It has been said in the past, that players rarely feel as though they are changing the actual world in an MMO. That there are too many boundaries that prevent this (namely the fact that there are thousands of other players doing the exact same things as you) and typically I would agree – except I do not think this is the case in EQ2. In fact, I think EQ2 is one of the few games out there that hosts events that DO make players feel as though they are changing the world, literally.
Lets go way back to EQ2’s release. Frogloks were not in game yet. Each server had to individually complete quests and raids in order to free the frogloks and make them a playable race. If you happened to be one of those lucky people who did the Spirits of the Lost raid, obtained a title, and freed the frogloks for your server (first), you KNOW you affected the world.
That is not the only instance of players affecting the world. There was the building of the griffon towers in Nektulos Forest and Thundering Stepps, where players had to complete quests to help the NPC’s build them, opening them to the servers when they were complete. There were giant dragons that would spawn shortly afterward (epic) during the construction of the wizard spires, and if you were lucky enough to kill them you managed to gain a title that only people on the raid obtained. You also unlocked the wizard spires for players and there were miniature replicas of both the griffon towers and wizard spires to those who helped. If the people on those servers did not bond together to complete the tasks, they wouldn’t have been unlocked.
There was also the construction of the guild halls, where players gathered supplies for the NPC’s (and were granted titles) – and yes, I realize that this is just small scale and many other players were doing the exact same quests but you could physically SEE the progress that you personally had contributed and thus feel like you are changing the world. Sure, if you didn’t do it some other player would have, but it all counts (in my opinion).
There are countless events like these. EQ2 also has a guide program with special quests and rewards for players, and there are live events that grant unique items and titles going on constantly. When the Gods returned to Norrath there were specific quests for each one (of the early deity) that rewarded house items with a clicky effect (that were removed from game after some time) and speaking of quests that are removed from the game after some time – you do NOT want to miss out on the lore book that is currently in game!
**** WARNING SPOILER ****
Posted on the lore forums of EQ2players is a riddle for players to figure out. Basically to ignore all of the lore and the riddle even what you need to do is wear your glowing black stone, head to the Vault instance in Barren Sky on the isle of awakening, on the left hand alcove right at the entrance is a pedestal. Click it. You’ll receive a note. Take that back to your Freeport or Qeynos librarian. The sage who sells all of the other books in other words. He will now have a new book for sale, it costs 1g and a little change.
This book is around for a LIMITED TIME ONLY and explains some of the lore for the newest expansion due out in February. If you are a lore fanatic, a house fanatic, or just like to collect those sorts of things do NOT MISS OUT on this book! There will be more books released, and you’ll want to own the whole collection (or at least I do).
Back on topic. Sure, this method is not flawless, there’s still the idea that other people are doing the exact same quest as you and you may not be the only one out there changing the world, but how many of us are out there in real life changing the world all alone? There’s always the sense of community and bonding together to get a goal accomplished. The fact that these quests are available for a limited time, and are not repeatable (ie: we won’t be building more wizard spires, or griffon towers, nor will we be welcoming the Gods back to Norrath who are already here) give us a time line for events that make it seem like the world is constantly changing over time. If you think back to the release of the game and the drastic changes Norrath has gone through since then (most of them I listed above) it’s amazing to see the change that has occurred.
Of course, if you’re new to the game or have only been playing for a very short time you may not have gotten to experience any of these things. That’s where dedication to the game comes into play. You can’t play a few short months and experience the events that have gone by in the years past.
I love thinking back to how Norrath was when I first started exploring, when it took me a week to reach level 7 on my templar (at the time simply a cleric since you sub classed at level 10) and remembering all of the events that have happened over time. Not only the festivals that return every year like Frostfell (one of my favorites) which also require a lot of work to pull off for players, but those unique live events that are a ‘once in a life time’ thing for characters to experience. Those are what make the world of Norrath come to life, give it a strong backbone, and those are what I remember most of all about changing the world.