Sony Online Entertainment
Daybreak Game Company
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, macOS|
March 16, 1999
June 24, 2003
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing game|
EverQuest is a 3D fantasy-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) originally developed by Verant Interactive and 989 Studios for Windows PCs and was released by Sony Online Entertainment on March 16, 1999 in North America. A dedicated version for macOS was released in June 2003 which operated for ten years before being shut down in November 2013. In June 2000, Verant Interactive was absorbed into Sony Online Entertainment, who took over full development and publishing duties of the title. Later in February 2015, SOE's parent corporation, Sony Computer Entertainment, sold the studio to investment company Inception Acquisitions and was rebranded as Daybreak Game Company, who develops and publishes EverQuest to this day.
It was the first commercially successful MMORPG to employ a three-dimensional game engine, and its success was on an unprecedented scale. EverQuest has a wide influence on subsequent releases within the market, and holds an important position in the history of massively multiplayer online games.
The game surpassed early subscription expectations and grew for many years after its release. It has received awards, including 1999 GameSpot Game of the Year and a 2007 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award. While dozens of similar games have come and gone over the years, EverQuest still endures as a viable commercial enterprise with new expansions still being released on a regular basis, almost twenty years after its initial launch.
- 1 History
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Expansions
- 4 Servers
- 5 Reception
- 6 Controversies
- 7 EverQuest franchise
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
EverQuest began as a concept by John Smedley in 1996. 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, EverQuest was developed by Sony Online Entertainment.
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. Famed book cover illustrator 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.
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 'persistent 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 and Steve Clover left SOE by 2002.
While the exact statistics on EverQuest subscriptions are not public, computer games analyst Bruce Woodcock estimates, based on public sources such as press statements, that the game had 100,000 subscriptions in March 2000, one year after initial release, with an increase to more than 540,000 subscriptions by July 2003. However, the same analysis points at a sharp decline after mid-2005, back to less than 100,000 in May 2006. .
Growth and sequels
The first four expansions were released in traditional physical boxes at roughly one-year intervals. These were highly ambitious and offered huge new landmasses, new playable races and new classes. The expansion Shadows of Luclin (2001) gave a significant facelift to player character models, bringing the by-then dated 1999 graphics up to modern standards. However, non-player characters which do not correspond to any playable race-gender-class combination (such as vendors) were not updated, leading to the coexistence of 1999-era and 2001-era graphics in many locations. The expansion Planes of Power (2002) introduced The Plane of Knowledge, a hub zone from which players could quickly teleport to many other destinations. This made the pre-existing roads and ships largely redundant, and long-distance overland travel is now virtually unheard of.
EverQuest made a push to enter the European market in 2002 with the New Dawn promotional campaign, which not only established local servers in Germany, France and Great Britain but also offered localized versions of the game in German and French to accommodate players who prefer those languages to English. In the following year the game also moved beyond the PC market with a Mac OS X version.
In 2003 experiments began with digital distribution of expansions, starting with the Legacy of Ykesha. From this point on expansions would be less ambitious in scope than the original four, but on the other hand the production rate increased to two expansions a year instead of one.
This year the franchise also ventured into the console market with EverQuest Online Adventures, released for Sony's internet-capable PlayStation 2. It was the second MMORPG for this console, after Final Fantasy XI. Story-wise it was a prequel, with the events taking place 500 years before the original EverQuest. Other spin-off projects were the PC strategy game Lords of EverQuest (2003) and the co-op Champions of Norrath (2004) for the PlayStation 2.
After these side projects, the first proper sequel was released in late 2004, titled simply EverQuest II . The game is set 500 years after the original. EverQuest II faced severe competition from Blizzard's World of Warcraft, which was released at virtually the same time and quickly grew to dominate the MMORPG genre.
Since the release of World of Warcraft and other modern MMORPGs, there have been a number of signs that the EverQuest population is shrinking. The national New Dawn servers were discontinued in 2005 and merged into a general (English-language) European server.
