EverQuest Coverart.png
Developer(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Platform(s) Windows, Mac OS X (partial)
Release date(s) 16 March 1999
Genre(s) Massively multiplayer online role-playing game
Mode(s) Multiplayer online
Rating(s) Template:Vgratings
Media/distribution CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, download

EverQuest is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was released on March 16, 1999. The original design is credited to Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover, and Bill Trost. It was developed by Sony's 989 Studios and its early-1999 spin-off Verant Interactive, and published by Sony Online Entertainment (SOE).[1]

Since its acquisition of Verant in late 1999, SOE develops, runs, and distributes EverQuest.[2] EverQuest's development is ongoing, and the 18th expansion, Veil of Alaris, was released on November 15, 2011; its 19th expansion, Rain of Fear, launched November 28, 2012. Additional subscription options of EverQuest, free-to-play Bronze Level, and a one time fee Silver Level, were made available in March 2012.[3]

EverQuest has earned numerous awards, including 1999 GameSpot Game of the Year and a 2007 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award.[4]

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Many of the elements in EverQuest have been drawn from text-based MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) games,[5] particularly DikuMUDs, which in turn were inspired by traditional role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. In EverQuest, players create a character (also known as an avatar, or colloquially as char or toon) by selecting one of 16 races in the game, which range from humans (basic human, Erudite, and barbarian), elves (high elves, wood elves, and dark elves), half-elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, trolls, and ogres of fantasy, to cat-people (Vah Shir), lizard-people (Iksar), frog-people (Froglok), and dragon-people (Drakkin).[6] At creation, players select each character's adventuring occupation (such as a wizard, ranger, or cleric – called a classsee below for particulars), a patron deity, and starting city. Customization to the character facial appearance is available at creation (hair, hair color, face style, facial hair, facial hair color, eye color, etc.).

File:Sand Giant - EverQuest - 1999.jpg

A Sand Giant engaging a group in the Oasis of Marr, a desert zone

Players use their character to explore the fantasy world of Norrath, fight monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points, and master trade skills. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige, spells, and abilities through actions such as defeating capable opponents, looting the remains of defeated enemies and completing quests (tasks and adventures given by non-player characters (NPCs).

EverQuest allows players to interact with other people through role-play, joining player guilds, and dueling other players (in restricted situations--EverQuest only allows player versus player (PVP) combat on the PvP-specific server, specified "arena" zones and through agreed upon dueling).

The game-world of EverQuest consists of nearly four hundred zones.[7]

Multiple instances of the world exist on various servers. In the past, game server populations were visible during log-in, and showed peaks of more than 3000 players per server. The design of EverQuest, like other massively multiplayer online role-playing games, makes it highly amenable to cooperative play, with each player having a specific role within a given group.

Classes[edit | edit source]

The fourteen classes of the original 1999 version of EverQuest were later expanded to include the Beastlord and Berserker classes with the Shadows of Luclin (2001) and Gates of Discord (2004) expansions, respectively. The classes can be categorized based on similar characteristics that allow them to play certain types of roles within the game when grouped with others.

There are three classes which categorize as tanks. Members of this group have a high number of hitpoints for their level, and may wear heavy armor. They have the ability to taunt enemies into focusing on them, rather than other party members who may be more susceptible to damage and death.

The five damage-dealing classes are able to deal high corporeal damage to opponents. Within the game, these classes are often referred to as 'DPS', which stands for damage per second. There isn't a definitive 'best DPS' class, as damage dealt will depend on numerous factors which vary from one encounter to another (such as the enemy's armor, its positioning, and its magic resistance).

Caster classes have the lowest hit points per level and can only wear the lightest of armors. The three casters draw their power from an internal pool of mana, which takes some time to regenerate and thus demands judicious and efficient use of spells. All caster classes have the ability to 'Research', an activity where all players can make spells for use by other players. These are made using assortments of different pieces of quest material found in the game.

Crowd control/utility classes share the ability to keep multiple enemies from attacking the party and have the ability to increase party members' ability to regenerate mana. Two classes fall into this category.

Priest, or healer, classes have medium level of hit points per level and have access to healing and "buff" spells. This category has three classes.

Deities[edit | edit source]

There are several deities in EverQuest who each have a certain area of responsibility and play a role in the "backstory" of the game setting. A wide array of armor and weapons are also deity-tied, making it possible for only those who worship that deity to wear/equip them. Additionally, deities determine, to some extent, where characters may and may not go without being attacked on sight.

