Welcome to this Let’s Play of the classic MMORPG ‘EverQuest’! This is also my first ever LP, so please be patient with me as I get my feet under me and figure things out. Mistakes will be made, lessons will be learned… Just like EverQuest did for the genre!
LP StructureEverQuest is by design a slow paced game with opaque, archaic, and punishing gameplay mechanics. Getting through all of the content, or even a significant portion is a challenge. My experience with the classic game is somewhat comprehensive, especially in the early levels, and I will be sharing as much as I can. I will be mixing in video tours, screenshots, musings about design choices and challenges, alongside memories from when I was playing in the heyday of Classic as we take a character from 1st level up to 10th. Anyone reading is welcome to follow along using the free client and server, but I generally anticipate this will be a solo experience.
A few things will need to be decided on first, such as our Class, Race, Religion, and Starting City! These choices will determine the content we see, and if there is interest we can either continue past 10th level, or start over to see another part of the world.
While the game is incredibly open, and the playerbase is very generous with items, I want to try and recreate the experience of EverQuest from when I played it. Therefore, I will follow a few simple rules:
- Stay off Kunark (It is going to be a zoo, and I don’t like Iksars)
- No Gear Handouts from other characters (Twinking… is this still a term?)
- Grouping with similar leveled PC’s only / No Power-leveling
- No Gameplay Addons/Helpers (mostly enforced by the server, but there are exceptions)
- Addon Exception: Text Logger for easier pulling of dialog for the LP
Original EverQuest Trailer (Not actual game footage!)
Game OverviewEverquest is one of the longest running, continuously updated MMORPG’s. Originally released in 1999, there has been at least one expansion made available every year, even in the dismal waste of 2020. Despite tons of competition, including its own sequel in 2004, somehow this game continues to be profitable enough to warrant server maintenance and new content decades after it was released.
The original EverQuest takes place in the world of Norrath, spread across 3 continents known as Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. Each of these continents are subdivided into ‘Zones’ - discrete areas a player must load between. These zones vary from cities, open wilderness, complex dungeons (non instanced of course), and more! A player begins at level 1 as their chosen Race/Class combo in one of the handful of ‘safe’ cities. From there it is entirely open ended. There is no main story, very few interconnected quests, and no tracked progress aside from your level and equipment. You make your own goals, interact with the other players, and experience the best graphics that 1999 could offer!
Story TimeMy experience with the game began in early 2000 about 3 months before the first expansion, ‘The Ruins of Kunark’, was released. As the first major expansion, it added a whole continent (Kunark, of course), a new playable race (Iksar), and lots of end game quests and zones that I never had the chance to experience. At the end of 2000 the second expansion ‘The Scars of Velious’ was made available and once again catered to high level play, and culminated in an ‘unbeatable’ boss that could only be encountered ONCE per server.
The original release and these two expansions are typically considered to be the ‘Classic’ experience.
About one year after Velious, ‘The Shadows of Luclin’ was put out. This was the first majorly differing expansion in that it completely rebuilt the engine of the game. In game character and NPC models had been updated to be more detailed, an auction house was added, and you got to go to the MOON!
At this point I dropped off due to no longer having infinite free time. Around 2004 or so I dabbled with EverQuest 2, and shortly thereafter World of Warcraft, but since have not really jumped into any other MMO.
However I still feel some sort of nostalgia for the original game, and despite all of it’s flaws I find it to be a fascinating game. So many things that it does have shaped the way that every MMO since has been developed - almost always in a ‘this sucked in EverQuest, how can we make it better’ mindset.
Every few years though I get that itch. I’ll reinstall the game from my old discs, install the patches from Project1999 and start over. And every time the magic comes back. I’ll play for a bit, get my fill, and move on. And that time has come again!
How Am I PlayingThe idea of ‘Classic’ Everquest had been a part of the community since the release of Luclin. The engine changes, additions of many Quality of LIfe features, alternate advancement options, and constant progression of expansions left some players feeling like the game wasn’t for ‘them’ anymore. This gave rise to the Everquest Server Emulator scene, and brings us to Project1999.
From their own website:
Relive the Classic Everquest Experience as it was from 1999 to 2001. Project 1999 is a free to play Classic Everquest Server, unaffiliated with Daybreak Game Company but operating under legal permission. Our goal is to restore the magic and difficulty of the original Everquest game, including the mechanics, interface, and challenges of Original Content, Kunark, and Velious. Project 1999 is the most popular and most accurate reincarnation of Old School Everquest.
Project 1999 has 3 servers: Blue, Green, and Red.
Blue and Green are identical servers that follow the release of all patches and expansions in near real time as it happened in 1999. Green was recently created to allow for a ‘reboot’ to start over from the launch state of EverQuest. Eventually it will merge back in with Blue and the cycle will continue again with another reboot.
Why is this important? Some items, quests, and NPC’s only exist in specific periods of the game and were then later removed, nerfed, or adjusted. A few famous examples are ‘Rubicite Armor’ which gave a moderate health regeneration and was the only Red tinted armor available, or the ‘Manastone’ which gave caster characters a rare way to quickly restore their MP.
We will be playing on the Green server, as it is currently the most populous (about 1,000 active players at any given time) and has just recently released the Kunark expansion.
Red is a PvP server, with a population of less than 100 active players at any given time. I’ll talk a bit about PvP in the main LP, but suffice to say it was very rarely rewarding or fun for me.
Before we can begin though, we need to talk about the various classes and races we can be.