cletus 2 months ago

I played the original Everquest from 1999 until 2004 or so with some gaps. it really was amazing at the time. WoW killed it of course. There's good reason for that but it's wild to think of how hard core EQ was at the time.

For example, if you died, your corpse was where you died. You reappeared with literally no gear. If that was deep in a dungeon (Sebilis anyone?) then recovering it might be nontrivial. This led to corpse-run ("CR") groups. If you failed to get your corpse within a week it would disappear taking all your stuff.

You also lost XP when you died.

Another example: wood elves started in Kelethin, which was platforms in the trees with no rails. It was a rite of passage to fall off those passages and die. If you were fighting under the city at times you'd often see newbies falling to their deaths.

Travel originally was originally nontrivial too. One continent had a big city on each side (Qeynos and Freeport) and it was almost another rite of passage to do the Qeynos to Freeport run as a low-level (which could take 30-60 minutes IIRC) because you wanted to level somewhere else.

This is a genre I wish there was life in but sadly I think it's time has come and gone. A big part of what drove it was that it was the era before social networks. You met people in MMOs. Now? Everything is so results-oriented. Play a modern MMO and to do a dungeon you just queue, join, kill things off the checklist and then leave. You may never talk to anyone. People may leave mid-dungeon and get replaced without you ever noticing.

It's interesting to see how many small changes players demand ultimately kill the genre. Levelling too slow? Eliminate it. Um, what? That's half the game. Dungeon queueing. Raid queueing. Solo content, which has definite merits also means you rarely have to talk to or cooperate with anyone to get a lot of things done.

  • spenczar5 2 months ago

    One of the best parts of those difficulties was that markets emerged from within the player base to provide conveniences around them.

    Necromancers could summon a player's corpse if they were within some distance, like 500 meters. So Necros would camp out near famously tricky areas, and offer to pull corpses for 10 platinum pieces ("10pp") a pop.

    Enchanters and Druids were the only classes with a teleport spell, so likewise they'd charge a small fee to teleport players across the continents, like from Qeynos to Freeport. Sometimes a chanter would spend an hour or three grinding out teleport runs like an Uber driver (we didn't know that analogy - uber wouldn't exist for another 10 years!) to make some extra cash.

    And there was no auction house at all. The de facto auction location was a big cave in the desert outside Freeport. Players would all meet there and post in the general chat, hawking their goods:

        someguy: WTS Swarmcaller LEGENDARY bow for ranger 1k
        coolwizard: WTB pally helmet
        lesscoolpriest: WTS leather pelts 5g each
    
    As a kid, I'd spend time in the that zone just trying to swap and find good deals, buying low and selling high, just because I found that lots of fun. I never really was great at that - there were always a few legendary big-deal traders who had tons of capital and thus tons of good equipment.

    Fun times. I miss that sort of emergent magic.

    • clouded 2 months ago

      That was wizards and druids. Wizard spires and druid rings. Enchanters made money casting a spell to cause faster mana regen.

      • spenczar5 2 months ago

        Ah, that's right! Thanks!

    • 8f2ab37a-ed6c 2 months ago

      I remember seeing my first guy with a flaming sword, likely the only one on the Mithaniel Marr server at the time, in that improvised shouting market in Freeport, that was such a thrill.

  • xwdv 2 months ago

    Back in the day I hated EverQuest because it killed Ultima Online. It’s funny you mention how hardcore EQ was because UO was even harder. In the early days you could be killed and your entire corpse robbed clean, people could even butcher up your body into discrete pieces and feed them to pigs, or carry your head around like a trophy or turn it in for a bounty if there was one. Also if someone got your house key and they found your house they could just bust in and loot it dry. And if you were killed somewhere like a deserted island that had no place to resurrect you were basically stuck there till someone came to get you. It was so dangerous.

    But then games like EQ came out and made things easier for players, and that put pressure on UO devs to make their game easier, and eventually with time UO became a boring safe game rather than a true virtual world.

    • idiotsecant 2 months ago

      I remember how completely disgusted with EQ 'carebears' the UO community was. It was telling though that asherons call, which was a bit closer to UO than it was EQ, was never as successful. People want boring, safe experiences.

      Great game though, AC.

      • wishfish 2 months ago

        > People want boring, safe experiences

        Looking at the popularity of the Soulslike games, I don't think that's true. I think what people want is a system which feels fair.

        A big part of fairness is not letting randoms online destroy your stuff & progress. Stories about UO often fall into that vein. Ways in which some player made life hell for another player. Honestly doesn't sound like much fun to me. I can see why many players wouldn't want to be part of such a system.

        • idiotsecant 2 months ago

          That's a decent point, except that I don't think the souls experience is actually very 'fair' - it's in fact pretty far on the 'safe' scale! I get as many attempts on a boss in a souls game as I want. My skills increase every time and the boss stays the same. this is inevitably a situation I will win, it's just a matter of time. It feels more fair to me because I have a feeling of 'earning' it, but it wasn't very fair to the boss at all!

          In actual reality we are wired to seek unfair situations - we intrinsically prefer scenarios in which we have an unfair advantage. Scenarios in which the advantage is unknown or in which we even are disadvantaged are fundamentally unsettling to us because we have been programmed by billions of years of evolutionary programming to avoid those kind of scenarios! Games that present us with these kind of unfair advantages disguised as 'fair' are in fact wildly popular for exactly that reason.