The 2006 expansion The Serpent's Spine introduced the "adventure-friendly" city of Crescent Reach in which all races and classes are able (and encouraged) to start. Crescent Reach is supposed to provide a more pedagogic starting environment than the original 1999 cities, where players were given almost no guidance on what to do. The common starting city also concentrates the dwindling number of new players in a single location, making grouping easier. 2008's Seeds of Destruction expansion introduced computer controlled companions called "mercenaries" that can join groups in place of human players; a response to the increasing difficulty of finding other players of appropriate level for group activities. As of Seeds the production rate also returned to one expansion a year instead of two.
In March 2012 EverQuest departed from the traditional monthly subscription business model by introducing three tiers of commitment: a completely free-to-play Bronze Level, a one-time fee Silver Level, and a subscription Gold Level. The same month saw the closure of EverQuest Online Adventures. Just a few months earlier EverQuest II had gone free-to-play and SOE flagship Star Wars Galaxies also closed.
In June of the same year 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.
November 2013 saw the closure of the sole Mac OS server Al'Kabor.
In February 2015 Sony sold its online entertainment division to private equity group Columbus Nova, with Sony Online Entertainment subsequently renamed Daybreak Game Company (DBG). An initial period of uncertainty followed, with all projects such as expansions and sequels put on hold and staff laid off. The situation stabilized around the game's 16th anniversary celebrations, and a new expansion was released in November 2015.
As a result of the layoffs, customer service was severely curtailed. The expansions DBG released consisted of about half the content that was released prior while the Everquest franchise was owned by Sony. Each released expansion by DBG had numerous serious bugs, where either the events were not tuned correctly, players were allowed to do what they should not be allowed to do, or so buggy that the game was unplayable.
The third iteration in the series, with the working title EverQuest Next, was under development, with in-game screenshots, concept art, and information revealed at the SOE Fan Faire in August 2010. However, this early version of the game has since been scrapped and development cancelled.
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 12 races in the game, which were humans, high-elves, wood-elves, half-elves, dark-elves, erudites, barbarians, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, ogres, and trolls. In the first expansion, lizard-people (Iksar) were introduced. Cat-people (Vah Shir), frog-people (Froglok), and dragon-people (Drakkin) were all introduced in later expansions. 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 move their character throughout the medieval fantasy world of Norrath, often fighting monsters and enemies for treasure and experience points, and optionally mastering trade skills. As they progress, players advance in level, gaining power, prestige, spells, and abilities through valorous deeds such as entering overrun castles and keeps, defeating worthy opponents found within, and looting their remains. Experience and prestigious equipment can also be obtained by completing quests given out by non-player characters found throughout the land.
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 over five 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 grouped into five general roles that share similar characteristics, as described below.
Members of this group have a high number of hitpoints for their level, and can equip heavy armor. They have the ability to taunt enemies into focusing on them, either directly or through the use of aggravating spells and abilities. This is to keep their more lightly-armored companions alive and well, who may otherwise provoke the wrath of one or more deadly creatures.
- Warrior: the prototypical tank class, able to avoid and mitigate more damage than any other. In a way, this is offset by their inability to cast spells. Owing to their stalwart defensive prowess, the Warrior often has a crucial role as main tank of a group or raid party, absorbing or mitigating the sustained assaults of enraged and often numerous opponents. Their high hit points also allow them to take more punishment than most other classes before succumbing, which gives healers a greater chance to keep them, and thus the party, alive and well. In their role as tank or proverbial damage sponge, the Warrior uses their Taunt skill to keep dangerous enemies trained on them, rather than chasing down overly-aggressive wizards or rogues, who may come under attack after landing a devastating backstab or lightning strike. All these qualities may help engender a sense of trust in a well-known and well-armored warrior, who can generally go toe-to-toe with a powerful mob for longer than any other class.
- Shadow Knight: a durable tank class; this Warrior/Necromancer hybrid has vampiric and damage-over-time spells. Shadow Knights have the unique ability to Harm Touch (do direct damage) every seventy-two minutes, the power of which increases in absolute terms but decreases relative to enemies' hit points as a player levels up. Since this class is a hybrid, they must wait longer than the Necromancer to begin receiving spells, and longer yet for the more potent incantations such as Summon Corpse and Feign Death. Shadow Knights are, after some time, able to summon a weak skeleton pet, as well as summon a player's corpse that is in the same zone as them, a vital skill when things have gone amiss in some dungeon. Their Feign Death spell, similar to but slightly less reliable than one possessed by the monk class, can prove useful in dangerous situations.
