Saturday, March 16, 2019

Happy 20th BIrthday, EverQuest!

I was going to save this for tomorrow but since I can't log in right now I might as well do the next best thing and blog about it...

Even this morning I hadn't decided whether or not to roll a character on any of the four new Time-Locked/Progression servers Daybreak span up a couple of hours ago: two for EverQuest, two for EverQuest II. In the end, though, I couldn't resist.

I started with EQII's PvE server Kaladim. As usual, All Access Membership (or "a subscription" as we used to call it) is required to play on Progression servers. I had the sub covered there was still a problem: all my character slots were full on that account.

I've been playing EQII a lot more of late. Six of those characters are max level and the other four are too established to delete, not that I ever delete characters anyway. There is a Level 3 wizard on that account, who you'd think would be expendable, but she was a founder member of the guild we formed on Freeport the day EQII went free to play so she's got grandfather rights. Grandmother rights. Whatever. Point is, she's not going anywhere.

Oh, oh, the hokey-cokey!

So I dug into my Daybreak Cash reserves and bought another character slot. Then I made a Dirge. A ratonga, naturally. I've never played a Dirge before. I don't generally get on with Scout classes in any MMORPGs but I've had a Dirge mercenary running alongside my Inquisitor for a while and it looked not that bad. Plus Mrs Bhagpuss used to play one and I remember it being badass.

When it came time to choose a name I did something I almost never do: I went for something that loads of other people were bound to have chosen before me. Only no-one had. I got it. I couldn't believe my luck. Now, even if, as I expect, I never end up playing this character beyond the first few levels, I have that name in the bag.

What's more, if I make it to level 20 (I think you still have to do that first) I can use /lastname to name my Dirge... Lana DelRey! I probably won't do that... maybe Lana Lang...

Room for a little one?

Everything went very smoothly. No login queues, no lag, no crashes. I whipped through the opening sequence on The Far Journey, before stepping into instance #19 of the Isle of Refuge (Outpost of the Overlord), where I hung about just long enough to turn straight round and get back on the boat to Freeport.

I spent a few minutes questing in Sunken City, died three times, made Level Four and logged out. I was itching to get started on Selo, EQ's new superfast unlock server.

Back in the elder game things went somewhat differently. When I made it to character creation, which took a while, I found myself faced with a blank slate. Eight free character slots and no buttons to press. I went to the forums where I found plenty of people talking about that.

By the time I'd read the thread and posted an ironic comment, my character slots had made themselves available. I looked through the various options. I wanted to start on Luclin as a Vah`Shir but the class choices - Shaman, Warrior, Rogue, Beastlord, Bard - weren't doing much for me.

My first time in Luclin, back in 2002, I rolled a Vah`Shir Beastlord. I didn't play her that much right away but a few years later she ended up being my main and for a long time she was the highest level character I had. But Beastlords are a slog at low levels. Didn't fancy it. Rogue and Warrior were right out. Shaman is solid but again it takes a while to get going.

Dark and lonely

Then I thought, why not? I've just made a Dirge on EQ2. Why not make a bard in EverQuest? I know they get tough to play eventually but it's not like I'm planning on playing her all the way to the cap, after all. She'll be lucky to get into double figures.

Riding my luck, I tried for "Lana" again. The server took something like ten minutes to respond. Someone already got it. Surprise. And then I had a bit of a moment.

While I was running around Sunken City I noticed in chat that someone had nabbed "Buffy". I'm currently deep in a complete watch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, start to finish, on Amazon Prime. I got to Season Five last night. Why not? I won't get it anyway. Someone will already have it. Bound to.

Nope. When the server finally acknowledged my request it went right through. I now have a Bard called Buffy. When she hits 20 I could give her the last name Summers. I wouldn't, obviously. Probably. 

It wouldn't technically be breaking the Naming Policy if I did. I checked. They've changed it since I last looked. In both games. I'm certain it used to forbid well-known names from either popular culture or real life but now there's just this:

5. Do not pick a name that violates anyone's trademarks, publicity rights or other proprietary rights. In the event that the holder of any trademarked or copyrighted material contacts Daybreak Game Company LLC and requests reference(s) to their intellectual property be removed, any names containing trademarked or copyrighted material will be changed.

I can live with that. I mean, who's going to dob me in? Spike?

So, having established myself as having a mental age of about fifteen I was set to go. Only, so were a lot of other people, it seemed. Unlike EQ2, which either has much better hardware or a lot fewer players (and I know where my money's going on that one), EQ's login server was melting under the pressure.

Take a look at what you could have won.

The first couple of times I tried I couldn't get a response at all. Then Mrs Bhagpuss arrived home from work with a takeaway so I took a half-hour break. When I tried again I got the 46 minute warning above. It's been longer than that now and I'm still not in.

All of which suggests a nice problem for Daybreak to have. And for all the complaints and chuntering about how come they never learn, you know every MMO company really wants to see news items about how their servers couldn't cope with the demand.

There's a 20th Anniversary Producer's Letter up with some solid news about the promised fan gathering, or one of them at least, and a very nice new Infographic that I'm going to be referring back to instead of the Wiki when I want to know the date an expansion launched. This party's just getting started!

I'm going to give up on Selo for tonight. Tomorrow will be easier. I have the whole week off work (by sheer good luck - I didn't book it to co-incide with EQ's twentieth. I haven't lost all reason) so I can afford to dawdle. There's also a whole new, major update to EQII Live to dig into but that deserves a post of its own.

It's all jolly exciting! Happy Birthday EverQuest. Let's hope for many more to come!


  1. I spent my weekend in p1999 to properly celebrate the EQ of old - post incoming about it!

    1. I've read it! And commented. I wonder how P2002 is doing?


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