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I miss Everquest.

Posted 02-09-2010 at 12:35 PM by Strider
Tags mmorpg

I miss Everquest (1). I really do.

Actually this is quite ironic, because I am sure that I was addicted at one time - and I mean this in a bad way. I spent far too much time in a game that was a grindfest and basically punished you for playing it. My opinion of the game actually is still pretty bad.

Losing experience when dying, up to the point of losing weeks of experience, maybe levelling down and then having to get your corpse with all your stuff on it, yourself being naked. Then it's quite the item-based game, so the items on your corpse make it really hard for you to get to your corpse without them. Ah, that reminds me of 'has anybody here seen my corpse'.

Maybe later patches had changed the game so my points seem different now. However, I'm only talking about the EQ up to Scars of Velious.

So why would I miss Everquest when I left it voluntarily long before I switched to another MMORPG? I had great times in Dark Age of Camelot and World of Warcraft, too.

I think by now I know why. Yes, I've gotten older, but that's not it. I'm quite sure now it's the, get this, quests!

Yes. The quests. Well, Everquest nearly had no quests (epics notwithstanding). The game simply consisted of gathering friends (optional in the early levels, but soon a requirement) and then travelling to a camp spot. We were there for hours slaying one whatever-it-was, the next, the next. Waiting for respawn. Rinse and repeat.

There were several issues with this, of course. First of all, it could get dull. But make no mistake, those were not your 'hah' I'll take them on all alone' mobs. But rather every enemy was harder than an elite in WoW. So getting one too many, your groupmembers had better be knowing what they're doing.
So while the enemies were hard the fighting was getting dull anyway.
Additionally, at those times there were no instances. So other people wanted to fight those enemies too, because maybe they were easy exp or had good loot. So verbal fights with other players were common when it was crowded.

Anyway, let's get back to the quests. Take World of Warcraft - or any game that was released afterwards trying to achieve the same success that WoW has.
It's all about the quests. From level 1 on you get quests. You do what they say, maybe without even reading the quest, but you get significantly more experience doing quests than fighting mobs.

This might be a good thing, a trail of quests leading you everywhere, you not needing to look for appropriate hunting grounds yourself or running into too high-level mobs. It's quite like color-by-numbers, with the same amount of intelligence required.

However, since everyone wants the best exp/time ratio, of course everyone (including me) attends to quests. This is where it goes bad. Every of your characters will sooner or later do the same quests you already know. So it gets pretty dull too. But not only that, you have to follow that cookie trail and are very restricted in what you actually can do.

So it gets like a rollercoaster ride you either get tired or get sick of (yes, I know MMORPGs have that in many places but this is about quests, shush!)


I only told you one half, though. MMORPGs are social games, so you'll end up playing with others soon enough. I mostly play with people I know a long time, so I rarely have to deal with some 'random idiot'. Although WoW introduced quest sharing, there are quite some problems with quests and grouping. Especially with fixed groups, where you mostly always play together with the same people.

We tried playing WoW characters which would only play together. We really tried hard. If you group for a quest with random strangers you might never have had this issue, but I play with my friends.
Sooner or later, the levels will vary. Someone had to finish some quest, run some errand or something and on the way he finished a step of one quest and got ahead. A little later, nothing fits anymore. Player A has (wants..) to go there, Player B has to do that etc etc. So to disgruntle no one, you have only two choices: go everywhere for everyone or split paths.

The last option isn't what friends do. So you go everywhere with everyone, then later you have to go there for the next player, and some day again for another one. You really get tired of the game always telling you what you have to do. But the main source of experience is the quest. It's not like you could camp mobs a day long and get the same amount in the same time.

Which almost concludes why I miss playing Everquest. I want to login with some friends, maybe invite some others and go kill mobs. Isn't that what quests are mostly about anyway? I want to go where I want when I want. No one fixed on some other (selfish, yes I'd include me!) goal that she or he absolutely has to finish.

There's one more thing I have in store. Player skill. No, I'm not thinking I'm some über l33t gamer who's better than the next guy. Everquest was hard, as I mentioned. But not only in its methods of punishing the player.
If you started your heal too late, bam, everyone would possibly die. If you mismanaged your aggro, bam.. well you get the idea. Average groups had average fights. It was the setup for divine moments. Extraordinary actions gave an extraordinary thrill. The usual fights in WoW are rather hack 'n slay-y. It might make you feel powerful, but actually fights demands nothing from you.

I can recall a few of those divine moments. One where a very good enchanter player kept very dangerous enemies at bay permanently so the rest of the group could finish the others to get to that one. Ok, that doesn't sound very thrilling now I have to admit. But when you learn that those monsters single-handedly wipe the floor with you so very very badly it's impressive.
Another moment was when I saw our puller (a player had to pull the mobs to the party to keep things under control) get a few extra monsters and I evacuated us from the Dungeon. Heart thumping if the spell would be finished in time, seeing the salivating monsters running towards us.

The same in WoW? Yeah, well, group dies, try again, no harm done. Players not interested in getting to know some abilities they have because they don't need to or someone else will take care of it.


I finally want excitement again! Not following a fixed path everyone has tread through. Players discovering what they're capable of, not pressing the same 5 buttons without thinking every fight.


Sadly all developers copy WoW now, since that's the cash cow. Seems I will have to wait quite some time until I'll get excited again.
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  1. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    Quote:
    However, since everyone wants the best exp/time ratio, of course everyone (including me) attends to quests. This is where it goes bad. Every of your characters will sooner or later do the same quests you already know. So it gets pretty dull too. But not only that, you have to follow that cookie trail and are very restricted in what you actually can do.
    Ya, but there's so many quests that you could level at least two characters without doing the same quests. Well, all the race start areas will get you to about level 10 or 20 without doing the same quest area.