- Paladin: the virtuous counterpart to the Shadow Knight, a Paladin is a hybrid Warrior/Cleric. They were originally able to Lay on Hands (heal themselves or another player) once every seventy-two minutes (real-time); Lay on Hands is now available as an innate ability. At mid-levels, paladins can purchase some resurrection spells. Paladins are tough in melee with some healing, protective, and stun spells. At mid-range levels, they can purchase a "pacify" line of spells that allows them to function as a puller for a group. Like Shadow Knights, Paladins have powers which enable them to do comparatively greater damage to undead opponents.
The following 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 top 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). Another complication is that while Wizards can readily deal tremendous damage to enemies, their ability to do so is limited by their remaining mana pool, as well as how fast they are able to regenerate mana. That said, Berserkers, Rogues, and Wizards are three classes most commonly cited as the highest overall damage dealers.
These melee damage dealers have a medium number of hit points per level, but cannot wear the heaviest armors and are less likely than a tank class to be able to survive direct attacks for a sustained period of time.
- Beastlord: A unique class which combines some powers from the Monk and Shaman classes along with a powerful pet. Beastlords can imbue their pets with powers, and engage opponents with either hand-to-hand melee skills, or with weapons. They can de-buff enemies with spells, and possess modest healing abilities. This diverse array of skills allows Beastlords to be effective solo adventurers at many levels as well as being handy in a group.
- Berserker: A specialist form of the melee type, the Berserker is primarily a medium-armored, high-damage dealer that uses two-handed weapons and who can hurl axes and other miscellanea, often stunning their enemies, or hampering their movement.
- Monk: As masters of martial arts, Monks are the hand-to-hand fighting experts who can learn to use one-handed and two-handed blunt weapons, making them powerful opponents in close-quarters combat. Monks get many, if not all, combat skills (dual wield, double attack, triple attack, etc.) before any other class. Monks have the ability to feign death with a high degree of reliability, and possess additional skills that enable them to be a strong pulling class. They have the ability to heal themselves, with a moderate cooldown, with the Mend ability.
- Ranger: A versatile hybrid class combining some of a Warrior's fighting prowess with a Druid's spellcasting, Rangers are able to deal large amounts of damage both from a ranged distance and in close quarters. Their most unusual ability is to track unseen NPCs, for which they are highly valued as pullers in outdoor zones. Rangers also have the ability to taunt, and they possess a harmony line of spells (like pacify, but which only works outdoors) which allow them to play the role of tank to a limited degree. They can make use of archery better than any other class. Their line of snare spells (which hampers an enemy's movement) is very useful in groups looking for quick experience, by preventing enemies from running away, as well as allowing the Ranger to effectively kite a hostile creature.
- Rogue: With their backstab ability, which multiplies damage done to an unguarded enemy's back, Rogues are able to inflict massive amounts of damage, provided that they are in a group that can keep the opponent facing away from the Rogue. Later in life, with the help of alternate advancement abilities, rogues are able to backstab opponents even when facing them. Rogues have the ability to make poisons, pick pockets, and pick locks. Their abilities early on to sneak and hide allow them to walk past both living and undead mobs without being seen.
Caster classes have the lowest hit points per level and can only wear the lightest of armors. 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.
- Wizard: The primary nuking class; these casters are able to deal catastrophic damage to enemies over a very short time from a distance, particularly with their Manaburn skill, although the length of encounters often makes manaburn inefficient to use. Wizards are considered to be the masters of teleportation, and have appropriate spells to facilitate group travel to certain locations, including designated safe spots when things turn sour for the whole group. A Wizard's direct damage spells are generally from the fire, frost, and magic schools.
- Magician: Usually referred to as Mages, Magicians are similar to the Wizard class but with slightly less direct-damage spell power. They are able to summon strong elemental pets, from the domains of Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. They have the ability to conjure pet armor and weapons, food, drink, and mod rods, which allow players to convert their health into mana. Magicians can summon party members to different parts of a zone with the Call of the Hero spell, which can be helpful in raid zones. Magicians' direct damage spells are generally from the fire school.