        • drbojingle 2 months ago

          UO sounds like it was modeled off real life then

  • bombcar 2 months ago

    Community is what forms whilst cooperatively solving issues, many of which are NOT the actual raid bosses, etc.

    Much of that is dead now, unless you are in or can join a community that preexists.

    I remember using my bear in WoW to tank as a hunter because we got bored waiting for a tank to become available and one of the dps suggested we try because getting another dps was easy and it was better than sitting around stormwind.

    • GolfPopper 2 months ago

      Yep. I remember shaman tanking, and warlock tanking as well.

      If you didn't care how fast the instance or non-instanced outdoor "dungeon" was progressing (and you had to manage a certain speed, or you'd eventually get swamped by respawns, when that was still a thing), you could do it as long as the group could balance aggro (and/or kite, when that was also still a thing), with damage and healing. We did some really wacky group compositions back then, because that was what we had. And the old talent-trees encouraged it, as a shaman or paladin or druid (or even warrior) could take some talents to let them tank better, while still keeping their character viable for solo-questing or as a dps. And the game and other players didn't actively punish you for being sub-optimal. (I.e. you could, to an extent, successfully aim for breadth instead of depth, because other players were more accepting of the trade-offs involved, for a variety of social and practical reasons.)

      I leveled my pally back in the day as a holy/prot hybrid pretty much exclusively via group questing and dungeon runs. Having decent gear for both roles and understanding the abilities was even more important than talent choice, although good talent choice helped. I remember a great deal of my healing set was leather or cloth, because that's what had the best stats for it, which in turn made it problematic to switch roles mid-fight. I suspect that today, even if I could re-build the character as a working hybrid, it would be an unpopular choice because I wouldn't be as fast as a specialist. But "In the Good Old Days" success and good play still mattered.

    • seanp2k2 2 months ago

      Had some fun years playing Planetside (2? It was on PC) until my clan (D2A) died off due to lost interest around the time the planet exploded. It was amazing in Planetside to have our clan organize hundreds of people to form into platoons and take over continents. I was also into Destiny 2 on PC for a while when it came out, but I was in a few different raiding clans and they all died after just a couple of months, like going from thousands of active players to under 50 dead. I’ve played Diablo seasons with a couple of coworkers and that’s been fun, we don’t get to the top 100 or whatever globally but still got to the point where we were pushing GR 100+ levels using pretty standard Icy Veins builds. It was fun, but no one can usually find 20+hrs/week for video games anymore. Some of my D2 clan mates were college students so they’d play for 40-60hrs/week and get through all new content / raids in a week or two, then it’d take the rest of us a month or so to catch up.

  • treeman79 2 months ago

    Recall spending an hour putting together a group for a dungeon in wow. 30 minutes getting to dungeon. All because we needed nature resist for a a new dungeon. Then spending 5 hours working together. because we all so happy to have a functional group.

    The fun part is the priest core was the only group that for our nature resist gear. So we tanked that week.

    • tapland 2 months ago

      WoW had that really well figured out.

      I remember when I played both that and FFIX. I'd spend 7 hours looking for a group in FF on a Saturday, get to the dungeon, wipe right away, level down and the group would disband. Logging on became more and more rare but wow wasn't punishing.

  • spywaregorilla 2 months ago

    I think there's a big gap to be filled with a good rogue MMO. Persistent world states. One requiring the coordination of large groups of varying levels, and high stakes. But no progression curves that take grinding time.

  • pmoriarty 2 months ago

    "it's wild to think of how hard core EQ was at the time. ... For example, if you died, your corpse was where you died. You reappeared with literally no gear. If that was deep in a dungeon (Sebilis anyone?) then recovering it might be nontrivial. This led to corpse-run ("CR") groups. If you failed to get your corpse within a week it would disappear taking all your stuff."

    This was and still is completely standard on MUDs, which Everquest and pretty much all other MMO's were strongly influenced by.

    • ecdavis 2 months ago

      Not just strongly influenced. Those early MMOs were often called "graphical MUDs".

      Indeed, Dark Age of Camelot was a direct successor to the Darkness Falls MUDs. Its gameplay was essentially the same, it just rendered the world in 3D rather than text.

    • agentultra 2 months ago

      EQ was practically a graphical Diku MUD.

  • 8f2ab37a-ed6c 2 months ago

    Great summary, I had a similar experience to yours, including the epic Freeport run, dungeon mob trains, waiting for the right named mob to spawn in Guk for that epic + strength belt for my pally. What a magical time. I remember being so new to the online experience, and the social aspect of it, that my first interaction with anybody in the game was my pally in the newbie zone in Freeport attempting a conversation with a mage's elemental without realizing that was a NPC. Lots of rats and bats were slain that day.

    I always wondered why I could never ride the dragon again with anything that came since. Was it because I was much younger when I played EQ for the first time, so nothing to do with the game, but all to do with me? Was it the kind alternatives on the market for gaming experiences? But I think you're right, it likely was about the comparative undersaturation with social experiences on the Internet of 1999. The best I had going on for me sociall online were a couple of friends I had added on IRC from my months of playing Myth The Fallen Lords online. What an era.

    • rmac 2 months ago

      Which dragon would then-you actually enjoy chasing in todays modern-oversaturated online socialized world?

  • mtoddsmith 2 months ago

    Not going to bed until I get my rotting corpse! multiple 30min corpse runs and at 3am I get my corpse only die again before I make it out of the dungeon. Those were the good ol days.

