Sunday, January 17, 2021

The Way We Were

This afternoon I got an old PC working again and on it I found a few folders of screenshots I hadn't seen for a while. Nothing all that far back, but some half-lost memories all the same. Here's a selection.

The house Mrs Bhagpuss was working on in Landmark way back in very early alpha. It was called Little Qalia in homage to Vanguard's superb open-world housing.

And here's the original, Mrs Bhagpuss's Qalian home on a very stormy day. We had properties on close-by plots along the same beach. I'm hoping the Vanguard emulator team gets around to restoring housing one day. I'd love to build my house again. In the same spot.

While we're on the subject of housing, I think this is from a project Mrs Bhagpuss was working on in Rift. There were a lot of shots of it on the drive I was lifting files from. I'm always very loyal to EverQuest II and Vanguard when it comes to housing but I never really investigated Dimensions in Rift. 

On this evidence it seems I really should have paid more attention. Of course, the way mmorpgs work, I imagine these houses are still sitting there, in stasis. I'm not sure what level of dimensional access you get in Rift on a free account these days. Maybe I should log in and find out.

Finally, just for comparison, here's a shot of a room in one of Mrs Bhagpuss's many, many houses in EQII. It's striking how rough the textures seem compared to any of the other shots in this post. I'm not sure if that's what the game's graphics generally looked like back then or whether the quality had been dialled down for practical purposes, which was sometimes necessary when working on large housing projects. Whatever the reason, EQII looks a lot better these days - on my screen, anyway.

Allods is another game I regularly think about revisiting but never follow through. I don't even have it installed on this PC although I noticed it was there on that old one. Allods would feature high on my list of underappreciated mmorpgs. Visually, it's stunning, paricularly for it's age, and the graphics have aged exceptionally well.

These shots are from beta back in 2009 I think. The PC I was tinkering with was an old one of Mrs Bhagpuss's, as must be obvious by now. We both played gibberlings in the beta and had a great time.  There's no race anywhere in the genre like the gibberlings. Or if there is, I've never been lucky enough to find it.

The images I was most excited to see again were the ones from our time on EQII's Test server. We played there for several years, duoing with a variety of characters but most often with these two: Mrs Bhagpuss tanking as a ratonga Bruiser and me providing dps, off-tanking and heals as a Necromancer. Between the two of us and the pet we could just about make a full group. I loved healing as a necro although it required constant vigilance. I've seen necros main-heal groups in both EverQuest and EQII because necros can turn a claw to anything but a duo is about as far as I'd care to push it.

I even found a handful of shots from Final Fantasy XIV. We came close to sticking with that one after the revamp but in the end we gave it up to go back to Guild Wars 2. Good decision, I think.

If we hadn't, we'd never have seen the things we did. I haven't cropped the UI from this so as to leave the chat box where you can watch Yaks Bend's much-missed superstar commander setting up another of his hallmark golem rushes. This looks like a big one but I've seen bigger!

A golem army's not just for offense, of course. This defensive ring is a prime example of why Yaks Bend was the most-hated server in World vs World for many years. No-one remembers any of that now, it seems. Sic transit gloria mundi.

And that's why we take screenshots. And hope not to lose them.


  1. That first screenshot reminds me so much of Santorini I can almost feel the wind blowing in off the sea.

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  3. I thought Allods Online was really good back around 2009-2010. However on my most recent visit I found the game vastly changed from what I remembered. The moment to moment gameplay was greatly simplified at some point, though it's still very pretty for a game that runs well on a potato.

    1. That's interesting. That would tie in with my theory that Allods could actually be one of the best mobile mmorpgs around. I know it runs very well on a tablet (or probably a phone, even) because the last time I played it for any length of time was when I had a 10" Windows tablet, which I would still be using if I hadn't cracked the screen. The controls work very effectively without a keyboard. You can do most things just by touching the screen, including combat. If the gameplay's been simplified that might explain why it works so well on mobile.

      Off-topic reply, but I never realy get why people keep going on about there not being any good mmorpgs on mobile. There are a bunch of solid desktop mmos that work just fine... if you have a mobile device that runs on Windows. It's Android and Apple that don't have any good mmorpgs.


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