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EQEmulator (or EQEmu) is a GNU GPL open source server emulator for the MMORPG EverQuest. Normally, the game is a service that players pay for so they can connect to Sony Online Entertainment's exclusive servers. EQEmulator is not associated with Sony or SOE, however, EQEmu players must still use a mostly unmodified installation of EverQuest. With an emulator like EQEmu, anyone can download the source code and run a server, but an unpatched copy of the software is needed (see a list of Common clients below). EQEmu has apparently been in development since November 2001; the first SourceForge project was created on December 4, 2001. According to statistics on the EQEmu website, some emulated servers see tens or hundreds of simultaneous players (up to a thousand  on the very popular Project 1999 Classic EQ server) players online during peak times, but less than the thousands seen on SOE's official servers.
At this time, EQEmu is not compatible with the most recent version of the client which is available through download with Sony's patcher. Some servers provide a way of downgrading, though EQEmu's[clarification needed] officially regards this as piracy and does not endorse it. However, the most recent version of EQEmu will operate with the client available after direct install from Sony's Everquest Titanium-series CDs. As of April 2009, the Everquest: Secrets of Faydwer Retail Installation (unpatched) is also compatible with the EQEmulator. Players will not be allowed to upgrade from that version, however, without breaking their compatibility.
EQEmu relies on the community for its ongoing development.
Server operators obtain and install the open source server software on alternative servers. This play server when run connects to a login server. There are pre-setup login servers, or the play server's operators can opt to set up their own login server.
These play servers require that the stock Everquest client connect to an alternative login server, either a pre-setup version, or an individual login server as described above. To do this the user alters the eqhost files in the Everquest client source to point to the IP/domain and port of the login server. The login server confirms the user's access and then displays a list of play servers that have also connected to the login server.
The players selects the server they would like and then connect. Many servers are based on the original game, but many server operators opt to spin the game play with custom content, including quests, monsters, and items, or by tweaking the mechanics with faster leveling or higher level caps. When a user selects a server to play the login server passes control to this play server. Play servers accept different clients, but that list of clients is fairly typical and covered below.
Every time Everquest patches it obtains a new version number. This different version number would make the patched client incompatible with the versions the play server accepts. Because of this it is imperative to prevent the Everquest client from patching. The most common method for doing this is creating a shortcut to the eqgame.exe file, and in the shortcut target the user appends "patchme" as a passed command line variable. This stops the user's client from patching.
Titanium - This client was the start of the disk-standard whereby the play servers accept client versions that were released on DVD instead of the previously chaotic method of attempting to keep up with every patched version of Everquest. It is widely accepted that this standard greatly increased the popularity of EQ emulation as a client could be easily obtained, and the long term stability of the client allowed the developers to focus on other issues.
Secrets of Faydwer - This client was chosen as a more modern standard to Titanium, and as the most contemporary version released on DVD. The client proved to be unstable at times and was not widely accepted.
Seeds of Destruction - While released exclusively as a downloaded product it has proven to have all of the modern benefits as Secrets of Faydwer while being far more stable. It is quickly becoming the standard, though according to a poll on Peqtgc.com, Titanium is still the most commonly used client. This client is no longer available for download. Purchasing and downloading this client will actually yield a version of Underfoot.
Underfoot (8 June 2010) - This version can be downloaded only from steam. Purchasing and downloading Underfoot or Seeds of Destruction will both give you access to only this version. The only difference between the two products is the price, and what expansions the product key activates.
The Irreverent - Is an older server that is redesign of the database and custom code so that a player can experience all of Everquest by themselves. Due to its success as a server, it is one of the most cloned servers for people so they can run it on their own machine and experience all of Everquest that was normally impossible due to needing large groups or raids to complete. This server has also propositioned SoE several times with their designs in an attempt to show SoE that they could repackage and sell an official Everquest release as a standalone game that a player can experience everything on their own and unlock passage through the expansions. While the business model would be well received by the gaming population and allow SoE to re-experience revenue from former players, they have so far not acknowledged it in possible fear of it impacting the current subscription base. However, The Irreverent team still continually updates their database/quests and keeps pinging SoE in hopes that their work will show SoE that there is a desire and an opportunity for them to develop a stand-alone game.