    One thing that made EverQuest good were the sounds. They were mesmerizing at times.

  • Sakos 2 months ago

    > Levelling too slow? Eliminate it. Um, what? That's half the game

    That's weird. The vast majority of my time in MMOs is raiding, not leveling. Leveling is boring, filler content. I don't know why it should have such a strong emphasis in any game.

  • pacifika 2 months ago

    Great post. There are lots of parallels here with technology creeping into real life.

    Automation replacing human contact (ticket counter closures). Convenience replacing experience (empty high streets)

    Change works both ways.

  • imtringued 2 months ago

    Nobody plays the hardcore games. There is Mortal and Mortal 2 and most people hate them.

    • serf 2 months ago

      hardcore mmo player/fan here :

      I am re-writing a long rant that I just deleted in response to this; but let me distill it as concisely as I can :

      Star Vault repeatedly mismanaged Mortal Online, burned lots of members of a small niche community with repeated character wipes and hacking incidents, and did not take the appropriate steps to address issues that finally resulted in the total loss of confidence in the persistent world by many early fans.

      After all that -- and with Mortal Online I about 30% done with respect to the early crowdfund goals, they announce Mortal II and divert an already small staff elsewhere , throwing the early game into maintenance.

      tl;dr : people play these games, but they can only take so much abuse.

foxbarrington 2 months ago

I still play on an emulated server [0] that keeps things like they were in 1999-2001. I keep coming back to this game because of how much you have to rely on others to do anything. It makes it incredibly social. Still unlike any other game I’ve played.

[0] https://project1999.com

  • hubblesticks 2 months ago

    And to anyone shying away from the word "emulator" - Project 1999 has the blessing of Daybreak to exist. They won't get shut down by a cease and desist.

  • voganmother42 2 months ago

    It is a wonderful time, I highly recommend p99, especially when they do fresh servers!

ThalesX 2 months ago

I remember those days, so many MMORPG on the market. Everquest, Asheron’s Call, Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dragons, Anarchy Online, and so many others.

I remember being involved in the community for an ultimately vaporware MMO. Realms of Torment / Age of Mourning.

Then WoW came and the rest is history.

I think we need a new WoW, and I think it’s going to have to come from FAANG level company. A fully dynamic cloud backed world running AI agents, GPT-3+ storylines, Unreal 5 graphics.

I swear it doesn’t even seem that hard nowadays for those kind of resources.

I had hopes that Amazon’s MMO would show a glimpse of that. It didn’t yet.

  • chmod775 2 months ago

    >I think we need a new WoW, and I think it’s going to have to come from FAANG level company.

    FAANG huh... Considering the recent track record of the bigger US studios, I'm not holding my breath for anything that's more than a fleeting curiosity.

    >A fully dynamic cloud backed world running AI agents, GPT-3+ storylines, Unreal 5 graphics.

    So here's some MMORPGs roughly in order of current popularity: 1. FFXIV/Lost Ark, 2. OSRS, 3. WoW.

    They're doing fine without fancy cloud tech, GPT generated nonsense will make any of these games worse (good side-quests aren't about having lots of text nobody reads), and players tend to not care about graphics beyond "is it good enough?" (Graphics sell games, they don't retain players). I think AI will be able to write, design and code interesting and fun quests about five years after it starts writing mostly good novels.

    Looking at the games in general, it would appear that at the top end creativity, craftsmanship, and unique opinionated design beats formulaic games with pretty graphics and cool tech every time. If creating "the next big game" is what you're aiming for, technology should be the means to realize your vision and not the goal itself.

    • tomc1985 2 months ago

      How the hell is Lost Ark so popular? The stereotype-laden jankfest where the social hubs are full of town guards that groan orgasmically nearly every time you walk past them? Hell, I can't think of any game that placed so much emphasis on bodily noises. The game where every fun little privilege seems to be a time-limited rental?

      Then again I couldn't stand the awfulness for more than a few hours. Maybe there's a gem in there but damn if it isn't rough on the outside.

      • chmod775 2 months ago

        >How the hell is Lost Ark so popular?

        It's still relatively newly released in the west, there was lots of hype, the game has a high amount of spit and polish, and its gameplay was filling an under served space. If it played like your typical tab-targeting MMO, nobody would have cared.

        Also there's probably some bots increasing the steam player numbers, but that's another story. For now I decided to put it up there with FFXIV.

        >Hell, I can't think of any game that placed so much emphasis on bodily noises.

        I can: Genshin Impact. Genshin went in really hard on using micro transactions to let you play more, as well as having characters making sounds that are indistinguishable from pornography. Compared to what is typical for the Asian market, Korean games tend to be tame.

        > The game where every fun little privilege seems to be a time-limited rental?

        The way I understand LA is supposed to be played, is creating lots of alt characters so you can do the time-gated "fun" content on each them every day.

        Personally I hate daily tasks in games ("dailies"), because then the game starts feeling like a chore and also I'd have to play every day to keep up. LA is full of those.

    • ThalesX 2 months ago

      > FAANG huh... Major US based video RPG developers (to be fair there's like one and a half of them) seem to be chronically unable to craft interesting worlds in recent years. They're still doing fine creating gameplay that ticks all the boxes of superficial fun, but I'm not holding my breath that the design by committee approach is going to yield anything actually engaging.

