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EverQuest box art.

(EQ) is a 3D fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released on March 16 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. It was developed by Verant Interactive (which had recently parted from 989 Studios) and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE). SOE currently runs and distributes EverQuest. The game's sequel, EverQuest II, was released in 2004.

It is a pay to play online game.


[edit] Gameplay

In the game, players explore a fantasy world of sword and sorcery, fighting monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points and interacting with other players. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige and abilities. Players can also procure powerful items for their characters in a variety of ways: through slaying monsters (and then Looting (Gaming) whatever items they were carrying), doing "quests" (tasks and adventures given by non-player characters ( NPCs ) in which a reward is given upon success), or by gathering raw materials and then fashioning them, via numerous trade skills such as tailoring or blacksmithing, into useful (or not-so-useful, but nevertheless fun) items. In structure and rules, the game is almost a direct descendant of the famed Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Many of the elements from EverQuest have also been drawn from text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) games.

The game features a 3D environment set in the fictional world of Norrath, its moon Luclin and alternate planes of reality. The geography of the EverQuest univerce is vast, few have visited all of the nearly 400 zones. Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers, each one hosting between 1000 and 3000 simultaneous players online during peak times. After selecting a server, a player can create multiple characters by choosing from a variety of classes and races (e.g., humans, gnomes, trolls, halflings, elves, etc.).

While some parts of EverQuest can be experienced alone, without the help of other players, EQ generally remains a very group-centric game. A single character, unless exceptionally well prepared (either by means of equipment or with spell enhancements, referred to in-game as 'buffs, will be unable to complete many of the encounters in EverQuest. Most parts of the game can be completed with small groups of up to six or so people, but the most challenging (and rewarding) encounters require the cooperation of many players, possibly totalling 72 players, although the trend in recent expansions tends towards 54 as a maximum. A large force of gamers gathered together to perform one task, is referred to as a "raid". Normally the number of players range from 36 to 72, limiting factors being the maximum number of people allowed in a "raid window" (72) and the maximum number of people allowed in certain instanced zones in more recent expansions. Zerging, (A term that comes from another popular computer game, StarCraft) is when a raid's main strategy is to overwhelm an enemy by sheer force of numbers. As EverQuest has aged, tactics have become more and more involved. Some of the most complex 'modern' raid events can take a very experienced guild dozens of attempts before they succeed. Less skilled guilds may take as many as a hundred tries to beat the same event, if they are able to accomplish it at all, due to the level of strategy and teamwork required to defeat modern EverQuest encounters.

[edit] Zones of EverQuest

The EverQuest universe is divided into nearly 400 zones. These zones represent a wide variety of geographical features, including plains, oceans, cities, deserts, and other planes of existence. One of the most popular zones in the game is the Plane Of Knowledge, one of the few zones in which all races and classes can coexist harmoniously without interference. As such, it is also the zone to visit if one is looking for "buffs", or spells that enhance characters' abilities. The Plane of Knowledge is also home to portals to many other zones (though not nearly all the zones in the game), including portals to other planes.

[edit] EverQuest expansions

There have been several expansions to the original game since release. Expansions are purchased separately and add significant content to the game (for example, new races, classes, continents, quests, and equipment). Additionally, the game is updated regularly through downloadable patches. The EQ expansions to date:

The East Commonlands tunnel was the most frequently used area for trading on most servers before the Bazaar was added in The Shadows of Luclin.
The East Commonlands tunnel was the most frequently used area for trading on most servers before the Bazaar was added in The Shadows of Luclin.
  1. The Ruins of Kunark (March 2000)
  2. The Scars of Velious (December 2000)
  3. The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001)
  4. The Planes of Power (October 2002)
  5. The Legacy of Ykesha (February 2003)
  6. Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003)
  7. Gates of Discord (February 2004)
  8. Omens of War (September 2004)
  9. Dragons of Norrath (February 2005)
  10. Depths of Darkhollow (September 2005)
  11. Prophecy of Ro (February 2006)
  12. The Serpent's Spine (September 2006)

[edit] Controversies and social issues

The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many refer to it half-jokingly as "NeverRest" and "EverCrack" (a reference to crack cocaine). EQ is very time-consuming for many people, and there have been some well-publicized suicides of EverQuest users, such as that of Shawn Woolley. Relationships broken because of obsessive playing resulted in the creation of an online support group called EverQuest Widows and sites like An infamous rant titled "EQ: What You Really Get From An Online Game" appeared on Slashdot in 2002, and brought this issue of EverQuest addiction to the forefront of many message boards across the Internet.

The sociological aspects of EverQuest (and other MMORPGs) are further explored in a series of online studies on a site known as "the HUB". The studies make use of data gathered from player surveys and discuss topics like virtual relationships, player personalities, gender issues, and more.

In May of 2004, Woody Hearn of GU Comics called for all EverQuest gamers to boycott the Omens of War expansion in an effort to force SOE to address existing issues with the game rather than release another "quick-fire" expansion. The call to boycott was rescinded after SOE held a summit to address player concerns, improve (internal and external) communication, and begin correcting issues within the game.

A major controversy broke out following the release of the Depths of Darkhollow expansion (abbreviated DoD or DoDH). This expansion introduced Monster Missions (MMs), which allowed players to participate in short missions as a different character for gaining experience and equipment. Many MMs are deeply involved in the ongoing lore of the game; for example, one mission in Lavastorm Mountains enables a party to play as Nagafen, one of the two original "old world" dragons, and his henchmen, for purposes of repulsing a raid against them. MMs can be repeated as often as desired, although there is a lockout timer that must expire between missions. MMs were lauded by many casual players as a quick, effective, and easy way to "catch up" with the more hard-core players, without spending hours looking for a group. At the other end of the spectrum, MMs were heavily criticized by the more hard-core players, particularly those in the so-called "uber guilds," as being a cop-out and a mechanism for free, and risk-free, experience. Indeed, many players repeat certain MMs (for example, the Highpass Hold mission) over and over again, gaining large amounts of regular and/or AA experience. The more cynical critics of MMs label such players as "MM babies," an allegation that such players lack the skills crucial to playing their regular character. Upon the release of the Prophecy of Ro expansion, SOE dramatically reduced the experience gained from MMs and significantly increased their difficulty. Depending on the player's point of view, this could be viewed as either a "nerf" or a "fix;" the long-term effects of the changes remain to be seen.

[edit] The Future

A group of original Everquest designers, including Brad McQuaid, are currently developing Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, an MMORPG McQuaid has described as "the spiritual successor to Everquest."

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