Saturday, April 14, 2018

A Compilation Of Links To Useful EverQuest Guides, Hints, Tips and Resources: Updated for 2018

I have a feeling I did this once before but if I did, I can't find the post. Never mind. I've stumbled across a few more resources since then anyway, so I think it's worth taking another run at it. The caveat is always Check The Date. Some of the information, even from recommended and reliable sources, can be outmoded or just plain obsolete. If in doubt, log in and try it. It won't kill you. Probably.

An awful lot of the things any EQ player would be better off knowing are buried somewhere in these links. Best of luck digging them out. If you can't find what you need, the best possible advice I can give is start playing and "just ask". Someone probably knows and if there's one thing EQ players enjoy even more than a double XP weekend it's a chance to show off their superior knowledge of the game.

Here are the links:

Almar's Guides

Fanra's Everquest Wiki incorporating Rasper's Repository

Allakhazam (especially the Wiki/Database)

EQ Traders

Brewall's EverQuest Maps

EQ Resource

Paul Lynch's EverQuest Guides inluding Pet Focuses and All The Good Quests

Hazmil Skelyd's EverQuest Resource Page

Pak'Cafan: EverQuest

EQ Interface

EQ Official Forums (especially the Returning Player Mage Thread for anyone starting a Heroic Character at Level 85).

EverQuest Reddit

And now, the gloss:

The reason I'm revisiting this topic is that there seems to have been a slight uptick of interest in playing EverQuest lately. Not just from me, either. UltrViolet tried it and didn't like it. Belghast just rolled an SK on Vox to see if recent negative comparisons with Project : Gorgon were justified. Keen has been  running out of partners while playing on Coirnav and although Kaozz hasn't mentioned it recently she's always there or thereabouts.

I've even had the odd comment asking for advice on starting or returning to EQ. I'm not sure that's something I'd advocate to just anyone. As has been discussed many times, MMORPGs come with a significant learning curve even when they're new and that curve can turn into a cliff face when the game's been running successfully for a few years, let alone nearly two decades.

Without any doubt, the single most forbidding aspect of playing EverQuest these days is the sheer volume of hidden detail. The gameplay itself remains relatively simple but the systems that support it are mysterious, arcane, convoluted and very frequently almost entirely obscure.

Over the years the developers, be it SOE or DBG, have made heroic efforts to retro-fit modern MMO conveniences onto the aging chassis, with varying degrees of success. For example, in my opinion, EQ currently has the best loot system of any game I play. It allows a degree of control that other MMOs either simply don't offer or, if they do, lock behind achievement or pay walls.

EQ long ago added a quest journal and quest tracker that offers all the utility you'd expect. It's far superior to GW2's kludgy version. There's a fantastic Atlas facility that not only shows you every one of the hundreds of zones but will build a path for you from anywhere to anywhere else and provide you with a glowing trail that shows you how to get you there.

The game even has a Calendar to let you know you when holiday or special events are coming. Hardly anyone seems to know it exists. Almost every day while I'm playing, someone will ask when an event begins or ends, only to be told to type /calendar. The response is usually "Wow! I never knew that even existed!".

I pick up most of of my tips from chat channels. That's how I discovered I could buy and sell through the Bazaar without having to go there. Yesterday I learned that you can control which spells and abilities your Mercenary uses by means of the /blockspell command or its menu-driven equivalent.

This is so counter-intuitive as to be positively perverse. Here's a detailed explanation. The way you can affect the behavior of your NPC Mercenary in this fashion is potentially game-changing, allowing you to solo (or, as the jargon has it, Molo) content that was previously out of your reach. I have no idea how you would ever discover this exceptionally useful function unless someone told you about it or you deliberately set out to read everything you could possibly find about the game before you started.

These are just a few examples of the scores of time-saving, ease of access, user-friendly systems available, many of which effectively change the way you might approach the entire game. And that's just the options open to everyone.

Once you begin to consider the range of Alternative Abilities you need to level up (around 10,000 of them according to Almar) I shudder to think how many more wrinkles there must be that I don't yet know. EQ doesn't go out of it's way to tell you about any of this. You have to find most of it for yourself. It's scarcely exaggerating to say that I discover a new trick every time I play, although sometimes they're tricks I used to know but long ago forgot.

Bearing all that in mind, there are several ways you could set about playing such a well-established MMORPG, one that hides 90% of its essential systems beneath the surface. You could take the "sink or swim" approach, treat it like any new game and just jump in. You'll probably sink but, hey...YOLO, right?

You could find a friend who plays and get them to handhold you through the scary parts. If you don't have such a long-suffering friend on tap, you could - as I have seen many players do - begin your new adventure by spamming chat for an active guild. Might take a while.

Or you could do some research. Every long-running game that was ever any kind of success has a legacy of guides, databases, wikis, Add-Ons and discussions that point back into the deep past like a comet's tail. The problem is, for good or ill, MMORPGs define themeselves by perpetual change. The issue isn't finding information - it's finding accurate information that's still relevant.

Still, it was ever thus. And it's not like games come with a manual any more, is it? Not that most people ever read the dam' thing back when they did... 

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