      I don't find it impossible that the "new WoW" might pop up from a FAANG-level company. They have the resources, the tech and they can acquire IP that's already made by indie and build on top of that, or hire talent and actually let them do their job. I know it's dreamy, but it's not impossible.

      > So here's some MMORPGs roughly in order of current popularity: 1. FFXIV/Lost Ark, 2. OSRS, 3. WoW.

      > They're doing fine without fancy cloud tech,

      They mostly don't have it, so have to do fine without it. Also WoW: Shadowlands had massive lag for shared zones, fancy cloud tech could probably help a bit

      > GPT generated nonsense will make any of these games worse (good side-quests aren't about having lots of text nobody reads),

      Transformer models can be used for more than just text generation, and you can use other models to produce a lot of quirky content. I think if sprinkled on correctly, it would really give life to some NPC and locations.

      > and players tend to not care about graphics beyond "is it good enough?" (Graphics sell games, they don't retain players).

      Well good graphics on decent machines certainly don't shy players away either. Personally I like the WoW engine as it's somewhat timeless, but I would love to see a shiny new one with all the foo and bar.

      > Speaking of AI in general... I think AI will be able to write, design and code interesting and fun quests about five years after it writes its first good novel.

      I guess it could be used to manage biomes, regional planning, urbanism, random events, some needs for NPCs etc. Imagine the team of writers comes up with a 'harsh winter' event, where apart from the content they produce, it requires the "Weather AI" to create the conditions for that harsh winter. It would be magical to have this kind of creative control over the world and have NPC AI react to it.

      Want to add a pirate event? AI can suggest realistic locations, NPC, maybe some storylines for inspiration that can be tweaked. Maybe the villager AIs would start having trouble from the raids so they would try to solve the problem locally by forming a militia and fighting the pirates. Maybe it wouldn't work, but that town's demographics would be forever altered. Famine could come next collapsing the village even though the pirate threat has been dealt with. I don't know if this level of world dynamism can be done without AI and AI agents.

      > Looking at the RPG space in general, it would appear that creativity, craftsmanship, and unique opinionated design beats formulaic games with pretty graphics and cool tech every time.

      Surely such an awesome technical feat such as the game I'm imagining, with perfect code and CI/CD pipelines, minimal resource consumption and an amazing team behind, it would be trivial to add handcrafted experiences in this massive world.

      • kitsunesoba 2 months ago

        > Also WoW: Shadowlands had massive lag for shared zones, fancy cloud tech could probably help a bit

        Actually, high lag in shared zones has been for the past several expansions been because of cloud tech. Sometime around Cataclysm they switched from dedicated hardware to cloud shards, and since then lag in packed zones has been bad because the shards that get spawned are almost never big enough to keep up with the load.

        This is exacerbated by ever more complex combat — a large battle between players in Shadowlands is many times more demanding than the same size battle in original WoW.

    • bergenty 2 months ago

      What about elder scrolls online. I really liked that game.

  • treis 2 months ago

    >I think we need a new WoW, and I think it’s going to have to come from FAANG level company. A fully dynamic cloud backed world running AI agents, GPT-3+ storylines, Unreal 5 graphic

    I'm mildly worried about the societal implications of something like that. EverQuest was pretty addictive as it was. Hard to fathom what something even more immersive with essentially infinite content would be like.

    • loloquwowndueo 2 months ago

      There’s an anime about that (Sword Art Online) ;)

    • reshie 2 months ago

      it had another name. evercrack.

  • numen9311 2 months ago

    >I think we need a new WoW, and I think it’s going to have to come from FAANG level company. A fully dynamic cloud backed world running AI agents, GPT-3+ storylines, Unreal 5 graphics.

    If you think this is all video gaming industry is your going to have a bad time, none of these would contribute to making a half decent game, let alone an mmo.

    • cs137 2 months ago

      Agree. Graphics matter but aren't the most important thing, and anyone who thinks GPT-3 can write compelling storylines doesn't understand GPT-3 or story craft.

      A FAANG would fuck up any MMO it tried. Trust me on this. I could say more, but I'd dox myself. They simply don't have the DNA for it. What would happen is that control of the thing would be given to CEO's pets and corporate bikeshedders and the product would be mediocre.

      If a company is going to create a new great MMO, it needs to be a single-purpose company dedicated toward just that... and, of course, that means it's taking a huge risk. It will also need to resist the temptation to get bought by an existing FAANG, because as soon as it is, the quality will decline.

      • ThalesX 2 months ago

        I'm keeping my dream, thank you.

        > Graphics matter but aren't the most important thing, and anyone who thinks GPT-3 can write compelling storylines doesn't understand GPT-3 or story craft.

        I asked GPT-3 (let's pretend for a moment that it's not going to be replaced soon with something more powerful): "You are a pig farmer. Recently, kobolds have started stealing your sheep. You're asking any stranger that looks like he might be up for the job, to help you get rid of the kobolds. Write ten ways in which you'd tell people to help you. Make it a bit verbose.". I'm adding the result after the post [0]. Is this really so bad for a random off-quest out in the world? I also tried variations where I described the context of the farmer (wife, kids, jolly fellow) and it adapted outputs. I think these kind of tools will be invaluable for NPC of the future, and indeed, for story writers.

        > A FAANG would fuck up any MMO it tried. [...] What would happen is that control of the thing would be given to CEO's pets and corporate bikeshedders and the product would be mediocre.

