|Developer(s)||Sony Online Entertainment|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Online Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||16 March 1999|
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing game|
|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).
Since its acquisition of Verant in late 1999, SOE develops, runs, and distributes EverQuest. EverQuest's development is ongoing, and the twentieth expansion, Call of the Forsaken, launched October 8, 2013. Additional subscription options of EverQuest, free-to-play Bronze Level, and a one-time fee Silver Level, were made available in March 2012.
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Development
- 3 Servers
- 4 Controversies, social issues, and game problems
- 5 EverQuest universe
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Many of the elements in EverQuest have been drawn from text-based MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) games, 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 a char or toon) by selecting one of sixteen 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). At creation, players select each character's adventuring occupation (such as a wizard, ranger, or cleric – called a class — see below for particulars), a patron deity, and starting city. Customization of the character facial appearance is available at creation (hair, hair color, face style, facial hair, facial hair color, eye color, etc.).
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.
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.
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. The tank, or melee, classes include: Shadowknight, Paladin, and Warrior. 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 damage-dealing classes are able to deal high damage to opponents. Within the game, these caster 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 four caster classes include: Enchanter, Magician, Necromancer, and Wizard. The 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.
Melee Damage classes are able to use a wide variety of melee attack skills to damage opponents. This archetype does not cast spells, instead using disciplines and abilities in order to damage the opponent, in addition to their normal melee attacks. The three pure melee damage classes include Rogue, Monk and Berserker. Warriors are also a pure melee class, but as they are more of a Tank class than melee DPS, they do not fall under this category.
Hybrid classes are able to use a wide variety of skills to support the other classes. Five classes fall into this category: Bard, Beastlord, Paladin, Ranger, and Shadowknight. All of these classes have the ability to melee as well as buff and heal. They make good solo or group characters. They can use a wide range of weapon types.
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.
The EverQuest universe is divided into more than 375 zones. 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.
EverQuest began as a concept by John Smedley in 1996.
EverQuest II was released in late 2004. 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. At the SOE Fan Faire in August 2010, in-game screenshots, concept art and more information was revealed. However, since then it's been revealed that this early version of the game was scrapped and a new design is being implemented. More details are expected at SOE Live, which is scheduled for August 1–4, 2013.
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. Keith Parkinson created the box covers for earlier installments of EverQuest.
Development of EverQuest began in 1996 when Sony Interactive Studios America (SISA) executive John Smedley secured funding for a 3D game 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. SOE released a Mac OS X version of EverQuest in 2003, incorporating all expansions through Planes of Power. The OS X version remained available for play until November 2013, when the dedicated OS X server was shuttered.
EverQuest initially launched with volunteer "Guides" who would act as basic customer service/support via 'petitions'. Issues could be forwarded to the Game Master assigned to the server or resolved by the volunteer. Other guides would serve in administrative functions within the program or assisting the Quest Troupe with dynamic and persistent live events throughout the individual servers. Volunteers were compensated with free subscription and expansions to the game. In 2003 the program changed for the volunteer guides taking them away from the customer service focus and placing them into their current roles as roving 'persistant characters' role-playing with the players.
In anticipation of PlayStation's launch, Sony Interactive Studios America 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 left SOE by 2002.
Verant, from 1999 to 2001, and SOE, from 2001 to 14 January 2004, issued formal statements giving some indications of the number of EverQuest subscriptions and peak numbers of players online at any given moment. These records show more than 225,000 subscriptions on 1 November 1999, with an increase to more than 450,000 subscriptions by 25 September 2003.
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.
There have been 20 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:
- The Ruins of Kunark (April 2000)
- The Scars of Velious (December 2000)
- The Shadows of Luclin (December 2001)
- The Planes of Power (October 2002)
- The Legacy of Ykesha (February 2003)
- Lost Dungeons of Norrath (September 2003)
- Gates of Discord (February 2004)
- Omens of War (September 2004)
- Dragons of Norrath (February 2005)
- Depths of Darkhollow (September 2005)
- Prophecy of Ro (February 2006)
- The Serpent's Spine (September 2006)
- The Buried Sea (February 2007)
- Secrets of Faydwer (November 2007)
- Seeds of Destruction (October 2008)
- Underfoot (December 2009)
- House of Thule (October 2010)
- Veil of Alaris (November 2011)
- Rain of Fear (November 2012) (Followed by the major content patches Shadow of Fear in April 2013 and Heart of Fear in July 2013.)
- Call of the Forsaken (October 2013) (Followed by the major content patches Hate Rising in January 2014.)