    Quote:
    I finally want excitement again! Not following a fixed path everyone has tread through. Players discovering what they're capable of, not pressing the same 5 buttons without thinking every fight.
    Ya, my old WoW guild leader was a hardcore EQ guy too, I've heard many of the same stories you tell here at length.

    You had to be hard-core to succeed at EQ. I've never played it, but it all seemed like too much. It's not good to have to be an addict to succeed at the game. People can at least hold a job and still be a good WoW player :P
    Posted 05-07-2010 at 03:48 AM by Anenome Anenome is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Well, doing different quests is an illusion. It's all the same anyway (kill this deliver that) you might as well have them either randomly generated for a given group or not have them at all, both ensuring far greater flexibility. However, my point still stands - the current system(s) are not helping groups, rather tearing them apart.

    Yes, EQ was too 'hardcore', I agree completely. Nonwithstanding that playing Everquest I could simply play with my friends, and that's not possible in any current MMORPG.
    Posted 05-07-2010 at 02:41 PM by Strider Strider is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    That's true, but it's almost always possible to help them do a quest you've already done. So there's that.

    I often made characters to level with someone that only got played when that person was leveling, and would keep that as a side alt. That's the compromise position.

    Although, the new phasing reality system WoW put in with FT makes helping characters with a quest you've already done literally impossible :P

    Still, I met a lot of cool people grouping up for quests I needed done. And the new LFG system makes that a thousand times easier than it was when I was playing actively. Arguably you meet more new friends under the current system than you'd lose with its splintering, as you put it.

    Lastly, once the real game begins at max level you're all in the game together no matter what. Everyone levels at different speeds, that always gonna be true. Hell, I leveled as a ret pally never realizing just how slow it really was. Thank god I never played a DPS class until later. In fact, when I went protection as a pally I was able to kill things faster by doing it all in a giant group of enemies, killing 20+ at the same time was faster than being ret trying to kill one at a time :P

    So, you can still play with your friends as long as you're doing it at max level.
    Posted 05-07-2010 at 02:59 PM by Anenome Anenome is offline
  4. Old Comment
    You're bringing up some good points there.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Anenome View Comment
    I often made characters to level with someone that only got played when that person was leveling, and would keep that as a side alt. That's the compromise position.
    Being a cooperative player, this bugs me to no end, though. See, the EQ System worked this way: If you're within a few levels of each other, the players with the lower level get *more* experience. So everything evens out. Not so with a quest system, even moreso if not everyone is able to participate in the quest. Maybe a viable compromise would be to reward helping players with experience (not the full amount, but worth the effort), even if they do not 'have' the quest.

    Then there's the other part. I'm a explorer/adventurer type. I want to have fun playing a game. Remembering 'hey that [whatever] was fun the last time, let's do that again'. Impossible with quests again, you have to follow the virtual cookie trail .
    Posted 05-08-2010 at 03:27 AM by Strider Strider is offline
  5. Old Comment
    Anenome's Avatar
    With WoW, the lower level charrie does get more experience for killing equal or higher level enemies.

    Well, it's more than the higher level player gets less experience. Of course, at max level there's no need to even think about that.

    So, to make your system work all you'd need to do is not reward players for turning in a quest. But that's the majority of XP gained in WoW. Questing is worth a lot more xp than simply killing monsters, and it's like that for a reason.

    The reason is the lottery-like addiction psychology of questing. Just killing monsters is fine, but questing adds a narrative structure to that, giving you a beginning, middle, and end, giving you a purpose, a reason for going and killing those monsters, and rewarding you for doing it.

    The sort of experience you're asking for is the kind that I've found only at max level when going into dungeons.

    It sounds like you haven't played WoW at max level, but I assure you that's exactly what you find. It's that same "hey this was fun, let's do it again" and all you're doing is fighting monsters.

    As a tank in that game, for my guild, a top tank, and a paladin tank especially, I was highly sought after for doing heroic dungeons with a few friends after the nightly raid.

    Those were easily the best times I had They weren't always very challenging, although having a paladin tank made it easier, and more challenging in different ways.

    Actually, paladins changed tanking in WoW because all the other tanks wanted mass threat ability too, and they eventually got it, but I digress.

    Questing isn't even something that lasted very long in my WoW experience. You can only level a charrie to max xp, after that it's dungeons and gear. Heck, I helped level a lot of people with my max level character just to hang out with them, that's the best of both worlds in a whole lot of ways.

    And then WoW introduced daily quests and the like, and we'd all do that together.

    I get it though, we all like what we're used to. You were "raised" on EQ. But EQ isn't something you can play casually. WoW succeeds because it made an EQ-like experience available to the casual player.

    I mean, I considered many 25 man raids unreasonably difficult. But they were still easier than the old 50 man raids. And EQ had, what, 200 man raids? That's completely ridiculous :P The fact that a single healer being late could doom the whole raid, and that you had to setup complicated healing macros to individually message people and wait for your healing rotation in order to be exactly on time is craziness.

    Still, now they have 10 man raids. They keep dialing the difficulty down in order to increase participation.

    I see no reason why they can't add another layer of difficulty too. They should never have removed the 50 man raids.
    Posted 05-08-2010 at 11:30 PM by Anenome Anenome is offline
 

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