Stoney posted here some time ago about his new blog, a tribute to the MMO we both got our start in, Everquest Online Adventures. And I am long overdue in saying thank you to him for all the hard work that he has put into the site and for the great memories it has brought back.
If you don’t know anything about EQOA, it was an incredible venture by Sony to bring Everquest to a new market – console MMO’s. It is one of only a handful to successfully do so (Phantasy Star and FFXI being the only others I know of). It certainly worked for people like Stoney and I and probably a few thousand others. It’s hard to know how to approach EQOA these days.
On the one hand, its kind of embarrassing. EQOA does not have the pedigree of EQ or WoW as a place to cut your teeth on MMO’s. Some have never heard of it, most looked down on it as EQ with training wheels (which I do not believe it was). The graphics were terrible, and really only got worse with the first expansion. The controller made playing interesting, and buying a USB keyboard (*not* easy to find at the time, btw) was almost a necessity – not for playing, but for communicating. Some of the underlying mechanics were rough – we went through patches where people could power level, exploit, and grief to an extent rarely seen elsewhere.
On the other hand EQOA was a great game. It was the test bed for virtually every major step forward in the MMO genre – advanced classes, achievements, talent trees. And it helped developers learn how too curtail and combat those underlying mechanical mistakes – how credit for mob kills should be handled, how to keep trains from happening (if you don’t know what a train is, you missed the dark ages of MMO play time), the need for more quests and less grinding (though we’ve since gone overboard on that one), and advances in making each class capable of solo play without giving up group desirability.
Perhaps one of the most disappointing things about EQOA is the simple lack of graphical media. Since it was played through the console, there was no “screenshot” feature, and elaborate A/V setups were needed to get pictures and video. So that makes Stoney’s scrounging and memory work all that more valuable. I plan a series of posts in this vein myself, along with a tribute to my first guild.
Also, if you haven’t experience EQOA before, now is you chance. Stoney plans a return to EQOA in January, and I am going to commit to that too. If you’ve never played it before, you are in for a treat, and the cost of the game discs is cheap these days. And heck, if you are running a Station Pass, you already have a sub anyway!
So again, thank you Stoney, and thank you EQOA. You were a home away from home long before I knew I wanted or needed one. And if any of The Regulators from Ferran’s Hope server stop by – I miss you guys and gals, I hope you all are doing great!