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 be played only 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.
SOE devoted one server (Al'Kabor) to an OS X version of the game. The game was never developed beyond the Planes of Power expansion. 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. 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. Finally in November 2013, SOE closed Al'Kabor.
Two SOE servers were set up to better support players in and around 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.
The servers were subsequently acquired by SOE and all three were merged into Antonius Bayle server.
||This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (May 2010)|
Sale of in-game objects/real world economics
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 practice.
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. 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.
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.
Intellectual property and role-playing
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.
The game is renowned and berated (by some psychologists[who?] specializing in computer addiction) for its addictive qualities. Many players refer to it half-jokingly as "EverCrack" (a disparaging comparison to crack cocaine). There has been one well-publicized suicide of an EverQuest user named Shawn Woolley that resulted in his mother, Liz, founding Online Gamers Anonymous.
Sociological aspects of MMORPGs
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are described by some players 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". The studies make use of data gathered from player surveys and discuss topics like virtual relationships, player personalities, gender issues, and more.
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. 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 game.
Prohibition in Brazil
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.
Since EverQuest's release, Sony Online Entertainment has added several EverQuest-related games. These include:
- EverQuest Hero's Call (Pocket PC, January 2003)
- EverQuest Online Adventures (PlayStation 2, February 2003)
- Lords of EverQuest (PC, December 2003)
- Champions of Norrath (PlayStation 2, February 2004)
- EverQuest Hero's Call 2 (Pocket PC, April 2004)
- EverQuest II (PC, November 2004)
- Champions: Return to Arms, sequel to Champions of Norrath (PlayStation 2, February 2005)
- EverQuest Role-Playing Game (a role-playing game produced in collaboration with White Wolf which uses the d20 system).
- Legends of Norrath (a virtual card game which launched sometime in 2007 or early 2008 which also awards EverQuest and EverQuest II players with in-game items).
- EverQuest Next (newest story-based EverQuest game.)
- EverQuest Next Landmark (only world-building Everquest game.)
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)
- Marks, Robert (2003). Everquest Companion: The Inside Lore of a Gameworld. McGraw-Hill Osborne Media. ISBN 978-0-07-222903-5.
- "Announcement of Verant Merger". Verant.
- "EverQuest Free to Play". Retrieved 2012-02-01.
- "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 12 March 2012.
- Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders Games. ISBN 0-13-101816-7.
- "EQ Circle - List Of Races". Retrieved 2011-12-31.
- "EverQuest - Massively Multiplayer Online Fantasy Role-Playing Game". Everquest.station.sony.com. Retrieved 2011-12-21.
- "SOE Everquest page". Sony.
- "Stratics Official Game Lore". "Five hundred years have passed since the Sleeper was awakened"
- "SOE Confirms Development on EverQuest "Next"". Allakhazam. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "EQ2Wire Coverage of EverQuest Next". EQ2Wire. 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
- Champions Of Norrath Announcement, Sony.com
- Non-recurring Subscriptions Removal Official news and announcements - 2012-06-15
- EQMac will carry on!, SOE forums
- EQMac Login News, SOE forums
- EQ Mac Sunsetting: A Letter from John Smedley SOE official forum, October 18, 2013
- "Everquest Europe joins EverQuest US". TG Daily. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Virtual kingdom richer than Bulgaria". BBC News. 2002-03-29. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "Virtual gaming worlds overtake Namibia". BBC News. 2004-08-19. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
- "Additional information about Station Exchange". Everquest II News. Sony. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- cf. Garlick M., "Player, Pirate or Conducer? A consideration of the rights of online gamers", Yale Journal of Law & Technology, 2004-2005.
- "EverQuest Lair - Reviews, Platinum, and Cheats". Gameogre.com. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (Spring 2005). "EverQuest: Entertainment or Addiction?". The CASE Journal 1 (2): 60–66.
- Spain, Judith W.; Vega, Gina (May 2005). "Sony Online Entertainment: EverQuestor EverCrack?". Journal of Business Ethics 58 (1): 3–6. doi:10.1007/s10551-005-1376-9.
- "Men are from Ogguk. Women are from Kelethin.". Nick Yee. Retrieved 2006-09-13.
- "GU Comics by: Woody Hearn". Gucomics.com. 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Counter-Strike e EverQuest estao proibidos no Brasil". UOL. 2008-01-18.
- Malone, Krista-Lee (2007). "Dragon Kill Points: The Economics of Power Gamers". Games and Culture. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1008035. ISSN 1555-4120. Retrieved 2008-12-21.