Zones[edit | edit source]

The EverQuest universe is divided into "more than 375" zones.[8] These zones represent a wide variety of geographical features, including plains, oceans, cities, deserts, and other planes of existence. One of the most popular zones in the game is the Plane of Knowledge, one of the few zones in which all races and classes can coexist harmoniously without interference. The Plane of Knowledge is also home to portals to many other zones, including portals to other planes and to the outskirts of nearly every starting city.

Development[edit | edit source]

EverQuest began as a concept by John Smedley in 1996.

EverQuest II was released in late 2004.[9] Set in an alternate universe similar to that of the original EverQuest, this sequel takes place 500 years after the awakening of The Sleeper. The game has also inspired a number of other spin-offs.

The third iteration in the series, with the working title EverQuest Next, is currently in the early stages of development as first reported in the 2009 10th Anniversary EverQuest Book.[10] At the SOE Fan Faire in August 2010, in-game screenshots, concept art and more information was revealed.[11]

History[edit | edit source]

The design and concept of EverQuest is heavily indebted to text-based MUDs, in particular DikuMUD, and as such EverQuest is considered a 3D evolution of the text MUD genre like some of the MMOs that preceded it such as Meridian 59 and The Realm Online. John Smedley, Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover and Bill Trost who jointly are credited with creating the world of EverQuest have repeatedly pointed to their shared experiences playing MUDs such as Sojourn and TorilMUD as the inspiration for the game.[5] Keith Parkinson created the box covers for earlier installments of EverQuest.cite needed

Development of EverQuest began in 1996 when Sony Interactive Studios America (SISA) executive John Smedley secured funding for a 3D game much like text-based MUDs following the successful launch of Meridian 59 the previous year. To implement the design Smedley hired programmers Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover who had come to Smedley's attention through their work on the single player RPG Warwizard. McQuaid soon rose through the ranks to become Executive Producer for the EverQuest franchise and emerged during development of EverQuest as a popular figure among the fan community through his in-game avatar, Aradune. Other key members of the development team included Bill Trost, who created the history, lore and major characters of Norrath (including Everquest protagonist Firiona Vie), Geoffrey "GZ" Zatkin who implemented the spell system, and artist Milo D. Cooper, who did the original character modeling in the game.

EverQuest launched with modest expectations from Sony on 16 March 1999 under its Verant Interactive brand and quickly became successful. By the end of the year, it had surpassed competitor Ultima Online in number of subscriptions. Numbers continued rising rapidly until mid-2001 when growth slowed. Sony's last reported subscription numbers were given as "more than 430,000 players" on 14 January 2004.[12] SOE released a Mac OS X version of EverQuest in 2003, incorporating all expansions through Planes of Power.

In anticipation of PlayStation's launch Sony Interactive Studios America had made the decision to focus primarily on console titles under the banner 989 Studios while spinning off its sole computer title, EverQuest, which was ready to launch, to a new computer game division named Redeye (renamed Verant Interactive). Executives initially had very low expectations for EverQuest but in 2000, following the surprising continued success and unparalleled profits of EverQuest, Sony reorganized Verant Interactive into Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) with Smedley retaining control of the company.

Many of the original EverQuest team, including Brad McQuaid, Steve Clover and Geoffrey Zatkin had left SOE by 2002.

Subscription history[edit | edit source]

Verant from 1999 to 2001 and SOE from 2001 to 14 January 2004 issued formal statements giving some indications of the number of EQ subscriptions and peak numbers of players online at any given moment.[12]

These records show "more than 225,000" subscriptions on 1 November 1999cite needed, with an increase to "more than 450,000" subscriptions by 25 September 2003cite needed.