        > If a company is going to create a new great MMO, it needs to be a single-purpose company dedicated toward just that... and, of course, that means it's taking a huge risk. It will also need to resist the temptation to get bought by an existing FAANG, because as soon as it is, the quality will decline.

        Surely this can't be the case for all present and future FAANG-level companies. I'm sorry but it just feels like you have a beef with whatever company is that you're projecting onto this. Would this new company not have a CEO that would have some pets, and other people involved that might contribute to some mediocre decisions? Is it somehow isolated because it's a single purpose MMORPG company?

        [0] ``` 1. "I'm a pig farmer, and I've been having some trouble with kobolds stealing my sheep. If you're up for the job, I could really use your help."

        2. "I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. I'm willing to pay for your services."

        3. "I'm not sure if you're the right person for the job, but I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. Do you think you could help me out?"

        4. "I'd be very grateful if you could help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. I'll make it worth your while."

        5. "I don't know if you're up for the challenge, but I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. Are you interested?"

        6. "I don't know if you have the skills for this, but I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. Would you be willing to help me out?"

        7. "I can't do this by myself - I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. Can you help me?"

        8. "I'm not sure if you're the right person for this, but I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. Would you be interested in helping me out?"

        9. "I could really use your help to get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. I'll make it worth your while."

        10. "I need someone to help me get rid of the kobolds that have been stealing my sheep. If you're up for the job, I'd be very grateful." ```

        • yuliyp 2 months ago

          The hard part of creating good quests is not generating the quest dialogue, but crafting a compelling story and placing it into the world. Why is this farmer having kobold problems? How does that fit into the world around the questgiver? What does the landscape of the farm look like?

          • bergenty 2 months ago

            Those don’t seem hard answers to come up with. You could potentially have infinite depth on details.

    • ThalesX 2 months ago

      I'm not sure why you'd go with this take. I'm not saying throw some AI, some GPT+ prompts and Unreal 5, deploy it to EC2 and call it a day. There's gameplay elements, main storylines, side quests, great campaigns and assets that can be done by humans, you'd of course need to make it a game. Is this a reason why the weird hermit NPC living in the forest shouldn't have a richer life than sitting in his hut all day?

      All I'm is saying is that I'd like a new age MMORPG using these new technologies that can help create dynamic rich worlds, populate them with reasonably realistic NPC and have nicely polished clients, especially with the $bajillions that get thrown around tech nowadays.

  • wishfish 2 months ago

    The market's largely spoken. They don't want a new WoW.

    WoW does still have millions of players and is a recognizable part of pop culture. Though much less than it used to be. FFXIV seems to have around the same numbers these days, though with maybe less mainstream recognizability. But there doesn't seem to be much mass appetite for a new MMO property. There's some buzz when a new one gets released and then it quickly fades.

    It's interesting to me that the WoW-killer wasn't another MMO. It was Minecraft back in the day. And then Roblox supplanted Minecraft. At least with kids. Kind of an interesting indication that many players preferred more creative environments over more rigid theme parks.

    • mtoddsmith 2 months ago

      WoW is pretty hard for younger kids to get into. Minecraft and Roblox are available on ipads and WoW is not.

      • wishfish 2 months ago

        Minecraft surpassed WoW while it was still Java only and entirely on desktops.

  • lampshades 2 months ago

    I, like you, followed MMO to MMO throughout the 2000s and the road ended at WoW.

    I don’t think we’ll see the next big MMO until the Metaverse and VR become mainstream. I’ve given up all hope of anything ever competing with WoW. It was such a phenomenal game that nothing else has ever even come close. We need the next iteration of immersion technology before something can compete.

    I still miss that game so much.

    • ThalesX 2 months ago

      WoW was colossal. It shaped an entire generation I was part of; the socialization, camaraderie, ventrillo and teamspeak chats, friends all over the world. I can’t really imagine myself without it.

      I remember one New Year’s Eve in Goldshire. It still is honestly one of my favorite NYE. Getting drunk on voice chat, throwing fireworks, having engineers build all sorts of weird contraptions, some steamy chat with probably a balding dude playing a Night Elf chick.

      I still play every expansion. I make a new character and level it to max. But it takes ages and I usually solo and when I hit max I mostly stop. It’s a little guilty pleasure.

      I like to believe this is what kids today get with Fortnite and whatchamadoodle.

      • poisonarena 2 months ago

        I remember in Anarchy online my friend 'married' a 'woman' in Omni-One and I attended his wedding, he they exchanged in game rings and all and he bought 'her' a hover car

      • lampshades 2 months ago

        An under appreciated aspect of WFH is that we just replaced TeamSpeak with Slack, raids with outages and releases, and quests with tickets.

        Maybe we’re already playing the next game.

    • Jonnston 2 months ago

      FFXIV is actually bigger than WoW these days.

      • dimgl 2 months ago

        > doubt

        • philliphaydon 2 months ago

          You doubt that FF14 has over taken WOW 2 years ago? Wow continues to lose players. Wow is down to like 15m and FF14 is up to around 24m.

          At its peak wow dwarfs every mmorpg in history tho.

          • Macha 2 months ago

            24m is the total sales of FFXIV. 15m for WoW was the last published concurrent subscribers in ~2014. These are not comparable numbers.

            The current estimates are about 1.7m for FFXIV [1] and 1.2m for WoW [2] (+another 500k[3] if you include WoW classic, but there's some overlap between retail and classic). Since neither company releases subscriber counts that's our best guess.

