Retro Review: EverQuest

EQ

Been awhile since my last Retro Review, I’ll try to do them more regularly I promise. In this Retro Review, i’ll be looking at a game close to my heart, the original EverQuest. I’ll just come out and say it, I absolutely love this game, and yes we are in a day and age of far more user friendly and easy to get into games, besides Pokemon Go which throws you headfirst into hunting Pokemon without any tutorial, EverQuest is still my favorite MMO, and I’ve played it consistently since release. With my recent playings on the Project 1999 server.

EQWerewolf

Meet new friends in the Plains of Karana!

The mystery and depth to the world of Norrath is immense, and back during its prime years the game was extremely immersive, I remember Role-playing constantly and interacting with all sorts of people. The wide array of classes and races made it really feel like you were in a fantasy world all its own, with tons of different cultures and people. My first character was a human monk, all the way out in Qeynos, a few of my friends also played and made characters out there with me. It was a blast, Blackburrow is still one of my favorite zones, and Gnolls are my favorite monster race from Dungeons & Dragons, so it was extremely enjoyable hunting them down into their lair and slaying them.

I took the multiple real life hour trip in game of walking across the continent to Freeport, was about four of us, and we stopped off to slay some minotaurs to get their axes to sell back in Qeynos, and planned on going into the swamps south of Freeport and finding Upper Guk for the magic hand and foot armor so monks could attack magical foes. Willowisps were immune to non magical attacks, and being a monk we didn’t have weapons or spells so we couldn’t hurt them. We ended up making it to Freeport, it was a rough journey but we finally got there. Up till this point I had only seen one dark elf all the way out in Qeynos, but being so close to Neriak there were groups of them in the commons outside of Freeport.

I didn’t stay a monk for long, there were so many different races out there I was dying to try them all. I ended up switching characters and making a dark elf warrior and then a wood elf druid, a friend of mine was one and I thought the style of play was really cool and I wanted to give it a shot. So after making my druid, I ran all the way from the elven lands of Faydwer to the commonlands to purchase some gear, as the makeshift bazaar was there and players were selling and trading all sorts of items all day and night. Nothing automated like how the WoW Auction House is, you had to interact and often haggle and make a deal with sellers to get stuff. It was one of the best parts of early EverQuest in my opinion, it really helped foster community growth.

Here are some of my favorite zones and experiences in them.

Blackburrow

Blackburrow Entrance

Entrance to the Lair of the Blackburrow Gnolls

At first I wasn’t strong enough to fight the gnolls inside Blackburrow, so I ended up hunting outside in the hills on the weaker ones. Eventually I got a group together and braved the depths, we had gained a couple of levels overall from hunting outside, the fighting was still tough but we got a lot of experience and some loot. Sadly the gnolls don’t have that great of treasure, so we didn’t get anything really nice. But the experience definitely helped.

Gnoll Meeting

Sir, I took this sword off a stunty, can I keep it?

The lower levels had the highest level gnolls, and could be very dangerous if any ran away during a fight, if you did get in trouble, it was a long run to the zone line to escape the train of gnolls following you, eager to slay you for trespassing. I managed to get into the early teens in here and moved out into the Plains of Karana for bandit hunting before I ended up making some different characters. I did eventually bring my druid out here to gain faction with Qeynos by killing the gnolls, but it was when I was much higher level.

Oasis of Marr

EQOasis

Countless lives are lost to rampaging Sand Giants, Specters, or the mighty Lockjaw

This zone was amazing experience, and was always full of people. But it was not the place to take lightly, a rampaging Sand Giant, a Specter loose upon the lower levels, or even the rare spawn caiman Lockjaw could easily kill anyone they encountered, and often took out an entire group or two in their wake. Still this place was great, lots of experience, and Lockjaw could drop a magic vest that was good for druids or monks, I ended up getting one when a high level killed it for my group.

At higher levels on my druid I came back here and hunted Sand Giants and Specters for their gold drops, the giants carried a lot of coins and the specters dropped scythes that sold for decent amounts. And was enjoyable helping out the lower levels if they got in trouble or just to give them some buffs to help with fights. It definitely added to the social aspect of the game when everyone was helping each other, Norrath was a very unforgiving place for those not well prepared for it’s wilds.

Lake Rathe

Lake Rathe Ruins

Gnoll Ruins

This zone I spent some time in, not as much as the others, but has one of my most enjoyable moments in EQ tied with it. Me and a group of friends made the trek out to here and hunted the gnolls that spawned at the ruins near the Southern Plains of Karana zone line. At night rarer and undead gnolls could spawn, lots of necromancers and other ones we hadn’t seen before. We ended up staying out here all night and got a lot of experience and exchanged adventuring stories, it was extremely memorable and was one of the highlights of my early days in EverQuest.

I still enjoy the game, and will probably play it again sometime, it has that ability to suck me back in. Although in the meantime i’ll be playing a lot of World of Warcraft: Legion once it goes live, so what are some MMOs you enjoyed and some of your favorite experiences? Feel free to comment here!

Till next time, and i’ll try to be better about doing my reviews in a more timely fashion.

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