I grew up in Everquest — the original one. It was my first MMoRPG. Times were tough, credit was “meh”, and I played with prepaid cards (like so many do) because I had to. One day, Sony in its wisdom decided to stop selling Everquest cards in Canada. And everything I’d worked for was for naught. I left Everquest with much sadness. In all truth and honesty, I never found another community like it anywhere. I never found another game that could completely fill the hole left by EQ. I never did. Ever.
Time passed, and I jumped from game to game looking for something that would fulfill my gaming need. I don’t remember them all. I think City of Heroes was first. Then Guild Wars. Then Everquest II (what a complete and total disappointment). Then a long run in World of Warcraft. And recently when Star Trek Online went free-to-play I jumped into that. And I think STO is probably my second favourite game ever, and the closest to taking Everquest’s title.
So when I heard that Everquest had gone free-to-play, my heart literally leaped for joy and I downloaded the client immediately. The server I used to play on doesn’t even exist anymore so I didn’t even try to get my old account back. I think it was hacked anyway. I started over and re-created the original Nenianae. The character that “started it all” so many years ago.
BUT… not only could I not select the wood elf race as a free player, I couldn’t select the ranger class either. Do you really think I’m going to fork over a credit card number that soon after starting a new game? Of course not. I made her a human warrior. Except for size, I think she looked almost identical.
And I started to play.
It was immediately apparent to me that I had not played EQ in a long time. I thought it would come back to me quickly but I found myself struggling to remember hotkeys, and dealing with interface panels I’d never seen before. Plus I was in some sort of “global starter zone” that was completely unfamiliar to me. I had no interest in it. I planned a jailbreak.
I found a knowledgeable gnome who agreed to lead me to the Plane of Knowledge. From there I figured I could find my way to a more familiar area to quest. And I have to admit, my heart was racing a little bit at this point at the thought of being re-united with the tree city of Upper Faydark again. I spent so much time there. Even as a higher-level player. Because higher levels used to hang out in starter zones and help. That’s the kind of community we had in EQ. I knew that zone like the back of my hand. My mind was racing too, remembering all the connections from Upper Faydark, and figuring out what places I could go (at my ridiculously low level) without getting killed.
The gnome and I turned a corner and I saw a book on a pedestal and I started to get really excited. I knew where the book connected me to. I clicked the book and was back in the Plane of Knowledge — the central hub to get pretty much anywhere in EQ. It was like a homecoming of sorts.
I ran to the other side of the POK. I was almost as excited as if I’d won the lottery. I found the Kelethin stone, and clicked it and voila… I was surrounded by oh-so-familiar trees, and the lifts on the ground that took you up to the tree city.
So I got on the lift and went up. And proceeded to attempt to conduct a transaction with one of the vendors only for it to dawn on me — I wasn’t a wood elf — so she wouldn’t do business with me. I was pretty bummed. But at the same time I was at least in a familiar environment so I went and killed things in an attempt to level and maybe get some decent stuff.
Then I died. And — you guessed it — I forgot to talk to the soulbinder. And it teleported me all the way back to where I started.
By which time I’d lost interest in making the trip again.
So long Everquest. I’ll really miss you.