Anything But Dead #EverQuest #EQ
Any time I find myself in a video game, chances are I hear a discussion about how game X used to be good and popular, but then event Y took place and KILLED IT. I chuckle to myself, wondering how these people could possibly think a game is ‘dead’ if even a single player is enjoying it (as long as the game isn’t shutting down). Yesterday, that game was EQ1 – and if you take a look at the screen shot above, I think you’ll see it’s anything but dead. This is just one of many populated servers, happens to be Drinal, the server I play on. Of course the game isn’t at its prime any more and after so many years that’s completely understandable, but it’s certainly no where near dead.
What keeps people playing this ‘ancient’ game? Is it the amount of time they’ve already invested in it? The difficulty involved in mastering it? Friends? Fear of change? I suspect it’s a combination of all kinds of reasons, and I imagine that the type of player still playing EQ1 as opposed to those who play more recently released MMOs may be different.
I suppose I’m just tired of people making assumptions about games that they personally no longer play and haven’t for some time. A game may be dead to you – but there’s a lot of others who still enjoy it on a daily basis. One thing I’m worried about with the next EQ expansion adding guild halls is that this central gathering location which you see above as the guild lobby will become less populated – and I think it’s REALLY important to have a location like this – unlike EQ2 where everyone is constantly hiding away in their halls and homes and you can play the game without ever seeing a gathering of this size. I’m hoping since players gather like this to share buffs and timers don’t tick down that it will remain as it is. A focal point for social happenings. We will just have to see.
As always, happy gaming no matter where you find yourself!
I very much agree. When I first came to Everquest back in late 1999 one of the things that absolutely astonished me was the hustle and bustle around the gates of Qeynos. It was like the square of a busy town, alive with people going and going, chatter all around, the occasional shouting match. When I was a little more experienced I made the journey to the virtual souk in the East Commons tunnel, where there could be a hundred or more people gathered, calling out their wares and making deals.
The bank square in North Freeport, around the lifts beneath Kelethin, throughout Thurgadin’s icy halls, in the Nexus and later the Bazaar on the ill-fated moon of Luclin, among the many portals of the Plane of Knowledge and finally beneath the high ceiling of the Guild Lobby, Everquest players have always found places to gather en masse. It’s really one of the best aspects of this, the best of all MMOs.
One of the things I most like about Rift is the absence of almost all facilities outside of Meridian and Sanctum. The fact that you just have to go there to bank or use the auction house, plus the frequently changing daily quests that don’t just begin in the cities but take place and end there too, keep these refuges, small though they are, vital and alive.
I’m playing a lot of EQ2 at the moment, on the busiest server, Freeport. EQ2 has far and away the best housing options of any MMO, but they are all in instances. It provides facilities like banking and brokerage in almost every zone you might visit. Consequently, even though the server is very busy it doesn’t feel it. You can tell how busy it is by the constant chatter on various channels, but you rarely see more than a handful of people at one time.
I think MMOs in general need to be very wary of giving players incentives to hide themselves away and I hope that it’s a trend that’s peaked.
That’s something I’ve missed in every game since SWG — the public gathering places. PA halls were open to the public by default (and often set up as shopping malls). The NPC cantina was a place everyone needed to go every so often until the play-owned cantinas were created, but even then the NPC ones were more conveniently located in the travel hubs. Events were held in player-cantinas, but NPC cantinas were the social hubs. Theed, Anchorhead, the MOP, and coronet stand out in my memory. There were always a TON people there (well, Anchorhead lost popularity and became a ghost town) and they were talking and dancing/playing music and enjoying themselves.
I’ve never had such a social experience in an MMO since then. In EVE a big fleet is expected to shut up and follow orders. In the other theme parks you might be in a raid of 24-25 people, but you’re focused on the raid, not on socializing. Go into your guild hall and you’re there for the amenities, not to just hang out.
I made friends in SWG who I’ve met and stay in touch with IRL. Never done that in any game since. Amazing what that “Battle Fatigue” stat that could only be healed in a Cantina did for the game. . . . . .