On June 6, 2012, SOE removed the ability to buy game subscription time with Station Cash without any warning to players. SOE apologized for this abrupt change in policy and reinstated the option for an additional week, after which it was removed permanently.[13]

Expansions[edit | edit source]

There have been nineteen expansions to the original game since release. Expansions are purchased separately and provide additional content to the game (for example: raising the maximum character level; adding new races, classes, zones, continents, quests, equipment, game features). Additionally, the game is updated through downloaded patches. The EverQuest expansions:

  1. The Ruins of Kunark (April 2000)
  2. The Scars of Velious (December 2000)
  3. The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001)
  4. The Planes of Power (October 2002)
  5. The Legacy of Ykesha (February 2003)
  6. Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003)
  7. Gates of Discord (February 2004)
  8. Omens of War (September 2004)
  9. Dragons of Norrath (February 2005)
  10. Depths of Darkhollow (September 2005)
  11. Prophecy of Ro (February 2006)
  12. The Serpent's Spine (September 2006)
  13. The Buried Sea (February 2007)
  14. Secrets of Faydwer (November 2007)
  15. Seeds of Destruction (October 2008)
  16. Underfoot (December 2009)
  17. House of Thule (October 2010)
  18. Veil of Alaris (November 2011)
  19. Rain of Fear (November 2012)

Servers[edit | edit source]

The game runs on multiple "game servers", each with a unique name for identification. These names were originally the deities of the world of Norrath. In technical terms, each "game server" is actually a cluster of server machines. Once a character is created, it can only be played on that server unless the character is transferred to a new server by the customer service staff, generally for a fee. Each server often has a unique community and people often include the server name when identifying their character outside of the game.

Macintosh OS X server[edit | edit source]

SOE has devoted one server (Al'Kabor) to an OS X version of the game. In January 2012, SOE announced plans to shut down the server, but based on the "passionate" response of the player base, rescinded the decision and changed Al'Kabor to a free-to-play subscription model.[14] At about the same time, SOE revised the Macintosh client software to run natively on Intel processors. Players running on older, PowerPC-based systems lost access to the game at that point.[15]

For several years in the early existence of Al'Kabor, an "Everquest for Macintosh" subscription did not allow the subscriber to create posts on the official Sony "EverQuest for Macintosh" forums.[16] Out-of-game discussions thus took root at another location that became an on-line source of information for technical issues as well as for the various gameplay and sociological aspects that are unique to "EverQuest for Macintosh".[17]

European servers[edit | edit source]

Two SOE servers were set up to better support players in (or simply closer to) Europe: Antonius Bayle and Kane Bayle. Kane Bayle was merged into Antonius Bayle.

With the advent of the New Dawn promotion, three additional servers were set up and maintained by Ubisoft: Venril Sathir (British), Sebilis (French) and Kael Drakkal (German). The downside of the servers was that while it was possible to transfer to them, it was impossible to transfer off.

Later on the servers were acquired by SOE and all three were merged, as Kayne Bayle had already been, into Antonius Bayle server.[18]

Controversies, social issues, and game problems[edit | edit source]

Template:Criticism section

Sale of in-game objects/real world economics[edit | edit source]

EverQuest has been the subject of various criticisms. One example involves the sale of in-game objects for real currency (often through eBay). The developers of EQ have always forbidden the practicecite needed.

Because items can be traded within the game and also because of illegal online trading on websites, virtual currency to real currency exchange rates have been calculated. The BBC reported that in 2002 work done by Edward Castronova showed that Everquest was the 77th richest country in the world, sandwiched between Russia and Bulgaria and its GDP per capita was higher than that of the People's Republic of China and India.[19] In 2004, a follow-up analysis of the entire online gaming industry indicated that the combined GDP of the online "worlds" populated by the two million players was approximately the same as that of Namibia.[20]

Companies created characters, leveled them to make them powerful, and then resold the characters or specialized in exchanging money between games. A player could exchange a house in The Sims Online for EverQuest platinum pieces, depending solely on market laws of supply and demand.

Sony officially discourages the payment of real-world money for online goods, except on certain "Station Exchange" servers in EverQuest II, launched in July 2005. The program facilitates buying in-game items for real money from fellow players for a nominal fee. At this point this system only applies to select EverQuest II servers; none of the pre-Station Exchange EverQuest II or EverQuest servers are affected.[21]

Intellectual property and role-playing[edit | edit source]

Another well-publicized incident from October 2000, usually referred to as the "Mystere incident", involved Verant banning a player for creating controversial fan fiction, causing outrage among EverQuest players and sparking a major industry-wide debate about players' rights and the line between roleplaying and intellectual property infringement. The case was used by several academics in discussing such rights in the digital age.[22]

Fans have created the open source server emulator EQEmu, allowing users to run their own servers with custom rules. Running such an emulator is a violation of EverQuest's end user license agreement and could result in a player being banned from Sony's EverQuest servers if caught doing so.