- Necromancer: These masters of death are able to summon, buff, and heal powerful undead pets, as well as use poison, magic, fire, and disease damage-over-time spells. Necromancers are able to feign death, snare enemies, and summon players' corpses that are in the same zone. They have a potent arsenal in their spellbook, particularly with their ability to snare then fear their opponent, as well their ability to lifetap – taking the enemy's health and using it to restore their own. This allows the Necromancer to function effectively without the services of other players, perhaps more so than any other class.
Crowd control / utility
These classes share the ability to prevent enemies from attacking the party, as well as improving mana regeneration for themselves, teammates, and in the Enchanter's case, anyone they come across.
- Enchanter: A caster class that has few hit points per level and can wear only the lightest forms of armor, Enchanters are crowd control experts and are the most proficient class at Charming, Stunning, and Mesmerizing enemies. They have the ability to Memory Blur an opponent (causing them to forget they had been attacked) or Pacify an opponent (making them oblivious to antagonists in the area, but which has a small chance of backfiring), both of which may be extremely useful in avoiding unwanted skirmishes. Enchanters have a wide range of utility spells, including the Clarity (AKA 'crack' due to many caster class players becoming 'hooked' on the increased mana regeneration that this spell provides and constantly seek enchanters to cast it on them, often offering generous amounts of in-game currency) line of spells, which when cast on a player allows them to regenerate mana at an improved rate. In addition to being able to both increase players' rate of attack (with the Haste line of spells), and Slowing that of enemies, Enchanters may also cast Illusions on themselves and others, which may have no real benefit (other than conferring a new look) or may grant tangible benefits such as underwater breathing, flight, or a vampiric touch. Illusions also adjust a character's faction standing with in-game NPC's, however, this is only relevant in old world locations and largely ignored in the current game. Lastly, Enchanters possess the unique Rune line of spells, which creates a magical protective buffer against all forms of damage until it has been worn down. This class is also uniquely suited for the jewelcraft trade, because it is the only class able to enchant metals. Enchanters possess some rudimentary direct-damage and damage-over-time offensive spells, all in the Magic school of casting, although using mana in this way is not often efficient or effective.
- Bard: a jack-of-all-trades class with fair melee ability, good armor, and the ability to play songs that benefit all nearby comrades. They can use crowd control songs in order to pacify hostile opponents, or help regenerate health and mana for their comrades using a different set of songs. Bards possess the unique ability to 'fade' from their enemies' memories. This makes the bard an excellent pulling class. Bards possess lesser versions of many of the special abilities of other classes. They are known for their ability early on to increase the movement speed of their party faster than any mount or movement buff. Bards can weave the effects of up to four songs at once to confer the greatest advantage to their group. Bards themselves often do not receive the full benefit of their songs, but they can still be an effective solo class at many levels, especially with their strong kiting proficiency. The Bard is also the only class able to cast spells from items, while running.
Priest classes have medium level of hit points per level and have access to healing and "buff" spells.
- Cleric: The most powerful healer in the game, and for the first few years of EverQuest the only class capable of resurrection with experience regained, and the only class with the spell Complete Heal. As the game has changed, Complete Heal has become less effective compared to the cleric's many different lines of more powerful and quicker (albeit more mana-intensive) heals. Primarily healers, the cleric also has some "death save" spells, as "Divine Intervention" and can increase spell casting haste with "Blessing of Loyalty". Clerics can wear the heaviest plate-mail type armors. Clerics are great solo classes due to the introduction of the "Vow of Valor" line of spells, which provides the cleric with increased melee damage and a high rate of self-regeneration, at the cost of halving their direct heals' power.
- Druid: A priest class that can cast healing spells, teleport, snare (to slow down enemies movement rate), and moderately-powerful nuking and damage-over-time spells, as well as charming animals to use them as pets. Druids may only wear leather armor, and have a number of transportation spells that allow speedy movement throughout much of the gaming world. Their combined tracking and foraging skills make them accomplished trade-skillers. Druids can, just like shamans, resurrect other players after a fight, but with the same experienced regained as a paladin, or a lower level cleric.
