EverQuest holds a special place in my memory. I was 16 when it came out. I didn't have computer but my mate Rupert did, and I'd outstay my welcome at his house playing it - hardly a sustainable arrangement and it didn't last. But it sparked in me a longing to become a proper part of a 3D online fantasy world (and on my own computer) - a plan I would carry out with Dark Age of Camelot - and it wasn't long after that Rupert (Loman) and his brother created Eurogamer.
All that seems like a lifetime ago, which is why it's weird writing about EverQuest now, 16 years later and on Eurogamer, and about how the game has launched a new expansion - its 22nd, called The Broken Mirror.
Broken Mirror is a proper $34.99 expansion with new and revamped zones, and all the new quests and loot and things that go with them. There are new spells, new alternate advancements, and there's a strange new toy called an Illusion Key Ring.
Odd looking back on EverQuest in the video below, remembering how impressive and fresh that 3D world once was. Oh how I used to gawp at the fancy spells, panning the camera to appreciate them from every angle; to me, coming from Ultima Online, it was so immersive. By today's standards it all looks a bit pony of course, but there's still a visible elegance and simplicity that pleases me.
Our friends at USgamer wrote a nice piece last autumn about EverQuest (and other old games) and why people still play it. I also stumbled upon this quite remarkable post on Reddit about someone who has played EverQuest since he was five years old.
Sony Online Entertainment - now Daybreak Game Company - followed EQ up with a sequel in November 2004, the same time World of Warcraft launched in the US, and we all know what happened next. But EQ2 is still running, and has also just welcomed a new expansion - its 12th - called Terrors of Thalumbra. Again this is a $34.99 affair, offering a big new overland zone albeit underneath the world's surface, plus quests, raids, an Infusion system and so on and so on. I don't know the game with any intimacy but there are explanations of all the new things on the game's official website.
There is a new EverQuest game in development called EverQuest Next, which has some intriguing Minecrafty ideas about building things for the world using an adjoining game/application called EverQuest Landmark. There was an announcement splurge a couple of years ago but after that things went quiet. However, in the summer of this year senior producer Terry Michaels popped up to announce that attention had shifted from an EQ Landmark beta to developing EQ Next itself. He didn't make any promises about when we'd hear more, but it sounded like the development-ball was at last properly rolling.
I'd love to hear from you below if you were or are playing either game and what you think of them. EverQuest eh? A living legend.