Raid Addicts - is the newest EQEMU server that is active today. It was started recently by Jordan "King" Mortenson, who continues to develop it alone. It has a small, active community who are very happy to help newer players out.
Shards of Dalaya - Shards of Dalaya is a total conversion emulated server for EverQuest 1. Though Shards of Dalaya is no longer on the EQEmu server list, it originated from there and is still based on it. It is one of the most successful EQ1 emulated servers to date, having been running for close to seven years and sporting a player base of several thousand active accounts, reaching upwards of 158 players online every night. They've taken EverQuest, spun it around, and created something of a hybrid between the classic game and something new of their own. They've done their best to eliminate the real hassles and boredom of the original game, without taking away the danger and challenge. Downtime is significantly reduced, and all classes can solo, albeit with varying efficiency. Raids are there, but they've slimmed them down to 18 players, to make everyone absolutely vital to the raid instead of just another cog in a huge raiding machine. Dungeons are there, full with nice loot and frogloks. There are ~160 zones with some 9000+ NPCs and over 15000 items, all created by SoD's own developers.
Project1999 - Project1999 is a completed version of Classic EverQuest. It contains the old world continents and the Kunark expansion. Although keeping some later advancements such as item linking, and offering the modern UI, it is extremely close to the original EQ. The max level is 60, AAs have been eliminated, and classic zones (Cazic Thule, Split Paw) have been restored. By numbers, P99 is the most popular EQEmu server.
The Grand Creation - The Grand Creation (TGC), also known as ProjectEQ, is a test server to establish a database that is "as close to the live EverQuest experience as possible". In spite of its test server status TGC remains one of the most popular and long-standing servers. While most servers do not allow the use of third-party software, TGC operators have taken a more liberal stance on the issue and allow approved builds of Macroquest from Infernis.org and MQEmulator.net to be used. This may be partially responsible for the server's continuing popularity.
EZ Server - The Extended Zones Server is a customized version of the original Everquest content. Experience rates are set to 4x (four times faster than normal). This server is unique in the custom content which allows players to build extremely strong characters to explore original content, while offering a high level of challenge in the custom end-game content. Many players 'box' (play multiple characters at once) on this server to deal with the raid level content, though there are guilds established for those who choose to play one character at a time.
The Hidden Forest Custom-legit EverQuest emulated Server. Experience Everquest in a completely new direction while maintaining the immersion of the original gameplay. Adventure into new, unfamiliar territories as you find yourself entangled in the War between Chaos and Order. Explore exciting new lands with unique creatures of lore, in depth quests rewarding custom Items, Armor, Weapons and more.
Project AXClassic is a blend of old school game play with original and custom content. AXClassic carries the original EQBOTS code, and is still worked on by original and new coders. Official development work is done at "PROJECT AXCLASSIC the Rathe" server, where you are welcome to come and play (clients supported are 6x, Titanium, SoF, SoD, and Underfoot).
The goal is to try and bring you back to a time where your heart was in the original (classic) zones, and places like Butcherblock and South Karana were in your thoughts and dreams. Only this time, you'll have that "prefect group" you wanted with you at all times. With EQBOTS, you'll be able to go anywhere in the game, build impressive raid groups, and take on the toughest raid bosses. You'll be going places that were never possible when you played before. AXCLassic started out as AXPEQ and has been around since early 2000.
A complete list of servers, including statuses and descriptions, are available online.
Some servers, namely ProjectEQ's The Grand Creation, allow and even encourage certain third-party software that runs characters, or certain aspects of characters with or without a user being present at the computer. PEQ allows third-party software while a user is at the computer to facilitate game play. Many other servers (and all EverQuest live servers) are opposed to the idea and consider it a bannable offense. Project99, for example, wants game play to be similar to live and does not allow program-aided playing.
- "EQEMu". EQEmulator. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "EverQuest(tm) Server Emulator | Free Games software downloads at". Sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Project 1999 Classic Everquest Server". Retrieved 2014-07-03.
- "The Irreverent Server • Index page". Irreverentlabs.com. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Shards of Dalaya". Shards of Dalaya. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Server List". EQEmulator. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Project EQ". Peqtgc.com. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "• Index". Mqemulator.net. 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- Leslamarch, Angelox for AX Classic. "AX Classic". AX Classic. Retrieved 2014-02-02.
- "Server List". EQEmulator. Retrieved 2014-02-02.