Addiction[edit | edit source]

Main article: Video game addiction

The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologistsTemplate:Who specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many players refer to it half-jokingly as "NeverRest" and "EverCrack" (a disparaging comparison to crack cocaine).[23] There has been one well-publicized suicide of an EverQuest user named Shawn Woolley that resulted in his mother, Liz, founding Online Gamers Anonymous.[24][25]

Sociological aspects of MMORPGs[edit | edit source]

Template:See also Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are described by some players[26] as "chat rooms with a graphical interface". The sociological aspects of EverQuest (and other MMORPGs) are explored in a series of online studies on a site known as "the HUB".[26] The studies make use of data gathered from player surveys and discuss topics like virtual relationships, player personalities, gender issues, and more.

Organized protests[edit | edit source]

In May 2004, Woody Hearn of GU Comics called for all EverQuest gamers to boycott the Omens of War expansion in an effort to force SOE to address existing issues with the game rather than release another "quick-fire" expansion.[27] The call to boycott was rescinded after SOE held a summit to address player concerns, improve (internal and external) communication, and correct specific issues within the gamecite needed.

Prohibition in Brazil[edit | edit source]

On 17 January 2008, the Judge of the 17th Federal Court of Minas Gerais State forbade the sales of the game in the whole Brazilian territory. The reason was that the game leads the players to a loss of moral virtue and takes them into "heavy" psychological conflicts because of the game quests.[28]

EverQuest universe[edit | edit source]

Since EverQuest's release, Sony Online Entertainment has added several EverQuest-related games. These include:

A line of novels have been published in the world of Everquest, including:

  • Rogue's Hour, by Scott Ciencin (October 2004)
  • Ocean of Tears, by Stewart Wieck (October 2005)
  • Truth and Steel, by Thomas M. Reid (September 2006)
  • The Blood Red Harp, by Elaine Cunningham (October 2006)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Marks, Robert (2003). Link. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. ISBN 978-0-07-222903-5. 
  2. "Announcement of Verant Merger". Verant.
  3. "EverQuest Free to Play". Retrieved on 2012-02-01.
  4. "Winners of 59th Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards Announced by National Television Academy at Consumer Electronics Show". The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS). Retrieved on 12 March 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Bartle, Richard (2003). Link. New Riders Games. ISBN 0-13-101816-7. 
  6. "EQ Circle - List Of Races". Retrieved on 2011-12-31.
  7. "EverQuest - Massively Multiplayer Online Fantasy Role-Playing Game". Everquest.station.sony.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-21.
  8. "SOE Everquest page". Sony.
  9. "Stratics Official Game Lore". "Five hundred years have passed since the Sleeper was awakened"
  10. Template:Cite news
  11. "EQ2Wire Coverage of EverQuest Next". EQ2Wire (2010-08-09). Retrieved on 2010-08-09.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Champions Of Norrath Announcement, Sony.com
  13. Non-recurring Subscriptions Removal Official news and announcements - 2012-06-15
  14. EQMac will carry on!, SOE forums
  15. EQMac Login News, SOE forums
  16. "EMail SOE". EQMac.com. Retrieved on 2012-08-04.
  17. See, EQ MAC Gets a New Community Manager, SOE forums
  18. "Everquest Europe joins Everquest US". TG Daily. Retrieved on 2010-06-02.
  19. Template:Cite news
  20. Template:Cite news
  21. "Additional information about Station Exchange". Everquest II News. Sony. Retrieved on 2006-09-13.
  22. cf. Garlick M., "Player, Pirate or Conducer? A consideration of the rights of online gamers", Yale Journal of Law & Technology, 2004-2005.
  23. "EverQuest Lair - Reviews, Platinum, and Cheats". Gameogre.com. Retrieved on 2009-03-13.
  24. Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (Spring 2005). "Link". The CASE Journal 1 (2): 60–66. 
  25. Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (May 2005). "Link". Journal of Business Ethics 58 (1): 3–6. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-1376-9. 
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Men are from Ogguk. Women are from Kelethin.". Nick Yee. Retrieved on 2006-09-13.
  27. "GU Comics by: Woody Hearn". Gucomics.com (2004-05-26). Retrieved on 2009-03-13.
  28. Template:Cite news

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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