            It's clear FFXIV was ahead of WoW while FFXIV was undergoing it's endwalker pre-launch hype and did well to retain those players post-launch compared to prior expansions, while at the same time WoW was undergoing it's peak period of shadowlands discontent. But as WoW gets into dragonflight hype mode and FFXIV is between patches, it looks like WoW has drawn back even for a while.

            [1]: https://www.reddit.com/r/ffxiv/comments/u0gfwo/new_lucky_ban...

            [2]: https://mmo-population.com/r/wow/

            [3]: https://mmo-population.com/r/classicwow/

  • GolfPopper 2 months ago

    I expect the key to "next-gen WoW" will be somebody (FAANG or indy) figuring out how to mix player-generated content into something like the classic MMO (gameplay, social, quasi-economic) package. EVE Online is actually close, except that aspects of its genre and gameplay only have niche appeal.

  • gww 2 months ago

    Most of my favorite MMORPG memories are with AC, despite playing WoW for many more years. There was something about the way skills were done and how your character could feel truly powerful. I learned to program because of that game so I could write decal plugins.

jakebasile 2 months ago

I miss what it was like to play EQ around the Vellious expansion. I loved that game. I've tried playing one of the "classic" servers and while it is close to how I remember it I no longer found it fun, since I have changed.

I will always cherish the memories from it. Meeting my wife in the Paw dungeon. Taking her to the Temple of the Dragons and going all the way to the top. Camping the Plane of Hate for her epic weapon. Camping the stupid giant in the ocean island for my epic weapon. That one zone without oxygen on Luclin. Making tons of money teleporting people around the world.

  • poisonarena 2 months ago

    I joined an EQ1999 server and at first I tasted some of the old magic, and then I went to that level 10ish level dungeon where you fight gnolls and this guy I made friends with started chatting with me about how sad he is since he had his stroke and that EQ is the only thing he could do now and then I just stopped playing altogether.. It just bummed me out so much.

    When I was a teen I remember feeling exhilarated just exploring, walking from the different cities, and making friends and getting advice, just being lost. But when I played again in Project 1999.. I was not really with new users, just much older adults in their 30s and 40s and 50s who were not discovering a new world, but desperately trying to return to their old one and the magic was not the same.. But I will be damned if I sometimes still get the urge to come back to that world.

  • stvsu 2 months ago

    > Camping the stupid giant in the ocean island for my epic weapon.

    Ah, the Ancient Cyclops camp to get the jboots.

    I remember spending an entire weekend, from Friday after school to Sunday night, camping AC and never getting him to spawn.

    Good times.

cloudking 2 months ago

EQ was such an amazing experience, organizing raids with 50-100 players to take out a dungeon filled with dragons was mind blowing back then.

Pantheon is the spiritual successor to EverQuest, it has been in development since 2014, supported by private investors and community pledges. https://www.pantheonmmo.com/

Sadly, the founder Brad McQuaid (and co-creator of EQ) passed away in 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brad_McQuaid

michaelmrose 2 months ago

I met my now wife on this game when we were living on opposite sides of the United States. I don't play the game anymore but I kept the wife.

mrgordon 2 months ago

Surprised to see no mentions of Guild Wars 2 among all the discussion about WoW and FFXIV

I think in many ways Guild Wars kept the innovation going better than World of Warcraft. They also made it easy to level up doing your preferred activities rather than grinding “kill 5 kobold” quests. The combat is a lot more action-filled as well with the dodge mechanic and spells that don’t need to be channeled.

I think a lot of their ability to add these improvements came from selling the game as free-to-play with one time purchases so there isn’t as much reason to force you to grind every single day for monthly subscriber growth

kstenerud 2 months ago

My favorite exploit in this game was boosting a friend of mine (Splatt) to level 74 mere seconds after the TSS expansion went live (where they increased the level cap from 70 to 75).

EVERYONE was freaking out, demanding our blood. His guild was threatening to boot him. A GM even came to talk to us. And after we explained what we had done, he agreed that no rules had been broken.

There were a bunch of game mechanics that we made use of:

- When you die, you lose experience.

- If you lose too much experience, you even lose a level.

- The lower your level compared to the mob you kill, the more experience you get (to a point).

- If your corpse has no items on it, it decays after 3h of in-game time (meaning when you are logged in, the timer counts down). While you are NOT logged in, the timer is 7 days.

And then the mechanism that shot him up to 74:

- There's a special verteran's reward AA "Experient Recovery" that recovers 100% xp from ALL non-expired corpses instantly.

The trick was to delevel him as low as possible, and then gain as much exp as possible within a 3h in-game window so that the expedient recovery would shoot him past his original level 70.

To do that, we first had to delevel him, which is difficult to do quickly since you respawn wherever you are bound. But there was one area with lots of aggro mobs where you could bind: Sanctus Seru. So we bound him there and let the slaughter begin. HUNDREDS, possibly THOUSANDS of corpses, all piled up and slowing down the zone something awful. We let them pile up for 2.5 hours, keeping the last 30 minutes of the first corpse timer in reserve for gathering the XP. I think we ended up deleveling him from level 70 down to level 52 or something.

Then we went to Plane of Disease. In case you don't remember, there's an old sword from the Hole called "Earthshaker", which procs Earthquake (a 90pt AOE). But due to the game mechanics, it had a chance to go off with every swing (in reality it would go off I think 20% of the time? Can't remember 100%). The Warrior's ability "Rampage" causes him to instantly swing his sword at every single creature near him. So if you get enough creatures near him, he'll proc a ton of times from all of the instant swings, generating a massive AOE (everyone called this "Shakerpaging").