- Shaman: Shamans can take many roles, and are often considered as a "utility" class. They are excellent in soloing, group and raid situations. While raiding, a shaman will primarily heal and enhance the attack rate of melee fighters, as well as decreasing the ferocity of opponents. Shamans, or "Shammies" may cannibalize their health to restore mana, which means that they are able to keep casting their spells for much longer times than clerics or druids. They wear chain armor, and can summon an animal pet.
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 by the deity's minions and devoted followers.
The EverQuest universe is divided into more than five hundred 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.
There have been twenty-four 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). When you purchase the latest expansion you receive all previous expansions you may not have previously purchased. Additionally, the game is updated through downloaded patches. The EverQuest expansions are as follows:
|Title||Release Date||Level Cap|
|The Ruins of Kunark||2000 April 24||60|
|The Scars of Velious||2000 December 5||60|
|The Shadows of Luclin||2001 December 4||60|
|The Planes of Power||2002 October 29||65|
|The Legacy of Ykesha||2003 February 25||65|
|Lost Dungeons of Norrath||2003 September 9||65|
|Gates of Discord||2004 February 10||65|
|Omens of War||2004 September 14||70|
|Dragons of Norrath||2005 February 15||70|
|Depths of Darkhollow||2005 September 13||70|
|Prophecy of Ro||2006 February 21||70|
|The Serpent's Spine||2006 September 19||75|
|The Buried Sea||2007 February 13||75|
|Secrets of Faydwer||2007 November 13||80|
|Seeds of Destruction||2008 October 21||85|
|Underfoot||2009 December 15||85|
|House of Thule||2010 October 12||90|
|Veil of Alaris||2011 November 15||95|
|Rain of Fear||2012 November 28||100|
|Call of the Forsaken||2013 October 8||100|
|The Darkened Sea||2014 October 28||105|
|The Broken Mirror||2015 November 18||105|
|Empires of Kunark||2016 November 16||105|
|Ring of Scale||2017 December 12||110|
|The Burning Lands||2018 December 11||110|
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, which opened for beta testing in early 2003, and officially released on June 24, 2003. The game was never developed beyond the Planes of Power expansion, and contained multiple features and bugs not seen on PC servers, as a side-effect of the codebase having been split from an early Planes of Power date but not updated with the PC codebase. 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.
Reviews of Everquest were mostly positive upon release in 1999, earning an 85 out of 100 score from aggregate review website Metacritic. Comparing it to other online role-playing titles at the time, critics routinely called it "the best game in its class," the "most immersive and most addictive online RPG to date." Dan Amrich of GamePro magazine declared that "the bar for online gaming has not so much been raised as obliterated," and that the game's developers had "created the first true online killer app." The reviewer would find fault with its repetitive gameplay in the early levels and lack of sufficient documentation to help new players, urging them to turn to fansites for help instead. Greg Kasavin of GameSpot similarly felt that the game's combat was "uninteresting" but did note that, unlike earlier games in the genre, EverQuest offered the opportunity to play on servers that wouldn't allow players to fight each other unless they chose to, and that it heavily promoted cooperation. Ultimately, the reviewer would declare that "the combat may be a little boring, the manual may be horrible, the quest system half-baked, and the game not without its small share of miscellaneous bugs. But all you need is to find a like-minded adventurer or two, and all of a sudden EverQuest stands to become one of the most memorable gaming experiences you've ever had." Baldric of Game Revolution likewise stated that the game was more co-operative than Ultima Online, but that there was less interaction with the environment, calling it more "player oriented" instead of "'world' oriented."
Despite server issues during the initial launch of the game, reviewers felt that the game played well even on lower-end network cards, with Tal Blevins of IGN remarking that it "rarely suffered from major lag issues, even on a 28.8k modem." The reviewer did feel that the game suffered from a lack of player customization aside from different face types, meaning all like races looked mostly the same, but the game's visual quality on the whole was "excellent" with "particularly impressive" spell, lighting, and particle effects. Computer Games Magazine would also commend the title's three-dimensional graphics and environments, remarking that "With its 3D graphics, first-person perspective, and elegantly simple combat system, EverQuest has finally given us the first step towards a true virtual world. Internet gaming will never be the same."
