I miss it
Everquest and the Decline of MMORPGs
Everquest. The 1999 online crack. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. The game which sparked wider success in the MMORPG genre than any game before it. The game which had guild leaders and devs move onto other projects further revolutionizing the MMO surge of 2004-2016.
It’s old and bland and archaic and… I missed it. I missed what it brought to the MMO world.
Something that I felt was lost after we moved away from Everquest was the sense of immersion in the world of an MMORPG.
In Everquest, you’re tossed into the world. Some of these races and factions like each other, some don’t but everyone can group and everyone can change their reputation. Each level felt like it meant something important. Not just a move to complete my end-game rotation. Something versatile. Teleporting, evacuations, charms, invisibility. Differientators. Things that made your class different and made being added to a group a game changing contribution. Something that changed my gameplay experience from level 18 to level 19.
The game also didn’t insult my character's journey. Yes, you start killing rats but quickly you go into fighting the undead, the various factions ruining your neighborhood, vampires, gargoyles, spectres and giants. I am dealing with the supernatural, the super powerful and secret agent conspirators trying to ruin the world. And this was all stuff that didn’t need a quest for me to discover. Just exploration and team work.
Now MMOs use leveling as a tedious grind which ultimately means nothing. You’re just trying to get into the end-game. The world means nothing because in the end you’re going to rush to end-game which is all that matters. You’re going to sit in your city hub and queue for activities and that’s it. The entire world didn’t matter. All those quests to level didn’t matter. They were just a cookie crumb trail leading you to the end. No need to talk to any players. You played a single player game until max level.
Which brings up leveling in current MMOs. Why does it matter? Do you really need to level a character from 1-100 to know the class? This isn’t like flying a damn plane. You can learn your class in like 2-3 hours with Youtube videos and online guides. Quit it with that gatekeeping mindset.
I know, I know. I’m complaining a lot about the current state of MMOs but the past never left. I could just dive right back into Everquest. It hasn’t gone anywhere but the game has 20+ years of expansions, the player base has dwindled and that sense of community is a fraction of what it was. That’s why you have to wait far and in-between for their progression servers.
Darkpaw Games recently launched the Aradune server which is expansion locked - currently on classic. With some QoL changes the game is less about tedium and more so about enjoyment. For anyone looking for a more stream-lined classic EQ experience check out Aradune on their live servers.
For those of you looking to be tossed to the past and abused with the excruciating tedious old EQ adventure, check out Project99.