Anyway, I'd done a lot of research on mob hitpoints and resistance, and determined that POD was the optimal point, with just the right amount of mob hitpoints that a group of 100 or so of them would cause enough of a shakerpage to kill them all.

So we got to work. Over the next few hours, I'd run around POD with my cleric, gathering up a HUGE army of mobs to the kill zone. Then I'd signal to Splatt to log in, at which point his corpse timer countdowns resume. I'd hit Divine Aura (which makes me completely invulnerable for a short while). Splatt would come into the mass of mobs who are aggroed on me and completely ignore him, then hit rampage. The whole zone would stutter and go wonky from the calculations it had to do. From the outside, you would see the mobs attacking, and then they'd dance some weird looking jig, and all fall over simultaneously, dead.

Some mobs would survive, of course. I'd aggro and drag them away, he'd sit down, camp out, and quit. Corpse timer would stop.

Rinse and repeat until we'd used up almost all of the corpse timer (we kept a spy in Seru to keep watch on the first corpse). We got him back up to the mid 60s. At that point the mobs were green and gave very little xp.

Then after the system upgrade, he simply logged on and clicked expedient recovery. Boom, level 74.

Next patch after that, they changed rampage to only issue one "swing" for the purposes of procs.

I was also the first to one-group OMM (got a Triton invite for that). Even at lv 75 you do NOT want to miss a mask click on him! But that's a story for another day.

zarriak 2 months ago

I’m surprised how this fails to mention Elitist Jerks and how much of an impact (for better or worse) they have had on wow and Blizzard in general

  • q-big 2 months ago

    Relevant:

    > https://www.reddit.com/r/wow/comments/3n4fjv/why_did_elitist...

    on the question "Why did Elitist Jerks die out?":

    "A not insignificant number of prominent theorycrafters now work at Blizzard, so that killed a number of class threads. Some other people quit and weren't replaced.

    Later, as the final nail in the coffin, the site was sold to Ten Ton Hammer. They unsuccessfully tried to monetize the site and caused a mass exodus of forum members, effectively killing the community."

sk5t 2 months ago

I used to play MUDs with one of EQ’s leads, and while I didn’t play EQ due to having come to terms with the life-ruining risks of such games, it’s amusing to read here about EQ mechanics that were pretty much ported from Sojourn / Toril MUD—the punishing zones and hard corpse recoveries, requirement for big raid groups with good coordination and communication, etc.

Wavelets 2 months ago

Easily my favorite game of all time. Like many, my hardcore playing years were 1999-2004. Over the years I did drop into Project 1999^, and it’s always an amazingly fun bomb of nostalgia, but it falls short of the 99-04 era magic.

^ Still do, even just to hear the Kelethin music or to run from Kelethin to Erudin. I may just do that this weekend…

sbuttgereit 2 months ago

Here's a nice take on old MMOs from Youtuber Josh Strife Hayes from a couple of days ago.... first scene is from Everquest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Gaz8oxzJ4

  • agentultra 2 months ago

    Interesting take. Although I think FFXIV has shown that a balance can be struck in the game design that can satisfy both players without ample free time to overcome adversity and those who do.

    In that game they’ve had group finder and duty roulette for a while, systems that match players up and ensure the longevity of main story quests/old content. They’ve been working on making the main story quests solo-able. I think this is brilliant. The story and game gets preserved for the next generation and casual players don’t get put off.

    But what about the hardcore players? There’s still a need for party finding and guilds in FRXIV to take on the content specifically designed to require higher-levels of dedication and adversity: ultimates and savage raids.

    It seems like there is still some contention on what the rewards for this higher level content ought to be and whether any part of the story line can be revealed through them… but I generally think if you have the resources: why not both?

    I love having the duty finder and roulettes. I like being able to solo older content instead of queuing up for 20 mins waiting to join a dungeon that will take 15 mins to clear. Pop right in, beat it, move on. I can fit enough gaming in the hour or two I have free on a weekend.

rmac 2 months ago

super interesting discussions in this thread on the ingredients that made EQ successful and potentially why it wouldn't work today. I was always looking for the next MMORPG across mainstream and niche games like Dransik/Ultima Online/Asherons Call/EverQuest/Anarchy Online/Dark Age of Camelot/Shadowbane/Horizons/EverQuest 2/World of Warcraft.

I never got into hardcore raiding in any of the games I chased, but I definitely experienced the "magic" as others have discussed here and in other places.

Things like running around Ak'Anon for the first time ever, taking down a tough dungeon with a great group, the first 200 person pvp bane and destroying another guilds tree of life -- what are the modern-day equivalents?

For me, beyond the things like being in my teens (freetime), the novelty of a networked online world, and being able to arbitrage real-world-dollars for in-game items, what fascinated me was always seeing players and guilds do unbelievable things. Each game had their own version of Furor Planedefiler who I would essentially idolize and strive to become.

Everyone seemed to be switching to WoW when it came out and for some reason (life/age/drugs/lack of a real guild or fellowship affiliation) I fell off the mmorpg gaming bandwagon and haven't really been back since.

Mincecraft & games like Fornite are the successors to WoW for the next generation -> and they don't really follow the dungeons and dragons format used in the MMORPG's of our early years.