Everquest was named GameSpot's 1999 Game of the Year in its Best & Worst of 1999 awards, remarking that "Following EverQuest's release in March, the whole gaming industry effectively ground to a halt [...] At least one prominent game developer blamed EverQuest for product delays, and for several weeks GameSpot's editors were spending more time exploring Norrath than they were doing their jobs." The website would also include the game in their list of the Greatest Games of All Time in 2004. GameSpot UK would also rank the title 14th on its list of the 100 Best Computer Games of the Millennium in 2000, calling it "a technological tour de force" and "the first online RPG to bring the production values of single-player games to the online masses." The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences named EverQuest their Online Game of the Year for 1999, while Game Revolution named it the Best PC RPG of 1999. It was included in Time magazine's Best of 1999 in the "Tech" category, and Entertainment Weekly would include the game in their Top Ten Hall of Fame Video Games of the '90s, calling its virtual world "the nearest you could get to being on a Star Trek holodeck." In 2007, Sony Online Entertainment received a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for EverQuest under the category of "Development of Massively Multiplayer Online Graphical Role Playing Games". During the 2nd annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards in 2011, EverQuest received a Hall of Fame award for it's long-term advancement of online gaming, such as being the first MMORPG to feature a guild system and raiding.
Editors of Computer Gaming World and GameSpot each nominated EverQuest for their 1999 "Role-Playing Game of the Year" awards, both of which ultimately went to Planescape: Torment. CNET Gamecenter likewise nominated it in this category, but gave the award to Asheron's Call. GameSpot would also nominate the title for Best Multiplayer Game of 1999, but would give the award to Quake III Arena. In 2012, 1UP.com ranked EverQuest 57th on its list of the Top 100 Essential Games.
Sales and subscriptions
EverQuest was the most pre-ordered PC title on EBGames.com prior to its release in March 1999. The game had 10,000 active subscribers 24 hours after launch, making it the high-selling online role-playing game up until that point. Six months later, around 225,000 copies of the game had been sold in total, with 150,000 active subscribers. Subscription numbers would rise to over 500,000 active accounts four years after release in 2003. By the end of 2004 the title's lifetime sales exceeded 3 million copies worldwide and reached an active subscriber peak of 550,000.
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
The sale of in-game objects for real currency is a controversial and lucrative industry with topics concerning issues practices of hacking/stealing accounts for profit. Critics often cite how it affects the virtual economy inside the game. In 2001, the sales of in-game items for real life currency was banned on eBay.
A practice in the real-world trade economy is of companies creating characters, powerleveling them to make them powerful, and then reselling the characters for large sums of money or in-game items of other games.
Sony 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.
In 2012, Sony added an in-game item called a "Krono", which adds 30 days of game membership throughout EverQuest and EverQuest II. The item can be initially bought starting at $17.99 USD. Up to 25 "Kronos" can be bought for $424.99 USD. Krono can be resold via player trading, which has allowed Krono to be frequently used in the real-world trade economy.
Intellectual property and role-playing
On October 2000, Verant banned a player by the name of Mystere, allegedly for creating controversial fan fiction, causing outrage among some EverQuest players and sparking a 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.
Some argue the game has addictive qualities. Many players refer to it as "EverCrack" (a comparison to crack cocaine). There was one well-publicized suicide of an EverQuest user named Shawn Woolley, that inspired his mother, Liz, to found 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 the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil
On 17 January 2008, the Judge of the 17th Federal Court of Minas Gerais State forbade the sales of the game in that 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)
- EverQuest Online Adventures Frontiers (PlayStation 2, November 2003)
- Lords of EverQuest (PC, December 2003)
- Champions of Norrath (PlayStation 2, February 2004)
- EverQuest Hero's Call 2 (Pocket PC, April 2004)
- EverQuest War On Faydwer (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.) Canceled
- EverQuest Next Landmark (only world-building Everquest game.) Canceled
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)
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