our choice of Lesser Faydark for the ceremony was a bit intimidating to some. (This is a picture taken after the ceremony with our matching last names.)

- The first time a beholder made me attack one of my friends. I was surprised, but that was nothing compared to his shock at finding me hitting him.

- Lots of things in Lesser Faydark: Coming across the fairy town completely by accident. Same goes for the ranger station. Happening to be in the right place when Equestrielle came out. Back in the days when you actually had to look for stuff for quests, not just run to red blotches on your map. How about training up your sense of direction? Took a long time before you could actually figure out which way you were heading.

- Firebeetle eyes, greater lightstones, Befallen (my personal favourite), ghouls, the rain in the Karanas.

- Permafrost. I came across a page in one of my old journals (yes, I actually had to write stuff down before the advent of quest journals and omnicient Tomes) with the word Permafrost and a tally of about 70-80. I think I was counting goblins I killed alone there one time while waiting for a couple of friends to show up.

Another thing I came across in my journal -- Tianna's original story -- handwritten and the paper is fading, so I'll transcribe it here:
Tianna: Woodelven Ranger: Created 06/25/1999

My name is Tianna. I was born on a high platform of the Wood Elven city of Kelethin. My mother was one of Faydark's Champions, the Rangers who patrol the lands around our fair city and stive to keep the population of the Crushbone orcs to a minimum. My father was a master fletcher of the kinds of arrows that no longer exist, at least not now since so many have faded.

It was a Sylvan world when I was young. The forest was bright and full of sunlight and song. The orcs were not such a danger back in those days, and the people of my race prospered. My mother patrolled the forest every day, relying on her wits and the Trueshot bow my father had made for her. I used to play at my father's feet as he went about his trade. He could wittle the sharpest points and create the best fletches in the whole city.

One day, my father had to go to Ak'Anon, city of the gnomes, for a cam for a very special bow a weathy customer had commissioned. As usual, my mother was needed for patrolling, so my father left me with the rangers in the guild house. I played happily there, testing out the weapons (my how heavy they were) and learning as much as they could teach me. Towards the end of the day they let me go down one of the lifts to the forest floor.

It was all new and exciting to me. I saw lots and lots of shiny black wolves, who smiled and wagged their tails at me. Also, a few giant wasps and bats. As they ignored me, I ignored them. I wandered along the path a short ways, and was met with a scene that left me horror-struck.
A hideous blue creature with big burly arms and a face full of fangs was fighting with a wolf. Although the wolf was biting back, it looked as if the orc might kill him in its fury. I believe I screamed for help, then flew at the orc and pummelled it with all of my might. Startled, it tripped over its feet and fell, with the wolf savaging its neck. I was sure that the orc's death cry could be heard from a long way off, and I searched around to see if I could discern any pursuit. There was none. The wolf, exhausted from the struggle, and bleeding from multiple wounds, collapsed in a heap in front of me. I ripped a strip off my tunic and quickly bound the worst looking wound. I searched around for help, and spying a guard, I called him over. He kindly helped me carry the wolf to our little home, high in the trees.

During the night, the wolf died.
I was devastated, but it was only a premonition of things to come. I learned from a scout how a legionnaire had waylaid my father in Lesser Faydark. By the time he made it to our hidden camp in the valley, he could only gasp out my name. And then he died. That same eve, my mother had been chasing down an orc centurion who had run into the cave leading to their castle. Bravely she followed it in, only to be hacked to pieces while a Tier'Dal ambassador watched and laughed. Even Maesyn Trueshot was shaken by this news. The Tier'Dal, helping orcs? As for what was to be done with me -- he decided to raise me himself, to do honour to his bravest Ranger.

In return, I eagerly learned their ways, and when it was time, I became a fledgling Ranger in my own right. As I pledged my life to the ranger way, I also vowed to myself that I would rid the forest of the stench of the Crushbone orcs.

Happy Birthday Everquest! -- you gave us the time of our life at the time.


  1. If I could turn back time I would have bought a copy of EQ and played back then but I wasn't really into gaming in those days.

    I do, however, take trips down WoW memory lane every so often. It will never be the same, I'm afraid. But there are always new memories to make. And I think I've made a few good ones in my time playing WAR.

  2. hah randomness, was randomly surfing and found this!!

    Don't suppose you still have screenshots of the Naked gnome race?!?

    /hugs and stuff - Saroeb
    Aka Matt :)