The success of minecraft & roblox style games made me realize I don't think I can predict what the next generation of "mmorpg-like" games will actually be. However, surely the "next thing" will need something MORE than just an improvement in technology to be successful.

bladegash 2 months ago

Used to play an awesome online tank game in the late 90s called Tanarus. It was also built by Verant Interactive and rumor had it was a test bed for developing EQ’s eventual net code.

Tanarus was eventually what got me into EQ, then later into WoW and still have very fond (if not rose colored) memories of those days!

sprite 2 months ago

They launched a new Time Locked Progression recently named Yelinak that’s still in classic with Kunark unlocking soon. Would highly recommend for the nostalgia.

beloch 2 months ago

We tend to remember painful things fondly once the experience has had time to mellow, and that's how I remember exploration in Everquest.

In the early days, the game was unapologetic in letting you get in over your head. In fact, it was designed to kill you. Lower level zones often had high-level wandering menaces like Sand Giants that would squash the unwary. The aggro system and Z-axis bugs made delving deeply into dungeons (e.g. Lower Guk) hazardous with a disciplined group and foolhardy with a band of strangers. Just seeing some corners of the game took an incredible amount of perseverance. Some of my stand-out memories of the game were from when my friends and I got into areas we really weren't ready for, but somehow still made it work. Modern MMO's usually hold your hand and either warn or outright block you from content you're too low level or poorly equipped for. Everquest gleefully murdered you.

It really is amazing how the way people play MMO's crystallized in this era though. Everquest was a group game, so I played with a group of real life friends who were all in voice chat together. That coordination and the fact that they were some pretty smart people let us do some amazing things. Once some of us left, it was inevitable that all of us would. Playing the game without the full group felt like playing with an arm tied behind your back.

Everquest had an interesting design philosophy. A modern MMO, like FFXIV, carefully balances and playtests content so that it's challenging but just possible with known tactics performed completely without error, then easier for mere mortals once people get better gear. SonyEQ designed encounters that were flat-out impossible and waited for uberguilds to find a way that often involved an exploit that would not be fixed but, rather, become a long-standing key mechanic.

e.g. In the Scars of velious expansion, there was a frost giant world boss that was unusually hard-hitting. If you put a main tank on him, sooner or later he'd get blasted with more health than was in his entire bar and die. Then the giant would chew through half your guild in less time than it would take to get heals rolling on a new tank. The solution was a spell that healed your tank to full health when his health was reduced to zero. That spell was probabilistic. Normally, it failed with a high enough probability that tanks died reliably, and hence this frost giant baddy remained unkilled. Then somebody figured out that the spell's success rate increased to 100% if the tank had enough charisma. Uber-guilds that discovered this secret guarded it jealously, since that meant other uberguilds would fail when they tried to take on the giant and then the task (and ph4t l3wts) would fall to a guild that knew the secret.

This sort of thing happened over and over, and good guilds invariably had players who messed around with all the game's systems to find helpful tricks. Some called them "exploits", but SonyEQ never fixed them or punished players for using them. They designed impossible content and players found a way to do it. Heck, high level raids came to be entirely based upon the skilled exploitation of the Monk's feign death ability. Without a monk who knew what he was doing you simply couldn't do raid content.

EQ was a wild and wooly arms race between players and developers. Most MMO's are are lot more civilized these days.

spullara 2 months ago

Best MMO right now is Albion Online. But most people don't have the stomach for full loot PvP.

twoWhlsGud 2 months ago

I credit EverCrack with curing me of my illusions about social computing in the era of predatory capitalism. Around 1999 I was working for one the then majors studying (and dreaming of) Snow Crash like massively multi-player environments and all the cool things that could happen in them. I happened to take up EQ and it slowly began to consume more and more of my free time. I loved the fact that there were things like a travel guide that some fan had put together that filled in the back story of the various locations in a way that made you feel like you were somewhere real.

Over time, however, I started getting less out of the game and started getting more hooked. EQ tracked how many hours you are spending in world and there was a menu somewhere (unobvious) that would show you your accumulated total. I looked at it one day and realized that over the previous 6 or 9 months I had spent the equivalent of many weeks in world. WTF I thought, even reading crappy novels or watching silly movies gives you some insight into human behavior, while this experience was leaving me with nothing but cranky hands.

And that's when I realized that the inherent asymmetry between me as an individual and a company bent on producing the most addictive experience possible wasn't going to end well for me or anyone else who wasn't a stockholder or executive. I quit EQ the next day and changed careers in the next couple of months.

Of course, massively multiplayer online games weren't really the fully mature form-that was later assumed by Facebook etc. But the dynamic at play, I think, was the same and I'm thankful I was able to learn about it by experimenting with the less virulent form as embodied in EQ.

  • poisonarena 2 months ago

    I think you can type /played in the console to get the sad truth, we used to bully a friend by trying to get him to show us his /played time and he was too embaressed

Apocryphon 2 months ago

So whatever became of its sequel? Did EverQuest 2 just never catch on?

  • datalopers 2 months ago

    EQ2 still exists (as does EQ1 with active development and yearly expansions). It’s a very different game and not really a sequel so much as another MMORPG set in the same world and leveraging much of the same IP.

    EQ2 launched around the exact same time as WoW. It never took off materially and imo, it wasn’t very good.

brailsafe 2 months ago

ITT: Bunch of nerds. Me too.