Slow Progress, Happy Birthday: Project 1999, Everquest

I was not going to post much about Everquest turning 20. I have written a few “Happy Birthday EQ” posts to EQ over the years, about one every 5 or so years. There isn’t much point in writing one every year because my personal story with the game hasn’t changed much.

The gist, is this: I beta tested it, was in the Guide program as a Lieutenant Guide, played on EQ test primarily (and through the wipe) met my first guild there, had epic stories and faced epic drama. Both created by the people who participated and built Norrath. It was EQ afterall.

I still post on my old guild forums – a handful of us do – and that in itself is pretty crazy as it is also going on 20 years. It is nice to see people writing articles and blog posts about it. When some games can’t eke through tough times (RIP WildStar, etc.) EQ’s record is even more impressive.

I have run the gamut in EQ – beta, launch, server mergers, time locked progression servers and even emulators. And that is the part of the EQ Magic I want to share today.

P1999 is a Daybreak approved emulator stuck at a point in time in EQ that many consider it’s peak – the Velious expansion. What is “pure” about it is that it’s the original UI, graphics and none of the current day quality of life changes you get on the TLP.

It works really well. It definitely takes an adjustment but it just works. With off-peak of 600ish and upwards of 1600 daily there is a healthy population there. All stuck in time, playing a 20 year old game as it was 20 (well 18 if you count the expansion date) years ago.

You can probably guess the best parts. I spent three hours this morning on my 7 Enchanter at Orc hill. I was the first there. Within 45 minutes we had a full group. Lots of pulls, chatting, manually sharing loot (belts, mostly, for an XP quest). By the end I had barely dinged 9 (I was only one bubble away from 8 when I started). First thing that should come to mind – yes, three hours of gameplay for a full level and a bit. Imagine if WoW took that long. The second, sadder thing about that is that I had more conversations in any game I play in that three hours – with complete strangers – than I had in the last three years of WoW. Also, no toxicity. We all knew that this journey was long and hard, and that we would need allies and friends to achieve anything well in this world.

Bonus points is that I lost my level 8 on a bad pull (yellow con orc, mezz resisted too many times).

Now excuse me, I have an incredibly non efficient trip I have to make to High Keep (from Gfay) – my level 8 pet spell is only sold there. I can’t remember how long of trip it is but if memory serves it’s something like 4 or 5 zones plus a boat trip.

I’m having fun on a non-optimized journey. That sounds a lot like Everquest’s 20 year journey to me.

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This reminds me to try out Everquest sometime. I have hardly had time to game lately, but it´s on my list 🙂 Would you say Everquest changed a lot over the years?

  2. @Alunaria It does depend a lot on what you’ve experienced in MMORPGs before and what you want out of them now, but I personally would not recommend anything resembling original EQ to a genuine newcomer to the genre or to anyone who plays and is reasonably satisfied with modern MMOs. EQ was astonishing in its day but the huge majority of the changes that have been made to it over the years came because the people playing the game consistently and persistently demanded them.

    Isey is spot on to celebrate P1999 for its fantastic work in providing a home for the players who didn’t feel that way – and much kudos to SOE/DBG for recognizing and supporting that – but that group of players is a niche of a niche of a niche. I’m not sure I’d even recommend that a new player started on the new Progression server, really, although that does have the major advantage of a) being new, so everyone is roughly in the same boat and b) very highly populated. Actually, thinking about, I think I *would* suggest a genuinely new-to-mmos player should start on either Selo or, more probably, Mangler because modern EQ has an insane amount of complexity and it would be easier to cope with that if it was introduced to you in small doses as the expansions open up. Also you can experience the social element Isey describes at a low level there whereas on Live servers grouping opportunities far below the level cap are often close to non-existent.

    Despite that, for someone who is well-versed in the genre but who just hasn’t tried EQ I would suggest starting on a Live server. Modern EQ plays very well as a familiar “solo among others” MMO, at least for the first 70 levels or so. Check the https://www.daybreakgames.com/status to see which is busiest at your play time but be aware that Firiona Vie, although always the busiest, has a different ruleset to most.

    Now Isey can come on and explain why that’s all wrong! And my apologies for hi-jacking the reply before he could get there!

    @Isey Your leveling speed on P1999 amused me. I played my new Dirge on EQ2’s Kaladim server all yesterday afternoon and into the evening. I died maybe fifteen times and made a level and a half in around six hours. I was actively trying to get XP for the whole of that time – no crafting, goofing off or going afk. XP rates on Kaladim are supposed to be good for a TLE server, too!

    1. I actually agree with what you said. P1999 is great if you have the history of EQ and want a certain pace, difficulty level, and incovenience (Alunaria – there are NO in game maps in p1999, as it was with EQ at launch. You will get lost in your home city. Often.). It’s impossible to recommend p1999 to anyone except people who grew up with EQ. Even then, it’s still for a very special group of those players.

      The TLP servers give you much of the classic EQ experience but many of the modern day conveniences. Downside is you have to pay a subscription fee, and I think it is actually more than WoW. This would be my suggestion if you really wanted to experience EQ in more of the EQ vein.

      Finally, the live experience (I think) is even more confusing, with Mercs and whatnot.

      1. @Isey – The subscription fee for EQ and WoW are the same month by month, but EQ is a bit cheaper if you subscribe in 3 and 6 month increments. And with the EQ subscription you also get subscription level access to EQII, DCUO, and PlanetSide 2. You can argue as to whether that is worth the price, but it isn’t more expensive that WoW.

  3. It’s almost enough to make me want to stick my head in, have a ton of fun for a few levels and then stall out in the low teens again like I did in launch EQ 😉

    FV and the other modernized EQ servers are overall a lot more fun to my tastes than the launch era game. However, I have to admit there is a certain clunky charm that the game had back then that the current game somewhat lacks. I think it’s great that this place is out there for the fans of true old school EQ, and especially that such a good community seems to have sprung up around it.

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